Wednesday, December 9

if I'm so early why am I running so late?

plum island, 4 december 2015

Things are flipping around over here. Not in any aggressive or scary change way. In a smaller, deeper like holy-sh-t-my-DNA-is-being-rewritten-each-night and-I'm-waking-up-not-knowing-who-I-am kind of way. You know, nothing weird or anything.

But seriously - weird.

Exhibit A, this morning, for the second time in less than a week -- I get up as per normal around 5:30 am -- come downstairs, take the dogs outside, come back in and drink hot water with lemon and fresh ginger (note: not coffee = first sign something is off), read or meditate for an hour and then . . around 7 am ish I think, oh, I just want to sleep another half hour. 

I go upstairs and then boom. Hello, 9 am.

And the thing is, I am like dropping into the deadest of dead sleeps. 

This is not normal. I am now behind on all my projects and, normally, I hate that sense of being late but now? I don't care at all. 

It's weird. It's like someone has taken Elizabeth and left me with some other person in my body-- I just don't know who this is. She seems nice enough, but damn, she's slow.

Some kind of sea turtle has entered my body--- no rush, super flowing and easy -- and yet, steadily covering hundreds of miles. By which I mean, I am still getting everything done, just not as I usually do and it's got me all spun around.

HA!  Hand to god, as I am typing to you-- I had JUST typed that sentence and my random holiday Pandora station began playing "What Child Is This?"

Ha. Exactly. What child IS this?

In direct contrast to the ways I am behind, I can't help but be confused in all the ways I am way early: we launched Squam 2016 a month ahead of normal; my word of the year just showed up - something that either never shows up or rolls in well after the New Year.

It's confusing.

So what's my word? You might think it was MAGIC seeing as last Friday I was at Mindy's for her lovely creative brunch and magic was crawling up me like a needy toddler.

Exhibit B: above. By the time we arrived, most of the seats had been filled so I randomly sat where my place setting read, "you are magic" -- lovely, right?

An hour later, Ana put the sweetest shell into my hand that she had painted for me. You can't see from the photo above but it reads "magic maker" and has fine white glitter wound into its spiral.

Then, as we were all wrapping up to go-- there was a holiday swap where everyone had brought something handmade. I was the last one to choose (see my emphasis on how this was not in any way in my control) et voila, what was waiting for me but the painting in the photo above: MAGIC, with a card attached that read, "always remember your magic"


You would think THAT would be my word then, right?

Nope. I had been thinking it would be MAVEN since that popped up for me recently-- I am part of Mindy's Air Coven and below is what resulted from my archetype exploration.

Nope, it's not MAVEN.

I have been focusing a lot on where I've been and where I am heading as middle-aged people are wont to do.

There is data that I have done well in supporting, encouraging and inspiring many women to step into their power and reconnect with their core energies.

It's time for me to offer myself that same focus, that same encouragement, that same loving support.

All of which means there is a gonna be a whole lot of writing in my future with nominal presence here online. My need to go within is going to get priority for the year ahead.

I know, right!? Selfish wench!

Can you believe I found this bit of driftwood that is EXACTLY like a peace pipe?
As I gained clarity about what the year ahead holds for me, the word to ground my intention surfaced:

Again with the weird, right? Not a word I use. Not a word that is often in my thoughts. 
A word that sort of eeks me out for its religious overtones.

But there it is. Reverence.

With Mary Oliver as my spirit guide, she the Queen of Small Moments Made Holy, I am ready to take my explorations of the beauty in my daily life to a whole new level.

The Sweetness of Dogs (Fifteen)
by Mary Oliver

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. Full tonight.
So we go

and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit,

I thinking how grateful I am for the moon's
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up into 
my face. As though I were
his perfect moon.

so mote it be, xo

bisous, Elizabeth

Thursday, December 3

and that's what they don't see

Hard to imagine this is my theme song right now, but it is. Is it just me or are the planets slamming into each other right now? I feel like I am caught in a patch of bramble where to even move to get free will rip my clothes and claw my skin. 

You know, energetically speaking. 

And so, bring it Taylor. Something about this is healing to me-- shake it off. Cause what else can we do but keep showing up?

But I keep cruising 
Can't stop, won't stop grooving 
It's like I got this music 
In my mind 
Saying, "It's gonna be alright."

bisous, Elizabeth

Monday, November 30

don't be tempted by the shiny apple

September 2015

This time of year is such a conundrum for so many. More than any other time of the year, there is a tremondous imperative to feel good, happy, joyful, generous, playful and creative. And yet, all around me I see people with worry lines, short tempers, impulsive movements and fatigue.

