Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Counting down to the countdown...

Tick tick tick - I never feel so aware of time as when I realize there's something time specific I want to say on this blog and right now is one of those times. From Nosara beach in Costa Rica on retreat with my teacher Shiva Rea, hanging with a bunch of amazing people from around the world, I've been thinking lots about all the little breakthrough moments that have made my year a little brighter than it might have been otherwise. While I'm sure lots of you write gratitude lists - after all, even Oprah writes and advocates gratitude lists - in honor of the kind of year and decade I'm hoping to have, this post is dedicated to those breakthrough moments...may there be many, many more.

1. Teaching 300 NYPD officers to meditate
2. Peacefully ending an unhealthy relationship
3. Getting a puppy after YEARS of wanting one (yes, this is perhaps related to #2)
4. Spending a week on a lake with no visitors, no TV, no radio - just silence
5. Learning to drive a motorbike
6. Winning clients on national and global levels
7. Leading workshops for Harvard Business Review
8. Growing my hair beneath my shouders for the first time since college
9. Learning to surf (related 100% to being in Costa Rica this week but not represented at all accurately by the amazing photo above)
and (after a year that if it were a song it would be sung to the blues including all the maladies we've all been reading about in the headlines this year)...
10. Recovering my belief in possibility and deep love for this very brief pageant we call life.

Thanks for giving me a place to share this, internet world, and thanks to whomever is reading this for following the journey.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Re-Birth Day

Last night I threw my annual birthday-holiday fete. A bit of a challenge all these years not because of any primal experiences in the birth canal, but because with great hemispheric accuracy it falls in the middle of winter holidays (when I was little), final exams (in my teens and early twenties), and now competes with cold/flu and holiday party season. Among health, holiday challenges and the fact that I seem to send invites at the very very last minute, in the midst of regrets s'il vous plaƮt I take great comfort that I'm not alone in celebrating this day. In fact, the entire nation of Mexico and many other Catholic countries celebrate the day I was born.

No matter my intentions to live a remarkable life, they don't do this because of anything I did. By chance or grace, on December 12, 1531 the image of the Virgin Mary appeared in a little town in Mexico called Guadalupe. Lucky for me, I like religion in general and so whenever I get to hang around Mexicans here in NYC I love bragging that I am a "Lupita"- the nickname for anyone born on the day of the virgin - I love having a little extra zing in my birthday specialness.

You can probably tell that birthdays are important to me. Not for presents or hogging attention, but in a busy world they offer the potential for a ritual of recognition of all the life experiences that have combined in my life to make me the person I am, and to honor the many others who provide love and support for me to become the person I want to be.

Each year I look for ways to make these day-of-birth parties special by having a theme on the hunch that when we create a context for connection we're more likely to authentically connect and have real fun. Past years themes have ranged from human scavenger hunts in my apartment to "show and tell" where people share something they have created. One year we did a dj competition and the next we karaoked until sunrise. This year I asked folks to offer their favorite quote - from Raising Arizona to Winston Churchill, I figured whatever inspires my friends has to be inspiring.

What better gift than inspiration? I got exactly what I asked for. In hopes it is equally a gift of inspiration for you, here's a sampling:

Fail better
-Samuel Beckett

It could be better, but it's good enough
-Chinese Fortune Cookie

There was never a king like Solomon
Not since the world began
Yet Solomon talked to a butterfly
As a man would talk to a man
-Rudyard Kipling

All afternoon, Sir
your ambassadors have been turning
into lakes and rivers.
At first they were just clouds, like any other.
Then they swelled and swirled; then they hung very still;
then they broke open. This is, I suppose,
just one of the common miracles,
a transformation, not a vision,
not an answer, not a proof, but I put it
there, close against my heart, where the need is, and it serves the purpose. I go on, soaked through, my hair
slicked back;
like corn, or wheat, shining and useful.
- Mary Oliver

Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to killed me / and has failed.
~ Lucille Clifton

