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Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

Toning the OM Receives 2021 Best of Bronx Award!

Friday, 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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Hopeful

Thursday, 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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Embracing the Quiet

Wednesday, 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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Just For This Moment

Tuesday, 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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Flickering Light

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Our light goes in and out.
We find ourselves again and again.
And we lose ourselves again and again.
Sometimes we need the darkness to find our light.

Our light dims and love helps us find it.
Our light shines bright lightly and love shows us how to share it.
Our light glows and other people notice it.

We sometimes see the light in others before we see our own light.
We shine and celebrate the light in others.

Oh, and their light flickers too.

As our days grow shorter, may we find our inner sun that is always shining light.

May we remember that light emerges from the darkness.
And that the most holy darkness is the deepest darkness.

Let our flickering light and holy darkness be our teachers.

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And God Whispered…

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

I’m right here.

As I headed into the woods to look for fall warblers and hawks, I found myself smiling at the abundance of yellow trees. I looked up to see the sunlight streaming down onto the tops of the trees. Then tears came streaming down my face. I was overcome with joy of being in nature, of being surrounded by light, of walking with my spouse. Of feeling the crunching of leaves and feeling peaceful. It had been a long time since peace filled me – as most of the year has been spent being with my ill father until his passing in September.

Nature is a great reminder that everything changes. Leaves fall and mulch. Seeds succumb to the darkness. And transformation comes in every season.

Many emotions filled me with every breath – sadness, gratitude, peace, and grief. I felt all of it. I looked up as the sunlight bounced off the yellow leaves and listened to the silence that filled the trail. Suddenly I heard squirrels hurrying through bushes, birds flying from tree to tree, and crisp air blowing the leaves. Smiling at the beauty all around me, I heard the words, “And God whispered, I’m right here.”

Through the mystery of grief and love, my heart felt peaceful. Lost in emotions of sadness, I knew joy. Grasping for connection, I knew groundedness. Longing for the return of hope, I found myself whispering, “I’m right here.”

 

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Permission for Joy

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

After attending the 5th and final year of Camp Good Life Project, I had a clear sense of what nourishes me. Connections. Conversations. Community. All of those fill my heart. Meditation. Mindfulness. Mantras. Those fill my soul. Letting the rest go. Clearing the way for what comes to me and fills me up with joy. As I sat on a rock looking out at a lake, I started listening for what I could give myself permission to experience to feel more joy and more peace.

I give myself permission to…  

Take a weekend off to play;

Read the entire Sunday New York Times; 

Take a long afternoon nap;

Read three books at the same time;

Write from my heart all day;

Impulsively book a weekend get-a-way;

Connect more with nature;

Be open to not knowing;

Make room for what is next;

To experience JOY;

Love myself more.

What are you willing to give yourself permission to experience?

 

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The Four Noble Truths of Love – Book Review

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Susan Piver’s book, The Four Noble Truths of Love, is an inner course on navigating relationships and well-being. In her new book, New York Times bestselling author and mindfulness expert, Susan Piver applies classic Buddhist wisdom to modern relationships, including her own long-term marriage.

The Four Noble Truths of Love will challenge expectations we have about dating, love, and romance. This mindful approach towards relationships and love invites us to explore our heart fiercely, deepen communications with our partner, increase our compassion, and lead us toward a path of wisdom and happiness.

Through the lens of both her Buddhist practices and her own experience in a 20-year marriage, Piver interweaves personal anecdotes with practical wisdom to arrive at the Four Noble Truths of Love. Piver spends time in each truth: Relationships never stabilize; Expecting relationships to be stable is what makes them unstable; Meeting instability together is love; The path to liberation. While her practices come from a Buddhist background and her study of the Four Noble Truths, the Four Noble Truths of Love are an invitation to be questioned and examined from our own experience/s.

It’s when we stop trying to see a relationship as only an extended love affair that we gain access to its unique and often undercelebrated powers: of warmth; of solace; of protection; of friendship; a connection that slows and deepens until it subsumes both hearts and blurs the lines between you, me, and us. –Susan Piver

Piver shares from her own personal experience of marriage including some personal struggles and revelations. She shares that if a couple meets their instability together – this is love. This book is a teaching on love from a “big” mind. There are insights about the phases of relationships, from irritation to deep compassion. Piver also offers practical wisdom, including meditation practices. Meditation can be a practice of love.

