You probably don’t want to hear this

Imagine this: A Thanksgiving that doesn’t end with me in hideous pain from a super-stretched stomach. Where I don’t end up so sluggish from sugar that all I crave is for everyone to get the hell out of my face so I can get to my nap.

I’m about to have my 24th one of those holidays. Through some grace I still can’t explain, all those years ago I started eating healthy every damn day of my life, come hell, high water, birthday, Thanksgiving, pushy hosts, or my own inner pull towards kinds and quantities of foods that were deadly for me.

As you may know, I wrote a book, The Hungry Ghost, about my healthy eating transformation and the 100 pound weight loss that ensued.

There’s one big mother of a problem with my story, though. It contains a message that very few people want to hear.

Who wants to be told that no matter how hard it is to lose weight—and it is hard—it’s ten tons harder to keep it off?

Who wants to hear that you have to work at it, every damn day? That there are no magic beans?

I am no paragon of virtue. To this day, I don’t know why I got what I got, the restoration of health and sanity, along with profound gifts of inner resources to sustain this miracle.

But I do know how it happened and keeps happening: I spend a minimum of two hours a day managing what I eat and—this is critical—what I think and feel. We’re talking prayer, meditation, peer support groups and phone calls, self-care. That’s not counting physical exercise. Or food planning, shopping and preparation.

And don’t assume I’m a lady of leisure. I began this work with three young kids at home, and a couple years after started it, started working full time a 90 minute commute from home.

It can be done. It breaks my heart that people are still looking for the weight-loss magic, even as I understand how attractive the idea of easy rescue is. It breaks my heart to watch how people head into the holidays simultaneously dreading and thrilled by the prospect of extreme overindulgence.

I lay awake nights sometimes, wondering what will make them decide, just this once, to put a happy healthy body and clear head above stuffing themselves silly with massive quantities of food that’s chock full of illness-inducing substances.

I’m not saying don’t have a few bites extra, if you know for a fact that the small indulgence won’t ignite a flat out, soul-crushing, body-killing binge. But if you are going to push the edges of everyday eating, at least do it with forethought and awareness. Me personally? I daren’t fool around, because knowing what to do, and doing it, one day at a time, is literally life and death. Once I start eating certain foods, or even just more than I know I need, I can’t stop.

How about you? Somewhere in your own little self, you know the truth about you and your food, too, don’t you? Do you dare live from there?

And if you want to read a really, really good book about how I did what I did, with oodles of advice about what you can do starting right this minute, I wouldn’t say no. You can get a custom-signed copy of The Hungry Ghost on my web site, where this blog also lives.  Or find a quicker, cheaper version from Amazon.

Bottom line: I love you. I want you to be serene and healthy. You are more important than all that food. There are ways to feel satisfied, loved and safe that don’t hurt you. Trust me, you’ll be so glad you took such good care of yourself. Maybe not right away. But eventually, and then, every day for the rest of your life.

Educate Your Soul

How are you at receiving, really taking in, the love and abundance around you? In the clamor of everyday life, can you feel the great joy that is your natural state?

Me, not so good.

I know in my head that I am loved and respected, but I often can’t feel it. Old experiences taught me that vulnerability is dangerous, and I am still recovering from the life-long habit of numbing myself out as protection from hurt. This is frustrating not only for me (leaving me deprived and lonely and set up for some type of binge), but for people who appreciate me. It’s not nice for them when I deflect their compliments and affection.

Today while I was cycling in the park a simple new little practice popped into my head:

Start where I am! I adore music, dance and other movement, and nature. Why not load up on these fun, nurturing things and sink way down into them as they are happening. Deepening my experience with these safe, joyful activities, I know from brain science, educates body and mind for ever-deepening enjoyment of the bigger, deeper, eternal joys of life.

This involves putting fun stuff on my calendar, and letting them happen spontaneously, then slowing down enough while doing them to feel the delight in my throat, chest and solar plexus. The sweet, cool, relaxed sensation that comes, that’s love. That’s contentment. That’s serenity. Unshakeable. The real deal. Infinite, eternal, sustaining, curative, centering, powerful.

