Radical Self-Love

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

Greetings, darlings! Since my last two blogs dealt with relationships, I figured I would delve a little more into the most important, authentic, up close and personal relationship we can ever have – the relationship with oneself. And since February showers us with all things love, everywhere we turn, I thought it would be nice to place ourselves in the spotlight for a change. After all, we deserve it! If we don’t shower ourselves with radical self-love, who will? What images does the phrase radical self-love conjure up in your mind?

Love is our divine birthright and, in my humble opinion, we should unapologetically own it. Yep, stand tall, proud, open-hearted and grateful for the unconditional love that supports us and is always available inside of us – the Divine life force that brought us into this existence. The love that oftentimes shows up at unexpected times. The one we call by many names….Father, Mother, God, The Creator, Divine Being, Celestial Being, Allah, Spirit, The Almighty, Great Mother, Divine Source  and all other names denoting a Supreme Being. We are an extension of this divinity! How can we not shower ourselves with love knowing the great love that resides in us? How can we best honor the Source? How can we be more gentle with ourselves? How can we be more loving with ourselves?

Some people have mastered the art of loving others but have lost themselves in the process. They have forgotten about themselves, their needs, desires, wants, dreams, and aspirations. They are quick to meet the needs of everyone around them but wouldn’t know where to start, or how to start, taking care of themselves. They are barely getting by. If you are one of these people, I encourage you to think long and hard as you ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What happened to me?
  3. How did I let this happen?

Whether you have forgotten how to shower yourself with love or not, I am certain we can all practice a whole lot more radical self-love. Let me ask you this? If you could spend an entire day showering yourself with love, and taking care of your Self, what would it look like? How could you carve out some time for some self-care practices or routines that would allow you to amp up your livelihood?  What is your soul calling you to do or not do?

For some reason, I felt compelled years ago to rip out certain pages from Body and Soul magazine (not even sure they are still in publication – perhaps under another name). They used to have a monthly feature called Ten Thoughts on Whole Living. Now I know why I kept these pages – because some day I would be able to share them with you! So, throughout the month of February, I will be sharing some of these thoughts on whole living with you to help you get jump-started on some major self-love, self-care and mindfulness practices and/or enhance your already existing practices.  Being mindful of our needs and attitudes towards ourselves, our thoughts and actions greatly impact our quality of life. My heartfelt wish for you is that you feel inspired and motivated to shower yourself with a whole lot of love and affection!

  • Ease into the day slowly: take a few minutes each morning to gently wake up. 
  • Be straightforward. An honest response often trumps a clever one.
  • Discover new ways to share the things you love. 
  • Worry breeds anxiety; intuition invites calm.
  • Create habits that help you live sustainably – wherever you are.
  • Don’t second guess; sometimes the best idea is the one that comes first. 
  • Respond to life with openness and curiosity.
  • Don’t wait until you have no room left in your day to breathe; make space now.
  • Anger has a way of evaporating in the face of compassion. 
  • Find pleasure in the simplest of tasks. 

Another great way to work with these Ten Thoughts on Whole Living is to use them as journal prompts. You can set the stage by lighting a candle, centering yourself, connecting with your breath, and anything else that helps you to feel grounded. Read and think about each one and how you can apply them to your way of being. When you are ready to write, don’t over think; just write from the heart and see what comes up. As I like to say, lead from the heart….right from the start. You may just surprise yourself!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC


You’re Not Alone

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that killed your dreams.” -Maya Mendoza

My previous blog, Relationships Expire, was geared towards friendships that sometimes need to be let go of due to the nature of the circumstances surrounding the friendship itself. While much of what I wrote about can most definitely be applied to romantic relationships, partnerships, unions and marriages as well, this particular blog will explore the excuses that we sometimes use as our reason for staying in a romantic relationship gone bad. Self-doubt, not wanting to be alone and not being able to make a decision – one way or the other –  are key factors that oftentimes keep us stuck.

When I was growing up, Mama would always remind me, “Para ester mal acompañada, mejor ester sola.” Translation: You are better off alone than in bad company.  Perhaps that is why I’ve always had the ability to recognize when a romantic relationship was no longer serving me OR the other person. I’ve never had a problem being alone. The reality is that sometimes we are the loneliest in a relationship. However, some of us prefer to stay in unhealthy and dysfunctional relationships. Why? Because we claim we don’t want to be alone.

Not wanting to be alone / lonely speaks volumes! If we don’t like our own company,  THAT is a problem right there. If we don’t learn how to be in relationship with ourselves, then we will never know how to be in relationship with another. If we can’t love ourselves enough to recognize and acknowledge our needs, how will anyone else do so? If we can’t feel secure on our own two feet, nothing another person does will give us that feeling of security. If we subject ourselves to another person’s alcohol abuse, drug abuse and domestic abuse, we will continue to attract such behaviors at the expense of our mental health and physical well-being. If we can’t dream and aspire to achieve our dreams, no one can do it for us. If we can’t be exceptional role models of what healthy relationships look like for our children, then who will?

