It is no accident that I had no accident

It’s no accident there was no accident for me.

It happened this morning on my way to the dojo. There is a particular route I drive most days. Drop off the kids at the bus, stop for a cup of coffee, maybe there is time for an errand or two. You know the drill – it is all part of the daily routine.

As I was on my usual way, I was surprised when out of the blue, clear as a bell, I hear this thought in my mind: change routes now.

For a brief moment I resist.

But then I give into this seemingly absurd notion and pull into the left hand turn lane to take a different highway to the dojo.

And yes, sure enough, it happened right before my eyes.

It was a typical accident. A van pulls out of the parking lot and rolls partially into the street. The small car in the lane closest to the van swerves to miss it. But unfortunately, there is a light truck in the next lane. As the truck is knocked into the oncoming traffic, bits of car parts are sent flying over the road into all 4 lanes.

In slow motion I see the truck heading straight for me. Right where I would have been. Except I am not there. I am in the left hand turn lane a few car lengths back. Out of harms way because I listened, trusted and followed my intuition.

(Remember the story when I listened to my intuition, but didn’t follow it…)

This time it was such a visceral experience since I saw the accident happen right before my eyes. The results of my choice were clear and immediate.

Wheh! That was a close one. It turned out that no one injured.

It was a relatively small accident, but one that still left everyone shaken. And thankful that no serious harm was done.

So this is a good time to increase your awareness: next time you hear your intuition giving you an odd command, listen to it. Trust it. Follow it.

It could save your life

Take good care of yourself.
And drive safely.


Sometimes The Best Way To Teach Is To Get Out Of The Way

People often ask me to teach them how to meditate and so I always prefer to give simply the most basic instruction necessary.

In my classes, what I am doing instead of teaching how to meditate is giving you the opportunity to experience it. Holding the space to make it easier or even possible. And I think that counts for a lot.

It happened today when I was leading an Aikido class where a third of the class was made up of black belts who have been training for many years longer than me (talk about intimidating!)

Instead of trying to “teach” them something, I demonstrated a series of familiar techniques and created the opportunity for the experience of vigorous training.

All the students trained according to their own capabilities and the result was a tremendously satisfying class.

Often times when we are in charge of a situation, we feel inclined to instruct to such an extent that our words become a mandate.

This is especially true for me if the person that I am instructing happens to be my teenage daughter. I really really want her to get the information I am giving her so she can learn it already!

But just like the meditation classes and the Aikido class, my best teaching is not teaching at all. It is a thousand times more effective if I give her a few guidelines and hold the space for her to safely experience it on her own.

This is an exceptionally ripe opportunity for paying careful attention to what my intuition is telling me – often it is telling me to Stop Talking!

It can seem unproductive to only give the slightest amount of instruction, but in reality all the words in the world are not nearly as valuable as just doing it.

So maybe you have a situation in your life like that – a child, an employee, a co-worker or a student. Maybe instead of teaching them how to do something, just give them a few choice guidelines and lots and lots of space to safely explore, experiment and experience it for themselves.

Give it a try.


The Dalai Lama Said That Sleep Is The Best Meditation

The Dalai Lama has a full schedule. As a worldwide spiritual leader he travels, speaks, teaches,  writes, leads and maintains his own spiritual practice among a million other things. I heard that once he was asked if he reduces his meditation when he travels and has more time constraints. He noted that instead of meditating less during times of an extra full schedule, he meditates more.

It is mysterious, but if you decide to increase your meditation in the face of hectic and busy days, you will empower yourself. Any time you increase your resolve in the midst of challenging situations, you empower yourself to greater strengths.

Here is an idea. I encourage you to consider what you are presently doing with your meditation and set your intention to increase it just a little bit. Try it beginning today and go until the start of the New Year (2012!) Instead of waiting for the New Year to start or deepen your practice, do it now and you will be well on your way come January 1st.

You know how good it feels when you mediate. You know the blessed relief when have just a few minutes of everybody-leave-me-alone peace and quiet. Ah, bliss.