Thus educated, my system is all the more ready to build resilience, and  better serve, through receiving the higher order forms of love, including genuine success and the appreciation of those who really, truly do wish me well.

How about that?

Find more blogs like this at


Join me for Religion Rehab, a one-hour telephone workshop to explore how to heal hurts left from religion, and develop our spiritual tools. Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7 pm eastern. $20. Tickets via Eventbrite. 

Facilitated Monthly Writing Group  Third Thursdays 10am to 12noon at Renew Wellness, 252 Maple Ave, Red Bank, NJ. Meditate, write together, receive and give gentle feedback, brainstorm, set goals, be inspired and energized! $40/month. Use the “contact” button for more info or to start the sign-up process. gay at lectern 4-14-2

Your Well-Fed Ghost

This is the draft intro to my next book, The Well-Fed Ghost: TK Ways to Nourish Your Hungry, Hungry Heart. I really like it. So I decided to share it. Love to know what it means to you, how it strikes you, what your experience is in satisfying your soul needs.

The yearning to connect, to belong, to be fulfilled, to feel substantial, we all have it. It’s

We pause. We observe. We absorb. We gently let ourselves be. Breathing in, breathing out.

We pause. We observe. We absorb. We gently let ourselves be. Breathing in, breathing out.

universal. It’s inborn. It’s the human condition.

All the same, that deep ache can be mystifying. Painful. Confusing. Baffling. Even

infuriating. But while such a powerful need can be difficult to accept and manage, it is also

a gift. It is an invitation to open a passage through which life’s infinite, eternal goodness and power can flow. The craving to be filled up is the portal through which the healing wind, the soothing water, the sustaining light can enter and bring us back to the sanity, safety, health and wholeness that is our birthright.

Mystifying but true: It can be hard to embrace this yearning, answer its call and accept its gift.

What we might think of as real life gets in the way. We fall into entertainment, distraction and comfort-seeking. That too is human nature, often exacerbated by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, particularly in our earliest years but also throughout the rest of life. Stuff happens. Dishes need to be washed, dogs walked, lunches packed, income earned. Childhood patterns bleed through to the present day and we react emotionally, creating or exacerbating all kinds of messes. People we love disappoint, betray or leave.  And then there’s the larger world with all its currents of sorrow.

There is pain in life. Truly, I don’t know why. But fighting this unbeatable truth is not helpful. Battling reality merely squanders our limited energies. We can let our heartbreak obstruct the peace that surpasses understanding, or we can use it to open our hearts, souls and minds. The choice is a difficult one. But still, it is ours.

It’s natural to want to turn away, run, clench ourselves up tight and resist feeling the pain and seeing the truth that life on earth is always finite, often painful and sometimes brutal.

But by running away from the pain, we abandon ourselves. And we miss the miracles that not only mitigate suffering, but also, if we will only open our eyes, overpower it.

It’s quite natural to recoil from pain. That’s part of our innate survival system. If it hurts when you do that, don’t do that. It’s natural to want to run away. Trouble happens when we make an identity out of comforts, earthly acquisitions and achievements. The job, the house, our own status and the status of family and friends, these things become idols. We let them define us.

It’s also quite natural to take for granted the easy parts, the simpler times. To skate along on the surface of things, taking advantage of opportunities, doing what needs to be done. There’s a risk, though, of never feeling into the larger, invisible, ineffable something that creates, energizes and unites us.

But when we let things of the world control and define us, we are suckling at an empty teat. There is no mother’s milk in things of the world. Play with them, says Eckardt Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of the Power of Now,  but don’t make an identity out of them. They are not us.

My income and assets and job title and family status are not me. They are tools of my earthly life, yes, and outcomes of my worldly actions. They are part of how my body, my current soul-container, survives and thrives. But I let them define me at the risk of emptiness, frustration, depression, loneliness and an ever-escalating anxiety that whatever I’m doing is not filling me up, not satisfying me, not nourishing me.

The call is always there. Always. It’s innate, inborn. Developmental psychologists tell us this querying emerges in children around four or five no matter how they are raised and taught as a need to understand where they came from and why they are here.

