Ujjayi Breathing, by B.K.S. Iyengar

Last night I had difficulty falling asleep, so I tried several breathing techniques to calm my mind. I realized that I am using my computer and cell phone more often than usual. I have to be careful of digital overload and make sure I take breaks from technology.

The breathing technique that worked the best to calm my mind and body was Ujjayi Breathing or Pranayama. To perform a simplified version of Ujjayi breathing:

  1. Start to breathe in and out through your nose, naturally.
  2. Empty all the air in your lungs. Then take a slow, deep breath through both nostrils. The passage of the incoming air is felt on the roof of the palate and makes a sound (sa).
  3. Exhale slowly through both nostrils. The passage of the outgoing air is felt on the roof of the palate and makes a sound (ha).
  4. Repeat the cycles for five to ten minutes.
  5. Ujjayi breathing sounds like the ebb and flow of the ocean.

Namaste, world.

Brave and Calm (COVID-19)

Vietnamese Refuge Boat

When the crowded Vietnamese refuge boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive. Thich Nhat Hanh

Several months ago, my former father-in-law, Bill, was in the intensive care unit struggling to breathe. He was 86-years old and was hospitalized several times in the past year. I told my ex-husband that I would come to the hospital to support him and our daughters. I knew that Bill was going to die.

When I arrived, Bill, laid in his hospital bed with an oxygen mask as he struggled to survive. My former sister-in-law, Kari, wanted to remove the mask and let him go. Since I worked in the hospice field, I helped the family make end-of-life decisions such as when to increase medication, ordering a hospital chaplain, and explaining the dying process.

A few weeks later, at Bill’s funeral, Kari thanked me for my calm presence at the hospital. I was that one person who remained calm and centered during an emotional time. I kept all the people in the boat from panicking.

You, too, can be the one person to keep your family calm during this pandemic. We will survive this pandemic! Human beings are resourceful, adaptable, and creative.

There are a lot of worries about getting sick, taking care of someone who is sick, and how to pay bills. Hopefully, everyone can go back to work soon (as long as it’s safe and there’s a good plan in place).

The Vietnamese refugees set sail on small boats. They did not have any guarantees, but they were brave enough to face the unknown. We, too, can face the challenges ahead and be brave enough and calm enough to weather the storm.

Namaste, world.

Be Calm Amid a Storm (COVID-19)

Be calm amid the approaching storm. We can see the dark clouds in the distance, but we don’t know if the storm will be bad or not. However, just like preparing for bad weather, we have our flashlights, extra food and water, medications, and shelter. It is time to be calm, so you can make good decisions and help your family.

It is amazing how life can change so quickly. We are interdependent as human beings. We are ONE – the coronavirus (COVID-19) demonstrates our oneness. We can use this time to transform human life on this planet. The storm will pass.

Do not be scared. Use this time as a training to help you become more grounded, peaceful, and resilient. You are a divine-human being, no matter what happens here on this planet.

What can you do to become more grounded and peaceful during this turbulent time? You can meditate, pray, do yoga, listen to calm music, journal, read inspiring books, help others become peaceful, and talk to loved ones on the phone or Skype (especially your parents or grandparents who are in lockdown). Make a decision that you will be calm and peaceful and remain that way.

There is a lot of uncertainty and confusion. It is best to stay in the present moment and take one day at a time. The world is not coming to an end. We can learn from this pandemic and become more strong spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

We are ONE. May this pandemic bring humanity together, may we help each other, love each other, and find solutions to make life on this planet better for all living creatures.

Take a deep breath. “This too shall pass.”

Namaste, world.

“If Love is Why I’m Here,” by Karen Drucker

If love is why I’m here, let me be an open channel.
If love is why I’m here, let me give and then receive. (Repeat)
Give and receive, give and receive…
If love is why we’re here, let us be an open channel.
If love is why we’re here, let us give and then receive.
(Repeat)
If love is why you’re here, may you be an open channel.
If love is why you’re here, may you give and then receive. (Repeat)
Give and receive, give and receive…

Love Someone

My grandma Theresa always told me that she loved me. I remember looking into her smiling eyes and hearing the words, “I love you.” I hope to be like my grandma. I want to tell my family and friends that I love them – and often.

