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,


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!



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,


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,


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,


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,


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.

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"!



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'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!



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,