The only soap my son will ever use… and it could be yours!

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Well… not the actual bar of soap that my son uses.  Not only would that be gross, but really and truly, you’d have to fight him tooth and nail to get it away from him.  He hates taking a shower, hates soaps and lotions and cream and lip balms and anything remotely girly (he’s a low maintenance kinda guy, just like his Daddy) and the only way I can call a truce with this boy and get him washed up is if I promise him he can use Lana Bella soap.  Not exaggerating here.

Because this soap, people, is so lush and rich that it is the ONLY soap we’ve ever used that makes putting lotion on afterwards optional.  Otherwise, by mid winter, we all have itchy dry tight skin… But when Miles uses this soap, he can skip lotion and his skin still smells so luscious, soft, sweet… oh, it’s all I can do not to eat the soap itself!


Whenever we have a soap order come in, we all sit around the box for 10 minutes in a daze, smelling the lusciousness of it.  Just sitting around the open box, breathing in.  Seriously, I don’t know what is in this soap, but I’m totally addicted.  I can honestly say it is the only soap I’ve ever high-fived my children over… we get so excited about this soap that my son literally high-fived me after I bought him some more.  Right now we are totally obsessed with the cranberry orange soap.


And I say I don’t know what is in it, because I don’t know how she gets it to be soooo much more amazing then any other soap I’ve ever encountered… but I *do* know why it is so great… it’s because of Jenni herself.  She is an amazing woman… she tells her truth and she is bold and wonderful and unique and most of all, she loves loves loves her children with abandon.  I love witnessing how much she supports them and how loving she is towards them.  She puts that same kind of amazingness into all her products… made from the heart, all her stuff just rocks!

But I’m so in love with her soaps, that while all her products are natural and handcrafted and amazing, I just can’t get past pushing her soap on people.  You just have to try it and you’ll know what I mean.  Her shop is here and her Facebook Fan Page is here, where she shares special offers from time to time.  And luckily, Jenni is generously giving away a $50 gift basket for free to one lucky reader!  Damn!  How I wish it was ME!  Oh… I mean… good luck out there, folks.  Just leave a comment at the end of this post, and come back Friday to find out who the lucky reader is!  xoxo


From Jenni:

In my busy life as a mother and educator of four, proprietress of Lana Bella, wife to one, whisperer to plants, listener to many, there are two things that I take absolute delight in doing for myself each week. Yes I wake to smiles and snuggles most days, and have lunch with wonderful folk each desiring a bit more of my attention, hear the laughter of my children (and also the squabbles) and end each day beside my best friend. Many would wonder what more could I want.

Time. Time to reflect, to think, to slow, to relax, to float. I love my bath time. It happened much more frequently when we were in South Carolina having that great garden tub in our master bathroom and  I could put my babies to bed and sneak off and relax, read a magazine or just breathe. Now the bathtub is on the children’s floor aka our second floor (our bedroom is on the third) so inevitably the water usually alerts someone to the “fun” I’m about to have for somehow my boys have not realized that I do not play with Thomas in the tub.

I rarely even have the light on being too bright and in my eyes… I prefer a candle or two so I’m not in complete darkness.  I love getting in while the tub is still filling so the sound of the water drowns out any noise… ahhhh, peace.

Recipe for Basic Milk Bath Salts:

1/2 cup epsom salts

1/4 cup Dead sea salts (or plain sea salt if thats all you have handy)

1/4 cup powdered milk (i love using coconut milk)

3 drops lavender

3 drops rose geranium

2 drops cardamom

(or your favorite blend)

Pour directly under running water and enjoy!

My other great joy is a cup of tea. Now in our house we drink water, water and more water, and make various pots of tea through the day with the children. However I really love a cup of chai made in the old way steeped in the pot of water then milk added and steeped some more.  Made this way it takes about 30 minutes or so but its so much more full of flavor.

Now I’ll answer the questions I get most frequently asked mostly at shows but in general when someone hears I make soap.

Are you Lana?

No I am not Lana, Jenni actually. I started out making wool wash and being part Italian took from my heritage and Lana Bella means Beautiful Wool.

Is making soap hard?

No, not anymore… well it was never really hard it was just learning the steps and the safety with the Lye and going from there. But I’ve been making soap now for seven years so I don’t think its hard at all anymore.

Wow. How do you find the time?

I make the time. While once really a hobby this is my job. I don’t work regular hours like the average person but I do have the benefit of working for myself.

Where did you learn to do all of this?

Years of studying. I’ve been gardening my whole life as a young girl I lived with my aunt and uncle and she had this wonderful old herb book on the properties of plants. I thought it was the most amazing thing ever that parsley had actual benefits. I loved that old book.

