Archive for December 2023

Nothing To Hold On To

December 14th, 2023 — 11:02am

I met Annette Bening twenty years ago at a Yoga Journal conference when I was communications director. I admired her talent, but I didn’t want to fangirl her either. She was there to do yoga, I was there to help make that happen, in peace.

I watched her during a class with Sri B.K.S. Iyengar, a rare opportunity to study with this great yogic master. I was captivated by her practice. Not by her willowy suppleness or her backbends, but by her embodied presence on the mat—right down to her toes. Literally! She was feeling it and I was happy for her.

After class, we stood next to each other on the lunch line. We began to chat. I don’t really remember about what—politics probably. I was livid at the Bush Administration’s policies, but I tried to reign my fury in. (It was a yoga conference after all.) Then she asked me to join her for lunch (cue the palpitations…)

We sat. We ate. We talked politics. I wanted to ask her a question that was surely too personal but I was curious and asked anyway. “How is it you’ve never done botox, filler, or plastic surgery? How are you so brave?”

“I started on stage,” she replied. “My face had to be expressive. The roles were never about me.” She paused then added, “And I never thought I was beautiful. So there was nothing to hold on to.”

Nothing to hold on to. Yoga in action. She’s fearless.

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A New Kind of Bucket List

December 5th, 2023 — 9:11pm

I’ve been feeling my mortality lately — my knees ache a bit (but I still get where I’m going — eventually!), my yoga practice is slower (but I’m still shlepping to the mat!), my hair is streaked with silver and white (love it way more than when I dyed it! Who knew?). Time passes. There’s less of it ahead, in this incarnation anyway, than there is behind. So what is it I really want to do, as Mary Oliver asked, with this one precious life?

Which brings me to bucket lists. Visiting Scotland was on my bucket list for decades. I yearned for it so deeply I took a DNA test, sure I had Scottish blood in me somewhere. Nope. Not a drop. This past summer, I finally made that journey. I spent three weeks in Scotland with my sons, walking for days around the old cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh, then driving through the Cairngorms up to Balmoral and north to Inverness. We saw the mystical standing stones of Daviot (where I felt like Claire from Outlander falling through time), drove the Trotternish Peninsula around the Isle of Skye, basked in the Fairy Glen near Uig, drank whiskey shots in Oban and so much more. I can honestly say this trip exceeded my dreams and brought back a piece of my soul in some way I still can’t quite describe. The best part of it all, though, was the gift of getting to spend three precious weeks with my adult sons. Such a fierce love!

Andrea Gibson, a remarkable poet who is currently in cancer treatment, recently shared a new kind of bucket list. It got me thinking that even though there’s more I really want to do —seeing the Northern Lights, spending time in Alaska… — maybe it’s time I rethink mine, too. Maybe I’d like my bucket list to be less about what I do and more about how I live in the world. As this year draws to a close, I share some of Andrea’s beautiful list with you, with the deep wish that we be kind and gentle with ourselves and each other. The world can be a rough place. We’re all on a journey, and in the end, as Ram Dass said, we’re all just walking each other home.




The next round of Women’s Writing Circles begins mid-January! Zoom classes begin Wednesday, January 10th, 6 PM to 7:30 PM PT, and in-home class begins Friday, January 12th, 10 AM to noon. With a line of poetry as our inspiration, we put pen to paper and write quickly and steadily, and away we gallop, getting to the truth of our stories. These short practices give us a beautiful creative freedom to be who we are and simply write. More info at


Excerpts from Andrea Gibson’s “New Kind of Bucket List”:

To sense with senses the world taught us do not exist.

To stand guard over my own attention.

To break the vows I have made to my suffering.

To understand how much my attention is worth, and to only let it be bought by the silver in my love’s hair, the gold of an Aspen tree in autumn.

To communicate with the dead before they die. To listen for the spirit beneath everybody’s mind.

To think like an inventor. To refuse to be a product of a thought assembly line.

To know what lives at the root of my fear.  To weed that garden until only truth blooms.

To reckon with my trauma until it is a poem no longer written in blood. 

To see through the lens of my spirit, and not the bruised and clouded eyes of my wounds.

To know shame can’t live in the light, and let the light fall wherever I am hiding.

To see people as a mystery, especially those I know best.

To know exactly what parts of me are comforted by other people’s approval and comfort those parts myself instead.

To love my body as if it were my soul’s silhouette.

To have a spirit so strong I own every instance I am the hater, the bully, the tongue sharp as a broken mirror.

To be good to people without investment in being seen as a good person.

To be guided by giving instead of getting.

To bend over backwards in yoga class only – To not shapeshift to fit the expectations of society that is yet to see all the ways it is sick.

To live like I’m kissing the universe on her temple.

To make sure everyone I love knows how much I love them….. 

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