For the umpteenth time I listened to a physical therapy tale of woe.  Just last week I heard the story again.  With variations on body part, it pretty much goes something like this:

“My shoulder started aching a year ago.  The doc prescribed an anti-inflammatory that helped some, but after three months, when I stopped taking it, the shoulder just kept getting worse. It got to where I couldn’t even lift a carton of milk into the fridge.  So the doc prescribed physical therapy.  The therapist gave me some rubber tubing and an exercise list to strengthen the shoulder weakness.  And he showed me how to crawl my fingers up the wall to loosen the stiffness.  I stopped going after four times because when I did the exercises it made my shoulder worse.  I am literally at my rope’s end with this shoulder.”

If you have had a less than optimal experience in the hands of a physical therapist…well, you are not alone.  I hear this story time and again.  It breaks my heart.  Because I know what is possible.  When I probe a little deeper, I often hear that the doctor never physically touched the patient.  And even more shocking, the therapist was pretty hands off as well.  Physical.  Therapy.  The name is so indicative.  How did we arrive in this sorry state of affairs?

Just a bit of historical perspective.  With a final three months of internship in three different practice settings, I graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy.  That stint of clinical training, mentored by the best, filled with literally hundreds of patients…well, that’s where the book learning integrated with reality.  Hands on.  Face to face.  There is no substitute.  I was “grandfathered” in the early 90’s when Master’s level became the educational requirement.  Shortly after that it upped to Doctorate.  That’s a lot of additional years and the bulk of that extra education shifted to research.  Evidence-based treatment became the buzz word.  So important.  Sorely needed.  And conducting research trials and writing dissertations is one way to evidence-base your work.

There’s another way evidence-based treatment emerges: hands on, face to face.  I’m owning this personal bias.  And maybe what follows is purely coincidence.  But I began to hear the dissatisfaction stories around the time I opened Dreizler Physical Therapy in 1990.  And man did I hear these stories. Because we became known in town as a kind of “last resort” clinic.  Not sure why.  But we had an awesome group of clinicians.  Not a one with a Masters.  And we provided the best of individualized hands on physical therapy.  I’m proud of the work we did there for fifteen years.  And grateful that since then I’ve fashioned a way to follow my bliss with integrity.  Evidence-based.  Hands on.  Face to face.

I’ve been honing how to make this information accessible for years and I’m excited to turn you on via  Tune Up: best physical therapy practices Hands on.  Face to face.  Your human body is a miracle in motion. Until it’s not. Injuries, genetics, habitual ways we sit, stand, work, sleep….life creates challenges. And these troubles compound as the years accumulate. This is the norm. Neck and shoulder, back and hip, knees and feet share very common and often easily treatable patterns of pain and dysfunction.  In these 3 upcoming Saturdays at Yoga Shala you can join me for a self-empowering series or drop in to any single session.

BYO rollers and balls and/or I’ll have some available for trial/purchase.  Here’s how it will roll from 12:00-2:00:

  • April 22  Foam Rolling: Release fascia in neck, shoulder, back, hip, legs. Introduction to core power. Stretch out tight lower body muscles.
  • April 29  Ball Rolling: Quick review foam rolling. Fascia release with soft balls and double tennis balls. Focus on release, tone, length, asymmetry of central psoas.
  • May 6  Tune Up: Foam roller and massage ball techniques to create a body loose, long and strong. Special focus on releases for ankle/foot challenges.

To capture a flavor of how this rolls join me for a one-off Sunday morning April 23.  Sweat Your Prayers begins at 10:00 but I’ll be ready for you at 9:30.  Music playing, balls and rollers out there at Clara.  Me?  Just offering up whatever you want, whatever feels needed before we get up on those precious feet and start moving.

Because your human body is a miracle in motion. Until it’s not.   I’m all about supporting you in that moment.   ❤️Bella

Sea change: a profound or notable transformation.  Lately I’ve been curiously at watch as our communities of practice move through a sea change.  Something is different in this post-Covid spell.  Or whatever you call this relative break from pandemic-based living.  It feels like a paradigm shift and, for the last couple months, I’ve been trying to place my exacting finger on it.

