Release to Replant, Mindful Living

mindful living

My husband and I are preparing for a(nother) move.  We are moving across a few states and downsizing from a house in a suburban area to a two bedroom apartment in an urban environment.  Over the years we have collected a lot of extra stuff.  From old clothes to extra couches and a second set of plates, there is so much we have stockpiled and stored that we don’t need, can’t fit in our new home, and really, that others could use much better than we.  So, we are beginning to let go of these items – going through the drawers, boxes, shelves, and closets to release the extra that we’ve accumulated.  These clothes might remind us of life in another climate, the couches of a friend who gave them to us, but in reality the extra stuff is just weighing us down.

(And, a few years ago we both led a trip of students to New Orleans to help clean out a home of three elderly family members who had collected, hoarded, to what felt like an unlivable standard.  So we both have distinct images of where we do NOT want to go!)

Last week we started with going through our clothes – trying things on, telling stories about this or that t-shirt we acquired… and putting things in a pile to donate.  We are clearing the way.  Because there just isn’t room for anything new when we are completely full.  The physical mirrors the spiritual in our lives.  When my closet is full of things I use to create my image, maybe I don’t have room to create something new, to be something new.  And I even find that I have a harder time deciding what to wear!!!  When my pantry is full of old food and all these sauces that are just SITTING there, maybe I have less energy to try a new cuisine or make a fresh meal or start a new way of eating (because no one likes to waste food… but how can I stop collecting too much?).  When my schedule is full of activities, hobbies, chores, work, plans… I don’t have time to rest and restore my soul.  And I certainly don’t have the space in my day or my heart to be ready to be surprised by things that may come up to bring me joy.  No time for that!

And moving, for me, always resonates with the image of replanting.  I have a lot of houseplants and they mostly have names and stories of their origins.  I have some aloe that I potted at a friend’s house when she rescued a bunch of little ones from a gnarly overgrown garden.  I have a tall palm-like guy that we inherited at our first home (he had been left behind) and we named him Marshall after the street we lived on.  I have a little ferny friend that reminds me of friends from Michigan where I split him up and shared pieces of him with them.  I am connected to my plants in my home and I have had them long enough to need to repot them.  When I pull my plant from its tiny old home, her roots are usually wrapped around the whole shape of the soil, overgrown and searching for more space.  I gently loosen them, preparing them for the space that is coming.  The new “home” is prepared with extra soil and I cozy the new roots into the pot.  After setting the plant in securely, I add a lot of water to invite the roots to spread out and make themselves at home.  For a little while, the plant doesn’t look as perky.  She feels a little uncertain without her old way of being.  With a little time though, and some growing, she begins to expand beyond what she was.  She can create new stems, leaves, and roots because she has the new space.

This image reminds me of the need to release my grip on my current way of being – it could be my roots of my friends and routines in my current home, my extra stuff, my plans, etc.  And when I make space for something new, even if the process feels uncertain, if my leaves aren’t quite as perky in the process (do I really have to give away that Avril Lavigne concert shirt!? ha!), I can trust that the space I create physically allows my soul and life to take on some new growing.  A new direction maybe, or a new capacity… who knows!  I will never find out if I’m not willing to do the work of cleaning things out and trusting in the less-than-perky process of expansion.


Ideas for Living This

  • What do you want to clear out to make room for the new?  Your schedule?  Your closet?  Your pantry?  Write it down or tell someone.  Use a journal to chart what you do and what happens with the extra space in your world.  Then, share it with us!
  • Get your hands dirty!  Find a plant that needs a new home (or a bulb/seeds that you want to put in the ground, etc.).  As you are planting or replanting it, meditate on the process of making space (digging in the dirt or loosening the roots), adjusting in the new home (watering, the days of getting settled again, or the winter of waiting for the bulb!), and the process of new growth that will arrive in its own time.  Afterwards, as you wash your hands, trust that there isn’t anything left for you to DO in the process.  Your role is to watch and learn, wait and experience.

How do you make space for replanting and mindful living as a young adult cancer or long term illness patient, survivor, or caregiver?

Mindful Mouth-fulls

Each week we are be exploring a restorative yoga pose or breathing technique with images/video and tips.  Check in at Lacuna Loft on Wednesdays to anchor your week with peace, grounding + community (and don’t forget to join the dialogue all week long by posting comments).  Excited to journey together!

I often find myself focused on only what is physically visible to others… As if they are unable to see the hurt, frustration, anger, or sadness that is going on within me.  As if I’m not making myself visible in the way I stand and cross my arms or the way I respond to a comment in an extra-emotional way.  What is inside has a way of coming to the outside, and yet I can go through my day without noticing what kind of things are “inputting” into my system.  From the news or music I ingest or the people I spend time with or what I put into my body as I eat and drink… all of these affect my wellbeing and my joy each day.  So what could it look like to notice these pieces of my life and take an inventory?  What could I maybe bring awareness to and re-order to ‘input’ more freedom, joy, and love?


Who are the people around me and what influence do they have?  Do they bring me up and remind me of who I truly am?  Do they speak critically or hurtfully?  Do they love and care for me?

What are the voices I’m listening to saying – both external and internal?  What kind of language do I use to talk about myself?  Am I critical about how I look?  How I spoke?  What I do or don’t know?  What kind of self-talk am I creating inside?

How am I treating my body?  Am I fighting against it?  Am I able to listen to my body?  Do I give myself time to breathe fully?  What am I putting into my body?