A few summers later up at our cabin in VT there was one of those “weird mountain hippies” who I loved to take walks with and she would show me even more.   It wasn’t until just a few years ago that that weird old hippie was Rosemary Gladstar… what I would give to be back on that mountain now knowing what I do but with that girlish brain sponge absorption.

I have also taken a few herbal correspondence courses and love being on an herb list with the likes of Michelle Morton, Henriette Kress and Paul Bergner to name a few and having a friendship with Adrienne Leeds to have wonderful herbal discussions often.

So there you have it! AND as a little treat one lucky winner will win a basket of YUMMY soap goodies valued at $50 including soap, body butter, bath salts, a candle and a bag of tea 🙂

Anyone who would like to order through the month of November will also receive a 15% discount (in the form of a refund) by telling me HEARTSONG in the note to seller box on Etsy. Http://lanabella.etsy.com and if you happen to be in the MD area please stop by my blog and look at my show schedule maybe you can come shop/visit in person http://lanabellasoap.com

Through my daughter’s eyes…

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My daughter surprised me recently…

She picked up my camera, and took pictures of me.   Finally at the *other* end of the camera, the object of focus, I felt so loved.  It really touched my heart.  I’m not used to someone focusing on me… and I don’t say that in a way that demands sympathy.  I LOVE being the caretaker… I LOVE being the support behind my family.  I love watching my husband shine at work, my kids dance gloriously through life… I cherish it and nothing fulfills me more.

But having my daughter focus the lens on me, hearing the camera snapping away, being the one captured for a moment in time… I felt so touched and so loved.  It, quite literally, surprised me and took my breath away.

And the result… they are my favorite pictures of myself I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  It was the end of a long day, the sun was going down… the yellow light filled my already yellow house… the glow was magical.

My make-up was non-existent.  My hair was ratty.  My shirt was smeared with flour (I was in the middle of making calzones and cheesecake for my family for dinner) and my glasses were on all afternoon, so my nose had those *divots* they get from the bridge of the frame.

But you know what?  I felt beautiful, on the inside, from being the unexpected recipient of my daughter’s attention.  I feel like these pictures capture the *me* that my kids see every day.  The raw me, the me that might not have brushed my teeth today, but that loves my kids with a fierceness that is palpable.

We were just about to wash Mini Guinea in the sink (yes, I stopped making dinner to wash a guinea pig in a sink, because Clara asked and damn I love that girl!)

I did a little happy dance holding the pig, and Clara grabbed the camera.
See for yourself.  I look regular, every day, plain… and with smile lines all around my eyes, which I really wanted to take out of the photo, but I didn’t.  Because I also look like a mommy who loves the girl behind the camera.  And those smile lines are how my kids see me every day, as I smile at their beautiful faces.  And I look content.  And happy.  And fulfilled.  And that’s because I am with my family… home… in my favorite place on earth… and holding my favorite type of animal is pretty great too.

I feel like in these pictures I look like *Mommy* — and I love it.

I don’t look like I used to, the 20-something young woman I still *think* I should look like.  And I don’t look fancy.  And I don’t look professional, or even pulled together.  But I look like a Mommy who would hold her child at a moments notice… a Mommy who would drop everything, even cheesecake, to wash a guinea pig with her daughter.

And I couldn’t ever ask for anything more then to have a moment like this, captured on film forever, by my very own daughter.  Damn I’m a lucky one.  xoxo

Thoughts On Health…. Thyroid

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“When you take charge of your life,

there is no longer need to ask permission

of other people or society at large.”

-Albert F. Geoffrey

Our thyroids do so much for us.

The thyroid is one of the main centers of control in our body… we have so many parts that help coordinate and regulate our organism as a whole… the brain, the heart, the pineal gland, the thyroid… all of these organs work for our entire body… maintaining the health of our body as a complete organism.

Unlike the big toe, who is maintaining health for itself, the big toe, and indirectly for the organism, as it wishes to walk… these organs maintain their own health and DIRECTLY coordinate efforts of the entire body.  If any of these control centers feel dis-ease, the effects are felt throughout the entire body… not localized to any one body part, but instead, can make our entire organism feel dis-eased.

The thyroid is often compared to a thermostat… regulating temperature control over the body.  This is true, but the thyroid does so very much more.  Indeed, I feel that the thyroid is like the entire engine of a car that we are driving.  If you can picture your thyroid as the engine of your vehicle, you can really appreciate everything your thyroid does for you and how it may affect you if it is malfunctioning.