Now, this need not be an overwhelming, one more thing I gotta do, sort of a deal.

So how about this: 5 minutes.

Just 5 minutes. If you want to start meditating, try the 5 Minute Meditation. If you already have a practice, add 5 minutes each day.

It can be a walking meditation, a movement meditation, a stillness meditation, a chanting meditation. Whatever it is, commit to it. Give yourself that extra boost of energy and vitality that comes from a meditation practice.


PS. The Dalai Lama is also reported to have said that sleep is the best mediation, so maybe what you really need to commit to yourself is to get extra sleep.

Carpool Magic

I drive a lot. Carpools,  pick-ups, drop-offs, ballet, art classes, high school, middle school, elementary school, aikido, library.

And that does not count anything extra – field trips, special events, science fair presentations, birthday parties, performances, dress rehearsals and mandatory parent meetings (x3!)

Now I have two things to say about all this. Actually three, but one of them is not printable…

First, I have to drive; there is no getting around that. And much of it is in heavy daily traffic, so I figured out how to stop fighting it (mostly) and settle into the Zen of Driving. When I arrive after the Zen trip, I am calm and ready for the adventure that is ahead. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way…

There is no Zen of Driving when the kids are arguing and grumpy, either first thing in the morning or after a long day at school. I am completely serious when I tell you that I actually went into the Honda dealer a few weeks ago and asked if they could install a bullet proof, sound proof shield between my front seat and the back seats of my minivan.

You know, like the ones they have in taxis. I am even willing to have a little slot so the kids can slip me some money to pay for the gas. Or maybe even a tip, hmmm…

Anyhow, I put my foot down when it comes to excessive arguing and will pull over to get everyone quiet before I start again. Sometimes when I pull over to the side of the road, I can elicit a cease and desist to all the fighting by using my “crabby Mommy powers.”

Or sometimes I pull over and sit in complete and stony silence until everyone settles down. It all works, just gotta know which one for which situation. When it’s only my own children in the car, it’s fine and everyone shapes up and when we get back on the road, no one is worse for the stop.

But every once in a while when I am driving other children in the car, the whole group becomes so wild, loud and over the top that it actually become dangerous for me to drive under those conditions. I have to pull over to calm and quiet them down a bit using one or two of my special skills.

This of course is completely embarrassing for my kids and the other children, too. But it is effective and driving off after an awkward “pull-over” results in a completely silent ride the rest of the way home. They are all a little scared of me, and I like it that way.

I have been at this for a while and when I pull up to the bus stop for the pick up and everyone piles in, to quote Rick Harrison, “You never know what is going to come through that door!” And that leads me to the second thing I have to say about driving the carpool…

Sometimes, it is exquisite.

A teenager might climb into the front seat and tell me all about her day, her worries, her classes, her weekend plans, her uncertainty, her fears, her hopes and dreams. It happens.

Sometimes we all share a long standing joke that only comes up in the routine of the carpool. And one day comes when we are roaring hilariously over a funny scene that has unfolded over the course of time, maybe weeks, maybe years.

And when I am driving every time on the way to pick-up or after drop-off all by myself with no one else in the car, no music, no cell phone…ah, that is when my creative mind can solve problems, work out details, or just relax.

In the carpool we sing, debate, explore ideas, exchange mundane this and that, tell stories, share sadness, laugh and occasionally we all sit in natural silence each in our own private reverie.  It is precious time and I know it will be over some day.

So this is a job that takes up a lot of my time. And honestly, plenty of time I don’t really love it. But you know what, it is also a gift. And when I am willing to be present for it, magic happens in the carpool.

I know you have something in your life that is difficult, annoying, challenging, frustrating and will not go away. But consider that it can also be a gift and see what small pleasures you can receive from it today.

Best blessings,

Thanks A Lot

The first time I heard about making a daily gratitude list it sounded like a good idea, but I did not think it would really make much difference to anything in my life.

