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This poem came to me in my sleep last night…

A ghost:
I could be everywhere and nowhere
Invisible yet felt by some
Every day a new hell
But I played heaven so well
I knew exactly the boxes to check
To create the illusion of fine, even perfect
No one could see I was dying inside
A few souls connected and I felt alive
That high was fleeting, in erratic supply…

Space and Alpha waves shift the lens
Turns out the switch was always within
The wires askew, connection disrupted
No one to blame
Just science and spirit distorted and maligned
An over-reactive stress response
Too many threats, wounded egos, and toxins to process at once
Too little of safe spaces, trust, and unconditional love succumbs
There are still a series of puzzle locks
An unraveling of paradox
Yet I now hold the key…
My spirit.

Dear Asana,

I remember when we first got you. You were a wedding gift to ours selves. We rescued you from a shelter. You buried your head in our couch because of high fever. Thank goodness we took you to the vet so you could live another 11 years.  It’s funny how your golden long hair and personality resembled both our beloved childhood dogs.3096_1134597441697_2960491_n

Asana (July 4, 1999 – August 16, 2010)

When we sang at our wedding, you howled with us. My most amusing memory of you is darting around the backyard like a maniac. When I miscarried our 3rd baby, you knew before me and wouldn’t leave my side. You licked my tears away as I grieved for Anais, our 4th baby, a stillborn. Some said you sounded like Chewbacca. Many people couldn’t understand your peculiar ways. You didn’t like to be touched and wouldn’t take food from strangers. You had high standards. I felt special because you allowed me to take care of you.

This is an excerpt that gave you your name:

Asana means to release a specific pattern of neuromuscular relationships from all tension… To awaken cellular intelligence…As Asana begins to release us from tension something very important is revealed. This is that the body and mind cannot be functionally separated… By stabilizing the body, our mind also begins to stabilize and quieten…Asana can, and inevitably will, bring about emotional release.”

It came from a Dynamic Yoga book. You even chewed this book during your puppy stage so now I can’t read the author’s name. I wanted your name to gently remind to practice yoga and mindfulness. This must have worked because this excerpt rings true to me on so many levels, especially as a parent.

Some have barked, “They are just dogs.” But for me, all my dogs have been the most loyal friends whose fur has absorbed many tears. They listen to me when no one else will. The brushing of their coat and petting, therapeutic. They nudge me to play when all I want to do is crawl into bed. They always want to cuddle no matter how irrational or angry I get.

It broke my heart when we had to move overseas and find you a new home. I felt irresponsible, like I failed and abandoned you. I didn’t think anyone could love you like I did. I am grateful that you were with a friend who had known your whole life; that you comforted an elderly woman while your new family was at work. I know they treated you like the princess you are. I am relieved you died peacefully. May your unique energy find a place to rest where it’s most needed.

To Asana, Kelsey, Miles, Honey, Taffy, Rex, Mousse, Kobie, Toby, Divet, Shake, Murphy, Jasmine, Sheba, Bear, Vinny, Mooch, Amiga, Issabelle and to all pets who have touched our hearts, thank you for your Unconditional Love.


Miles (January 8, 2001 – September 6, 2013)kelse

Kelsey (January 21, 2000 – June 23, 2013)



I had gone from a size 14  to a size 2, that’s 85 lbs gone in 2.5 years. Yet I had lost so much more than just pounds: I lost decades (and possibly a generation’s worth from an epigenetic viewpoint) of unconscious weight, unprocessed traumas, and toxins.  I had no intention to lose this much weight. Sure I hoped to lose some of the 40 lbs of baby weight gain (from 2 consecutive miscarriages, one stillbirth, and a live birth). I had a dream weight in mind (which I surpassed by 25 pounds) but never did I hold myself to that standard.  I never tried a diet as I do not believe in them. When my herbalist asked how I lost the weight, I said: “I don’t know, it just seems to melt away peacefully.”   Looking back at it, it took many life-changing habits and loving myself through every transition. Although, I could write a book on all the subtle changes and positive actions, here are a few of the things I did:

  • Leave my comfort zone
  • Eliminate judgments, self-criticism, and worry
  • truly play and engage with my children
  • breastfeeding
  • identify and reduce emotional, chemical, and physical toxins from my life
  • journaling
  • follow my passions
  • practice mindfulness
  • prioritize self-care
  • take responsibility for getting my own needs met
  • stop making excuses and blaming others
  • simplify my life by doing things by hand and needing less material objects
  • drink lots of water
  • get active: yoga, Zumba, walking places (instead of driving)
  • embrace vitalistic chiropractic care
  • read “Changing Habits, Changing Lives”
  • intermittent fasting
  • eat real, nutrient-rich food

The emotional aspects took an integral role in the weight loss and actually changing what I ate and exercising more came later. It became more about how I did things than what I actually did. It was a state of mind. It was a gradual, affirming and peaceful process. It seemed as I expanded my awareness of my negative thoughts and habits and detoxified my body/mind/soul by making conscious efforts to process the toxins in a non-judgmental and gentle way, that the weight melted away.

“Strong healthy cells are what makes a body strong. How do you help create strong healthy cells? The key lies with the food you put in your mouth, the thoughts you put in your head, and the feelings you place in your heart.” -Susana Belen

When I returned to live in my hometown where naturally many of the negative habits and beliefs originated, and I gained most the weight back. I looked at the list above and it was easy to see why…many of the positive actions on that list had ceased. I had unconsciously morphed back into obsessing about not disturbing other’s peace that I had lost my own. I struggled not to judge my every move, thought, emotion and had a nagging fear that loved ones believed the worst of me. I had to re-prioritize believing the best in me and trust that I deserve to treat myself right, no matter what. People will always have opinions of me yet what I think of myself bears the most weight. I vowed to consciously revive this list with unconditional love and trust. I also eat a lot more fair-trade, organic dark chocolate 😉

As change is life’s only constant, I find embracing change a good habit to learn.

Here are some resources on mindfulness and changing habits:

Here is a lovely resource for families to promote eating and feeding with joy:

I have inherited some devastating messages:

When anything goes wrong, I believe It’s all my fault.

When I break something or make a mess, I believe I am a complete failure and utterly stupid.

Sadly, I have passed this same negative tape to my son. It has grown more apparent the more I expand my awareness for it.

As we were getting ready to leave one day, he boistrously bounced into the wall and a picture frame crashed to the floor. As I am aware that things breaking is one of my triggers, my body viscerally reacted negatively. Almost simultaneously, my son hung his head down saying  “I’m so stupid.” As soon as possible, I told myself out loud to let it go and move onto to next step. Unexpectedly, he went back to the frame to try to fix it and I reacted negatively again as I was afraid he’d get hurt from glass and we were under a time crunch.

His head hung in shame again, he stammered toward the door, muttering “Its all my fault.”

The next feelings and thoughts poured through me in a matter of milliseconds….At first I was filled with anger and dissapointment of how could he feel so bad of himself; how I don’t have the time to deal with this now; how many times do we have to go through this…then feelings of guilt and shame came of  how could I have let this self-hatred seep into my son’s self consciousness and how come I cannot heal us both and get over it…

I cought the negtive tape going wild in my mind and chose to give myself and my son the same love and compassion I wish to give everyone.

As my son turned the door handle to escape outside, I told myself I must not let him start his special day this way. I ran to him as boistrouly as he bounced into the wall just moments before, pulled his head up and bellowed “Raise your head.” As this was happening so quickly, I could still feel the tension in my hands.  His look instantly told me to get my body, tone, and words to match the message of love I wanted to give. I hugged him and began singing,

I love you no matter what glass breaks.

I kissed him in tune to my melody on his neck and I looked at his eyes as they began to well up. I continued to sing:

I love you no matter what breaks.

again I repeatedly kissed him on his neck and as I saw tears beginning to fall, I sang:

You could knock the house down and all I would care is that you were safe and sound.

followed with more kisses, he tearfully said,

“That is the kindest thing I have ever heard.”

