Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Until recently (like the last few years) I thought meditation was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I guess I didn't really understand it and it seemed like a religious thing to do so I just stayed away. I have since learned that meditation can simply be a way to calm your mind and your body - giving your body and mind an opportunity to rest and heal. I often talk about deep breathing my classes - I am sure the members are sick of hearing me talk about it. I try to get them to even out their breath. Take the same time to inhale as you do to exhale. While doing this I also ask them to lengthen their breath - start by counting to 5 and increase the length to 8 or 10. It actually takes a lot of effort to quiet yourself down enough to do this. Even when we are lying down there are still many distractions that tend to keep us from fully focusing on the breath.

I have a nice big bathtub at home. I love to just sit in there and read a book sometimes to de-stress. I love the weightless feeling you have floating in water. This morning I decided to work on my breathing to try and calm myself down - too many thoughts running through my head and I needed some clarity. I let the water cover my ears so I could really hear my breath. That made it very easy to concentrate on it. I could not only hear my breath but also my heartbeat, I could feel the air moving in and out of my nose and I also felt the rise of my body as I inhaled and the fall when I exhaled. At first it is hard to slow the breath down - it almost gives you a feeling of panic - but if you stick with it eventually the body embraces it. A very nice sense of peace and serenity came over me and I was able to move forward with my day knowing what was important and what wasn't.

I highly recommend this little experiment - especially if you are feeling stressed out - it is a great coping method for life and it is completely free and wont harm you at all :)

Monday, March 28, 2011


I felt my first earthquake about 9 years ago. We were living in San Diego at the time and I wasn't sure what was going on. It was a loud earthquake - a deep rumbling - and woke me from a sound sleep. It was over before I knew it. The second earthquake I felt happened while I was Christmas shopping with my kids in a bookstore (not a good place for an earthquake). This one seemed to last a bit longer and I had enough time to register what was going on and get my kids away from the books and under a doorway before it ended.

I think when life throws you a major curve ball like a serious illness, a death, a sudden job loss - things of that nature - you just react. You hold on with both hands, try to do what you can to protect yourself, and ride it out - like an earthquake. What really gets you though is the aftershock - the sudden realization of what just happened. When you make it through to the other side you start to reflect on the reality of what you just experienced and it becomes more real.

I have a few "cancer friends" who have told me they can't quite shake the fear of what happened to them even though they are fine now. I also have a good friend who recently went through a whirlwind of diagnosis, surgery and recovery with her son and expressed the same thing.

Perhaps the courage and strength that people admire when anyone is going through a tough time pales in comparison to the courage and strength needed to move on. This is the silent strength - the one needed when everyone else around you has moved on knowing you are OK - and you are left alone to reflect.

I, myself, did not experience this kind of aftershock. Maybe it is because I was so reflective during my experience or maybe it is because I am not one to dwell on the past - but I don't think that is the norm. I believe most people have a much longer journey recovering from trauma than we expect. Next time you see someone who has been through the ringer and has come to the other side you might want to just check in with them - give them a hug - and let them know they are still in your thoughts. It might be just what they need to carry on.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


My little brother (who now towers over me) came to visit for a couple of days from Seattle. He brought his long time girlfriend Anna with him and we were all very excited to meet her. She is just a complete doll - I could not have picked a more perfect person for my brother Ryan. She is sweet, interesting, smart and beautiful. It was wonderful to see them both so happy. They came down to try and get some sun here in California after weeks of rain up north. Unfortunately the rain followed them all the way down the coast and is following them right back up there. I guess when they finally do get to enjoy the sun it will be that much sweeter. My kids fell in love with both of them and before they left Ryan spent some time teaching them guitar and piano. They both were also amazing sports and came to a dance party I helped teach at the gym. Now that is true sibling love. I love you Ryan! I was so happy and excited that you were coming to visit and I enjoyed every minute with you and Anna. I hope we can see each other often - maybe next time in your neck of the woods:)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So I had my pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon today.

"Wait, what surgery?" (you might ask).

