Boost Your Karma for the New Year



Boosting your Karma is a choice. As you move towards the New Year and new possibilities, why not choose kindness and connection. Watch what happens!

This is such a cool list to share 🙂

  1. Keep your word.
  2. Show respect to everyone you encounter.
  3. Be a good friend.
  4. Look for the best in everyone.
  5. Show forgiveness.
  6. Be kind.
  7. When you make a mistake say “I’m sorry.”
  8. Pour out your love when someone asks for it.
  9. Put your children’s needs before your own.
  10. When someone is speaking to you, be fully present. Listen.
  11. Learn to love yourself a little more each day.
  12. Show your spirit.
  13. Don’t be cruel with your words.
  14. Be grateful for exactly what you have.
  15. Share your wisdom with those who ask for it.
  16. Donate what you don’t need.
  17. Help keep the Earth beautiful; don’t litter, and recycle.
  18. Look behind you, stop and hold the door open for others.
  19. Savor every moment.
  20. Smile more; frown less.
  21. Expect life to be good.
  22. Do the right thing (even when no one is watching).
  23. Give five compliments a day.
  24. Breathe. Relax. Feel. Watch. Allow.
  25. Share your inspiration when someone needs a lift.
  26. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t allow them to define who you are now.
  27. Avoid temptation when it’s calling to you.
  28. Kiss your partner every day.
  29. Share your faith.
  30. Be the beautiful you.

Looking over the list, #27 leaps out at me. We still haven’t eaten our Christmas Pudding. Its definitely calling my name 😉

Blogging has been a wonderful way for me to share good karma throughout the year.

Thank you all dear readers and friends for sharing your kindness and connection, and bringing out the best in me and your readers.

What goes around comes around.


* Haiku – practice

haiku pause

Practicing Haiku

Starts with tentative musings

Ends with the profound


Abundance of fun

Practice deepens my knowledge

Shines light into depths


Universal web

Inspires my inner poet

Seeds to grow the soul


Honoring the past

In the now of Middle Ground

Pause Create Uplift


This is my Haiku practice. 🙂

Thank you for being here as I learn and explore. There’s a simplicity and precision required, which captures the bigger picture and reveals the surprises that lie within. It’s like a creative word puzzle to express observations and feelings. It’s something I wasn’t aware of growing up in the UK … And I am enjoying it so much!!


* Inspiration – Feeling Miserable

winding roads in ItalyOne day on vacation in Italy things didn’t go as planned.

It wasn’t the morning of the flat tire … or any of the other days of missed turnings. It wasn’t ordering the wrong item on the menu. It was the day I started to feel sick at all the bends in the road. Literally queazy and sick. Trying to navigate while on a roller coaster will do that!

I blamed the roads, the driver, and the need for map reading as the GPS was in some other part of the country with the same name! This blanket of negativity started to wrap itself around me. I felt miserable. I stepped into the self righteousness that comes with being put upon and I embraced it. In doing so I became a miserable person and a miserable passenger to be sure.

On reflection, I can see things so clearly. Here are my insights from this experience.

Life energy, essence or source is always within us and around us.

Yet sometimes we feel miserable and think that life sucks.

It is our thinking that makes it so.

When we feel  hurt, we go into our head and more thoughts take over.

Our hearts become guarded as we lose touch with our own essence and sense of Presence.

We cannot fully connect to ourselves .. or others.

There is interference in the force.

Our life energy is blocked.

We become defensive, judgmental, withdrawn and irritable.

There is no grace or gratitude in this place, because we know – by this pain and sacrifice –  that we are right!

Our heart closes more as our thinking ego casts blame and seeks retribution, and to find any way to end this endless  perceived agony of  discomfort!

We feel miserable and don’t stop to understand. We try to figure it out in our heads but get tangled up in a web of thoughts and further judgments.

And then in a quiet moment we are able to step back …. and  we know.

We know that this is of our own creation.

This is the time to come into the present moment. Step back.  And plug in to our deeper self and inner wisdom.

Let the life energy flow.

Feel what needs to be felt and hear what needs to be heard.

Be with it.

Letting go so we can open our hearts once more.

For me, I got out my yoga mat. Sat in meditation, focusing on my breathing and feeling my sitz bones grounding me. Spine tall. Heart open. Breathing slowly.

The thinking slows. The body relaxes. The witness takes over from “me”.

Then moving into child’s pose until my body feels the same grounding and sense of connection too.

Slowing moving with grace and gratitude in full realization of the highs and lows of this life.

Letting the life energy flow.

We lose touch with our Selves and don’t know it until we realize we feel miserable.  The real lesson for me is to be mindful enough to recognize this as it emerges.