There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.
~ Washington Irving

And this one, too, from wondrous Rumi:

you suppose you are the trouble
but you are the cure
you suppose that you are the lock on the door
but you are the key that opens it
it’s too bad that you want to be someone else
you don’t see your own face, your own beauty
yet, no face is more beautiful than yours
~ Rumi

And of course my own favorite quote which ties this admittedly rambling post together. With my birthday patron saint Mary as a symbol of the mothers' loving compassion, in honoring the journey and beauty of my own life there's no greater cause to celebrate than the profound impact of my relationship with my own mother. As in any relationship, I certainly did not always understand her, and it took more than two decades for us begin to like much less really fall in love with eachother. With an ironic twist, its crossed my mind more than once that it took her fighting cancer for us to finally stop fighting eachother. But somehow through it we got to that place beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing and uncovered enough space in our relationship to hold eachother's beauty in the very brightest light. The connection we created is my reference in understanding what this lesson called "love" really is.

Years since her death, I will never forget the day when minutes after having just delighted in finding the following poem sitting on my floor reading in NYC, my phone rang as she excitedly called me from her home in Cincinnati to share it with me.

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
- Raymond Carver

Wishing you re-birth every day,

With love,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude List...because of the downturn I discovered...

1. Cortados (latin lattes probably made with Cafe Bustelo) from bodegas and homemade lattes beat Starbucks any day
2. Rockstar haircuts from Chinatown
3. Levi's AWESOME skinny jeans
4. Selling a little stock to pay rent during a lean spot did not kill me
5. Drycleaning bags cut into squares make great doggy-curb plastics
6. Threading instead of waxing saves a LOT of money
7. Happy hour with friends at home is a lot more relaxing
8. QiGong from the little underground places is AMAZING and 1/3 the price of a spa massage
9. I can still paint my own toenails
10. Making birthday gifts always was and is still more fun
11. I don't miss frivolous shopping at all
12. Consignment shops in NYC are full of AMAZING stuff
13. Coconut oil is a FABULOUS deep conditioner
14. Theme parties beat lounges hands down
15. I have more music already than I could ever listen to in a year
16. My doggy likes broccoli more than doggy treats
17. This meditation/yoga stuff really works on managing stress and keeping peace of mind
...I have a feeling this could go on for a while...but I guess the thing I'm really happy about is recognizing how full and beautiful my life is at any given moment. I wouldn't trade the moments I remember to recognize that beauty for all the gold in Fort Knox...if there were any gold in Fort Knox...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Corporate Yogi Undercover - Finest Worksong

There is an often-quoted study somewhere that the majority of heart attacks take place between Sunday night and Monday morning. If you know where I can find this study, send it right along. But from personal experience, I know even the sound of the stopwatch on 60 Minutes used to give me a sense that my night was ticking ticking ticking down to the demands of Monday morning.

So Sunday night, I ventured off the island of Manhattan to listen to live country music at a little place in Billyburg, Spike Hill. Uncle Leon and the Alibis were playing - I especially liked their country-fried version of "Baby Got Back" - anyway, here's the reason I'm sharing this: their rabble raising anthem is entitled "I Hate My Job", and a good 9 minutes of the hour long set was dedicated to explaining the song, singing the song, then getting the crowd to sing along through the refrain - once to get the words down, then again with more passion with lots of harping and harassing anyone who wasn't singing/likes their jobs.

Hearing this song called to mind a line from Drew Carey: "Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." People, really? Really? Is this really the best thing to plant in your brain before you get up and go to work in the morning? Really? How does this make things any better?

Uncle Leon, you rock, and thanks for the reminder about "little in the middle but baby got back" - but wow, all things considered, from what I can tell not many of us are actually suffering. Sure we experience interpersonal brain-pattern clashes, but other than the fact we have a habit of THINKING we are suffering, most of us are doing just fine from one breath to the next...aren't we?

