Author Archives: karen5022

What 40 early mornings does for your soul…

I am feeling very happy with the commitment I made to myself 40 mornings ago, to join the Winter Feast for the Soul practice. Thousands of people worldwide all joined in the 40 day meditation practice.  The idea was started seven years ago based on the poem:

 “What nine months does for the embryo, Forty early mornings will do for your growing awareness”  Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi

 The number 40 has such historical significance, it is the number of change. If we want to make a difference in the world then we must begin by inviting change into our own lives. I felt a deep connection to the other people that were also practicing, and the guided part of the meditation always gave such profound thoughts about life that I could carry throughout  my day.

Yes, I have felt change in my work, my relationships, how I perceive the world, by not resisting or constricting. My body is moving more easily, my thoughts have a clarity that first arises in metta or loving kindness, being respectful of the journey we each have taken. Knowing we all have breaks in our lives and we get stronger and grow in these cracks.

My practice (which is ongoing) of meditation continues…thank you Winter Feast for the Soul for inviting me to see the value of meditation again in my life.

Being towed, respond or react – a choice…

My car had to be towed last week, and as I was sitting there waiting for them to arrive, I  noticed how my stress of anticipated “perceived” events or situations created a bodily reaction. It seemed almost fearful as my belly tightened, I held my breath and started running around very unfocused or unaware.


I felt I had to prepare in some way for the this new situation.

I started thinking about other situations where I anticipate an event and the thought of “what will be” creates an anxiety in my body and it says you must prepare. I don’t want to ignore it and suppress my emotional “reaction” which would just lodge in my tissue to come out at a later time. So what if I acknowledged the reaction and changed with “responding”. In the Alexander Technique principles we call that “pausing to give yourself time” to become conscious, aware, present in where you are and what choices you have.

Doesn’t this evoke a calmness, clarity and inner peacefulness that says I have time to make a choice that is healthy and productive? Changing anxiety to inner calm.

Sometimes our unwarranted perceptions and assumptions teach us about ourselves, we grow in that awareness of realizing our truth..

As I let my breath become conscious, I was calm as they arrived, we had a great conversation together as I rode with the driver with my car securely towed back home!

Changing my thinking in how I responded instead of reacting with fear created a very healthy and pain free experience.

Running – Why are my knees screaming?

Have you ever noticed when you are running and the terrain changes, or there is a loud noise, or a car drives by too close, that your whole body goes into what we call the “startle pattern or reflex”.  Try it now, think of being scared when someone jumps out at you!  Wow, you tightened your neck and your head pulled back toward your spine,  your arms and shoulders lifted towards your ears, you held your breathe, so your diaphragm stopped moving, and your hips, knees and ankles all locked up into an extreme tension pattern. So the bones that make up your joints were pulled into each other, which eventually will start a whisper of pain, and if not changed, will end up in screams or surgery, or the worse, no longer being able to run.

This “startle pattern” typically shows up any time you are surprised and/or stressed by worry, anticipation, fear and anger to name a few.  I am amazed to see people in cars on the freeway, actually driving in the “startle pattern”, it doesn’t seem like it would be that big a deal but if you are living in it most of your day, you joints will wear out, your breathing will be compromised, your jaw will be overly tight. Your entire body is effected in this pattern of extreme tension. Now, when you feel yourself going into or are in this pattern of tension and holding, just think to yourself, “this is too much, I can relax my neck, shoulders, hips, knees (if they are locked, same thing – excess tension on knees and low back), and ankles and let my breath out.”  Experiment with this new way of thinking and see what happens!