Some of us are what I call “routine junkies.” It’s a comfort zone of sorts or may even be a coping mechanism. It’s like we are unable to freely function if we aren’t chained to a routine of some kind regardless of how destructive it may be. We will maintain a stronghold on that routine at all cost –  even if it robs us of our life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Let me be clear here. There are definitely relationships worth getting in the ring for and doing the work for, and there are many resources and tools out there to help us do so. However, we must first be committed to working on the MOST important relationship of all – the one with ourselves. Only then are we able to come together, have unity of purpose and the skills needed to handle the inevitable conflicts and ups and downs of being in relationship with another person.

And just as there are people in beautiful, healthy, loving, productive and committed relationships for decades upon decades, there are those people who’ve been together just as long but for all the wrong reasons. These are the ones who’ve stayed way past the expiration date. Perhaps they have failed to see that the relationship / union / marriage has died? Do they stay because of the money? The children? The pets? The company? The convenience? The house?  Comfort? Guilt? Self-doubt? Complacency? Because of what others may “think?” How they will be “viewed?” Lack of drive or ambition? Lack of  self – respect / self- love? Fear of confrontation? Lack of skills? Lack of support? Lack of expectations? Inability to make a decision? Fear of starting over? Fear of the unknown? Fear of being alone? Just plain fear?

A long time ago, a psychologist recommended a wonderful book on relationships to me. She prefaced the recommendation by saying that, although the title had the word “marriage” in it, the book was a great tool for anyone fighting for or wanting to be in a healthy relationship. The book, Fighting for Your Marriage, is based on the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP). The book is divided into 4 parts: Understanding the Risks on the Road to Lasting Love; Teaming Up to Handle Conflict; Enjoying Each Other; and Staying the Course. I found the book very helpful during a  time when I was in one of THE most challenging relationships of my life. It helped me to realize that we were both on two very different pages and stages of our lives.

Around the same time, I attended an Omega Conference and one of the keynote speakers was Harville Hendrix and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt. Together, they published a book, Getting the Love You Want. This book also has an accompanying workbook for couples. And like with many self-help books and programs, part of the work / success comes from examining our own issues, agendas, childhood, traumas and other stumbling blocks that keep us from getting the love we want – and so rightfully deserve. I have come to learn that if we do not have a healthy, loving and compassionate relationship with ourselves, there is no way we can reap the beauty of being in a healthy romantic relationship.

Another book that is a game changer, and one I have also passed on to others, is Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, by Mira Kirshenbaum. If you are unsure as to whether you should remain in a romantic relationship or call it quits, this book is a step-by-step guide  that will help you make a decision and remove self-doubt from the equation. After all, self-doubt can sabotage the healthiest of relationships, never mind ones in disrepair. This isn’t a book that will tell you ways to fix a broken relationship; it is one that will help you choose whether to leave or stay in the relationship. The scenarios in the book cover just about every challenging issue you can think of and will guide you to make the best decision for yourself. Whichever decision you make, you will feel confident doing so. As one reviewer noted about the book, “A powerful self-help resource for anyone caught in a web of relationship distress.”  Hmmmm….I like that term, a web of relationship distress!

I think it’s safe to say we all enter relationships having certain expectations. However, times change and people do too. The more we evolve, grow and mature, the more we come to realize that some romantic relationships MUST have an expiration date. We can acknowledge and honor the fact that we came together for a purpose, we were each other’s teacher, we can identify the value we each added to the relationship yet know when to walk away……respectfully, wisely, compassionately, consciously and maybe even lovingly.

One thing to remember, is that you’re not alone in any of these scenarios. There are people in our lives who support us and have our back, tools to help us identify the root causes of our troubles, professionals that can guide us in working the work, practices that allow us to feel deeply rooted, stable, and supportive, and resources that we can turn to for inspiration, encouragement, motivation, wisdom and enlightenment. The key is tapping into these resources!

Darlings, happiness, joy and love are our birthright. Oftentimes, the only person keeping us from claiming them is ourselves. We don’t need to remain in a dead-end relationship  that is robbing us of these gifts. The choice is ours to make. It always comes down to choice making. The key is making the most evolutionary choice…..the one that will free us to fly, dream, soar, be happy, joyous, live fully, embrace our magnificence and, perhaps, even find love again!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

PS- During the month of February, I will be blogging on Sundays and Wednesdays only.




Relationships Expire

“Let go. Something beautiful wants to grow on its place.”

So let me begin by being totally transparent here and tell you that I waited until late in the day before this blog was set to publish before I sat down to write it. I don’t know why, it just happened…..I’ve been off  my writing schedule a bit, and today I felt a little bit “off my game.” I had something in mind, but it just wasn’t flowing, and I’m all about going with the flow.

A part of me didn’t give it a second thought because my “pseudo daughter,” otherwise known as “LL Cool Rutz,” was stopping by to pick up some delicious, home made, old-world, Cuban black beans (made by my friend Barb). By now you know I’m all about sharing, so Barb also put some beans aside for my fellow friend and foodie. I also knew that LL and I would end up in some sort of conversation that would fuel ideas for future blogs.

