"Think how you can, not why you can't." - Dr. John H. Cox -

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hit me with your best shot

Does anyone remember the infamous "tree ordeal" here on Quince Court?

These are the trees that were damaged in the absolutely HORRID Winter of 2009/10.  They hung, in a severe state of scoliosis, for some six months.  We finally got them upright and tied up a few months ago.  The "tree guy" said it will take up to a year to know if they are going to survive.  

Hmmm...*biting lip*

I look at these trees every day.  I nurture them with thoughts of loving kindness and encouragement.  I examine their roots and wounds often to see if there's anything I can do for them.  I AM their caretaker, after all.  

In the end - I know it's not up to me - that part about whether they "make it" or not.  But, I'm committed to doing the best I can for them while they are here, even as they struggle with impeded breath and broken limbs.

I've been thinking alot about that this morning.

All of life is uncertainty, isn't it?

Let me say that again.

All of life is uncertainty.

As humans, we get a little rattled by that word.  Well, at least I know I do.  Sometimes I wish it could just magically disappear from the dictionary. *POOF*  "Uncertainty, be gone.  We don't need you around here anymore."

If we really don't KNOW a damn thing -
if everything is uncertain all of the time -
why not just throw our hands up in the air, throw in the towel, wave the white flag, and declare it a loss?

It's like investing months of training into a 10k - showing up on time - running your ass off - faster than ever before in your life - finishing the race - and then... 
realizing, you never moved an inch off the starting line at all.

What do I have to learn from looking at trees - morning after morning - investing time and energy into - *pause* - the irrefutable uncertainty of their existence?

What. is. up. with. THAT. Tina?

Sometimes I think that absolutely nothing will happen with those trees for an entire year.  They will give me no sign of CERTAINTY.  In fact, I would almost bet on it.  

Some days - like today - they will look like they are gleefully showering in the pouring rain.  Shining themselves up.  Feeding their roots.  Smiling, and singing...."ain't nuthing wrong with ME!"  

Other days I suspect they'll look pale.  Probably this Winter.  Yep. Scraggly.  Thin.  Sad.  As if to say, "what do YOU expect from me?"

Yeah, that's it.

What if we, as humans, shouted that question out to the Universe.

"What do you expect from me?

"What do you expect from me?"



I don't know about you but, my Holy Universal Enlightened Voice of Certainty, does not respond over the loud speaker!  

In fact, She's more like a wry-smiled mischievious sprite taunting from behind a tree......

"pssssstttt......over here........first ya gotta catch me!  nyah nyah!"

I imagine myself grabbing her by her raggedy little hem, jacking her up a bit and saying, "Hey, you are MINE.  Speak clearly.  Slowly.  And in English.  You better straighten up and fly right!"

We look each other straight in the eyes. 

And, very softly but assuredly She whispers,

"Do your best.  Stand up tall.  Breathe.  Nurture you Self.  Put one foot in front of the other.  And, as for the rest - I got this one, k?"  *winks*






How can I resist a face like that?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Excuse me, Dear Tina, but why are you up at 5:30 a.m.?  Don't you have a busy day ahead of you?

I toss a little this way.
Adjust pillows.
Turn that way.

I get up.  Get some juice.  Go to the bathroom.

Aaah.  The cat is by the front door and wants to go out.  His normal routine.  Must mean he's feel better.  Whew.  Thank you, God, once again!  Whew.  OK, that's why I woke up.  Max.


I can't go back to sleep.

Something is stirring

Now the dog is what's stirring!  He wants to go out.

I stand outside on the back deck waiting for him and feel it in the air ---

Something is stirring.

I notice it's not quite as cool as it has been the past few mornings.  No, not uncomfortable out here at all.

It's quite pleasant, actually.

I get tired of standing - waiting for the dog - and sit down on my chaise.  My gosh, it feels good out here!  I chuckle.  Usually I'm sitting in this very spot trying to soak up a little Vitamin D while I work or study.  Now, I sit on a chair meant for sunbathing, moon and star-bathing!.  Ha.  Leave it to me!  But - wow - it feels good out here!  

Strange - the thoughts that come to me when I'm one-eye-opened.  Maybe I'm in a state of exhaustion-related delirium?  "OK, this is crazy, Tina."

