Breathe and Release: A Meditation for Healing

This is a meditation for when times get tough. It’s for when your vibrations are low. For when you need comfort during the murky, challenging chapters of life’s journey. 

Breathe and Release is a soothing balm for the heart and soul—and, in particular, it offers incredible healing for those who are facing addiction, grief, depression, and PTSD. The practice allows you to release blocked emotions in a safe and gentle manner. By tuning into two very simple tools—the body and the breath—you unlock your inner wisdom and move into greater levels of clarity, connectedness, and calm.

I recommend practicing this meditation if you’re feeling shocked by trauma, dealing with an overwhelming day, or if you’re feeling the urge to run to an outdated pattern (addiction). This is not necessarily a practice you will want to do every day (although it can be). Breathe and Release is a potent medicine to be taken as needed. You will know when you need it. It’s the ace up your sleeve when nothing else seems to work.

The Steps

You will need a blanket or yoga mat to practice this meditation.

Roll out your mat or spread out your blanket evenly across the floor in your home. Ideally, choose your favorite room for practice: the one that you find the most inspiring or soothing.

Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. By setting up a brief window of time for your practice (rather than a larger one), you invite your subconscious mind to relax, which allows your emotions to more easily flow. If, during the course of the meditation, you spontaneously want to lengthen the time, that’s perfectly fine. However, each time that you begin, hold the intention that you will practice for no more than ten minutes.

Allow your body to find the most relaxing position on the blanket or mat. Each time you practice, the way your body wants to relax will be different. Perhaps sometimes you will sit, cross-legged or kneeling. Perhaps you will lay on your stomach. Perhaps you will stretch out on your back. Perhaps you will curl up into a fetal position. Or perhaps you will discover a yoga pose. Find the perfect posture for that moment.

During your meditation, you may move or shift as needed. Simply set the intention to stay upon your mat or blanket for 5-10 minutes. This is your safe and sacred space. Your welcoming cocoon. 

Next, bring your attention to your heart chakra. (This is located at the center of your chest.) Be aware of this area. You may tap it with your fingertips or you may simply bring your curiosity, your loving attention to that area. Feel all of the physical sensations. Does your heart feel tight or relaxed? Hot or cold? Numb or tingling? Painful or tense? 

Whenever it feels right to do so, begin to direct your inhale and your exhale to your heart chakra. If it helps, you can visualize that you have a second nose located here, which draws in the inhalation and expels the exhalation.  

As you breathe and pay attention to your heart, allow any emotions that want to come forward. If there’s sadness, let there be sadness. If there’s tears, let there be tears. If there’s anger, let there be anger. Allow your blanket or mat to cradle you, as you bravely feel.

As you feel, breathe without any stories.

As you feel whatever is wanting to be felt, avoid the temptation to tell any stories about what you are feeling. Simply feel the emotions. In other words, do not try to intellectually understand or analyze what or why you’re feeling. All that’s needed is to simply feel. That’s all. 

On some days, you may quickly feel a calm sense of relief wash over you. On other days, the experience may be more intense. Sometimes you may want to smash your fists against your blanket or growl and howl as you release many primal, raw emotions.

The key is: Don’t censor yourself! Don’t worry about what anyone else might think! Just let loose!

Whether the experience is subtle or intense, simply keep staying on your blanket/mat and keep breathing into your heart. 

After 5-10 minutes, place your hands over your heart chakra and thank yourself for taking this sacred time for healing. Shake out your mat/blanket, visualizing that all the outdated (“negative”) energies are dispersing, flying out and far away from you. Continue on with the rest of your day.

Some Tips to keep in mind

Do your best to release any desire for specific results as you practice this meditation. Simply approach your Breathe and Release practice with an open mind. Stay curious. Be willing to let go of what you think “should” happen. 

As mentioned, you occasionally may choose to spontaneously extend the duration. If you’re in the midst of a really good cry, for example, you may not want to abruptly stop when your timer buzzes. In my own personal practice, for example, most of the time I simply lay on my mat for ten minutes. But, on other days, I am there for as much as half an hour and end up taking a lovely nap! But, again, please remember this: Begin each meditation session with the intention that you will only practice for five to ten minutes. 

Why is this so important? Well, giving yourself permission to do “just a short meditation” is the secret ingredient to disarming the ego, which is the aspect of your psyche that actually loves to suffer. By giving yourself permission to take a super-short meditation session, this relaxes the ego’s defenses and allows the emotions to flow. (Suffering is the result of blocked emotions.) The ego thinks to itself: “What could possibly happen in ten minutes? Probably not much.”

In this sense, we walk into our Breathe and Release meditation with no expectations—thus, paradoxically, we create the perfect environment for the deepest healing to occur.

Finally, it helps to share this meditation with others and create a support system. After practicing, you may want to share your experiences with like-minded friends or encourage others to practice this meditation if they’re struggling. Remember that community is essential for growth. Healing is a group effort! As we enjoy the supportive energies of fellow human beings on a similar spiritual path, we are reminded that we are never alone. We are reminded, through the loving support of others, that we are always protected and guided. This Universe is a pretty awesome place!

The Healing Process of Cord-Clearing (aka, cord-cutting)



The process of cord-clearing (aka, cord-cutting) is a simple meditation technique that frees you from harmful attachments to another person. Before I explain the process in detail, it is helpful to understand what cords are and why it’s a good idea to clear them.


What are cords of attachment?


From a spiritual perspective, a cord is an unhealthy attachment of energy that binds two people. These cords are based upon negative thoughts and emotions, such as jealousy, fear, insecurity, greed, anger, manipulation, and lack.


An attachment is different from a connection. While the former is based on toxic, low-frequency energy, the latter is based upon healthy, high-frequency energy.