So here's the challenge: look through your Itunes and tell me what a positive Monday Morning Anthem might be - heck, I'd even accept a neutral one like Finest Worksong by REM only since I already have thought of that one, you have to come up with something else. Because here's the problem: most work songs (and most work movies) are negative. 60 Minutes stopwatch ticking notwithstanding, I promise to pick a winner from everyone who suggests a work song and buy them a leisurely Sunday night dinner. And if you're in a foreign country or something I'll paypal you the money to take yourself to dinner. So...suggestions?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Perspectives from a Party

Life is a great storyteller - offering moments of insight into the mundane and the sublime, the tragedy, beauty and celebration of it all. The great storytellers all do this and it resonates for us because in their observations are embedded the very paradoxes that exist in our own lives.

Last night, life delivered one such a powerful response to conversations we've all been having about how short life is, and the mandate to overcome obstacles and put yourself fully into whatever you're doing no matter what, where, how or why.

Last night friend Sheena Mathieken threw a party to celebrate the six month mark of her really cool Uniform Project. In the Uniform Project, Sheena has pledged to wear the same dress every day for a year as an exercise in sustainable fashion. You can go onto her site and see the many ways she has injected creativity into it - looking, as she says, as if accessorized in the "Marquis de Sade's boudouir". She created this initiative as a fundraiser for educational initiatives for kids in slums in India. So far, the effort has won attention from the BBC, Elle, The New York Times, and The Times, London. Slightly over $28K later, with German press at the party and a room full of New York's creative influencers, it's clear Sheena is just getting her engines started.

Updating her about what's up in the world of corporate yogis, the focus on shifting consciousness she laughed, "if it were really about fitness or staying thin, my secret is following your passion AND keeping your dayjob - I have two full time jobs now and the energy alone is enough!". Even her boss acknowledged the energy this is demanding of her and that she is completly engaged and happy in what she is doing.

But last night after we left the party, someone in the building apparently fell down an elevator shaft and died. I'm not the first to report this - it's posted on Gothamist and ABC news. The tragedy to the deceased and his circle of loved ones is unimaginable. For the rest of us at the very least it is a powerful reminder to live our lives with passion and purpose, contribution and without complaint.

Which is what Sheena was already doing and hopefully will continue to do. Stressors clear, I'm offering up a prayer that this accident doesn't take Sheena off course either in this project and all the incredible contributions she has yet to make. I'm urging you to go to her site and tell her to keep going and if you have an extra $5 in your bank account make a donation.

The world needs the Sheena's and the you's and the me's to look life in the eye and give all we got while we're here - as you live your own greatest story, don't let anything take that offering off track.

Friday, November 6, 2009

From my hOMe office...

Whoa. I've heard and read about bloggers getting lots of responses to a post. Having inconspicuously posted for a few years on the yoga work connection both here and in my WebMD LifeWorks blog, I've always been delighted when people respond. But since yesterday, I've been blown away by the number of folks responding to the notion of me being back in the "working for the man" saddle was pretty mind-blowing. I got a total of 18 phone calls, 33 personal emails and 11 comments/messages on Facebook alone, not to mention the ones I haven't even looked at yet that are coming in through Linkedin.

Yahoo peeps are convinced I'm working for Yahoo. AOLers and former AOLers sent sympathy notes to hear I'm back with the walking man. In fact, the only folks who haven't voiced conviction that I've joined their ranks are the over 300 NYPD officers I taught to meditate last year. Although, you know, I was once in the Army so it's possible...

Given this morning's announcement about October jobless rates, anything is possible. The unemployment rate, calculated using a survey of households as opposed to companies, rose by 0.4 percentage point to 10.2%, the Labor Department said Friday. While I know I'm not alone in counting blessings that we've averted a 1930's crisis, these numbers served as a reminder that I'm also not alone in having to be crafty in order to keep my puppy fed, the cat litter fresh, and my own sweet self in new shoes when I have a Gala to go to.

