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Toning the OM Receives 2021 Best of Bronx Award!

September 17th, 2021

Toning the OM has been selected as the Winner for the 2021 Best of Bronx Awards in the category of Local Business! 

Each year, in and around the Bronx area, the Bronx Award Program chooses only the best local businesses. They focus on companies that have demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their business in spite of difficult economic times. The companies chosen exemplify the best of small business; often leading through customer service and community involvement.

For most companies, this recognition is a result of their dedication and efforts as well as the work put into building the business. Toning the OM is now a part of an exclusive group of small businesses that have achieved this selection.

The Bronx Award Program was created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of businesses and organizations in and around Bronx. Their mission is to raise the profile of exemplary companies and entrepreneurs among the press, the business community, and the general public.

Thank to everyone who has supported Toning the OM through the years–whether you have attended a workshop, sacred circle, retreat, coaching or meditation session. And am also grateful to everyone that has shown support and love by sharing and promoting Toning the OM and sent encouraging words. 

Most of all, am grateful to my parents who taught me the value and meaning of service. All that I do and all that I share is in their memory–as I know they are always watching over me.

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Posted in Toning the OM | Toning the Om

Pause

August 10th, 2021

When I can’t find the words to say or write, I look in nature. 
When life seems overwhelming,
I pause.
When I need to understand, I take photos. 

I find meaning in images.
I find connection in nature.
And I find peace in the stillness.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Hopeful

March 25th, 2021

I have been thinking about hope the past few weeks. Perhaps it is the new season of Spring and watching the flowers burst through the earth. Perhaps it is because I have been watching the birds return to the cherry trees out side my window. Perhaps it is the light that lasts longer each night. Perhaps it is knowing that family and friends are getting vaccinated and I too will soon get the vaccine. Perhaps it is because I feel like making plans of things to do or places to go for the first time in 12 months.

Or perhaps I have been meditating on hope because it is the season of renewal, miracles, and the Easter season of resurrection and new life. Perhaps it is just my faith reminding me that hope returns (or perhaps never left) that I am given constant reminders of hope in nature. All I know is that any time I have been asked how I am dong the past few weeks, the only word that comes out of my mouth is “hopeful.” I am hopeful of new beginnings and of miracles. I am hopeful that I can live more fully out (especially after a year of having to live fully in). I am hopeful that I can soon see people and hug my family. I am hopeful that so much goodness is waiting for me — us — you. 

Even with so much still unknown and a year that will bring a lot of change, I still feel hopeful. And of course that doesn’t mean I don’t get scared or cranky or worried. I am hopeful that my voice will return and my writings will be expressed. I am hopeful that I can be quiet and still. I am hopeful that my inner compass will show me the way and love will lead me home. 

And I am choosing to be hopeful. It’s a daily practice — and some days I am better at it than others.

My faith reminds me this time of year that from the darkness comes the light. Without the dark earth, flowers would not bloom. And so I too am rising from the dark earth with new life, new blooms, and new eyes. What are you unearthing? What is blooming inside of you? What has been waiting to bloom inside of you?

 

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Posted in Gratitude | Toning the Om

Embracing the Quiet

February 17th, 2021

I have come to terms with doing less and being more. I have written so many things in my head that have not made their way to the page. I have come to terms with spending the past year being in the moment. While I have appreciated seeing or reading about many people being so productive this past year (learning a new skill or cleaning out rooms or closets), I have spent the last 12 months listening and tending to myself.

Instead of keeping busy, I have been quiet. With less meetings, events, baseball games, nights out, vacations, or people to get together with, my schedule became empty—and I chose to not fill it. Rather, I studied the birds out my window. And watched the starlings leave the pine tree when it became invaded by grackles. I watched the cherry trees bloom from the bare branches to large pink flowers. I marveled at the squirrels leaping from tree to tree as the great chase became a daily comedy show. I lingered with my morning coffee enjoying the ever-changing sky. Unable to read novels most of last year, I found myself downloading podcasts and binge-watching television shows. At first, I felt guilty about my inability to read, write, or facilitate (on-line) workshops. And I made the mistake of comparing myself to other people who seemed to be doing so much. Yet, friends shared that they felt just as alone and scared during this time.

I was feeling so much grief about losing people I knew to the virus, working alone in my dining room for hours, staying inside, and the loss of not seeing family and friends. In The Wild Edge of Sorrow, Francis Wheeler writes, “Grief also reveals the undeniably reality of our bond with the world…We need grief in order to heal these traumas and make sense of a world turned upside.”

I needed grief to show me the way out and show the way in. I needed this quiet time to connect me to grace and God. And I needed to embrace the quiet within myself. Am not sure what this time will mean to me years from now or what lessons it will have given me. But I know that I have appreciated the small things, like long walks, songbirds, books, my sister’s homemade meals, and the need to not rush anywhere. For now, the quiet feels like a homecoming. And for today, I am embracing the quiet.

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Posted in Life | Toning the Om

Savoring the Light That Seeks Me

November 2nd, 2020

Each morning, I have a series of rituals. While my morning rituals often include making a pot of coffee and putting on my diffuser, it also includes looking out the window. I look at the trees right outside my apartment and notice the light. I notice the mornings that the sunlight bounces off the trees. I look at the cherry trees, the pines, the maple trees and savor the moments of morning light.

