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31
May

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Over the course of the past 6 and a half years that I have lived in Philadelphia, (how and why that happened I may never know ..) I have not missed a single opportunity to stop and literally smell the roses. I would approach them and beckon them to me, cradle them gently in my hands and deeply inhale their scent with my entire being, a veritable world of intoxicating bliss that seemed to radically alter every cell in my body, in an instant. Each and every time, no matter what my mental state, my reality shifted dramatically, and I was transported.

Every now and again, I would be in too much of a rush to get to the nectar of the rose, and I would feel the wrath of the thorns on its stem, almost warning me to go slower, to savor the moment before I inhaled its transportive secret, almost as if to tell me that I needed to be more patient, more appreciative, more delicate. Even with the prick of the thorn, and the errant drop of bright red blood on my finger, I delighted in the reward, the almost unfathomable world of pleasure that I drowned in, and shockingly, all in that singular, tiny, divine unfolding of color and billowing, all encompassing profusion of scent. I would often think, “How was it possible that such a miracle- this potent and ethereal world of pleasure could exist in such a small blossom?”

Every rose is different, uniquely beautiful in its own way — the color and shape of its petals, and the subtlety of its special floral pheromones. Tea roses, American Beauty Roses, Crimson Queens, Midas Touch Roses, Sunflare Floribundas, Tropicanas, White Meidilands, too many to name.  In the 4th Street Garden near my once-upon-a-time, magical little jewelry box of a home, there is a vast variety of beauties, just waiting to be inhaled and loved. They are everywhere, thanks to Benjamin Franklin, who had a love for these gorgeous flowers and planted them strategically throughout the old part of town to frame the walkways as a respite from the din and bustle of the city.

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23
Jan

‎”Accomplish what is in your heart!”

Happy, Prosperous New Year of The Water Dragon~ May this year be one of Great Blessings, Awakenings & Miracles~

Powerful energies are swirling around in the universe now- can you feel it? Change is happening, like water rushing over river rocks, fluid and inevitable.

Believe in yourself. Believe that anything is possible. Say YES to yourself. Say YES to your intentions, say YES and welcome it all!

May it be so~!

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15
Jan

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This morning I had a dream that I was sledding down the side of a snow-covered hill on my black Tumi backpack, and suddenly, a red-tailed hawk flew down from the sky, and came to light on my left arm. It was so unbelievable. I was so amazed. I can still feel my lips parted in awe that such a magical, spirit, such a wild, solitary, elusive bird had chosen to come to me in such a bold act of intimacy.

It was as if freedom itself had decided to come to me. And not only did it just float there on my arm, but it softly sank his beautiful talons into my flesh, gently holding on, knowing exactly how hard to press, accepting my warm breath on his beak. To see if it was real, I gently went to stroke his head, and he let me and spread his gorgeous wings of white and red in appreciation that I had chosen to reciprocate his intimate gesture with one of my own.

Even now, the feeling of lightness and warmth as big as the sky above, spreads across my chest, from deep within my heart center to his, this magnificent hawk; we were connected, united, and FREE!  What a joy, what a gift that dream was! I am still celebrating it … A message from above. I am still aglow from that moment when my eyes caught him and tracked his trajectory, incredulous that he was coming toward me –when I saw his wings beating in an upward draw, slowing his descent, as he floated down from the ethers, and chose me as his landing pad, a confidant to whom he could silently transmit the message: “Believe it. You are FREE.”

Trial by fire. Oh, and it is.

When I first found this image, I wanted to kiss the earth that I had located a visual depiction that managed to encapsulate the very feeling I have had over the past month. I feel like a stuntwoman walking away from a well-played crash scene, except the “scene” isn’t staged. It’s real. Never before has this conscious awareness of contrast between incarceration and liberty been as stark, as naked as it has been for me of late. And when I say this contrast- I am referring to the battle of black vs. white, shadow vs. sun that comes to dominate the grand stage of the mind. The duel to the death that happens when we entrap ourselves in the stories that we ourselves author, when we imprison ourselves in the cells we construct, when we fashion the very shackles that keep our feet well-fettered.