In my non-practice, real world life, I’m continually seduced into behaving like this virus never happened.  Brazenly unprotected, despite the pile of masks moldering in my glove box, I stop at the store for groceries. I saunter by a hand sanitizer dispenser lingering unused at my sink as I head out to indoor dining.  I lounge in living rooms and chat with friends.

We, every single on of us, just moved through a world-wide plague.  An epidemic that took out so many of us and infiltrated every aspect of our lives.  It used to be the first and sometimes only topic of conversation. And somehow it just evaporated.  Man is inherently a meaning-seeking being, yet it seems that no one wants to talk about what it all meant.  Maybe it’s just too soon to have any perspective.  It feels like there is an unstated agreement, an undercurrent pull, to just move on.

But really, the fact that an entire global population proceeded through all the highs and lows of a shared traumatic experience is extraordinary.  It’s just plain weird that it feels relegated to the unspeakable ordinary.  But like I said, something is different in the communities of practice in which I participate.

Life can be counted on for delivering us to states of radical vulnerability.  Tragedy happens to us one by one or family by family.  In the case of catastrophic weather events and war, disaster happens to many in a geographic region.  But this huge and immediate drop into radical vulnerability affected every living being on the planet at the same time.

All of us stared down the gun barrel of our own mortality and for some of us it was the first time we even considered there was a gun.  I know this is so subjective, owning my own projections here, but there seems to be a deep hunger to get real, to explore and practice effective ways to deal with crisis and be with trauma.  And when we resonate with embodied practices like yoga and dance, we come in touch with the beauty available in this new state of radical vulnerability.  We have experiences in practice that can be passionately expansive, mind-blowing-ly transformative.

We’re emerging from a prolonged and painful isolation, looking for meaningful ways to connect.  There is a longing to belong.  I find the new students (of which there are many) incredibly open and courageous in this seeking.  I find the seasoned students deeply committed.  We are all actively looking for authentic ways to be with others and open to re-imagining skills that create real connection.  I heard the term “relational home” the other day.  The way we can be in community and provide a “relational home” for each other even in the face of trauma.  The practice floor is very much that: a “relational home”.

If you are ready to explore and expand, opportunities are listed here.  This Saturday, for the first time since Covid, I’m offering two hours fusing yoga and dance.  Come-as-you-are to this studio and leave with an embodied imprint, a visceral breathing experience of fluidity, power and surrender.  Rhythm and Release is for you, a perfect introduction, if you’re:

New to rolling and dancing: you’ll love learning the basics of releasing with roller and balls combined with a gentle drop into 5Rhythms dance.

New to rolling but already have dance experience: learn the self-love techniques that heal the kinks that keep you from fully falling into your dance (and life!).

New to dance but know how to roll: feel the joy of moving off the confines of your mat, so free after the releases you know and love.

Instead of going to practice being a thing to check off the to do list, this habitual thing to accomplish each week, it has become urgent.  Critical.  Fundamental for survival and well-being.  Indeed, it has always felt that way to me.  And a few others. But something has changed in the communities of practice in which I participate.  We are down for it.  And that feels good.


I up and quit my fresh from interning professional job after just 2 ½ years.  It was an absorbing chapter, sprawled on a floor mat, delivering therapy for youngsters shaped by cerebral palsy.  Wet behind the ears and guiding families in crisis.  Improvising solutions for the severely disabled in an under-staffed residential home.  Coordinating care with special ed teachers and advocating for kids in medical clinics.

One morning I woke up, felt my smoldering depletion, the depth of the bottom line of my chosen profession: being with people in pain.  And I grudgingly questioned this work as a life choice.  So in total youth innocence we dumped our few belongings in storage, plunked packs on our backs and pilgrim-ed 15,000 miles through the U.S. and Canada…without the benefit of a car.  Forging our newly adult selves in the raw cauldron of life on the road.

We returned to live in a VW bus outside a friend’s home and I waited tables at one of those 70’s fern and redwood restaurants.  Bringing people omlettes was the exact inverse of pain. Food delivery created so much happiness.  After six months, with a bit of perspective under my belt, I felt myself inextricably drawn back to physical therapy.  There was something there for me and I needed to find out what.

I’ve been dancing for decades with this unique destiny and after all this time, I’m clear that human existence includes chapters of pain. The challenge of living in a human body is overwhelming at times. It can be extreme. And in the midst of that extremity, despair can be so intense. These are moments when we are at our most tender, our most vulnerable.  When the human will to go on is challenged to the max.

