Monday, December 21, 2009

Stress-Free Holidays Embrace Imperfection.

My first real post of my new blogging life. A fitting way to start the new year I think.

So, I've been thinking quite a bit about the stress of the holidays for many people. I've never had to worry too much as this is not a big family time for us as Hanukkah observers, but I feel empathy for many of my students and friends. Time spent frantically running around trying to make things "perfect" for family and friends. Nothing could be more stress-inducing than that one word, "perfect". It sets my teeth on edge just typing it.

Perfect implies no room for error. Do or die to get it right. The perfect present, the perfect meal, the perfect hostess. In some ways, perfection even elicits a sort of inhuman robotic quality to mind. Martha Stewart has a lot to answer for in my mind. (Just kidding. Kinda.)

I'll never forget the few times in my life I thought my life depended on doing something exactly right. Bringing home a newborn baby was one such episode. For the first few weeks of her life I fretted and worried more than I ever have in my life. If anyone so much as breathed on that child I broke down into tears fearing that she would be irreparably harmed. I had the pediatricians office on speed-dial. I once called because her hands were too cold, "didn't that mean something horrible was happening?" I asked the poor advice nurse. My daughter's first few weeks of life on this planet were cooked into a stew of anxiety, worry, and fretting over perfection. I think of this now and realize that my child is often anxious, worried, and concerned with doing things perfectly. Hmmmm. Maybe the way we approach things sets the tone? Maybe if yoga and meditation had been a part of my life way back when, my daughter would now be a relaxed and fearless adventurer? I don't know the answer really, but I do know that since I've let go of being the "perfect" parent I smile more and worry less. I know that life is going to throw us curve balls and my husband and I will either catch them or let them go. The world won't end and we'll be happier at the end of the game.

So, this very long-winded post is really about reminding you to take stock of how you're feeling right now and deciding if it's worth it to feel stressed and out of control for a few days or if maybe setting the tone of "good enough" will make the memories sweeter for a lifetime. What do you think? I'd love to hear from you on this.

Sending you all wishes for a joyful and relaxed holiday season and New Year.

Namaste,

Jan

Thursday, December 17, 2009

YogaGalNW

This is the new site of my blog.

www.yogagalnw.com

I'm over it today. Petalsyoga was just a phrase I made up to explain to my students how to be gentle with their bodies and to listen carefully to the nuances of each asana. You know, open gently if you are tightly furled like a rosebud or work on strength if you are as floppy as a full-blown rose. I can do that without petalsyoga. I think people can still find my blog now so I'm happy. In fact it has inspired me to try a whole new layout... stay tuned to this spot!

Thanks for the support, advice, and love,

Jan

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

End of my blog

I will not be using this blog after being served with a cease and desist letter today by someone who has trademarked the name Yoga Petals. I'm sad to lose all of my friends here but I'll try to start anew soon. Right now I'm just deeply saddened that another member of the yoga community is feeling threatened by my use of a term that to me means simply being open and receptive to the beauty of your body. For the record, I've never made one penny out of PetalsYoga. I'll leave this up just long enough for my friends to read and then the whole blog will come down.

Wishing you all peace and love,

Jan

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shop to be a hero.

A way to help a family in need brought to my attention by my friend Kavita at Bodaat.


Shop for Anissa Day


Here's why she needs our help:

http://www.hope4peyton.org/


I must run but I wanted to get the word out.

Sending hugs and happy holiday wishes to you all,

Jan

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Want to meet a real sweetie?

Nope, this blog isn't turning into a dating service. We've just adopted a new pup. Her name is Lolly because she's as sweet as candy. We rescued her from the pound and we feel like we won the lottery. The pound told us she was a beagle but I've never seen a beagle that looks like Lolly before. Izzy thinks she's got some Dachshund in her and I totally agree. In any case, she is an absolute dream of a dog. She's trained, follows directions, is loving, and only barks when another dog comes too close. Can you tell that we are absolutely besotted with her?

Pics and a video of darling Lolly in action:



video

I can tell you, having a dog in the house again has also really improved my commitment to downward dog asana! ;-)

Hope you have a jolly Lolly day too,

Jan

Monday, November 23, 2009

Embracing boredom...

Well, here's what I've been thinking about and teaching lately. Boredom. Is there anything more glorious than boredom? If you are bored then you are not fearing for your life in a war-torn country, dealing with the grief of losing a loved-one, or desperately trying to find a way to survive without money or food. Boredom. It's a good thing.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving I proudly proclaim how THANKFUL I am to be a wee bit bored these days. Life is GOOD!

What are you thankful for today?

Love and hugs,

Jan

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where did 2009 go?

How did this year zoom by so quickly? I'm reeling from the speed of 2009 flying by. I can't start gearing up for 2010 yet! As one of my wise yoga students put it, "That's too much like living in the future, right?". It's true. 2010 is a number that seems to be "in the future". Did you know the original Star Trek series was meant to be set in 2265? Okay, that's still a long way off, but in 1967 when Gene Roddenberry first put it on the air, I'll bet he thought 2010 sounded ridiculously far off too.

So with the first decade of the 21st century closing in, I've decided to take stock and see if I've done anything worthwhile during the last 10 years.

1. We're raising a 10 year-old daughter and she's awesomely terrific. Check.

2. I've survived 5 surgeries in the last 10 years and I feel great today. Check.

3. I've become a yoga teacher and make a difference in peoples lives with each class. Check.

4. We've lived in 3 different states over the last 10 years and actually found one that makes us happy. Check.

5. I've got friends and family all over the world whom I love and who love me. Check.

Ya know, 2010 doesn't seem that scary anymore. Sure, I still have loads to accomplish and follow through on, but I'm reminded of this quote by Emerson that I used to have posted on my wall 20 years ago in college:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

WHAT???!!! I now find through the wondrous technology of Google that it probably wasn't even written by Emerson at all! Read here for more details. Beam me up Scotty, I'm ready for a new adventure!

Love and ease to you all,

Jan

Monday, October 19, 2009

When the sun peeks around the clouds

Have you ever felt that rainclouds are all around and you just can't quite get into the sunshine? I've felt like that recently. I'm working hard through meditation and yoga to lift the clouds but I'm not 100% there yet. At least I can see the sun now though and that helps.

I HAVE had some great things going on lately. Yolanda's visit and the workshop were a wonderful success and I am so thankful for her and her friendship. The students who participated told me how meaningful the day was for them and we raised $300 for the Oregon Food Bank which is a very great thing. This is a very bright shaft of sunlight for me.

My yoga classes give me back so much more than I can possibly give. My students tell me how much my words and sequences are helping them in their lives and this makes me feel so happy. Giant rays of sunshine radiate off of my students towards me.

My daughter and my husband are loving, kind, and make me laugh. They tell me frequently how much they love me and I am blessed to be able to tell them right back how much I love them. The miracle of me being here and able to share love with my family and friends is actually a fireball of light emanating from my soul.

I'm actually basking in the sunshine now and all it took was a few moments of blogging with honest gratitude for the blessings in my life. I guess I just need to remember that trick the next time I'm struggling in the dark. The light starts from within and reflects back with love.

I hope you can feel my radiance towards you now too!

Namaste,

Jan

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hello Bloggy Friends...

Hi everyone,

I'm off to bed in a few moments but I thought I'd give a quick rundown of my life before I begin my slumber.

1. Yolanda Pettinato is coming to visit me this weekend. YAYYYYY!!!! We have 9 people signed up for the workshop and should raise between $300 and $400 for the Oregon Food Bank. This is a good thing! YogaEasy with Yolanda Pettinato Workshop

2. My house is quite cleanish. Believe me, in this house cleanish is also very goodish.

3. My own yoga classes are progressing well and joyfully. I love teaching yoga. Have I mentioned that before?

4. My parents are gone... boo... Not a good thing.

5. I realized this week how sad it is that as women we can be friendly and play peek-a-boo with small children we meet in groceries or playgrounds but men not so much. This is so unfair but I admit to being hyper-sensitive about my own daughter and strange men. When she was a toddler an older man offered her candy once and I took it politely for her and then threw it away after we drove away. She didn't understand why and I felt so uncomfortable even trying to explain other than we don't take anything to eat from strangers. And then came Halloween.... lots of candy from strangers... Paradoxical Parenting 101.