The next time I heard about making a daily gratitude list I thought, “hmmm, maybe I should try that…” By the third time I heard about it, I was in a bit of a slump and decided to just go for it already.

So I got a 39¢ notebook and started listing 5 gratitudes every day.

WOW! I was not prepared for what happened next. Everything, I mean everything in my life changed. I stopped complaining. And once I stopped complaining, my body stopped having aches and pains. I started to enjoy the very things that I could not tolerate. I was really able to reframe experiences in my life to see them from a different perspective.

It was so simple and so immediate that it took me by surprise. I love my gratitude list and so I want to share with you my list of what I am thankful for today.

1. My Family. I know this seems so obvious that it is almost corny. But once I started to place my family at the top of my gratitude list, I began to be grateful for them. And I was much less irritated with them. (And let me tell you – that is something everyone was grateful for!)

2. Financial Well Being. When I started to express gratitude for my financial well being, a huge shift occurred in my life that had far reaching consequences. Instead of feeling like there was never enough, I became aware that there was always plenty.

3. Good Health. OK, there have been times of sickness – some worse than others – and I really don’t like that. But I remind myself that if I am alive and kicking, right here right now, then I have something to be grateful for.

4. Friends. Without friends, I’d be lost. It’s that simple. Thanks to my wonderful delicious fabulous friends – I luv ya!

OK, now for number 5 – something frivolous and random and something I enjoy and appreciate…those delicious French cookies I had last week (such a treat!), a good cup of tea, lunch with a friend, a book that makes me laugh, a book that makes me cry, an autumn walk, making all the lights on the way home, a good parking spot!! All of them and more…

I am so blessed. And so are you.

Write up your 5 gratitudes and share them here. Do it every day and experience surprising little miracles.


Don’t Listen To Your Intuition!

Don’t Listen To Your Intuition!


OK, I should have said “Don’t ONLY listen to your intuition.”

It is not enough to just listen to your intuition. That is the start, for sure, but you must go further than that.

Listen to your intuition.  Trust your intuition.  Follow your intuition.

All three of these are essential and they are each a little different. Let’s take a quick look at them.

Listen to your intuition. This is the first step. Your intuition is that small voice that is telling you what is best for you. It can be so small. Not a big deal at all, but it is your voice and it is your truth.

When we start out (and even when we have been at it a long time) we may listen to our intuition, but sometimes not trust it and ultimately not follow it.

Let me give you an example – this happened to me just this morning.

I was driving to my class at the dojo and on my way I passed the bakery where they sell wheat-free pizza that my kids love. Now, as it turned out, I was planning to get pizza for them at the bakery for supper this evening. But I knew I would pass this way later in the day on my way back home.

So far, no big deal. I’m just driving along.

But as I got closer the bakery, I heard a small voice inside say, “Stop and get the pizzas now.”

“That is weird,” I think to myself because I never go shopping in the morning, I always pick up in the afternoon. “Stop and get the pizzas now,” I hear.

Can’t be bothered. “Get them now.”

They will get too hot in the car. “Get them now.”

I’ll be by here later. “Get them now.”

I had LISTENED to my intuition, I surely heard it and I knew exactly what it was telling me, but I didn’t trust it and I certainly did not follow it. I kept driving.

So what happened? Yup, you guessed it. I got to the bakery in the afternoon and all the pizzas were sold out. “It’s so strange,” the sales clerk said, “we never run out this early in the afternoon.”

Ok. So the consequences of this example are not really such a big deal. Plan B for dinner.

But what happened is that eventually my inner voice stopped telling me what to do in this situation. I ignored it and just kept driving.

This story is a micro-picture of what happens when you continuously stop paying attention to your intuition. If you ignore it enough, it stops informing you.

So the first step is to listen to your intuition. But in order to get anywhere with what you hear, you must also TRUST your intuition.

Know that your intuition is completely trust worthy.

In all situations.

Every time.


Your intuition will never lead you astray.