And despair is not our only response; these can be moments of incredible courage.  Of tangible insight.  Of potent transformation.  This profession is not just about being with people in pain.  It’s about being with people in their stunning power-packed moments. Being a witness, breathing with, listening.  And, on occasion, touching softly the privilege of partnering in transformation.  This continues to be a powerful calling.  And I’m grateful that all those years ago I stepped back, took a deep look and consciously renewed my vows.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like we’ve all been extra aching lately.  I’ve been with so many beings experiencing a world of pain…physical pain that spills over into heart and soul, deeply.  I’m versed in that world, personally as well as professionally.  I know how the fire of loneliness is stoked as we watch everyone go about their days with casual ease, lost in the notion that surely no one else feels like this.  I’m here to gently remind us that we’re not alone.

I landed on the dance floor Sunday with all this working through me and turned it into a two minute invitation.  This is an invitation you might invoke when the sheer loneliness of it all comes to call.  But it does require one thing, which can be a big ask in those vulnerable moments.  It necessitates reaching out toward another.  We need each other.  We simply can’t do this alone.  We need someone willing to be with and breathe.  Someone capable of being in the presence of pain and not giving advice.  Someone who does not feel compelled to fix the hurt.

We mindfully created that exacting partner presence on Sunday. We let spill whatever was challenging.  Physical pain.  Or heartbreak.  Or mental anguish.  Questions about our soul suffering identity.  Our impatience with platitudes about trusting the unfolding mystery.  Two minutes total: verbally and then in movement. And then two minutes to simply be there for the other.  It took so very little time.  And it created so much potent healing.

I spend plenty of time alone these days.  And mostly I enjoy the company I keep.  But I shine differently as reflection.  Not only do we need each other, we are glorified by each other.  We simply cannot do this alone and really, why would we want to?


Meditation: maybe this is on your shoulda coulda woulda list, lumped in there with proper nutrition and daily exercise.  It was on my list also for a long time.  But some time in the late 80’s, minding my own business, doing my daily exercise walk thing on M Street, Jack Kornfield entered my life.  A tape cassette series— Meditation for Beginners—summoned me from it’s perch atop a neighbor’s trash pile.  I snagged it and it, in turn, totally hooked me.  Eternally grateful to Jack and the random powers of the universe.  And to the producers of this handy dandy access:  Sounds True.

Ever since then I’ve regularly tuned in to Sounds True with their “clear mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom”.  I actually met Gabrielle Roth via VHS for the first time because of Sounds True.  Over the years that dissemination has morphed from tape cassettes to CDs and DVDs to downloads.  And now I regularly tune in to the podcasts, hour long incisive interviews with a full spectrum of practitioners, teachers and writers.  In Tami Simon’s words:  “transformational teachings that support and accelerate spiritual awakening and personal transformation.”

So recently I was just listening in to the Daniel Siegel interview while I danced around my kitchen cooking up some chili.  At a certain point, I had to put the whole stove thing on pause.  I sat down totally entranced and deeply absorbed.  His meditation approach resonated in me with so much clarity.  The fact that he self-identified as a clinician and a scientist and a dancer and the story he told of his harsh engineer father…you know how that is sometimes? I just connected.

So if a regular meditation practice has been on your shoulda coulda woulda list for awhile and you just need an easy access leg up, I have the most beautiful free resource for you today.  You don’t have to listen to his hour interview.  Just sit down for 20 minutes of his clear guidance. Do the basic wheel of awareness session first.  And, if it piques your interest, give the podcast a listen or explore the other guided meditations on this page.

Because basic awareness practice is totally foundational to any embodied practice.  You practice with eyes closed, utterly still.  Mastery of this is like attaining a white belt in karate.  When you incorporate this level of awareness while moving on your yoga mat, that’s like earning a yellow belt. And a dance floor practice?  Eyes open, room full of people, the beat of the music?  Sustaining this basic awareness as foundation…that’s a black belt.  And that’s the exact same skill we need to stay present at the grocery store.  You get my drift.  This foundation is a life changer.