Now, LL may have thought she was just making a quick pit stop at the treehouse to pick up some food….really? Who comes to a Cuban, Italian-by-injection, food-loving household and doesn’t get fed? Oh, and did I mention she was also going to have a cocktail? Well, the food “drive by” and quick cocktail ended up in a Tito’s jam-fest complete with hummus, chips, popcorn and freshly steamed brown rice, black beans and a side of avocado (mind you, she didn’t want to eat here). So much for a quick pit stop. I’ve learned…don’t ask, just serve!

As we ate curled up on the couch, I shared my thoughts for a blog with LL, and she insisted on the title, Relationships Expire,  because of the direction our conversation was headed. I initially was thinking about romantic relationships, but then we zeroed in on friendships. We talked about how we can get “stuck” in relationships that don’t serve us any longer and why. Here are some questions that were thrown around (in no particular order):

  • With whom do you commiserate?
  • Have you ever felt “stuck” with a person / people because they are part of  your life?
  • You know the saying, “misery loves company?” Is that some kind of coping mechanism? 
  • Are your peers growing alongside you?
  • Can you identify the stagnant relationships in your life?
  • Who guides you along your evolutionary path?
  • Is there someone who drags you down?
  • Is there someone keeping you from growing?
  • Can you identify the givers and the takers in your life?
  • What value do your friends bring to the table?
  • What value do you bring to the table?
  • Are there conversations / stories you are getting tired of telling?
  • Are you OK with letting go of a friendship that no longer serves your greatest good?

OMG I am trying to make sense of some of the notes I took while we were chatting up a storm, and I can’t make heads or tails out of them! It’s like they are written in a foreign language. I have pretty nice handwriting, but what I scribbled literally looks like gibberish! Why on earth do I scribble? Ugh!

Anyway, as we were chatting away, we were also sharing times in our lives where we felt that a relationship had expired. Especially if we are on an evolutionary path. There may come a point where we start to grow apart, and we see the learning gap getting wider and wider. We see that we have less and less in common with a particular friend(s). And that’s OK. Everyone is on their own path and has their own individualized learning plan that must be respected. We may reach a point where we feel we are growing by leaps and bounds, and others are lagging behind – until it gets to the point where we get cut loose or we do the cutting loose. And that is OK. Sometimes, we just have to let go! The key is knowing when to let go!

We each have a role to play in the friendships we develop along this journey called life. Some friendships are longterm, some temporary, and others are transitional. Some ebb and flow, some hover on the surface, and others sink to the bottom. As we grow, mature and evolve, our circle of key friends may decrease in size but increase in value.

Also, different people fulfill the different needs we have as human beings. It’s like we have various “gas tanks” to fill….survival, primal, emotional, intellectual, professional, physical, spiritual, cosmic, creative, etc. It’s very rare for just one person to fill all of these tanks (although occasionally it may happen). That’s just the way it is. Another key factor is being able to identify who is filling these various tanks for us and knowing how we contribute to the lives of others as well. If there isn’t some sort of mutual exchange happening, if we aren’t adding value to each other’s lives, if we aren’t showing up for each other when we need it most, then we must examine the significance of the relationship we are holding onto.

Sometimes, by holding onto a relationship that has expired, we are keeping something truly beautiful from growing in its place. After all, don’t we see that in nature? Nature is truly such an amazing teacher! Periodically, we must do some weeding. We must clear out dead weeds, plant new seeds, nurture and water them, and watch them blossom. Relationships are no different. Just as weeds die, relationships expire!

OK darlings, as LL and I have taken to saying on many evenings, it’s time for me to go to Club Bed –  featuring DJ Pillow and MC Blanky (I saw this posted once and just loved it).

Next up, the second half of our conversation that dealt with romantic relationships. Some have expiration dates as well!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC




Soften Your Edge

Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and free-floating- these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything you do.” -Wayne Dyer

Soften your edge is another term we hear in yoga class a lot and one that can be applied to our everyday lives. When I heard my teacher-friend, the lovely Tara, say these words in class the other day, I once again thought it would be a good topic to write about (much like a previous blog, Just Linger, inspired by yet another wonderful teacher, Erin).

We can go though life in a state of perpetual conflict, grievance, sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment, resentment and constantly hit brick walls, or soften our edge, sink in, open up and flow with effortless ease. And it is this state of calm, ease, peace, expansiveness and flow that allows us to be in balance. The more we tap into practices that keep our mind, body and spirit in that state of balance and effortless ease, the more we realize we don’t have to struggle or force anything to go our way. It just happens. The disciplines of  Yoga and Ayurveda teach us that the path to perfect health is learning to maintain balance……in mind, body and spirit. And that is why I LOVE YOGA. It changed my life!