Val x

* A Mindful Ice Cream Moment


I take my spoon and dip in

Enjoy the smooth creamy vanilla

Then notice a difference …

Is that a little salty chocolate close by?

The next spoon confirms

Oh my 🙂 …

Yes … there’s a weave of solid chocolate here

With just a touch of salt!

As my palette anticipates what might be next

My spoon hits what appears to be a large chunk of chocolate

Or is it?…

My eyes look closer as my spoon traces the outline.

It reminds me of a Hershey’s kiss.

Curiosity aroused, I bring it to my mouth

and place it on my tongue.

Gently pressing down between my teeth

I crack open the dark chocolate and find

A silky smooth peanut butter center.

Oh my 🙂 …

The mouth experience and taste is almost complete.

Just one more spoonful …

As I reach for the spoon and begin to lose myself

in the blissful moment of sensation,

in the flavors, textures, comfort and gratitude.

Its called Nelson’s Dutch Farms Ice Cream

From Royersford, PA

There motto is “Nix Besser”

Darn right!!

* The Secret of Eternal Youth

“Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind.

It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips and supple knees.

It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions.

It is freshness of the deep springs of life.

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years.

People grow old only by deserting their ideals.

Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

                                                   ~ Swami Bua

This is one of my favorite quotes found in “Yoga Gems” by Georg Feuerstein.

Kitty Cohen throws first pitch

Kitty Cohen, age 101 throws the first pitch at the Blue Jays game

Kitty Cohen is a great example of this isn’t she? …  When I saw her on the t.v. she was having so much fun and milking every moment of being in the spotlight. What a fan! What enthusiasm for life! 🙂

* Beeing Mindful!

Bee selfieA few days ago it was time to check in our two new bee colonies. This was our second foray up to the hives. We got suited up and checked one another with care. We made sure that we had the tools we needed, and then we set out.

As we approached the hives I became really focused on my thinking, actions and feelings.

Much later, after we had checked in on the queens and refreshed the sugar water, and placed everything back, I had this realization:

Being a bee keeper is a mindfulness practice. 🙂

What a valuable lesson here to bring to life and share:

Be patient.

Respect this space.

Be open to the unknown.

Respect those around me.

(Even when they are busy busy busy and I have no clue what they are doing!)

There is an intelligence here that I cannot fathom.

Be curious.

I may not understand but I trust in nature.

Go slowly.

Breathe easily into each moment as it unfolds.

Notice what comes up.

Give it space.

Let it bee.


We can bring a sense of mindfulness into all sorts of routine behaviors and actions in your daily lives.  There’s no need to sit meditating or roll out a yoga mat to find your Middle Ground.

Take a moment to consider the mindful moments of your day.  When you feel connected with yourself and the world around you. When you are truly present.

Is there some routine or action where you can bring a new sense of awareness and presence?….

* Break the Chain

This message came round on Facebook this morning. I wanted to share with you too. Val x

break the hurt chain

“Hurt people hurt people.

That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation.

Break the chain today.

Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness.

Greet grimaces with smiles.

Forgive and forget about finding fault.

Love is the weapon of the future.”

Yehuda Berg

Break the chain

Break the chain and break free


Journaling or Journalling

Whichever way to spell it…. I admit that I was very reluctant to start journaling myself – I thought it was for people with lots of time and a leaning towards poetry … and American teenage girls… not me at all! It turned out that I was being too quick to judge.

Woman journaling

You can buy yourself a beautifully bound notebook to capture your personal experiences and insights in writing, set up a WordPress blog with this intention 😉 or simply open a document on your computer to allow you to capture all the things going on in your head or to vent your frustrations.

Journaling is about taking what is in your head and heart and putting it in writing.

No matter how you choose to do it, it can be powerful and beneficial!

 The Benefits
  • Research shows that writing about stressful life experiences boosts our emotional health and also improves immune function both in healthy people and in those with chronic illness. (It feels good and does you good!)
  • It gives you the freedom to express anything and everything that occurs to you, in whatever way you want to do it.
  • It can start a new train of thought or give you a new perspective. It opens space for creativity and new ideas.
  • It allows you to unburden yourself without complaining to other people.
  • It’s private and only between you and you, other people’s reactions don’t need to be considered.
  • As well as documenting your actions, plans and progress through life, it can be an indispensable healing tool in times of transition and stress.
  • Its a way to bring you to your Middle Ground. A place to connect with your Self. A place for centering and refreshment.
My Own Experience

I decided that I would spend 5 minutes every day writing my thoughts and ideas down in a word document before I opened my e-mails.  The first day I spent 5 minutes expressing how uncomfortable and unsure I was about it.