Okay, that's enough for tonight. I'm so very boring... fill me in on your life.

Hugs to you all,

Jan

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quick update on Chris

Gotta run but this is the latest from Mary about Chris. Thanks everyone for continuing to ask about him and sending your prayers and love to him.

Hugs,

Jan



Hi Everyone,

Chris is back at UCLA medical center. He is on the 3rd day of chemo. He is trying a combination of 3 drugs with a new follow up drug. He will be finished with chemo by Friday and then be their for a month getting the follow up drug. He is doing well and I will update everyone as the treatment goes.

Keep the prayers coming,

Mary


and from the family:

Dear Family and Friends,

To keep you up to date on Chris Bernal, I created a CaringBridge website. You can follow Chris’s progress and show your support.

Visit Chris’s website in two easy ways:

1. Visit the CaringBridge website by clicking the link below.
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/chrisbernal

2. Enter the website name, chrisbernal, at www.CaringBridge.org.

When you visit you’ll be asked to log in, because I’ve chosen to keep the site private.

Show your support for Chris
• Visit and keep up to date.
• Leave a message in the guestbook.
• Receive e-mail notifications when the journal is updated.

Thank you.

Chris

Friday, September 25, 2009

Making the world a better place.

My lovely friend Kavita from Bodaat posted about one family helping another in need. It is about this amazing woman named Braja and her seemingly infinite capacity for kindness and generosity. After suffering horribly from a car accident in India she is now seeking to help out Vijay, the injured driver of her car. Please read this post to send them whatever help (spiritual or monetary) you can.

So many people touching lives around the world. I woke up today with the blues (still missing my puppy and just a little melancholy) and now I find myself uplifted by this story of compassion and perseverance. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to reach out and help someone in this world who I will likely never meet.

But I do have someone in my life who shares the name Vijay with this driver. My student VJ who is kind, generous, and also burdened by physical challenges. VJ, who has shared with me that he is often in pain, and yet I'm sure no one who meets him would ever know it. He is always smiling, going out of his way to help others, and absolutely the most loyal friend one could have. VJ, in your honor I dedicate this post and my donation to this other Vijay in India. I pray that not only the money, but the tremendous spirit of his twin namesake here in Oregon helps Vijay in Navadwip reach all of his dreams.

In gratitude,

Jan

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gratitude for breathing...

Hi everybody,

I'm okay. Thanks so much to everyone who sent me such comforting words after the loss of my poodle Sara. Each day is a little better. Bittersweet for sure, but better. I can see clearly now how poor her quality of life really was in the end, and it feels so good to have no regrets about what we had to do.

I feel the need for some abstract introspection though, so here goes:

Do you want to know the entry that brings the most accidental tourists on Google to my blog?

This one about forgetting to breathe.

I get several hits a month on this entry with search terms such as:

can your brain forget to breathe
or
seem to forget to breathe
or
you forget to breathe

Isn't that shocking? I was speaking figuratively in that blog but it seems that some people do forget to breathe in everyday life. This must be terrifying! Think how many times a day most of us take an involuntary breath in and out. The average respiratory rate is 12-20 per minute. 17280 to 28800 breaths in an average person's day. Now imagine if suddenly you had to rely on your consciousness for this work. If you LITERALLY FORGOT TO BREATHE at least 16000 times a day you likely would die.

Now don't you feel inspired to take a long slow CONSCIOUS deep breath and focus on how lucky we are to be alive on this miracle called earth? I know I do.

Inhale .... In this moment... Exhale... I am breathing.

Namaste,

Jan


Thank you to www.statcounter.com by the way for helping me track these things.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On being cured...

Hi everyone.

This has been a really hard weekend. Last Friday morning, Sara, my 16 year-old poodle, finally departed this world for a better place. She was struggling each day and getting worse so we had to do the most difficult thing I've ever done as an adult, and take her to the vet to be put to sleep. I sobbed and sobbed and I think I even scared the poor vet with my grief. This was so hard for me because I had so many attachments to Sara. She was there for me through all of the illnesses and trials of life and she was faithful and sweet. There is a huge hole in our lives right now and even though I'm so happy she is no longer struggling, I selfishly miss her terribly. Another client at the vet saw me crying and told me to look this up online to see if it would help. It is called The Rainbow Bridge and it did help.

I actually started writing this post on Saturday but I just couldn't publish it. The pain was too raw and fresh. I'm better now. I still hear her little toenails clicking on the hardwood floors and some phantom hacking coughs around the house but overall, I'm more in the place of peace than anguish.

Grief is such an amazing teacher. I've learned all over again what it is to love with abandon and to lose yourself in pain with equal fervor. How lucky we are to be alive to feeling such exquisite pain and joy. Pain is relative in fact, to joy. If Sara had just been a "dog" to me instead of a beloved pet I would have felt very little beyond a brief sadness at the loss of any animal. But this complete and shattering pain reminds me how lucky I am to be alive and to be surrounded by people I love and cherish. Sara is now "cured" as my daughter so brilliantly stated and I am moving toward being cured myself. Moving back into being whole.

Thanks so much for following me on my journey.

Namaste,

Jan

Monday, September 7, 2009

Long time no blogging...

Hi all,

It's been a while since I sat down to actually write something on this blog so here goes:

I have enjoyed the 3 day Labor Day weekend tremendously. RELAXATION to the MAX!
My little cutie starts 5th grade tomorrow at a new school and the tears and upsets in this house have been swelling in inverse proportion to the number of days left until school starts. Pray for my sanity.

Lots of family and friend drama (theirs not mine) swirling around me but I'm trying to stay sane and balanced throughout. I think I can, I think I can...

Still haven't managed to get one paid registration for the YogaEasy with Yolanda Pettinato upcoming workshop on October 10. Oh well, if no one participates I'll have Yolanda all to myself that day for a day of yoga and playing in Portland... ;-)

I want to publicly thank Kristina P., Kavita, Deanna, Sarah, Angela, VJ, and all the rest of my friends for continuing to support me and the Bernal family with your kindness. Forgive me if I'm leaving people out but I wanted to say "thank-you" to the folks who post, email, or talk to me regularly about this. It has been such a help.

Okay, my parents are coming over for dinner tonight and I've yet to figure out what I'm serving so I need to run but I'll try to post more regularly now that school will be back in session.

Giant hugs to you all,

Jan

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Update on Chris from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

Chris is back in the hospital. He has been having severe headaches for about 4 weeks and they started getting worse along with his vision being impaired. The doctors did an MRI and found that he had a burst blood vessel in the brain that is causing trouble for him.

The doctors feel like it is too risky to do surgery at this time. They would like to see if they can get his blood platelets to go up (they are currently down at 50,000 and normal is about 250,000) Chris's body is not making platelets because of the chemo. If they can keep the platelets up high enough the bleeding will stop. The doctors are also waiting to see if maybe his body will reabsorb the blood.

He may get out of the hospital tomorrow. The visiting nurse will come daily to do a blood draw and he will get platelets about every other day up at the hospital. He can be at home without being admitted granted no other complication occur.

The doctors asked Chris and Margaret to meet with the Hospice team and start to look into what they have to offer. The past 48 were a very difficult for them and Margaret is exhausted.
Any prayers for them are greatly appreciated.

I have not been able to speak with Chris since this last turn of events but I always tell him all my friend are rooting and praying for him. He always laughs and says thankyou.

I finished painting the house today and should be home by tomorrow night. Thanks for all the support.

mary

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Update on Chris and birthday wishes...

This is from Mary today:

Hi Everyone,

Chris is at home in Santa Barbara. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday. He spent the rest of the week getting reaquainted with his life. He does have some energy but not a lot. He had enough to make waffles and O.J. for breakfast his first day home. He is taking it easy and enjoying Margaret, Greg, his sister Meg ( who is staying with them to help care for him) and the many friends who are dropping by to say welcome home.

He had his 48th birthday today complete with homemade chocolate cake that Margaret made for him. All his family and friends came by to wish him well and he had a very nice day.

He had not needed any blood products since he has returned home but if and when he does he will get them up in S.B. There is a visiting nurse who comes by every 3 days to take his blood and run it up to S.B. to have the labs run on it.