Yoga philosophy can be traced back more than 5,000 years. This practice is much more than physical poses. It encompasses physical, mental and spiritual practices which allow us to “unite” our mind, body and spirit. These practices, or disciplines, are based on moral and ethical principles that allow us to align all parts of our being with our thoughts and actions. They afford us tools that will allow us to approach life from a place of equanimity and equilibrium.

The practice of yoga offers us opportunities for self-reflection, self-regulation, the practice of kindness, self-compassion and self-awareness. It’s an inside job! A job that is not dependent on external circumstances; yet, it rewards us with much success and is one that enhances our performance in ALL areas of our lives.

Since I’ve been immersed in the world of yoga, I’ve heard sooooooo many people say,  “I’m not flexible, I can’t do yoga.” Unfortunately, that is a false perception and misunderstanding. There was a time in my life I had a limited range of motion due to surgery as a teen and, I too, subscribed to that limited mindset. Over the years, there have been times I’ve been more or less flexible as a result of subsequent orthopedic surgeries and joint replacement appliances. However, we do NOT have to be  contortionists to do the “physical” practice of yoga.

Yoga is so much more that those physical postures. It requires us to tap into ourselves, our minds, emotions and belief systems. It’s about meeting our body where it is, honoring what it can and cannot do, exploring our edge, and respecting it. Much as in life, when we engage with others, we should be able to meet them where they are, explore our similarities and respect our differences. In order to do so, we need our spiritual toolbox and resources.

The practice of yoga restores harmony in our mind, body and spirit. It’s about going within and loosening every thought pattern and emotion that grips at us and takes over our minds and, oftentimes, makes us act unskillfully. The inner work and exploration we do as a result of our practice allows us to relinquish the grievances, resentments, anger and unresolved issues that are holding us hostage and keeping us stuck at every turn. It frees us! It’s not uncommon to hear a yoga and meditation practitioner say that they felt “at home” when they found yoga. That’s what yoga does, it brings us home to ourselves….to the very core of who we are. It brings us back to a healthy and renewed place of calm, ease, equanimity, loving-kindness, compassion and self-awareness.  Yoga softens our edges.

Our breath is another tool that allows us to soften our edge. It’s brings us back to the present moment instead of being stuck elsewhere. And that “elsewhere” is usually a dark, anxiety ridden, self- induced little shop of horrors. Something as simple as connecting with our breath diffuses the volatile diatribe waiting to explode within us like projectile vomit. Not a pretty sight!

When we are in the present moment, and have a clear head, we realize that we are the ones making something the struggle that it has become. We have been the ones adding fuel to the fire. There is absolutely no need for that – we can remember that at any given moment, we can connect with our breath and make a different choice. How liberating is that? Bringing ourselves back to the present moment allows us to shift our perspective from being “stuck” to one where we are able to see the infinite possibilities and choices that truly exist. As Deepak Chopra says, “We gain access to the creative and nurturing flow of our own nature.”

And on this note, I will leave you with a passage from the book, The Golden Present, for you to ponder.

“Health is your birthright, not disease; strength your heritage, not weakness; courage, not fear; bliss, not sorrow; peace, not restlessness; knowledge, not ignorance. The person with health and strength of body, soundness of mind, with morality and spirit is a real gem among all humanity. Such one possesses the true treasure.”


Wishing you a relaxing, peaceful, blissful, free-floating kinda day xo

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC







Setting the Tone

“Because no matter how hard a conversation is, I know that on the other side of that difficult conversation lies peace. Knowledge. An answer is delivered. Character is revealed. Truces are formed. Misunderstandings resolved.”         Shonda Rhimes

Let’s face it – there are times to have conversations and definitely times NOT to have conversations. The key lies in knowing the circumstances that can resolve or sabotage a conversation. If a productive, respectful, dignified and heart to heart conversation is what we are looking for, then we must adhere to setting the tone for having them.

I’ve found the following guidelines I established for myself very helpful. I will admit though, it took me several years and many lessons before mastering the art of setting the tone. Hopefully, you can relate!

  1. We make bad decisions that result in poor judgement when we are tired / over-tired/ distracted / hungry. Do NOT have conversations under these circumstances!
  2. If we do not have time to talk, do NOT make a phone call, take a call, or return a call regardless of what the other person make think. What another person thinks of us is their business not ours!
  3. There are certain conversations, especially the ones dealing with our feelings, reflections and relationships that MUST be discussed in person and when we have created the time and space to do so – when we can sit across from the other person and speak from deep within our heart and soul. Just remember, the other person may need time to reflect on what was said before responding. We must honor that. Conscious communication at its best!
  4. A conversation with someone who is inebriated is pointless and a waste of time and energy because they are “handicapped.” A person under the influence can be irrational and perhaps even belligerent and mean. They probably won’t even remember what was said or deny ever having said / done anything. This one can be a little challenging. Sometimes ignoring the person works best – other times they may test our patience. It’s a tricky road to navigate. The best option is probably to be nowhere near this type of compromising situation to begin with. We should remove ourselves whenever possible. Boundaries!
  5. Act, don’t react. Pause. Create the space to let things BE. Take the time to think. adhere to the 48 hour rule before responding (especially if it’s something that pushed our buttons to the max). Everything is a process, and our process is as uniquely different as are the lessons we are each here to learn. The “process” needs time and space to evolve and unfold. While some of us are exceptional at communicating verbally, others communicate best in writing. Either way, honor the process!
  6. Some things are better left unsaid. Silence speaks in its own way. If there is something we feel we just need to get out, take the time to sit with it, write about it, get the feelings and the energy out, release them (burn them if you desire), and wait for the appropriate time to present itself. Hand it over to the Divine. When such time presents itself, what and how things need to be expressed and experienced just happen. Perfect synchronicity and divine intervention!
  7. Agreeing to disagree is oftentimes the best solution provided there is no animosity or sarcasm. At times, some conversations need to be re-visited at a later point in time. Let go and go with the flow!
  8. Lastly, it’s not what gets said, it’s how it gets said. We must speak our truth kindly, calmly and compassionately (and with a smile when needed). Keep it simple too. It’s all in the delivery!