When I get to the point where I feel like my intuition is leading me someplace weird (picking up pizzas early in the morning) that is when I (usually) just say aloud to myself, “I trust my intuition.”

By saying this, it allows that extra moment or two to collect myself and it opens up the opportunity for the next step.

And the next step is to FOLLOW my intuition.

This is the juicy action, this is the good stuff. This is what keeps you from second guessing yourself. This is what directs your life to what is very best and true for you.

Sometimes there is no explanation in the results to suggest what would have happened if you did not follow your intuition.

Like the pizzas, had I gone first thing in the morning, I would have never known that later they would run out. It’s just a matter of trusting that your intuition is right.

So actually, yes, listen to your intuition.

And by all means, trust your intuition.

And most importantly, follow your intuition.

It may lead you on some big adventures and a few off the beaten track errands, but it will never lead you astray.



(daily meditation)

handle whatever comes up

take practical steps towards goals

have ideas that are clear and focused

be light hearted and enjoyable

be inspired to help others

(Daily Meditation)

struggle to get things done

goals seem unmanageable

ideas are muddled

cranky and difficult

too overwhelmed to help anyone else or do anything extra


What separates the first group from the second?

Daily Meditation

So, how about it…

get started with a 5 Minute Meditation today.



5 Minutes Sitting At A Stop Light

Every once in a while I miss the light at a huge intersection with many lanes and turn lanes and road construction and just a lot of traffic.

And sometimes, I sit at the traffic light for more than 5 minutes. That is annoying. Do I have extra time in my day to sit at a single traffic light for 5 minutes?

I do not! And yet, not much to be done about it – sometimes it just happens.

What could I do with those 5 minutes if I had not got caught in traffic?

I could watch some extra commercials on TV. Stand in a long line at the grocery store. Look for a parking spot in a busy part of town. Wait for a new software update to download. I could even spend those 5 minutes on the toll bridge plaza!

Hmm, I really don’t have any extra time for those things either, but they seem to creep into my life none-the-less.

So how about it – how about a 5 Minute Meditation. You know which one I am talking about:

Sit down.

Set your cell phone timer for 5 minutes.

Close your eyes.


(pretty simple)

It is a huge gift that you give yourself when you spend a little time in stillness. Getting to a place of stillness is not adding one more thing to your frantic schedule. It is making room for your breath, your well being, yourself. This is putting on your oxygen mask.

Ahhh, that sounds so much better to spend those 5 minutes breathing and bringing a moment of stillness into your life. It will assist you with making clear decisions and help you to be calm and centered.

Maybe it seems like you don’t have time for meditation, but what the heck – give it a try. (It is better than waiting for a traffic light!)



PS. Go here to get a FREE app for The Meditation Project meditation posts. They are great reminders and inspiration to help out your daily meditation. Created by Anne Grothaus.

Difficulties Are Sacred

While I was preparing for my Second Degree Black Belt, there was one day in particular that was really difficult and dark. It is hard to describe why, but it was just one of those days when I was struggling, I couldn’t remember any of my skills or techniques and I lost all my confidence.

We were training really hard and I got slammed by the bokken (a wooden sword) a couple of times. So in addition to my frustration, I was sore, bruised and uncomfortable.

When I walked in the door at home after training at the dojo, my head was hanging low and my body was feeling dejected.

But somehow in that place of truth, I knew it was a sacred moment. I knew it was better if I did not “just get through” this time.?? Instead I had to just but be IN it. Stay with it and feel it and allow it to be so. The words or thoughts that “it was all going to be ok” did not help me (even though I knew they were true.)

So without trying to cheer myself up or brush off the struggle and discomfort, I decided to just be in it.

Eventually it went away, the bruises inside and out, my fears, lack of confidence and frustration all worked themselves out by the time I took my test.

I am so glad I stuck with it and allowed myself to feel all the pain as well as the accomplishments.

And on Sunday August 21, I did it – I passed the exam and received my new rank!

Thanks everyone for all the good words of encouragement, I really appreciate it!