"Shut up, you voice, you voice of reason, you!  Something is stirring out here and I can't miss it!"

I go make coffee.  Get my two very favorite blankets.  Dog is now asleep under the bed.  I tell him we're going outside.  Apparently he doesn't believe me!   lol   "Snooze or lose, Duke.  Something is stirring."

He follows me to the deck - head down, long ears swaying as he walks.  He looks at me as I settle in on the lounger with coffee and blankets.  You know that look - he turns his head from side to side in bewilderment - it looks like he's shaking his head and rolling his eyes at me!  :D

Friends, I really don't care anymore.  Summer is escaping through my fingertips like grains of sand.  I cling to the Summer Triangle like a toddler being dropped off at daycare, shredding her mother's hem.

But, there is something going on out here.  I've been feeling it, haven't you?  Autumn, of course.  Transformation, of course.  Life, death, rebirth.  Balance of night and day.  All of that, certainly.  But, there's something different...that I can't quite pinpoint.

Something is stirring.

I recline...study the contrast between the blackened arms of the trees and the night sky.  Funny how it looks like the trees are chasing the stars.  The stars taunting, "catch me if you can!"  I close my eyes and I'm reminded of how much the rustling leaves mimic the sounds of the ocean.  "If you close your eyes and listen, you can be anywhere."

My blanket smells like the Sea.  My best childhood friend and I have the same blankets and we hang them on the deck when we visit the ocean together and then vow not to wash that glorious scent from them until we see one another again.  Crazy, I know.  But, don't knock it til you try it.  It works!  And it serves as a very important reminder for me, in certain moments, like now.

I top off my coffee.  Come back outside.  Sit.

And, I notice something I have never noticed before.  There is an aura surrounding the trees.  I see it in one large tree at first. I squeeze my eyes closed and open them again.  Am I seeing things?  I take off my reading glasses.  No, there is definitely an aura surrounding that tree!  Duh, Tina - it is a living breathing being!  I trace the pinkish-purple line of energy surrounding this tree, and guess what?  It connects to the tree next to it!  And the one next to that one!  I trace the whole-of-the-horizon with my eyes.  When a tree moves, its aura grows.  When a tree is still, the aura softens, settling into itself.  How about that?!  How TELLING is that?! 

The stars slow dance across the paling sky.  I look way over in the distance.  The aura is still there.  Huge.  Huge huge huge!  Scattering energy allllllllllll over the place!  

I. am. humbled.

Where are the stars going?  I was going to take a nap under the stars!  It's like they are disappearing one by one.  Quickly!  I wonder if I could keep my eye on just one - until it sinks into the vast sky. Suddenly, I feel sad, and shout inside the resounding walls of myself, "Don't go.  Don't go!"  I am reminded of how far I have to go when it comes to aparigraha, i.e., "non-attachment."  *I just looked down at the keyboard to type that sentence, and when I look back up, my star is gone*.  My star is gone.  My. star. is. gone.  But I'm still here...  WHAT DO WE DO WITH THAT?????

I notice that it's almost like they are blowing away in the breeze.  Closest to me are the swirling leaves.  I can see them now, as the indigo sky rolls into lavendar.  Yes, that's what the sky looks like right now - lavendar caressing cinnamon - fading auras - and vanishing blue-white stars.
To me, it's quite ironic that as the stars ascend and dissolve into the distance, the descending leaves become more visible.  Like a tradeoff.  A reminder that we are never left with nothing to hold on to.

I notice the very top of one of the evergreens (I think they are?)  There are a few leaves poised - perfectly balanced - on it's strong shoulders.  They'll only be there for a moment.  And when the next little gust comes, they'll float away.  The tree will still stand.  I imagine the branches heavy with snow in a few short months - the tip still reaching for the sky - strong - head held high.  I place a bet with myself that several months from now I'll be able to connect a star in the distance with the tip of that tree, much like a children's connect-the-dots book.  A Christmas tree.  Outside.  A really big one.  With no mess, no fuss.  MY kind of Christmas tree.  I try to mark a spot in the sky, like you would make a pencil mark on the wall to show your kid how much they've grown in a short period of time.  I wonder how much that tree will have grown when springtime finally arrives.  I long for it already, and imagine the tree looking very happy.  Really, really green, encircled in a halo of light....it's very own aura....