Since we are all human, I’m sure we’ve all had our share of lessons when it comes to deciding when and how to have conversations. We all have our own styles of communicating, and that is something that took me years to learn. When I was much younger, I just assumed everyone was open, ready, willing and able to talk about anything, anytime and anywhere. Surprise, surprise…..Not so! It took a while, but I finally got it.

One thing I know for sure though is that peaceful, non-violent communication is the way to go, especially in today’s times. It  can resolve a lot of misunderstandings and allow us to attain deeper levels of understanding and enlightenment. If we all take the time to listen deeply and communicate consciously and peacefully, we can certainly shift the communication dynamic to one that resonates with our soul, raises our vibration and not diminishes it.

Good vibes, darlings!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

THE Conversation

“Share your conversations with those closest to you.”

In life, most of us take the time to plan in an effort to have productive lives, successful careers and wonderful families. We have become the master planners when it comes to investing and finding creative ways to raise and save money as well as innovative ways to work and travel. We have taken planning and hosting celebrations of all kinds to another level –  births, graduations, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, sweet sixteen, first dates, engagements, milestone birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, wedding showers, weddings, gender reveal parties, new homes….you get the picture, right? But why do so many of us fail to plan for one of our most important dates of our lives? The one event that planning for, as long as we are alive, can provide us (and our families) with the utmost sense of security, comfort and peace of mind….Welcome to THE Conversation.

What conversation am I talking about? Well, if you missed my previous blog, The Pain of Death, you may want to first start there. In many cultures, death and dying is a sacred rite of passage and is spoken about, meticulously planned for and celebrated in a myriad of ways. Yet in others, talking about death – much less planning for it – is a taboo. Then there are people and cultures that fall somewhere between both. Where do you fit in?

What is your relationship with death? Did your family talk about it when growing up? Have you experienced the death of a loved one yet? Have you had to suddenly plan for someone’s passing? Have you ever gone to a funeral, wake or memorial service and say to yourself, “So and so never would have wanted this.” Or “So and so would have wanted x,y, and z.”  Or “What did they know about so and so?” Well, the sad reality is that “So and so” failed to make their wishes known.

Failing to make our wishes known when it comes to our health care, in the event something happens where we are left unable to make decisions for ourselves, can leave us without any quality of life whatsoever – perhaps even in a vegetative state. Failing to make our wishes known in the event of our passing can be catastrophic. Especially if there is money, property and THE most important investment property yet – children. What if a sole parent, or both parents, tragically die and a young child or young children are left behind? These are scenarios that happen every single day. Just think about all the people who left their home in the morning and never came back. Do you think they thought they were going to die that day? How about people who go to sleep at night and never wake up? I’m sure they had a laundry list of  “to-dos” for the following day, and dying was not an item on THAT list.

Consumerism and materialism in this country is off the charts. Everyone wants more, more, more….more money, more beauty, more clothes, cars, houses, vacations, gadgets, indulgences, experiences, and people will spend money they have and don’t have to attain the latest “thing” du jour that promises blah, blah, blah. Everything has to be “in order” or at least “appear” to be in order to the outside world. That’s all fine and good if that’s your idea of a nice life and is what floats your boat. But how about investing some of that time, energy and resources in planning for a nice death?  Or at best, having conversations about it with close friends and loved ones. Have you spoken to a loved one about your end of life wishes? Have you secured proper planning? Do you have an advanced health care directive? Have you designated a health care representative that will honor your wishes?

We have so many on-line planning tools and resources at our fingertips these days. In addition, many funeral / memorial homes even have personal planning guides available where one can document information such as vital statistics, personal records, estate information, insurance and beneficiary info, military history, family history, memorialization instructions, persons to contact or notify, the location of one’s will, and agencies, companies and organizations to contact. Why do we fail to plan? Any educator will give you the answer to that question – because failing to plan is planning to fail. Simply stated.