I responded that every word of it was true and we hugged. His younger sister who was watching the whole thing then joyfully pleaded, “I want kisses on the neck too.” We went on to have a great day and I believe some of those negative messages have healed. I now sing the same song to myself when I make a mess or break something;-)

“The first step to take is to recognize that ALLemotions are healthy. In our culture, feelings such as joy, peace, and courage are seen as good feelings, yet feelings such as sad, mad, and scared are seen as bad feelings. Let’s rethink this to understand that it is not the feeling itself that creates negativity; it is the lack of expression of the feeling that creates negativity.   And in children, this negativity is often expressed through poor behaviors.” ~ Heather T Forbes

I was truly blessed to read Heather’s book and see her live. She gave me the permission I was unconsciously seeking to parent my child from a place of unconditional love and acceptance…

“Children need unconditional love and unconditional acceptance from their parents; we all know this and believe this. However, do we ever stop to consider how so many of the traditional parenting techniques accepted in our culture work contrary to this primal goal? Traditional parenting techniques that involve consequences, controlling directives, and punishment are fear-based and fear-driven. They have the ability to undermine the parentchild relationship and because they are tied into behavior, children easily interpret these actions to mean, “If I’m not good, I am not lovable.” Thus, children often build a subconscious foundation that says that love and approval is based off of performance…

So the next time your child becomes defiant, talks back, or is simply “ugly” to you, work to be in a place not to react to the behavior, but respond to your child. Respond to your child in an open way—open to meeting him in his heart and helping him understand the overload of feelings that are driving the behaviors. He doesn’t need a consequence or another parental directive at that moment; he just needs you to be present with him. As your children learn to respond back to you through the parent-child relationship, they won’t have the need to communicate through negative behaviors anymore. You’ll both have more energy for each other, building a relationship that will last a lifetime.”

Please click the link to read the full article Feelings, Behaviors, and Relationships by Heather:

It always amazes me how a genuine and simple acknowledgement of one’s feelings will almost instantly relieve the tension and transform to positive energy. This often leads to feeling understood, accepted and normal. Being receptive, sensitive, and in tuned to other’s needs and unique qualities often shows respect and gives them confidence to move on. And even though I have witnessed this beautiful transformation time and time again, I still get caught up in the moment and react, especially when I am under stress. I have been blessed to have been introduced to the work of Heather Forbes which really help me learn to accept my children’s as well as my own negative feelings and that we all need a safe place to process those big feelings. I discovered that my own negative reactions to their behaviors were a symptom of me needing to nurture myself.

I have learned that the most gratifying and sustaining form of motivation comes from within, intrinsically. Sadly, much of our world is built on a punitive or reward based system. Most of us are doing things only to avoid pain and gain a reward.

There are countless thoughts, feelings, and variables influencing a persons’ action and self-worth. Much of these go ignored, unappreciated, refuted, shamed, criticized, rejected, etc. Our self-worth deteriorates into a distorted picture of what others think and by how we are treated. We focus on external things to not only judge our own wellbeing and value but to also make us feel better.

I have an extensive history of being successful: captain, honor roll student, summa cum laude, job promotions, Master’s degree, business owner, happily married, brilliant children, yet whenever anything goes slightly off, all I can see is a big fat “F” and feeling terrified of what other’s reactions may be. Most often people’s attempts to comfort feel dismissive or insulting. When I am in this depressive, stressed state and one exuberantly points out everything I have to be grateful for or even what I did right, it sadly only highlights my inadequacy. I even fail at being grateful and seeing my strengths. This may seem extreme yet this has been one my realities I have to face.

Now I am well aware of where this all comes from as I have dedicated my life to finding peace. Fortunately, I have many more moments of peace and joy yet I am human and still get triggered.  I have a history of abuse, shame, and guilt to heal. Accepting pain and negativity was the only way to survive and still be next to the people I loved and needed the most. I know from the bottom of my heart that the cast of people in my childhood were truly doing the best they could with the resources given to them. You only know what you know and can’t give what you have never received.