Words have the power to hurt or to heal. Words are powerful! Remember, the words “I love you” have a high vibration.

Here is Dr. Masaru Emoto’s video on Water, Consciousness, and Intent:

Namaste, world.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prepping

Updated 3/11/2020

See Note I, II, & III*

We do not know how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect the United States. However, we can see the impact in China and the surrounding countries. If the coronavirus continues to get worse in the US, then we need to be prepared.

One place to start your readiness is to find information on http://www.ready.gov. You will find out facts about the coronavirus and learn how to stay safe. The basic prepping is to store two to three weeks’ supply of water and food just in case the state governments demand a quarantine. Also, you need to know how to protect yourself from the spread of the virus.

I plan to store at least three weeks of water and food. I think it’s a good idea to get water/Gatorade, canned goods (beans, veggies, fruits, soups), peanut butter/almond butter, rice, and things that you will eat anyways (and don’t forget food for animals). I also have “bug out” bags just in case we need to leave the house in an emergency. There’s a lot of information on the web. I like the websites:

http://www.theprepared.com

How to Prepare for a Coronavirus Lockdown

*Make sure all family members make a habit of washing their hands when they walk into the house.

*School closings can happen without much warning.

I am a natural prepper because it’s in my blood. My dad was a prepper. We had a fallout shelter that my dad dug under the garage of our split level, 1970’s house. We had to access the bunker through the downstairs closet that was under the stairs. My dad stored boxes of powdered milk, ready meals (MRE – Meal, Ready-To-Eat), and rice. I remember going into the closet because of a tornado. I never had to go into the bunker under the garage (it was scary in there – like a cave).

My dad loved camping, so we had all the gear in case of an emergency. I, too, have camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, tarps, Coleman stove, etc.). I think it’s good to have survival skills too.

Photo of me camping with my family (1982).

I hope that the coronavirus comes to a halt soon, and we do not need the things we’ve stored. However, it’s better to have all the things you need instead of making a mad dash to the store. You will find many others doing last-minute shopping, and possibly spreading the virus.

Right now, it’s important to be a prepper. You will feel better knowing that you will have everything you need to stay in your house for three weeks. The coronavirus will pass eventually.

*Note I: It’s important to be aware of your psychological and emotional states. It’s easy to become obsessed with the news and media coverage about the coronavirus. Make sure to put things into perspective and give yourself a break from technology. Sometimes we are under psychological stress without realizing it. Make sure to do yoga, exercise, and eat well.

*Note II on 3/9/2020: I just found out that there is one confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) where I live. The super spreader is here. Anyone who lives in Carver County, Minnesota, prepare to take social distancing measures (especially if you are 60 years or older).

https://www.postbulletin.com/life/health/minnesota-health-officials-confirm-second-case-of-coronavirus/article_aa444eb8-61ad-11ea-a48b-13090b674553.html

*Note III on 3/11/2020: You have two weeks to prepare before there’s a spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. Remember to BE CALM. We will get through this pandemic! Take a deep breath.

May peace and hope be with the world.

Namaste, world.

Sun Salutations

Fall in love with yoga. – Swami Satyananda

Every morning, I do the Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara). It’s a great way to stretch my body and prepare for the day.

The Sun Salutations is an old age practice from Vedic times. The 12 asanas (poses) are symmetrical and rhythmic. I encourage everyone to do the Sun Salutations. Do each cycle 12 times – the diagram above shows one cycle.

Here are detailed instructions for the asanas (taken from Atma Darshan Yogashram Teachers Training, Bangalore, India):

1st Asana (a) Place feet together. (b) Stand up straight, feeling the straightness in the back; stomach in. (c) Join the palms together in Namasker and place them in front of the chest in an attitude of prayer. (d) Relax the whole body.

2nd Asana (a) Raise both arms above the head, stretching them fully upwards and backwards. Do not bend the elbows. (b) The distance between the arms should be shoulder width. (c) Bend the upper trunk back as far as possible without losing balance; keep eyes open. (d) Drop head back (e) Feel the stretch in the abdomen, chest, throat, and compression in the back.