It's quite curious how, in the past hour, I haven't heard the cars in the distance at all.  Now they seem to get louder and louder with people hustling and bustling around - hurrying off to work.  

I look up.  No more stars.  The pallid periwinkle sky covers me like a blanket.

I go inside.
Warm coffee.
Grab a pillow and my cell phone.
Chuckle at the dog who is back under the bed.

Just that quickly, the birds have starting moving.  The neighbor pulls out of her driveway, headed to her job in DC.  I think to myself that I hope she is going to a job she loves today.  

I snap a feeble photo of the sky with my cell phone - my paltry attempt to capture a moment.  I'm always doing that, aren't I?  "You can't capture moments, Tina.  You just can't capture a moment.  One little breeze and it will just blow away.  Or disappear into the sky."

I hereby resist the urge to go back and make this post "pretty."
Hell, I may not even spellcheck it.
Nothing is perfect.  Nobody is perfect.
And, everything is changing.

Something is stirring.

Something is stirring.

Something is stirring!
I get a little nervous for just a moment.

"What if's" poke at my insides.


how could it be anything but GOOD, with a sky like this following my every move?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If it makes you happy............

...and this most certainly does!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chronicles of the Stripper (based on a true story) by Tina

So...ummm...I'm selling skincare products.

No...no one has hijacked my laptop.  It's me - Tina!  :)

No...no one is holding me hostage.  It's me - Tina!  :)

No one bribed me or coerced me or promised me anything.  It's me - Tina!  :)

I am the one who wears the T that says "can I be honest with you?"  Remember? yeah!  ME!

So, about the stuff...

In short, here's what happened:

My good friend, Jacqueline who lives alllllllll the way over there in Cali, starting selling Beauty Society products.  I was interested - but mostly just to help her her out.  She has helped me out quite a few times over the years - this is how women support one another, right? :)

So, I sampled a few things,  and bought maybe a product or two, just to help Cap'n Jacq.  I never expected much.  Eh?  Skincare products?  I dunno - none of them ever do what they claim.  In essence - THEY LIE - or at least fib!  And, honestly...after all these years of trying this and that - and, a few times even going over the top for some "miracle" product - I had just dropped everything and settled on very very basic and simplistic skincare.  Oatmeal, honey, witch hazel, and the like...cheap, and kinda sorta 75% worked for me.

So, I'm using these Beauty Society samples here and there and all of a sudden I start noticing little things.  Like - ummmm, WHERE did my pores go?  Ummm, why is my face not shiny at noon?  And, heyyy...my face kinda feels good to the touch.  Hmmmm.  Did the Midlife Fairy Godmother pay me a visit or sumn?  *grins*

I could only surmise it was the Beauty Society products.  That was the only thing I had changed.  I certainly had NOT won the lottery and gone for a professional microdermabrasion treatment - cuz, I woulda remembered that!

Now I'm wanting MORE.  My samples are running out.  Eh.  I'm not sure I can afford these products.  I talk to Jacq.  Together we conclude that I could buy the whole "Diva Kit" as they call it, for the same price as a few of the products I really wanted.

Me?  A consultant?  Salesperson?  DIVA?!!!!  Nah......

Still unconvinced, I piecemeal a few more products.

I'm happy.  Things are goin goooooood.  Less maintenance. Less makeup.  Easy.  Simple.  Feels good.  Free - and you know how I feel about my freeeeeedom!!!!!!!!!!

I run out of The Stripper and think, "Oh well, I'll just go back to witch hazel or some other toner or astringent thingy."  No problem, right?  Not a big deal.

Uh-oh.....here comes that army o' large pores a marchin in.  Where were those guys anyway, extended lunch break?  And, blotchiness!  Hey...what's goin on around here?  Ohhhhhh.......I had been using that stuff called Drama Free and ran out of that too.

Begeeeeeeeeeeeeeze.  Is it possible I am addicted to skincare products?  In such a short period of time?  I didn't even feel that coming on.  I must being suffering from withdrawal!  Somebody phone Intervention pronto!

Well, I didn't email Intervention, but I did email Cap'n Jacq!  "Get me some of that Stripper and Drama Free stuff STAT, Jacq!"  She says to me, "Tina, I'll send you out these two products, but this is insane, woman!  You could have bought the whole kit and more by now!"  I tell her to give me a day - cuz that's just how I am, yanno ;)

It's a few days later, and I wave the white flag.

