Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Is Love

Ok so I KNOW I have not blogged in quite some time. Honestly it has not been a priority lately. Finishing the books, connecting with friends and family and giving myself some time has been much more important to be honest.

However, I was posed a question last night that really got me going. And when I woke up this morning I was inspired to toss it out to you. I was asked, "What is Love?"

Before you are quick to answer, sit with it for a moment. Take at least a moment and feel it. It's a big question.

Personally I use the word love loosely. I LOVE my family, I LOVE the holiday season, I LOVE yoga, I LOVE puppies. Maybe I do that because I'm a passionate person; maybe I don't understand the power of LOVE. Who knows.

But I am asking you, today, to answer this question by responding to this blog.

What Is Love?

Insight on this single topic can help so many people. Especially in times of despair, lonelieness or isolation. Love IS the cure-all but what is it?

Tell me your insight about love......respond here or on my Facebook page.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Universal Guidance

Whew....the Off the Mat, Confessions of a Yogini books series is done! All those Weekly Oms, all that late night writing and editing...done! Documented, in a series of 7 books. Amazing.

People ask me questions like, "How long did this take you?" "How did you know what to do?" "What are your books about?" And I seriously want to crack up. It is just so surreal and ..... crazy! Me, an author! Living my purpose!

Let me be clear, I know this is my purpose. I live my purpose when I write, I LOVE what I am doing but I can't help it: every time I answer a question about my books, it's like having an out of body experience. Really? I'm an author!? Really Universe? How did I get here?

Don't mistake this post as me being's just...'s a testimony to every single thing I have written about. It's a testimony to the power of yoga and all it's magic. It's a testimony to the law of attraction and the power of your thoughts. And it's a testimony to trusting the Universe and not asking how. And while I continue to breeze through this life, I still stop when things manifest ... exactly as I intended and I am in awe. In awe of how it really all just works...effortlessly.

I have to be honest and admit something: there is still tons of work to do with regard to this book seris and admittedly, I don't know what I'm doing! I have no idea how this series of books is going to magically appear on Amazon! And even more mind bending is how are my books going to get to the bookstores, how are they going to be accounted for, who is going to keep track of it all and how DOES it all work?

All these questions that run in the background of my mind could have been debilitating. It could have halted me in this process. But I am living this experience as I have lived every experience in my life. With intuitive guidance and universal trust. With an openess to all the gifts that life has to offer. With a willingness to walk blindly and courageously toward my purpose; knowing that everything will be alright!

Life is about living guys. Get out every minute. Go for what you love and stop and breathe it all in from time to time. Know what you want and just...DO IT!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Living My Yoga

As I sit here at home, listening to my kiddos argue, getting ready for Sausage Festival, I have to laugh. In fact I have been laughing for a few days now. I mean, I'm a vegetarian for heaven's sake! Sausage Festival? REALLY?

Honestly, ever since the time "I would have" been driving to San Francisco to see my two favorite people in the world...Michael Franti and Seane Corn, I have been giggling to myself at random times of the day. And I must admit, when my best friend Jacque texted me a photo (real time) of her and Michael Franti last night, I did shed a little tear.

For those of you who know me, you know that the turn of events from this past week really did affect me. For those of you who don't and are thinking, "what the hell girl, get over it", let me shine some light on this...because it sure woke me up!

These two fantastic individuals are serving the world with their gifts. Name it, social justice, yoga, spiritual activism,'s something much bigger than me and dammit, I wanted to be a part of it. I kept envisioning myself doing yoga with 40,000 other people and breathing collectively with all of them. I saw myself hugging Michael Franti and saying "Nice job big guy! Keep up the good work! And thanks for acknowledging my little girl in Medford." I wanted to hug Seane Corn again and just a little of her amazing energy.

But then wow, I woke up this morning to this little angel (my 5 year old) staring at me with her little, soft hand on my face. As I opened my eyes she said, "I love you so much mommy" and I felt an all over body sigh that came from deep within my heart and I realized....I am part of something much bigger than me....I am. And I don't have to go any further than my bed to recognize it.

So, as I mingle with new people today at the Sausage Festival and watch my kids get jacked up on sugar and rollercoaster rides I will know, deep within my heart that I am such an important piece of serving the world...right here with my family.

Rock on Michael, Seane, Jacque and ALL of you at Power to the Peaceful! I cannot wait to see you all next year, when my kids are one year older and I am one year wiser.

Peace to all!

ps - and yes Michael, Jolene and the rest of the band, remember my yoga practice is Seane Corn inspired.....mmm know love it! See you Saturday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summer's End

Wow....what the heck happened to summer? I mean really? The weather never really got "summer-like", the kids were busier than I can remember, and I feel like all I did was empty clothes from their suitcases, wash them and repack!

What happened?

Now it's uniforms and homework...ALREADY?

I promised to write a blog every week; I had a list of projects I wanted to do outside; I told Isabella I would teach her how to tell time finally (hey no judgments....I have an issue with time as it is!). what? Is there a way to press pause on the life button?

The only thing I can honestly say about this summer is that we were all very present. This was the first summer that I actually stopped to smell roses, looked at a grasshopper up close, played a silly made up game with my kids and chased the ice cream man down the street. There was nothing else going on besides whatever it was that they were doing.

So why am I so sad to see it end? Well, for the obvious reason like the change in the weather. I love the sunshine.....But beyond that I know that these two little angels will be very different kids next summer. And every moment, even the ones when I argued with those two, were priceless. They will never be the same kids and before I started living in the present, I don't think I really recognized that reality.

Summer will be very different next year and it's crazy to actually understand that. I keep asking myself "Did I take enough photos? Did I spend enough time individually with them? Did I teach them anything good?" So what did I learn and FINALLY in my life abide by?

Live in the NOW... not in the past, not in the future...but the NOW. That's all we have and man....the now is so dang cool.

I may NEVER get those scrapbooks done but livin' it is really where it's at!

Peace everyone!

Friday, August 6, 2010


The words I search for now are words I have used before. However, to describe this experience with Off the Mat and Into the World really is challenging because the words ring more truth and speak to the depths of soul much more than I could have ever imagined.

Affirming is a word that comes to mind. Spirit awakening; truth excavating; illusion shattering are all phrases that have flown across my psyche this week. To say I have grown my community exponentially is an understatment. To recognize that I am an agent of global change is illuminating. To FEEL like I have met these people before, the people enrolled in this program alongside me, tells me that Divinity exists and that we are all a part of it - should we choose to get out of our own drama and self-loathing and wake up.