You Already Know

You already have the answer within yourself. You already know exactly what to do. Of course, sometimes distractions and other people’s opinions and ideas from the world around you make it difficult to hear your own voice. But it’s in there. It’s inside you.

So just listen. Stop what you are doing and take the time to sit quietly and listen. You will always find the truth inside of yourself if you listen quietly, carefully and patiently.

eatin’ da frog

One of the things I love in life is simplicity and effectiveness. When something starts even moving towards gettin’ complicated, I try to find a way to keep it simple. Maybe that means looking for a different way to do things or maybe that means breaking down the task into small manageable pieces.

So here is what I did the other day when I was feeling completely overwhelmed by all of my projects and demands.

I sat down and wrote out everything that needed to be done. Everything that was taxing the back of my mind as well as the little to-do tasks. Getting it out of swimming in my head and on to paper. (Yes, I still work primarily with pen and paper!)

That is the simple part.

For the effective part, I did a quick sort of what needed to be done now, next week, later and never – love those ones. And get on it.

Then here is the secret trick. What I call eatin’ da frog. I read a saying many years ago that I have never forgotten, “Eat a bullfrog first thing in then morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day!” hahaha

So my next list is the “frog” list. And yes, I write “Frog” at the top. This list is those handful of things I really really resist, hate, can’t face, can’t stand to do but know I must.

And I simply will myself forward to one, just one, of those things each day. That’s it. Simple. Effective.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!



Meditating this morning in the wee early darkness was the perfect opportunity to “find my space.”
No one else.
No other agenda, information, demands, requirements.
Just me and my thoughts.
And even those eventually drifted off.
When we make this commitment to find this stillness, this quietness, then we create the chance for more internal mental, emotional, spiritual space.
This is freedom.

Get A Quickie

Busy? Tired? Harried? Here is a simple way to add a little bit of peace and calm into your life.

The 5 Minute Meditation. If you already meditate every day, it is a good mid-day refresher or a bookmark for those super hectic days. If you are new to meditation, this is a great way to start.Try it now and see how good it feels (and it is super easy!)



Meditate In The World – Marakkesh

Yves Saint Laurent Garden in Marakkesh

Meditating in public can seem a little unusual, daunting even. But it is actually much easier and calming than you ever imagined. The day my public meditation was in the Yves Saint Laurent Gardens in Marakkesh was marvelously sweet and tranquil. The warm air caressed my skin as I settled into a gentle state of stillness. The sounds that wafted were exotic to me. Languages, birds, insects. As always, I was delighted and surprised by the ease of finding stillness during a public meditation. So utterly exposed. And yet enclosed within myself.

I have meditated publicly literally all over the world – from Morocco to Lake Tahoe [Meditating in -2 Degrees! (that’s -18 in Celsius!)] Each time I learn something new about the world around me, something new about the world within me, something new about the world of meditation itself.

Maybe today is the day you would like to give it a try. Find a rock, a bench, a quiet place amid hustle and bustle. Of course, it is important that you find a place that is safe and that you feel secure. Set you cell phone timer for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and relish the moment as you settle into the most unlikely opportunity for stillness. Enjoy.

Good Morning Dan!

Good Morning Dan!

This post is for my brother Dan. And for all of us…

Ah, the crazy busy life ~ so much to do, so many places to be, demands, requirements, distractions. So many things that have to get done Right Now!

How am I ever going to get from this spot in front of my computer over to my meditation spot. It is only 2 and half feet away. And yet…

OK, I’m going to do it!

I know it I make it over there and just sit for a minute, I will stay for 5 minutes.
I know if I make it over there and just sit for 5 minutes, I will stay for 10 minutes.
I know that once I settle in for 20 minutes, a full hour is easy.

And then everything is easier, smoother, better.

When I meditate every day, I am more efficient, effective, positive, disciplined, patient.
I am more kind.

Meditate Every Day.

Blessings to you Dan, and to each of us.

Meditate. Every Day.