So grateful to be in the world of “transformational teachings that support and accelerate spiritual awakening and personal transformation.” With you.  With us.  Let’s meet on that plane somewhere soon.  ❤️Bella

Evaluate and treat:  3 X a week for 6 weeks

So would read any number of prescriptions at the physical therapy clinic I owned.  The patient came in for assessment and then returned on the regular for hands on treatment and exercise progression.  Not unusual for this prescription to be renewed at least once.  Discharge was the ultimate goal, but there was no hurry.

This frequency was good for business, but over the years frustration was brewing underneath.  Increasingly I was present to the subtle way this frequency sabotaged the patient’s ability to take the reins of their own healing.  It felt like, for lack of a more tactful phrase, physical therapy babysitting.  And being a participant in this dynamic began to eat away at my soul.

So I sold that clinic and slowly, organically shifted to an entirely different business model.  In the fertile 3 year interim before I built the studio over my garage, I treated people on the fly, hauling my treatment table here and there.  The dual qualities of efficiency and agency began to intertwine and a more relevant way to provide health care emerged.   Both the patients and my soul thrived with this change.

Mostly I treat patients once or twice or thrice.  Our first consideration is to insure that commitment to healing is strong and, even more important, there is real excitement about taking the reins. What does that mean in practical terms?  To see me one-on-one there’s only one requirement: show up on your home mat twenty minutes most days for two weeks following that first visit and do the movements we phone video record.  That way, as you track shifts in your symptoms, we find out together if you’re on the right track.

Hands on follow-up visits are for progression, adjustment, modification.  And even when we arrive at a satisfying completion, things change over time.  People come back for tune-ups as needed.  A handful come for more frequent support: weekly for a bit or monthly.  Is this a lucrative business model?  Absolutely not.  Do I care?  No. There is such incredible freedom and honor and responsibility to be beyond that point in my life.

So let’s get a little more specific…..because it’s interesting how often our journey begins or eventually comes around to the psoas. Check this picture out:

Did you know they call this muscle the “first responder”?  Because in moments of perceived threat, the psoas comes on line to help you fight or run or maybe just freeze. Known as storage locker for stress and trauma, for me, in my medicine work, it holds the literal center. This Sunday afternoon I’ll be at Summer Moon Yoga for Centered: me & my psoasa two hour dive into the belly. A golden opportunity to go in there with expert guidance usually available only in one-on-one appointments.  A focused chance to feel, breathe, viscerally touch this place where gut instinct arises.  We have two tender loins (psoas’) and they differ from side to side.  Tending that difference is quite often a pivotal healing touchstone. Come with your curiosity, bring a roller if you have one.  I’ll have additional props and plenty of gentle wisdom to share.

If this is your time to take the reins I would be honored to be your coach and witness and biggest fan.  You inspire me every single day.


Is this a cautionary tale?  Family saga?   Exploration of skin as metaphor?  Without really knowing I’ll just begin as I sit here recouping from yet another Moh’s procedure.  If you know what this means, I’m sorry.   Having been the recipient four times in twenty years, I’m way too familiar.  Twice a year Mr. Dermatologist inspects for dry scaly areas, which he painfully freezes so new healthy tissue has a chance to emerge.

Sometimes these lesions require biopsy.  The dreaded squamous cell diagnosis means the skin cancer has gone deep.  On to Moh’s surgery where each layer of visible cancer is removed one at a time and microscope checked.  They continue cutting away until the the wound margins are clear.  So now I have a dime-sized crater in right shin and enough medical knowledge to know that lower leg wounds heal very slowly due to poor circulation.  Do not fracture your tibia!  This tender hollow aches under pressure and I am called to ghastly wound care once daily but other than that I am good to go.

Except I’m left to wonder about the meaning of this recurrent condition.  Left pondering the energetic quality of skin, this organ that completely envelops my being.  The ultimate line of defense between me and the rest of the world.  What does it mean that this flesh wall does not hold?  With all that I’ve learned about my history of being defended, with all the work I’ve done peeling away layers, with all my willingness to allow my vulnerability to show.  Is this some metaphorical sign from the universe that I’ve gone too far?  Not far enough?  I sure don’t know.  Just musing.

The intriguing story is that the medical roots of this issue reach all the way back in time to when those very lines of defense were arising.  Being carefully constructed layer by layer in order to survive a childhood fraught with peril.  And the truth is that, hand in hand with the peril, there was beauty as well. Because my mom and dad were deeply in love with the wilds of California and they fed me with this love.  Each spring my dad pored over topographical maps of the Eastern Sierras and every summer of the 1960’s we’d head out to Lone Pine or Bishop for two weeks of raw down to earth adventure.