In the afternoons, I take walks in my neighborhood. One of the gifts of working from home is being able to notice all the flowers that have come and gone since March. I do not think I have ever noticed flowers as much as I have this year. As I photograph the various flowers, I often capture the light on the flowers.

As evening sets, I am often at the end of my street, capturing the colors of the sunset. As I pause to look at the sky, the flowers, and the sunset, I realize that I am often seeking light. And then I discover that through it all, it is the light that seeks me.

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Posted in Toning the OM | Toning the Om

Unmoored

August 25th, 2020

I live near water and often go to the end of my street to watch the boats sway as the sun sets. Each night brings a new experience. Some of the boats seem adrift without a destination or port to dock in. These past few months, I have felt this way too. I seem to be adrift and swaying in uncharted waters. Finding the shore at times seems too difficult. I find myself feeling like I am lost in the middle of the ocean—with no destination.

Like an unmoored boat, I am in the sea of the unknown. Searching for anchors, I turn to books, journals, and walks in nature. At times, these bring comfort and other times, I just wade in the waters of the unknown.

Sometimes when I feel unmoored, what is needed most is rest. It is the constant search for answers and solutions to the unknown that has made me feel exhausted. I have had to practice focusing and concentrating like never before. It’s the struggle of finding a place and space just to be that brings the course back into sight. As I work daily to change course, to stay grounded, and to return to the shores of my heart, I try to stop controlling and solving. I am learning how to appreciate how to sail in uncharted waters.

I still feel like an unmoored boat swaying. But for today, the sea and sky will guide me. And my anchor is my faith showing me how to set sail in the open sea of life.

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Posted in Vulnerability | Toning the Om

Real Change Starts With Each of Us

June 3rd, 2020

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing there are still helpers; so many caring people in this world.” Fred Rogers

At a time of upheaval and uncertainty; at a time when the world seems upside down, and those who have been oppressed for so long, I look for the helpers. I look for those being of service.

When I feel overwhelmed, my first response is to pause and to sit in stillness. I want to listen to what’s happening inside. It is only from that space and place that I can truly listen to what is happening outside. Sitting in stillness helps me have clarity about what I am feeling and what I am called to do next.

There is so much sorrow (and rage) over the death of George Floyd and the recent death of black lives. We can no longer turn our backs on those who experience inequality, injustice, and senseless violence. Real change starts with each one of us. We must be the change. We must be invested in changing ourselves and educating ourselves. We must be invested in changing leaders who have stopped listening. We must be invested in listening, leaning in, and serving.

We must look for the helpers. And we must be the helpers. We need to start opening our hearts, our minds, and ourselves. We must be of service to those who don’t have a voice. Change starts heart by heart; mind by mind.

Please be of service to those who don’t have a voice. Please be sure to vote in every election, especially local ones. Please consider looking at organizations doing some of the work in communities bringing change. Please check out Color of Change, an organization that designs powerful campaigns to end practices of injustice for black people and champion solutions to move forward.

Toning the OM is committed to advocating for change and supporting racial justice through education and service. We too grieve with all those suffering loss. We are invested in listening, learning, leaning in, and being of service.

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Posted in Peaceful Actions | Toning the Om

We Are All Painters

May 28th, 2020

The last few months have either kept us home bound or out in the field as essential workers. Each has had its own pain and worry. Finding beauty has been a struggle. Finding beauty within even more a struggle. I look for my heart-centered practices to remind me that there is always beauty — even when I can’t find it, especially when I can’t find it.

I turn to meditation, reading, writing, bird-watching, and taking photos. All of these practices bring me back to stillness. Looking at the rising or setting sun reminds me to notice light, colors, and nature. I took a photo of a recent sunset that reminded me of a painting. As I told a friend, “The light made the photo look like a paintbrush touching the earth.” 

My meditation the next day included listening to the question:
What beauty am I painting in the world?

We are all painters using our lives as brushes to enhance (or not) the world and fill it with more beauty. What beauty are you painting?

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

Just For This Moment

April 7th, 2020

Just for this moment is a phrase that showed up in my meditation. It is a phrase that is keeping me grounded. I have said many times to myself as a reminder to stay present to now.

Meditation:

Just for this moment feel without seeking another experience.

Feel the sensations in your whole body.

Let them move, intensify or dissipate.


Allow your feelings to stay or leave.

Bow to your feelings.

Just for this moment be silent or let your voice be heard.

Be gentle with yourself.

Know that your heart is vast and can hold your feelings.

Be a sanctuary for yourself.

Just for this moment.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Baseball and Grief

March 26th, 2020

I had tickets for today’s Opening Day Mets game at Citi Field with my brother-in-law. Given everything happening right now, this seems really trivial. But the Mets remind me of my family, especially my dad. He was a huge fan and raised his daughters to be as well. Every season my dad and I would talk about the Mets roster and line-up. You could always find a Mets game on his television at home and even in the hospital as he grew increasingly ill. After his passing, I placed three flowers on the field by third base on the last day of the 2018 season in his memory.

The Mets have provided a form of comfort and relief throughout my life. After my mom passed away in the summer of 2000, I would watch games on the weekends. It would be the most beautiful Sunday and all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch the Mets.

So missing Opening Day is more than just missing a baseball game — it’s about my connection to my family and missing my parents. It’s losing a place of joy and comfort and an outlet for grief. I really miss baseball.

And my hope is that we can all bring baseball back by staying home.

Please take time to notice where grief is showing up for you and know you are not alone. 

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om