So much sparkles, shines, and glitters - luring us into a belief that we need to buy so many things. All the things we do not have. Even things we already have-- we need more, better, newer.

And the days are shorter, longer, colder (at least in my neck of the woods). The obvious need for more quiet and rest  -- as all around us the natural world gently buries down for a long winter's nap -- gets trampled by the collective shout that we must be decorating, holiday-ing and shopping. So much with the shopping. You would have to be in a sensory deprivation tank to avoid the 24/7 blitz of buy. this. now. energy that is hitting us from all sides.

It's so tempting. We want love. We want family and warmth - light and celebration - beautiful things and thoughtful gestures (both to make them and receive them). All of that is wonderful. And none of it needs to cause us stress, overwhelm or exhaustion. 

I know this seems to be my theme of late, but it's where I am at -- so it's what I have to share: Take the time to get quiet. Go within. Go slower. Resist the blinking lights and hawking voices. 

Take all the moments you need to get centered into all that you do have - all that is already around you. 

And make a very short (very short) list of the things you most want to feel.

For me, my list for the month of December reads:

  1. Ease
  2. Comfort
  3. Quiet
  4. Love
  5. Magic
To experience all of that, my intention is to 
  • stay offline as much as possible. 
  • wear my most favorite loose, comfortable clothes that keep me warm and relaxed. Bring books into bed and read there. Make soup on a Sunday that I can have on a Tuesday night.
  • follow along on this 100 day journey and indulge in deep meditations and regular yoga practice as a priority in my week
  • create time for conversations and hang outs with my beloveds, write christmas cards, brush the dogs' coats, make soup to give away as a gift, seek out some local families who could use some extra support and help during this season, show up at some local musical performances, slip into some ecstatic dance classes
  • walk in the woods early in the morning, walk around the neighborhood in the evening and enjoy the night sky and all the twinkle lights, light candles, set intentions, journal, write stories, sprinkle cinnamon on my coffee

Oh my mama told me
'Cause she say she learned the hard way
She say she wanna spare the children
She say don't give or sell your soul away
'Cause all that you have is your soul
So don't be tempted by the shiny apple
Don't you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
'Cause all that you have is your soul
 I was a pretty young girl once
I had dreams I had high hopes
I married a man he stole my heart away
He gave his love but what a high price I paid
All that you have is your soul
 So don't be tempted by the shiny apple
Don't you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
'Cause all that you have is your soul
Why was I such a young fool
Thought I'd make history
Making babies was the best I could do
Thought I'd made something that could be mine forever
Found out the hard way one can't possess another
And all that you have is your soul
 So don't be tempted by the shiny apple
Don't you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
'Cause all that you have is your soul
 I thought, thought that I could find a way
To beat the system
To make a deal and have no debts to pay
I'd take it all, I'd take it all, I'd run away
Me for myself first class and first rate
But all that you have is your soul
So don't be tempted by the shiny apple
Don't you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
'Cause all that you have is your soul
Here I am, I'm waiting for a better day
A second chance
A little luck to come my way
A hope to dream, a hope that I can sleep again
And wake in the world with a clear conscience and clean hands
'Cause all that you have is your soul
 So don't be tempted by the shiny apple
Don't you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
'Cause all that you have is your soul
 Oh my mama told me
'Cause she say she learned the hard way
She say she wanna spare the children
She say don't give or sell your soul away
'Cause all that you have is your soul
 All that you have All that you have
All that you have
Is your soul - Tracey Chapman

peace out, elizabeth

P.S. Thanks to Jeanine, Andrea and Xanthe for getting me on this journey of blogging in November. I am so grateful.

Sunday, November 29

you are what you love, not what loves you

Above is my first try at embroidery that I played around with at Squam Studio in October. Thanks to Tracey for being my guide - I got to experiment with something I have always wanted to do with no pressure for it to be good, or right or anywhere near planet Perfect.

I just had fun.

It was play just for play and I can't honestly tell you how long it took for me to do this because when I was doing it, my mind had dropped off into that happy no-time, no-space place.

Having fun making something I will never use, never give away as a gift, never sell and never do anything with - came to mind a few hours ago when I watched this video below:

Really good stuff. Not that I don't know this already-- the whole, gotta go within to connect with YOU and then you will feel better thing?  I had just shared that myself last week. But the thing is, as anyone who has ever faced changing a bad habit or addiction can tell you -- KNOWING something intellectually (such as, "I really shouldn't be eating an entire tray of brownies since it will make me feel sick and is not in alignment with my true goals") has little to no bearing on whether or not you can actually do what your mind wants you to do.