Everything in this book is a practice – of the heart, of the mind, of the Self. Love at its core is about being vulnerable, open, and kindhearted. Love shows us our inherent goodness and it can also reveal our unhealed pain. Love isn’t about hiding the pain, rather its’ about uncovering it. This path takes great courage – and the noble truths of love offer wise insight to practice that courage.

 

*I received an advance review copy of Susan Piver’s The Four Noble Truths of Love. I have also met Susan Piver and taken courses with the Open Heart Project.

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What Is the Call of Your Heart?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

How can we slow down long enough to hear our own heart?

How do we return to our wild, untamed selves?

How do we make plans and stay open to serendipity?

How do we sit in uncertainty and trust that the universe will provide?

These are just some of the questions I sat with during a recent meditation. I started my meditation by taking conscious breaths. I breathed into my heart center until it expanded more and more. With each exhale, I could hear the question, “What does my Being want today?”

I listened with my whole body. I took longer pauses and was willing to sit in the quiet. I had to let go of the noise that normally fills my day. I stopped my inner world and I noticed I wasn’t as busy as I once believed. As I sat in the emptiness, emotions rose and connections to myself deepened. My meditation was a reminder to release old ways and to be open to new routines.

My invitation to you is to break some routines. Take a new path to work. Try a new food. Do something unfamiliar. Listen more.

All this inner work has allowed me to expand and co-create in new ways. I have emerged from my time in stillness with incredible meditations that I will be sharing at the upcoming Wild Cosmic Heart Retreat in Hawaii at Kalani Retreat Center, November 4 – 10, 2018.

What is the call of your heart?

Why not try something new and join us on the Big Island for the Wild Cosmic Heart Retreat at Kalani and enjoy some magnificent tropical beauty while you explore your wild, untamed heart.

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Tears + Geckos – A Wild Cosmic Heart Journey

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Seven years ago, I began planning a week-long retreat that would take place on the Big Island of Hawaii. I wanted to spend a week exploring our wild cosmic heart. I had no idea that a week before the retreat a hurricane would sweep the East Coast. I had no idea that three weeks before the retreat I would have medical appointments and not feel well. I had no idea that my heart would feel so heavy and raw.

In November of 2012 as I prepared to leave for my flight, I thought of canceling – of staying home to help family and friends affected by the storm. I thought about how I would reschedule my medical appointments that were canceled due to the power outages from the hurricane. I thought about volunteering somewhere to help hurricane victims who lost everything.

When I asked friends if I should still lead the retreat, they all gave the same answer – YES. I listened and took an 11-hour flight to Hawaii. I arrived exhausted and anxious. When I arrived at my room, two large geckos were awaiting me. I barley slept my first night and, in the morning, I met with the Group Manager. She greeted me with a big hug and my eyes filled with tears.

As the week continued I knew I was in the right place (not only because it was Hawaii). I met so many people willing to explore their hearts. I met people who were open to being seen and heard. I met people who were willing to be vulnerable. As I sat and listened to the retreat participants, I became more in awe of the many people who live their life celebrating and tending to their wild cosmic heart.

I met Louise whose husband was dying of brain cancer. I met Yolanda who celebrated her 75th birthday with friends and a group of strangers. I watched Tina snorkel with joy as she swam in the warm ponds. I smiled as Angela took her first hula class. I listened to Francine remember that she can drum and sing. I took a picture of Susan sitting in her shamanic earth mandala, which she made in the roots of a huge tree. I laughed with Lisa in the water, like a teenager with the giggles.

Most of all, I remember that my heart felt open and grateful. I realized that when I open and invite others into my heart, the world expands. Many in the our sacred circle were longing for connection, community, and belonging. The Wild Cosmic Heart Retreats offers just that — deep connections through guided meditations, mindfulness walks around trees, shamanic journeying to the garden of the heart, and sacred play. In the midst of worry and responsibility, participants from around the world were willing to drop the armor around their heart.

I even befriended the Geckos, known to me as Heckle and Jeckle. The retreat was so powerful that I have taught it again and again. And this November, I will be facilitating the Wild Cosmic Heart Retreat at Kalani on the Big Island of Hawaii, November 4-10, 2018. Join us for a week of daily meditations, mindfulness walks in the luscious tropics, shamanic journeying, and homemade ice cream! What is your wild cosmic heart asking of you?

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