The Power of Setting Clear Intentions

“When you’re connected to the power of intention, everywhere you go,
and everyone you meet, is affected by you and the energy you radiate.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Recently I had the opportunity to witness the results of powerful intention unfolding during a retreat I hosted in Puerto Rico. Participants were asked to spend some time defining their intention for being part of this retreat.

The initial intentions were somewhat vague with responses ranging from “It sounded like a fun idea to come to the retreat”, and “I hope I can grow and change or get over a block in my life”.

Through further discussion, these were sharpened and clarified. As the week unfolded, the deliberateness of the intentions manifested and the magic began. It was like watching a movie where every event, circumstance, and interaction seemed to conspire to bring to focus the lessons and growth opportunities relating to each person’s stated intention.

This experience was a clear reminder that our lives unfold based upon our intentions, whether we set them deliberately or allow our sub-conscious mind to make the decision on our behalf.

When you deliberately set powerful and clear intentions, the universe will respond to your request.… Read the rest

Lessons from the “Wild”

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile,
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
~John Muir

 Many people are familiar with Reese Witherspoon’s role in the movie “Wild,” based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild. If you saw the movie, you know the journey she took was no walk in the park

I recently had my own “Wild” experience backpacking a section of the John Muir Trail injackiefoskett-johnmuir3 California for 6 days. And although it was nowhere near as theatrical as the movie “Wild,” it certainly contained many moments that caused me to reevaluate the drama happening in my own head!

Even though I trained and prepared for this trek with my husband for a good 6 months, I still was caught off guard at how much of a struggle it was for me. We were in high altitudes and doing lots of climbing on trails that were strenuous. I was surprised how labored my breathing got going uphill and was sure something was “wrong” with me!

It’s interesting where the mind goes in times of being out of one’s Read the rest

Struggling in Sapa

caribou in rice paddy

rice paddy terraces from above“Madam … Um, are you afraid of snakes, madam?” asked Cuong, my young, Adidas jacket-clad, skinny-yet-very-able-bodied Sapa trekking guide. “Ah, well … er… I don’t particularly like snakes,” I responded, looking trepidatiously around the heavy bushes clogging the steep, narrow path we were following. The two tiny Red Dzao ladies who had been trailing us for about a mile giggled gleefully behind me. “I hate snakes,” continued Cuong – breaking off a sturdy stick from a nearby tree and starting to whack his way through the thick bush. The two ladies grabbed my arms and we carried on as I emitted a shallow sigh.

two women in moutainsThe four of us had been “hard trekking” for over an hour – the two women, clad in traditional, vivid red scarves and head pieces and various colorful skirts and wraps, had glommed onto us as soon as our jeep dropped Cuong and I off at the top of the mountain. As is their custom, these local tribal women follow tourists like me around asking ad nauseum, with huge toothy grins, “where you from!?”, “what your name!?” and the most oft repeated word, “shopping?!!?” I had become used to them during the previous day’s seven-hour trek … Read the rest

Opening to Our Deeper Presence

“We are the earth, made of the same stuff; there is no other,
no division between us and “lower” or “higher” forms of being.”
~Estella Lauder

When I first opened to the idea of talking to animals, I wasn’t afraid. Other people did this—I was simply an observer, a reporter. But, as I continued to ask questions, pondering how this communication thing worked, I felt my inner world responding. Part of me was stirring, and I grew nervous and excited at the same time. Deep down, something had been triggered—an ancient memory? A dormant skill?—and that something called to me, quietly, yet persistent and tempting. Well, this is not surprising; this is often how deeper awakenings begin.

The very first time I heard an animal speak within my mind, a thrill ran through my body. I felt myself tingling—energy quickening, thoughts evaporating—in a strange, still, moment out of time. There, on the other side of my window: a gathering of birds upon a bush. Window, bird, bush—it is not so much the surface thing that calls to us, but the deeper energy of life force, the deeper call of relationship. It is as if you finally realize that an invitation … Read the rest

Timeless Medicine From The Owl

“The owl offers the inspiration and guidance necessary to
deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.”
~Native American Teaching

What are you are seeking in your life? Health – Direction – Inspiration?

Every aspect of nature has a unique gift that goes beyond the obvious food or materials each provides. In many cultures, visitations from animals or other creatures are considered “medicine.”

For example, an eagle, who is the national bird in United States represents freedom, power and keen big-picture sight. The mouse has the gift of sensitivity of vision and smell to find details in front of its path. Ants are revered for their great strength and remarkable unity with their colony. Plants, trees and stones also play a large part of “medicine” for us.