So let's get a couple things out on the table:

First of all, NO, I'm not abandoning my passionate quest to champion mindfulness and mastery tools at work. In fact if anything I'm getting more fired up about it and thinking of a new offering I want to launch in January. Stay tuned on that...

Second of all, NO, it really doesn't suck. It never did. It never will. Even when co-workers come up and say "Gosh, isn't that stuff we have you doing just so AWFUL?" Truth be told, it doesn't even suck even a little - I can think of lots worse ways to spend the day.

Third, I wouldn't be much of a yogi if I let it suck - you know? This is where I get to see if I can really walk my talk satisfying a curiosity I've had for years. Sure it's easy to be "enlightenment girl" in a quiet room with drawstring pants on, a great sequence in mind and a killer quote to get the asana party going, but conjuring enlightenment while doing data entry I could have done as a freshman in college while folks around me are frustrated literally to the point of tears - NOW THAT'S PRACTICE!

Which brings me back to the central point about this recent turn of events in my life and similar challenges in the lives of so many others: it's no big deal. The reason I left corporate America so many years ago is that it was painfully obvious to me that most of the things people make themselves miserable about at work are really no big deal. Consider food lines and shanty towns of the 1930s, look at your own hardships and repeat after me: it's no big deal. Listen to global news and think about your worries and repeat: it's no big deal.

Because here's the takeaway I've learned in 13 years as a corporate executive, 8 years as a consultant and 4 days of a temporary stint in cubiclelandia: you must decide that "it's no big deal" AND work with complete focus, complete contribution. Sweep streets as Shakespeare wrote, MLK Jr exhorted. The Bhagavad Gita tells us to work with your heart singing, no matter what. Corporate yogis, it doesn't matter how many times you make it to practice this week, meditate, pour over the words of Eckart Tolle or other guru of the month, or eat right for your blood type. If you haven't put it all into the MLK/Bhagavad Gita perspective your practice is functioning an escape mechanism rather than mastery tool.

And that's what I was reminded of within the first hour of the first day by that coffee machine: whatever is bugging you at work is really no big deal. Get to work with that in mind. Don't wait for your the world to be perfect for to decide to remember it. Your real job in all you do is taking care of your state of being, and that's what I'm hoping you'll always find me doing no matter what job I happen to be doing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Corporate Yogi Undercover

It's happened: after 8 years motivating folks in conference rooms, ball rooms, cubicles, workstations and offices, I'm back in the ranks. Driven by the downturn, one of my clients approached me desperate for extra hands on a project, and I turned to her just as desperate for cash in my bank account. With things turning around economically, I was looking for something to get me through the gap until a few huge projects I'm pitching come in. Hard as it is on my ego, I packed up my yoga-teacher, Harvard-Business-Review-Events-presenter, international employee-engagement-expert self and hustled in to get an employee badge and be shown how to log-onto their systems.

Without naming names to protect the innocent and shield the not-so-innocent (and after all, aren't we all a bit of BOTH?), I'll just give you a topline of where I'm going everyday:

1. NYC HQ of a recognized media company
2. Notorious sweat shop working hard to change that
3. Global operations include every significant market on the planet
4. Former consumer of yoga/transformational workshops - like many organizations forced to choose between stretching dollars rather than employees, their programs have been dormant for a couple of years.
5. Like many companies, they've leveraged real estate downturn by moving office locations

This is the third day I'll be going in - and already the situation has been an amazing affirmation of all the reasons that led me exactly eight years ago to leave my job to start Balance Integration. My first day by the coffee machine, one of the guys said to me "oh, you're new, that must be why you're smiling". When something I said made him laugh - I pointed out that his face had not cracked.

I have to get to work in a few minutes, but check back here over the coming weeks for play-by-plays. So far, my meditation practice is still on track so all is well.

