Wednesday, 29 February 2012


"Meditation is not a mysterious technique you learn to do, but an inner experience you learn to identify. It's learning to recognize and consciously join something that's already a real aspect of yourself. It's taking the emphasis off of doing and putting it on consciously being. And what does it mean to consciously be?"

by George Fowler

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sense and feel

B.K.S. Iyengar said that for true awareness every pore of the skin has to become an eye. I love that! It is such an incredible way to do yoga (or to do anything). When I first began yoga it was with coarse movements.......turn the right foot, lift the arm, breathe here, etc. But with more and more sensitivity yoga has become such a delight and a dance with both body and mind. The body loves being seen and heard by the mind through the senses. The body can become this incredible, beautiful place to dwell when it is nourished - with movement, food, touch, and housing (clothes, a roof, etc).

It is so worthwhile to daily sense, feel, and experience the body - to feel the breath move in and out and to sense the air and clothes on the skin, to feel delight in how the arm lifts up to reach for a cup of tea, or how the fingers quickly fly over the keyboard. It is a wonderful way to become present to your own life. So - practice daily! It's a recipe for joy!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Super Sensuous Skin Scrub

This is a recipe for incredibly soft skin. You'll love it and so will anyone that touches you. I've made this for years usually during the end of winter when skin is dry and also, to create a spa experience in the bath or shower. The recipe is by Linda Ledbetter and I found it in a magazine called SageWoman - No. 53 - Spring 2002.

Super Sensuous Skin Scrub

2 cups fine sea salt
1 cup cold-or expeller-pressed vegetable oil (almond, olive, or apricot)
2 vitamin E oil capsules
30 drops orange essential oil
15 drops cedarwood essential oil
5 drops geranium essential oil

Blend the vegetable oil and essential oils together, then poke a hole in each vitamin E capsule and squeeze the contents into the oil mixture. Stir in the sea salt, and you've made magic! Store your scrub in an unbreakable wide-mouth jar.

You can use this scrub in the shower; first wash yourself as usual under shower than step out and rub a handful of scrub all over your body in a circular motion (not on face). Step back into shower and quickly rinse off salt but don't wash off nourishing oils. In the bath, soak in warm water for a few minutes, and then sit on edge of the tub and scrub your entire body with this potion. Slide back in the tub to soak in the oil and salt. Heavenly!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

I love cleaning the fridge - well, today at least I do :0)
and trying to figure out what to do with the leftover stuff, a little of this, and a little of that. I had a squash that was not doing too well and this is what I made ...... yummy!

Butternut Squash Soup with Poppy Seeds

1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 quart vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
1 large red apple, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 cup poppy seeds (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, creating two equal halves. Scoop the seeds, and place squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle each half with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Put 1 garlic clove in each cavity. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the squash in the oven for about 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool. When cooled, peel, and chop into chunks.

In a large pot, heat grapeseed oil and add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock and water. Add butternut squash, apple, and the 2 baked garlic cloves. Cook about 20 minutes. Add spices. Puree the soup until smooth. Garnish with poppy seeds.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Be who you are

It's not easy being who you are - there is so much programming, information, and advertising about how we should be. However, even inquiring into who you are is helpful. Sneak underneath the everyday thoughts and see what lurks below just waiting to be heard.

"Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind".

Dr. Seuss

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Dodging Creditors and Feeling Hog-tied.

This is a wonderful poem by Hafiz (1320-1389) and translated by Daniel Ladinsky, A Year with Hafiz. It reminds to ask the question what is it that I really want.....if I had only one wish in the whole world.

Dodging Creditors and Feeling Hog-tied.

You might think twice about leaving the sidelines
of love where you are allowed to dawdle.

I wouldn't enter the real playing field unless you
had no other choice. Surely you can come up with
another good excuse.

You could run up some more debt. That could keep
you busy dodging creditors, like a rabbit might the
fox's hunger.

