Category Archives: Self Discovery

Ode To Oprah

I received an offer from O, The Oprah Magazine for a $12 yearly subscription.  I haven’t been a subscriber in a while but since the show is ending and a $1 per month price is crazy, good, I decided to send in a check.  Besides getting a free O totebag and a chance to win a Kindle loaded with every Oprah book pick ever featured, I also got a leaflet that noted Oprah’s all time, top 10 “What I know For Sure” tenets.

In honor of the final Oprah show airing tomorrow and all that we’ve learned from her many guests, I’d like to give a shout out to Ms. Winfrey as these tenets definitely have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.  Some I’ve used. Other’s I’m still working on.  All I’ll try to pass down to my daughters.

  1. What you put out comes back to you.
  2. You define your own life.
  3. The past has no power over the present.
  4. When people show you who they are, believe them.
  5. Worrying is a waste of time.
  6. You become what you believe.
  7. The only prayer you ever need to say is Thank You.
  8. Your happiness is directly proportional to the amount of love that you give.
  9. Failure is an opportunity to go in an different direction.
  10. If your thoughts and choices are different from others the world will not fall apart.

Number 4 is the tenet that has helped me the most.  I’ve ended friendships, kept my distance from people, made important life decisions – all to my advantage by  following that nugget of wisdom.  I use it at work, at home, in my neighborhood and even at dinner parties.  I used to make excuses for people’s behavior.  I now see bad behavior as information that I need to have.

Other Oprah life lessons that I’ve benefitted from are:

  1. To get your attention, the universe will drop a pebble on your head.  If that doesn’t work, it’ll drop a rock, then a brick, etc.  I’ve found that over the years, I’m better at reacting to the pebble and not needing a piano to drop on me.  Thank you, Oprah.
  2. When you see crazy coming – Cross the street! Iyanla Vanzant  taught us that one and it’s very similar to the when people show you who they are, believe them philosophy from the above list.  It also works with when you see bitterness, laziness, judgement, I’m going to take advantage of you, or I’m going to be a pain in your ass, coming – cross the street as well.
  3. Knowing when you’re trying to be right versus trying to solve a problem.  (A Dr. Philism from his early days pre-his own show). This has assisted me when having discussions with my husband as well as shaped many an argument with my teenage daughters. I’ve definitely not mastered it, but at least it’s in my consciousness.
  4. Truly tapping into and trusting your intuition is one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself.  I’ve had the opportunity to be in situations where I knew no one, had no background information and only had my intuition to guide me.  My internal guidance system was eerily accurate during those times. Thank you Gary Zukav for sharing this with your readers and the Oprah show audience
  5. Seeing fear as a gift that keeps you safe.  Security expert Gavin de Becker’s idea that you should ALWAYS listen to that voice in your head and never out logic yourself when it comes to your safety.  Who knows if it’s worked as I’ve never been a victim of anything violent, which could in fact be proof in and of itself.

I can honestly say that over the last 25 years, I’ve learned quite a bit from Oprah’s show, her magazine and all of the experts she’s featured.  Of course not everyone agrees.  Joan Rivers was once quoted by The National Enquirer as saying that “She feels Oprah’s real gift is exploiting people’s suffering and emotions and turning them into TV ratings.”  I don’t think she exploited people’s suffering as much as she’s wanted her audience to learn from it.  Many of her viewers featured these last few weeks have illustrated that point by coming forward to share how the show has changed them, or even saved them.

One woman said that a show about safety made her fight an attacker to avoid being taken to second location and thus saved her life as her attacker as she later discovered that her attacker had killed people in this manner.

Another viewer said that show about a stressed out mom who’s baby died when she forgot and left her in a hot car made her a more mindful parent.  When her own baby’s cries that she normally ignored as fussiness seemed different one afternoon, she remembered the mom that had been featured, walked into the nursery only to find her infant being strangled by the cord of her window blinds. She believes that being inspired to be more present saved her child’s life.

One mom said that advice given to a grieving mom on Oprah was her only “anchor” as she dealt with the overwhelming grief that she was experiencing when her own child died.

That’s powerful and important television.  How many talk show hosts even come close to that?

Oprah isn’t perfect.  Not every guest was phenomenal.  In fact, I’m still a little confused as to why she gave so much airtime to celebrities without medical training spouting medical advice?  But in the end, even the gaffes are okay because I also believe that…

  1. The universe honors intentions not necessarily outcomes

and I believe that her’s were good.  She never guaranteed results as much as she simply gave us more options.