Margaret and Chris are looking at a phase I trial (very risky) of a new drug that Eli Lilly is just starting to develop. It has only been tested on laboratory animals and in one human trial involving 26 patients all with different kinds of terminal cancer. He has been invited to be part of this study but it is not very hopeful that it will help cure him. It might even hasten his death.

They know that he has about 2 months maybe 4 at the most to live without treatment. They are still looking out there for alternative as well as other more proven treatments for AML M5 leukemia. If you find anything that looks promising please don't hesitate to email me.

Thanks for all your prayer of support over the last couple of months. They mean a lot to the family and to me.

Lots of Love,

Mary

***********************************************************************************

Please join me in sending Chris birthday wishes filled with warmth and kindness.

Love to you all as well,

Jan

Thursday, August 27, 2009

EarlyBird Special for YogaEasy with Yolanda Pettinato Workshop

Just wanted to let everyone know that we've decided to offer a special $55 early-bird price for the Oregon Food Bank charity workshop that Yolanda is offering here in Portland, Oregon on October 10, 2009. For more information just visit her site here:
www.yolandapettinato.com

Please come join us for this special event that benefits people in our community who need our help. I promise, a day spent with Yolanda is a life-changing event!

Hugs,

Jan

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Drizzle but no Fizzle

Hi,

It rained today during the one hour I was supposed to teach Can-Do Yoga in the park. My loyal student and friend VJ showed up and we waited 15 minutes to make sure no one else was coming to do moist yoga. Then we went over to visit our friend Wendy who is recuperating from her surgery. We only stayed a short time and practiced a very short meditation together, but I hope it was a boost for her. (she said it was...)

My two yoga classes went well yesterday and I'm looking forward to the meditation and yoga classes tomorrow. With every class I discover more about my teaching and how much more I have to learn. Letting go of striving for perfection in my teaching is liberating and fun. I think my best classes are the ones where I can laugh at my mistakes and the class can join in. We still manage to follow a path into relaxation together and that is what I call a successful class.

I feel a lightness within me again that has been missing for a while. It is no accident that this is corresponding with my return to regular yoga classes. I have kept up my home practice but I gain so much from my interaction with others in yoga class. The energy we build together is sustaining. I don't know any other word for it. Sustaining enough that even though I have some worries in my life (see below) I am managing it with greater equanimity.

No news about Chris other than the family is looking into Reiki healing for him now and still anxious to hear if anyone else has had any luck with treatment for AML-M5 Acute Leukemia. Leave me a comment or email me if you have any ideas.

Much love and equanimity to you as well,

Jan

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Managing discouraging news....

First,
Here's the news from Mary about Chris:

Hi Everyone,

Well we heard the results from the bone marrow biopsy today and they were not good. The leukemia cells in his bone marrow were still around 70%. They had been at 90% before he started the last round of chemo with the experimental drug (Ribovarian). The doctors said that the results were not good enough to continue with another trial. They also said that the leukemia cells did look different or had changed some since before this last round of chemo. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Dr. Torito is going to look into another different experimental procedure or drug trial that may be happening in the U.S. She said that Chris might have a chance getting into a new trial but we have no time lines on when that could or if it will ever happen.

So for now, they are going to be sending Chris home in a few days and we will see. If anyone has any information on other leukemia hospitals, treatment options, or alternative leukemia treatments please feel free to email me.

Thanks for all your prayers and support,

Mary

**************************************************************************************


Rumi - Guest House

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


This quote from Rumi helps me during times of difficulty or stress. It reminds me that we don't always have to treat each sorrow as if it is the end. Like a guest that moves in and then moves out again, everything is fluid and with it's own purpose. I can manage sorrow better when I keep in perspective that this moment is a fleeting one. No one knows what the next moment will bring but it will surely come, and with it comes the possibility of renewed hope and joy. With the next breath we discover how lucky we are to still be breathing.

In the end, all we have is the possibility of the next breath and the certainty of the current one. "In this breath, all is well."

Namaste dear friends,

Jan

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Six Word Saturday

My six word Saturday from Cate at ShowMyFace.com

I am now in this breath.


Here's the story. I was stressed and exhausted this week. Not myself at all. I went to the lake where I've been teaching CanDo Yoga, practiced some healing yoga and then tried the following breath meditation:

I began looking down on myself from above and watching myself breathe. With each inhale breath I heard my internal voice saying, "I am now" and with each exhale I heard, "in this breath." This made me feel totally balanced and relaxed. I hope it works for you too.

In other news:

Chris had his bone marrow test on Friday and we should know by Monday if the cancer is in remission or not and whether he can go forward with the transplant. I'll fill everyone in as I get the news. Mary told me that he is so thankful for all the prayers and good wishes from you all. Thanks so much again.

My friend Wendy is healing from her surgery and at home. I saw her for a moment on Thursday and she looks very weak but beautiful. I am so thankful that she has pulled through this so well.

I'm teaching 7 classes this week of meditation and yoga. YIKES! I've been averaging 3 a month this summer! I'm covering Simon's classes for him this week and really looking forward to it. In any case, I should have lots to blog about after this week...

And finally, here's the link for the YogaEasy Benefit Workshop that Yolanda Pettinato is giving for the Oregon Food Bank on October 10, 2009. Ya'll Come!

Hugs to you all,

Jan

Monday, August 17, 2009

Be like a cabbage and roll...

My Russian cousin Luba is visiting today and making cabbage rolls and pelmeni. Yum. The house smells wonderful and she has been cooking up a storm for hours. I've been a diligent sous chef but she outlasted me and I'm taking a break while everything boils to blog.

Here are the pics:

Cabbage Rolls




Pelmini




Meat filling for both:



The gorgeous chef... my cousin Luba!




My very inferior Chicken Olive Surprise...



I wish we had taste-o-vision. You'd be so happy right now!

I hope you are having a making memories kind of day too.

Love,

Jan

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Totally Random Sunday is back... and update on Chris..

First the silly:


Visit here to play:

Koalas Shark Shoes

You've been RANDOMIZED!!!
Visit here to play:

Visit at least 3 other blogs today and randomize them in their comments section. Send them back to me here using the link above and come join us here with the Mr. Linky so we can see your Totally Random Sunday posting if you choose to post your 3 Words of Randomness...



That's how we play!

***********************************************************************************
I wish this post was only about silliness but that's not how life is unfortunately:

The sobering update about Chris from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

Chris is not doing well. He had a set back which started yesterday afternoon. His gallbladder has an infection and the doctors are still observing him as to whether or not to do surgery to remove it. He is still at the bottom (0.04) with his white blood cell count and a surgery will be very risky. If they decide to do surgery it won't be until Sunday or Monday.

They have him sedated with compazine and morphine and he is NPO(no food).

Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated.

Mary

Friday, August 14, 2009

Riding the waves of breath.

I don't know why but it seems lately that more sad or difficult things are happening to people I care about. My sweet friend and yoga pal Wendy is in the hospital after an emergency surgery last Sunday. Her boyfriend called me this morning to tell me about it and to ask for prayers and healing for her too. She still hasn't pulled out of the woods and needs our help. Her name is Wendy Caroline and she is such a kind and loving person with hugs and good wishes for everyone. Please join me again in sharing your loving-kindness and support with my friend Wendy.

I am personally working on balance right now. Balancing the stress of life with the joy of being alive. I balance on the pinnacle of each breath in and out. Inhaling the sweetness of life and exhaling the stuff that is not good for me. Each breath is a ship sailing over the waves. I know I will come home safe and sound into the harbor but every ship has a few storms to get through right? We can all make it into safe harbor as long as we keep afloat, watch the compass, and don't let ourselves be engulfed by the storms of life. Anyway, that's what I'm working on these days.

How do you find your balance during times of difficulty? I'd really like to hear about it.

With love and gratitude that your ship is bobbing along with mine,

Jan

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quickness

I've gotta run to go pick up Mary's little cuties in a few minutes so this is a quick one:

Talked to Mary and while Chris is doing okay right now, he is finding it hard to just be in a waiting pattern. Little words of support and knowing that he has people all over the world cheering him on really helps. If you post a little comment on the bottom here, I'll post it in an email to him and we'll really get him pumped up to keep fighting.

That's it...gotta run for Fun in the Rain Day with kids.

Hugs,

Jan

Monday, August 10, 2009

Updates and Musings.