I am having mixed feeling about what I am about to do. My plastic surgeon did an AMAZING job gluing me back together after my breasts were removed... AMAZING. I should be happy right? I am actually happy.... just really picky? I have a very wide sternum and one of my ribs kind of sticks out more on one side than the other. As a result I get a funny little hollow place on one side and it looks a bit unnatural. This little "problem area" has gotten a bit worse now that I am back to teaching full time and have lost a few lbs. The muscles on top of the implant are strong and they tend to pull the implants back toward my armpits so that hasn't helped either. Dr. Amazing thinks he can make some adjustments to fix this little indent and bring them more to the front of my body.

I am having a hard time with the "elective" part. Everything else I did was because I needed to. I don't "need" to do this - it is purely aesthetic. Does it bother me? Yes, I think about it every day. I am conscious of it when I am teaching and know it looks kinda funny. In reality I am really tired of thinking about my "breasts". I just want to not think about them anymore. Am I crazy? Am I vain? Probably both. It is not like getting a new pair of shoes or your haircut - it is surgery.

Regardless, the papers are signed and the surgery is scheduled for April 1st (hmmmm April fool's day..... should I be worried?). I am bummed about missing classes for a couple of weeks but want to get it over with and start healing before summer comes. I hope this will be the last of my run -ins with anesthesia for awhile - at least until these boobies wear out in 15 years:)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I heard today that the average person lies 200 times a day. That seemed crazy to me. I thought to myself "I hardly ever lie and if I do it is a little white lie to preserve someones feelings". But, in reality I think it is probably fairly accurate if you include how many times we lie to ourselves. My days are filled with constant self chatter and I must admit most of it is me trying to explain away why I can or cannot do something. "Oh, one cookie wont hurt me" - "why should I vacuum when I will just have to do it again tomorrow" - "I don't have time to make a proper meal for my family". In reality - yes that cookie does have an effect on me, the floor does need vacuuming and by all means I am sure I can find time to make that meal if I planned my day better. When you get right down to it it is very difficult to live in complete truth. I am going to try and work on that. I am tired of the self talk - it is noisy. I need to do some soul "cleaning" and empty out the trash. I need to understand who I am with all of my strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward and be truth to others. I need to have the courage to see the real me - not the one I try to paint a picture of.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


So a good friend of mine told me about a magazine she loves. It is called More and she shared several copies of it with me. I love the magazine - I have since bought every monthly copy. Apparently this magazine is for the "older" crowd. If by "older" they mean women with substance, confidence, strength and security in who they are - then I am all in. There is a bit of fluff - you know fashion and beauty tips - but most of it has to do with deeper things. I noticed as I was perusing the latest issue that they had a contest..... a beauty contest. You must be over 35 and submit a photo and an essay describing why you are more beautiful now than ever. It got me thinking. I feel more beautiful now with a few extra pounds, a cropped cut and saggy, scarred skin than I did when I was 20. When I was 20 I had long blonde hair, I weighed 127 lbs (thin when you are 5'10") and not a wrinkle in sight but I had more insecurities than I could carry. I was mean and selfish and lacked any sort of depth and that made me ugly. Most of us would agree that beauty is wasted on the youth - we have no appreciation of it in ourselves at that age - but that is purely surface beauty. As thin as paper. I wouldn't trade this battered body and face in for that 20 year old one ever. I appreciate seeing my eye color in my son's. I love the feel of my daughter's hand in my withered one. I feel beautiful when my husband looks at me from across the room. I hope if I make it another 40 years I will look back on myself at this age and be glad I am where I am.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Contagious infection

Have you ever noticed that when you are around someone with an accent it is pretty hard to not speak in the same accent around them? It is mind boggling how much we rub off on each other. I notice it a lot when I teach dance. The more fun I am having the more fun they are having and vice versa. It happens the other way around too. People who complain, or talk negatively bring other people down and drive them away. Funny how when we are sick we stay home - away from others so as not to infect them - but we can just as easily infect others with our bad attitudes. I think the best way to have more friends and loved ones around it to have a disease everyone wants to catch. I am going to work on that this month.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One Speed Jack

My darling son has always had one speed. Jack speed. It doesn't matter if we are in a hurry or are late - he still moves at the same pace all of the time - and let me tell you it is not a quick one. It drives me nuts most of the time. I asked him why he was so slow the other day. He told me "Mom, I am just enjoying life. Why should we rush through life when we can take our time and enjoy it". I had a hard time arguing with that one. Out of the mouths of babes.