Connections are energetic flows of tenderness, respect, trust, kindness, inspiration, compassion, and other forms of love. Connections help bring people together in an uplifting, mutually supportive way; they are energetic flows that serve to support evolution.


In contrast, attachments are cords of dense energy that serve fear.




How To Do the Practice


We can start by practicing cord-clearing for five minutes every evening before bed. If we feel the process is helpful, we could increase the time spent to multiple sessions per day.


The first step is to find a comfortable seated position. You may sit on a chair or a comfortable couch. You could even sit outside in nature on the grass.


Close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. Say to yourself, “If there are any negative cords of attachment, please reveal them to me now.” Take a few more deep breaths. Relax. Slowly, you will begin to see in your mind’s eye some cords (usually dark brown, grey, or black) that link from your body to the other person’s body. You may see them attached to your belly, heart, head, or somewhere else. The cords may look like rope, wood, plastic, metal, or something else. Some will look shiny and some will look murky. How you see the cords will be unique to you.


The second step is to visualize yourself clearing away these cords. You can do this in a number of ways. In my practice over the years, I’ve used dozens of different visualizations: some have been inspired by fellow healers and some I’ve invented. The idea is to be exploratory, and select what works for you.


I’ll share some of my favorite visualizations. You can imagine that you are holding a comb or a hairbrush in your hand. Slowly and gently you swipe that comb or brush across your body, and also throughout your auric field (the energy that extends a few feet all around your body). Watch as the comb/brush breaks apart the cords.


I also really like using nature images. You can imagine that a soft, soothing waterfall is flowing down upon you from the sky. The water is gently washing away the cords. Another great nature image is that of butterflies or birds. You can imagine that these beautiful beings are flying all around your body and they are breaking through the cords. Watch the cords effortlessly fall away.


If, as you do the practice, the cords grow back or if they feel too thick to clear (this sometimes happens if you’re working with a person with whom you’ve had significant triggers), simply keep at it. Be patient. Eventually, you will feel lighter and more peaceful.


It’s important to remember that visualization is not simply a “nice” thing for you to do. It is real, actual medicine. Visualization is healing you on a quantum level. There are countless studies now in the scientific literature about the power of visualization to heal and bring about miraculous changes in the body-mind. A great example is studies done on athletes. When they visualize exercising or lifting weights, they grow more muscle mass without adding any additional movement to their routine.


Simply put, when we imagine something, actual changes happen in our physical world. This seems unbelievable because most of us have been taught in school that these things are “impossible.” But the new science of quantum physics is currently rewriting our old textbooks.


When we visualize something, this creates vibrational changes on the energetic/spiritual planes of consciousness, which then ripples out to affect the physical/material planes.


Thus, it’s important to understand that when you are cord-clearing, you are really clearing away actual cords! That is why the practice of cord-clearing is so vital for those who are wanting to heal their relationships and perform their caregiving/healing work more effectively.



Leaving Toxic Relationships


We can use cord-clearing in different kinds of relational situations. If, overall, a relationship feels light and full of freedom, trust, and mutual support, then it would probably be wonderful to maintain that relationship. The need to practice cord-clearing is a great tool to use when, occasionally, disagreements or other challenging situations arise.


If, on the other hand, a relationship feels incredibly heavy, violent, sad and/or traumatic, then we can utilize cord-clearing to help us end that relationship. Leaving someone is much easier when we have cord-clearing in our toolkit.


When we’re leaving a relationship, the key is to be incredibly mindful of the thoughts we’re thinking. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful! If we leave someone with hate in our hearts, we are then more likely to attract another person in the future who may have a different face, but yet they have the same underlying personality dynamics. Simply put, the Universe will put the lesson of forgiveness “on repeat” until we can learn to let go with love.


Make no mistake: Forgiving and letting go with love is an advanced lesson! Not everyone on this planet is ready for it. Only those who are willing to release their ego (identification with a separate self) can achieve this masterful state of being.


Angry, judgmental, and condemning thoughts directed towards another person will only serve to delay true healing for all parties involved. In the system of Reiki, a Japanese form of energy healing, the fifth principle is “Have compassion for yourself and others.” This principle includes everyone—even our ex-partners, ex-abusers, and those who have been catalysts for our pain.


To condemn, blame, or hate is a negative energy that poisons everyone, including the sender. Therefore, we learn to say goodbye with forgiveness and peace in our hearts. By ending a relationship this way, we take ultimate responsibility for our lives. We model a peaceful way of living.


Even though it may be challenging, the wisest thing we can do when we are leaving a toxic or abusive situation is to remember that there was (and is) an element of love that originally drew us to that person. There are no mistakes in this Universe. (When I use the word “love” in this context, I do not refer to the romantic sense of the word, but rather a spiritual sense of love: as a universal energy that wants us to grow, that wants us to evolve and find truth.)


When we leave an abusive relationship, we have the choice between falling into the victim role or rising into empowerment. We can ask ourselves: What did we learn from that relationship? What did we learn about our own strength and courage? What did we learn about how we want to be treated and how we want to treat others?


Feeling gratitude for the wisdom we acquired from a negative experience will transform that experience into a positive one.


Even though we may leave a relationship physically, there is still work to be done on an energetic level. That is why cord-clearing is so essential! The practice helps us to transcend the feelings of victimhood and to find a deep sense of worthiness. It also helps us break addictive patterns, as well. As we clear cords, the temptation to return to that relationship will dissolve. If someone still has their energetic “hooks” in us, they may be able to manipulate us to return. However, by clearing the cords, you are releasing those dense energetic hooks and freeing yourself to begin a new life.


We might need to practice cord-clearing with a particular person for weeks, months, or even years, depending on the severity of the situation. Take as much time as you need. Remember that grief is okay.


If you no longer cry or feel anger or worry when you think about that person, then that’s a strong indicator that you no longer have a negative attachment to that person and you no longer need to practice cord-clearing with them.