First here's the latest update about Chris from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your continued prayers of healing for my brother in law Chris. This week has been somewhat uneventful.

He finished chemo two Sundays ago and is still getting the experimental drug to soften the Leukemia cells. We have been watching his White blood cell count drop down to zero and are still waiting for it to bottom out.

He is doing well. He had to have Zofran( an anti-nausea drug) last week but has been O.K. since Sunday morning.He is eating well and his Colon is fine this time around. He is able to walk the floor and do 2 laps slowly. He really enjoys the visitors. He said it make the time pass by more quickly.

We are in the wait and see mode. This is probably the hardest part. We are all trying to keep Chris in a really positive mind frame. We should know by the 24th or 28th what the bone marrow biopsy says (Pray for complete remission). Then with his sister being a perfect match we will be on to the transplant.

Thanks again for all your support and prayers keep them coming!!!!!!

Mary

**************************************************************************************'

KEEP FIGHTING CHRIS!!!! We are in your corner!!!


On to the musings...

I think I'm losing my mind. Literally. I've lost whole chunks of my memory, I have extreme difficulty remembering faces and names (not just a little but ALL THE TIME and even people I know well!!!) and now my ability to string together concise intelligent sentences is going kaput. It's disturbing but even more so a little sad. Especially the memory loss. I was looking over photos today on Facebook that a friend posted of my old alma mater Indiana University in Bloomington and I recognized almost NOTHING. 4 years of my life... gone. Maybe it would be different if I were there but I doubt it.

I find myself living more in more in the present but I still harbor a bit of sadness that I can't conjure up the memories of the past.

I have the shadows of memories though. The warm feelings about people I love and care about even if I can't remember the story about how we used to go shopping together or even tag-teamed boyfriends with. I have the nuances of the memories and I guess that will have to be enough for me but for just a moment, in this moment, I'm a bit melancholy for the memory Jan who is missing-in-action. Just know, you matter to me because you made a difference in my life... even if I can't remember how! And to put a positive spin on this, I'm the best friend EVER to confide secrets to because within a few days I'll totally forget you ever told me! ;-)

Hugs and happy memories to you all,

Jan

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Saturday that Garlic Ruled...

Just a quick note:

I took my parents and cousin to the North Plains Garlic Fest today. I still reek but it was fun. Garlic Ice Cream? Nope, couldn't do it. We did have extremely yummy grilled corn with garlic butter sauce though.

We also had a relaxing CanDo Yoga in the Park this morning. My friend Wendy was supposed to take a turn teaching, but she wasn't feeling up to it today. A noisy bullfrog accompanied our class and it was the perfect yoga music.

I haven't heard from Mary recently but last I heard Chris was feeling really strong and positive.

Sending hugs out to you all,

Jan

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Great news!!!

This just in from Mary...

Hi Everyone,

We just got the news that Cindy Chris's sister is a perfect match for the bone marrow transplant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All Chris needs now is to be in full remission so keep those prayers coming!!!!!!

Love to All,

Mary


*************************************************************************************


I have to admit I was most fearful that a perfect match would not be found, but this is a dream come true. IF (and I admit it's a big if) they can get his cancer in remission, they can go forward with the transplant and Chris will have a good chance at a complete recovery.

It is nothing short of miraculous that we are at this point already. I am so grateful for the continued prayers and love that folks keep sending to the Bernal family. In a time when many people are suffering with their own financial, job, and family problems I am so overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit of people who take time to care about people they've never met. Whatever the world is lacking it is certainly NOT lacking in human compassion and kindness.

Much love to you all,

Jan

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let the baby-sitting continue...

Nothing new to report about Chris other than this is the only round of chemo to date that has actually made him sick. The doctors are optimistic about this because they think that may mean that it is finally working and the experimental drug may have worked. Keep those prayers and healing vibes going please!

Had a great time yesterday with the kids. I took Mary's two and my own to a local indoor rock wall to climb. They were the cutest climbing monkeys I've ever seen. I'd write more but they are coming over in a minute for day two of silly fun.

Hope this finds you healthy, happy, and overflowing with gratitude for whatever life has on offer.

Much love to you all,

Jan

Sunday, August 2, 2009

News from Mary about Chris

Here's the latest from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

I am here at UCLA with Chris. He is doing well. He is eating solid food again and some color has returned to his face. He has stopped taking the cell softening drug and started the chemo so I need everyone to just pray and visualize the Leukemia cells dying and that he goes into complete remission. He was running a fever last night but they go it under control by the morning.

All the girls (sisters) have been tested for the bone marrow match and the boys (brothers)are being tested today. We should know in about 2 weeks if there is a match. That is the other thing that I am asking people to pray for.

We have the hotel room through Monday and then they are full so we have to go back to Santa Barbara, but I will be coming back next weekend. I will update you as I get new information.

Thank you for all your love and prayers. We find peace and comfort knowing that everyone is sending us their love and support.

Hugs,

Mary

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Six Word Saturday and why Q-tips are verboten..

It's time again for six word saturday ala Cate at showmyface.com Here it is:

Pain in ear and in rear...

That's right, I have a throbbing right ear AND I've been a pain in the rear all week about trying to get people to blog about, send healing thoughts to, and pray for Chris Bernal at UCLA. Click here please for info about Chris and his family:

Now, I have a confession to make about this pain in my ear.

It isn't swimmers ear.
It isn't air pressure ear.
It's stupid girl ear.

That's right. I'm the stupid girl who uses Q-tips exactly how they say you shouldn't use them. IN MY EAR! For years I've dug around in my ears for wax like an archeologist searching for a new mummy. There is always the motherlode of wax in my ears... like I could start a candle factory amount. Okay, I know that's Too Much Information but I'm turning this post into a public service announcement. STEP AWAY FROM THE Q-TIPS!!! Do not use them at all, because frankly, if you can't shove them into your ear what else are they good for?

Ahhhh, I feel so much better now.

Hugs and slight ringing in my ear love,

Jan

Friday, July 31, 2009

Visualizing the future.

Hi everyone,

So, I talked to Chris's wife Margaret last night and she told me some very important things.
First of all, the attorney has been working very hard for the family and has managed to sort out the insurance problems. As of this moment everything they need is now officially covered!!! Hooray!!!!

Secondly, Chris was able to eat solid food and hold it down for the first time in 14 days. Double Hooray!!! Margaret said that he looks strong and ready for the fight. They will resume chemo this weekend I think.

Finally, Mary called me today and asked me to write a healing visualization script for Chris specific to his cancer. I'm working on that now. If I get a decent recording made I'll post a copy here later.

Love and hugs my dear friends,

Jan

Thursday, July 30, 2009

No new news about Chris...

Chris is stable right now but I think they are restarting the chemo today in hopes that the cell softening experimental drug will make it work better than it has the last 3 times. Mary is on her way down there today to help and be with them and I'll be helping to watch her kids while she is gone.

We are all so interconnected aren't we? Like pebbles thrown into the water, one single disturbance has thousands of ripples of effect. I like this notion of not being isolated or untouched by other people's lives. It is painful sometimes to go through with friends and family the hardships of life, but it is sweet as well. Weathering adversity together strengthens the bonds of friendship and love. Mary was there for me when I had to fly off for my mom and dad's ill health several years ago. She took care of my daughter while I was gone and now I have the opportunity to give back to her in the same way. I hope I can do half as good a job.

Thanks again to all you for your continued prayers, good wishes, and great ideas. You are some of my favorite pebbles in life!

Namaste,

Jan

Monday, July 27, 2009

Latest news about Chris Bernal at UCLA

Hi everyone,

So Chris has started the medication that gives him a 25% chance at fighting this evil cancer, but the insurance company is fighting the family to try to deny coverage of his treatment and of getting the bone marrow tests of his family that he will need in order to find a donor. This just infuriates me. I've been through this with my own family and you have to fight hard and strong for your rights when you have the least emotional and physical resources to do so.

Please send even more prayers or healing thoughts for the strength of Chris and his wife Margaret to get through this latest totally avoidable crisis of having to fight the insurance company for his life. I'll keep you posted as I learn more. As of this evening they had found a great attorney who is willing to do battle for them, so hopefully the insurance company will give in and they can just focus on Chris healing.