Your sub-conscious programs will TRUMP your intellect every. single. time.

If on a sub-conscious level, you believe that eating brownies is going to COMFORT you, you will eat them.

There is only one source of genuine comfort - and that is love. However, if you do not love yourself, you are in kind of a bind -- as to make true change happen, you have to begin with offering yourself love and compassion. (GREAT resource here on this idea).

Not someone else, yourself.

And, if offering yourself love and compassion seems impossible - because really, how totally not perfect are you<--- right? -- then you need to begin there and examine why it is that for the love to matter to you, it has to come from someone else.

We just are not taught to love ourselves unconditionally. Hence, the horrors of the world. Because when you DO love yourself, you simply cannot be unkind or lacking in compassion for another. It's simply not possible.

One of my most favorite ever Byron Katie videos is below. It really shows how twisted our minds can get and how to meet our minds with love, gentleness and compassion for how they got mixed up.

Tomorrow I end this blogging adventure. It's been awesome and I have LOVED reconnecting with so many of you.

If you have questions for me that you'd like me to answer-- put them in the comments and I will do my best.

Sending you BIG love!!!

bisous, Elizbaeth

Friday, November 27

boyz n the hood

This was the first thanksgiving in my new house and I have to say, it set the bar high. We had a feast that was half vegan with Forrest and his friend Andy doing all of the cooking save for a mushroom/quinoa casserole that I made as the vegan entree.

Above you can see the wee centerpiece I created from bits I gathered in the garden-- ivy and lavender. It goes to show the power of sentiment as I don't know that I have ever loved a centerpiece more than this one.

Wednesday night had Forrest breaking out his kitchen aid and making pie dough from scratch for his pumpkin pie. (Mary Berry would be so proud).

Two of their friends joined in so it was a table of five - me with four guys and after dinner (which was utterly perfect, crazy good) we played Cards Against Humanity and I won. 

Which I'm sure made me very happy last night, but in this moment, I have such a sugar hangover that nothing sounds good except camomile tea - isn't that what Peter Rabbit's mother gave him for his over indulgence in Farmer MacGregor's garden?

Today I am in full on post Thanksgiving slump. Three days left of this blogging gig. 

We'll see if I make it across the finish line or not.

Daisy looks very serious here but she could not have been more happy with so much extra attention. It was a very full day of gratitude and fun. Blessed be.

bisous, Elizabeth

all photos thanks to Forrest

Wednesday, November 25

oh, well

me, as a kid

Turms out I didn't hit the road yesterday morning. 

Which is all fine, except I feel so bad for disappointing my sister-- am a Thanksgiving tease, apparently-- and I really will miss that soft pretzel. 

The weirdest part is how hard it is for me to switch gears, allow plans to change and simply flow with it. Like, really hard. My rising sign is Pisces which is water - fish- flow and ease.  And yet, I'm still working on developing that approach to life. This little hiccup is such a clear example for me.

I am watching myself and all the contortions (soft pretzel anyone?) I go through in resistance to what is. 

What happened was that yesterday morning I woke up and my body was not going to be happy in the driver's seat of a car for the 10 hour round trip as I popped something in my lower back (probably from all the running I have been doing). I made the right choice to stay home. And, I am super happy to be home.

And yet, there was all this forward momentum-- all my thoughts and plans that were already way ahead of me, hanging with my family, being in Philadelphia, etc. It's taking a bit to simply let go and be HERE now.

Does this ever happen to you?

 loving on the tree skirts of moss

One of the hanging elements that I have to close out and take in another direction is that I had started a playlist for the drive. It's what I'm listening to as I type to you. Turns out, it's good for the road and for blogging. 

Link is here if you want to take a listen, too:  First HOUR of my playlist.

Oh, and I totally didn't blog yesterday.  Glad you didn't notice. Maybe I'll double it up sometime this weekend. Maybe not.

Mostly I am looking forward to taking it easy. Sinking into books. Dabble at some house projects I never seem to get around to. 

Tomorrow will see an impromptu Thanksgiving gathering here. More on that as details come into view.

I do think what's going on with me right now is to have NO PLANS. 

Make no plans.