Like the engine of a car, the thyroid keeps you going.  Maintaining your energy levels as you truck along down your path of life.  If you are constantly keeping your foot on the gas pedal, the engine starts to overheat… as the engine gets pushed and pushed, the entire dashboard, steering wheel, and car itself may tremble under the great roar of the revving engine… shaking and raging and overheating… this is a thyroid storm.

Working in the hospital, I had a patient admitted for thyroid storm, and she was just like this… a car engine whose owner was leaning full on the gas pedal, unable to cool down or slow, she was trembling and sweating and her mind was racing and her eyes were bulging and she could not find peace.

Taken in the extreme opposite directions, if you ease your foot off the pedal and start slowing down… going too slow to keep up with the flow of traffic… the engine cools, the zest for driving is gone, the journey moves in slow motion, and with it, so do you.

Cold skin, cold hands, brittle hair, constipation… clogging up traffic, if you will.  This is the classic feeling of hypothyroid.

If you slow down so much that your engine idles on the side of the road, you pull over and remain sitting in an unmoving vehicle, whose engine is still on… it’s just the same as hypothyroid in it’s most extreme form.  Living in a body whose is alive (engine still running) but moving nowhere allows the toxic fumes of carbon monoxide from the engine to seep up into the car itself… potentially killing the driver.

Loss of energy, memory loss, lethargy, coma… these are the extreme forms of hypothyroid, and are as unwelcome as sitting in a closed garage with a car running… eventually the toxicity of the car itself, with no fresh air and covering no new ground… is toxic to the driver.
In life, you have to keep moving.

In life, there is no staying still.  There is no stationary.  Even as you are sitting and meditating in the moment of the *now*, the moment is always evolving.  I’ve talked about that very recently here… how every single moment is something new, and just as it is impossible to take the same breath of air twice, walk on the same patch of earth twice, be the same person in each moment… it is impossible to drive down the same road twice.

Each time, there will be a new blade of grass on the edge of the road, a new butterfly flying through the air… a new car cruising by you in the opposite lane… a different cloud in the sky… you just can NOT have the same experience twice.

Even those who commute down the same road to work every day, twice a day, have never had the same commute twice.  Never.  A different breath of air, different food digesting in your stomach, different socks on your feet… you’ve never repeated a moment of your life and you never will.  Each moment is in it’s entirety, unique.  Special.  Blessed.  Once-in-a-lifetime.

So really, to sit in an idle car with it’s engine running, hour after hour, day after day… you cannot survive like this.

To be alive is to invite change.

Likewise, running full speed and stepping full on the gas pedal is something you can not survive as well… Flying through intersections, red lights, runing so fast you can not keep up with the scenery along the way, engine overheating and smoking and trembling… is not a sustainable condition either.

So how does the thyroid become either hyper or hypo in it’s functioning?  If the energy of the thyroid is the energy of moving through your life… the energy of driving down your path… I think imbalances of the thyroid arise from imbalances in how you are perceiving and expressing your journey.

The thyroid sits in your neck, lovingly wrapped around your throat and encasing your voice box and vocal chords.

What better place for the command center of your driving force to sit.

It stretches around your voice and feels, breaths, literally soaks in the energy of what you are saying, all day, every day.  It *lives* in the energy of your voice.

It feels acutely when you are not speaking your heartsong.  It mourns for the words you do not say.  It withers when you do not speak up on your own behalf.  If you are not singing your own heartsong, you are taking your own foot off the gas pedal of your car and your engine is responding by slowing down.

In reverse, if you are speaking words that are not your heartsong… if you are angry because you are not being allowed the time to express your own inner knowing… if you are upset at nobody hearing *your truth*… your thyroid intuitively feels this, knows this, revs up on your behalf… tries to sing out your song for you.  It tries to call out the words that are not being heard.  It will run itself into the ground, it will run you into the ground… giving everything it has and more.  Too much.  In unhealthy ways.
What your thyroid wants and needs from you, is to listen to you say your heartsong in joy.  In peace.  Not fighting or competeing to say it.  Not getting angry because you aren’t heard, or because you haven’t carved enough time out of your day for yourself, or because you give everything you have to everyone else.

Your thyroid is a control center, a place of *knowing*, and it maintains it’s health through expressing this verbally.

This has nothing to do with if anyone else is listening.  It has nothing to do with if you are being heard.  You just say what you need to say… for yourself.  Because being *you* is what you do best.  Because you, releasing your truths, brings joy and creation into the world.  Because what you can create… the thoughts you can think, the joys you can feel, the ideas you can share, the space you can occupy, the car that *you* drive… no one else can ever do it.  No one else will ever be in your shoes.