The blog got 139 hits today sending warm wishes and prayers towards the Bernal family. Let's see how high we can get that number tomorrow so I can tell them how many people are in their corner sending them strength. I truly believe that every single moment that we spend trying to help another, is a moment that makes the whole world a more sacred place. Let's do it together.

Thank you again to the people who visited and left comments today. Your wishes and prayers are so appreciated.

My light salutes you,

Jan

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Need prayers and info for Chris Bernal at UCLA

Please pass this on through blogging and tweeting so we can help them:

My dear friend Mary's brother-in-law Chris Bernal is very sick. He was diagnosed with AML-M5 Acute Leukemia a few short weeks ago and tonight his wife was told to get her affairs in order because the outlook is so bleak. This is a guy who two months ago was running marathons and competing in bike races.

They are trying an experimental drug on Chris that will give him a 25% chance of survival IF it doesn't kill him first. PLEASE send your prayers and good wishes out to Chris and his family. If you know anything at all about AML-M5 leukemia that could possibly help this family please email me or leave a comment on this blog so I can pass the word on to the family. Chris is an athlete and a warrior... he is fighting this with everything he has. Please pass the word to send him, his wife, and their son as much healing and love as we can.

Thanks so much everybody,

Jan

Let's go Totally Random Sunday

I've upgraded Totally Random Sunday with some new ways to play but hey, it's Totally Random Sunday... you can play any way you want!


Here's a sample for you to copy onto other peoples blogs...

Laptop Fishy Tent



You've been RANDOMIZED!!!
Visit here to play:

Of course you want to make up your own three word randomness otherwise it won't be, well, random...

So here is how I've changed the way to play a little after realizing I've made this too hard:

Visit at least 3 other blogs today and randomize them in their comments section. Send them back to me here using the link above and come join us here with the Mr. Linky so we can see your Totally Random Sunday posting if you choose to post your 3 Words of Randomness...



That's it! Have fun and come back every Sunday to play!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yoga Nidra is my nemesis...

Not really but it seemed kinda like a catchy little tune one might whistle on a hot day.

So, for those of you who are wondering, Yoga Nidra is translated as Yoga Sleep... which is ironic... it's about being totally awake and minutely focused while resting on the ground. Those yogi's are such kidders...

So here's some more information about Yoga Nidra from a Yoga Journal review of Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga with Richard Miller for you. Richard Miller is one of the most influential teachers and proponents of Yoga Nidra and well worth learning from.

But I digress, we're talking nemesis stuff here, right? In a nutshell, during Yoga Nidra you optimally lie down, focus on your breathing, and then focus on each part of the body with deep awareness. Slowly moving from the feet throughout the entire body until you finally reach the crown of the head (not always but for the sake of this blog let's say this is the most traditional method)and eventually a state of deep relaxation and meditation. It is incredibly powerful, accessible to most people, and deceptively difficult.

Generally I get to my left knee and begin thinking of why I should be taking my parents to the coast this weekend or how to get a raspberry stain out of my wood tabletop. My body and mind are constantly in a tug of war during this process. But when I practice regularly (like daily) my mind does calm down and even if I never get past that left kneecap something inside of me changes and reboots. I am able to deal with life's ups and downs without being overwhelmed. My anxiety levels lower and I sleep better. So even while I'm calling this practice my arch enemy, the truth is that yoga nidra and meditation are actually my best friends in disguise. I invite you to give it a try for yourself.

Here's a link to my yoga teacher Simon Menasche's FREE body prep and body scan to try it for yourself: The body prep by itself is very powerful, but the two together is magic. If you can't access it then try listening to it here on my blogtalkradio show. Enjoy!

Namaste friends,

Jan

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finding Wonder in the Heat

Hi ya,

It's hot here. Really hot. Like my body is baking in a big Portland oven hot. I'm not complaining, just making sure you understand... HOT!

In other news, I had a small carton of chocolate milk today from Trader Joe's. If you want to be instantly transported back to childhood I recommend a small carton of milk sipped on a hot day. It took me right back to a little wooden desk and the smell of chalkboards. Do kids today even drink milk in cartons? I think in my daughter's school everything is in plastic bottles. Water and milk in plastic. Blech. The carton was fun because it was a challenge to open. Goof up the carton opening and you had milk pouring down your shirtfront. Many a day I had a soggy/milky shirt...

Okay, sorry for the trip down nostalgia lane. I guess I'm living a bit in the past right now because A. My daughter is turning 10 this week. (This is IMPOSSIBLE... I swear I just brought her home from the hospital in her little preemie yellow overalls!!!)

And B. my little toy poodle Sara (who is 16 years old this year) is slowing down and getting closer to leaving us. We thought last week was the end but she rebounded at the vet's while I was out of town and is doing pretty well right now. I just can't believe how quickly the last 16 years have gone by. She was the cutest little fluff ball that we took home as a 6 week old puppy. Sara was such a little devil-dog even then. I remember her trying to chew on the ear of a big labrador in the same pen. She's been ruling the roost in this house ever since. She snuggled next to me during my very difficult pregnancy and nuzzled me with love during my many recoveries from surgeries and illness. I'm having a very hard time detaching from her, but I know when the time is right to let her go I will be ready. She deserves a happy and pain-free life and I will make sure that is what she has until the end. Here's a picture taken of her today after her summer haircut. She looks silly but I'll bet she feels much better without the heavy coat.



In other news, my daughter discovered tear ducts today. Really. She looked in the mirror and discovered holes on the sides of her eyes where tears come from. She was amazed that other people had already discovered this. I love that kid. I love that she's trying so hard to discover something totally new and ingenious. I think we should all try doing this too. Give yourself over to discovering one amazing fact or observation each day and be wowed by the power of the discovery. I'm going to work on mine right now. I've recently discovered that my bottom teeth are no longer straight after a lifetime of being mostly straight (and two sets of orthodontic braces as a teen). I have a funky space in between my front bottom teeth that I'm sure was never there before. I'm going to ponder the why and how of this change right now and pore over old photos to see if my memory is playing tricks on me or if it really is a change. I'll get back to you soon with my results. Fascinating, no?

Feel free to share your own wonders and whys with me here. I can obviously use some diversions.

And finally, to the kind friends who so generously supported me with your comments on my last post.... Thank You. You lifted my spirits and gave me the gift of your love exactly when I needed it most. I was struggling and you sensed it and nurtured me. I am so grateful for you.


Namaste and hugs,

Jan

p.s. VJ , I did my hopping 180 degree turn just for you today in my home yoga practice and it made me smile to think of you!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Totally Random Sunday and catching up...

First I want to apologize for my slackerness for the last week. I've been in California visiting family and just generally chillin'. I'm home now though, and ready to dive back into blogging.

I love my family. They are silly, funny, loving, and warm. We always have a great time together and it is always a wrench to say goodbye and leave. We are 5 families living in 5 different states. If only we lived a little closer to each other and could see each other more often, I'd be overjoyed. My parents are coming to town tomorrow for a good long stay and that makes me so happy, but my sweet daughter is really missing her cousins something fierce. She was sobbing for the better part of an hour yesterday in the airport after we said goodbye to my brother and nephew at the security checkpoint. Seems I spend a lot of time in airports explaining why my daughter is in tears. She did the same thing on the trip back from Australia in April after leaving family there. These are the times I feel most sad that she is an only child. I feel so lucky to even have her knowing that medically I couldn't have more, but I know she would have been even happier with a brother or sister to share and grow with. Nobody ever said being a parent was easy did they?

Okay, that was a bit of a downer... sorry.

Let's move on to the lighter stuff. Today was my 5th Can-Do Yoga class and it was great. 7 new and returning students, warm weather, gorgeous scenery, and the resident blue heron was soaring back and forth low over the lake as we practiced. A very soothing start to the weekend.

Let's bring on the randomness!!!


Right Click on the picture to save it, post it, and share the Random Fun


It's time for the third week of Totally Random Sunday. Here's your randomness for the day...

Giant Video Flakes

Here are the rules:

Go visit 5 random blogs today by
Going here and finding someone over at SITs
and leave random comments on them all like:

Silly Wheel Toes

Three randomly chosen words are PERFECT!

And then tell these lucky bloggers that they have now become a part of Totally Random Sunday and that they should participate by also going out to randomly comment on YOURS and five other blogs. You won't believe how quickly you get comments on your blog in response!

Go forth and be random!!!