Side note about the awesomely appointed Wellness Room door in the picture above: It's a little 8x10 room with soft lights, a pillow and throw, a really great massage chair, some nice smelling stuff wafting out of a socket somewhere, and a cd player with spa sounds. When I first noticed it I wondered if anyone ever uses it given the 18 hour days people put in. I'm glad to announce that when I slipped in there while my computer was being worked on to take the chair for a little test-drive, another employee knocked to see if it was available.

Stay tuned...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween & Savasana

I've long suspected that any iconographic element that exists on one culture must exist in every culture. Halloween upon us, Corporate Yogis, I'm looking for that all-is-one connection in this literal meaning behind this weekend's festivities.

The notion of remembering that we all die and that we are literally here to experience life UNTIL we die is particularly salient for many of us this year. In the midst of survival concerns, the challenge of remaining connected to life, to this moment, this breath in, that breath out, no matter what our external situation has sometimes given way instead to connecting to concerns about our external situation. The triggers for survival fears have seemed ubiquitous, popping up in our work, home life, health, the environment, political change, and world power struggles.

Having spent a bunch of time in Latin America, I've admired how Latin cultures embrace the concept of the circle of life, of continuity of connection, and of remembering the old adage "dust to dust. In Buddhist countries you'll often see the lifeline of the buddha expresed as a progression from baby to corpse decay, or the inevitability of death expressed in the beautiful mandala sand drawings painstakingly created and destroyed in an instant. And in yoga we recognize the impermanence of all our earth-bound concerns by practicing Savasana, literally corpse pose, at the end of every practice.

While sussing out what I want my hallow'een observation to be, I'm going back to these roots. Much like the wisdom paths we study, I want to face my deepest earthbound fears, tangle with the trappings of my ego, and see if I can't live through my worst imagination tomorrow night.

Having long ago befriended my inner sexy nurse, this means I'm going to have to set aside the fishnet stockings and reach a little deeper into my closet. Summoning the inner demons of failure, shame, poverty, homelessness, ugliness, aging and imperfection - I know I'll be facing the monsters that really keep me up at night.

I'm not sure how I'll bring it all together visually, but you know, in donning this costume, I'm honoring the worthiness, abundance, beauty, perfection and lifeforce within all of us no matter external circumstances.

Scared? Yes. But expressing these fears will make this the scariest and most liberating Halloween ever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Are we ALL Microsoft Babies?

INCUBATION from Martin Hampton on Vimeo.

My brilliant counterpart of Balance Integration in Latin America, Clara Hori, sent me this a few weeks ago. I finally got around to watching it this morning and wow - did it resonate. In addition to the video embedded above, you can see seven more snapshots of Microsoft at work (and in childcare) at , and I highly recommend you do so.

As a GenX-er and latchkey kid, I totally related to the little ones in daycare. As a corporate executive and yogi, I related to the struggles of the employees and found myself in a state of compassion with each and every one of them. As an observer of work culture, no doubt you will also recognize many of the themes and messages highlighted by the creator of the series.

Having just posted on my other blog, LifeWorks at WebMD another weekly installment about the importance of loving your job no matter what it is, these films reminded me that no matter where we go or what we do, there will be challenges each of us being tested in ways we may not immediately recognize. While many parents dream of having company sponsored childcare, no sooner was it established than for some was the question raised: will this impact how my child learns? Will my child become part of the corporate machine even sooner?

Relating so completely to every human appearing in this series, it reminded me that there are no easy answers indeed. Ironically, it is in the segment about one Microsoft man's depression that I find a glimmer of hope in his apt reminder about staying connected with ourselves. At one point he learned that being profoundly unhappy was simply depression and that his remedy is to make sure to take time out for himself, to connect and simply be with himself. Amen. Om. Inshallah. We all need a bit more of that.

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

I did it. Today.

No, despite being in NYC and bucking the stereotype immortalized in Lou Reed's song, my walk didn't involve plucking my eyebrows or shifts in gender. My walk was the amazing, life-affirming, irrational choice to walk through the park to get home rather than catching a cab or subway after teaching this morning.