If you don’t sing your song, who will?

You are the one and only you that the world has ever, or will ever, EVER see.  Your thyroid knows this, even if you don’t.

Your thyroid is poised right between your heart and your brain… it feels the communication between the two… the thoughts you are thinking in your brain and the emotions you are feeling in your heart.

It holds them both and then it demands that you sing.  Not in anger or frustration or to get others to do something for you… it demands that YOU SING!

You sing whether your children are watching or the world is watching or you are utterly and completely alone.  You sing not because you care at all what the reaction is going to be, or that you are even interested in the reaction… you sing because it is YOUR SONG!  It’s what you do!

You do not want all that knowledge, all the thoughts of your brain and all the feelings of your heart, to get stuck in your thyroid.

If you are not singing your heartsong, and it depresses you, your thyroid will slow down.  You will be effectively taking your foot off the pedal… what’s the point of driving, right?  If no one is witnessing your journey?… and then you become hypothyroid.  Cold.  Tired.  Listless.  Feeling less like yourself… as you gain weight and your hair falls out and you start to forget little things… and you begin to feel less motivation to get back on the road.

If you are not singing your heartsong and it angers you, your thyroid will speed up.  Try to get noticed.  Try to out pace, out run, out preform the other cars on the road.  No one is listening to you, your thyroid thinks?  Then I’ll just rev the engine louder and get people to notice.  And louder still.   Feeling unheard and unappreciated, you begin to feel jittery and angry and your heart pounds and your thoughts race.  Your eyes bulge as you try to capture the scenery that is whizzing endlessly by.  And in the end, you are wearing yourself out and losing touch with the joyful song you were wanting to sing.

So how to restore and maintain health to your thyroid engine.

Treat your thyroid like you would a beautiful drive that you are enjoying.

Knowing every second that passes as you drive down the road is unique, never going to happen again, precious.  Driving with gratitude, knowing what a blessing it is to be going down the road at all… listening to your heartsong on the radio.

When you drive, it doesn’t matter what the other cars are doing.  It’s not personal.

Sometimes, there are crazy drivers out there and you might slow down and let them pass… you might chose to take a turn down an unexpected street so that you can get a little space… you might crank the music up louder and crack yourself up at your own voice as you sing along.

And if the road is empty, and you are trucking along enjoying the solitude… it doesn’t make the journey any less worthwhile.

You are still keeping your radio tuned to your favorite station, whether the road is crowded with traffic or empty.

You don’t change your tune just because there is another car on the street.  You proceed with awareness… with appreciation… you might give a smile or a wave, you might let them go first in front of you or it might be your turn to go first… but you don’t change your song with every car that passes.

You drive from a point of being centered in your own lane.


If you can tune your radio to the song that you want to be singing right at this moment… the song you can feel welling up in your heart, or the song that your brain is humming in your head… you can enjoy the drive no matter who else is on the road.  And you bring peace and harmony to your thyroid.

If you make your journey about being heard, about how other people react to you, you are going to wind up with your foot pressed hard on the pedal (hyperthyroid) or pulled over on the side of the road, giving up (hypothyroid.)

Just drive drive drive.  This is your journey.  This is your truth.  Crank up the radio and sing!  xoxo

My Favorite Thing… In My Backyard.

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I love my back yard.  It is a sanctuary to our whole family.  We head out to our backyard multiple times a day, every day, and mill around together.  Sometimes gardening.  Sometimes taking care of pets.  Sometimes rocking on the back porch swing and listening to the chatter of birds.  Sometimes jumping on our trampoline.

And now… my newest favorite thing about my back yard… our new tree fort.

Built by Precision Woodworks, LLC, we couldn’t be more pleased.  We had a vision of a tree fort built around the base of a backyard tree… with super safe and wide steps instead of a ladder, and with space big enough for the family to snuggle up in sleeping bags and spend a night wishing on stars when the weather was good.  This tree fort is that and more.

It looks out over the wetlands beyond the yard… a lovely place full of wild chatter… wild turkeys and snakes and tons of loud bullfrogs (did I mention snakes yet?) and herds of deer and even a wild boar or two… and more birds perched on tree tops then you could possibly count.

This fort brings us one step closer to feeling like we are among them all… sharing land… yet brings us a feeling of comfort and safety as well.

This tree fort is so well built that I truly feel like I could park my car on it and it wouldn’t move.  I am so impressed with everything that Precision Woodworks did… from the designs the owner sketched to the crew that came and built the fort to the clean up afterwards… not to mention all the little touches in between… like sanding down all the steps and floorboards and railing pieces individually, to adjusting the plans as we changed direction mid-project… they were super easy to work with and we are super impressed.