Cord-Clearing in Professional Relationships


 It is very helpful to regularly practice cord-clearing in our professional relationships. For social workers, therapists, teachers, nurses, clergy, coaches, intuitives, and others in the helping professions, taking time every day to perform cord-clearing is absolutely vital if we wish to maintain a positive attitude and not succumb to burnout.


At the end of a session, meeting, class, phone call, or at the end of your office day, find a space alone. You can sit in your car or a private place where you will not be disturbed. Allow yourself the freedom to take five or ten minutes (or as long as needed) to clear the cords that may have attached themselves during your time with your clients and/or colleagues.


Often, as professionals explore energetic practices such as cord clearing, their intuitive abilities and problem-solving skills are heightened. This gives additional motivation to continue the practice.


It’s important to understand that performing cord-clearing is not an act of judgment against the person(s) with whom you’re clearing cords. Rather, it’s simply an acknowledgment of the emotional intensity of the situation in which you’re involved. Cords arise, and that’s okay. It’s normal. However, those cords are not for our ultimate benefit. We can live in a more beautiful way.


When we help someone else, there is a fine line between co-dependency and true empowerment. If we work as caregivers, healers, and wayshowers, our work is the most potent when we wish for our clients and patients to become empowered, wise, and committed to their own growth process. In other words, it’s best if they do not become addicted to our help, but rather to use us as a temporary diving board to leap off into their own journey. Or, another way of putting it is this: Eventually, we want our birdies to leave the nest. We want them to trust themselves and to be free. When we clear cords at the end of a session or class, we are simply reinforcing that basic intention. We do not want someone to need us forever. We want them to become their own guru.


Whether we are working with students, clients, or colleagues, it’s important to make (and re-make!) the commitment to honor their own innate ability to heal and guide themselves.


When we clear cords in professional situations, it’s helpful to repeat the following affirmation:


“I am grateful to you, dear one, for allowing me the honor of serving you, working with you. As you walk away from me now, you are fully free to explore your own path of life. It may involve me in the future, or it may not. Do what feels right for you, dear one. Be happy; be free.”


As you repeat this affirmation daily with all of your clients and colleagues, you will notice how the tendency to worry about them falls away. What remains is the good stuff: love, tenderness, and compassion!


The Immense Power of Words and Thoughts


You can find thousands of resources online about the topic of cord-cutting. My choice to use the term “clear” rather than “cut” is a significant one. As I’ve worked with thousands of people seeking healing, what I’ve discovered is that gentleness is always the most effective stance. There’s no need for a harsh cutting. We don’t need scissors or an ax. There’s no need for war or violence against anything.


To clear a cord with a brush or water or birds is simply to give the old way (fear) permission to leave in the face of a new way (love). There’s no need to force. Everything in this Universe wants to be healed. It is through our intentional choice of words and thoughts that we leave the dimension of victimhood and enter the realm of mastery. Through our thoughts and daily practices, we learn how truly powerful we are. We learn to wield that power in a gentle, compassionate manner.


Blessings to you, dear reader, as you empower others to empower themselves.



How to Enjoy Meditation: Three Tips



The biggest reason that meditation can be so difficult—at least initially—is that people are misinformed about the nature of meditation itself.


Meditation can be fun. Meditation can be easy. Really!! In this post, I’ll share three simple tips for how to enjoy meditation. Through these tips, I’ll simultaneously clear up some prevalent myths that often cause us so much confusion and difficulty.


Tip #1: Meditation is like dating. Keep searching around until you find the perfect partner—for you. 


If meditation has felt like a chore, or perhaps super confusing, I can promise you one thing: You haven’t yet found a technique that suits you.


There are thousands, literally thousands, of meditation techniques. Some involve sitting, some involve walking, some involve chanting or visualization. And even within a single technique, the way that various teachers will teach it are always varied. The permutations of meditation are seemingly endless.


Keep searching, my friend. I promise, you will find one (or two, or three) that you adore.


About eight years ago, I started my meditation journey. It began with Reiki. Yet, my teacher never called it “meditation.” As the months passed, however, I realized that Reiki  (a form of hands-on healing) was a powerful form of meditation.


I was absolutely in love with Reiki. It was literally something I could do for hours and hours and not get tired or bored. Reiki was my meditation: it helped me clear my mind of worried thoughts, it helped my nervous system decompress, and it helped me tap into an inner reservoir of self-love that I never knew existed. It was wonderful! It was amazing! My life began to change in innumerable ways.


Reiki was my doorway into meditation. Before Reiki, I had tried to meditate a number of times and “hated it.” I tried going to Zen centers, only to leave in annoyance. I tried using techniques I found on Youtube or that I read about in books. All of them felt weird. Nothing clicked. But then I found Reiki, and everything began to flow. Eight years later…and I’m now teaching meditation!


My Reiki journey led me through my transformations. And, over the years, I’ve ventured into other meditation techniques. Some have felt wonderful; some have felt tense or awkward. And, I have fallen madly in love with other practices, too. Every day I do a combination of mantra chanting, singing, prayer (yes, this can be a form of meditation), yoga, dance, and transcendental meditation. All of these bring me inner peace and help me remember my true self.



Tip #2: Meditation is NOT about trying to stop our thoughts. Rather, it’s about noticing our thoughts.


No wonder people try meditation a few times and then quit! If meditation was about stopping thoughts, I’m sure there would only be only two or three people on the planet who would persist in the practice!


Simply put, the human brain does not have an “off” switch. That’s not how it works.


Meditation is not about stopping thoughts. In fact, this view is a very violent way to look meditation. Why would we want to stop something that the brain was designed to do?