That seems to be my marching orders of late. It's all part of the mist and mystery that I seem to be moving through. Sort of like I am cosmically blindfolded and the universe is trying to make me learn to use my intuition the way I currently use my other five senses.

Yes, I am having my Luke Skywalker moment where I finally learn to use the force, baby.

me and Mookie, two jedis back in the day

bisous, Elizabeth

Monday, November 23

in flight

photo from this morning

For the first time ever, I got up close to a blue heron. And then, it flew away.

Which is pretty much what is happening in this blog. I got in close and now I gotta fly.

There was time to write in the past weeks-- but this weekend things went a bit bonky and there simply wasn't a moment for me to sink in. Not an issue except I want to keep showing up, I want to fulfill this attempt to write every day of November.

It's just that some days? I can't do it all. Plus, I just dashed THIS out this morning.

So feeling a bit out of things to share unless of course you want to hear all about the laundry I'm about to run.
Scintillating. I know.

Tomorrow I hit the road to Philadelphia to hang with the fam for Thanksgiving. Dogs love a road trip, me-- not so much, but I am looking forward to stuff I just can't get up here real hoagies and soft pretzels among other things.

a demain, elizabeth

Sunday, November 22

paws for Sunday

Things about today:

  • rain
  • dogs snoring
  • yoga followed by a 4.5 mile run/walk (boo-YAH)
  • quick trip up and back to Boston
  • more rain
  • more dogs snoring
  • last episode of season 4 of SUITS
  • bed bed bed
  • requisite blog post with hopes for more time to write another day

bisous, elizabeth

Saturday, November 21

with regard to rest

there is one rule to follow regarding rest: 
if we need a rest, we take one

from The Heart of YogaT.V.K. Desikachar

Of course, reference to napping is incomplete without a nod to the snuggle king, my sweet Henry.

hope your Saturday is long, lazy, luxurious and all manner of restorative.

bisous, elizabeth

Friday, November 20

love + breadcrumbs

The weather today is not to be believed. T-shirt temps. Soft air. Bright sun.

A couple of merry little breezes running around in a game of frisbee golf.


This morning I cracked into My Life on the Road and oh dear lord, I somehow forgot that Gloria Steinem is, at heart, a writer.

This is where you will find me this weekend as I don't know the last time I was so ready to sink into an autobiography.

She had me at hello.

from the prelude:

"We eat home-cooked food brought in trucks, sit on blankets around powwow grounds where dancers follow the heartbeat of drums, and watch Indian ponies as decorated as the dancers. When it rains, a rainbow stretches from can't-see to can't-see, and fields of wet sweet grass become as fragrant as gigantic flowers."

from the introduction:

"We have to stop generalizing about 'the American people' as if were one homogeneous lump. I'm also now immune to politicians who say, "I've traveled the length and breadth of this great land, and I know . . " I've traveled more than any of them, and I don't know.
 . . . As Robin Morgan wrote so wisely, "Hate generalizes, love specifies." That's what makes going on the road so important. It definitely specifies."

It think this also explains my love of daily journaling, snapping photos and sharing them.

I don't pretend to be anything but ordinary. My dogs are mutts. I live in a city rife with economic struggle. Home is a rather small, second floor apartment. There is nothing glamorous in any of it.

And yet, I love it so. I love it all. And paying attention, close attention, enlarges and expands what I gaze upon, which makes me love it more.

When you look at something, really sink in and look -- when you align your energies with the object of your focus, more worlds open up. You begin to see the uniqueness in everything, which, as mentioned above, is the direct road to love.

follow the breadcrumbs, baby

bisous, elizabeth

Thursday, November 19


Montreal, 2009

I just read Jeanine's post where she chats with her darling baby girl Wren, and could not help but to reflect on how freaking fast time flies and what surprises life holds for us when we least expect it.

Et voila, throwback thursday!

Wild, isn't it? How small decisions, impulsive road trips and the connections we make on the internet have affected all of us, me most particularly.

Case in point:  December 2009 when Christine Chitnis and I spontanteously decided to make a road trip to Montreal to see Jeanine.

You can get a glimpse

Arriving at Mile End

Laughing til my stomach ached

green walls, blue phone

wow, I totally forgot about the passport story

Montreal, 2009

*shaking my head in wonder*

What if we hadn't gone?  I have always said, the power of three women gathering cannot be underestimated.
Some things I see from where I sit today:

Life changing.

painting is titled: crawling into the unknown 

bisous, elizabeth

Wednesday, November 18

when I'm not sobbing my heart out

This morning is one for the record books-- otherwise known as my gratitude journal. 