We avoid the call at our own risk. For many of us, our evasions turn into, at the very list, bad habits. At worst, they become killing, insanity-breeding addictions. We are driven to seek comfort and escape in drugs, food, alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex, TV watching, email checking, web surfing, work, busy-ness, controlling people and situations. We look to these things to rescue us from our pain, our past, our frustrations and disappointments.

And for awhile we may find it. Then our comfort and escape sources and substances seek us, stalk us, track us down and demand to be serviced. What was first an attempt to deal with life’s pain becomes a source of pain in and of itself. We are perpetually shut down emotionally, physically and spiritually. The addiction takes us over until finally it shuts us down for good. We either live in ever increasing insanity, or as our body gives out, in misery until we die before our time.

That’s no way to live. Instead of running to hide where the hurts may be temporarily eased but are ultimately inflamed, you need to feed your soul.

I mean, really feed it. Put every single thing in your life, bar nothing, into honoring the call to something greater than yourself. Accessing that deep well, the God that, as Elizabeth Gilbert says in the book Eat, Pray, Love, “lives in you as you.”

It’s a job, for sure. When I first began to learn about soul nurture, I was 38 years old, pregnant with my third son and completely clueless that to mother my children I had to mother myself  abundantly, unreservedly, and first.

Self-care? When my mentor first explained this to me, there in her sunny solarium, all I heard was gibberish. Her words made as much sense as if she’d been speaking a language I didn’t speak. As if her lips were moving but no sense was coming out.

But I was desperate. Running on empty was no longer working. I wasn’t the kind, strong person I wanted and needed to be. I was parched, lonely, afraid and had started to act in ways I and my family did not like and would not and should not tolerate.

Slowly I learned. It really is true that you need to fill yourself up before you can put yourself out there. The more I gave myself a break, softened my heart, prioritized differently, identified needs and asked to have them filled, the more strength and power I felt. You can’t draw on an empty bank account, drive on a dry gas tank, or do a day’s work with an hollow belly.

This was a new kind of strength, not born of bluff, bluster, anger and aggression, but of kind, powerful, gentle strength and love. As if some great wisdom could now flow through me, taking care of me, taking care of my responsibilities, and, most important of all, showing the love for my family that I felt but was unable to fully express.

It was not easy. It is not easy. I still have to remember, and re-remember, to attend my own needs with as much grace and generosity as I would a needful loved one. Some of us were taught to loathe self-centeredness. And for sure, there is a kind of bratty me-me-me attitude that cannot see the rest of the world and wouldn’t care if it could. That’s a kind of selfishness that’s full of greed and blindness to compassion.

That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about softening and receiving compassion for yourself, that you might live the life your creator wants for you, and be a presence to those you love and serve.

Self-nurture is where love as an adult begins. It’s important to receive all the abundance and miracles that are around us, from our family and friends, our beautiful environment, from nature and artists and just breathing in and breathing out.

But it starts with how you treat you.

No one is like you. No one can do or say what you can say. What matters most is not what you have or do. What matters most is who you love and how.


The Well-Fed Ghost is the sequel to  The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at You can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.

My Aromatic Adventures

What smells so good? That was my question the first time I ventured into my friend Wendy Bright-Fallon’s office in Red Bank, New Jersey.


It was a lemon. From a diffuser, a wee humidifier type thingy shaped like an egg that was gently wafting this scent.

For the next two hours that scent went straight to my head, in the nicest, sweetest way possible. Wendy and a small group of us were meeting for some gentle networking and support. That scent added so much to the room and the meeting, beyond my ability to even understand.

Which is a good thing.

I need not to be so much up in my head. For years and years I lived as if my body was there solely to carry my head around. Then I gave up my obesity, the story chronicled in The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive.

It probably won’t surprise you that there is far more to sustainable weight loss than eating less and moving more.

For me there was dealing with onslaught anxiety that came when I was no longer taking the edge off my emotions with binge eating.

Big time angst. Nearly paralyzing fear sometimes.

Enter, body awareness. I started working with a therapist who ever-so-slowly introduced me to staying centered, present and calm by consciously being in touch with my senses. Whenever I felt excess stress rising, I could feel my feet on the floor, my butt in the chair, the waistband of my jeans. I could gently tap my fingertips together, or stroke the insides of my arm. I could tune into the ambient sounds, or look around the room and pick out a color, say all the reds.

