Treat Yourself to a Retreat

Remember my Top 100 List (of ways to pamper myself)? I just added going on a retreat to that list.

I recently returned from a women’s retreat in Minnesota where twelve women came together from across the U.S. and Canada to delve more deeply into self compassion, our strengths and our purpose. For four days we challenged ourselves to look at how we showed up in this world while experiencing giving back, supporting one another, and giving ourselves this time to retreat. It was four precious days for all of us to put aside our very full lives and do something just for us; a time to relax, reflect and feel rejuvenated.

We also celebrated each other for all sorts of accomplishments: one of us turned fifty over the weekend, a few women declared they would start looking for new jobs, one woman was singing in an off-Broadway musical the following week. We rejoiced in who we are, not who we think others want us to be. I was lifted up by these amazingly courageous women. I was reminded that I am enough despite the gremlins in my head who tell me otherwise. I was also reminded of the healing power that comes with gathering with like-minded women.

This Sunday, my friend Harumi and I will conduct our next Fuzzy Red Socks Workshop and I am so looking forward to making the space for women to gather for four hours of sacred quietude with yoga, meditation and SoulCollage. It’s only four hours, not four days, but even in that short amount of time, the soul can be quieted and the spirit can be lifted. In fact, I have been known to feel refreshed and full of new energy with just four minutes of meditation.

I invite you to find some time today to treat yourself to a retreat – no need to fly across the country, just have coffee with a friend, share a spa day with your sister, or sit quietly in meditation for a few minutes. Let the warmth of friendship, the pampering, the dedicated time for SELF wash over you so you can relax, reflect, and feel rejuvenated.

Top 100 List
Harumi Yoga+

Making Meditation Matter

DSCN1049John Kabat-Zinn reminds us that meditation is simply “paying attention” and that paying attention is the first step to living more mindfully and learning to reduce stress. In his book Full Catastrophe Living Mr. Kabat-Zinn teaches us that through meditation we can learn how our own mind works and how often our mind is thinking about the past or the future and not about right now, the present.

I’ve been meditating consistently now for eighteen months and I’ve seen the difference it can make in how I handle stress. I am more likely to respond to a situation with grace than react with anger. Learning to quiet my mind and focus on my breath has helped me navigate life through a much clearer lens, one that is magnified with love, acceptance and compassion.

One of the easiest ways to get into meditation is by using a simple body scan. Try this 9-minute one from The Wild Divine:

To make meditation matter in your life download the Insight Timer App onto your phone to provide you with beautiful Tibetan singing bowls and a dynamic worldwide meditation community. Insight Timer is the fun and easy way to support your meditation practice.

Learn To Meditate

February 16, 2012

Fuzzy Red Socks – A Journey Towards Health

Learn To Meditate

I have been meaning to meditate now for months and just can’t seem to make it part of my daily routine. It seems so strange to have mediation on my to-do list, but I know that is what it takes for me to start anything new. I need to plan for it, work it into my schedule and then just do it.

So on Sundays, I go to a free meditation class at my yoga studio. There the instructor leads us into a 10-15 minute meditation, we discuss how that went and what came up for us, then we do one final meditation for another 15 minutes or so. For just this short time once a week I can “practice” meditating and realize the relaxing and restorative effects that come from meditation.

Similar to taking a short nap, when I meditate, I feel refreshed and invigorated afterwards. The instructor guides us with ways to empty our minds of our “to-do” lists and our worries and he reminds us to keep coming back to our breath. He suggests that when a thought comes up to label it “a thought” then return to our breath. The practice of this may seem simple, but it really can be difficult. The errands I need to run after the class or the argument I had with someone keep surfacing. But the practice of softly acknowledging those thoughts, labeling them, and saying good-bye to them, lulls me into a state of lightness, a feeling of peace, and a sense of wonder about what lies beneath the surface of my mind.

I always leave that class feeling like a new person and thinking that I will be sure to meditate every day. But then life shows up and gets in the way and I am once again looking at it on my “to do” list. So for now, I am at least meditating once a week.

If you would like an easy idea for meditating check out Kirsten Florian’s blog entry which includes a Yoga Mudra Mediation outlined for you from her recent trip to India at

Then get it on your to-do list and learn to make your to-do list melt away even if it is only once a week..