Now, mind you, this was way before backpacking was a thing.  For us, there was no tent, no stove, no water filter.  We would just dip cups into rivers, cast fishing lines into pristine lakes, cook over fire, lay flannel bags out under the stars.  It was a literal paradise and these experiences instilled an intense appreciation for all things outdoors.  Ironically though, it was all those hours of high elevation sun exposure that set the stage for Moh’s.  This was before sunscreen and I never wore a hat…note picture above.  The cautionary part of this tale? Climate change makes sun exposure ever more perilous.  Sigh.

So there you have it: cautionary tale, family saga, skin as metaphor all wrapped up together.  Make of it what you will.  And may it serve to set you wandering/wondering about your own body tales. The weaving of history with the unique challenges each of us face over the arc of a lifetime.  Fascinating.


I guess you might say I’m a medicine woman, deeply connected with the wide array of sacred ways we nurture our health and alleviate our suffering…all things healing. The dictionary defines medicine as a practice, as if with enough repetition you might get it right some day. I know I’ve been at it for more than fifty years and I’m still learning on so many levels.  This afternoon, up in my studio, I’ll meet a new patient with a shoulder problem, lean into all I know, stay open to emerging creative freshness.  In class tomorrow morning I’ll share ways to create fluid pain free feet and connect them powerfully to our bellies.  All the while attuned to those present, ready to shift on a dime if something different is needed.  On the dance floor last night I weaved a dose of how to stay present when things fall apart.   It is all a practice of medicine.

And I believe it is a calling, one I heard oh so long ago.  My sister was born six years after me.  I delighted in, loved this young sib and it was so child-like painful to watch my mom become increasingly concerned with her slow development.  I unconsciously absorbed what it means to be a family in crisis.  I felt suffering first hand on the most cellular level.  And I grew up on a mission to alleviate it.  Never waivered.  Of course, practicing medicine is not for everyone.

On Take Your Daughter to Work Day 1993, my thirteen year old came along with me.  Over the years she’d been with me at clinics but had never watched me work with patients.  She trailed me room to room, observing as I took histories, examined patients in motion, laid hands on for treatment.  She was atypically quiet as we drove home, so I nudged.  “So what do you think about the work I do?”  Without hesitation she shot back “Your job is so disgusting!”

I could see how a thirteen year old might come to that conclusion.  This work means stepping into rooms with complete strangers, suspending all judgment, listening to stories, attuning to bodies, touching in the most intimate places.  It is all that plus sensitizing to the nuances of developing relationships.  And it is all this plus feeling into the choice points, the this or that of treatment decisions based on everything you’ve learned so far. Even as you acknowledge the depth of the unknown. It is only 50% science.  The rest is art.

How clearly I recall that six year old aching artist, the one who ended up dedicating a lifetime to healing. As a teen I read with wonder about Florence Nightingale and hospital candy-striped.  My first physical therapy job was with handicapped children. Sometimes it takes decades to develop perspective.  I didn’t realize the roots of this calling until way later.   Maybe concurrent to my first exposure to Buddhism 101.  I was blown away by the four noble truths: there is suffering; there is a cause of suffering; there is an end to suffering; the way out is the eightfold path.

We all suffer.  In ways big and small.  In our aching bodies.  In our vulnerable hearts.  In our crazy-making minds.    And alleviation of that is my jam.  I absolutely love this work in the world.  Come be with me: on the mat, on the dance floor, on the treatment table.

Bella 🙏🏼

I was blessed by a pair of cinema angels this past week.  She Said and Women Talking on consecutive evenings, films that courageously dive into sexual harassment/abuse.  Minimal time is devoted to the actual perpetrators or the acts of violence.   Because the focus is on the women: directed by women and giving voice to women, just as the titles indicate.  Powerful.  Highly recommended.

There is a scene in She Said, the two young journalists who broke the Harvey Weinstein story quietly sharing a meal in a restaurant.  A man approaches and does that yuk overt coming on thing.  They are polite at first but he is unfazed.  He persists.  Until finally one of them stands up, looks him right in the eye and shouts “F—k off!”  Which he does.  I get chills recalling it.