Rumi said it so well,  “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”

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31
Dec

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Tonight is New Year’s Eve, 2011, and instead of noise makers and balloons, champagne and confetti, my heart is hurting in a way that it hasn’t since I was a child.

I have been crying since last night at 9:30pm when I held Mirabelle on my lap for the last time sitting here on my couch in the very spot where we were 24 hours ago. Tonight is the last night of 2011, and I am practicing the art of letting go. Or rather, I am perfecting the art of attachment, taking attachment and the inherent, inevitable suffering that results to a whole new level.  Folks, tonight, through the murky wall of my tears, that makes the lights from the Christmas tree look like city street lights through a cab’s rear window on a rainy night, I’m not sure if there are other Buddhists out there as bad as I am. People who profess to practice non-attachment like me and in moments like these, just can’t. I honestly don’t begin to know how to rise above the deep ache in my heart that rises up inside me and wraps around my throat like a boa. I miss her. And I miss her more than I have missed most ex-boyfriends.

Mirabelle means “lovely and wondrous” in Latin, and how can I explain? She was both of those things and so much more. Charles named her, and it’s hard to articulate just how she perfectly she embodied her name. Her presence was like a bell-she spoke and her little cat voice was like the tinkling of a beautiful chime. Her eyes and her voice together were music. Her crazy patchwork coat with one leg that looked like a sweet orange witch’s stocking, and the other, gray half of her harlequin coat with random paintbrush strokes of white and orange, were the outer markings that represented her perfect unpredictability, her joyful demands to play at all times, and her fearless exploration of the world. She scaled 50 foot trees in seconds flat and gave the neighborhood squirrels a run for their money. She refused to come inside until she was good and ready. The charming white on her neck and belly were the one consistent swath of fur on her body, and she loved to have it stroked endlessly. Before Mirabelle, I had never had this exact experience of knowing how my touch inspired the most palpable bliss in another being, and her every movement was a silent communication, an acknowledgment, an appreciation that made me smile and inspired joy.  One of her most wonderful talents was flipping her body upside down on the couch, her favorite place to assume every conceivable cat position there was– the poster child for the Kama Sutra of a cat in repose. Her incredible, special beauty. That face. Beyond. Everything about her endeared her to me in the deepest way. She was, she is a Mirabelle, a lovely wonder.

She was abandoned in late July in the middle of a back alley at Charles’ building. A car drove into the middle of the block, and just dumped her out right there. He watched as two small faces, pressed up against the glass of the back window, clearly a family– drive away. He happened to be outside at the time and watched the whole thing happen, incredulous that people would leave an innocent animal like that to fend for itself. Without a moment’s hesitation, he walked up quietly to her, cat whisperer that he is, held out his hand, and she was ours.

Mirabelle is unlike any other being I have ever encountered. She is always alive with brilliant, searching intellect, her eyes wide and sparkling, seeing all and missing nothing. Nothing escapes her. She is at one with every nuance, every subtle scent, every sound that goes undetected by human ears, already somehow ahead of it, and running it down. She speaks, she turns on faucets, she turns on lights, she fetches like a dog. She loves better than most any person I’ve ever met.

And again, I have to write, what a beauty. What a breathtaking, regal little beauty. Captivating. Arresting. Irresistible.  And for some reason, some unresolved childhood traumas, some unresolved losses, my body rebelled against this other-worldly, magical little sprite and my histamines waged war, telling my nervous system that she was to be feared … or rather, that loving her was to be feared. I saw a wonderful and talented allergist four times,  I took prescription asthma drugs, I went to extreme lengths, suffered terrific frustration from my impeded breathing that collided with my crazy love for her.

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24
Nov

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Today, I was in the moment. All day. From the minute I opened my eyes, to this moment now.