3rd Asana (a) Bend forward to try and touch your toes with your fingers or hands. The ideal position is with the palms flat on the ground by the side of the feet with fingers pointing forward and in line with the toes. If the ideal position cannot be achieved yet, don’t force the body to do so. Go as far down as possible without straining; let the hands hang loose. Knees straight. (b) Try to touch the knees with the forehead without bending the knees. (c) Feel the stretch in the back, hamstring muscles and spine, as also the compression in the abdomen.

4th Asana (a) Bend the knees. (b) Take the right leg as far back as possible and let the knee touch the ground. (c) Bend the left knee, arch the back and tilt the head backwards gazing at the ceiling. The chest will be pressed against the left knee. (d) Keep the arms straight and in the final posture; the weight of the body should be taken on both hands, the left foot, the right knee and the right toes. (e) Feel the stretch on the inside of the thigh, on the abdomen, chest and throat; feel the compression in the back of neck and the small of the back.

5th Asana (a) Straighten the left leg and place the left foot by the right. (b) Raise the buttocks up and lower the head so that it lies between the two arms, towards the knees. (c) The body should form two sides of a triangle, with the buttocks as the apex. Push your nose towards the knees. (d) Legs and arms should be straight and try and touch the ground with your heels feeling the stretch in the hamstring, neck and back muscles; as also the compression in the abdomen.

6th Asana (a) Bend your arms and lower your body to the ground, first touching the ground with the two knees – go slightly forward on your hands so that the chest and chin touch the ground between the hands. (b) Raise hip and abdomen slightly off the ground feeling the pressure in the small of the back.

7th Asana (a) Straighten your arms, move your chest forward, arch your back and tilt your head as far back as possible so as to stare at the ceiling. (b) Lower the thighs so as to come in contact with the ground. (c) Toes shoulder be turned under with feet together. (d) Feel the stretch on the abdomen, rib cage and throat; and compression at the back of the neck and the lower back.

8th Asana (a) Raise the buttocks up and lower the head so that it lies between the two arms, towards the knees. (b) The body should form two sides of a triangle, with the buttocks as the apex. Push your nose towards the knees. (c) Legs and arms should be straight and try and touch the ground with your heels feeling the stretch in the hamstring, neck and back muscles; as also the compression in the abdomen.

9th Asana (a) Bend the left leg to touch the ground with the left knee, simultaneously bring the right leg up placing the right toes in line with the fingers between the arms. (b) Arch back and tilt your head back so as to stare at the ceiling. (c) Feel the stretch on the inside of the thigh, on the abdomen, chest and throat; feel the compression in the back of neck and the small of the back.

10th Asana (a) Bring the left foot up and place it in line with the right. (b) Straighten both knees and bring the nose as close to the knees as possible and palms and fingers as close to the ground as possible. (c) Feel the stretch in the back, hamstring muscles and spine, as also the compression in the abdomen.

11th Asana (a) Rise and raise arms above the head, bending the upper trunk and head backwards without losing your balance. Do not bend the elbows. (b) The distance between the arms should be shoulder width. (c) Feel the stretch in the abdomen, chest, throat, and compression in the back.

12th Asana (a) Straighten the trunk and bring the hands in front of chest to join the palms in a Namasker, relaxing the whole body.

Surya Namaskara

Here are some benefits of doing the Sun Salutations:

  • Loosens up joints, flexes all muscles, and massages all the important internal organs
  • Creates breath awareness, helps us to breathe correctly (slow and deep), and increases oxygen
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Increases circulation in vital organs (heart and lungs)
  • Opens your chakras and harmonizes the whole body/mind complex
  • Aligns with the meridians and sen lines
  • Prepares your body and mind for meditation (creates mental clarity)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Namaste, world

The Universe is like a Cake

As human beings, we are multidimensional and eternal. We live in one dimension that we call Earth. However, the Universe is like a cake with many layers. We may not understand parallel Universes, but we can access our past, present, and even our future. The key to our understanding is the mind.

To expand our minds, we need to cut the cake, so the layers touch each other. To do this, we can explore meditation, intuition, dreams, and telepathic abilities. Just like the cell phone, we can communicate but with our minds. Unfortunately, for most of us, telepathy is an undeveloped skill.