Maybe get a lover on the side, maybe two, maybe
three, that would probably assure a delay in having
to get serious about any inner life for quite a spell,

before you finally decide you do in fact have
to cough up some intelligent effort at some point.

What is the value of putting your faith into
practice and concluding there really is something
to all this.......God stuff?

Well, for openers: It can become a solid wooden
bench you can stand on to see over a hedge that

now keeps your awareness so limited you sometimes
feel hog-tied and wish you were dead.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Snowy morning

I love the snow laden branches of trees in winter. It's gives me a magical, bright world to live and walk in.

I am reading a "winter" book. The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys. Each chapter is a snapshot of a year in the life of the Thames, but only when it froze, which isn't often. I suppose it did this year too. I love the surprises in this book.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Laughter Practice

Who would have thought that you could practice laughing?
I started laughter practice this morning. I walked around my house looking at things that need doing: toilet to be cleaned, ha, ha, ha, ha; piles of papers need sorting, ah, ha, ha, haaaa; bed to be made, he, he, he, ha, ha, ha; and then I looked at my thighs and jiggled them around, and around, and laughed at the work they could use too, ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha; and more and more. I laughed for 10 minutes and it became hilarious laughter because I thought how funny I must look if someone had been looking. Anyway, it's my new daily practice which I think will be the most fun of all.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Big Winds Moon Feb 19 - March 20

Those born between Feb 19 and March 20 have the cougar as their animal totem, the plantain as their animal totem and the turquoise as their mineral totem. Their colour is blue-green.

Like their stone, cougar people have the possibility of having many powers outside of the ordinary. They have lots of natural medicine that can make them adept at many of the mysteries of life and the universe.

Cougar people often have the power to be healers, and, like their stone, they will often be involved with various types of religions and their ceremonies.

The plantain is widely spread and well-rooted in the earth and cougar people can learn about their own need to ground themselves in this environment before they reach too high for the sky.

Their colour, blue-green, gives them a balance between spirituality and personality.

Cougar people, like the cat, like to keep to themselves, in the high territory of their own minds and spirits, because they often feel that they have been hurt at the hands of their fellow humans. They are sensitive people. They like to have their own den. They are good climbers.

Because Cougar people tend to keep silent on many of their deepest feelings, they often cut off from people, as though they are outsiders that others are not capable of understanding. They must learn to find others that they can trust.

When cougar people lose their balance they can be very fierce towards anyone that has wronged them.

When other folks pass through this position they will experience as much spiritual energy as they can handle.

excerpted from the Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology by Sun Bear and Wabun

Saturday, 18 February 2012


I am doing a laughter yoga leader training this weekend. Just thinking about laughing for two days and learning how to share laughter is giving me joy this morning. And it's laughter without needing to think! Laughter for laughter's sake. The body doesn't know the difference between acting out laughter and real laughter so you don't need to have a sense of humor to laugh. Tehe...tehe........hah....he he he, ha ha ha......

Friday, 17 February 2012


This is the first sign of spring inside my kitchen this year. A fresh basil plant. I spent the morning with my nose in it :)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A library

This is a part of my library at home. I love books on shelves, on the floor, and in every room.

My love for books began when I was about 7 years old when a friend of my parents gave us boxes and boxes of old books. My parents were thrilled because they were all in Finnish. There were novels about the war, about the wild west......and real war books, and dictionaries and some about learning English and I think some romances but who knows. My parents read them and I cataloged them. I put numbers and letters on them and put them in order. I never could read them. It didn't matter. I held them and imagined all the good stories in them. I had a few books of my own......Heidi......Black Fury.......Anne of Green Gables. My most favourite book was the collected Grimm Fairy tales. My dad read them to me......yep, we only had a Finnish copy.

I am so grateful for those first books. I am so grateful that my parents got lost in their reading. Books appeared so magical to me. The surprises!