I think the Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes show that’s been airing on OWN really drove home how the “Oprah Way” of doing things is not a bad way to live. Each week you get a behind the scenes look at Oprah and her team pulling together two shows.  Many of these hard working producers (that are clearly working long, stressful hours) are at their core, very centered and present people.  When something goes wrong, they are surprisingly calm, compassionate and gracious, even.  They, along with Oprah, seem to really live this “Oprahic lifestyle”, if you will.  Yes they get angry and disappointed and flustered, because they’re human – but they stay centered in a way that you don’t see illustrated in most reality shows. It makes you wonder what it would be like to work in an environment like that every day?  Or better yet, be the type of person that brings that energy to a work environment each day.  Maybe that’s why the show has been so successful – because it’s not only been hosted by Oprah, but produced by people that are very “Oprah-like”.  People with good intentions that are mindfully attempting to do their jobs well.

I’m definitely going to miss Oprah.  I think women over 50 are just beginning to settle into their power so imagine what else she could’ve taught us had her show stayed on the air?  I look forward to seeing what she’ll do with an entire network.  I’m guessing that it’ll be pretty spectacular.

Thank You Oprah.  Wishing you all the best.


Some Yoga Posts

I was the administrator for my yoga studio’s blog during our 21 Day Yoga Challenge, which piss poor excuse or not, is why I’ve been neglecting my own.

Here are 2 posts that I placed on their blog, Shine, this past month:

Falling Down and Beyond The 21 Day Challenge.  Enjoy!


21 Day Yoga Challenge

I mentioned participating in Sol Yoga’s 21 Day Yoga Challenge in previous posts.  Hence my lack of blogging here, as I’m supposed to blogging on Shine, Sol Yoga’s blog.  I posted there today if you’re interested.  I’m warning you – it’s not pretty, but it’s honest.  More importantly, others have blogged and over the past week and Shine is becoming an eclectic mix of inspiration, artwork, poetry, and insights.

Check it out, when you have a chance.

Day Three

I’m counting today as a yoga day even though I taught because I demonstrated about 45 minutes of yoga poses as there were many new-to-yoga folks in my class at noon.  If I can unroll my mat again tonight, that would be great.  If not, I’m not too concerned.  Besides…

I’m sore as shit.  It’s not pretty.  You can read about it over at the Sol Yoga Blog, Shine.

When all eyes are on you, you tend to hold the pose longer or go for the more advanced version, only to pay for it later.  What can I say.  I’ve got an ego too, you know.

What could I have possibly learned in only three days you ask?  Actually a lot.  I have completely dreaded 2 out of the 3 classes this week, only to feel 100% better afterward.  Clearly exercise is one of those things you have to force yourself to do.  If you’re waiting to be the person that LOVES to exercise, plan on waiting a long time.

There’s also something about feeling sore that although is painful, is better than the pain and discomfort you feel from feeling creaky, old and out of shape.  There’s a power to this kind of pain, that is transformative.  So even though I haven’t lost a pound, my clothes don’t fit differently and my yoga practice hasn’t advanced in the least, there’s potential there that I can literally feel inside my body and that’s pretty intoxicating.

Makes you wonder why the hell I had pushed my practice to the back burner for so long?  I’m sure I’ve felt this way before – many times in fact.  What kind of dumb ass am I?

Guess that’s another topic, for another day.  Regardless, someone please remind me of this post the next time I chuck my exercise program, okay?  Promise?  Thanks!  🙂

21 Day Challenge

I work at a terrific yoga studio in town, called Sol Yoga. One of the things I like about Sol is that the owner simply wants people to do yoga.  She’s not interested in becoming a yoga superstar or being at the helm of a vast yoga empire, she just wanted to get more people in Frederick, MD into a yoga studio, so she opened one six years ago.  This little, 4th floor walk up studio with a few teachers and volunteer staff has grown to 2 locations, 3 yoga spaces, 20+ certified teachers,  20+ volunteers, 100+ classes a month and even has a spin off called, Little Sols which is a yoga studio for kids.

Literally at Sol you can do yoga from the womb onward.  Although we don’t specifically have a senior yoga class, yet, I’ve taught and/or taken many a class with students in their 70’s and 80’s.

As a teacher, I enjoy seeing my advanced students rock advanced poses, but my favorite yoga teacher moment to date was when I yelled out “Ardha Chandrasana” (Half-Moon Pose) and had a woman in her 80’s nod yes, when I offered her an assist and whispered, “Do you want to try it?”

Image from

She not only tried it – she did it!  It was amazing.