If we aren’t comfortable talking to our family, for whatever reason, then we can talk to our beloved friends. We can even enlist the help of some of our friends to aid us in getting the ball rolling. While I’ve had an advance directive and a will for as long as I can remember, and many of my friends and family are aware of my “overall” wishes, a couple of years ago I took the “planning” to an even more detailed, organized level. Not only did I update the legal documents, but I also recorded what I want done with my remains, the kind of event celebration and music I want and even took pictures of jewelry, furniture, and items that are near and dear to me and I want to bequeath to friends and loved ones. I put all these pictures in a photo album and, next to each one, I listed the person’s name and their phone number. The key is to remember to take pictures of any new acquisition….wink, wink, and make sure to give copies of your documents to the people who matter most.

As a matter of fact, one of my lovely friends and I just set a date for me to come over and help her do the same. Now remember, the idea is to not only be organized but to also have fun doing so. Set the mood, burn some incense, light candles, have great music playing in the background……..Make a fab event out of it, and plan to celebrate your successful accomplishments. I am sure we will celebrate will a little Pinot Noir and perhaps some delicious snacks or a nice meal. Remember, at best, snacks are always a must! And, at the end of this process, what we will be celebrating is the sense of comfort, ease and peace of mind we can have by having had THE Conversation and, ultimately, being prepared. What a beautiful, mindful, thoughtful and considerate gift to leave behind for our loved ones as a souvenir of our last rite of passage!

Isn’t this so much better than the added stress, anxiety, frenzy and heartbreak we leave behind if we fail to prepare? Loved ones left behind are already stressed and heartbroken. Why add uncertainty, confusion, drama, and perhaps even conflict, to an already painful moment in their lives?

So, darling, if you are someone who has been avoiding THE Conversation, may I ask you  why? If you are in need of having this convo, my wish for you is that, after reading this, you may feel inspired to share your conversation with those closest to you….or at best make you a little more comfortable and at ease doing so. Just remember to make the process fun and entertaining….Oh, and remember the snacks xo

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC






The Pain of Death

“Opening up to the pain of death, our own or that of someone we love, is one of the most mysterious blessings of life.” Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson goes on to say that nothing focuses us more clearly on what matters, helps us drop our defenses more quickly or gives us more compassion for human suffering – that death has become one of our greatest teachers. This, I know to be true. Why? I guess because I have been up close and personal with death my entire life.

What got me thinking about this? Well, allow me to back track. Just a few  days ago, very dear friends of mine suffered the double, mind-boggling and incomprehensible loss of their soul sister and her husband. Another dear friend of mine lost a life-long soul sister a couple of weeks ago. Over the past year, numerous friends and acquaintances have lost a loved one as well: mother, father, brother, best friend, soul sister, spouse. The thing is, most of the people who passed did so unexpectedly. I don’t know what is more painful, an unexpected death or a diagnosis and watching someone wither away very quickly. That’s a tough one!

As a result, I’ve spent most of today thinking about death, loss, grief, pain, suffering and resilience. That’s what the pain of death does to us. It makes us have conversations with ourselves. Conversations that make us explore the mystery and intrigue behind this so-called rite of passage. A passage that is so beautiful and marks the end of a soul’s purpose here on earth, yet one that is so painful and sorrowful for those who are left behind, ones who’ve never been taught to talk about death or have never been up close and personal to it. Today, I shed lots of tears for the human suffering of my own friends who are trying to process their grief. Today made me examine my life and reflect on my relationship with this rite of passage called death.

My intimate relationship (and fascination) with death started at an early age. I lost a couple of classmates when I was in elementary school. A dearly beloved cousin of mine passed away when I was in 8th grade (he was one year older than me). From there, it was my only living grandmother, uncles and aunts, their husbands and wives, cousins and, ultimately, my parents. Over the course of my career, there were a few students and several co-workers that passed away too. And when people who are our own age, and who are our contemporaries, come to the end of their life, we really turn inward and examine our own lives – whether we want to or not. A key factor for us is to get comfortable talking about death.

Is being up close and personal to death a blessing? Is having experienced all these losses the reason I am able to show up hold the space for others to grieve? Is being fascinated with the afterlife, reincarnation and research stories of near death and out-of-body experiences what enables me to have conversations with the dying and help them cross over peacefully? Is having gone though my own out of body experience and being in a place of pure love, consciousness and bliss the reason why I can so freely talk about  death and dying? Is my understanding of the many aspects and changes the body undergoes as it prepares for that final breath what helps me comfort and prepare someone for their transition or the transition of their loved one? Is my passion for organization and event planning why I can so readily help someone to organize their end of life affairs, wishes and celebrations? Is embracing and working through the stages of grief what helps to build resilience? Is gratitude what has made me so resilient? Questions, questions and more questions! No wonder my head, heart and body were screaming for attention today!

Though today’s tears, reflections, and heartfelt pain for shared human suffering, I realized that all this death, loss, grief, pain, suffering, life altering moments and resilience have shaped my spiritual and healthy relationship with the dying process. It is a gift for which I am grateful. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a few of my friends held the space for me to make sense of all this today……infinite love and gratitude for your presence, love and support……and for yoga, foot reflexology and amazing dinner with friends! Our Tools and our Tribe are a must go to in life and in death. These are our blessings!

