If your body could talk, what stories will it tell you?

This morning's meditation guide was so amazing and filled with light that I am compelled to share.  It captured this ancient aphorism:

"If you want to know what your experiences were like in the past, examine your body now. If you want to know that your body will look like in the future, examine your experiences now."

Think about the stories your body would tell you about what it's been through? Were you loved unconditionally or were you mistreated and beaten as a child? As a young woman or man, what did you expose yourself to? What deficiencies have persisted as you lived your life journey? And, at this present moment, what kind of environment and people are you surrounded by? Are you existing in a nurturing environment or one filled with drama, capital D. Is it time to switch it up? Only you know the answer to that one.

Are you feeling out of balance? If so, this is your body's way of telling you that something is not right. Listen. And remember, your life will unfold differently only if you want it to... you have the power to change things that are simply not serving you.

Yes, it's true that we are shaped by our past experiences, good, brutal or mediocre. But another truth is that it's about how we digest a complicated past. Taking the lessons and leaving the ugly is like purging the waste while sucking up only the vitamins of our bad experiences. It's worth examining your life now and carefully curating the people, places, media, and environment you expose yourself to.

The kind of stories your body will be sharing in the future are being scripted now.

Trust... there is a flow in nature that has your back.

Hours before Hurricane Irene's visit last summer, I went to the ocean to experience the hurricane with camera in hand. I wanted to photograph the wind. This photo of Irene hitting Martha's Vineyard's shores not only captured Goddess Oya's fierce power but a moment of fascinating human resilience. My lesson that morning as I watched this little boy play with the strong winds - he pushed forward, Irene's winds pushed him back harder -- was that we can fight back, but many times, it's best to surrender. When mother nature has a plan we best listen. She is in control.

This image reminded me of how stubborn we can be sometimes especially when we push hard on things that perhaps are not meant to be rather than letting the universe take care of the details. I've experienced this universal truth consistently. It's wasted energy pushing a square peg into a round hole. That is not to say that you just wait for your dreams to magically happen one day while your sit in your living room with your vision board in hand. On the contrary, dedicate your energy with integrity and purpose toward cultivating those things you want in your life. Work hard with committed passion and honesty every day. But, and here is the secret, don't obsess over the details. Trust--there is a flow in nature that has your back.

Living a healthy life requires action

Two years ago, quietly and without major announcements to friends, family or my social network, I took living healthy to the next level. It wasn't a drastic change, I'd been making slow, gentle changes over the years. It's safe to say that I dabbled in healthy habits for over two decades. I gave up pork fifteen years ago, soda six years ago, stopped having the occasional cigarette with my glass of wine and I make sure I sleep at least 8 hours a night. I became a semi pescatarian. I bike and walk everywhere. And I carefully curate the people I let into my life. But, I think that the next level of living healthy began in earnest when I entered a hot yoga studio. The practice has radically opened up a new world of goodness.

One of the most precious lessons that I have learned is that to live a healthy life takes action. I didn't just evolve into healthier me one day, I took a first step, then a second. With consistency, gentle patience, healthy living didn't become something I did once in a while, but a way of life. I discovered that it was always accessible to me but I had to make it happen. 

Along the way I've discovered that I am my best teacher...

Photo by the amazing Barbara Torres

It's taken me a while, but along the way I've discovered that I am my best teacher, that what resides inside me is pure potentiality and intelligent design. How awesome right? Well, you are no different than me in that respect. It's true what the sages say: the universe lives inside each of us. Express yourself today as only you can! Shut down that wretched internal critic that hijacks your ability to tap into the most awesome expression of you.

Free meditation challenge begins tomorrow, check it out

If you've been wanting to take up meditation, but weren't sure how to go about it The Chopra Center is offering a free 21-day meditation challenge. It's easy too. Go to the center and sign up. You'll receive daily links in your email to guided meditations which you can do at anytime. Join thousands in 'the gap' without having to leave your home.

I've introduced meditation in my life and found it to calm, restore and lift me. I encourage all to try this ancient tool for connecting to self and in the process, the universe. The sweetest lesson has been for me to know that the universe is not outside me, it resides inside.

Sleep is not overrated...try to get some more in your everyday

 If there is one activity that I've rarely taken for granted it is sleep. Yo adoro dormir. 