Seriously, gorgeous morning, full-on sun, bird song, still some color in the trees, a few wayward roses holding fast to their blooms, an early walk through the hood with the pups and I got my ass to 7am yoga.

boo to the YAH.

Speaking of seriously, the fact is if someone did nothing but read these posts they would think I was a rather serious person and nothing could be further from the truth. Although I do feel things deeply, I am rarely if ever serious.  Goofy, silly and sometimes decidedly uncoordinated seems a far better description of my essential self.

I seek to have as much ease and light in my day as possible, so despite my ramblings here-- most of my waking hours are spent with my head in the clouds. Big walkabouts with the dogs followed by deep relaxation and almond butter on wasa crackers pretty much sums up a typical morning.

I chose the title of this post in reference to the fact that sobbing falls into the category of showering, washing my hair, eating broccoli, buying shoes or shopping in general -- which means rarely. I have such admiration for people who cry and can cry deeply, sort of like when people say to me, "I wish I was a morning person."

(Which, on a total aside, makes no sense to me-- own your wild, night-owl self!!)

We all just move through the world as we do and as much as I might wish to sob with the best of them-- it's really not how I roll. In fact, it is such a rare event it's sort of how some people know how many times in their life they have thrown up. I know the times in my life I have lost it and sobbed til I needed a brown paper bag in my face to keep from hyperventilating-- but on that particular instance I am thinking of, I was also laughing so hard right in the midst of the storm because I could see how absurd the situation was.

Not that feelings are absurd, just that there's a part of me that is completely detached and watching emotions come and go.
I know, weird.

All of which to say-- I am here this morning in one of my profoundly empty headed moments where all I am aware of is Daisy's nose pressing on my thigh to put the laptop away already, the light coming through the window, and the pulse of gratitude in my heart that this moment feels like this.

Hey, now that I'm signing off-- I just realized I have something to share tomorrow-- or sometime this week--- my donkey story.

Yes. The perfect contrast to whatever I just rambled on about above.

Perhaps some sobbing will be in order for my beloved donkey story, because the best part of a good hard cry is the relief and spacious expanse that fills your body after, don't you think?

Ahhhhh. You would think I was high for how incoherent this is and you know what? Me no caro.

peace out.

bisous, Elizabeth

Tuesday, November 17

give yourself a gold star

paris, may 2013

Today, and the next few ahead, I am showing up here because I want to fulfill this commitment to post every day in the month of November. Setting goals, staying the course, pushing through when it would be so easy to walk away with a shrug and say, who cares, why bother -- it really isn't so much the actual value or purpose of blogging (dear lord, you know me better than that by now) it's the act of commitment, of follow through -- of staying the course.

It really doesn't matter what you commit yourself to - it is the act of practicing discipline that matters.
That's where the bounty lies.

I'm pretty sure I could find a quote from Krishna saying this to Arjuna - but, given my copy of the Gita is upstairs and I have exactly 4 minutes left to type here -- let me get back to you on that. In fact, it was last Spring when I was deep in the reading for my yoga teacher training that I really understood this for the first time, ever.

I have always been one to walk away when things get difficult. My reasoning based in some kind of belief system where conflict is not good, driving/striving can be incredibly unhealthy and you should only do what you want.

But let's be clear. That internal code developed when I was an adolescent in a world that bewildered me. It was definitely a self-protective measure. You can't lose a race if you don't run it.

Like anything in life, competition has two sides. I grew up seeing and experiencing the shadow side of competition and so rejected it outright.

I am only now finding my way back to how actually signing on to push myself beyond what's comfortable can have the most wonderful results. Of course, it can also really suck.

                                                                           detail from "I will rise from the sorrow" March 2013

But if you keep showing up, eventually, things shift.

You know, eventually.

Yesterday the dogs got all their shots for the year and their vet check-up.

In the big picture of dog health, they are doing really well, but both are going blind and their hips are getting stiff and painful for them. Change is ahead. I know this. Painful change. And I am not ready.

I want things to be gentle and easy - without struggle and strain, Without heartbreak and grief.

And that is not life. That is not what we all signed up for.

So, if things are feeling sweet and comfortable for you this morning, I encourage you to sink even more deeply into that gorgeous state of being.

And, if things are feeling pinchy, hard, sad or confusing for you this morning, I offer you a hug and a promise that you can get through it.

That some days, it's enough to show up.

Gerri giving me one of her fabulous mama bear hugs 

bisous, elizabeth