I have spoken these words for many years but never truly embodied them as I do now.

I could not have imagined what my path would be until now. I could not have recognized that my lovely mission was right here, under my nose from the very beginning.

Esalen has been the most amazing gift thus far in my life. To say I have found heaven on Earth would simply begin to encapsulate my experience here. Every fear I have ever had presented itself to me this week and I took each challenge on with vulnerable, child like grace; erradicating that fear and finally recognizing that it has never been who I am .... only a part that can no longer define me.

I am excited, my soul is inspired, my heart is clear and clean....Life is abundant.

Thank you for listening to these simple words spoken from my soul. I am ready to share to much with this world. I am grateful for the courage I found and the amazing friends who have encouraged me this past week. I see the light within my mentors and it shines ever so brightly within mySelf.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Seems as if my blogs are always about my children....that's because they are my yoga practice....daily.....all day....every day during the summer. Sometimes we have a nice restorative practice together and other times it's a hot yoga practice day. With two girls who are mini-me' every sense of the word....I am reminded every second of every day about where I came from, where I am and where they could be headed.

It becomes quite a challenge to stay centered, without judgment or expectation, while just "being". And somedays it seems much easier to be asleep (unconscious) then awake (conscious)....somedays I wish that I would go back to my "before yoga" Self but I know that is not ever possible.

Once you wake up, you can never go back to sleep.

I starting beating myself up the other day for not "keeping up" with all my photos and memory boards of our escapdes over the years. I have a dining room table that will never be used for eating because it's covered in photos of our life from 3 years...yes I know...disgraceful. My mom would be disappointed I am sure.

But I started thinking about how to be in the moment. How can we be in the moment if we are forced to look at the past and put it in books, in order, labeled and out for everyone to see?

We can't. (And if you know how to do this, please, by all means, let me know! I am not opposed to be proven wrong here!) So I have decided to simply keep up with our life of (currently) lemonade stands, fairy house building, water balloon fights, dolls having breakfast with us and or course the almost daily time outs in our own rooms (yes me included!) I order photos as needed and keep them in some order while living life.

I can't pause life, I wouldn't want to. One day my house will be quiet, I will be bored, I will have more than enough time on my hands and I will have enough money to enjoy it fully. So for now I live life, breathe, notice and just be in this moment, right now.

Oh....I love yoga, meditation, my yogi friends and inspirational guidance ......

Have a goregous day everyone.....notice something incredible today...RIGHT NOW!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Steppin' On Toes

I spent the weekend at the beach with my husband and had many opportunities to just be. We were able to talk without being interrupted, take naps AND I didn't have to repeat myself one time!

While eating lunch one afternoon at a little outdoor cafe, I noticed a little boy crying. He was clearly having a hard time expressing himself. I know all too well, how many times these situations can really get out of hand. My heart went out to the little tike as well as the tired parents, trying to be patient in public.

And then I thought a little always. When we are little, we just say it like it is. We cry when we need something, we cry when we are frustrated, we kick and scream and fall on the floor for intense affect. We don't know how to hold in our feelings; we don't know how to "suck it up", we don't know how to "deal with it".

And while I agree these are important things to learn as a growing human being, I do have an issue with just how much we have been trained to hold in and "deal with".

Think about it...this is a learned behavior. To hold your true thoughts in; to stop crying; to hold back tears. What happens to all those held in feelings? I can tell you, they manifest as anger, fear, resentment, greed, despair, attachment and other debilitating feelings as an adult.

So how can we stop this cycle? Let them talk. Comfort them when they are having a tantrum. Ask them how they are feeling. Tell them it's ok to express themselves. Maybe it can be in private later, but it's still ok to say how you feel!

A great friend of mine told me once, "If you don't let your kids step on your toes as children, they will step on your heart as an adult."


If anyone has any comment or outlook on this, I would LOVE to hear it! Hope you all have a great day! I'm going to get my toes stepped on!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome to summer

Finally the sun has come out and I really feel like it's summer. What a change....from working all day while the kids are in school to being home all day, everyday with my "angels".

This year really is a little different. Their independence level is so drastic from ages 4 and 6 to 5 and 7. They don't need help outside, they want to ride their bike to the park ahead of me, thye make their own lunches and get what they need without me.

It's kinda sad really.

Then I received this email today:

One of life's great ironies, Dana , is that very often the "stuff" you're trying to avoid right now is the same "stuff" you're going to miss most once you move on.

Wow....hit me like a ton of bricks. Reminding myself of the times I have wanted time alone and will come, soon enough. In fact it's here already when I think about it. It's only going to get worse! I bet I will want that noise, that chaos, that challenge of keeping it all together amidst it all.

I say now, Bring it On! Bring on the noise, the challenge, the tough stuff...I'm ready.

What a delight it is to be a mommy....thank you girls.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Morning Meditation

Who has time for a morning meditation...really?'s the best way to start of you day. Setting intentions, giving thanks before you step out of your bed, marveling at the stillness in the morning.

Some days I wake up and I have so much time; I sit and gaze at my now very green backyard and give thanks for everything. I ask questions of the heavens; I dig deep into the heart and heal old hurt; I visualize myself centered. And some days I just breathe.

Time goes by fast when we are still.

However today was different. Ava, my 5 year old, stumbled into my room before my meditation time. She crawled in next to me and molded her little body right up against mine and I literally melted. I fell into so much gratitude for that moment, I thought I might levitate.

And all this, written above, came to mind.

What was my morning meditation today? Giving thanks for having a healthy child; looking around my own bedroom and noticing the gifts bestowed upon my family; allowing my breath to synchronize with my daughter's breath; marveling at how soft her skin is and how at 5, she is still such a small person in a big world.

Give thanks today everyone. Take a moment, just a moment to really see what's around you.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

When Isabella taught class yesterday, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. I didn't have a camera which was sad at first but then I realized I had to totally tune in to what was happening and become completely present so I could burn this memory on my brain.

I was amazed first when her teacher asked her on the spot to teach the class and she accepted. I was even more amazed as I watched her create a class without a plan. Even more impressed when she directed and led the class when they started to get out of hand.

This whole experience reminded me just how much our kids pay attention to us. I didn't recognize it as first but she was speaking and acting just like me! Even her little facial expressions and the words she chose - it was like holding a mirror up to myself at 7 years old.