If you are local and have any construction needs, I can’t recommend them enough.

Anyway, that is by far my favorite thing in our backyard now… and with fall in the air, we are just loving it up.  Campfires and tree forts… childhood’s simple pleasures at it’s best!  xoxo

Instant Ghost

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Have you decided what you are going to be for Halloween yet?  I am going as a ghost.  And I love love love the ghost cape that Martha Stewart designed… but I don’t love the price.  $149.99????   For a bunch of tulle fabric that you tie around your neck?  I don’t get it.

In case there are any folks out there who haven’t figured out what you are going to be this year, I thought I’d share with you a little tutorial on the ghost cape that I made… for $8.  Yep, eight bucks.

All you need is several yards of tulle… doesn’t really matter how much, you can cut and layer as many pieces as you like… and a yard of ribbon.   I think I used 7 yards here… cost me $8… I used 4 yards of white and 3 yards of silver/grey.  I just cut them unevenly in half, and laid one on top the other… making sure one edge lines up on all layers.  The other three layers look better if they don’t line up, and hang unevenly.  Simple.  Better yet, you can hack into the edges of the layers and make them look ragged and ghostie.  Just line up your tulle so that one of the edges is even… that will be the edge we sew the ribbon on to.

Put your ribbon along the edge of the tulle… we are going to attach the middle third of the ribbon onto the cape.  Just take the middle third (about a foot long or so) of the ribbon, and fold the tulle back once or twice to wrap around the ribbon.  Sew it on with your sewing machine, or by hand.  I went ahead and sewed both edges… go for it.  Or you can just put one wide zigzag stich down the middle.


Um… really… that’s it.  Whip that bad boy around your neck and you are all set.  Layers and layers of floaty tulle… costume completed in about 5 minutes.

Cut tulle, line up one edge, sew on a ribbon in the middle (leaving both ends of the ribbon hanging free) and then tie it on!    Accessorise by throwing on a white outfit under the cape, white face paint and white hairspray, if you’ve got it.  On the actual night of Halloween, I’m going to load up on the black eyeliner as well, and I have some spider tattoos that I’m going to have crawling all over my face.  I found this great white dress at our local thrift shop for $12, so my costume costs about $20 total.  Now with the other $120 I just saved, I’m going to by myself lots and lots of Halloween candy!  Yippee!  xoxo

Thoughts On Health… Death and Dying… revisited.

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First, let me say that I really miss the health collage series.  I have a collage of the thyroid to share with you, but my (step) grandfather died last week and I have decided to push back the thyroid collage until next Monday.  This past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about death and dying, and watching my loved ones grieve.

I think I’ve been extremely lucky to have two fabulous role models in my family for death and dying… both my grandmother Grams and my grandfather Cass transitioned quite quickly once death became inevitable.  I really admire them for the long lives that they lead, and equally admire them for the selfless release that they showed when their times of death were near.  Both went through a period of intense illness that lasted only two weeks before they detached from their earth bodies and returned to a state of pure soul.  I feel very blessed to have their examples in my family.

I very strongly believe that one does not necessarily need to enter into a state of illness or disease in order to die.  Most people do… and many have quite a prolonged state of disease prior to death.  That both my grandparents were able to release their earthly hold so shortly after becoming terminal is inspirational to me.

The next best thing, would be to not ever need to enter into a terminal disease state.  I love Abraham-Hicks quote saying something along the lines of… “Esther’s plan is simple… healthy, happy, healthy, happy, healthy, happy, dead.”  That is ideal and certainly something I’m intending for myself as well.  But how do I go about doing this, besides allowing for the possibility in my mind?

I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I’ve come up with this… I believe one thing that would help is to release any and all fear associated with death.  Because fear keeps us intimately connected to something we *don’t want* a relationship with.  So to release fear of death would be to release my worries about negative circumstances surrounding death.  Or at least it’s a start.

Now, death is such an overwhelming concept, I doubt that all mystery and fear can ever be resolved… that is, in fact, the human condition.  To be aware of ones mortality.  But I have been able to free myself from many of my fears regarding death… I blog a bit about that here.

One thought that keeps coming back to me over this last week, is that it seems like death is the last frontier, that last unknown.