The second day I captured all the new ideas that had come to me during the night that I didn’t want to lose. It felt good to know it was there and I could refer to it later.

The third day was 10 minutes of venting my frustration about a disappointment and then an other 10 minutes on an action plan to move forward with an alternative course of action. Now that felt great. It can be a self coaching tool – and it saves spouses, friends and colleagues from being the recipients of the vent.

I found it works really well for me when I am over thinking and overloaded, or when something is happening in my life where I have little control over.

My other experience of journaling has been while at my Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training programs. It was introduced as a mindfulness practice. Writing by pen and capturing what came up during a particular exercise or practice. I found writing by pen was a different experience and allowed me to capture my stream of consciousness in the moment.

treasure chestBoth methodologies work for me at different times.

I came to see that my reluctance to start came from judgment and a fear of “digging up stuff that is best left alone”. What I found instead was buried treasure.

If you are like I was – just try it with an open mind and open heart and see what gems are there to be discovered.


Please share your own journaling or journalling story here if you like!



* Taking a Sacred Pause


The Last samurai

I am working with an incredible group of people in a workshop series called “Yoga of Transformation”. On monday night we talked about taking mindful action and bringing “flow” into our everyday lives.

Within this flow Dan shared the idea of the sacred pause.  Dan is a Karate Master. The sacred pause for him is that space on the intake of breath that allows him to be fully present, calm and alert before exhaling and moving the energy through his body in whatever direction he chooses.

We then  discussed the pause between reacting to an emotional trigger and giving us the time to think and respond.

This can also happen on an inhale of breath. In that moment, the fight or flight stimulus from our reptilian brain can signal our frontal cortex to think instead of act out.

In the sacred pause we move into choice rather than reaction.

When I came home I was inspired by these words from “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach.


“A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving towards any goal. The pause can occur in the midst of almost any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or for seasons of our life…..
 In a pause we simply discontinue whatever we are doing—thinking, talking, walking, writing, planning, worrying, eating—and become wholeheartedly present, attentive and, often, physically still….

A pause is, by nature, time limited. We resume our activities, but we do so with increased presence and more ability to make choices. In the pause before sinking our teeth into a chocolate bar, for instance, we might recognize the excited tingle of anticipation, and perhaps a background cloud of guilt and self-judgment. We may then choose to eat the chocolate, fully savoring the taste sensations, or we might decide to skip the chocolate and instead go out for a run. When we pause, we don’t know what will happen next. But by disrupting our habitual behaviors, we open to the possibility of new and creative ways of responding to our wants and fears.”

Thank you  Dan and Tara for making something very clear to me…

When we find our Middle Ground we find our Sacred Pause.


* Grace Again

This is a beautiful definition of grace.
Be grateful for the highs in life.
Be graceful in the lows.
Val x

Cast Light

“Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.” – Pope Francis

In the Thornton Wilder play, The Skin of Our Teeth, when the main character George Antrobus is asked what he has lost, he says “the desire to begin again,” noting that it’s the most important thing in life. Each day and every day, we have the opportunity to begin again.

Oftentimes, we allow a few “bad” moments to take our entire day or even week hostage. When we honestly reflect on those days, we realize that there was so much more good in them, but we let the bad trump the good.

By the end of Friday, I had a series of encounters with people demanding me to do what they wanted because it was the most important thing ever. And instead of letting it roll off my…

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* Inspiration in the Pendulum of Life

Today I want to slow down and feel a need to linger in my Middle Ground. When I recognize I am out of balance, its time for me to come back to what’s most important. Some days are easier  than others … its part of the pendulum of lifependulum of life

I decided to see which words of my own would center me and bring me home.  I found this piece about the essence of spirituality:

Spirituality isn’t dogma or the beliefs we have about life, ourselves and the world. Its about how conscious we are in living these beliefs from moment to moment. How we actively live life in connection with ourselves and others. Living with an open heart.

This is my spiritual practice.

Please join with me and take a moment to consider these words and photographs. Pause at each one. Make this a moment of mindfulness and connection. This is an opportunity to get in touch with our feelings and the connection between us all.

“We are all vulnerable and in need of love”

we are all vulnerable and need love

“We are all vulnerable and in need of love”

loving kindness dog

“We are all vulnerable and in need of love”

need for love

“We are all vulnerable and in need of love”

young hand giving flower to old hand

“We are all vulnerable and in need of love”

mother daughter conflict

“We are all vulnerable and in need of love”

How can you bring these words to life today?…

For your self …

For someone you care for …

For someone you are having difficulty with …

For your community and our world …