Or better yet - a slightly more confident and evolved version on myself at 7 years old.

I have to admit that I am not sure what prompted me to post this blog. Pride in my daughter or an awakening of how important our jobs are as parents. They really ARE watching us - every minute. (gulp) Thankfully, this time, Isabella displayed some of the better qualities I have shown her!

I was also deeply reminded that our kids choose us to be their parents. They choose us for a reason. THEY actually have something to teach US. I know - goes against everything most of us learned as kids. But it's true.

This little angel reminded me of all the good and wonderful gifts I offer as a mom when sometimes I beat myself up for being less than perfect.

She reminded me of a side of me that is there, all the time but sometimes gets lost in tasks and "stuff".

She reminded me of how important my job is and to stay on my toes and be the best I can be as often as I can be.

And she reminded me about the wonderful gift of unconditional love every child has to offer.

Parenting can be challenging and daunting but when moments like this happen, it really affords us the opportunity to appreciate the gift we have been given.

Thanks Isabella for choosing me to be your mommy.

I love you!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another call to awakening

I wasn't surprised by the recall on Tylenol, Motrin or Benadryl for kids. In fact, I wondered what took so long. Yes, I have given my children these medications countless times. In fact, my youngest is deathly allergic to nuts so I carry Benadryl around with me all the time.

But instead of being a shocker this was a complete wake up call. How many more wake up calls do we need really before we stop with the pharmaceuticals? Now it's not just the adults with health warnings, it's aimed at our kids which to me, is much scarier and it definitely makes me take notice.

I don't read the news - ever. It clouds my mind, but when something like this comes up I read it in it's entirety. The article said that the meds were not "up to American standards". My question is for how long has this been going on and why not? And how is "American standards" comparable to standards across the world when we are talking about medicine for children? I mean if we are America - big brother - how ARE we setting our standards? And why aren't other children afforded those same standards when it comes to medicine?

This is boggling my mind.

So I've attached a link to an article I found interesting that really made me wake up and do some research. But the one thing I couldn't find was a whole lot of information on natural alternatives. I'm not too worried about letting a fever run it's course. But when it comes to my daughter who is deathly allergic to nuts, I have got to have a reliable natural alternative.

So everyone out there, if you are reading this, and you know of some natural alternatives to allergy medicine for children, I would be so grateful to hear from you.

For everyone else, this is a wake up call in so many ways. Take a look at what you are giving your kids. They the future of this world. It saddens me to see the pharmaceutical companies have so much power when the power truly resides within us. Do yourself a favor, pick up a book on natural remedies....get as far away as you can from the drugs you don't REALLY need. Take back control people.

Thanks for your input.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh Shift - how to change your life with one little letter

I just finished reading the most amazing book! "Oh Shift!" by my new friend, confidant and coach, Jennifer Powers.

You HAVE to read this book! It's super simple, to the point and REAL!

Ready for a real shift in your life? Tired of agonizing about the past, the future and crazy thought patterns? READ THIS BOOK!

This book makes you authentic. Written in a way where anyone could read a passage and have "ah ha moment" after "ah ha moment". If you are lucky enough to meet Jennifer Powers, she's a New Jersey native, residing in Portland, Oregon, your world will change! Mine did!

You can order it on Amazon...... or right from my website


Watch out for her upcoming book signing....Portland venue!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Summary from my trip

A Trip to Remember
Inner Peace from Karma Yoga
Dana M Layon, ERYT

As I summarize my first mission trip to the Dominican Republic with Evergreen4Kids, I feel like the trip, only 4 weeks ago, was some sort of dream. I have been struggling with how to explain an experience so amazing because it jolted my focus back to my very soul.

After starting this summary over 3 weeks ago, I had to think back to the beginning. Why did I yearn to travel to this small island in the middle of nowhere? Was it because I needed some excitement? Or be reminded about how good I had it? Sure – but beyond that, I have always known that although the world is a big place, we are all interconnected; we are all One and not one person or country is better than the other. We are all here to serve…that’s it.

I have also jumped into my life with both feet; not always looking first. When I was young this created a lot of pain for my mother. Not to mention many trips to the principal’s office and to the ER. Now that I am older, I still jump in with two feet but my landings are much more graceful and meaningful.

As the departure date drew near, I became very nervous about my trip. The days prior were filled with a whirlwind of tasks, scheduling, follow up, cuddling with my kids and deep, emotional outbursts. All the false ideas, concepts and beliefs I held about the world around me began stirring: Why am I doing this again? How could I be so selfish? Leaving my husband home alone with two kids for 10 days! What if someone needs to contact me? No one will be able to get a hold of me! The voices kept bothering me until I boarded the plane!

Considering the life I lead: busy and full of drama, chaos and the normal day-to-day crisis of a family with two young girls, it may seem crazy to travel half way around the globe to serve a village of children I have never met. In fact, one may question if I neglected my own family by doing such a thing.

After a lot of meditation and contemplation I can whole-heartedly say I most definitely served my own family by participating in this trip. A natural phenomenon of the human spirit is that when we serve others, we are actually serving ourselves. When we serve, we cultivate gratitude and appreciation for our own lives. We step out of our life and into others so our life becomes much clearer.

At our deepest level of being, we are meant to serve. It’s a fact that we are more alive and aware in unfamiliar situations, foreign places and when we are learning something new. We dump the robotic state of being and we shine like the individual we are meant to be.

So as I sit here to recap my trip in one article, know that an experience as this one - that speaks to your soul - is challenging to recap. The days’ events are a blur of consciousness and aliveness. This was the first time I didn’t run around taking pictures of everything hoping to “capture” the moment. Instead I practiced mindful yoga each day and captured every moment as it was happening. Allowing my heart to seize the presence and burn it into my memory – speaking directly to my soul.

February 11, 2010: As we land in Santo Domingo, I am immediately overwhelmed by the heat. It’s muggy and the airport smells of sweat. The sun hits my face and warms my skin once I get outside. All the fearful, conditioned thoughts I had prior to leaving becomes a silly memory.

The six hour bus ride to Habanero is an interesting “tour” ride. We zip past bananas trees, sugar cane fields, mountains that reach past the sky and all the while, the ocean guides us to our destination.

Once we arrive at the outskirts of the village, the children notice our bus. They run after us and follow us all the way to the school. We park the bus and are greeted with smiles, love and hugs.