Because here’s the deal.  I clearly remember the moment in 1968 when I first heard the word feminist.  Like it was yesterday.  It registered in every bone of my body, a young woman, first time considering that gender inequality was real.  Realizing all the implications and how that had played out in my short life thus far.  And I remember through young adulthood and middle age coming frustratingly face-to-face with all that meant.  And at least having a label for it.  Twenty years down the road, in 1988, exasperation fueled my exit from a job.  A clinic dominated by a man that did everything he could to keep me small.  I ended up starting my own business.  Which was a brilliant move.  But did I ever stand up, look him right in the eye and shout “F—k off!”  No.

Because I knew about gender based inequality but, at that point in history, did not have the support, the language or the skills to express myself in a healthy constructive way.  It is incredibly heartening to bear witness to women in mid-life right now.  Women who have support, language and skills.  Women who are willing to make what was once only a notion into a reality.  And the next generation?  OMG.  No bullshit allowed.  Period.  So much hope for the future.

The range of problems stemming from gender inequity is steep, running the gamut from disrespect to brutality.  I’ve been lucky in this regard.  Am I comparing utter lack of regard in the workplace to acts of physical violence?  No.  Do they stem from a related root?  Yes. There are so many ways to view this complex issue.

This week I want to use the lens of boundary to investigate this cultural hot button.  We are humans in need of safety.  We create lines to protect our personal well-being.  Sometimes those lines are hard and fast and clear.  Sometimes those lines are squishy and confused or faint.  Those lines change on a dime and those lines are person and situation dependent.  And people, regardless of gender, step over those lines in such a creative variety of ways.  From blatant and overbearing to subtle and manipulative.

In any given moment a thought and/or an emotion can signal us to create a line.  If you know me, you know what’s coming here.  A truly authentic response in the moment originates in the body.  It is a signal throbbing deep down in belly, insistently pounding in chest.  We can learn to trust those sensations with practice.  It’s what I love about the dance floor.  We practice with our bodies.  I’m not sure how many times I’ve facilitated this embodied exploration of yes/no/boundaries.  A dozen?  But it is always fresh and alive.  It lives in the heart beat, the pulse, the rhythm of staccato.  It is a practice in polarity.  It is a practice of the physical expression of thought and feeling.

Come out to Wednesday Waves and feel this with me.

River waters nudge the levee.  Wind borderline terrifying.  Windows pelted, elder trees topple.  Grateful for bodily safety but my heart aches and my spirit feels damp as the yard.  Pervasive grey outside matches my inside.  Winter is not my happy-joy season. I’ve learned to appreciate the gifts darkness bestows.  Just not today, thank you.

Now I could run this story line all day.  Or all week.  Or until spring delivers us.  But, if I’m honest, the physical yuk—chest knot, leaden belly, shoulder sag, teary—didn’t last that long.  Once I let it have its way with me.  Here’s what we know: the felt experience of emotion, the actual physiological response time, is about 90 seconds.  Any additional time is about resisting or running with the story.  Really.

Once I let it have its way with me.  Well, what exactly does that mean?  Here’s the simple: be with the experience of breath and physical sensation in the present moment.  Oh that.  But really, take a moment.  Consider the multitude of ways these bodies speak.

Can I open my eyes right here, take in the whole room?  What sound is audible? What’s the weather report inside my chest and belly?  Speedy? Still? Spacious? Chilly?  Constricted? Hot?  My breath: easy, shallow, holding, fast, deep, gaspy, labored?  Signals emanate from all the parts: head to spine to tail to hips to thighs to shins to feet.  Heartbeat to shoulders to elbows to hands.  Organ body, orifices, thirst/hunger/taste in the mouth/smells.  How is my left side compared to right and which way is north? How is my body arranged on this chair and can I feel the pull of gravity? What’s it like right in my smack dab center?