But when I sit with this feeling long enough… my soul, in fact, really doesn’t agree.  If I sit long enough with it to allow my deeper truth to emerge, my soul reminds me (with a strong feeling in my heart area) that in fact *everything* is the unknown.  Death being not that much different from life.  Most of life is unknown as well… truly.  My own body, this computer I’m typing on, the molecules that make up this chair, the sound waves that are reaching my ear as my finger do the tapping on the keys, the miracle of birth and rebirth that I’ve experienced with my own children… even love itself (why does my husband love me so?  How is it that I love him more now after 12 years then I ever have?  What is this whole *love* stuff… it’s too good to be true and yet there it stands.)

All is a mystery.

And I appreciate that… I’ve blogged before (here) about how being open to mystery is probably the closest I ever come to feeling calm and spiritually grounded.
But the second part of that, is that death isn’t *really* the big mystery that we think it is.  At least that is my feeling about it.  Not only do I truly believe we’ve all been there and done that before (reincarnation, which I wrote a poem about here) but I feel that every minute we are alive we are surviving mini-deaths, and that we are all down right pros at the whole death experience.

What do I mean by that?  Well, I’ll do my best to explain.  With a lot of help from Thich Nhat Hanh… who originated most of these ideas and examples that I am about to go into.  I love his book, No Death, No Fear and recommend it if you want to read more about these ideas.

Well, I think it boils down to this:  we’ve all mastered the death experience, because we live it every day.

Nothing stays alive more then in this one present moment.

Everything in your memory is passed away… everything in the future is your imagination… even the present moment is a continuously changing and dynamic thing.

Just as a candle appears to be burning continuously down, one flame melting away the entire candlestick… this is in fact just an illusion.

Each moment of the flame is simple a combustible reaction… using a different oxygen molecule, burning a different part of the candle wick, producing a different flame.  Flame after flame after flame.  That is what a burning candle is.  One spark of energy burns and is released and expands outward with light and heat… the next bit of candle wick and the next oxygen molecule react with this spark and produce the next bit of flame… onwards and downwards, melting a different exposed surface of the candle.

What appears as one flame burning is actually millions of different flames reacting all the way down the candlestick.

This is our life.  This flame is us as well.   Birth and rebirth, moment by moment.

We appear to have one long continuous life, day after day… but if you line up all the pictures taken of you over your lifetime, you are a different person in each picture.

Baby pictures, toddler pictures, childhood pictures, teen pictures, young adult pictures, adult pictures, middle aged pictures, elderly pictures… get them out and line them all up.  Physically see this transition, which has all felt so continuous, and you will see that just as the flame is not one moving object, but rather a cycle of life and death… so are we.

The cells that made up the body of a baby are not the same cells functioning in the child.

The cells of the skin, the cells of the gut, the cells of the hair, the cells of the muscle, the entire blood stream… all have had their own lifespans and been shed… replaced by new cells with new lifespans… and replaced again.

Over and over, without our knowing or needing to manage it.

The hair of the teenager, is not the same hair as the adult.  Long since cut and regrown… the body is ever evolving.

Ever emerging.

Ever dying.

Not just our bodies, but our thoughts, our breath, the foods we eat and even our spirituality… all are different and feed us in different ways at different times in our lives.

Why do we experience this lifetime as continuous?  The soul.

The soul is the wick of the candle in our lives.

The wick of the candle keep the chain reaction of the flame going continuously down the candle, and helps the flame appear as one flame.  Our souls keep the chain reaction of our lifetime going continuously through our experience, and helps the body appear as one body.

From our souls perspective, it *feels* like one lifetime.  The death of our cells, the death and replacement of our body parts, doesn’t phase our soul one bit.  Our souls do not grieve for our lost cells.  It embraces the newly emerging cells, the ones that support our health and our current condition and our current desires.

Leaving the dead cells behind, our souls experience the joy of emerging.

So it is with death, I believe.

The soul feels unchanged, undiminished, with the turnover of the body.

The death of cells has no impact on the perception of continuous *being* that we feel.

If the death of cells has no impact on our experience of *being*… how would the death of our organism be any different.  The death of our organism is simply a collective death of our cells.  No more, no less.  You have already survived the deaths of billions of your cells.  Your soul, your being, is untouched and unaffected by these cellular deaths.

With the death of our cells, our soul simply focuses on the joy of emerging.

So, we are already pros at this death thing, with nothing more to fear.

I can always align with my soul in the *now*.  If we align with our soul in the now… we feel joy.  If we align with the nostalgia of the dead cells of our past, or feel anxious with the unknown of the emergence yet to come… we can feel fear or sorrow.

In the now, my soul sings.

Is your soul singing the joy of the millions of cells that are healthy and functioning for you right now?  Right now, you have hundreds or perhaps thousands of cells that are dying.  You have thousands more that are emerging.  Your soul is the one thing that keeps your experience constant.  It’s not your body you rely on.  It’s your soul.