Instead, there is a more compassionate, gentle way of viewing meditation. What we are doing in meditation is simply noticing our thoughts. We learn to watch them as if we are a detached observer. As if we are a neutral witness.


As we learn to observe our thoughts, we can choose to gently (and lovingly) release them. As we release them, we are choosing to cultivate a calm, clear mind. This kind of mind is like a beautiful, blue, pristine lake on a cool spring morning. With that kind of beautiful mind, our sadness, worry, and suffering is also released. In its place, there is a natural, radiant joy.


This is our true state. Our true nature.


When we realize that meditation is not about stopping our thoughts but rather about patiently noticing our thoughts, we stop judging ourselves. The practice of meditation then becomes sweet.


When we become a witness to our thoughts, we cultivate compassion for the human predicament. We realize the veil of illusion in ourselves, and on this planet, is so thick. We realize how fortunate we are to be one of the lucky ones who have found meditation.


This kind of awareness is intoxicating! It’s incredible! We find ourselves drawn to meditation again and again, because it feels so good. It’s like a safe cocoon. We want to go to that cocoon as much as possible. In comparison with the rest of the loud, busy, harsh world—meditation seems like heaven!


Tip #3: More meditation is not always better.


When beginning a new meditation routine, it’s good to start small, with easily-attainable goals. We don’t want to try to run a marathon before we can crawl.


In the beginning, I recommend simply practicing for 5 minutes every day. No matter how busy you are, I know you can attain this goal.


After a few months, you can check in with yourself and see if it would feel good to increase your time spent every day. If it genuinely does not interest you to increase your time, then don’t do it.


Only increase your time when you have a natural urge to want to do it.


Too often, spiritual teachers drone on and on about the value of discipline and hard work. But does this really work? I suspect not.


Human nature is both cautious and passionate. Most people will happily invest hard work into things that we know we enjoy and that we know will reap benefits. Yet, in the beginning, when we are warming up to meditation, we probably aren’t certain if we enjoy it yet. We probably are still testing the waters. Thus, why would we invest so much time in it?


In the beginning of our spiritual journey, to force ourselves into meditation for long periods is a premature act that can actually be counterproductive. When we are too stern with ourselves, this creates a subtle feeling of tension and self-judgment, which then can create a backlash. The annoyed ego might then decide to quit meditation altogether!


At the beginning of my Reiki journey, I remember that my teacher advised me to practice every day. But she did not recommend a precise minute count. She just said to practice. Looking back, I really appreciate that she framed her guidance in that gentle way.


In effect, my beloved teacher gave me permission just to explore. To play. And, in relatively short period of time (just a few weeks), I found myself doing two-hour Reiki sessions. This was completely natural and not forced in any way. It was simply a natural desire pouring forth from the depths of my heart.


Your situation will be unique to you, dear friend. It may take you some time to test out various techniques. As I mentioned, it’s good to keep seeking until you find one that resonates with you. Once you do find a technique that calls to you, then allow yourself to gradually expand your practice at your own pace. Don’t compare yourself with others. Spiritual practice is not a race. Just have fun with it. See what happens. See what evolves.




The choice to begin meditation is one of the most important moments of a human life. You are choosing to venture into territory that most human beings do not yet have the courage (or leisure) to choose.


This life of yours is blessed.


No doubt, on your journey, there will be times that meditation seems challenging or scary. It will not always be peaches and roses! For me, for example, there have been many Reiki sessions where I have cried tears, allowing many old, toxic emotions to be released. Practicing Reiki is not always blissful or easy.


But even when meditation is challenging, it is always something we want to do. It’s something we appreciate, something we gravitate toward, even when it’s hard. This is what is so remarkable about meditation. Once we taste the sweetness, the tenderness, the love of the practice, then we long to return to its arms, again and again and again. Meditation becomes our dear friend. Meditation becomes a blessing.

Feeling Safety: A Guided Meditation


This is a guided meditation for when we are struggling with anxiety or negative thoughts.


Before I explain the meditation, it’s important to understand that the underlying cause of anxiety and negative thinking are false beliefs. These false beliefs are fear-based. Quite simply, we don’t feel safe in the present moment. We don’t feel safe in our bodies. We feel that, just around the corner, there is probably a menace, a terrible awful thing that is about to happen—and so we stay on guard.


This is the origin of anxiety comes from. This is the root of worrying, dark thoughts. The brain is simply trying to save itself by planning for worst-case scenarios.


This meditation, “Feeling Safety,” is very simple and versatile. We can practice it anywhere, anytime. We can do it during a meeting at work. We can do it while we’re with our children or at the grocery store. It can be done with our eyes open or closed. We can do it while sitting still or moving.


The meditation brings a feeling of peace, ease, and safety because it draws our attention away from the vicious loop of negative thinking. It places our attention squarely on three simple things: hands, feet, and mantra.


Through this meditation, we replace negative thinking with a positive truth that will instill confidence to return to our daily life. Understanding that we are, ultimately, safe and protected within the home of our bodies gives us a sense of ease and confidence. The fact that our bodies are firmly rooted to the Earth through our feet is a metaphor for what is true on a spiritual level: We are always protected, we are always safe.


As with any meditation, please make this practice your own. Feel free to add your own elements, and/or skip parts of this meditation that don’t make sense for you. Play around with it and have fun. Feel it out. Take what works, and discard the rest.


Step One

Acknowledge that you are feeling anxious and having negative thoughts. In your mind say, “Okay, now I will do the Feeling Safety Meditation.”


Step Two

Begin to gently tap your right fingertips against the palm of your left hand. Simply observe the sensations. Are your fingers hot? Cold? Sweaty? Sticky? Is the skin of your palm soft or rough? Are your joints flexible or stiff? Is the movement fast or slow? Are there sounds? Are your nails sharp? Simply notice, on a physical level, how it all feels.