Are you in?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Totally Random Sunday is baaaack...

Right Click on the picture to save it, post it, and share the Random Fun


It's time for the second week of Totally Random Sunday. Here's your randomness for the day...

Fern Bamboozle Pan

Here are the rules:

Go visit 5 random blogs today by
Going here and finding someone over at SITs
and leave random comments on them all like:

Fern Bamboozle Pan

Three randomly chosen words are PERFECT!

And then tell these lucky bloggers that they have now become a part of Totally Random Sunday and that they should participate by also going out to randomly comment on YOURS and five other blogs. You won't believe how quickly you get comments on your blog in response!

Go forth and be random!!!

Are you in?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What happens when you forget to breathe...

Know what happens when you forget to breathe? I'll let the immortal words of John Cleese from the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch fill you in.

"'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!! "

Okay, so I really just wanted an excuse to post that because it cracks me up every time. What I really wanted to talk about was paying attention to our breathing throughout the day. If you are like the majority of people, the only time you notice your breath during a typical day is when your nose is clogged, you have a cough, an asthma attack, or you have a fright that makes you suck in your breath quickly. We take this fundamental of life for granted throughout our life... and that is by and large the way nature intended it. It is a part of our conscious AND subconscious mind. Breath is also the bridge between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Here's a good way to experience all of this: For the next 3 breaths, breathe through your mouth and change your breathing rate to much faster than normal, something like a panting breath. This is a simulation of what happens when your sympathetic nervous system is engaged (such as in a frightening situation) and by doing this you are now using your conscious mind to breathe. Now deliberately for the next 3 breaths slow your inhale and your exhale in an exaggerated fashion. Really draw out the inhale and focus on it completely and then linger over the exhale with the same dedicated awareness. This is an example of how the parasympathetic nervous system works to regulate heart rate and lower blood pressure in response to stress and another example of conscious breath. To complete the experiment just stop consciously controlling your breath and let it flow naturally. Try going back up and rereading the parrot sketch dialog again then come back here:

When you forget about this exercise, you will notice how your subconscious mind returns your breathing rate back to normal and your parasympathetic system has had a chance to heal your body's earlier stressed response. Here's a great article by Leta Koontz-Stuyvesant describing how yoga utilizes breath to calm the body and focus the mind. YogaMovement.com

Spending even a few moments a day consciously savoring our breath can help us lead a more joy-filled and healthier life. And it just might keep us from being an "ex-parrot"!

Namaste,

Jan

Part two of forgetting to breathe.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Totally Random Sunday



Here's my idea:

Go visit 5 random blogs today by

Going here and finding someone over at SITs

and leave random comments on them all like:

Ears Chew Gum

Three randomly chosen words are PERFECT!

And then tell these lucky bloggers that they have now become a part of Totally Random Sunday and that they should participate by also going out to randomly comment on YOURS and five other blogs. You won't believe how quickly you get comments on your blog in response!

Let's take Totally Random Sunday to a whole new level people!!!!

Are you in?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What I just realized...it's not my fault I'm addicted to sugar!

So we're sitting here watching "A Capitol 4th" on PBS (stop laughing... it's one of our traditions) and I just had a moment of crystal clarity about who I am today and why.

Sesame Street is 40 years old. I am 40 years old. Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and the rest of the Sesame Street Gang were just on TV singing and celebrating this Independence Day. I cried when they sang "Sing a Song". I ALWAYS cry at that song.

But then it hit me... The song "I Love Trash" is something I took a bit too much to heart as a kid and now an adult. My house is filled with old crap we don't need. Seriously, how cool was Oscar as a kid? Why wouldn't I want to be like him? And then they sang "C is for Cookie" and again, I think I took this just a little too seriously as a life choice rather than just a cute little song. I can't remember not gobbling up a single cookie that came my way in life. Think I can send the medical and psychological bills to our friends on Sesame Street?

I'm just saying, it ain't just a kids show if it causes you to be a messy, cookie snorting hog! On the flip side, I can count well because of the counting Count AND I'm sure "Sing a Song" really did make me a better person.

Here's my favorite song just for you... Happy Independence Day!



Hugs,

Jan

Friday, July 3, 2009

Knock Knock...

You: Whose there?
Me: Ida
You: Ida Who?
Me: Ida know why I keep changing The Balanced Bride website, do you?

Ha Ha Ha... that's my subtle way of asking for more feedback. I know, I should put you guys on the payroll right? This is it though. Except for some tweaks and turns I think this is the final layout for the website. I will be oh, so eternally grateful if you'd give me some feedback.

Here's a poll to answer:

The Balanced Bride website looks:
A. Gorgeous, wouldn't change a thing.
B. Ummmm... is it a wedding site or a funeral site?
C. Why does that rose keep staring at me?
D. ________________________________ (your answer)

Thanks everybody,

All is well here. Had Brenda's The Balanced Bubbles herbal-infused champagne with lunch yesterday after a meeting with The Balanced Bride gals and I have to say, it was really amazing. Check out Brenda's site if you get a chance, she's a Portland gem!

Also, have you checked out the opportunities of berry picking around here lately?
West Union Gardens is my favorite berry farm that we went to a few days ago.

Hope you are all healthy, well, and ready to celebrate some Independence this 4th of July weekend! (Even if you live in Australia or somewhere else, you should celebrate. If nothing else, you're independent of me bugging you every day!)

Hugs and Namaste,

Jan

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sun Salutations to you all

Beautiful day and beautiful feelings.

GO hug someone you love and feel the sunshine spread even farther.

Namaste,

Jan

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Serenity...

Today is the day I unplug from the computer and focus on family, house, dog, things I've been ignoring for days now as I've been marketing and tweaking the new business. So this is my Six Word Saturday ala Cate at Show My Face...

The Balanced Bride has swallowed me...

I've gotten out of balance in a not too subtle way. I'm turning off the computer now, unfurling my yoga mat, and diving into the Ohmmmm. Be back soon. But if you get bored you can always click below to enter my giveaway. Come on, you know you want to.

To enter sweepstakes for The Balanced Bride click here:

Namaste Ya'll,

Jan

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Game On... which sounds like I'm into sports but really I don't know a football from a foosball.

Please do me a favor.

Go HERE and enter The Balanced Bride sweepstakes. If you live in Portland, Oregon you can win your choice of yoga, qigong, massage, coaching, or acupuncture. If you live anywhere else in the United States you can enter to win a long-distance dream interpretation by our expert Terri Mozzone.

Now this is my first foray into offering any kind of giveaway. I hope it makes sense and is easy for people to participate. As my loyal friends please do let me know if you find this onerous or difficult to participate in so I can adjust it fairly.

Last but not least is a special twist. For the people who read my blog AND comment HERE on this posting about entering The Balanced Bride sweepstakes, I will be giving away one YogaEasy DVD (North American version only... sorry to discriminate so horribly Angela!) and one MeditationEasy CD from Yolanda Pettinato courtesy of PetalsYoga. Just comment here after you enter TBB sweepstakes and you are in. I will use a cool random number generator thingy to pick the winner after July 24th. Considering I have about 6 readers I think your chances are pretty good. ;-)

Thanks again for helping me launch such an exciting new part of my life.


Hugs,

Jan

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Balanced Bride is born...here comes the sweepstakes!

Today Sarah, Brenda, Terri, (Izzy), and I launched The Balanced Bride at a Zen Fair in downtown Portland, Oregon. We had such fun chatting with people, introducing them to Brenda's amazing homemade herbal elixir to put in champagne, and promoting the new business. We had lots of interested people stop by and get more information. One gentleman has 4 upcoming weddings in his immediate family alone! I love collaborating with such amazing and creative women to bring joy to others. It was really a great day and Izzy had a blast helping out too.

After we left the fair Izzy and I wandered around downtown Portland. Something we've never really done before. Izzy also introduced me to Benson Bubblers which is a really neat part of Portland history and something she learned about in school.. Here's one if you haven't seen it before.


Neat huh? I also received the sweetest, most unexpected email from one of my yoga students today thanking me for helping her heal and find her balance. My heart is just singing.

So... are you interested in finding out more about The Balanced Bride sweepstakes? GOOD! Tune in to this space in the next few days and I'll have it all ready for you. Sorry for the tease. My webserver is down right now so I'm trying to work around that.