Brenda Backes, the founder of Evergreen4Kids, really never gave us specifics about what our mission was. She had the idea for a new Health and Wellness Team. Our job was to teach the kids about personal hygiene and basic principles like where to urinate, when to wash your hands, how to brush your teeth and how to keep your germs to yourself.

She encouraged us to connect with our surroundings so we could make specific decisions once we were there. In hindsight, this was probably one of the greatest things she could have done. We were given the opportunity to get to know the kids and then create a program that would speak to them.

Our Health and Wellness team, made up of myself and two other yoga instructors, are only a small part of the Evergreen4kids mission. This organization was founded over 5 years ago when Brenda stumbled upon Habanero quite by mistake and was horrified by the conditions. She decided to retire from the corporate world and build a school in this tiny village in hopes of raising their awareness. After two years she partnered with Dentus Dental in Vancouver, Washington and now this tiny village and beyond, receives excellent dental care once a year; all volunteers, all donated equipment. While the Americans are there, her school is transformed into a major hub of action and purpose.

Habanero is a village of people who truly are destitute. Their homes are made of sticks and aluminum “siding”. Some have brick but not many. There are no doors on most homes and the windows have no screens. Their toilet is a cement circle, placed strategically between two or three homes and empties into the ground. Most of these people do not have running water; they rely on the river.

Most of the children wear the same clothes every day. Their toys are sticks, rocks and garbage. Rarely do you see any parents but oddly, at dinner, the children wait for the adults to finish eating before they have any food. They wake us in the morning, hang out with us all day and stay into the evening. They crave attention and love. They are usually seen walking to school, playing in the polluted river, or eating sugar cane.

After two days I surrender to the reality that there is too much to do in the time that we are there. I completely connect with these children and begin seeing life through their eyes.

We spend our days teaching our hygiene curriculum, painting their playground, and traveling to other villages to give away hair accessories, clothes, food and blankets. Some of the children who attend school are home now, almost naked while their uniform hangs outside for the next day. In the evenings we do yoga with the dental team, teach yoga to the kids, play baseball with them, watch a movie on the side of Brenda’s house and one night, we go dancing.

What can I say after 10 days living in a village with barely any running water, sporadic electricity, dirt floors, mosquitoes, flies, mean and hungry dogs, roosters that crow at 3:00am and so much work to do you can’t even imagine where to start?

I say when can I go back? My heart sings to be there again.

What did we accomplish? We planted an idea about how to stay healthy. We dropped a seed about the importance of clean water and clean hands. But these lessons won’t be remembered unless they are consistently taught and nurtured. This is a challenge. Some parents aren’t around; some kids have no running water and some homes have no toilet.

We taught the children why it’s important not to suck on sugar cane. But how do you tell a child not to suck on sugar cane when they haven’t had anything to eat for an entire day? You don’t. You teach them to limit their intake of sugar cane and you teach them how to brush their teeth the best with what they have.

We painted a few game boards on the patio of the school and taught them how to play 4-square, hopscotch and duck, duck goose. We ended up teaching them about how to wait in line and take turns.

This experience really has left me speechless and that does not happen to me often. But I was so moved by the simplicity and presence of this village it astounded me. In our culture, we only talk about living with less and living the simple life. We still grasp and cling to so many material things. Hopelessly tied to our technology, our schedules, our image and what other people think.

So then the question for me is, does our presence in Habanero, help or create greed and separateness among this village? Ignorance is bliss right? Answering these questions require clear intentions. What is our ultimate goal? How can what we are doing be grown and nurtured? Traveling there once a year is not enough, but giving them everything at once isn’t beneficial either.

We can’t do much about the polluted water or the poor economy. We can hope that the new pipe delivers clean water to Habanero as well as Barahona. We can only pray that one day the prices of everyday necessities like gasoline, diapers and milk can come down to meet their cost of living.

So what do we do? We build a fence around Brenda’s school so we can teach the kids how to respect and take care of their own space. We plant banana trees and other self sustaining garden plants. We incorporate daily hygiene lessons into the school curriculum so kids can understand and really adapt these procedures at home. We teach the parents the same things so they understand. We turn Brenda’s school into a community center where people can come for so much more than just an elementary learning center.

We invite more kids to the school! We educate this new generation in hopes they will make change in their community and beyond. Attendance is free and the kids get two meals a day, a uniform and mutli-vitamins in addition to their education. What about a secondary school that is closer than the nearest city, Barahona, which is 8 miles away? A goal is to motivate these kids to continue so they have somewhere to go after Brenda’s school. My personal goal is to teach these children how to dream big while staying awake just as they are.

From what I witnessed, these kids were happy. They were not lacking for anything because they knew nothing different. But I also saw a lot of beauty, talent, promise and love. Those attributes, I’m sure could be utilized in their own community but I did observe some children who had the heart to serve elsewhere. My intention is to help some of these kids understand they have opportunities that they haven’t even been able to dream up yet but that the sky is limitless.

We all see the same moon and the same stars. The world is a big place and if we remember that the small things we do really make a difference, this world will finally realize the true meaning of interconnectedness. We are all connected and we are all here to serve.

If you are interested in knowing more about Evergreen4kids and want to help our Health and Wellness Team, you can go to my website I will be posting a page dedicated to Habanero and the efforts of Evergreen4Kids. You can also go to for general information and to contact Brenda directly.

Be well, laugh often and give much.

Beach Day in the DR

Our last day in the DR. What a ride this has been. Brenda has decided to take the kids to the beach for the day. This is a big deal to the kids ... it's a trip on a bus, with the Americans, to the beach to play in the ocean. Now, not everyone can go. The bus is only so big. So the teacher decides who can go and who has to stay. This is heartbreaking for most of us watching it happen. Especially when one sibling is chosen and one is not. This moment in time showed me how true the bond between siblings really is down here.

So we are packed in the bus, riding along these super-windy roads to "the beach". The music is blaring Antony Santos and we are all in awe of the beauty that surrounds us outside of Habanero. The ride is over an hour and most of the children take a nap. Actually, a good portion of the adults take a nap too.

We arrive and the kids run, immediately to where the ocean meets the surf. Now, Brenda had decided not to go with us. She went to Haiti that day instead. But she left explicit instructions for us not to let the kids go into the ocean. There is a pool they could swim in - a man made pool that they actually made themselves with sandbags. Crazy. ( see the photos on the FB Fan page) Anyway, so we are watching these beautiful white, foamy waves crash onto the beach and we are all wondering how are we supposed to keep the kids out of the water? WE want to be in the water!