After a few minutes, switch hands: Tap the left fingertips against the palm of your right hand.


Step Three

While continuing to tap, repeat the mantra: “I am home in my body. I am safe in my body.” If you are with others, you can say the mantra silently in your mind. If you are alone, you can say it out loud. Say this mantra until you begin to feel a little bit calmer.


Step Four

Finally, stop tapping your fingertips against your palm. Begin to gently tap your feet against the ground. If you are in public amongst others, this can be a very subtle thing—just a very light tapping will do. If you are alone, you can tap more forcefully, if you wish. You could even stomp on the ground, feeling the vibration rise up through your legs.

As you tap or stomp your feet, continue to the say the mantra “I am home in my body. I am safe in my body.” Do this as many times as you wish until you feel better and ready to continue your day.



How did this meditation go for you, dear one? I’ve love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

How to Deeply Rest on Your Days Off


A day off from work is a beautiful thing. This is our time. It’s our time to play, relax, reflect, meditate and rest. It’s our chance to regain balance.


In my life coaching sessions, I have encountered clients who, again and again, have difficulty with fully relaxing on their days off.


At first glance, this might seem preposterous. Why would it be difficult to relax? Shouldn’t it be easy to rest?


Well … no. In our fast-paced Western culture, we have not been trained in the art of relaxation. Instead, we have been trained to work, work, work, do, do, do.


Our media gives us subtle (and not-so-subtle!) messages about how noble it is to stress out and overwork. It tells us how we must achieve and succeed in order to be a worthy member of society. It tells us that we must be constantly be thinking, planning and analyzing.


In recent years, the concept of “self-care” has become a buzzword. But, ironically, the fact that this seems like such a “new” concept is testament to how truly off-balance our culture has become.


So many of us are glued to our phones. We are texting at red lights. We are surfing the web during meals. We are always connected, always “on.” Our calendars are full. Busyness has become a social norm.


But … is this the best way to live?


In my experience, the happiest, most deeply fulfilled people are the ones who know how to take a break. They know how to harness the deeply healing power of rest. They are able to give themselves the gift of a full recharge. They know the power of meditation.


In my own life, when I began to make the transition toward prioritizing rest and meditation, a whole new world opened up. I began to heal a number of pervasive chronic illnesses. I began to value my own innate worthiness as a human being. No longer was I dependent upon notions of constant busyness or outward “success” as a benchmark of my own intrinsic value. No. Rather, I began to feel, truly feel, how I am perfect exactly the way I am.


I began to appreciate myself for simply being.


Diving into the sweet waters of rest is deeply transformative. It will change your life in innumerable ways. It will make you healthier and happier. It will help you to be a more generous and compassionate person.




Only once your own cup is overflowing, can you share with others.


Only once your own battery is fully recharged, can you help others plug in.


Indeed, rest is not optional. It is crucial for a balanced, socially-responsible, happy life.


In the remainder of this post, I will offer you three tips for ways you can deeply recharge on your days off. In truth, this list could have hundreds of points (I find this subject so fascinating!) … but, for now, just to get you started, we’ll begin with three. Please comment below if you’d like to see future posts on this topic, and I’d be happy to share more ideas with you.


  1. Enter a meditative state for the day.

This does not mean that you need to sit for three hours in the lotus position or chant mantras all day. Rather, this is simply a mindset you can adopt.

When you wake up in the morning on your day off, set a clear intention. Set the intention to view the entire day as a time of peaceful meditation. Remind yourself that this day is for you: for your personal upliftment, for your personal healing, for your personal growth.

In the morning, remind yourself that you intend to be as present as possible throughout the day.

As the day unfolds, continually return, again and again, back to the now moment. Move your body slowly, with tenderness and grace.

Notice the feeling of breath. And notice the sensory impressions:

  • What does your food taste like?
  • What are the smells wafting into your nose?
  • What are the sounds from your window?
  • How does this bath or shower feel upon your skin?
  • How does the soft fur of your dog or cat feel on your fingers?


When you are in a meditative state, you are the observer. You are the witness. You notice, but you don’t judge as “good” or “bad.” You don’t analyze. You simply feel. You simply witness. You are not planning for the future or thinking about the past. You are here now.


  1. Give yourself a rest from screens.


Technology and social media are beautiful tools. They help us connect. They help us collaborate.

However, technology and social media also have a shadow side.

We can easily become addicted to our screens, to our social media. We can become unwittingly chained to them.

Do you find yourself checking your email or Facebook messages multiple times throughout the day? Do you find yourself looking at your phone when you’re in line at the grocery store or bank?

Too often, continual exposure to screens can create a feeling of restlessness and agitation.

Yet, it is possible to find balance. It is possible to harness the incredibly awesome power of screens, but also have harmony and peace in our lives.

I invite you to try an experiment during your next day off. Flip off your phone, computers, and all communication gadgets. Unhook yourself from the demands of screen-communication. Free yourself.

After you unhook, take your phone-less self to the park. Enjoy the movement of your legs and arms. Enjoy the sun on your face or the chill in the air. Enjoy the wildness of the birds, squirrels, deer, or whatever local animals are presenting themselves to you. Notice the flowers. Breathe deeply.

Notice any sensations that come up within you. And then breathe deeply some more.

My dear sweet friends, we live in an overly-stressed, overly-stimulated culture. While our screens do help us to carry out vital professional and social functions in our day-to-day lives, they can also massively stress out our nervous system.

In my own life, I take one day per week to rest from screens. I call this my “unplug day” or my “screen-free day.” Remember in the movie The Matrix when Keanu Reeves literally unplugged himself from the cords that were feeding on his life? This idea of taking a break from technology is a similar thing.

When we have the courage to unplug ourselves from our communication devices, even for just a few hours, we are recharging our own internal energy systems. We are giving ourselves freedom, and allowing ourselves a deep rest.