Sense of smell, that one was harder, depending on where I was, who was around and how recently they had, um, bathed.

At that lemony meeting, I learned from Wendy and another highly aromatically-inclined friend, DeeAnna Nagel, I could actively work with sense of smell.

I ordered a sampling of essential oils and a diffuser like Wendy’s and I’m just playing around. I use it in my office, where I often don’t want to be. (Naps and novels are so much more alluring.) Yet associating my office with the delicate scents wafting from my own egg-shaped diffuser has made not only easier, but more fun to face down the gremlins who try to keep me from showing up to work.

I also run the diffuser when I’m meditating, and find I go deeper. I dot my favorite oils, lemon and/or frankincense, on the insides of my wrists when I’m going out into the world. When the going gets tough, I put my hands near my face, take a quiet, deep breath, and feel calmer calm.

What a gift. I’m having so much fun playing!

Most recently I’ve been experimenting with scents in support of creativity. As a writing coach, for years I’ve taught how checking in with our senses is so incredibly, wonderfully essential, so vital and nourishing for inspiration. So it seemed perfectly natural that when I do writing workshops I use the aromas.

My clients and students love it!

A person’s best work comes from being centered. And our best as writers includes tons of words invoking sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touchy-feeling words.

I love finding and integrating new tools to support my personal growth, my deepening spirituality and my need to express myself—and help others do the same.

And that’s the story (so far!) of my aromatic adventures! How about you? How are you actively using your senses these days? Do tell!


My upcoming events–including more aromatic adventures! 

Aroma Writing Workshop. Saturday, March 7, 10 am to noon. Renew Wellness 252 Maple Ave, Red Bank, N.J. Gay Edelman, guest speaker. Hosted by Wendy Bright-Fallon and DeeAnna Merz Nagel. $25. Prepare be nurtured, inspired, relaxed and motivated! All kinds of writers welcome.

Talk and book signing. “How I Lost 100 Pounds and Kept Them Off for 20 years.” Saturday, March 14, 2 pm. Middletown Township Public Library, 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown, NJ. Free. No registration required. Everyone welcome!

Talk, “Beyond Perfectionism.” Sunday, March 15, 9 am. Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse, 1475 West Front Street, Lincroft, NJ. 07738. How to back off, relax, lighten up and increase the peace in yourself and the world. Free. No registration required. You are welcome!

5 Secrets of Sustainable Weight Loss

Please don’t envy me. People do sometimes. I can see it in their eyes. But envy is a distancing sort of thing that denies the envied her humanity and the envier her own possibilities. Instead, consider stepping into my shoes for a moment.

Yes, I did lose 100 pounds 20 years ago. Yes, I’ve kept it off all that time.

But to this day I don’t know why when the doctor told me I needed blood pressure medicine, that then and there I committed to a new level of self-care regarding weight and food. The only thing that explains it is grace, that nameless, faceless something that comes over a person and a life and says, “You are healing. You are safe. You are well, no matter what.”

While I don’t know for sure why I received this beautiful miracle, I do know what actions I took.

I found role models and teachers and did what they did, or what they otherwise taught me that I knew was smart and wholesome.

It was not easy. It still isn’t easy. Folks who choose the path of extreme healing may not be popular in circles where people like to laugh off personal responsibility and tell you it’s okay just this once to have that certain special food you know will bring you down. Life goes on the same as it always did. The world doesn’t shift to suit our new state when our food is under control.

But we can achieve remarkable health if we work for it.

There are five strategies that got me where I am and keep me here:

  1. Food plan. I avoid at all costs foods that cause bingeing. I also weigh and measure all my meals.
  2. Support system. I surround myself with kind people and talk to them all the time.
  3. Body movement. Gentle exercise very day keeps my metabolism up and decreases stress, anxiety and depression that can spark unhealthy eating.
  4. Self-nurture. Radical self-care cures upset emotions like no food ever can.
  5. Belief system. Daily time for prayer and meditation to a power greater than myself fills my soul. When my soul is full, I don’t even want to overeat.

So, please don’t envy me. Instead, consider doing some of what I do. Dare to experiment relentlessly, one day at a time, to find what works for you. We can never, ever give up on ourselves.