Now the beach here is very different from the beach here. The coastline isn't sand, it's teeny-tiny rocks. And it goes for miles. There's literally nothing but rocks and water.

I'm watching the kids strip down, run into the water and ride the waves back. I head down near the water to make sure they are ok (yah right) and decide to get in with them. How FUN! I swear, all that dirt, sweat, sand and muck from Habanero that was on my skin and my feet...gone! I think how incredible this would be to have a spa similiar to this in the states. You don't need all those chemicals...just a some smooth rocks, salt and water. (anyone care to partake?)

The kids are loving this. WE are loving this. We watch the locals begin building their "pool" - building a sort of make-shift damn from a river that runs down through the beach area to the ocean. It's quite surreal really.

Carmen, the lady who has been feeding us all week long, with the help of Ramona and Ioti, begin making our lunch. Same wonderful thing every day....perfectly cooked rice, beans, chicken from Manco's chicken stand, beets, tomatos and cabbage. This claudron they bring to the beach is huge and they make an incredible bonfire and begin make our lunch/dinner. These ladies have been so amazing.

It's a lazy day ... one that all of us will remember. I watch the kids make toys out of the garbage on the beach. They chase after each other and bury each other in the rocks. They let their hair down. The olders ones watching out diligently for the little ones. Bliss comes to mind. Perfect place to sit and meditate but instead of isolating myself on a rock somewere, I get in with it all. Wrap myself in their energy, their vibrancy for life, their love for this moment. It's amazingly wonderful.

As I sit on the bus, heading back to Habanero, listening to the children sing, watching some of them sleep, I realize just how wonderful this time has been. It's been like stepping outside myself to see my Self.

How fortunate we are to experience such eye opening experiences in our life. Thank you Brenda.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Yes I Will..Day 6 in the DR

Funny how life works isn't it? Follow me on this one for just a moment. Jacque, the dentist heading up this dental mission, goes to India in December. She meets a man named Abe who is friendly and cute. They discuss her trip to the DR and as the heavens would have it, he knows a woman named Fabecka who live in Santo Domingo who heads up a school for women. Apparently this woman has several connections and more importantly, a heart for giving. So Jacque contacts her and she wants to come and see the school that Brenda built. I so marvel in this type of Oneness… thanks for sticking with the background.

So Fabecka Lebron comes to Habanero and wants to see what Brenda is doing. Brenda tries not to get her hopes up – no expectations – smart girl. Fabecka arrives with a driver in a black, BMW SUV. (no judgment please – just a fact) She comes to the school and we show her around. She is amazed, I can see it in her eyes.

On this same day, Brenda has asked us to present our program to all the teachers at the school. We want feedback on the presentation and ideas on what we can do differently and how we can have this program be replicated after we have left the village. Fabecka wants to see our presentation as well.

I am not sure why I am nervous but I am. The presentation goes beautifully. We give it to some of the same kids so we are offered the opportunity to “quiz” them and see how much they remember. I ask them “who has their handkerchiefs with them” – translated by David into Spanish – and about 50% of them show me their handkerchiefs! I am so happy! They all want a turn to show us how to wash their hands and brush their teeth. They are proud of themselves.

The teachers and Fabecka are impressed but more importantly, they give us ideas on how to have our program speak to the children even more. They give us songs the kids can sing while brushing and washing and they are want to incorporate this into a daily routine for the children. One teacher wants to bring in the parents so we can educate them. Fabecka thinks we should turn Brenda’s school into a community center offering classes in parenting, birth control, community clean up and environmental issues; the ideas are endless.

We always have to come back to where we are right now though. That thought shakes me back with these ideas not gone, just on hold…very exciting to realize that other people see our vision as well.

We show Fabecka the fence we want to build around Brenda’s school. Teaching the kids to honor their space, use the land and create sustainability is very important to Brenda. Fabecka tells us that someone she knows is into masonry work and that quite possibly, they could help with the supplies we need. Man I love life! All because Jacque had a moment of intrigue with a friend in India.

While we are showing Fabecka the village, Liz and Eileen are working hard on a life size poster that says “Yes I Will!” It’s based on the song written and performed by Michael Franti. We picked it because the words capture our mission in this moment.

Listen to the song here...

We want to talk loud and sing loud so other people hear us. The world is a big place but small, random acts of kindness can make a huge difference. Faith, hope and love really are the three keys to life! Seems simple enough right?

Today was our last day of “work”…tomorrow we head to the beach with the kids and then home. Now time has seemed to fly. Have we done enough? Now what?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

DR - Day 5

Time goes very slow here in Habanero. I have decided that it’s because there are no technological advances that create “efficiency”. Instead of looking at the clock, time is spent living in the moment. Interesting concept isn’t it?

As we approach the halfway mark to our trip, honestly, I am starting to feel tired. Physically, mentally and emotionally. It rained last night so the mosquitoes are out like mad. Our “water-trickle-showers” don’t always get all that DEET off and you have to put it on immediately when you get out of the shower otherwise the bugs swarm. We’re doing very well, eight of us, sharing one bathroom. Honestly, the things I miss most are simple…hot, blasting water from my shower, being able to run my toothbrush under the faucet, sleeping in my bed and my asana practice.

I am grateful and very aware that all of my yoga teaching and studying has prepared me well for this trip. I call upon many sutras and yoga principles as each day passes. In meditation we are taught to be still in uncomfortable times and be with that moment without judgment. Contemplate on why we are uncomfortable; knowing that this moment is impermanent and will change in an instant. We can react in that moment or we can sit and breathe in it, waiting patiently for it to pass. Feel compassion for the world and others who stumble into our own personal human experiment. Not grasping to what “could be” in this little village but instead, notice what is without expectation or a need to make it all better right now!

My awareness seems heightened with every passing day and I know that soon enough all my human needs will be met. For now, my soul needs nourishing and a small glimpse of what my mission is right now.

We head out to the village again with Brenda today and deliver more items to these families. The crowds get a little intimidating as they swarm to the car when we pull up. They even follow us down the road and sometimes hang on the bumper of the car as we leave. We arrive with a car full of items and leave empty. Every gift given out….some hands left empty. It’s a sad realization really to truly recognize the privileged life we lead. I know we all know it, but to actually live in this reality instead of just pass through it; to truly connect with the people and create relationships, is all together different. You want so badly to take all these children home with you; to provide them all the “necessities” you have and share in this abundant life that you lead. But that is not to be. Remember, they are happy…they don’t know any different.