  1. Cook your meals at home.


At first, this advice might seem counterintuitive. Isn’t cooking work? Well, that entirely depends upon how you view it.


I agree with my Zen friends: cooking can be a wonderful form of meditation.


Cooking is a very grounding, physical activity. We are very much in our bodies when we cook: chopping, stirring, smelling, tasting. We are of the Earth. We are here now, fully present.


When we are cooking, it helps to release all notions of whether the final outcome will taste good or bad. (This is especially helpful advice if you are a novice cook!) Simply view the whole cooking experience as an adventure … mix a little of this, a little of that … browse a recipe or two online … ask someone you love to help out… etc. Just have fun! Play!


If you can view your cooking experience as a living art form that you can eat, then the energy of relaxation and meditation will enter the molecules of the food. And … who knows? You just might surprise yourself. You just might you’ve fixed yourself an amazing meal.


Let’s Learn Together

Dear friends, I could probably write a whole book on this topic—but for now, I hope these three tips are helpful for you. As always, if you’d like to hear more on this topic, please let me know!

For those of my readers who already know the joy of rest, I’d love to hear from you. What relaxation strategies do you enjoy on your days off? What self-care or meditation techniques work for you? How do you heal your body and mind? How do you regain balance? Please comment below, so we can all learn together. Thanks!

Finding Peace Behind the Thoughts


“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there, buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.” —Deepak Chopra


What does it mean to feel peace?


Peace is defined as the state of tranquility or quiet within a community, such as freedom from civil disturbance.

Peace has also been defined as freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions.


I see the first definition as something external, something we cannot directly control. The second definition, however, is internal, that which we can control.


By working on yourself inwardly, you will inevitably produce results externally and those results can inspire others towards change. This is where it all starts. By looking inside first and then leading by example.


We can’t control our external experiences; we can’t control what other people do. But we can control our reactions to them.


We can be a leader for peace. We can lead by example.


By finding peace within ourselves, we show others the way.


If every person made it a priority to find a little bit more peace in their lives each day, the world would be a much different place. Instead of spreading fear, we would all be spreading love.


My friend and fellow yoga colleague, Erin, wrote a wonderful article about arming our future generations with the gift of peace in an effort to derail the mass shooting epidemic in schools. She thinks bringing yoga and meditation into schools will solve this problem. I think this is a brilliant idea and perhaps a way that awakening is supposed to spread.


Finding peace and serenity amongst your busy life can seem impossible, but all you have to do is be still. Find a comfortable seat and just be still. To protect the mind from wandering thoughts you can use a mantra or a hand mudra.

In meditation, you can connect with the peaceful space behind the thoughts … because you are the thinker and not the thought.

How do we know this? We know this because each of us is able to observe our own thoughts. In that way, there is a subject/object relationship.


You cannot be your thoughts because you are the one observing them.


The book, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, explains this concept very well. He teaches how you are essentially stuck in your head with a roommate—a roommate that never leaves and often gives you bad advice!


According to Singer, most of the time we are listening to this roommate inside our head, reacting to their every word. However, he reminds us that we don’t have to react to this voice.


It is so liberating and empowering to observe thoughts and just let them be. Not reacting in any way gives you more awareness.


To find the peaceful space behind the thoughts, we must practice meditation.


When we sit down to meditate, we might be confronted with our monkey mind … but fear not, because if you notice your monkey mind, you are already gaining a sense of peace.


The act of observation ceases the fluctuations of the mind and brings us that much closer to our true self. I like to use the mantra “let go” in my meditations. As I inhale, I mentally say “let” and as I exhale, I mentally say “go”.


My wish for this world is that everyone learns how to access the peace within. It is simply buried behind the thoughts.


When you find this place, please share it with others.


Let us paint the world with peace!



Michelle Ostermyer is fascinated by introspection. She chooses to explore her life through yoga and meditation practices. Her life purpose is to teach others what she learns. Check out her website at




The Secret to Inner Peace? Turn Off Your Phone and Take a Walk


By Anya Light


We live in an age of paradox. On the one hand, we have at our fingertips more information than ever before. We are connected through social media. We have the power to spread our message to the far ends of the globe with a single click of a key. Wow! So incredible!


And yet…we are also more disconnected than ever before. When you observe people walking down the street, what do you see? Most likely, you will see many people with their eyes cast downward at their phone. When you stand in line at a grocery store, what do you see? People on their tablets and smartphones. People not speaking with each other. People not noticing their surroundings. Each person in their own little private bubble.




For a few years now, I have wondered if I was a curmudgeon. I have noticed these changes in people, and it makes me sad. I’ve often asked myself: Do I hate technology?


The answer is no, however. It is simply that part of my life’s work, my healing work with humanity, is to encourage people bring awareness back into their sacred body. I am a kind of counterbalance to the intense mania our society is experiencing with regards to technology. I am the voice of harmony. A whisper to peace.


People often ask me: What is the secret of happiness? What is the secret of inner peace? While I by no means claim to dwell in these states 24/7, I will say that I have done some very persistent and often challenging work to understand and occupy these states quite intimately. In my life now there are more peaceful days than stressful days. There are more happy days than sad.


In my healing work, I’m continually reminding people about our basic human needs for hugs, touch, tactile sensation, deep expression of emotion, quality verbal communication, and the infinite spiritual growth that can be perceived through our physical vessel. Our bodies are awesome!


An overuse of technology, however, is causing many to increasingly lose touch with their inner body-awareness and with their face-to-face social skills. Recent studies have shown, for example, an increase in social anxiety among plugged-in students and adolescents.