"Alright, Jacq.  You got me.  I'm IN." (and hurry up and send me the stuff before I change my mind!)

Well, let me tell you - whomever is reading this...

It has been Christmas in September ever since.  Not only did I get The Stripper and Drama Free but I got the kit and more more more.  No extra cost!  Big boxes are arriving at my doorstep!!!!!!!   Oh my!!!!!!  Gifts!  Extras! A huge, very sturdy duffle bag on wheels, which I used immediately for a yoga overnighter.  Nice notes and lots of special attention.  Good grief!  The mice have set Cinderella freeeeeeeeeee.  I am feeling like a princess and wonder if someone has made a mistake!

It takes me a few days to settle back to Earth.....

I sit in the floor of my office, surrounded like a kid at Christmas-time, thinking to myself, "OK, this is all well and fine and wonderful but...how am I supposed to embody the persona of a 'Diva' and sell these products?  WHO are you kidding, Tina?"

I bite my lip.  Chew a fingernail or two.  Twist my hair.

I'll use my daughter as a guinea pig!  After all, she IS the only person on this Earth I can flat out order to do something!  *grins*  I give her a small sample of the Set Me Free cleanser and beg her to try it.  She says she will, but I have my doubts.  Now, this girl is extremely picky about what she uses on her face - even moreso than I am!  She has very sensitive and finicky skin and any change in routine is just asking for disaster.  She's also as stubborn as a cute lil newborn mule :)  A few days later she calls me out of the blue and says exactly this, "Mom, my face feels SO good.  And, I can't believe it's the afternoon and it's not oily at all!"

NOW, I smile.  :)

Next, I have to decide on a ummm....."business approach. "  bleh.

It didn't take me long though! 

Here's what I came up with:  Very simply, I am going to be honest.  That's it!

Hey, it works in the other facets of my livelihood, doesn't it?  And, my platform is authenticity and empowering women, after all.

So, that's it.  I'm being honest with YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU (and all of your friends and family).

1.  The stuff works.  It does what it says it will.
2.  You can get free samples, OR, if you purchase something and don't care for it, there is a bottom-of-the-bottle, money-back guarantee from the company and from ME.  You already know you can trust me!
3.  If, by any chance, you decide, as I did, to buy the Diva Starter Kit - you will be treated like royalty. I am NOT kidding.  And furthermore - even if you never sell a single thing, you still get insane discounts on the product.  (I figured, hey - even if I can just fund my own "habit" what would be wrong with that?!)
4.  Browse the labels!  You'll be just as pleasantly surprised as I was to see ingredients like:  tea tree, sage thyme, chamomile, and Vitamins A, C & E.  I like that! :)
5.  Beauty Society cares about the environment and getting the most for your money.  Many of the products are available in a refill and I have noticed that the serums and cleansers go a very long way.  You only need a little to get the job done.  Seriously!
6.  And, here's the clincher:  Beauty Society has teamed up with Women for Women International - an organization that helps to support and empower women in war-torn countries.  Now, that, I LOVE!

Here's my challenge for YOU: 

Tell me - where is your current skincare program lacking?

Is there any one particular area you'd like to work on  (for me it's dark circles under my eyes and old scars/blotchiness)?

I challenge you to try one product and let me know what you think.  If you don't like it (but I know you will) - you get a full refund.  Period.

What say ye?

Oh!  And, did I mention makeup?  :D

Friday, September 10, 2010



So often in life it takes a great deal of patience, hard work, persistence, and a whole lotta hiking and mountain-climbing in order to reach a goal or feel a sense of accomplishment in something I've done.  FINALLY, I sit at the plateau, take a breather, dust off, and think to myself, "wow, what a ride that was!"  Other times it's so effortless and fun and QUICK that it almost feels like an illusion or that I'm not worthy of it.  Do they really call this a "job"?

This week has been filled with these emotions and more.  I saw senior citizens sitting in "easy pose" comfortably - laughing - smiling - completely at ease.  (If a person didn't know any better they may not realize how difficult it can be to master a pose with the word "easy" in its name.) I'm talking about people with arthritis and fibromyalgia and cancer and hip and knee replacements, who a mere ten weeks ago cringed at the mere thought of it!  I saw them honor one another - for having the courage to just show up for yoga class and for life, balance in postures on one leg, and R-E-L-A-X (which also takes practice).  And, to somehow have played a small part in them reaching their goals - well, it just overwhelms me at times.