As humans, we also have special gifts to offer with our communication, creativity and healing. Each of us has the power and aptitude to connect to the natural world for problem solving, art, music and healing.

annie thoe w monkeysThroughout my life and practice in the healing arts, I’ve been blessed with medicine from countless teachers in nature: from domestic dogs and cats to a wide range of wild animals, including monkeys, gorillas, dolphins, coyotes … Read the rest

Stretching Myself: Body, Mind and Soul

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you
as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

~John Muir

It’s the beginning of August and even though summer took a while to get here in the Northwest, I’m loving that it is finally here.

I am a summer lover and refer to its essence as “summertime mode,” which plays an important role in connecting into our innate playful nature; definitely a stress reliever!

This summer I decided to stretch myself out of my physical comfort zone and now am almost ready to leave for my long prepared John Muir Trail hike in the Sierras in California.

john muir trailI’ll be hiking about 60-70 miles or so of it. My amazing husband is planning on doing the entire 221 miles and more given some of the side trails he needs to take for re-supplies and rest stops!

I’m looking forward to it, but also am quite aware that I may have times of struggles.
I may wonder “what the heck was I thinking?”

That’s when I’ll need to STOPRead the rest

Vulnerability: A Gift to Be Embraced

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk to let it blossom.”
~Anais Nin

As I worked on writing my first memoir, I realized I was beginning a process to open myself to being vulnerable once again.

It certainly wasn’t the first time I’d felt vulnerable. I especially felt that way after my Dachshund, Frankie became paralyzed, eventually needing a wheelchair for mobility. I recalled how I lived in fear that others would judge me for putting her in a wheelchair perceiving it as mean or cruel. And now here I was sharing my life experience with her in this book I was writing.

As I wrote my story, I found myself crying at times as I let the words spill across the page. I also found myself worrying once again what others may think of me when they read my book. Would they disagree? Would they be mad? What would they think?

Each day I’d show up to do the work— and continue the writing. Each day that I did, I felt a small piece of myself heal. I also felt myself beginning to bloom in unimaginable ways… Read the rest

The Next Chapter Unfolds

 “We are all stories in the end.
~Doctor Who

This is the story of the Blue Kong, and how it changed my life.

Half a dozen years ago, I was found by an American Pit Bull Terrier. As I arrived back at my truck after walking one of my Siberian Huskies along a local rail trail, I found what appeared to be an old, ravaged and wounded, pit bull, laying up against my wheel. The invisible sign was on, “Come here, and you will be helped.”

This dog, who came to be known as Gar, took close to a year to fix through the dedicated and combined efforts of my veterinarian and myself. He was only a year old but had the worst mange she had ever seen, was covered with scabs and scars and had multiple infections. Although subjected to constant foot soaks, injections, pills, Gar never resisted, never growled, and remained gentle, loving and kind.

dog w toyInitially, we gave him a rubber toy shaped like a bowling pin, which he carried non-stop in his massive jaws for close to a year. The second pin never left his mouth and only lasted a few weeks due to the … Read the rest

What A Difference A Year Makes

“Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
~ Multiple Attributions

It is impossible to imagine that it has been 365 days since I heard the words “It’s cancer.” In so many ways – it feels like it was yesterday. In many others – I feel like this past year has been the longest of my life.

The funny thing is, as I sit and ruminate about all that has transpired, my mind does not focus on the fear or pain or sadness. Rather, I recall the laughter and the times with friends and family and the “good stuff.” There were times over the past year that I felt like a victim. Self-pity became commonplace for days on end. Yet today I truly feel fortunate. AND – I don’t want to sound like one of those “rah rah – cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me” girls. But really, I’m kinda thankful.

pain is realIt is especially difficult to rationalize these kinds of feelings when I think of a friend who lost his battle with cancer. He was diagnosed around the same time as me. But his cancer wasn’t treatable. His cancer was mean and ugly … Read the rest

It’s Time for Summertime Mode!

“Summer, summer, summertime time to sit back and unwind.”
~Will Smith

As a hypnotherapist specializing in stress relief, I recently did market research interviews with busy professional women to delve deeper into their pressing problems and what stresses them out. I wanted to learn more about what keeps them up at night, what their most pressing worries and concerns are and what would they like to disappear in their lives.

A lot of what I heard, I already knew were stress issues for women, but I also learned so much more.

Some of the questions I posed revealed how pressured most busy professional women feel today. They are scheduled from dawn until the lights go out and find they have no room for any free time to just relax, to just “be,” to play!