While you ponder these questions, take a swing at this mindfulness exercise below.  Slowing down while I eat is just one way to remind myself that what I put in my body and my life matters – and I want to receive it fully!  Going into the holidays, it is easy to be mindless about what I am eating.  Besides the fact that I’m definitely eating MORE,  I don’t even notice what I’m eating to really enjoy it.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of events and people and to-dos, I barely notice what I eat – I just do it more, and faster!  What if we could take one meal a day, or even a few bites each day, with purpose and presence?  What about breakfast – or the first bite of each meal?  To savor food, and life.

As I practice eating slowly, chewing eat bite enough to help my belly digest, and feeling gratitude for all the hands that brought my food to my plate, I feel life slow down and a great love well up inside of me.  A great love that brings lots of healing into reach.  Maybe you will feel something like that, too.


one raisin

Pick up the raisin (or other dried fruit) and bring it to your nose.  Smell the fruit’s sweetness.  Feel its texture in your hands.  Notice the different colors present on one little piece.  Place the raisin on your tongue.  Notice how it feels, tastes, and smells now.  Move it slowly all over your mouth, feeling the changes as it rehydrates.  Keep the raisin in your mouth for at least a minute, detecting all the subtle variations in the experience of eating just one little raisin.  When you are ready, begin to slowly chew the raisin, sensing new changes.  After you swallow, what taste and feel are left in your mouth?

Coming Back to Center

restorative version of baddha konasana

Each week we are exploring a restorative yoga pose or breathing technique with images/video and tips.  Check in at Lacuna Loft on Wednesdays to anchor your week with peace, grounding + community (and don’t forget to join the dialogue all week long by posting comments).  Excited to journey together!  Namaste!

Restor(y)ing Mind+Body+Soul

It only takes an instant, and I’m in that downward spiral of defensive, protective, complaining, blaming, you name it.  One ‘wrong’ word, one funny look, one disappointment in my day and whoops!, I’m a totally different person.  The cheerful me that got plenty of sleep, a nourishing breakfast, a morning walk, and some doggie lovin’ is now feeling a little more like an angry blowfish with spikes ready to poke whoever is nearby, including my most beloved ones!

With practice though, I’ve learned that this blowfish doesn’t have to have the last word.  In fact, she sometimes doesn’t even need to have a single word.  I can see the spiral beginning and come back to center and find whatever the situation needs – compassion, patience, or clear communication.  First, I learn to notice the feelings that are present and acknowledge them.  The anger, frustration, disappointment, whatever – is there.  No matter the reasons, it’s just okay.  I’m a human.  I have emotional triggers.  I just see it for what it is – an emotion, a reaction, a choice.  What DOES matter is how I’m going to choose to respond to these feelings.  Will this angry she-blowfish get to send pokes out to the people around me?  Or, will I acknowledge my feelings and then choose to come back to who I want to be, who I really am, the joy-peace-compassion-love in all of us? 

Creating the space to CHOOSE how to react (instead of letting my instincts just run the show) takes practice.  It takes a lot of apologizing sometimes, too.  But the space, when created, is magical.  It means I have the power to decide who I want to be and how my life goes – no matter what happens! 

Coming back to center requires knowing I have a center and then practicing finding it – first in calm and then in times of storms.  May this yoga pose, a restorative version of baddha konasana, help you feel your center physically and then find it spiritually and emotionally.  May the time you practice being in your own center give you power to come back to center when the challenges come.  Because they will… and we want to be unshakable.


  • one couch seat cushion angled up against the wall (use anything stable behind it to prop it up)
  • two smaller pillows or blankets rolled up for each leg

Find yourself a peaceful space with a soft floor – a blanket or carpeting will do.  Prop the couch cushion against the wall using a block or pillow to secure it from falling down to the floor.  Cozy up to the base of the cushion with your seat right at the floor in front of it.  Lean back and allow the cushion to support your back at a comfortable angle for you.

Bend your knees and allow them to fall outward from your body.  Bring the soles of your feet together at your midline.  Place your hands, palms face up, on your legs or knees.  Bring your first finger and thumb together to touch.  Close your eyes and breath deeply through your nose.  With each inhale, feel your breath moving from the soles of your feet up the midline of your body, along your spine, between your eyes, above the crown of your head.  On the exhale, feel your breath move in the same line in reverse.  Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and enjoy feeling your midline, your center.  Trust that this peaceful self is available whenever you need it.  And with the holidays coming and busy end-of-year calendars, you may need it soon!


Bonus: this pose is also a great position in which to practice meditation or breathing techniques!

Balancing Breath

Each week we are be exploring a restorative yoga pose or breathing technique with images/video and tips.  Check in at Lacuna Loft on Wednesdays to anchor your week with peace, grounding + community (and don’t forget to join the dialogue all week long by posting comments).  Excited to journey together!

Check out this video for instructions in Nadi Shodhana, a yoga breath exercise (pranayama).  Alternating nostrils while breathing in and out through the nose brings a sense of balance and calm in the body, mind, and emotions.  And, I just read (in Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Claudia Welch) that this technique can bring balance to our hormones as well!  Just another reason to take 5 minutes a day to give the gift of healing to your body.  Give it a try and let us know what you experience.

See you next week!


(Quick explanation if you can’t watch a video right now: Breathe in and out through your nose.  Center yourself and breath deeply and evenly.  Bring your right hand up and spread your fingers out.  Bring the pointer and middle fingers together and bend them to your palm.  Bring the pinky finger alongside the ring finger.  Bring your hand up, palm facing the nose.  Press your thumb to block your right nostril and then switch and bring your ring finger to block your left nostril.  Play with that coordination.  

Then, inhale fully and put the thumb to the right nostril, exhale out the left.  Inhale through the left nostril and switch fingers to exhale on the right.  Continue like this (inhale, switch, exhale… inhale, switch, exhale) for 5 minutes.  Notice how your body feels after directing it towards balance.)