Sleep is held in such a high regard in my life that I list it as an official hobby along with reading, hiking, biking, films, hot yoga, cooking, among other loves. I take it so seriously that I have been known to take sleeping vacations. In fact, I schedule my work week around getting a good night's rest. Whenever  anyone asks about the secret of my success, I always mention a good night's rest.

I've never understood those who say that they'll sleep plenty when they die. I'll take my sleep in this lifetime, thank you very much. There is such deliciousness to sleep. My love for sleeping is not new. As a young girl, living with a mother who is the opposite of me when it comes to rest and sleep, we'd get into it. Mostly mami went on about how sleep is a waste of the day and time. I would often tell her that sleep was not wasting time, it was important to our time here. I remember once reading that Einstein needed ten hours of sleep to function at his best, and I rushed home to share the news that confirmed and affirmed my sleeping habits. See mom, geniuses need more sleep!  Ok, so my point was a little exaggerated and I am no Einstein, but now it seems that science is backing me up.

Sleep is a crucial part of the prescription to healthy living. It adds quality to your life. A good night's sleep makes you smarter, more alert, it can help you lose weight, prevent cancer, hypertension, reduces stress, fights aging, and many more wonderful advantages. Sleep is very individual however and depending on your age, you need more sleep. Teens and kids need a lot, and sadly, women between the ages of thirty and sixty are the most sleep deprived in America. Experts divide sleepers into two-- short sleepers, 5 hours or shorter or long sleepers 8 hours or longer. Find your sleep needs here.

Sleep is vital to wellness and well being. This weekend is the perfect time to give it a try, And not just during the weekend, but every day. Make sleep an priority in your life.

Cultivate your fantasies...today, let your mind free range

Albert Einstein famously said that imagination is better than knowledge. He posited that knowledge-- which he possessed in buckets-- is limited to what we know and understand. In other words, knowledge is static.

Imagination embraces something larger-- the entire universe and all there is to yet know. Imagination is expansive. 

Having grown up in strict religious household where just thinking something outside what the church preached made me a sinner, I often feel fortunate that I was able to extricate myself early on from such limited ways of thinking. 

We sadly live in a culture of consumers who passively take in experiences. We sit submissively in front of the television allowing half truths to seep into our consciousness. It's alarming how many news shows pass for news -- like Justin Bieber updates now quality as breaking news! Ugh.

Our culture today is based on receiving not engaging which is why Occupy Wall Street rallies and other grass root movements here and around the world are exciting-- they question status quo, they engage and challenge what we know to be truths. Jeremy Lin's story reminded me of the urgency of imagination in our lives. His coach, whether as an act of desperation or surrender, gave this untested talent a chance and in the process, the 23 yr old Knicks has shown the world a lesson or two about stereotypes. He's as become our newest hero filled with teachable moments. You can be inexperienced, Asian and small (at 6' 3" he is on the smaller side of basketball players) and have a sickly gorgeous game waiting to light up to the world.

May you never assume anything about anyone again, no matter what they look on the outside.

Imagination takes courage-- courage to break free from what you know or feel comfortable as a truth.

I witness the struggle between imagination and knowledge everyday with my young son. His imagination-- or mind's eye --  is brilliant. It's limitless. Actually, we are all born that way-- equipped with limitless imagination. But as we age, culture, family, society, peer pressure programs us to think statically and follow rules. In the process, imagination suffers because we want to belong and feel connected. We reign it in for fear of being ridiculed or excoriated for not thinking the way everyone else does.

This delicious human mind was not meant to be contained.When was the last time you let your imagination take you places? Make a commitment to cultivate your fantasies. Your mind's eye is boundless. Today, let your mind free range. In the process discover, engage and nourish your mind and you never know, you may solve the unsolvable.

The search...

I recently went to a talk where the speaker said that there are the four things that we need to live a healthy and full life:

Good food.
Good rest.
Good friends.
Happy heart & mind.

That simple. I get it. In the last several years I've come to fully understand the difference between what I need versus what I want. The two words are a world apart and when you appreciate the difference, you rest easy. Stuff outside of you takes on a different meaning.

It doesn't matter how much wealth, fame, status, pedigree, beauty, or talent a person may possess. Indeed, you can have the world at your fingertips, seducing the planet with charm, elegance, intellect, athleticism, virtuosity and still, none of those things will seem to satisfy if one hasn't connected to self.