In my own life, I have witnessed an increase over the years of colleagues, family, and friends seemingly losing their social skills. For example, when they attempt to initiate in-depth, highly emotional conversations via text message. These are situations that are, in my opinion, totally inappropriate to the flat medium of text messaging. For example, a new potential lover broaches the topic of whether we will take our relationship to the next level via text. What?? Seriously?? In order to have a conversation about a significant “big” matter, we need to be able to have all the tools at our disposal, a range of bodily input: we both need to see body language, the emotion in the eyes, and we need to have the possibility of a hug or an encouraging pat on the hand available. Using a flat screen to communicate is a severely limited medium.




No, I’m not a luddite. In fact, I love technology! I adore and treasure my Macbook. I appreciate my GPS. I am grateful for the power of Google to answer any factual question I dream up. I appreciate the fact that the blog you are reading right now is an amazing tool that helps me spread my words to folks in Pakistan, Romania, Poland, Finland, Mexico, England, China. I love the fact that I have friends and colleagues all over the world. However, I temper that appreciation by making sure I have a balance of plugged-in and unplugged time. I don’t go overboard.


Here are three of examples of how I maintain this balance in my life.


The ringer on my phone is perpetually set to “off.” Some people think this is insane, but I think it’s the one of the things keeping me sane! The only exception to this rule is that I will leave my phone on if I know in advance that I am going to receive a call at a specific time.

Keeping my ringer off allows me to gain focus and concentration throughout my day. If my eyes and ears were continually drawn to my phone with every beep and whistle, how could I sustain any sort of momentum or flow in my daily tasks?


I take at least one day per week to be totally unplugged. On these days, I put my laptop away in the closet. I turn off my phone and put it in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.

During these unplugged days, I focus on embodied tasks: cleaning my home, flossing, exercising, inviting a friend over for tea, preparing an intricate dinner with my own two hands, baking bread. I dance in my living room. I bend into yoga shapes. I breathe. I take a walk out in my neighborhood and smile at my neighbors. I make conversation and eye contact. I breathe. I look at the sky. I look at the birds. I feel the precious Earth under my feet.


I make sure to exercise every day. On the days when I am plugged in, I make sure to move my body as much as possible, and I limit the time I spend sitting at my desk staring at my monitor. As an Aries with an abundance of fire energy, this is vitally important to my wellbeing—however, any person can benefit from this, whether you have fire in your astrological chart or not.

If we sit motionless for too long and stare at screens all day, there are life force energies inside our bodies that become stagnant. This breeds stress, anxiety, and illness. We need to remember to move our bodies to keep the energy flowing. With a flowing energy, we are open to life, and we can more easily perceive the sacredness of each moment. We can feel peace.




Meditation means to be present in the actions of everyday life. It means to feel our breath. It means to feel the movement in our limbs and the sensations in our face. Sometimes it means laughing and sometimes it means crying. It means having an awareness of the pains and discomforts we sometimes feel. It means feeling the sheer joy of being alive, of being contained as consciousness within this beautiful physical vessel.


Meditation comes in so many different forms. Yes, seated meditation is wonderful, but equally wonderful is movement meditation. Yoga is a powerful form of this, but there are so many other ways we can do it that don’t necessarily involve a teacher or having to pay money.


What is a secret to peace? It’s as simple as making the conscious choice to bring a balance between enjoying our screens and enjoying our bodies and the physical world around us.


Dear friend, make the choice to unhook yourself—at least a little bit every day—from the persuasive pull of technology. Come back into your beautiful body and come back into communion with the beautiful physical world. Put your phone down. Go outside and take a walk. Say “good morning” to your neighbor. Ask them about their day. Stop and smile at a squirrel. Be in your body. Be in your beautiful life.




Meditation is a Practice of Dying


Meditation is a practice of dying.

When we close our eyes to meditate, we drop our lives. We drop our names, our wants, our goals, our to do lists. We drop relationships, work, play; we drop it all. We drop.

When we sit down on a cushion to meditate, we chart a bold new path—into the unknown.

Meditation is not simply a way to relax or de-stress (although these reasons may have initially driven us to the practice); rather, meditation is a way to meet and experience Divinity.

Whether we were raised in a religious family or not, the path to Divinity, to Source, to God, to All That Is (whatever term you want to call it is fine; the label does not matter), is a path that comes when we have grown weary of the material world’s false promises. Maybe we have tasted fame, fortune, success, or even deep love in a marriage. And yet…and yet…there is this thing inside, this craving that is never fully satisfied.

What is this thing? This thing is the longing for God.

When we sit down to meditate, we say goodbye to our lives as they have been, and we invite the unknown. We invite Divinity to enter us.

When we sit down to meditate, we drop it all, for a few minutes, and we enter into a state where the mind is allowed to dissolve.

People fear death, because it is the conclusion of the mind’s accumulation of facts and figures of one particular lifetime. People tend to believe that what the mind has stored, all the facts and figures and stories and moods and memories is what makes up a “life.” Thus, when the mind ends at the time of death, people are often terrified. What happens when we lose the mind and the body that has defined our very existence? Is there life after life? Do we just cease to be? Indeed, the death process is terrifying to most people.

Ultimately, people fear meditation and are reluctant to try it because they fear death.

Death is an unravelling of the mind.

Meditation is also an unravelling of the mind.

Even though meditation is not yet mainstream on our planet, more and more people are waking up to the need for meditation in their daily lives. They are starting small: with five minutes every day, and then gradually devoting more and more time to the practice. They are beginning to taste grand moments of peace, and even happiness or bliss.

Meditation is the practice of dying. We die to all that we have known and all that we thought was real. We put down our identities, and we allow ourselves to be swept into the unknown.

Through this brave act of dying, day after day, we move into the light. We move towards the purest kind of freedom. It is the freedom of pure Consciousness—the knowing, the experience, the absolute certainty that all is One. That there is, in fact, no death at all.