We check in on the families from yesterday, the child Brenda took to the clinic and the starving family, and everyone seems better today.

When the day is done for the dental team we head back to Brenda’s. After dinner, at dusk, Brenda calls the children to her house and they set up about 20 white patio chairs on her back porch. She hooks up her computer to my Ipod speakers and puts in the Spanish version of “Starsky and Hutch”. The kids are thrilled! She also hands out a small bag of popcorn to each child. It’s so heart warming to see such unconditional love. What a gift for everyone.

Monday, March 22, 2010

DR - day 4

What an amazing trip this has been. Monday morning - third working day in a row. Still excited and motivated - not quite tired yet. Sleep has been hard to come by to be honest. I'm not one to take medication for anything. I do my very best to live what I teach and the best thing for our bodies is always natural. However, sleep deprivation is unnatural and quite frankly, my body is worn out from the time difference, no shower, no sleep and no asana practice. Thankfully I recognize when the mind is trying to take over so I can breathe through most discomforts.

Today was a big day. Liz, Eileen and myself played with the kids all morning long on their new "playground". They already knew how to play hopscotch but we taught them 4-square and duck, duck, goose. In Spanish they say' "pato, pato, ganza" so it made for quite an interesting game.

I am not quite sure where all the kids came from but they came from everywhere once they saw us running around. What a rush - watching their faces, seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter. The morning was quite perfect actually.

The afternoon was a bit different. This was the first day we headed out into the actual village of Habanero and the smaller villages within 5 miles. My mind could never have prepared me for what we saw. I know it's easy to say, "We are so lucky to live in America" and we can all wrap our brain around how privileged we are. Even if we live unconsciously demanding respect and thinking we deserve all that we have, there are still moments when we remember, with a light heart, that it's all a gift.
So Brenda takes us girls out to the village. She has been checking on a family she is concerned about. This in particular woman has three children - all boys - approximately 10 months, 3 and 4 years old. One of the little boys hasn't been to school in the past several months and Brenda wants to be sure everything is alright. When she gets there, the little boy in question looks very malnutritioned so she goes to the clinic and purchases him some vitamins, supplements and medicine. This costs her all of $50 which for some of us is pocket change. For the mother, it's unfathomable.

Brenda has gone back every morning since her first visit to check on them and she thought we would like to meet them. We drive about 4 miles from the school, along dirt roads and dusty trails. Most kids walk this way to school. The houses are shacks, literally and my heart blesses each one as we drive by.

When we pull up, the family immediately comes out to greet us. I am stunned with the condition of the children. Over the past few days, the children I have seen are well taken care of in comparison to these children. These children have no clothes on and are dusty from playing outside. It is obvious which one Brenda was worried about - he looks about 15 pounds lighter than he should be at his age but much better according to Brenda. The 10 month old, Samuel, takes my breath away. He is only 12 pounds and is not very responsive. My children were 10 pounds when they were born, walking at 10 months. I can't seem to get that thought out of my head. How does inequality happen? I am told when children don't get the proper nutrition at such a crucial time of development, they just don't develop properly. I know this but it still stings my heart as I hold this little angel. He is looking at me but right through me.

Brenda is making supplement shakes for the little boys while we are standing there. They share it without arguing but suck it down so quickly it's amazing. They are obviously hungry. We think the mother may be afraid to feed them too much for fear of running out. It's a sad situation really. As she continues to carry on a broken English-Spanish conversation with the mother, I smile and kiss Samuel but I feel tears beginning to form in my eyes. I hand him to Liz and walk away. I don't want the family to see me crying - it's my own deal.

When we leave I am overwhelmed by the emotions and thoughts running through my mind and heart. No yoga practice can prepare you for your heart's response to poverty and malnutrition. It's not the same seeing it on television than in real life.

We are driving down this same road and Brenda decides to stop off at another home where she knows the family. We walk in and the mother is a bit frantic. Her 4 year old daughter had fallen into their fire pit recently and had a horrible burn on her arm. The little girl is laying in bed, non responsive and very warm - almost feverish. It's challenging for us to wake her so Brenda picks her up, takes the mother with us and tells us she is going to drop us off and take this little girl to the clinic. She needs medical attention and she needs it now. I can't help but wonder what would happen if we didn't show up.

Brenda asks me if I want to go to the clinic but I can't. I feel like I have been punched in the stomach and my tears are still fresh from the other family. Now this child hurting, the mother scared and who knows what I would witness at the clinic. I just am not's too much. I am surprised by my reaction - to hang back instead of going for it, but my mind is truly on overload.
We head back to the dental team - their day in the "office" is done. Dr. Jacque Angell promised these kids a game of baseball after work and the entire team agrees. They play ball and I am amazed again, by the strength of these kids. What a difference from the children we saw today.

This evening is tough for me. Emotions not processed - so many ideas, concepts and beliefs of my own being questioned. This world is a big place but how do you go back to the way you were living once you have experienced such a contrast from your own life? It's the first night I give in and take a medically prescribed sleeping aid. I don't want to think or dream. I just want to sleep - one night.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Valentine’s Day -Day 3

What a gorgeous day! Just because it’s Sunday does not keep anyone away from the school. In fact, today they come dressed in their fanciest outfits – most of them donated by Brenda.

The team is off and running by 8:30am. Neighboring villages have heard that the Americans are here. Some have walked for more than 5 miles to get here. Some hired a scooter but most have arrived by foot.

We do our presentation again for these lovely kids. I find myself already falling in love with them all …. They are just gorgeous souls. My daughters (Ava 5 and Isabella 7) made a card from plain posterboard that said Happy Valentines Day in Spanish. I brought it with me and presented it to the children. They kept admiring how gorgeous my kids were – unaware that they too held so much beauty.

Just before noon I notice a little girl sad, sitting in the hallway on a tiny chair. I find out that she is next in line to have her mouth worked on. I look for her mom but see no one with her so I sit and just hold her. She falls right into my arms – I am guessing, longing for comfort.

After lunch we head back to the school and as promised, decide to paint some outdoor games on the backyard pavement for the kids. Most know how to play hopscotch and duck, duck goose but to be able to have this game painted at the school makes it much more real!