Happiest Day to you too,

Jan

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Big Hello Day...

Today I met a new/old friend for the first time. I met my friend (name blank until I check with her for permission) from the blog Bodaat...blogging one day at a time. We had such fun getting to know each other and I got to know her kind fiancee as well. We had great conversations and I really enjoyed meeting them both. They came in town for a work convention but will get to spend a few days in Portland just exploring and wandering. I hope they love it as much as I do. I can't believe I forgot to ask her why her blog is named Bodaat? Hmmm... I'll let you know when I find out. She took a few pictures of us together but if they are as bad as I think I'm willing to pay her to either not post them or to photoshop Jennifer Aniston in as my double. (It's such a natural substitution really!)

Also we talked about her sister Aartilla who has this amazing blog and video show. Watch one episode and I PROMISE you'll be hooked.

I've also been busy, busy working on the website and launch of my new business with friends of The Balanced Bride. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go check out the website and give me feedback. Be brutal. I can take it. Sort of. ;-)

Okay, that's it for today. Family is healthy and well and I am just looking forward to curling up on the sofa and watching As Time Goes By on PBS for the millionth time. I never tire of that series.! Here are some funny outtakes just for my in-laws!




Love and hugs to you all,

Jan

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another Can-Do Day.

Today was the second "Can-Do" Yoga class and we had 7 students show up to share and breathe together. The sun was playing peekaboo around beautiful cloud formations and at the end while the students were in Shivasana (final relaxation pose) 5 little sparrows were perched on the railing and tree above the students. They were watching and cheeping away. It really made me smile to think of how different it must be for the animals around the lake to have us there moving and breathing in their space in such a unique way.

I so enjoy teaching in the park. I think that I am receiving so much more than I am giving back to the Food Bank. The food being donated is tangible and important and I am so grateful to the students for supporting our community. But the feeling I get from helping people let go and relax into each breath is also amazing. If each person I teach has even a few moments in their day that are happier or easier, then the whole world shifts a few millimeters towards joy. That is food for the soul and pretty life-sustaining in its own way.

In other news:

Myra Lewin is arriving in Portland today from Hawaii and will be offering the following events this weekend.

June 19, 2009
7:15 - 8:45 pm Hawthorne Wellness Center
3942 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR
Bruce 503-730-7047
Energy Management in Relation to Food and Daily Living

June 20, 2009
1:30-4:30 pm Poise Studio
4700 SW 185th Ave.
Beaverton, OR
Phone: (503) 591-8700 Ayurveda, meditation and postures

June 21, 2009
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Cedar Hills Recreation Center
11640 SW Park Way
Portland, OR
Phone: (503) 531-0414
FREE Book Signing and short talk

Please join in if you are available this weekend.

Hugs to you all,

Jan

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Can-Do Saturday

The kick-off for Can-Do Yoga in the Park was a great success. By my standards anyway. 5 students showed up, 25 cans of food were collected, and many more people walked by and were intrigued enough to take a flyer for next time. The weather was cloudy and cool but it really felt just right. We shared space with two fishermen on the pier and that felt like a nice community sharing as well. I have to admit though, that I was a little relieved that they didn't catch a fish right near us during the yoga class. Poor wee fishy flopping and gasping its last breath on the pier next to my mat would have been a bit challenging to cope with. Not impossible of course, but certainly not my idea of relaxing.

The universe continues to look out for me day by day, as evidenced by a bit too much excitement yesterday afternoon. I was rear-ended by 5 other cars at a red light at about 2:00pm. Still not sure of the details of who did what, BUT we were all okay afterwards and the damage to all cars was minimal to non-existent. WHEW!!! To walk away from a 6 car pile-up is no mean feat and I am EXCEEDINGLY grateful that I am healthy and well today as are I pray, the other drivers and passengers.

It's really strange how everything these days to me seems to be a blessing. Labeling things good or bad is not really a place I immediately jump to anymore. I still see suffering and pain and even still "fear" this for myself and others, but it doesn't paralyze me the way it used to in the past. It also doesn't linger very long either if I do let my mind roam around in those waters for a while occasionally. About 3 weeks ago I had a pretty full-blown panic attack about Swine Flu and even as I was feeling this fear, I was pretty clear about how irrational I was being. In a fairly short time I moved through the fear and felt a sense of peace about whatever might be coming my way. I certainly still feel waves and ripples of discomfort or fear but they simply don't engulf me the way they used to. All this from yoga, meditation, and practicing mindfulness. If I were to label this, I'd have to say it was "good". ;-)

Namaste ya'll,

Jan


Six-Word Saturday

Each Day I Breathe, Then Repeat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No pain is big gain...

I did something totally out of character today. I practiced yoga in the park (in preparation for CanDo Yoga which starts this weekend!) and then I walked into a day spa and had a massage. Yup. I've only had one full massage once before in my life, and today just seemed like a good day for it. I've been a bit run down and not sleeping well and I just decided that I should try something different.

Well, I can tell you that I walked out of that 50 minute massage a different person than the gal who walked in. I suddenly and dramatically didn't have any pain in my shoulder and neck. None. I didn't even realize how long I've been living in pain until it was gone. I could turn my neck left and right without guarding or wincing. HOORAY! So it wasn't a total fix as I'm still pretty sore tonight, but to have even a glimpse into that pain-free world was a joy.

The bigger eye-opener for me was realizing just how oblivious I was about my own body... again. I spend each class exhorting my students to listen to their bodies, make wise choices, and be in the moment. Uh, hello? I didn't even consciously think that I was having neck and back trouble. I just thought I slept a little funny last night. The massage therapist told me that I had a huge amount of inflammation on my left side. Really makes you wonder doesn't it?

So am I alone in this regard? What really obvious thing are you missing in your life that could be fairly easily remedied? Just curious.

So grateful to be a little more open in my posting,

Jan

Friday, June 5, 2009

The irony of dead batteries...

Sitting at home today waiting to recharge my batteries. Both the one in my car that is by all accounts totally dead and may actually need replacing, as well as the one in my body which for the last few days has been telling me to STOP, conserve a little, and take a break! Hopefully the one in my body will recharge quickly and will outlive it's warranty by about another 50 years or so. The car? Oh well, whatever. The funny story about the car battery is that my darling daughter was playing around in the car last night and thinks she might have accidentally left a light on that finally finished off an already ailing battery. She was in tears this morning when we started to get into the van to go to school and it was locked and wouldn't open with the key gadget thingy. (official name) She tearfully "fessed" up to her mistake and for just a beat I was sternly telling her "not to ever play around with the lights again" and then I just let it go and breathed. Not the end of the world. I even laughed with her about it on the way to school in Daddy's car. I also told her how much I appreciated her telling me the truth so quickly because that saved me alot of worry about what else could be wrong with the car. (as it turns out, that may have been premature because that sucker just won't start!)

In any case, it was a good opportunity to live mindfully and the irony is that this battery malfunction has forced me to stay home today and recharge internally as well. I really wasn't feeling up to all the running around I had planned for today anyway, so now I'm where I should have made the choice to be in any case. Relaxing at home. Okay, not totally relaxing because dishes need to be done and laundry sorted etc... but definitely a more low key day than the one I had planned. And in this moment, I'm actually glad my car battery went kaput. Go figure.

Hope your batteries are charged and ready for a wonderful weekend with folks you love,

Jan

p.s. PLEASE go check out the jewelry of my student and friend Ree here: She is a sweet gal and I think her jewelry is just lovely!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hi there!

Okay, so the reason I haven't posted in a week is NOT that I'm lazy... I'm boring. No really it's the lazy thing AND the boring thing. I just haven't had a single thought lately that seemed blog-worthy and then the pressure of not having a blog-worthy thought seemed to take over and I had to make my peace with that through meditation and yoga (and jellybeans) and then finally tonight I thought ENOUGH! So I'm posting.

How was your day? Mine was nice. Pretty weather, had a good class today, cooked artichokes for dinner which used to intimidate me with their prickly "don't touch me"ness but now I feel pretty at ease with steaming the chokes.

Aren't you now regretting my decision to post?