When asked to create their perfect day, most women described a very unstructured relaxed “let the day unfold” type of day. They imagined walks outside either alone or with loved ones, family time playing together; time to read a “fun” book, all without any of the so called “normal” pressures they currently experience.

In response to the results they would celebrate if their lives were better … Read the rest

Spirit Babies + Pregnancy

“Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye,
is the great invention of the world…enabling us to converse with the dead,
the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Babies in utero talk to me. Specifically, their souls speak to me. The first time this happened, my mind tried to tell me it was a figment of my imagination. The baby’s voice was so clear, however. And it felt so true that I knew if had to be real.

boy and pregnant motherSince that first experience, I’ve worked with pregnant women and couples to energetically align and communicate information to and from their baby prior to birth. This can strengthen the bond between parents and baby before entering our world, especially in the case of second or third pregnancies when you have a toddler at home and are working a full-time job.

A session together is a respite from the everyday and a deep-dive in soul connection. You learn about personality traits, why your baby’s soul chose you now (yes, each of us chooses our parents), inklings into what their future might hold, and things to put in place before birth.

I … Read the rest

The Soul of Travel

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on
deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

~Miriam Beard

There’s no limit to the amount of passion we can experience. For instance, one of my greatest passions is fulfilling my purpose. And my purpose involves enhancing my consciousness, expanding my awareness, and creating greater density in my energy field. Travel certainly supports those aspects of my greater purpose. Yet, it can only really do that if the experiences and knowledge learned are integrated into my authentic being.

waiting for streetcarMany times we travel and are simply observers. We witness the sights, endure the change in our routine, and perhaps enjoy the rest from our work. But, have we actually been changed by the experience? Are we significantly altered in our consciousness or existence?

Think about a trip you have taken, and consider whether the experience actually made a change in who you are as a soul and as a personality. Did you learn something that you are now applying? (Even if that is something simple like greater tolerance or patience.) Has the experience changed you in ways other than simply having stories and photos to … Read the rest

Walk Your Way to Health and Happiness

“Walking is Man’s best medicine.
~Hippocrates, the father of Medicine

I’m a believer. What a great time of year to “step” into (or back into) the pleasurable practice of walking outside. Watch and experience the rebirth of your natural surroundings as you awaken your body through movement, one step at a time.

Here are some tips for starting a walking practice and why walking, particularly outside, is good for body, mind and spirit:

  • Walk outside. Did you know we spend 80-90% of our time indoors? Enough is enough. Walking outside and spending time in nature feels good and promotes mind-body health. It beats going to the gym, where the air is stale, it’s noisy, smelly and, let’s be honest, swimming in bacteria. Being outside allows you to experience the natural rhythm of the day and the season while soaking up a healthy dose of Vitamin D. You’ll find that walking outside lifts your spirits and releases stress like nothing else can.
  • Walk alone.Nothing against a social walk; they’re good for you too. But, developing a personal practice of walking alone will take you to an entirely different place. It is a fantastic form of mindfulness meditation and will
Read the rest

A Simple Step to Receiving What You Desire

“Until we can receive with an open heart,
we’re never really giving with an open heart.”

~Brené Brown

We all talk about wanting more….more abundance, more wealth,  better relationships, a relationship….and on it goes. But then someone gives us a simple compliment and we push it away saying things like, “Oh, it was really nothing, or Oh, I like your (fill in the blank,) or brushing it off quickly with an, “Oh, thanks” or worse, simply by not saying anything at all.

It doesn’t make sense. When we don’t receive a compliment, we are giving the universe the message that we don’t want all the abundance that we say we do. We are pushing away all the goodness, all the abundance the universe is attempting to give us.

This came screeching home to me last week when out of the blue I began to think about a review I had gotten a year ago for my book from a very prestigious book award organization.

I found out last March that I hadn’t won the award and in May, I received their review and rating of the book. I didn’t even want to open the email. Despite my fear, I watched … Read the rest

HypnoBirthing®, The Mongan Method

 “When you change the way your view birth, the way you birth will change”
~Marie Mongan

Empowering Women to Connect to Their Natural Instinctive Birthing Bodies

Have you ever heard these types of statements?

  • Giving birth is painful
  • It’s something you just have to get through
  • Labor and childbirth is not something to look forward to
  • You don’t need to tough it out. Just take the drugs
  • It’d be great to just be knocked out and wake up with a baby

The women I teach in my HypnoBirthing®, The Mongan Method childbirth education classes, tell me they sure have! They hear these types of disempowering statements from well intentioned friends, family and even complete strangers. They find it interesting how people will readily share their “horror” stories when they see a pregnant woman!

