"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: Denise Linn

echoes . . .

DSC_0487I’ve been thinking a lot about what Denise Linn said about identity, it being an external idea that we take on like clothing as small children, behavioral patterns that have imprinted themselves on us and which we then unknowingly re-enact over and over again every day no matter what our age is now. It’s not just the memory or sensation of that experience, it’s the irrational feelings that cookie stamped themselves on us–like feeling helpless and over-responsible at the same time. Or a feeling of dread when we wake up, fearful of what next thing is going to hit the fan. Whatever they are, they are THOUGHTS and emotions that come from those thoughts. And as identity, these thoughts get in the way of our reaching for our true authenticity.

And because they are just thoughts, we can recognize them and do something about how we want to deal with them: let the endless replaying of the taped memory go on and on until we die, falsely believing that we are in control of our lives. Or, hitting a pause button with our finger in the air, and experiencing the silence. Sudden emptiness of not feeling the same old thing all the time. The nothing-ness of feeling anything and at the same time, not feeling beleagured any longer.

Is that why people like Zen? Maybe that’s what living with a bare slate is like. Not having that replay going on and on without our even knowing it. What strikes me is how much time it takes to even think about ourselves in this way. Why is that anyway?

Having had my own share of what-ifs and disappointments, I’ve resolved since my last birthday (you don’t want to know) that I choose every day to do something satisfying, simple as it may be: drinking fresh citrus juice, writing a haiku poem about the red/pink dogwood tree that we planted last week, cleaning the kitchen and putting away the dishes and straightening things on the counter.

I realized also that we are inundated by bad news about tawdry and tragic events that we read about first thing in the morning in the newspaper, listen to on local news, then repeatedly again on national news (maybe two stations worth) and then late at night on the eleven o’clock newscast before we go to bed. That’s at least FIVE times of bad, awful news about things we can’t do anything about directly and bad, awful behavior on the part of people who should know better and who keep grinding their axes regardless. I keep thinking things were more awful before in terms of how people enacted human nature (look at “Game of Thrones” for example which I can’t bear to watch for more than a few minutes.) Or Congress, for that matter.

Anyhow, back to how to survive and live in the midst of all this bad news and horribleness, we still have freedom to live with purpose and dignity each day. It’s different for each of us, that’s for sure. How are you managing with yours?


best of both worlds . . .

juicing photo for blogIf truth be told, I think I live in the middle way between what some would label “new age” practice (Denise Linn) and creating the good life (Martha Stewart.) Before you laugh, hear me out on what I’ve learned from each in the last couple of weeks.

1. Denise Linn‘s 28 day program’s first week focuses on intention by creating clarity about what’s important. De-cluttering your environs and your inner self is a means to an end to rid the extras so that new things can enter. I’ve described some of the results of this process in the last two posts. A lot to do in the first seven days.

2. Martha Stewart‘s new book on how to live “the good long life” is full of practical pointers for maintaining your health and enjoying life no matter what your circumstances or your age. Despite all the jokes people make about Martha, I feel that she’s paid her dues and in this book, imparts a tone of friendly good-naturedness about aging (as she is) and how to enjoy it at the same time.

Last night, I was feeling slightly uncomfortable physically from having eaten a little too much and indulging myself a lot over mother’s day meals. I remembered that I had forgotten I was doing a two-day a week fasting regimen which had me feeling slimmer and full of energy up to a few days ago. I confess I read about the two-day fasting regimen elsewhere than these two women’s writings, but basically, it’s taking in only about 500-600 calories for a day, at least a day apart, every week. It’s easier than you think, especially when you can have 250 calories at two meals even while you are “fasting.” I like to do it by juicing on those days, drinking lots of water and having raspberry zinger tea. I also discovered that a shrimp is only about 9-12 calories, and a handful of them makes a great lunch or dinner along with salad. This kind of fasting/dieting is so easy to do a couple of days a week that then allows me to eat (judiciously) whatever else I like to cook the rest of the week (fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit.)

From Martha’s book, I found a recipe for green juicing that she drinks every morning and that I use during my fasting days. I have a Breville juicer that has what seems like many parts, but does a much better and faster job juicing than my old Osterizier juicer that was hard to clean.

On a fasting day, I take out and wash these ingredients, then put them into the juicer in this order:

2-3 stalks of celery
half an english cucumber
2 granny smith apples in quarters
1 pear
half a bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
half a bag of spinach
a big knob of fresh ginger root

When the juice is made, I stir it and pour a medium size glass of it, adding a heaping spoonful of Pure Synergy, an energy/health boost that I’ve been taking for almost a decade. Taking Pure Synergy regularly, my energy level feels elevated all day without feeling hyper. I put the remaining pitcher of green juice in the fridge to drink later in the day.

After the green juice, I’ll also drink hot coffee while reading the newspaper, drink lots of distilled water during the day and brew raspberry zinger tea to drink with honey for a pick-me-up. If I feel like it, I might make a fresh strawberry banana smoothie with soy milk as one of my “meals.” strawberry smoothie

On a fasting day, you can have up to 500-600 calories per 24 hours so it’s not like you are starving yourself, just letting your insides have a brief rest. This kind of fasting purports to improve your immune system and prolong your life. Even if it didn’t, it truly feels fabulous. And you do lose weight, or at least I have.

So, de-cluttering as Denise suggests, allowing your body and systems to rejuvenate every so often is “a good thing” as Martha would say. Besides, I can’t tell you how virtuous it feels to wash all these vegetables and fruits, lay them out on the counter and then drink the elixer of all that fresh produce throughout the day, sip by sip.