Like any other rite of passage, I believe end of life is something we must plan for and celebrate. And that includes our own end of life! After all, we are all terminal! This is a date we all have and cannot cancel, reschedule or postpone. We must have a say in our own planning and celebrating. However, much of the planning, and many of the conversations, fail to take place. We must fix this, my darlings. We must reshape the way we think and talk about death, and allow it to be our greatest counselor, mentor and teacher.

Next up……THE Conversation!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Our Compassionate Self

“Compassion in action has to start with ourselves. It is unconditional compassion for ourselves that leads naturally to unconditional compassion for others.” -Pema Chodron

Somewhere in one of my notebooks I scribbled a quote by Ram Das, “Compassion=Fierce Grace.” It got me thinking. The word fierce in front of grace really denotes something deeper, more powerful and radical. When we think about it, we must be fierce, loyal, loving, brave, diligent, respectful, honorable, persistent and insistent with showing ourselves compassion. This dedication to our “compassionate self” is really the cornerstone and foundation on which the rest of our relationships are built.

In my mind, the word fierce also signifies strength. And in my humble opinion, being strong is a precursor to being compassionate. Strength in our beliefs, values, vision, integrity, priorities, practices, authenticity, self-preservation and personal power allows us to help and support others without losing ourselves. Yet, I realize how daunting this can be for empaths and highly sensitive people. That is why remaining steadfast in our loving-kindness practices is part of the equation.

Once we are able to stand strong with ourselves and shower ourselves with love, compassion and understanding, will we be able to stand alongside another and genuinely be our compassionate self…no pretense, no sense of obligation, duty, judgement, resentment or need of accolades. We will be able to hold the space for that person’s struggles, sorrows or suffering without taking on their struggles, sorrows or suffering. We can lend support, show acceptance, understanding, and be non-judgmental yet stand in our own personal power. Why? Because we have done our own housekeeping and taken care of our Self first.

It’s all about alignment (as is any yoga pose). A strong foundation can hold us, support us, lift and carry us. Showing ourselves compassion is spiritual work. It’s knowing and wanting to be aligned to that divine essence in us – which is part of the bigger divine creative power that gives us life, holds and sustains us. It’s wanting to show up in our best light. It’s wanting to be of service. It’s wanting to be part of the universal energetic flow of giving and receiving. And when we do it from a place of our personal power, from a place of fierce grace, we know we are able to be compassionate without depleting ourselves.

Every day we are faced with the opportunity to be compassionate, if we take the time to notice (just sayin’). We can go throughout our day, eyes wide open or sealed shut. The choice is ours to make. We can help others heal and help to move humanity forward, and that is also a choice we must make. And we can’t make that choice without first helping and healing ourselves. I believe it is our privilege and a responsibility we have to ourselves for having been given the gift of life….the gift of another day.

I will leave you with a beautiful prayer-meditation from the lovely book, May You Know Joy – Meditations for Everyday Living:


May you know compassion. May you know that compassion is innate in all human beings. Nurture compassion and begin accepting yourself for who you are and without judgement. Be genuine in your motives and take time to listen and understand and care for yourself. From this grounded practice, take your compassion into the world. Compassion runs deep and has incredible healing powers. 

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC

Tuning Into Silence

“Silence calms my soul and fills my heart with deep peace.” JTC

For some people, silence is torturous. They will keep themselves busy, occupied, over-scheduled and over-extended because the sound of silence drives them crazy. While I once fit into the category of “constant business,” I am glad that I hung up that hat,  retired that role long ago and now have such an intimate and healthy relationship with silence. It’s one thing I cannot live without. Taking the time to tune into silence is sacred for me. It’s also one of my non-negotiables.

Silence calms my soul because it re-calibrates me, connects me, grounds me, restores me and renews my mind, body and soul. It fills my heart with deep peace, serenity and tranquility. The art of practicing silence allows me to honor my connection and alignment to my higher self. I also look upon it as energy management. And boy have I learned a lot about energy in this last decade of my life!!! I’ve also learned to be over-cautious of where, how and with whom I choose to share my energy. I guess you can say it’s all about moderation, self-awareness, self-regulation as well as self-preservation.

We live in a world of distractions and sensory overload. A world that bombards us with constant noise, news feeds, consumerism, social media, etc., etc. Multiply all that with our professional lives and then our personal lives. Then top it off with the social commitments, family responsibilities and perhaps the not-so-stable people we encounter on the job, in our social lives, and in our personal lives. Yet, people are accepting this as the status quo despite the toll it’s taking on their lives, bodies, minds, souls, and relationships…….Yikes!!!!!! This way of living has become their sense of normalcy, so no wonder silence drives them bonkers!