And  I realized something very important.  In order to be in the moment, one must surrender.  And the minute one surrenders, one can be awash in one of life’s most precious and beautiful states: gratitude.

Even though I have felt gratitude at many different times in my life, I can honestly say that today was the first time I truly understood and lived this connection, that pristine place on the mountain top,  the place one must climb long and hard to come to … that place where surrender and gratitude meet and smile knowingly at one another like two old, long-lost friends. Today,  I stepped into my life the way a visitor would step off of the train and onto the platform of a place he had always longed to visit, a place where he knew he was destined one day to arrive.

My eyes took in every detail, my senses drank in every ambient gift- the sights and scents of the day, the intense warmth of the sun on my cat’s back as she found the most perfect spot on the kitchen floor, the intoxicating smell of the turkey in the oven just starting to brown, the herbs, thyme, rosemary, sage and butter melting together to produce a perfume that sent me floating above, looking down on this room, flooded with sunlight and simple joy.

And then the love I felt overflowing the banks of my heart for the man I call my best friend-silently acknowledging all of the qualities I cherish about him, his incredible kindness, generosity, humor, insight, wisdom, creativity, artistry, intelligence, affection, integrity … where we started and how far we have come … the challenges we faced down and worked together to vanquish, the moments when I wanted to run, and the fact that I was still there, standing there with such calm in my heart, so much breath and space inside. All of it penetrated my consciousness with a kind of clarity and power I had never experienced in just this same way before.  It was for me, all day, the only truth that mattered- what I saw in my immediate surroundings, what I felt, what I breathed, what I literally inhaled. Each and every thing that came into my sphere, I treasured. The whisk that fell out of the pie crust batter not once, but twice, splattering all over the rug and the floor and a cabinet or two, something that would have annoyed me somewhere inside on another day, was nothing, was a moment where I could show my partner compassion, understanding and encouragement instead. It was a moment today that made me smile, and say to myself, “I am here. I am alive and I am with this person who I love more than I have ever loved before, and I am grateful. I am more grateful than I can ever remember.”

And then I stopped and sort of observed myself in wonder. This feeling of gratitude was so powerful, so immense, that it made me feel like I wanted to reach out to each and everyone I knew and send them love and wishes for joy and for them to feel this kind of simple contentment. It is in my nature to want to give to others, so reaching out to people to spread joy is not a foreign concept. But this feeling I had today was special, because it is also in my nature to move- I am someone whose mind never shuts off and who has an incredibly difficult time sitting still long enough to give myself many of the calming gifts I know I can give to others.  I know how hard it is to turn off the mind, and today,  I was a bird who learned to fly.  Today, my ‘monkey mind’ took a vacation because two months ago, I made a resolution to take a break– To step off of the train I was on, a train that I knew was heading in the wrong direction.  And when I made the decision to get off of that rough train, the train that I will now name “control, frustration and hopelessness …” I let go. I surrendered to my own true nature, and I found a kind of deep peace that I cannot remember feeling in just this way ever before. Why? Because who I am today is a product of the hard-won lessons of someone who took a few too many bad train rides and finally learned when to get off, when to step down onto the platform and think for a while about which one she would get on next, but not a moment before she was good and ready.

Today my busy brain stopped, because I surrendered yet again. I made the conscious choice to do everything in my power to face myself in the direction of what I wish to manifest and then let  g o … No agenda, just flow. No plan, just honoring the pulse inside and appreciating everything just as it was outside, without trying to change a thing. Surrender. Quiet. Stillness. Observation. Awareness. Consciousness. Simplicity. Breath.

Today, I let go and I let God and I got the reward. I felt so grateful for exactly what is—hoping for what will be, yes, of course, I am only human, but today, I felt more grateful than I ever have before, because I was in the moment. I was in the moment where I was able to consciously appreciate each and everything. My mind was not fixated on future or past, on what I cannot control, no matter how hard I try.

I was here. Fully opened and surrrendered to what was, to what is.

Today I surrendered. I opened my hands to the universe, and together, the universe and my highest self answered with this one word:

“Gratitude.”

11
Nov

hubert-klein-two-dolphins
Dolphins play a vital role in reminding humans of their connection with the Divine. For thousands of years they have expressed the qualities to which we aspire - unconditional love, joy, playfulness, strong sense of community, creativity, and the ability to heal ourselves and others. We all have these qualities within ourselves. It’s just that many of us have simply forgotten because the bittersweet blessing of our advances in modern technology has pulled us farther and farther away from nature, the world around us, and our own true natures.

There is one exception to this bittersweet blessing that comes to mind now, however, that inspired this blog, and it is Pilates Anytime,  a brain child that rides the technology wave but rather than pulling us away from ourselves, has helped us all to grow closer, not only to our own unique potentialities as individuals, but as a global community. Kristi Cooper-White has helped us to achieve what the dolphins live every day- this sense of joy, playfulness and sense of community that was sorely lacking in the Pilates world before she and her groundbreaking site arrived on the scene.

Last month, I was honored to be a part of this magical world on Padaro Beach with Kristi and her incredible community. I can no longer recall my exact words that were spoken at the moment that everyone’s eyes moved to the window behind me and quiet exclamations were uttered like a chant that echoed softly throughout the room, “did you see the dolphin?!”  I do know, however that the great energy in the studio was palpable from the moment I entered the morning of our workshop and shoot, and only expanded into a powerful upward spiral for the hours that followed. At the moment when the dolphin broke through the water’s surface, I believe that I had been speaking about love … asking the participants of the workshop what the opposite of fear was. And just as I uttered the word, “L O V E,” the dolphin appeared. I remember wondering how I could be that lucky- to be graced by a dolphin’s presence on top of the already extraordinary experience I had been having … “Really?!” I exclaimed as chills ran up my spine and the tears started rising to my throat-I had already been so moved by the exchange I was having with the beautiful group of people I was working with, that the dolphin’s presence reached swiftly into my heart the way he had just broken through the water, and within seconds, I wasn’t just crying, I was sobbing, and could have cried for a long time, I was so swept away by the immensity and beauty of the confluence of events and transformative energies swirling around inside that special space. A part of me in fact, wished for that moment, I could have found myself entirely alone on the beach watching the dolphin, communing with him and my tears, allowing myself to surrender entirely to the overwhelming joy and sadness that came rushing through me in that moment. Joy that I was with a community I resonated with, and sadness that it had been so long in coming to feel that sense of “home,” to be in a place that was dedicated to fostering union, facilitating camaraderie and celebration in uniting for the true purpose of transformation and growth- to celebrate the reasons that Pilates had been created in the first place.

A portal opens today.
11.11.11, a day that has incredible numerological potency, a day that the sages say has the power to change one’s destiny. A day when you have the opportunity to break the chains of history and choose love instead. A day when we can empower ourselves and heal, when we can aspire to what the dolphins do every day- love unconditionally, unite and find strength in community, in sharing, in generosity of spirit and support of one another. I knew when I woke up this morning that today was the day I would write this special piece about my incredible heart opening with Kristi and her global community of Pilates Anytime at her other-worldly home on Padaro Beach, where the divine messengers lead the way, nodding their heads and smiling in approval that we are on the right path at last.

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31
Oct

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21
Sep

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01
Aug

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Something truly miraculous has happened.

I am riding a new wave.

It all began when I took Kofi Busia’s Yoga workshop, July 19-22nd. We practiced in the sanctuary of the Fleisher Art Memorial here in Philadelphia, and what better place to reach a transcendent state than in a house of worship?

The two definitions of what I am experiencing are here below, and while they describe in concrete terms what has happened to me, they can’t come close to communicating the kind of powerful flow of energy that courses through me minute by minute now. They can’t explain that I feel more grounded in myself than I ever have … that I feel like I am somehow no longer of this earth, but instead, flying inside on these currents I have created.  Even those flying dreams I have from time to time, those dreams that make me want to return to slumber so that I can convince myself to take off again can’t come close to making me feel the way I do. And as a buddhist, while I try to practice detachment, and am successful every now and then, I can honestly say that my relationship with attachment is evolving; I feel that I can both savor the moment and let it go at the same time. New. This is new. This is a new place, and this new place features new dimensions of existence, like another planet with new terrain to explore- the possibility to experience bliss and hope, but know well, deep inside that everything is ephemeral and that it is wisest to relish each moment without assigning to it anything more than our most subtle awareness and appreciation for what it is. And in the same breath, to be able to allow myself every hope and wish and know that I have the power to make them all real. The only thing standing between me and what I long for is my doubting mind and the sludgy energy that the doubting mind creates.

Hope and love are the rays of sun that literally burn through the clouds in the mind to reveal what is real and what is possible, and since July 22nd, I am filled with gratitude that overflows its banks- a kind of grateful that stems from an awareness of myself and my power that I have never felt before. Thanks to a magical confluence of elements, and definitive choices I made, taking myself places I knew I needed to go, informed by my deep inner wisdom, I went from being stuck, in a dark, frustrated place, to standing on a summit, breathing clean, crystalline air.

“Transcendence - the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits; going beyond, and ’self-transcendence’ means going beyond a prior form or state of oneself.

I have gone beyond the prior state of myself. And oh GOD, how I want to kiss the ground because of it.

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19
May

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Today, I started my day with Waking Energy, and I felt so inspired after my practice that I knew I had to write about it and tell you why it always leaves me feeling new again! Any stiffness, any lethargy- GONE! After just fifteen minutes of easy, invigorating practice, I feel like I’m 19 again- (but better)! Better because I have greater appreciation for the incredible and rapid transformation that I have the power to unleash- better because I am older and wiser and now have the patience and grace to truly acknowledge and savor the innate gifts in my being that lead to my own empowerment! There is nothing better!

Waking Energy is simple; Anyone, any fitness level, any age can do it. Waking Energy is powerful. The energy you can tap into right there inside your own body, combined with the energy of nature that surrounds you, is limitless …  It is revolutionary. It contains elements from all of my favorite rejuvenating practices- it is an electric tapestry of movement and poetry for your soul that I wove together over time, honoring the timeless wisdom of ancient masters, made new again- for you … It is about claiming your birthright– glowing, good health, freedom, empowerment, joy and abundance. It is about nature and perfect balance; day and night, hot and cool, yang and yin, and that when you recognize your own true nature, this same balance can exist in you where all of the healing energy you will ever need is waiting to be awakened.

In the Waking Energy program, I have assembled some of the most effective techniques from rejuvenating practices of the East, turning to the ancients for their timeless wisdom. These are MY favorite energy practices–my workouts that I do to start every day. Accessible, but incredibly potent and powerful. These are the practices and rituals that I do to invest in myself and my life force, replenishing my reserves and rejuvenating my body, mind and spirit. When I create the time and space to detach from my thinking mind, ironically I become more mindful, more conscious, as I move into the body where I can feel and breathe and reconnect to my true nature.

I have a passion for these movement sequences and the way they make me feel, how they bring me closer to myself and the world around me– how through some perfect combination of alchemy and magic, they bring things into perspective, reminding me of what really matters. In mere moments, I can change my mood, and move from darkness to light.

Daily, I am reminded by doing this practice that I have the power to heal myself, that when I take the time to love and care for myself, I not only serve myself, but others who come in contact with me–I do my small part to make the world a better place. When I heal myself, I heal the world.

There is no separation between our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions and the world around us. We are but a microcosm of the same living, breathing planet we call home. For this reason, it is imperative that we dedicate more time to caring for our bodies– our temple– the way we must care for our world– That we acknowledge, cherish, and protect our natural resources that we depend upon with our lives. That we treat ourselves with respect, reverence and love and offer the same to others.

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