So.  Can you sing the song of a healthy body, untouchable soul, even as many cells are dying.  Even as many cells are dead right now in this very moment, and are waiting to be removed.  Even as many cells are forming but not yet formed.  Yes, you can.  You have been doing this all your life.  If you’ve ever felt one speck of joy, one speck of happiness and one speck of health, you’ve done it despite the fact that you had cells dying all over your body.  Death and joy do not preclude each other.  The death of the body, or parts of the body, do not affect the eternal and continuous experience of the soul.   At least, that has been my experience.

The vast majority of your cells are supporting your life, in the NOW.  Are you aligned with that?  Do you feel your health?  Do you feel your moment?

This is our moment… a sustainable soul experience, with no fear of the future.

You have never been the same person twice… your baby self, your toddler self, your child self, your teenage self… these have all died already.  And congratulations!  You did great!  Truly, you did.  I did.  We all did.

So we are pros at this death thing, you and I.

I hope those thoughts made sense… I’ve got a flurry of ideas running around in my mind, some easier to put into words then others.  This was one of my more difficult feelings to try to articulate.  If you don’t quite get my words but you are intrigued enough to ponder it more, I do suggest Thich Nhat Hanh’s book… he says it so much more clearly then I!

Come back next week for another Thought on Health… our Thyroids.  And coming soon soon soon, a special announcement for my Thoughts on Health series!  I’m very excited to share it with you… stay tuned.  xoxo

Why I wrote my first children’s book ever.

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Why did I even do this?  Here’s why…

What Jake means to me.

I wrote this book to say one thing:  happiness can meet you anywhere.  I really want kids to know that.  I want grown ups to know that.  I want myself to remember that.  I want a book that I can pick up to remind me.  You can invite happiness in to meet you right where you stand.  Nothing needs to change at all.  Joy can flow to you whether you live in a cage, in prison, in a diseased body, or are living your very last breath.  The universe is so expansive, it can reach anywhere.  It can follow you into any dark corner.  It can follow you down every twisty turning maze path, even ones that are dead ends.  It can follow you and support you and welcome you as you pass from life into afterlife.  Happiness can always meet you where you are.  You simple invite it in by gratitude.

You might not always *want* to feel happy, and that is totally valid too.  I know that I’d rather feel a genuine sorrow or fear or stress any day over a false sense of needing to always align with joy.  I don’t always choose joy.  But I *do* always know it is there for me, always waiting, always ready to scoop me up and take me on a ride out of whatever lonely place I’ve been.  I like remembering that.

So back to Jake.  He is a sweet little guinea pig living in a cage.  How might that feel, to look out over the entire yard and woods beyond every single day, and not be able to get there.  To feel like you have no say in the direction your life is headed.  Well one day, Jake gets a chance to leave his cage.  And he takes it!

He has a great day, but by night, he starts remembering all the things he loves about his cage… all the things that felt so boring to him before, became something he actively wants to return to.

Jake’s cage symbolizes how our we can feel trapped in a cage too.  We can feel trapped by a disease, trapped by a situation, trapped by lack of money, trapped by a job we don’t want to do.  Anyone can live in a cage.  You can live in a gorgeous home, but if you hate cleaning it, or hate the people who live in it with you, it’s a cage.  If you hate your life, you take your cage every where you go.  If you go on a vacation, you may be distracted temporarily, but eventually, you realize you have taken your cage with you.  If you feel trapped in a marriage and leave and remarry, you may have taken your cage with you.  If you re-create experiences… illnesses, symptoms, dead end jobs, unsupportive relationships, you are trapped in a cage that is re-creating it’s bars around you.

This cage is your mind.  Our minds can trap us by the thoughts we think.

Our thoughts can create a prison any where we go.  A movable prison, that you can’t out run, can’t dig out from under, can’t break through.  Everywhere you go, your mind goes too.  If you are alive, your mind is with you.  If you are breathing, your mind surrounds you.

I have a very active mind.  I think and think and think… I enjoy thinking, I hate thinking, I think of new ideas and create new images and possibilities and worlds in my mind all the time.  I think when I lay in bed at night.  I think when I wake up.  I think when I am washing the dishes, when I am in the shower, when I am typing these words.  I have a love hate relationship with my active mind… it used to torture me with worry and what-ifs and existential questions… but at the same time it used to thrill me with new ideas for paintings, new poems I had to write, helped me dance easily through college and medical school with absolutely no studying, no effort… I just woke up each day and went off and running, doing anything and everything under the sun.