I vow every day to give everyone the unconditional love and support they need to be honest, free and process their pain. Our universe, body, mind, and soul have a highly intelligent and sensitive communication system that regulates beautifully when innate resources are given time and space to do so.  It is amazing what the one’s will manifests when trusted and nurtured from beginning to end.  Love and connection is the ultimate inherent reward.

Here is a link for deeper exploration into the dynamic of avoiding pain/seeking pleasure and the parent/child relationship:

When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’


“Strong feelings do not vanish by being banished; but they do diminish in intensity and lose their sharp edges when the listener accepts them with sympathy and understanding.”  ~Haim Ginott between parent and child

It is a sad myth that listening to one’s negative feelings or outbursts will reinforce their negative behavior. There is a huge difference between giving unconditional love and meeting vital needs versus “giving in”. I truly want to help people learn how to see this difference. To embrace the discomfort as well as genuinely accept, validate, and truly listen to another’s pain. I know it is not easy, more often gut-wrenching and you usually won’t get the ideal result you were expecting, yet it will make a difference. Imagine if more of our communications with loved ones and strangers were more supportive than critical, then just maybe a few less of us will be buried feeling alone, afraid, and miserable…

Because in the end, when we all see the ugly things that we see, and we think the ugly things that we think, and we sometimes even vocalize those things to the people around us, it turns out that we are all unknowingly screaming the exact same words to each other.

“I want to be okay, damn it. I want to be okay.”

If you close your eyes for a moment and listen, you’ll hear the world’s cry.

“I want to be loved. I want to feel normal.”

Listen closer.

“I want to not be judged.”

The more you are able to hear it, the louder it gets.

“I want what I believe to be okay.”

Louder. Louder. Louder still.

“I want to not be hated for who I am.”

Until suddenly it’s deafening.

“I am a good person. And I deserve to be loved.”

That’s what we’re all really crying.

Through the verdicts, and the odium, and the cries of foul-play. That’s what we’re all really crying.

“I am a good person. And I deserve to be loved.”

~Dan Pierce of Single Dad Laughing

click link for full article “The nine words that just might fix us all”

When I first saw this slide it was titled “Love based parenting vs Fear based parenting.” It displayed vividly the continuum I have felt in my heart, the dichotomy that exists in our society, and the constant conflict I face when I show others love based interventions. It is impossible to believe they truly work when you are in the grips of fear and perpetually stressed. One is constantly being triggered into a reactionary state when our stress buckets are full and our vital needs are neglected. Taking deep breaths and becoming mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and actions helps us slow down and choose an appropriate loving and respectful RESPONSE to relieve stress and get every one’s needs met. Feeling safe is VITAL for optimal growth and connection. Choose LOVE, please.

click link for full webinar from Dr Bryan Post and Helen Timpone:

Read book From Fear to Love

For more about ocytocin read:


“It takes great courage to love. Though it is often perceived as effortless, anyone who has loved would maintain that it is anything but that. By its nature, love requires the risk of rejection, overcome barriers of resistance, surmount our weekenesses and fully utilize our resources. If we are rejected, we will need courage to rise up and try again. If we are hurt, we must have the confidence that we will heal. If we are desolate, we must muster up human dignity to prevail. With the courage to meet whatever hindrances we may encounter along the way, we become more than just ‘re-actors’ to our lives; we become the actors who determine their courses.” ~Leo Buscaglia, Born For Love: Reflections on Loving

I was relieved to read a CNN article that captured the iceberg of emotional pain and experiences that accumulates to such extreme and violent endings. It is not one event that provokes us; it is a lifetime, even generations, of unmet needs, emotional violence, trauma and suppression of authentic connection with self and others. We cannot even learn new skills because we are collectively unwilling to accept our role in this violent reality.

Click the following link to read an article, What if he were your kid? By Joshua Coleman

Personally, I think we have a pervasive systemic problem where we all share some responsibility. Peace begins with you.

If you’d like to learn more about the evolution of violence and peace read the article, How Culture Shapes the Developing Brain and the Future of Humanity By James W. Prescott (Ph.D.)

“The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt — and there is the story of mankind.” John Steinbeck—East of Eden, 1952

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