Some of you are experts at this. The concept of choosing leisure over efficiency, pleasure over productivity, and active choice over programmatic habit isn't a foreign one. Maybe you're one of the people who have normalized the atavistic function of connecting to ones-self, indulging in the generosity of this amazing planet, or making decisions based on what really serves your highest good. Or maybe not.

Either way, it was a moment of reconnecting to my own wild soul. Wandering the sinewy paths of Central Park, I followed and found my heart. Listening actively with each step I asked my heart what it wanted, which way to point my feet. The still-green of trees were a healing sight for monitor-wearied eyes. The white elk with amputated branches, thriving no less, was a powerful teacher. Weeping in that quiet will-o-the-whisp "will this deepen or will it go away" kind of way, I gave myself more than an hour of asking what felt good, what made me happy exactly in that moment.

Jazz to tin pan, dog walkers to kiddie fitness, I was reminded that sunrise to sunset, behind of the clouds of my worries life persists in all its beauty. If you haven't taken a walk lately, me and a couple billion people on the planet wish you would.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reengage THIS!

The US Department of Labor just announced huge gains in productivity despite what most employees and HR folks would agree is an unprecedented dip in corporate morale. That said, it's unlikely most companies are going to dig too deep in generating employee perks to put smiles back on our faces. With statistics showing rebound attrition to be a multiplier of 3x however many folks might have been laid off, it's unfortunate. No matter. Whether you're an HR person struggling to find low cost ways to rally the troops or a troop looking to rally yourself, check these ideas out:

1. Leadership Book Club - start a book club focusing on passion for work, leadership skills, etc. Meet once a month at lunch then go to someone or several senior someones who "get it" and ask them to commit to reviewing a chapter each month. Then send the word out establishing time/place - start with a hot new book, then begin to take suggestions as the club gets going.

2. Service Rocks! - look around your community for local fundraising activities that may be relevant to you and your coworkers - the American Diabetes Association Heart Association and Susan Komen all have fall activities around the country or you could pick something in support of a local organization. Ask coworkers to form a team with you for both fundraising and "training purposes". If it's a walk, do a weekly powerwalk together at lunch. If it's a ride or run, commit to weekly training goals.

3. Everyday Heroes - don't wait for HR to create a speaker series with high paid talking heads. Look around your community for people making a difference - the local papers are full of little snippets about folks from highschoolers to service workers whose contributions are somehow significant. Ask them to come in for a little informal brownbag and hear what they have to say - be prepared and think through some questions to ask them about how they came to do what they do and what inspires them. As you moderate know that this will be much more conversational than the usual "sponsored" event and potentially much more real and inspiring.

4. Desk Stretch Yourself - some workplaces block media transmittals over the internet, but you can go into YouTube and get instructions on how to record posted media files. Then burn a couple focusing on stress management through breath, stretching and meditation and bring them to work, putting a time each day on your calendar for you to revive and renew.

5. Potlunch - have a monthly lunch potluck for your group or others you work with. Eating together is primal and establishes our humanity in a very grounding way. If you give it an ethnic or other theme (TV shows, food from the 70s, etc.), you might help people with their planning and provide a natural non-work topic of conversation giving opportunity for people to learn about eachother.

6. Personal Passion Injection - chances are there is something you are passionate about that could make a difference at work. One woman I know is an office manager who noticed how many office supplies were thrown away each month so created a recycling table for employees to go to FIRST before going to the supply closet. Another friend decided to start a "worklife phone/email tree" helping eachother be mindful of eating lunch, leaving at a reasonable hour, drink enough water, and take a stretch from time to time. Whatever you most need/love, chances are others could benefit from it, too.

Got ideas? Practice engaging yourself by posting them here! I'll circulate them to my various communities spreading the creativity around a bit!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Harvard or Glamour?