Another way to understand the Universe is through quantum physics. Quantum physics is easy to understand on an intuitive level. To explain it in words is a little more difficult. The most simple definition of quantum physics is that it is the study of matter and energy at the atomic level.

Let me give you an example of quantum physics. One of the principles of quantum physics says an object (made of atoms – like me) can be in two places at the same time. In December 2019, I put myself into a calm state, put on earbuds, and listened to music with binaural beats and beta waves to help me energetically teleport. My intention was to visit my best friend in Florida (I live in Minnesota). I wanted to be there to help her through a difficult time in her life.

Using my imagination and energetic coherence, I saw myself step into her bedroom. She was sleeping in her bed. I could see everything vividly. I put my hands over her body to give her Reiki energy (I have given her Reiki several times in the past, so she welcomes Reiki healing). Through my mind, I let her know that I was with her. Energetically, I was in my bedroom and my friend’s bedroom at the same time.

It is interesting to note that this intention was manifested into physical reality as well. I just returned from Florida yesterday. I went to visit my best friend.

Human beings fear what they do not know. We like our comfort zones. But if you use a toaster, fluorescent light, computer, cell phone, then you are using quantum physics.

Do we need more quantum thinking? The answer is yes. Quantum thinking allows us to see the infinite possibilities. When we use quantum thinking, we put intention and energetic coherence into action.

Also, remember love is the highest vibration. Love is multidimensional and eternal. You can channel your heart energy to anyone.

When souls electrically connect via the heart, time and space do not hinder communication. – Anonymous

Namaste, world.

Everything Happens for a Reason

I decided to cancel my trip to Thailand. It’s not safe to travel right now because of the Coronavirus. I plan to go next year in 2021.

I was ready to go to Thailand. It was a difficult decision to make. I canceled my trip 36 hours before my plane would take off. My husband suggested that I go to Florida to see my best friend. I agreed to go to Florida. My friend just got divorced, and she was feeling depressed.

Before I left for Florida, I called my friend and mentor, Sister Lucy (who is a Franciscan nun), to tell her about my change in plans. Sister Lucy told me that my friend in Florida needed me right now, and there’s a reason for everything.

I am here in Florida right now. I arrived on Monday. My best friend told me that it’s a miracle that I am here to be with her because she was feeling suicidal. She said that I saved her life.

I remember the minutes before I made my decision to not go to Thailand. I sat in meditation, and the message, “have a flexible mind” repeated several times.

Life can change in an instant. It’s easy to get attached to our plans. But sometimes we are meant to be somewhere else or do something different.

We need to trust that everything happens for a reason. We may not understand how the universe works, but we can learn to have a flexible mind and go with the flow.

Namaste, world.

Death’s Smile

I have worked as a hospice massage therapist for almost three years and I did not witness someone die. However, a few days ago, I witnessed my first death.

My patient, John, was in his eighties. He died from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. When I arrived at his apartment, his wife, children, and grandchildren where present. They were tearful as John neared death.

I am kind and supportive to the patient’s family, but I focus on my patient. Johns breathing was irregular with a slight pause between his breaths. I gave him a gentle massage on his hands. I’m also a Reiki energy worker, and I could feel happiness radiate from his heart.

After about 10 minutes, I moved to the foot of the hospital bed to hold John’s feet. After a few minutes, I saw him smile. I told his family members that he smiled, and the family gathered around him. Then he smiled two more times. I told his family that “I think it’s getting close.”

John stopped breathing. John’s wife held is face and spoke loving words to him. They knew each other since they were 14 years old.

After a minute, I thought he died, but then he started breathing again. John’s daughter looked at me with confusion. As he breathed, he started to turn purplish gray. John took a few more breaths and then he died. As I gently held his feet, I closed my eyes.

It was a peaceful death. I started to cry with the family. I felt so honored to be there. I silently said “thank you” to John.

John had a close family. It was beautiful how they supported John during his dying process. They loved him so much.

I remember the quote by Todd Burpo, “The one thing love requires is to let others know they are not alone.” We need to be there for each other. We are together in life and in death.

I am so grateful to be alive. I want to rejoice in my continued opportunity to live my life to the fullest.

Namaste, world.