Exciting but exhausting.  And never any deep comfort, no sustainable sense of purpose.  No meaning behind it all.  No sense of fulfillment.  Just the next thing and the next.

My mental diarrhea went with me no matter where I lived and no matter what I did.  It just kept on running.

Until one day, with the birth of my children, my perspective changed.  I became less consumed with needing to do and was finally able to pause and just be.  For once, I fell so completely in love and so overwhelmingly satisfied, holding my precious child in my arms, that my brain fell silent.  And I stayed in that moment.  And then my brain picked itself up, dusted itself off, and was up and running again in no time.  Trying to convince me to speed through life again, trying to distract me from the *being* with lots of *doing.*  But this time, my perspective had changed.  And I wasn’t so easily fooled.  My mind could no longer trick me and steal my time.  It couldn’t trap me so easily.  I had found evidence of the eternal… the love I felt for my children reminded me instantly of the *great love* that exists in the nature of our souls.  Once awakened, I couldn’t go numb from my mind chatter any longer.  I was free.

It has been almost a decade now and I just keep feeling more free and more free.

Every single day life reveals to me that the eternal is all around, that to be alive is to be blessed, that just by breathing I am living in a sanctuary.  That every moment is a blessing.  That I don’t have to *do* anything.  Being present and aware has opened my eyes to the blessing of life and the joy of interconnecting with other souls along the way.

With a new emphasis on being thankful where I stand… not where I am going, but where I am RIGHT NOW, my mind feels free and open to possibility.

So this book is a story about a guinea pig who decides he has had enough of feeling imprisoned by his cage.  It is a story for young and old.  It is my story… it is my story about how I have closed the prison of my mind and turned my life into my own personal sanctuary.  The birth of my children help me lift the cage that my brain created when I would worry…. usually about what happens before and after life in a body ends.

I think sometimes our bodies and minds can feel like cages to our souls.  But even though I am still living within this body cage, my soul still sings the song of expansion.  Living within the parameters of a body, my soul aligns with eternal freedom.

How?  The same way Jake finds freedom.  By focusing on what I am grateful for (my children) and remaining open to possibility.  That’s it!  I live in my body, which is simply a cage for my soul, and yet my body is now my paradise.  I choose to live in this body… I am grateful for it.  Jake lives in his cage, chooses to live in his cage… and yet his cage is his sanctuary too.

Jake decides to go back to living life in his cage… but by focusing on gratitude for what he has within the walls of that cage, happiness moves right on in.  All the things he thought he had wanted from the outside world become possible right in his very own home.  Foods, friends, fun… all of it is possible, right where he stands.  He doesn’t need to know how to do anything, doesn’t need to think or plan or leave… he needs to stand in appreciation of what he has and joyfully anticipate what he wants.  The rest flows right to him, right into his cage, riding in on a wave of his happiness and joy.

This is a story of how to do it.  How to find joy in standing in your cage.  How to relax into the art of allowing.  How to not let circumstances dictate to you how you can feel.  No parameter can encage you except your own mind.  Your soul feels freedom and expansion no matter what external parameter your body is experiencing.  Your soul sings it’s song of joy and feels best when it remembers and vibrates in that frequency.  If your mind has pinched your soul off from resonating with joy, as my mind did for so long, then you are suffering.  And your mind has formed a prison around you.  I speak from experience.  If you can find a note of joy, something to focus on from within your cage that brings you the feeling of gratitude or even simple relief, then joy will begin to flow to you and meet you right where you are.  Right in your cage, on your knees, on your deathbed, in your prison, there is no where that well being can not meet you.

Because I feel so much healthier free from my mental prison, I enjoy raising my children this way as well.  No parameters, no imprisonment, no external pressures to do anything other then reach for joy.  Reaching for joy first, everything else falls into place.  The learning, the growing, the wonderment, the living.  Joy first.  That’s what I strive to teach my children, if there was any lesson I could teach.

The reality is, that this is the lesson they have brought to me.  First, by their very existence.  Being born, they brought me instant freedom, the freedom to fall in love without end.  The freedom to fall into soul love.  The freedom to remove the parameters of life, no beginning, no end.  The freedom to *feel* soul energy and believe in the interconnectedness of all.   xoxo

Whew!  Did you make it all the way through my longest post ever?  That’s the most I’ve typed in since I started this blog over 7 months ago.  Thank you so much for being along to share the journey with me.  If you are still awake, and not sleeping like poor exhausted Jake below, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  Are you happy, right where you are standing?  And now I’m off to go lay down for a nap!  I’ll be happy, right where I’m… ahem… laying.  xoxo