But here’s the down side to being a yoga teacher.  You spend so much time teaching and thinking about teaching and thinking about the music you want to use while you’re teaching, that you end up spending less time doing yoga for yourself.  Because of this, Sol is challenging all staff to participate in a 21 Day Yoga Challenge.  The theory being that you can’t truly inspire students if you’re not doing yoga yourself.  She’s hoping it’ll kick start in all of us a drive to, “Do More Yoga and See What Happens

We start next week.  So as not to shock my system, I’m starting today.  Meaning, I’m going to put yoga first and not the pile of laundry, or the fact that I need to run to the grocery store or the realization that I took down all of my Christmas decorations but forgot to take down the garland outside my front door.  It’ll all get done whether I go to yoga or not, so why not go?

This challenge is open for staff but anyone can do it along with us.  Interestingly,  Yoga Journal is also challenging their readers to a 21 Day Challenge next Monday as well.  This is a great way to get some free yoga videos sent to your in-box each morning that allows anyone to join in no matter where you’re located.

If however, you do reside in Frederick and have always wanted to get into yoga, I strongly recommend Sol Yoga.  If you’re completely new to the studio, you can sign up for 2 weeks of unlimited yoga for a mere $25.  It’s the most cost effective way to experiment with different teachers, classes, times and styles without breaking the bank.  Friday nights at Sol mean, $5 happy hour yoga.  There are 2 donation only classes where you pay what you want, if anything.  There’s a ton of hour long, $10 classes if you can’t afford or don’t have the time for a 75 minute, $15 class.  And of course, there are many specialty packages you can purchase to keep your costs down and your yoga participation up.

2010 was supposed to be the year I was going to fully commit to my yoga practice.  Instead I went back to work and spent every ounce of my free time recommitting to speech therapy.  After 9 months of working, I think I’ve got a routine down, so I’m happy to switch gears and make 2011 my year of living yogaliciously.  Should be interesting.  I’ll keep you posted.

New Year – More Yoga

Happy New Year.  So far 2011 is pretty cool (even though the Pittsburgh Penguins lost the Winter Classic to the Washington Capitals yesterday – UGH!). But other than that, life is good.  Got to hang with family and eat some delicious food and I must say, I’m ready to head back to Frederick and get 2011 cracking.

One thing that will change is that my duties at my yoga job have expanded such that I’ll be blogging for the studio at their blog, entitled, Shine.  Which means I’ll be doing more yoga.  Which means, I’ll be getting healthier.  Because of that, my blogging may be more along the lines of yoga/health/food these next few months.  Since this isn’t a yoga/health/food blog, I will simply link to those posts from this blog and if you feel inclined to head over and read about my yoga adventures, feel free.

The first post of 2011 is New Year – More Yoga.  Enjoy.

Be An Investor Next Year

I stumbled on an interesting site this morning.  Kickstarter founded by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler, is (per their website description)…

The largest funding platform for creative projects in the world.  Every month, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food publishing and other creative fields.

A new form of commerce and patronage.  This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work.  Instead they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project.

All or nothing funding.  On kiskstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands.  Why?  It protects everyone involved.  Creators aren’t expected to develop their porject without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.

Each and every project is the independent creation of someone like you.  Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental.  They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse.

So what does that mean for you?  Like honey?  Super.  You can kickstart The Bees Of Crockett

Earl Flewellen's Artisan Honey, anyone?

and they’ll send you some of their delicious honey.

Enjoy street photography?  Then kickstart the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier

Her work was discovered at an auction and once revealed to the world via John Maloof's blog, has become a viral sensation.

and get a copy of the DVD.

Always wanted to write that book?  Make that product?  Develop that software? Start that business?  Finally get your yoga teacher training?

No really.  I’m serious.

Neal Pollack , writer of the very funny, Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude got his 200 hour yoga teacher training funded on Kickstart.

Very funny book whether you're into yoga or not.

If you gave him a dollar, you got an email excerpt from his latest book and he promised satirical postings about his training.  If you pledged $200 you got signed copies of various books, handmade jewelry and collages from his artist, wife, Regina Allen, plus a private yoga class for you and 15 of your friends per completion of his training.

Of course now I’m wondering how I can kickstart something and what gifts I would give in exchange for getting my dream off the ground.  I could get my own public access talk show funded by giving free speech therapy to any donors that pledge, say, $500 AND have a lisp.  I could finally write the follow up to Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie, entitled, Confessions of a Diet Junkie, and promise folks free copies of my books.  And a food scale.   Or maybe, like Neal, I’ll get my 500 RYT training funded someday by a group of people that dig me, have a few bucks to spare, and just so happen to need accent reduction therapy or vocal training?

But enough about me and my pipe dreams.  Head on over to Kickstarter and see if there’s a project that resonates with you that you’d like to fund and get cracking.  Or better yet, dust off that great idea that you’ve been pushing toward the back of your brain and get moving!  You’ve got no excuses now.