This is the physiology, the fire of neurons, language of our body.  And I’ve been ruminating about this language and how it informs spirit.  The term spiritual transcendence has some relevance here. Transcendence: from the Latin trans-, meaning “beyond,” and scandare, meaning “to climb.”  A spiritual state of moving beyond physical needs and realities.  Many have chimed in about this elevated state.  So many!  I love Viktor Frankl’s concise definition in Man’s Search for Meaning:

  1. a shift in focus from self to others
  2. a move away from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation
  3. an increase in moral concern and (as a result)
  4. a preponderance of emotions like awe, ecstasy, amazement

Indeed.  What a beautiful list.  Who doesn’t want that?  I’ve also been curious about the look-alike: not transcendence, but spiritual bypass.  I’m pretty sure we’ve all been in the presence of or (yikes!) heard ourselves spouting bypass-ese.  Using spiritual concepts to avoid emotional challenge.  Like hearing the response  “love and light” in the face of someone’s acute grief.   Or using spiritual phrases as shiny defense mechanism.  As in, “rising above” when confronted by an angry being.  Dismissal instead of resolution.  Glossing over rather than working through.

When we actually stand in the presence of grief, listen as the body speaks, feel 90 seconds of sensation crash over us…an authentic response has a chance to emerge. If we stay with rage’s physical discomfort for a full minute and a half we might set a clear boundary.  Spiritual bypass? Maybe it originates in physical bypass.  And the corollary: spiritual transcendence and all the promise it holds…deeply rooted in physical presence.

This is my experience.  I’m about the body.  Holding space in a variety of ways with infinite invitations to go in, track, stay in, tend, come back, notice.  And you can count on this: the truth of all the feels, the beauty of authentic insight, that divine shift in devotion from self to others, both motivation and morality deeply personal—all that emerges from a cellular level. With roots deep in these earthly bodies, spirit has an accessible physical conduit to render joy, to light us up in awe, to baptize us in wonder.

“And that is the purpose of the presence and the power of this work-
there is nothing more beautiful than seeing someone
turn on to their own divinity.”    Gabrielle Roth

When I’m with you on the treatment table or the yoga mat or the dance floor…there is nothing more incredible than witnessing you turn on to your own brilliant magic.  Thank you for all those moments.


Intention          Resolution          Pledge         Commitment
A weighty tradition, a call to action, tethered to year’s end….
Reflection         Contemplation         Musing         Meditation
Days damp chill, balanced by marathon nights…I dream

Rain and snow cancelled tentative plans, nestled me snuggle-worth at home.  And I’ve been gently reflecting.   This paper scrap has been in a prominent studio spot since July, softly nudging through the second half of 2022.

Right Speech: a Buddhist precept encouraging mindfulness as we say those words, express that thought, offer that opinion.  What does it mean to only speak truth? To refrain from gossip or harshness?  To avoid useless speech?  After the fact, I catch myself time and again having engaged in less than mindful speech.  Chagrin…may be a fine prompt for awakening.

That paper list nutshells it for me.  Six months of random observation has revealed a few things.  Foremost?  Ironically, my life long attachment to truth-telling can get me in trouble.  Just because something is true does not mean it needs a voice. Truth can be a slippery slope that can deliver an utterance less than caring.  I guess we all know how awful it feels to wish we could take back what we just said.

Here’s another piece: my aging brain is slowing a bit.  In group conversation flying fast and furious, sometimes it’s too much effort to contribute.  I can track and enjoy the dialogue, but the speed to articulate a response has decreased.  The moment to participate passes before I’m ready.  When I just relax into this shift, I realize that mindful listening,  the sister to mindful speech, is in itself a valuable contribution.  What a great skill for an opinionated person to cultivate.

One more piece: is it the right time?  Indeed, it might really be true and absolutely necessary.  And there is a kindly way to express it.  But “is it the right time” takes “necessary” to the next level.  The impact of language is so woven with timing.  All those child-raising years…such oft-repeated practice.  Learning the hard way to hold my tongue in situational heat.  Better to wait.  Better to save it for the tender moment it might be received with ease.

If we turn our lens to the use and abuse of  the written word on social media, all of the above is super-conspicuous.  The propensity for lies to multiply, for content to expand beyond our capacity to absorb, for hate to proliferate becomes exponential.  Imagine a world where posts are screened for truth, for necessity, for kindness.  Hmmm…..

So though I am not big on resolution, this musing is front and center as I step into the unknown of 2023.  So much came to pass in 2022…some delightful, some awful, some meh. Trusting 2023 will deliver to each and every one of us just exactly what is necessary and what is true.  And may it be delivered with a huge dollop of kindness.