Is it just me or is there something really odd about getting an email from Harvard Medical School with a pitch around getting in shape for summer????

-----Original Message-----
From: Harvard Medical School []
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009 2:32 PM
Subject: Get in Shape for Summer and Save

Help us be sure this email newsletter isn’t filtered as spam. Add to your address book to ‘whitelist’ us with your filter, helping future issues get to your inbox.

Harvard Health Publications -- Harvard Medical School


Dear Valued Customer,

It’s not too early to start getting in shape for the warm summer months ahead.
So for a limited time only, we’re offering a
25% discount on three of our
best-selling Harvard Special Health Reports.

Whether you want to lose a few pounds or need to start — or step up — your exercise routine, there’s a Harvard Special Health Report to help you do just that. The experts at Harvard Medical School provide sensible strategies to eat healthfully and still lose weight, plus exercise programs for mature adults, beginners, or those who want to try new workouts.

You can save 25% on these popular reports:

Healthy Solutions to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

Exercise: A program you can live with

Workout Workbook: 9 complete workouts to help you get fit and healthy

To start getting in shape and enjoy 25% savings on these reports, visit the
Harvard Health Publications Web site today and enter promo code
SHAPE25 at checkout.


Ed Coburn
Publishing Director
Harvard Health Publications

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spiritual Martinis

I have to say this. There's just no two ways about it and it's driving me crazy. Yes, the work life woman is going crazy. WE HAVE GOT TO QUIT TREATING ATTENDING TO OUR WELLBEING AS A "SHOULD".

I'm observing this in so many venues - from corporate clients to my Linked In Corporate Yogis Group, there is a major consensus that attending to ourselves is a should - like shoveling mashed asparagus into the clamped lips of a three year old. Join the group then look at the comments, and if that's not enough for you email me and I'll forward a bunch of emails members have sent me lamenting meditation programs not well attended, yoga classes with a constantly rotating cast of characters, not to mention comments from employees who already have a yoga practice saying they want to keep their practice separate from their work.

I scratch my head in wonder. We KNOW we feel better when we treat ourselves well physically. We KNOW we perform better when we take actions in support of our clarity, restedness, and intention. We KNOW that we make better choices when we have done the other two. So why do we treat these actions as a grudging luxury, an indulgence for the weak, or something we would do if we weren't so martyred by the demands of our lives? Haven't we learned yet from successful people that tending to yourself is a discipline that breeds success? Don't you WANT to be successful?

And to those folks with a practice that want to keep it separate - bringing yoga into your life is the point of yoga! Ever read the Bhagavad-Gita? The whole thing is about how we cannot separate our spirit from our participation in our duties in the world. Ever think about the first Yoga Sutra - it's the cessation of fluctuations in the mind. And guess what makes those fluctuations happen? OUR TIME IN THE WORLD.

Look, as crazy as I am with this rant I'd be even more crazy to deny that yoga is a fantastic pressure valve and escape hatch. But people, look at the world around us. There are not enough blissful moments in the day for us to counterbalance the stress factors present. What's even more, if you can learn to feel yoga ANYWHERE, why the heck wouldn't you? What good is it really doing you in that studio with that nice lady cooing to you and telling you where to put your foot if you're resistant to having it be a part of your life and not just an escape from it??? As a yoga teacher, I can tell you what part of your body from which to remove your head.

If you don't have a practice of some sort - get one. Now. The sooner the better. I strongly believe that if more of us were using practices that foster intentionality and connection to the world, we might not be in the situation we are in right now. If you do have a practice - YIPPEE. But then you have to ask yourself - am I using this as a key aspect of how I conduct my life or is it really just a spiritual martini?

After all, drunk is drunk.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Work Life Expert???? WebMD???

Get this widget!

Check out my new blog at WebMD - they asked me to be their new WorkLife Expert!

I'm obviously not really sure how to work this widget - maybe one of you can help me??