Admittedly, it’s easier to juice if you have the right equipment and Breville juicers are expensive, to be honest. But compared to the relative costs of what we might spend on some prime steaks, lobsters and legs of lamb, you could probably rationalize the cost of a juicer that will provide a means to a slimmer waist and hips as well as a glowing complexion. Instead of looking slightly puffy from too much rich food, wine and desserts, your face will look smooth and alight with health. PLUS, you can still eat all that other stuff on the days you’re not fasting. . . just in moderation.

Postscript: since I wrote this post, I received a simple electric citrus juicer that I bought on Amazon for $16. It has allowed me to quickly make fresh orange or grapefruit juice anytime that I’m thirsty. Add a couple of ice cubes and sip a cool fruit juice drink!

“identity” . . .

DSC_1037In Denise Linn’s book, “Soul Coaching,” she writes:

“Our identities are shaped by the emotional environment of our childhood years, which we tend to re-create in adult years. We are programmed by the thoughts and belief systems of our parents, who were shaped by the beliefs of their parents. Sometimes we will even treat ourselves the way our parents treated us.” . . . “You are not your identity. To begin to lose your attachment to your identity, it is important to first become aware of it.”


The ideas in the paragraph I just quoted above are heavy duty and complex according to how our childhoods played out. For me, I was left on my own at a young age to fend for myself and to prove myself over and over again on my own. Boy, does that sound familiar. I can’t believe that I’m still re-creating that kind of environment for myself. But guess what? I think I actually am. For example, I know that I’m really a loner and set up projects for myself that are challenging. And that I am intense about moving through those challenges.

Like today, I moved the eight foot money plant back to where it was before out of the direct sunlight that came from a higher skylight. A plant expert had told me last week that too much sun wasn’t necessarily the best thing for the plant. To create a space for it, I moved the canary over so that it wouldn’t get a direct draft from the window if cool air were to enter. The plant window needed attention so I grouped all the amaryllis bulbs that had gone by and relocated the huge flowering orchids so that they would be visible from the street. By that time, I discovered that the vacuum cleaner bag was so stuffed full that it wasn’t drawing anything up. After changing the filter and putting in a new bag, I was ready for a break.

This little example illustrates that I do things alone that need to be done, but are way more than probably could be done in the space of a mid-morning, resulting in my feeling overtaxed, impatient and dreading what else that still needs to be done but which I’m too pooped out to do anything about until later today or tomorrow.

Having too much to do and feeling like I have to do everything myself is a familiar feeling from my childhood. Especially when it goes along with feeling invisible to others or not being noticed (enough.) Maybe I should stop now that I realize it’s a part of my so-called “identity” that I don’t need to enact anymore.

In her book, Linn says that being able to see one’s created “identity” is the first step to removing it and discovering one’s true authenticity. What an interesting idea!

clean . . .

DSC_1036For Mother’s Day, C. sent me a surprise package from which I was puzzled by because for once, I hadn’t ordered anything from my favorite place to spend money. It was a set of books by Denise Linn that C. later said she found in my “wish list” box which I must have entered in early February. In any case, I’m always game for change and transformation so I’ve started Denise Linn’s 28 day Soul Coaching exercise and am now on Day Three, a day to de-clutter one room or area of your house.

I began in the bedroom, folding and putting clothes away according to how much we used them. I put the screens back up in three of the windows and cleared off the change on the bedside table. Organized and looking spare, I resolved to vacuum a little later and continue after a brief respite to see how much more I could accomplish during this Day Three of De-Cluttering.

It’s funny, but today, I woke up thinking about how our minds work and that I seem to have recurring voices of two people who together account for much suffering in my life. One is now dead and the other I will probably never encounter again. Be that as it may, it’s astounding how often they seem to speak to me on a daily basis, almost as though something inside me can’t help reliving the pain even though there’s nothing to be done about it. So, I had an “Aha!” moment and decided that instead of just removing THINGS and straightening out ROOMS, that the most effective thing to de-clutter was to remove these spirits from inside my head. How? By asking them to leave. Simple as that.

14 Randolph Road PhotoYears ago when I learned about space clearing from Denise Linn, I wanted to clear old and outdated energy from our house. It’s a large Queen Anne Victorian with apartments on the second floor, G.’s piano workshop on the first floor and we live on the third floor. When the apartments were vacant, awaiting new tenants, I lit some smudge sticks made of sage, clapped my hands to loosen dead energy from the walls and then invited any energy that wasn’t friendly or nurturing to us to please leave the premises. I visualized this and I swear, I saw a humongous cloud of green-brownish sludge drift through the open windows and ascend into the atmosphere away from our home. Afterwards, the atmosphere in the rooms felt still, cleaned of stagnant energy.

What if I could do this with these spirit voices too? I sat and spoke to each of them with my eyes closed, surprised to find that neither wanted to leave. In fact, I had to be quite firm that I was done with them and didn’t want them nor memories about them to sap my energy any more. I could hear their voices talking back to me, a cacophony of blame, denial and self-righteousness. Soon, though, it became quiet. Now, I think they’re gone. I’ve managed to de-clutter the nemeses who had resided within my psyche for such a long time. Hoping that things would improve (which they did not) or that things would change (they could not) I let my naive idealism allow them to live on in my memory way past their time. Now they are gone. How great is THAT?

Now, I’m thinking about what a (big) difference a day makes!