It takes us some time without measuring tools, but we finally get an even circle and straight lines drawn on the cement. We are now ready to paint! In 80+ degrees and blazing sun, Liz, Eileen and I paint, and paint and paint….the kids are so patient! Just sitting silently, watching our every move. Every now and again they smile and you can feel their graciousness in their eyes.

Around 5:00pm we finally finish and warn the children not to touch the games boards until the next day. We are still able to do yoga on the patio – keeping our eyes on the now sky blue patio. The team comes on out to join us, we do a little yoga and then head home to Brenda’s. I’m not a beer drinker but a cold beer and Carmen’s food sounds real good right about now!

The children follow us home and sit outside waiting for us to finish our meal. It’s customary in this village for the adults to eat before the children so we eat inside and then make sure to leave enough for the children. This concept has me a little confused but when in Rome…..

After our meal the electricity goes out so we put our headlamps on. We sit outside covered in DEET to keep us from getting bug bites. I was right, a cold Presidente never tasted so good.

Some of the children, now changed into their “evening outfits” come over for Valentine’s Day. They want to just hang out with us – that’s it. They want to watch us, sit on our laps, talk with us, show us their yoga stunts and how well they dance.

The feeling of pure presence and love is so obvious. As I sit here taking it all in, I am once again reminded of the power in being still. Of noticing what is happening in each moment without judgment, without expectation, without thinking of what is coming next. This is how they live and it’s so beautiful. I want to run and get my camera but I hold off, just to enjoy this moment.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dominican Day 2

Day 2 in the DR and the dental team heads over to the school at 8:30am, ready to service all the villagers anxiously waiting outside the school. I ask Jacque how long they work each day and her response is “Until we get done.” I’m inspired by her ambitious nature and my appreciation grows for her each day.

The school is transformed into a dental office. The front desk is at the door of the school – manned by Yanet and Marina – teachers at the school. We have to squeeze our way in just to get by. Each person is checked in and then they sit in a row of tiny school chairs, waiting to be assessed by Marika and Sonja, part of the dental team. In the hallway, sits about 14 people waiting to be seen by Jacque.

They wait and then are called in one by one, according to Marika’s evaluation. They are given anesthetic and then assigned a chair. There are three chairs operated by hygienists and Jacque. The team is really only performing extractions and fillings – cleaning is something we are supposed to teach the villagers. Each station has an assistant who translates as well as holds the head lamp so the dentist can see well. John sterilizes all the instruments and makes sure everyone has what they need.

It’s really an incredible operation. I can’t get over how swift and efficient the team is under such conditions; they make it look very easy. It’s hot, loud and well, a little stinky really. Funny though, within about 3 hours we are all used to the smell, the noise and the heat. It becomes our way of life for the next several days.

Liz, Eileen and I head into our classroom and set up for our first lesson. The children are curious about what we are doing. They stand outside the classroom watching us through the blinds. David, our translator is awesome. He rounds up about 15 -20 kids and brings them in. I swallow back tears as the children walk in. They are so gorgeous and happy. As they sit I am overwhelmed and a little nervous because really, I have no idea what I am going to do with this lesson. I just dig deep and talk from my heart with David translating every word, sentence by sentence, giving me a chance to breathe and think about what comes next.

We are there to teach the children about personal hygiene and why it’s important. These kids have access to a river nearby but the water is undrinkable. Lots of children get sick and some have died from something as simple as drinking contaminated water, no transportation and then no money to get to a clinic for help.

We review where they should defecate and urinate, why and how to wash their hands, how to brush their teeth and how important it is to stop the spread of germs. Each time we do this presentation it gets better and better until we cover everything in a way the kids can understand. It boggles my mind that these kids don’t know this stuff but I am swiftly reminded when a child raises his hand and asks me “What if I don’t have running water." This is tough pill to swallow for a privileged American like myself.

When you travel to a village like this – your first reaction usually is to want to give them everything to make it “better”. But we all know this doesn’t help. Education is key. Again, my heart is full of love and I choke back tears.

After about 8-9 hours of educational lessons, watching the dentists and playing with the kids, we are all wiped out and exhausted. We head outside to do some yoga with the dental team. They had just spent all day hunched over and just some simple stretches can really do the trick. The kids follow us everywhere and this yoga sessions was no exception. We end up teaching the kids some yoga poses….they love it! How great to end a day with 40 smiling faces and laughing eyes.

We head back to Brenda’s, eat dinner in the dark (there is no electricity again) and go to bed. Again, it’s loud, hot and muggy but sleep comes a little easier. Tomorrow is a new day – one that brings wonder and surprises – for the villagers but also for us. What a gift.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dominican Republic Trip

Over the next several weeks, I will be recounting our days in the Dominican Republic with Evergreen 4 Kids. I hope you read along and are inspired as I was by the stories and the photographs.

Flying over the ocean preparing to land in Santo Dominigo, I notice how small the island of Dominican Republic and Haiti really is. Just a little piece of land in the middle of a big ocean. I picture it on the map and am quickly reminded of just how small it really is compared to the big world. However, once we land and we are on the ground, it seems just as grand as America. I think of the Who’s in Whoville, living on that spec of dust that Horton hears.

For most of us, we are reminded of places like the Dominican Republic only when tragedy strikes, like an earthquake or other newsworthy event. However, while we live in our big world, these people live in theirs.

As we disembark the plane, I notice how loud it is. Everyone speaks various dialects of Spanish and they speak very loud. It’s hot and humid and the smell of burning brush is immediately noticeable. We walk through customs and see hundreds of dark skinned people waving to us – awaiting our arrival.

We board a “bus” – all 14 of us – while Manco and Ramon pile our luggage in the back. We ride through the country along the very windy road from Santo Domingo to Habanero and despite the loud Latino music, I am comforted by the vastness of the land. The banana trees and sugar cane that grow rampantly, the mountains with nothing on them, the hot sun on my face. I have time to think and prepare myself for the journey ahead.

I do not know what will happen once we arrive in Habanero but I can see in Manco’s eyes they are happy we are there. After 6 hours on the bus we finally arrive in Habanero. The children are playing in the dirt streets and they see us and begin chasing our bus. What I can’t figure out is who is more excited, the kids or the dental team that recognizes these children from last year.