What say you? Isn’t there one little teeny tiny thing you can do today to take really, really, extremely, very, very good care of you?

Find more about what I did and do in my book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at You can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.

Winter, Here I Come!

I love the golden light of fall and the poignancy of the long, slow slide into the dark, cold days and nights of winter.

It’s a latency time for Mother Nature, a time to rest and restore. For me, it’s also time of feeling shut in, disrupted from nurturing routines of long walks in the park and daily solitude and meditation in my backyard gazebo.

Last winter’s biting cold and relentless storms were so awful that I resolved to go into this one better prepared.

Essential was to find a space for meditation and prayer. The dining room is nice enough except for the interruptions, and there are always interruptions. Have you ever resolved to give yourself a few minutes of reflection at home, only to find yourself throwing on a load of wash with no idea how you got from the chair to the basement? Happens to me all the time. I’ve lived in this house for 36 years and it knows very well how to whine for my attention.

Or I’ll decide to check something quick-quick on the computer and before I know it I’ve just spent 20 minutes on Facebook. Yikes! I love Facebook. But wasn’t I planning to meditate? Don’t I know that centering myself first thing in the day is the greatest gift I can give myself—and everybody else in my life?

When a new friend heard my dilemma, she made a brilliant, simple suggestion:  Turn a closet into a meditation nook. So I did! The crates of office supplies found a new home. Then, a chair, a little table and a lamp and I have someplace to go to be alone with my highest self, there behind a “do not disturb” sign and a nice blue curtain.


Some days, I expect to spend an hour or two; others, when the world calls or the brain just won’t settle down, 20 minutes. But do it I must, in acceptance that outdoor meditation is wrapping up for this season, in gratitude for good friends with great ideas, and in awe of the relentless inner call to deepen my conscious contact with the one who created me.

How about you? Do you meditate? Do you have a special place for it? What’s it like? I’d love to hear about it…


Find more about connecting with your inner truth in my book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at where you can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.  On Twitter, 

25 Ways to Relax in Under a Minute

Taking care of yourself equals receiving the care and love of your higher power. Self care is imageGod’s love, pure and simple. Your creator does not need or want you to feel all beat up, bent out of shape and burnt out. Your creator wants you to feel rich, lovable, fulfilled and loved. This is where your strength and comfort come from.

The hardest times to do self-care are when you’re beset by life’s unavoidable obligations, trials and tribulations. Try one of these when you’re so overwhelmed you feel you can’t possibly take more than a minute.

  1. Brush your hair
  2. Pull up your socks and tie your shoes
  3. Wash your hands sloooowly after using the loo; revel in the hot soapy water
  4. Splash cool water on your face; blot ever so gently
  5. Take a long, slow drink of water. Keep a water bottle nearby for this
  6. Look around the room and pick out everything that’s your favorite color
  7. Raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold to the count of 30, then drop them. Repeat
  8. Send someone a little “thinking of you” text or email
  9. Lightly run your hairbrush over the tender inside of each arm and give yourself a chill

10. Read a page in a meditation book you keep near your work station just for that purpose

11. Call your BFF and ask permission to work just a little bit not-so-hard. I promise she’ll give it to you.

12. Pray this three times to yourself: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

13. See how many things you can write in a minute that you’re grateful for

14. Stare out the window. Set a timer. Find one at  I dare you!

15. Make a list of what you’ll do with your first million.

16. Pray the Serenity Prayer a few times: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Or another favorite prayer or inspirational verse. You might like to memorize one or two at a more relaxed time for this purpose. I often use the 23rd Psalm.

17. Stop. Breathe. Wait. Tell yourself, “There is nothing in front of me that’s life or death.” (Unless, of course there is. In which case, put this blog down and  go to it!)

18. Consider the importance to life of marshmallow peeps

19. Repeat to yourself: I am enough, I have enough, I do enough.

20. Reach your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug!

21. Take off your shoes and assuage your arches

22. Think of a friend who’s struggling and send her some good vibrations

23. Think of someone who’s on your last nerve, like your boss or your teenage son, and pray, “Bless him. Bless me.” Repeat.