Okay, in reality I've been busy working on the Oregon Food Bank benefit workshop in October with my wonderful Australian yoga teacher friend Yolanda Pettinato. I am so grateful for her presence in my life and I can't wait to share her special gift with the folks here. I'm also offering CANDO Yoga in the park this summer to help build up the food bank pantries with cans of good food. People bring a can or two to the park and they get a free yoga class. Good stuff. Food for the Soul in fact. If you are in the Portland,Oregon area and would like info about it email me here for more info. yogalicious@petalsyoga.com 

Okay, so that's pretty much it for me tonight. Except that I've been looking at my little cluster map there on the right lately and I've noticed no one from South America has ever visited me and it's kind of making me sad. I mean a whole continent has not had the opportunity to be bored senseless by me yet. So. If you think you can hook me up to someone in Peru or Brazil, Venezeula, etc... please forward me on to them. I crave the red dot!

Many, many hugs to you all,

Jan

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's official... Yolanda Pettinato is coming and so is YogaEasy!

Click here to read all about it:



Click here to see where you can buy her DVD and CD.

I'll post more later but I've got to run now... just wanted to let you know what I've been working so hard on for the last several weeks.

YAY!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The best present ever.

I turned 40 on Monday. It was a good day and I've been getting spoiled by students and friends every day since. But I wanted to share with you the best present I've ever gotten. This:



My sweet daughter made this cake for me while I was out at an all-day Yoga Teaching Workshop. I came home to yummy smells, chocolate heaven, and my sweet gal beaming ear-to-ear because she had made me such a special present. I love it and will always treasure the fact that she made my 40th so special.

I also received beautiful flowers for my big day.

These are from my wonderful in-laws in Australia:



These are from my wonderful parents in Tennessee:



and these are from the hubbinator:



On Monday night I was teaching and one of my friends dropped into the class with a balloon for me and pastry treats for us all to share. AND....

Today, one of my students had an impromptu cupcake party surprise for me after class and she gave out pieces of her beautiful hand-designed jewelry to us all.

Here's a picture of my beautiful necklace:



Yes I know it, I'm totally spoiled. BUT I'm so very thankful not only for the goodies, flowers, and good wishes, but most especially for the wonderful people that are in my life. The loving-kindness that flows over and through my days and nights are the things that really make me happy. Every moment of every day of my life is a blessing and even when things seem tough, I feel lucky to know that the next moment will be a little easier because of the amazing people I have all around me.

Thank you all! (and that certainly includes my friends through this blog too!)

Love,

Jan

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Six Word Saturday

House needs painting, must win lottery.

Seriously. I know painting the outside of a house is a LOT of work. I appreciate that. But $45 - $60 per hour???? Are you kidding me? I have friends that are nurses... helping to save human life... that only make $25 per hour. This just seems very strange to me. If I wasn't the messiest, least-detailed oriented, and just plain laziest person on earth I'd try to paint the ole homestead myself, charge myself $50 per hour, and go on a vacation with the money. I just think $3800 - $5000 to paint a 2400 square foot home is a LOT OF MONEY. What do you think? Am I being la cheapskate or am I somewhat right on this?

Have to go, another painter is coming by this morning with his estimate...

Happy Sunshine Saturday, (I hope)

Jan

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thinking about thinking... Blogging about thinking...

Okay, I know that title sounds sorta goofy but here's what it's all about.

I've noticed a lot of bloggers seem to write as if they spend all of their time thinking of witty or interesting things to blog about. So that made me think, "are they blogging about their lives or living for their blogs?" Do you get my drift?

I'm not saying anyone is totally living their lives consciously for blogdom, but I noticed myself driving Izzy to school today and realized that I was thinking about a topic for the blog and how weird that concept is. Mostly I just sit in front of the computer and yak about whatever is on my mind, but surely some people have their blog as a focus in their day-to-day lives a lot of the time.

Don't get me wrong I LOVE reading those blogs. I think talented writers can live and blog at the same time, but it made me wonder if it is just another layer we are putting between ourselves and living in the moment. (Wow, that last sentence was way too Sarah Jessica Parker ala Sex in the City!) What I mean is, has blogging changed the way we actually think? Do we bloggers now think in terms of catchy titles, accruing followers, and hording comments? (okay, I do think in those terms a little now... I have to admit it) or is blogging just this extra thing we do? Can I really be just me while I'm trying so hard to be funny and interesting for my blog?

Also, could it be a generational thing? If you are a teenager or a young twenty-something who grew up blogging, is it easier to fall into this "blog reality" than say someone older (quite a bit older in my case!) who has spent more time just being rather than blogging?

Or maybe it's just a personality quirk. Some people are natural comedians and storytellers who see the humor in life and can't wait to share it. Others have to ruminate and begin to slowly decipher things to share. I'm more like the "too busy just trying to get from A to B without tripping over my yoga mat to really think" kind of person. There are definitely all kinds of bloggers out there and probably no real answers to my questions, but what do you think? Do tell...

Blogfully yours,

Jan

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday treats and thinks...

I think I have a cake obsession... seriously. I spent a not insignificant portion of today drooling over this blog: Bakerella

and

then not really drooling but really loving this blog: CakeWrecks

Followed by the realization that my birthday is coming up next week and I can justify this obsession as simply research for the perfect birthday cake. Right?

So how about you? Any obsessions for you? What has taken your time and attention today? I'm meditating on this cake thing in hopes of detaching from it and maybe even letting go. This practicing being present is hard work for sure. So...maybe just one of these special "cupcakes" from Moonstruck?


Nahhhhh.

Hope your day is sweet too...

Jan

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Six word Saturday...

Excited about sunshine... why on computer?

Check out other more witty entries here:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday

I'm having a lazy day that started with tummy upset and is now just winding down into a much-needed rest day. I didn't realize how much I needed a day of down-time until my body became quite INSISTENT that this was the case. I slept for 2 hours after the tummy-wobbles ended and woke up feeling better but totally disinclined to leave the house in order to do one of the many things I should be doing today. I'm not sick, just wiped-out.

The sun has finally come out so the poodle and I have curled up on the couch into a patch of sunshine. I've finished two books and the poodle has also enjoyed a rare day of full attention and snuggles. Sometimes just giving in to the moment is the best way I know how to take care of myself. Just as I advise my students in class, "listen to your body and give it exactly what it needs in this moment." I'm so glad I paid attention to my own words today. There will be time enough tomorrow for running around with errands and responsibilities. Today is a good day to practice feeling rather than doing.

Hope your weekend is filled with lots of restful spaces broken up with sporadic fun.

Hugs,

Jan

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Things are not as they seem.

My "aha" moment yesterday came outside of Powell's bookstore (which if you aren't familiar, is the BEST bookstore in the whole world, but that's another post.)when I judged a book by it's cover and discovered that I really shouldn't do that near a bookstore or anywhere else. Here's how it went down:

I'm walking towards the store when I pass an older lady on the sidewalk who is dragging a big cart behind her filled with what looks like her tools of life on the streets. I didn't look closely, I just assumed... mistake # 1.

She is nearly toothless, has a giant necklace comprised of hundreds of keys around her neck, and is dressed in a manner that suggests she doesn't frequent stores like Saks or Bloomingdales every day. Probably mistake #2. Actually she was dressed in similar attire to me, but with a few more years of wear on the sweatshirt and sweatpants. I don't frequent stores like that either in case you feel like making some assumptions about me too. Assume away!

I walked past her and thought, "Hmmmm... she looks like she's struggling with that cart. Maybe she could use a hand or a nice meal today, I'll up my karma today by offering to help out." Mistake #3 I did vacillate for a moment because it feels so darn patronizing to offer help to someone who isn't asking, but believe me, you would have paused yourself in this situation. She just seemed to be struggling.

I stopped to wait for her to slowly catch up with me and I asked her (nonchalantly and I hope non-judgmentally) "How are you? Do you need any help with anything today?" She smiled her big toothless grin at me and said, "No thanks, I'm off work today and I collect bottles and cans to recycle for a little extra cash and to clean up our community. Thanks for asking though and Aloha." I thanked her for helping to make our world a better place and slowly entered Powell's knowing that I had just encountered a best-seller wrapped in a brown-paper bag cover. I was humbled and happy that I had taken the time to ask. My life is enriched by realizing again (ala people like this and Susan Boyle) that you just shouldn't judge people or situations at a glance.

That's it for me today. I'm going on an assumption-free holiday for the rest of the week. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Happy Tuesday,

Jan