We get dropped off at the school which will become the dental clinic for the next 5 days. The village is dusty, houses are shacks and the school smells of sweat and humidity. I am amazed by the school and what Brenda has done in such a short amount of time. Only three years and her school is full – the walls are adorned with the ABC’s, numbers, days of the week and the months of the year all in Spanish. Each room has a chalkboard, little tables and tiny chairs. Additionally, each child has a black bucket on a shelf with their name on it – a “cubby” all to themselves. Tears come to my eyes when I think of all the hard work and tireless fundraising it has taken for the school to look this way.

I look into the children’s eyes as they follow us around and I am stunned by the beauty of this culture. They are gorgeous people. I feel overwhelmed with grace and love from a Higher Power. The intensity of these children is comforting but yet daunting at the same time.

After setting up the dental clinic we all walk to Brenda’s house, only a block away. The streets are littered with garbage and children are running around half naked – following us like harmless paparazzi. We get to Brenda’s and have dinner – lovingly prepared by Carmen, Iooti and Ramona – Brenda’s blessings. There is no electricity so it’s hot and dark so we eat by candlelight. We take a quick, one minute shower and climb into bed. Bunkbeds, 4 people to a room, each bed covered by a mosquito net.

We sleep restlessly until we hear the hum of the fan at about 3:00am, the electricity has gone back on! About an hour later the roosters crow, motorcycles ramp around the corner, dogs chase the motorcycles and then fight with each other. It’s time to start our first day of “work” at L’escuela de Habanero!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heart Blessings

With only one day left until I leave for the Dominican Republic, I am reminded in every moment, how precious my time is with my kids. As a mom who does all the drop offs, pick ups, art projects, carpooling, homework, hair styling and boy talking I am often tired at the end of the day.

However, this past week, in preparing for my trip, I have been consistently reminded how fleeting life is. How beautiful this hectic, chaotic time really is. How important we really are to our small children.

In the middle of the night when one of them comes sauntering into my room, I welcome them with open arms and enjoy their sweet breath as they kiss my cheek. Ava's soft little hands rub my hand as she drifts back to sleep. These are the moments not captured on camera that burn a wave in our brain and in our hearts.

Why am I more present now? I imagine it's because for 10 days I will be away from them - my sweet angels who drive me bananas! Who try my last nerve around every corner and who challenge me every day to be better - more myself.

What can I take from this? Live each day as if it were your last. Every moment is precious and full of loving gifts. Cheers to my brave girls! Have a wonderful time with Nana! Remember to take pictures of that Mardi Gras float!

I love you!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lessons Learned

This past Sunday, my girls and I went to mall for a girl day! After the hub-bub of Christmas was over, I thought it would be fun to use some of their holiday money and get some new clothes. Typical girl day out. We had so much fun! The girls, now 7 and 4, were like little ladies in their cute outfits and little hats and purses. Seriously, it was a blast.

We went to Target and got clothes, ate popcorn and then had a slushy. Then we got our photos taken in those little photo booths. Sooo hilarious! We walked around Jantzen Beach and then decided to go to Vancouver Mall. My 7 year old had a vision of exactly which dress she wanted to buy with the rest of her money.

So off we went to JCPenney. She knew right where she was going. Thankfully all the dresses she was looking at were on sale! We were having so much fun! She gave Ava and I a fashion show while she tried these dresses on! When we went to leave the dressing room we noticed her purse wasn't there. She was carrying this little pink sequin purse and it had her Dream Book and chapstick in it. Not much to us but meaning a whole lot to her. We couldn't find it anywhere.

She remembered where she hung it - on a dress rack. So we looked on every dress rack in the kids department. We went to customer service, to lost and found....still no purse. I was so sad for her. This wasn't the first time she had left something somewhere and my heart went out to her.

As a mother, I wanted to make it all better. I was hoping that it would just magically show up. Everything would be ok if that little purse just showed up. But it didn't and it wasn't there today when I called lost and found either.

She was very sad and disappointed and so were Ava and I. The lesson obviously for her was: be mindful with your personal belongings when you go out! Not only that but bring what is only necessary for the excursion! What a tough lesson! Heck, I know some adults that don't quite understand that lesson yet!

But what about the lesson for me? I can't fix everything and maybe a little disappointment for them is what teaches them they are responsible for themselves and their things. I'm not always going to be around. How sad I felt when I said that out loud and realized that truth.

What do I tell her? That some mean person took her purse? No - absolutely not. Yoga talks about ahimsa, compassion for all living things. We have compassion for whoever took the purse. Maybe they don't have cute things like that and they wanted it for themselves and they thought it was ok to steal it. Was it right? No - absolutely not. But do we get angry with that person? No. We have compassion for them. We release attachment to the item and move on. Hopefully whoever has her purse and Dream Book is enjoying it and getting the most out of it. It's their karma, not ours. We move on with a light heart.

This is a tough one isn't it? Why? Because our attachments to things is so strong. Because our need to control the outcome is so powerful. Instead, we let go and the Universe will take care of everything.

Thankfully we are blessed with lessons every day. Everyday we are offered the opportunity to see a higer version of our Self. Not always a fun movie to watch but almost always entertaining!

Have a great day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year Detox!

It's that time....the beginning of a new year! Time for New Years Resolutions. How defeating "resolutions" can be! Instead - let's rephrase that to New Years Intentions. Sounds better doesn't it?

So here we go - the beginning of a New Year....what are some of your intentions? Is there a possibility that those intentions can continue on past March? Now that's always a challenge isn't it? I always hear people talk about dieting at the beginning of the New Year.

But instead of trying the newest fad diet - how about trying a cleanse? Pick a cleanse that resonates with you and do it! A cleanse has more substance than a diet - it's meant to cleanse the body and free it from stored up toxins.

My husband and I are doing a variation of the Fat Flush's an incredible liver cleanse. Tons of veggies, cranberry juice and water, one serving of protein, one serving of fruit. Get this:

no caffeine, no sugar, no dairy, no starch, no spices, no alchohol, no beans, no nuts....basically nothing but organically grown, from the ground, food.

For me it's much easier to look at challenges like this as a cleanse than a diet. I have no expectations except to clean out my liver...which most of us could probably use! So this New Year, try that instead...cleanse, purge and be free of as many toxins as you when summer and then the holidays roll around again you will feel GREAT!

To all of you dieting right now .... or cleansing ... share any info you have of any cleanses you have done would you? This one may not work for everyone and it would be great to see if what you have to offer does!

Wish me luck! Got through one day without cheating!

Peace and Happy New Year!