It's a mystery really this search that at one point or another hits us. Search for meaning is universal. In the book, "Man's Search for Meaning," Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl chronicles this search in the most horrendous conditions. He concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment.

Frankl's realization was of course not new. Sages of Eastern traditions, native traditions from around the world have also preached similar teachings. Maybe they didn't publish books with Western publishers or those books were destroyed during the Conquest, but certainly, oral traditions testify to this. Enlightenment through present moment awareness is as old as dirt.

The point today is that this search that humans have can become complicated, convoluted, expensive, dangerous and even, deadly.

Meaning is individual. It's mysterious. And at some point for many, urgently necessary. It is also quite remarkable and wondrous when you tap into that stuff inside that makes you you.

If you will today, sit still and experience fully what it means to be you. I hope you realize that you have all you need inside.

"Love! Love until the night collapses." - Pablo Neruda

I hope Whitney Houston died knowing how deeply she was loved...

I keep thinking about Whitney Houston's extraordinary talent and just hope that she understood
 How much joy she gave the world.
How much light she radiated.
How beautiful she really was.

RIP Whitney Houston 1963 - 2012

Margaret Cho is my newest hero... tells Karl Lagerfeld to Shut the F up about fat women...

Her weight issues have been chronicled and her bravery in talking about her addictions to food and alcohol fodder for tabloid magazines. So when comedian extraordinaire Margaret Cho heard that women's wear designer with a history of talking smack about curvy women, Karl Largerfeld, called the amazing songstress Adele fat, as if to insult the talented British beauty, Cho let the designer have it.  Eloquence is Cho's name. Brazilliant. 

Shut up Karl:
You should hide behind that fan Karl Lagerfeld, shame on you, for calling Adele "a little bit fat." Who are you? What is the point of saying that? What are you trying to prove? Why are you trying to cut a bitch down? Shame shame shame.

Adele is nothing less than amazing. She is a true, courageous and rare talent and someone who has captured the attention and the admiration of the world in a seriously short time. She is ALSO a great beauty and tremendously meaningful incandescent wonder. She looks so awesome, her loveliness radiates from her strong and fast spinning interior klieg lights and brightens everything to the degree that it makes even dark, overcast me feel luminous and fierce and worthy. Read the entire letter here.

Meatless Monday... will you give it a try?

The more I read and watch documentaries about the conditions of the animals that end up on my plate, the less meat I want to eat. If you haven't seen  Food, Inc., you should. It's a sobering and powerful film that takes a look at corporate farming.

When I heard about the Meatless Monday movement -- a day of the week where yep, you guessed it -- you give up meat, I thought I'd give it a try. For my family, this meatless decision has extended to almost all the other days of the week. (Cheeseburgers hold a sacred spot at home so going vegan or vegetarian is not an option, at least not now.) We are flexitarians, mostly vegetables, grains and beans and fish, less meat. Since cutting back on meat from my diet most days of week, I feel a lot lighter on my feet and in my head.

This is the thing, giving up meat for just one day a week is not only great for your health, but for the health of the planet. Read about the amazing  benefits of going without meat for just one day. If you're stuck for good meatless recipes, no worries, more and more chefs are joining the movement and offering some delicious ideas. I'm torn between this curry delight tonight or one of my favorite dishes ever, anchovy and garlic pasta special.

Remembering David Simon: 1951 - 2012

Before a word passes your lips, ask yourself:

Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?

That is one of the many beautiful lessons that David Simon, healer, teacher, doctor, author and all around sweet soul
taught me and thousands around the globe. This mind, body healing doctor  helped heal spirits reminding all who were open to listen that we are divinely entitled to be happy. Through Chopra Center, which he helped co found with Dr. Deepak Chopra, he offered people tools to free their hearts and lighten their loads. Thanks to his free 21-Day meditation challenge, I learned to meditate.

His teachings crossed rivers, mountains, time zones to touch my soul. Balance. Heal. Transform. His legacy is alive in all of us who allowed his sweetness to reach us. One of the most touching moments in the moving video montage tribute is when we are reminded about his powerful legacy: "ultimately the best use of a physicians knowledge is to teach people to heal themselves."

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." -- Muhammad Ali

... But I am tired and going to sleep because a champ needs sleep.  Good night.