To this day one of my favourite things is to read first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. That just tickles me.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Happy Birthday

Twenty eight years ago, February 15th, on a another Wednesday afternoon, my daughter, Tiina Anneli, was born. It seems as remarkable to me to have given life to this child then, as it is to see her now, a grown woman with her own life, separate and yet still together as a part of my family. She is creative in so many ways, drawing, painting, designing, putting clothes together, and just living life in her own unique way. And she has amazing insight and compassion for everyone. She is my inspiration. And Tiina, I love you lots, and lots.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Heart Day!

What is there to say about love?
Love can't be contained in words. Love can't be contained in anything. It is the essence of all. It is felt and known. It transcends every bad and good moment and underlies the whole universe.

Love yourself,
others will follow.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


I've spent the day with friends out in the country........a wood windows to the clear blue sky.....forest trails......a wood-fired cedar hot tub......whisky jacks and chickadees......a boreal forest with a little civilization.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A Day Off

I have a day off today - well, almost. I had to get groceries and am cooking supper tonight for my brother, and potluck chili is in the works for tomorrow.

A day off is a day "off". Where I don't have to be "on". Nothing is written in the daytimer. No one is coming for supper. Not a thing I have to change out of my pajamas or leave the house for. I can get up in the morning free to do what I choose. These days seem to be rare but they are so, so nourishing.

Today, which is partially "off", I have wasted a good part of it wondering what to do because there are so many possibilities. I think I will brew some wonderful chai, put my feet in warm slippers, and snuggle on the couch with the dog (he loves being under the big quilt), and read. Oh joy, what could be better than that. And oh, close my eyes as I walk by all these projects...... and the dust bunnies.

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Size of the Love-Bruise

I tried and tried not to buy any books this year......well, I failed. But so worth this failure.

Here is a poem by Hafiz (sufi poet 1300's) from A Year with Hafiz (Landinsky). It's also in another book called The Gift.


The gauge of a good poem is........the size of the love-bruise it leaves on your neck.

Or the size of the love-bruise it tattoos on your brain.

Or the size of the love-lump it can weave into your soul.

Or, indeed, it could be all of the above,
why not?

(truly most of his poems leave love-bruises)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Wonderful things

Wonderful things today:

Wrapping a care package for my daughter's birthday even though she doesn't need it like she used to when going to school.

Thinking about love for a Valentine's Day meditation meeting.......and thinking about play .........yep, playing when adult, for a Sunday afternoon group meeting with play as the theme. What more wonderful things are there to think about?

Watching Felix destroy a tennis ball in 5 minutes flat. He enjoys it so much!

Looking through some magazines for ideas......just inspiration and joy for the photography itself. The magazine "frankie" from Australia is ooh so wonderful.

Sitting by the fire to get warm.

Picking an Osho Zen Tarot card (my favorite inspirations and lessons) I picked "Receptivity: listening is one of the basic secrets of entering into the temple of God. Listening means passivity. Listening means forgetting yourself completely- only then can you listen. When you listen attentively to somebody, you forget yourself......"

Watching a man with a cane walking into traffic to throw a soccer ball back to some kids behind a schoolground fence. Their tiny, rosy cheeked faces were so happy and appreciative.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Be-good-to-yourself Therapy

Take the time and space you need---
even if other people are wanting something from you.

When you're harassing yourself, stop. You do it when you need something. Figure out what you need and get it.

When everything seems gray, look for colour.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Turning In

What if life hasn't turned out how you thought it would?

I think we are all white birds, beautiful jewels in the sky, but we were taught that we were black birds and given to believe that we must stay with the flock and do as the other black flock members do.

For women, it used to be we had to have a husband and children and be good mums and wives. Now, we have different beliefs of having to have an education so we can take care of ourselves, the idea of a stay-at-home mom isn't so great. Education, super job, and good looks. And of course, volunteer, and if you have kids and mates you still have to hang on to the education, super job, and good looks. Good grief! We become very un-free, unable to see our true identity, our individuality. Look in the mirror, see who you are, and drop the personality, that which we have been led to believe is us. Live the life of an individual not the personality. Osho says "to dance, run, jog, do gibberish, - whatever is needed to wake up" the beautiful white bird within. Individuality is your existence: personality is given by society.