24. Stand up. Reach up. Streeetch as tall as you can. Lean to left. Lean to the right. Streeeetch!!!!

25. Forward this list to someone who might need it! Pat yourself on the back for doing a good deed. Feel better!!!!!

Find more self-care, self-loving guidance in my book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at You can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.

What I Learned From My Poor Broken Nose

“In your face” took on an entirely new meaning for me while on vacation a couple weeks ago. One minute I was cycling along a quiet Adirondack road. The next, SMACK! I was face down on the pavement making hurt animal noises.

“I broke my nose,” I wailed to my husband, who rounded the bend too late to witness my flight over the handlebars but plenty soon enough to see the blood pouring down.

We quickly concluded I was more or less intact. No loss of consciousness. Mind was clear. Bleeding controllable. So we climbed back on our bikes and slowly tootled on back to the camp. (Adirondack word for cottage.)

The phone triage nurse kindly provided by our health insurance company reassured me after lengthy questioning that an ER visit wasn’t necessary, and advised on home care and what to watch for regarding head trauma. Yes, I was wearing a helmet.

So our low-key, relax-and-relax-some-more-then-take-a-nap vacation got dialed back a little. I rested, entertaining myself and my long-suffering husband with detective work as new bruises emerged, trying to figure out from the shape and location of the marks what hit what when.

I’m home now and my ENT doc assures me that, yes, the nose is broken and no, it doesn’t need repair. Yay! But still,  I’m feeling just a tad bit fragile. Friends who’ve taken such spills tell me this is to be expected. And this isn’t my first rodeo (so to speak) so even as my body’s still going, Whaaaa?????, my mind knows they’re correct.

And I expect a full recovery, including a return to cycling as soon as I can put weigh on my hands and arms (I hit so hard my triceps are STILL sore.)

Morals of the story:

Mindfulness isn’t just for calming yourself. It’s also about being present where you are so you don’t hit the pothole, panic and brake too hard too soon.

 While panic is not useful, it can’t, by definition, be prevented in the moment. Advance treatment, through prayer and meditation, rest, good nutrition and smart therapy, is advised. I’m on the case, but being on the case doesn’t mean that shit doesn’t happen.

Shit happens. My dentist broke his leg skiing. Broke his arm taking out the garbage. A friend nearly broke her back tumbling down a full set of stairs in her house. My son, when he was three, broke his collar bone falling out of bed, a mattress on the floor. And that’s just the ordinary stuff. For now at least, let’s not even go toward the evils folks do.

Fun involves risk. Sometimes even requires risk. I will not give up cycling. I will, however, always wear long sleeves and long pants from now on. My elbow was scraped open though the sweatshirt.  Let us not imagine the hamburger elbow that could have resulted had I ventured out with more skin showing. My knees, covered by my favorite stretchy jeans, were also battered but the skin was unbroken.

Don’t go global. My first reaction, after the shock, was, “Great. There goes a great vacation.” But within moments I talked myself right out of that crap—I was sill in my beloved Adirondacks, and still with my beloved husband. And I was still alive!

Neglect self-care at your own risk. I considered going sight-seeing the next day. I felt bad I’d ruined a day trip we’d sort of been planning. But, you know what? Healing takes what it takes. That has to be honored. Still, two weeks later, at home now, I need to be aware that  recovery takes time, including extra naps and more time for soul reading and contemplation.

And thank God for the helmet. Amen

In fact, thank God for it all. Appreciation is a great state of consciousness. Life is precious. There are certainly better ways to be reminded than landing smack-down on your face in the road, but there it is.

All’s well that ends well. Happy cycling! Let’s have some fun, shall we?

You can read more like this (not including the broken nose!) in my other blogs here and in my new book, The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive.  Not just a diet book, it’s about finding your way home to your very own special soul. 







Blown Away

My gazebo is upside down in my marigold patch.


Or it was until yesterday.

This is a story of a small disappointment and a sweet gift.

Big storm came along Tuesday night and with the sound of a freight train upended my dear backyard morning meditation/picnic breakfast meditation spot that my son Ed gave for Mother’s Day five years ago and has put up for me every year since.

Did I mention I love this spot? Here it is, before.

Perfect spot for that morning-time centering.

Perfect spot for that morning-time centering.