Daily Miracles: the Wooden Floor, the Meditation


Time spins and swirls: it doesn’t exist.

The great miracle is that we don’t lose the ones we love.

The ones we love stay with us. They shape us; they live and breathe inside our bones.

Today, I was missing someone. I sat down to meditate. I kept my eyes open and softly gazed at the wooden floor.

The patterns in the wood begin to spin and swirl. The light coming in from the window did a pretty, pretty dance.

For a few minutes, a few thoughts held on…

and…then…they were gone.

I was me. Just me again. Just me, with you. Us. The infinite Universe. A small being, and also everything.

You were there. The one I was missing. You were there.

The meditation bell rang, we did our bows, and then I put on my shoes. I entered the day.

Heal Anxiety with this Question Mantra


The mind is beautiful.

Our capacity to strategize, plot, and plan, is what allows us to build cities, invent amazing technologies, and coordinate vast interactions across the network we call the Internet. The human mind is indeed amazing.

And, yet, it is also true that the human mind can be obsessed with its job. It’s like a workaholic—one who doesn’t want to take downtime or weekends off.

The mind wants to keep on calculating and planning even when we lay down our heads at night. It wants to plan our to-do lists while we make love or watch a sunset.

Rather than enjoying our lives and being in the present moment, the brain steps in and tries to control, strategize, and predict future outcomes—it can seriously get in the way of life!

Truly, this is an exhausting way to live.

I speak of these things from personal experience: I am in the process of healing from PTSD, and I have come to realize that my brain has especially adapted to worrying, as it is a highly-attuned and impeccable danger-sensor.

Most of us, regardless of whether we have dealt with trauma or not, struggle with some amount of anxiety and stress.

Many of us have turned to meditation or yoga as a path to freedom. We sit motionless on a cushion or we move our bodies on a yoga mat, and we come into present moment awareness. We breathe in and out; we remind our minds to calm down.

Yet, for so many of us, when we return again to our lives, when we stand up from the cushion or put away our mat, we are confused on how we stay with the feeling of presence—the feeling of peace. How do we remain in the relaxed state?

Last week, I began the process of applying for a teaching position that I very much want. I sat down at my computer, fresh from a beautiful night’s sleep, ready to begin the process. I felt excited and good.

First, I began to write an application letter—all was well, I was smiling. But then I encountered a snag: as I scanned the application materials list, I realized I needed to submit student evaluations from my previous years of teaching. My breath became shallower, as I searched my home in vain, only to confirm the sinking feeling that yes, indeed, all the documents I needed had been lost when I’d moved the previous year.

I began to panic, my palms began to sweat, and my heart began to race. Minute by minute, moment by moment, my sense of well-being disappeared, and I began to feel my body tighten, and my breath contract. The inner critic began her relentless tirade: Why are you such an idiot, Anya? Why aren’t you more organized? Why are you so sloppy? What the hell’s the matter with you?

At this point, I was way too triggered to take the time to roll out my yoga mat or find my meditation cushion. No way. I had to do something—now.

So, I tried a new method I’ve been practicing, which, lately, has been a real life-saver for me. I closed my computer, remained seated right there at my desk, and asked myself a simple question: “What is happening right now?”

I took a few slow breaths and then repeated the question.

“What is happening right now?”

Then, slowly, I began to talk to myself, aloud, “Well, I am a woman who is 33 years old, and I’m sitting in a chair. I am a woman who is wearing blue jeans. A woman who has a roof over her head and food in the refrigerator. I am a woman who is unable to find some documents. That is what is happening right now.”

In asking and answering the simple question mantra—what is happening right now?—I was able to move my brain out of past and future mode—out of overwhelmed, panic mode. I moved a bit closer to a calmer, observation mode, and a bit closer to inner peace.

Asking yourself a question mantra, such as “What is happening right now?” or “What is the reality of this moment?” (or something along those lines) can help you detach from the swirl of mind-stress, and help you enter the reality of the actual present moment, aside from any emotions and the stories the brain likes to tell.

Even if the outward conditions of your life seem to be crashing down around you—you are still alive, you are still breathing, and you still have blessings to count.

When you take a few moments to ask, the answer to your question “What is happening now?” can always be: I am here in this body, breathing, and alive on planet Earth.

While I was living in Puerto Rico a few years ago, I once got lost in the jungle and I was totally alone. My water was running out, my cell phone had no signal, and daylight was running short.

After screaming, “Help!” at the top of my lungs for about an hour or so, I sank down in the dirt, exhausted, and utterly panicked.

Then I took a breath. Then another shaky breath. And then I asked myself the question:

“What is happening now?”

“What is happening now?”

“What is happening now?”

In that moment, my eyes were instantly drawn to a purple patch of flowers a few feet away—they were gorgeous! They were delicate, with yellow centers and petals that looked like clouds. Next, my eyes were drawn upwards, up the trunk of a majestic palm tree.

Coconuts were hanging from every branch, and tears of joy began rolling down my face. It was in that moment that I woke up, and realized the sheer beauty of my surroundings. I realized the beauty of life. Whether I would die that day was unknown. What was known was exactly what was happening in that moment. Such beauty—such wonder.

Just a few hours later, I was able to find my way out of the jungle. By bringing myself into the present moment, I was able to, when the time was right, rise up from the dirt, take a deep determined breath, and move forward, renewed. My intuition felt stronger, calm, connected, and I was able to sense how to get out.

As you say your question mantra in times of trouble, allow yourself to see what is really happening in that moment. Allow yourself to see, feel, and perceive. Allow yourself to relax and trust.

And you will see—time and time again—that all is well. All is beautiful. There is nothing wrong and nothing to fix. You are you—and you are alive. So beautifully alive!

There is so much to be thankful for.


Many thanks to the awesome folks at elephant journal, who also published this article.