Turn inwards and watch the antics of your mind. All those voices which sound like you but could be mom's or grandpa's voice, or a friend's voice, or the government's voice. Conditioning. See what is underneath all those voices. You don't need to listen to all those voices. Thinking is highly over-rated. Look at what is the truth of You. What has meaning? What do you really want more than anything? If you weren't doing what you are doing now and you could do anything - what would it be? You only have this one life (at least in this body) what do you want? And I don't mean listing all the "things" or "situations" you want, but what really makes your heart sing? What were you meant to do here? You are the white bird, absolutely unique, absolutely your own song, and without allowing that song we are all a little poorer.

Monday, 6 February 2012


Leonard Cohen has a new album. Just came out on January 31st. It's called Old Ideas but the ideas may be old, and he may be old, but I love the new album. It is the kind of music that makes my hips slink around the kitchen, sink to table, to stove back to sink. Ooooh!

Sunday, 5 February 2012


I am leading a day of silence today at the yoga studio. I am so looking forward to it. A bit of introduction and then we will get comfortable and meditate, perhaps walk a little in silence, meditate, eat together, meditate, walk, have some fruit and tea, meditate, and finally just share together the experience of the day before we head back home to our families. It is a beautiful way to unwind. So much can happen doing so little.

Just to stop talking for a while each day helps to silence the mind from it's same old thoughts. You can do that any day at home. No talking for an hour or so. No phone calls, no email, no books, no radio, no television, no talking to anyone in the house, even the cat. By not talking we preserve energy. And we won't be quarreling with anybody. :)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A Pussycat

Some people are dog lovers. Some people are cat lovers. Some are both.

I prefer dogs. When I was a kid we had both but never at the same time. Once though, a cat wandered into our yard and kept hanging out, and of course, us kids put out milk for it. It had no tail, just a little stub. We made up stories as to how it lost its tail. They were all sad stories and we started to feel sorry for this cat. We called it Pussy. I can't remember if it was ever allowed in the house. She wasn't a particularly friendly cat either, but it hung around as we kept feeding it. And one day it gave birth to kittens, I think 5 of them. What a surprise! We made a home for the family from a cardboard box and pillows and things. Pussy stayed for a few weeks, if I remember that right, and then promptly left. We ended up with kittens to feed. It was so much fun. And eventually we kept one of them. I can't recall what happened to the rest but I remember thinking how could a mom leave her kittens like that.

Since I have Felix, the dog, this is the only cat I have now, and am happy that Felix doesn't know that it is a cat, or else this little pussycat might be de-stuffed one day.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cleaning Day

When I lived in Finland for a year when I was 21 years old, I boarded with a lovely couple who had a daughter my age still at home. Ninni, was the mom, and she cleaned house every Friday, and baked the whole week's baking, bread, buns, and cakes. Even if she worked that day. She just did part of it in the morning and the rest when she came home. The whole family ended up having the weekend off. And we all went for a sauna on Friday night. It was such a homey thing on the last day of the week. I have tried to keep this ritual of the cleaning part at least. Today, with the weather so spring like, windows open, vacuuming done, food organized for supper, well, it just feels wonderful.

I notice that when I can keep the cleaning to the same day each week, I don't have to think about it every day. I also end up leaving space for it on Fridays. I don't jam my day so full that it can't happen.

There is a great book by Annie B. Bond, what a great name to have, isn't it? The book is called Home Enlightenment: practical, earth-friendly advice for creating a nurturing, healthy, and toxin-free home and lifestyle. She talks about the spirit of home and goes through room by room with cleaning hints and ideas for eco-products in the home.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Sun

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful 

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea, 
and is gone ---
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance---
and have you ever felt for anything

such wild love---
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a work billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world---

or have you too
gone crazy
for power, 
for things?

Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems: Volume One

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Today I have nothing to say.
Not a word, not a peep,
only a joyful bleep.
Happy to be home,
and with one last OM,
off to sleep.

Be well!