* Choose to Be Positive or Negative … (you can’t be both!)

This is a Philosophers Note from Brian Johnson that resonated for me, especially as we head towards the Holidays. When we become aware of our emotions, we can change our thinking into a positive frame of mind. When we change our thinking we allow our heart to open.

“The basic observation that positive emotions are somehow incompatible with negative emotions is not a new idea ….. One simply cannot be relaxed and stressed at the same time. Try it. You can’t. Relaxation drives out anxiety and vice versa. The Buddha said that “Hatred cannot coexist with loving-kindness, and dissipates if supplanted with thoughts based on loving-kindness.” You cannot be grateful and resentful at the same time, or forgiving and vengeful. When we are savoring the moment we cannot be regretting the past.” ~ Robert Emmons from Thanks!

Quite simply, we cannot experience both positive emotions and negative emotions at the same time. Try to hold both at the same time right now. As Emmons tells us, you can’t!

Anxiety and relaxation can’t coexist. Neither can resentment and gratitude.Let gratitude in

When we are in the present moment we can’t be in the past or the future.

So, the next time you’re feeling anxious, see if you can deliberately relax by breathing deeply, releasing the tension in your body and smiling.

And, when you’re feeling resentment toward life or someone in it, see if you can let that emotion go by focusing on something you are truly grateful for!

Come into the present moment, notice without judgment your thoughts and feelings, then choose from your heart.

* William Penn’s Middle Ground

“In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals, step home within yourselves and be still.”   William PennWilliam Penn Statue in Philly

William Penn found his middle ground with God in the moments of stillness.

When we want to accomplish great things or make a difference in the world, finding this place matters.

We may have different ways to connect with our personal middle ground, but the feeling of coming “home” and finding stillness and inspiration is there for all of us.

p.s. climbing Philadelphia City Hall is not required

Val x

* Being Mindful – What does it mean to you?

This is great perspective on being mindful … from someone with mental health issues. Welcome to your Middle Ground 🙂

What does mindful mean to you?

I’ll be gathering insights from others and sharing what I find.

* Which Way is Your Horse Heading?

I love this question! Especially when faced with making a difficult decision. It can help in your career direction and life direction. It can help when you find yourself procrastinating over the best choice to make.

Its also helpful when you have committed to doing something … and then it doesn’t feel quite right.

In my experience, when we feel an internal struggle, there are one of two things going on.  Either its fear coming up … or its our inner wisdom trying to get our attention.

The first step is to consider what I might be afraid of…. What are the facts of the situation? Are their any old beliefs coming up that I might not be good enough, or that I might fail? As I think about this, is there a feeling of contraction or withdrawal… or not? Could there be an unpleasant experience from my past associated with this? Examining for previous wounds isn’t easy, but its helpful in getting clear.

Fear comes from our mind and our thoughts.  It comes from our ego and its job is to keep us safe.  Its very human!  And boy does it get in the way when we want to bring about change.

The next step is to explore our inner wisdom. What’s going on in our heart and soul.

This is where the horse comes in. jerry-koontz-horse-galloping-half-moon-bay-california

Imagine you are going through life with your true authentic self on a horse. It takes you to where your heart and soul want to be.

When you come across a difficult decision, or are procrastinating about making the right choice, ask yourself these questions – Which way is my horse heading? Am I trying to turn my horse around? What would happen if I follow my horse?

Then sit quietly. The answer comes from your inner being, rather than your mind. Listen for the answer to reveal itself. It may show itself as a feeling in your body or an image, rather than a thought.

I’ve asked this question at important times in my life. My horse wanted to be free to run in a controlling relationship. It wanted to graze at the side of a luscious path and nourish itself when I was in coach training. A few days ago I realized that my horse doesn’t want to turn back onto a well used path. It likes where its heading …. and I’m along for the ride!

Follow your horse and you follow your inner wisdom.

I’d love to hear what comes up for you. Val x

* Red Sox Win Brings Out Hidden Treasures

It was a surprising night last night! The Boston Red Sox won the World Series on their home ground. The last time was in 1918. WOW!  It was a great game! Don is a big fan and was glued to the TV. He rode the waves of hope, fear, hope, disappointment, and then the amazing high of winning. He felt the thrill of the great hits and catches. He was right there with every emotion surging through him.

Red Sox win World Series

What was special however, was not that the best team in the world won, but that he felt his brother’s presence right there with him. There was a sadness that Joe is no longer here to share in these moments, but also a heart warming surge of love and appreciation for his little brother and the times they had together. In the highs and lows of the game, this was his middle ground.

For me, the game was exciting, but what opened my heart was the shining appreciation and love in the eyes of the Red Sox team. Did anyone else notice all that love pouring out of Dustin Petroia?  They had come together from being the worst team in the league to being the best team. They could do it, not because they were the most talented and skilled, but because they respected and supported each other. After the posturing of conquering heroes, there was a softening and tenderness in them all. That’s what I will take away from the game.

Others may celebrate the victory, but I celebrate the love and connection in humankind.

Its is always there – through winning and losing. It is our middle ground.


* Happy Feet in Yoga and Life

Instead of trying to see what’s beyond the horizon, take a moment and look down at your feet.

This is where you are.Pair of feet

Your feet are your foundation and will keep you grounded in life.

They allow you stand tall and stay balanced.

Remember you’ll need your feet to take you in the direction you are heading in life.

You wil also need them in your senior years to be flexible enough to prevent falling and injury.

Check in with them regularly and they will bring you back to the present and to your middle ground.


(Pause for a moment of foot appreciation)

“Thank you for being there every day.

You do such a good job.

I really appreciate all that you do. Thank you!”

(They say thank you back)


Every day in class I pause to acknowledge our feet. We must take good care of them as they are the foundation for our yoga practice as well as in life.

To counteract years of tension, some preliminary exercises can help your feet come back to life. One good way to restore proper tone to the sole of the foot is to step onto a tennis ball. Roll the ball in circles under the broadest part of your feet. Then roll it up and down the length of the sole. Come back to step in it and notice how good it feels!

After waking up your feet with the tennis ball, stretch both the sole and the top of the foot. A simple way to stretch the underside of the foot is to kneel with the toes turned under. To stretch the top of the foot, Virasana (Hero Pose) is invaluable.

While standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) find your focal point and lift your toes off the ground. Notice the activation of connective tissue and muscles rising up the body. Its a great way to practice finding your balance on and off the mat.

Here’s an article from Yoga Journal  to keep your feet happy.


* The Seven Wonders of the World


I came across this story and It touched my heart, so I wanted to share with you.

A group of students were asked to list the Seven Wonders of The World. They came up with:

  1. The pyramids
  2. Taj Mahal
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Panama Canal
  5. Empire State Building
  6. St Peters in Rome
  7. Great Wall of China

One student didn’t hand in her paper, and the teacher asked if she was having trouble with her list.

She replied “Yes, a little. I couldn’t make up my mind because there were so many.

Child blowing dandelion

My list is:

  1. to touch
  2. to taste
  3. to see
  4. to hear
  5. to feel
  6. to laugh
  7. and to love”

Find the wonder in all of your moments today. 

Val x