As I’ve gotten older, learned to opt out of the cacophony and chaos of life, and redefined my own sense of normalcy, I value and honor the peace that comes with silence. I’ve grown to become very respectful of my own boundaries. I do not allow anyone or anything to disturb or rob me of my peace. Anything or anyone that does has to go….or at best I censor the “air time” I give the situation or the person. Let’s face it, there are people with whom our energies just don’t jibe, as well as personalities and behaviors that fall under the category of energy vampires. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we can’t rationalize or engage with irrational or unstable people. In these cases, it’s best to harness and guard our energy, stand in our power, honor our boundaries and remain silent. At times like these, silence becomes the most beautiful voice.

For me, silence is self-care of the highest degree…..self-preservation, self-love and self-respect. In censoring and honoring where, when, how and with whom I share my energy, I am able to sit with a certain amount of chaos and noise when I have to. I just don’t engage in it. I become the observer, connect with my breath and marvel and how far I’ve come. Tuning into silence is a sacred practice and one for which I am grateful.

Next up…..The Compassionate Self. Stay tuned my darlings!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace &gratitude, JTC





Just Linger

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde

“Just linger”…..these are words we often hear in yoga class when we are in the middle of a pose or exploring our edge. The word linger has also been showing up a lot for me ever since I read Sheryl Sandberg’s last book, Option B. So when I heard my teacher say it this morning in class, a light bulb went on, and I thought it would make a good topic to write about. My friend Kat and I talked a little about it while we were having breakfast after class (there are great conversations to be had after a good yoga class).

Lingering in a moment – whether it be pleasant, unpleasant, difficult, easy, chaotic, calm, exasperating or enthralling (you get the gist) can be a wonderful teachable moment. We have much to learn from our own awareness and observation when we take a some time to linger in a moment just as it is unfolding. Bearing witness to the thoughts and feelings, the sights and the sounds, the comfortable and uncomfortable holds much wisdom and it’s all free….there for the taking, should we want to venture into unchartered terrain.

The beauty of yoga is that thoughts, feelings and sensations always arise and give us the opportunity to dissect them. At times, things that come up are repressed situations that we buried long ago and are in need of healing and releasing. Other times it may be traumatic emotions stored on a cellular level and one’s we’ve been suppressing –  for way too long – that are no longer serving us and causing dis-ease in our physical and emotional bodies. That’s just what lingering in a moment does…..it gives us the space to process the energy, feel, release, let go and surrender. These are all blessings! Just like when you’re in a yoga pose, each part of the process allows us to go deeper, delve into another layer, explore how that feels, dig deeper, yet delve even further through more layers and, ultimately, let go, surrender and feel at ease.

Other moments that I see as blessings are those “inconvenient” moments (which really end up not being inconvenient after all). They include, but are not limited to, being stuck in traffic, taking a wrong turn, thinking you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, a change in plans, asking for something and having it show up (just NOT the way we thought it would). I’m sure you can add to the list. However, for me personally, something wonderful and beautiful always comes of these moments when I choose to “linger” in them. I may experience new sights, a neighborhood I never knew existed or was unfamiliar with, meeting someone I was meant to meet, or seeing someone I haven’t seen in years and it happened because I looked out the car window while stuck in traffic All these little blessings would have escaped me had I not chosen to linger, be aware and be present.

When we linger in the present, we also have the opportunity to breathe, inhale deeply and exhale slowly, and realize that all we have is that precise moment. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “It’s where we have an appointment with life.”  The past doesn’t exist nor does the future. We can view them as figments of our imagination. When we take the time to inhale and exhale deeply, we feel grounded. There is deep satisfaction in taking refuge in our grounding breath as we observe, but do not get swept up in, the chaos that is around us. We rise above it as we become more aware of our surroundings and the beauty and magic that is all around. Typically, the anxiety, angst, frustration or inconvenience we were feeling just tends to wash away when we just linger.

We can also linger in the moments that are pleasurable to all our senses. So often, people are just scurrying around, dashing from one place to another, devoid of all awareness and pleasure. We all need to balance all that “do-ing” with “linger-ing.” We can linger in bed instead of making a mad dash out of it, during our morning routine, and our self-care practices. Other ways of lingering: enjoying a movie, spending quality time with a friend, walking / playing with our beloved pet, putting down the phone, stopping the incessant scrolling, disconnecting from electronics, practicing silence, restoring cleanliness and order to our sacred spaces, resting whenever we need it, sipping our tea reverently, luxuriating in the tub, cooking with love and intention, feeling the soil while gardening, sipping delicious wine, reading for pleasure, basking in the warm sun, expressing gratitude, enjoying the sounds of birds chirping or building a nest, watching our cats/dogs and their antics, being mesmerized by a colorful sunrise/sunset, expressing your creativity by painting, drawing, journaling or crafting, making passionate love, kissing tenderly, eating sumptuously, singing in the shower, journeying down a new path….and on and on and on.

Blessings in disguise show up in all ways, at unexpected times and often when we need them the most. The key is to be open and explore them. “Just Linger” might become my phrase for 2018. In addition to having a new word for the year, why not also have a phrase?

Enjoy your lingering, darlings!

Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC