get out of your head…

Today I would like to share a story from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. The book is about a ‘warrior’, Socrates, and the young man, Dan, that is learning from him.  The following excerpt is from a part in the book where they travel to a park for a picnic:

“We took the bus up to the park and walked cross country over crackling leaves scattered in thick piles among the pine, birch and elm trees surrounding us. We unpacked the food on a grassy knoll in full view of the warm sun.  I flopped down on the blanket, anxious to roast in the sun, and hoped Joy would join me. (Joy is another ‘warrior’ in the book)

Without warning, the wind picked up and clouds gathered. I couldn’t believe it. It had begun to rain – first a drizzle, then a sudden downpour.  I grabbed my shirt and put it on, cursing.  Socrates (the name given to the warrior by the young man) only laughed.

“How can you think this is funny!” I chided him.  “We’re getting soaked, there’s no bus for an hour, and the food’s ruined. Joy made the food, I’m sure she doesn’t think it’s so…” Joy was laughing too.

“I’m not laughing at the rain,” Soc said. “I’m laughing at you.” He roared, and rolled in the wet leaves. Joy started doing a dance routine to “Singin’ in the Rain.” Debbie Reynolds and the Buddha  – it was too much.

The rain ended as suddenly as it had begun.  The sun broke through and soon our food and clothes were dry.

“I guess my rain danced worked.” Joy took a bow.

As Joy sat behind my slumped form and gave my shoulders a rub, Socrates spoke. “It’s time you began learning from your life experiences instead of complaining about them, or basking in them, Dan.  Two very important lessons just offered themselves to you; they fell out of the sky, so to speak.” I dug into the food, trying not to listen.

“First,” he said, munching on some lettuce, “neither your disappointment nor your anger was caused by the rain.”

My mouth was too full of potato salad for me to protest. Socrates continued, regally waving a carrot slice at me.

“The rain was a perfectly lawful display of nature.  Your ‘upset’ at the ruined picnic and your ‘happiness’ when the sun reappeared were the product of your thoughts. They had nothing to do with the actual events.  Haven’t you been ‘unhappy’ at celebrations for example? It is obvious then that your mind, not other people or your surroundings, is the source of your moods.  That is the first lesson.”

Swallowing his potato salad, Soc said, “The second lesson comes from observing how you became even more angry when you noticed that I wasn’t upset in the least. You began to see yourself compared to a warrior – two warriors, if you please.” He grinned at Joy. “You didn’t like that, did you Dan? It might have implied a change was necessary.”

-Dan Millman

Everything in life is neutral.  My mind (and I know I’m probably not alone) has a tendency to create stories about my everyday life.  If I can continue to practice and understand this I am able to ‘get out of my head’ and more in touch with my Self.  To have an awareness of when my mind is on ‘auto-pilot’.

Our minds can be a great tool, when used properly.  If not used properly we can struggle through daily life.  Stressful thoughts reflect a conflict with reality.  Stress happens when the mind resists what is. When we resist what happens, our mind begins to race; the thoughts that assail us are actually created by us….

The next time you find yourself angry, upset, fuming etc. about something, try this: Don’t just simply take it for what it is, don’t continue to run with it, don’t keep building onto the story with more thoughts.  DO see if you can stop, step out of your mind for a second and notice where the reaction began.  Just by starting to notice, we can begin to adjust our thought patterns. Which in turn will help us to struggle less on a daily basis.  Will help us to just be, to a feel a greater sense of peace and happiness that is already within us, waiting to be tapped into.

shine on

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Just like us…

A very touching article to remind us that animals (like ourselves) are full of so much more than we often realize!

14 stories that prove animals have souls

shine on

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a weekend picture post…

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld

I could not get over this little handsome fella.  As I got back into my car after running some errands last Friday, I spotted him.  So amazed by his body, from the bamboo-like structure to the fairytale fluttering wings I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.

   After errands I found myself staring up at this. Nothing like taking a moment to look up at the vast sky. I was laying on my Aunt Marypat’s bench in Point Lookout…


The rest of the weekend was spent on the beach with family and friends.  These were our guests for the weekend! My sister on the right, and two of her best friends…

   and my love in the middle.

 It was a perfect night for fireworks on Saturday. We met on this night four years ago. 🙂

  Back to the beach Sunday, and grateful to have this gorgeous view. 

  all topped off with some delicious Sunday sushi…

 Bonus picture: The beautiful Yoga Polarity Center that I teach at in Malverne! My teaching schedule is listed here!!

and remember to…shine on

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‘Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.’  -Homer

Always stay true to who you are.  You are enough.

shine on

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what would you do with an extra cookie?

I can’t remember what our kitchen table looks like.  It has been COVERED with papers, a printer and all of my husband’s paperwork as he organizes his first summer camp, Get the Edge , under his fairly new business SGB Performace!  Yes a plug, I couldn’t resist.  I could not be more proud and excited for him.  I am also happy to (as of today) have our kitchen table back!  There was a straggling few pieces of papers on the table,  I handed the bunch to him thinking he forgot them.  That is when he said ‘No I left it for you, thought that you could use it to share on my blog.’  So thanks hubs because I definitely do want to share it… is more on the lengthy side as opposed to previous posts but worth reading.

“Don’t Eat Fortune’s Cookie”

Michael Lewis
June 3, 2012 — As Prepared

His speech to the Princeton class of 2012:

Thank you. President Tilghman. Trustees and Friends. Parents of the Class of 2012. Above all, Members of the Princeton Class of 2012. Give yourself a round of applause. The next time you look around a church and see everyone dressed in black it’ll be awkward to cheer. Enjoy the moment.

Thirty years ago I sat where you sat. I must have listened to some older person share his life experience. But I don’t remember a word of it. I can’t even tell you who spoke. What I do remember, vividly, is graduation. I’m told you’re meant to be excited, perhaps even relieved, and maybe all of you are. I wasn’t. I was totally outraged. Here I’d gone and given them four of the best years of my life and this is how they thanked me for it. By kicking me out.

At that moment I was sure of only one thing: I was of no possible economic value to the outside world. I’d majored in art history, for a start. Even then this was regarded as an act of insanity. I was almost certainly less prepared for the marketplace than most of you. Yet somehow I have wound up rich and famous. Well, sort of. I’m going to explain, briefly, how that happened. I want you to understand just how mysterious careers can be, before you go out and have one yourself.

I graduated from Princeton without ever having published a word of anything, anywhere. I didn’t write for the Prince, or for anyone else. But at Princeton, studying art history, I felt the first twinge of literary ambition. It happened while working on my senior thesis. My adviser was a truly gifted professor, an archaeologist named William Childs. The thesis tried to explain how the Italian sculptor Donatello used Greek and Roman sculpture — which is actually totally beside the point, but I’ve always wanted to tell someone. God knows what Professor Childs actually thought of it, but he helped me to become engrossed. More than engrossed: obsessed. When I handed it in I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: to write senior theses. Or, to put it differently: to write books.

Then I went to my thesis defense. It was just a few yards from here, in McCormick Hall. I listened and waited for Professor Childs to say how well written my thesis was. He didn’t. And so after about 45 minutes I finally said, “So. What did you think of the writing?”

“Put it this way” he said. “Never try to make a living at it.”

And I didn’t — not really. I did what everyone does who has no idea what to do with themselves: I went to graduate school. I wrote at nights, without much effect, mainly because I hadn’t the first clue what I should write about. One night I was invited to a dinner, where I sat next to the wife of a big shot at a giant Wall Street investment bank, called Salomon Brothers. She more or less forced her husband to give me a job. I knew next to nothing about Salomon Brothers. But Salomon Brothers happened to be where Wall Street was being reinvented—into the place we have all come to know and love. When I got there I was assigned, almost arbitrarily, to the very best job in which to observe the growing madness: they turned me into the house expert on derivatives. A year and a half later Salomon Brothers was handing me a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars to give advice about derivatives to professional investors.

Now I had something to write about: Salomon Brothers. Wall Street had become so unhinged that it was paying recent Princeton graduates who knew nothing about money small fortunes to pretend to be experts about money. I’d stumbled into my next senior thesis.

I called up my father. I told him I was going to quit this job that now promised me millions of dollars to write a book for an advance of 40 grand. There was a long pause on the other end of the line. “You might just want to think about that,” he said.


“Stay at Salomon Brothers 10 years, make your fortune, and then write your books,” he said.

I didn’t need to think about it. I knew what intellectual passion felt like — because I’d felt it here, at Princeton — and I wanted to feel it again. I was 26 years old. Had I waited until I was 36, I would never have done it. I would have forgotten the feeling.

The book I wrote was called “Liar’s Poker.”  It sold a million copies. I was 28 years old. I had a career, a little fame, a small fortune and a new life narrative. All of a sudden people were telling me I was born to be a writer. This was absurd. Even I could see there was another, truer narrative, with luck as its theme. What were the odds of being seated at that dinner next to that Salomon Brothers lady? Of landing inside the best Wall Street firm from which to write the story of an age? Of landing in the seat with the best view of the business? Of having parents who didn’t disinherit me but instead sighed and said “do it if you must?” Of having had that sense of must kindled inside me by a professor of art history at Princeton? Of having been let into Princeton in the first place?

This isn’t just false humility. It’s false humility with a point. My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck — especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don’t want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either.

I wrote a book about this, called “Moneyball.” It was ostensibly about baseball but was in fact about something else. There are poor teams and rich teams in professional baseball, and they spend radically different sums of money on their players. When I wrote my book the richest team in professional baseball, the New York Yankees, was then spending about $120 million on its 25 players. The poorest team, the Oakland A’s, was spending about $30 million. And yet the Oakland team was winning as many games as the Yankees — and more than all the other richer teams.

This isn’t supposed to happen. In theory, the rich teams should buy the best players and win all the time. But the Oakland team had figured something out: the rich teams didn’t really understand who the best baseball players were. The players were misvalued. And the biggest single reason they were misvalued was that the experts did not pay sufficient attention to the role of luck in baseball success. Players got given credit for things they did that depended on the performance of others: pitchers got paid for winning games, hitters got paid for knocking in runners on base. Players got blamed and credited for events beyond their control. Where balls that got hit happened to land on the field, for example.

Forget baseball, forget sports. Here you had these corporate employees, paid millions of dollars a year. They were doing exactly the same job that people in their business had been doing forever.  In front of millions of people, who evaluate their every move. They had statistics attached to everything they did. And yet they were misvalued — because the wider world was blind to their luck.

This had been going on for a century. Right under all of our noses. And no one noticed — until it paid a poor team so well to notice that they could not afford not to notice. And you have to ask: if a professional athlete paid millions of dollars can be misvalued who can’t be? If the supposedly pure meritocracy of professional sports can’t distinguish between lucky and good, who can?

The “Moneyball” story has practical implications. If you use better data, you can find better values; there are always market inefficiencies to exploit, and so on. But it has a broader and less practical message: don’t be deceived by life’s outcomes. Life’s outcomes, while not entirely random, have a huge amount of luck baked into them. Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck — and with  luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your Gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.

I make this point because — along with this speech — it is something that will be easy for you to forget.

I now live in Berkeley, California. A few years ago, just a few blocks from my home, a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.

Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.

This experiment helps to explain Wall Street bonuses and CEO pay, and I’m sure lots of other human behavior. But it also is relevant to new graduates of Princeton University. In a general sort of way you have been appointed the leader of the group. Your appointment may not be entirely arbitrary. But you must sense its arbitrary aspect: you are the lucky few. Lucky in your parents, lucky in your country, lucky that a place like Princeton exists that can take in lucky people, introduce them to other lucky people, and increase their chances of becoming even luckier. Lucky that you live in the richest society the world has ever seen, in a time when no one actually expects you to sacrifice your interests to anything.

All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you’ll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don’t.

Never forget: In the nation’s service. In the service of all nations.

Thank you.

And good luck.

Read more:

shine on

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tractors and wild monkeys…

“Mind is one of those slippery terms like ‘love’.  The proper definition depends on your state of consciousness.  Look at it this way: You have a brain that directs the body, stores information, and plays with that information.  We refer to the brain’s abstract processes as ‘the intellect’.  Nowhere have I mentioned the mind.  The brain and the mind are not the same thing.  The brain is real, the mind isn’t….The brain can be a tool.  It can recall phone numbers, solve math problems, or create poetry.   In this way, it works for the rest of the body, like a tractor.  But when you can’t stop thinking of that math problem or phone number, or when troubling thoughts and memories arise without your intent, it’s not your brain working, but your mind wandering.  Then the mind controls you; then the tractor has run wild…you must observe yourself to see what I mean.  You have an angry thought bubble up and you become angry.  It is the same with all your emotions.  They’re your knee-jerk responses to thoughts you can’t control.  Your thoughts are like wild monkeys stung by a scorpion.”   -Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior

shine on


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spreading joy…not passing pain

I took a little hiatus last week on Thursday and Friday.  The pie party on Wednesday really wiped me out.  Also I was feeling slightly uninspired to post, didn’t feel the draw to share anything, didn’t want to fake it.  So I had a nice break, and a great weekend to get refreshed and I’m baack!

Listening to conversations, mine and overhearing others, I realized that a large majority of the language shared is about a third party.  I try to be aware of my thought patterns, and how my thoughts affect my speech.  Of course this awareness has gaps and I say things that might not necessarily have to be said, but my intention is never to harm anyone else with my words.  Are the words are safe in your mouth, are the words going to do harm to someone else? Why would we want to do harm to others?  In reality we are just harming ourselves by harboring that negativity, fear, hatred.

I find it especially interesting in people that have gone through something tragic.  People that have experienced something that was emotionally draining, and are still so quick to talk about someone else that is going through a difficult time.  Quick to talk in a way that is not for the best intention of the other, but that talk in a way that is to pass on someone else’s troubles.  This cycle is constantly perpetuated.  If we can step back from all of this ping ponging of negative energy that is being bounced around we can see it more for what it is.   First of all, I believe it is impossible to know exactly what is going on in a person’s life other than your own.  I was going to add the handful of people very close to you, but changed my mind, because even that I don’t think we can ever be sure.  We all have our own experience of the world.  To take what we hear at face value and continue to pass it on to others is doing such a disservice to not only them but also to yourself.

Something tragic happened in my hometown recently.  Underneath an article in the town paper (that gave an extremely evasive account of the event) there were many comments posted.  I was so disturbed by the ANGER, and hostility that came through in these people posts.

Point blank, people are suffering in this world.  When someone is suffering do you really want to add to their suffering?  It seems that our world can be so divisive, ‘take care of what is mine’ who cares about the others.  In my opinion, this mentality just leads to a constant state of suffrage.  It might sound honky dory to you but I think it creates a sense of peace not only in your being but in the energy around you, if you are able to step back and try to visualize sending love to the angry, sending love to the constant chatter, sending love to the people that are drawn to talk about the hardships of others.  Not in a hierarchal manner “I am above them, they don’t have anything better to do than talk about others, let me send them love”.  Rather in a more genuine way, from an observers stand point, because really we have no idea what other people are going through.  What gives us the right to place blame and opinion?  Children hear there parents doing this, and the cycle continues.

Next time you find yourself involved in a conversation about the hardships of others, try to step back and think if it is worth it for you to continue to be in the conversation.  Are the words being shared harming others, others that quite possibly are already in a bad place? If the answer is yes, then you have a choice.  You don’t have to continue to be a part of it. You also don’t have to feel the need to try and fix it.  Maybe just begin to notice how often that happens within yourself and the people you surround yourself with.

Having an awareness around my speech is something I try to practice regularly.  I believe that as I become more in tune with my Self, (not my thoughts, my feelings, but my Self, the beautiful place that is at the core in all of us) it becomes less of a challenge to notice my speech.  It’s almost like that option of negativity, or talking about others hardships becomes less and less of a draw, I am not as interested in.  Always a practice, never perfected.

Life rears its head to help us stay centered, to ground us.  To help us continue the practice of being at peace with our Selves and with others.  To have a stronger desire of spreading joy among all beings, rather than to continue passing on the pain.

shine on

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