 When the power went out, I shone my flashlight out back, and there she was. Upside down. Bent and broken

In the grand scheme of sadnesses, this one was very, very small. I knew that even as the wind wailed and I remembered how hurricane Sandy hit my area so hard back when.

But still. It was a mess.

Then, yesterday, my husband and I got our first chance to inspect the damage. And this darling fellow stepped up to resurrect my special place. Took it apart, assessed what parts we needed to order, and asserted confidently that it could be fixed and he’d do it.

Now, we live in an old house where there are always way more things to fix than time to fix them. The last thing he needed was another repair job. But, there it was.

A whole lotta love, right? I didn’t use to know how to receive love. Consequence, don’t you know, of a bumpy childhood. Like lots of folks.

But I’m learning to let in the sweetness. And revel in it.

Meanwhile, I going ahead with the picnic breakfasts/meditation, just me and the no-see-ums and the mosquitoes.

And my certain sense that it’s an ill wind indeed that blows no good.



What Are You Running From?

We all do it. Resist change, avoid facing tough facts and feeling even tougher feelings. Resistance to me means being closed to what’s being said, closed to what’s being suggested, closed to facing the pain that needs to be healed, because it is so very painful.

Of course we are wounded. Of course we need to protect ourselves. Some wounds are from the everyday disappointments of life on the planet. Some are so deep and awful that we may not speak of them for years, if ever, though they thread, unacknowledged and unhealed, through our daily lives.

We are all wounded. And we are all fine.

Perhaps something in you protests, saying, “But I was really really hurt, abused, damaged. It was real and true, by God!”

Of course it was. Of course.

But beware of overprotecting yourself now from what happened then. What you absolutely needed to do then to survive probably no longer serves. It may in fact be creating new wounds. Shutting down, refusing genuine help, refusing to face facts about yourself and your life, that only stifles you. Many of us perform our shut-downs with addictions—food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, TV, computer time, relationships. You don’t have to be addicted to something  to shut down, though. You can simply clench yourself up and refuse to feel.

When we do these things, we are looking for rescue and relief in all the wrong places. At best, we’ll be endlessly stuck looping through our old stories where the themes are the same and only the characters change. You pick a fight with your mate to try to win the way you never could with your overbearing father. You glom onto a new friend, doctor or colleague in hopes she’ll give you the care you needed from your mother but never received.  At worst, we’ll be in a living death.

Self-protection is important. Of course we have to take very, very good care of ourselves. Eat healthy foods mindfully. Gently move and stretch our bodies.  Form healthy relationships where reciprocity rules. Get plenty of rest. Keep our thoughts on a positive plane. Play. Solitude.

And we never need take on more emotional, psychological or spiritual work than we feel able.

But brain science tells us that the human organism thrives on novelty, challenge and spontaneity. Most of all it thrives on thriving. On growth. We never stop. We never arrive. Flow is where it’s at. As someone once said, change is the only form of permanence nature can achieve.

And growth flourishes when we are willing, on any given day, to relax the clenched body, heart and mind, to hear what we need to hear, say what we need to say, face what we need to face, feel what we need to feel. To stop defending our right to be wounded and start dealing with the facts as raw material for change.

I know this because I have experienced it. It takes courage. It does. But it is so worth it. Deep healing happens, even as we discover wounds we didn’t even know were there, they were buried so deep. More amazingly, it creates miracles. Psychic shifts so deep, so profound, that they bring riches once unimaginable.

What we are given to feel when we drop the fight-back, hide-out escapism, is information. When we do this feeling work in the company of supportive, helpful others, perhaps including trained professionals, our lives open up and we flourish.

Not everyone is willing or able to do such deep work. But many of us are called to it.  We don’t have to push. Timing and pacing are important. We don’t have to go it alone. We have each other, our anam caras, soul friends. And we have a higher power—whatever you call it—an inner source, that wants us all to be happy, safe, nourished, sheltered and fully alive, right here and right now,  who will give is strength and grace when asked.

Resistance? It too can be faced, felt and healed. In the end, is simply an opportunity to grow. If we dare.


You can read more thoughts like these in my new book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. You can also sign up to receive the Joyblog as a newsletter.