Just like the majority of us, they’ve seen the movies that portray childbirth as extremely painful or comical and something to dread.

Anticipating pain and dreading bringing your baby into the world doesn’t sound like a great way to spend nine months! Yet, too often, this is the mass message that permeates our culture. It produces fear, stress and anxiety in expectant moms. This can often lead … Read the rest

The Art of Allowing Joy!

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
~ Rumi

Spring is upon us, the cherry blossoms in their full bloom are bowing to the shifting skies. The sideways rains pound upon the window panes, the air is filled with a refreshing chill and the sweet scent of promise.

the risk it took t blossomWhile running in the early morning rain, I have been thinking about this promise that we feel awaken at the first breaths of Spring. What is this promise? In part, it is the promise of fulfillment. It is also the promise of joy. We hope to see our seeds bearing fruit.

As I have been contemplating Joy, I have begun to wonder when does Joy arise. We allow ourselves to feel the full breadth and wonder of joy at the birth of a child, birthday celebrations, engagements, weddings, graduations, promotions, sunsets, smelling a sweet honeysuckle bud and the beginning of relationships. These events seem to lend themselves to a universal experience of joy. But, I wondered, where else do people allow themselves to experience joy?

Where do you allow yourself to experience Joy?

I made a list for all those places I experience … Read the rest

Thailand Finale – All Creatures GREAT and Small

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on
deep and permanent, in the ideas of living”

~Miriam Beard

elephant walking on pathI’ll admit it – it is difficult to focus on writing here at the elephant sanctuary. Perhaps it’s because this is, sadly, my final volunteer gig of this amazing journey and my head is spinning a bit. More likely it’s because every time I open this document to jot down a few notes, my attention is captured by one being or another that is far more enchanting than this keyboard.

For instance, “Won” the chicken just wandered under my hammock to inspect and then peck at my water bottle. Then puppy brothers Punk and Frank decided to play keep away with a tamarind pod. All the while my favorite little dog Kip nestles on my chest, trying to get some shut eye.

won and puppies

Won and puppies

I think of bit of backstory is in order. I’m in the mountains of northern Thailand at Burm & Emily’s Elephant Sanctuary (BEES). Burm is Thai and Emily is Australian and they met several years ago and started this place out of their sheer love for elephants. … Read the rest

What Happens Next?

“Animals can communicate quite well. And they do.
And generally speaking, they are ignored.”
~Alice Walker

Some of the questions people ask after they find out that it is indeed possible to connect and converse with animals (including humans) who have departed the earth plane is: What happens next? Where do we go when we leave this world? Do we ever we return? These are questions I wonder about too. Most of the time, life seems to stretch out before us like an endless road. But there in the distance — just past the setting sun, beyond the horizon — lies a most intriguing mystery.

Not long after my good canine pal Barney died, I had a dream:

dog lying downI am walking up a small path to a house that has an open front door. As I approach the door, I see Barney inside the house. “Barney! You’re alive!” I exclaim. I am very excited by this, though an older man—a doctor—appears and tells me that, obviously, the dog was just asleep and hadn’t really died. I begin to argue with the man, but it is no use; he insists that a dog cannot die and come back to life. I Read the rest

Simple “Steps” to Enjoying Life

“Walking is Man’s best medicine.
~Hippocrates, Father of Medicine

I’m a believer. Here are some tips for starting a walking practice and why walking, particularly outside, is good for body, mind and spirit:

  • Walk outside. Did you know we spend 80-90% of our time indoors? Enough is enough. Walking outside and spending time in nature feels good and promotes mind-body health. It beats going to the gym, where the air is stale, it’s noisy, smelly and, let’s be honest, swimming in bacteria. Being outside allows you to experience the natural rhythm of the day and the season while soaking up a healthy dose of Vitamin D. You’ll find that walking outside lifts your spirits and releases stress like nothing else can.
  • Walk alone. Nothing against a social walk; they’re good for you too. But, developing a personal practice of walking alone will take you to an entirely different place. It is a fantastic form of mindfulness meditation and will calm your mind and give your brain a break from everyday overstimulation. It’s a chance to let go of thoughts and tune into the vibration of nature; a chance to shift your attention and notice the earth, even if where
Read the rest

Message from Hopi Elders

Native American Elders
Sharing the Teachings

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered…

hopi drawingWhere are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, … Read the rest