Another one of my students who has been practicing with me for only a little over two years signed up for the first leg of yoga teacher training at my alma mater, Yama Studio, today.  Wow.  What a joy it has been to nurture this seed and watch her grow.  It is truly one of the highest honors I have ever experienced.  Tomorrow I will embark on a new leg of my own journey, having been asked to mentor a new group of student-teachers in training.

Looking back over the years, surely I see patterns that repeat themselves.  We all do, don't we?  Some things have been, are, and will continue to be tough, just tough, for me.   Hopefully I'll learn some lessons along the way that will help make some of them a little easier.  Maybe not.  And, how old will I be by that time? *chuckles* But, there's one thing I've learned for certain...

Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

This is life.  And it can be hard.  It's full of bitter and sweet.  Most of us will have to work hard for everything we accomplish and everything we have in this lifetime.  So, if we're going to work hard at this - why not choose a livelihood for yourself that reaps the kind of benefits that are priceless?

Seriously.  I wish I'd learned that much earlier...

Thanks, Yama Studio!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I can't blog about trust again, can I? 

Geeeeeze......this thing just keeps on poppin up!

I opened one of my all time-fav books, Until Today by Iyanla Vanzant this morning and this is what she has to say...


Trust is never out there...

Trust is a decision...

Trust is not about looking for evidence that you are doing things right every step of the way as you move toward the end result... 

Trust is not about getting something back for the work you do as a sign that you are doing the right thing...

Trust is based on your ability to stand your ground and rely on your own abilities, knowing that no matter what happens, you will be better off than you were at the beginning...

Something came up in my class with the seniors just the other day...

I was encouraging each of them to build trust within themselves - within their own bodies.  We talked about how props and supports (i.e., chair wheelchair, wall) are precisely that - props and supports; but not the primary source of strength or stability.  Get it?  In other words, a walker becomes a hindrance and possibly a safety hazard if one is leaning on/into it, rather than just using it as a secondary tool to their own strength.  Eh?  

I left them with this question: 

"WHO/WHAT do you trust the most - your Self or a prop?"

And, to turn the mirror around, I must ask:

"WHO/WHAT am I leaning on unnecessarily?"

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's YOUR TURN to Decide

For some reason there seems to be a slight buzz about taking giant leaps swirling around this week.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  But not likely.

Anyway, I've been thinking about it alot - this giant leap thing.  I have taken more giant leaps in the last five years than in my entire adult lifetime; and particularly in the last year. 

Once the "Grand Tsunami of late 2009" hit, I was forced to reconsider, revamp, and redirect in more ways than I can count on my fingers and toes.  Cuz, when a wave picks you up, tosses you around like t.p. going DOWN, then graciously sends you airborne and plants you at the top of a cliff - well, it can be a bit disorienting to say the least.  "Where is my bathing suit top anyway?"




So, ya stand there - thankful to be in one piece - adjusting, brushing yourself off, pulling seaweed outta your eyelashes - and then take a look around.  In my case - it's apt to be a LONG look around.  I'm no good at uncharted waters, somewhat leery of heights, and - LEAP?  heh.  Sure.  You go first!

There's a quote by Diane English...well, I'm not sure if she actually wrote it, but she uses it in her cards (which I absolutely love).

*momentary pause to add Diane English boxed cards to birthday/Christmas wish list.


and the net will appear.

That quote has been with me for years - and has gotten me through some pretty scary free falls.  That's some pretty radical TRUST in the Universe she's talkin about right there, eh?

I had a conversation recently with a fellow businesswoman and friend, and she made this comment..

"When wondering how you'll wind up becomes less frightening to you than KNOWING how you'll end up if you stay [at the top of the mountain]...that's the right time [to leap].

Now THOSE are some words of wisdom!  Yes!  I am sure to get 200k miles out of that mantra!

So, I started thinking...ok, so maybe sometimes you aren't really at the top of a mountain.  Maybe it just FEELS like a mountain.  Maybe it's a medium leap.  Or even a tiny one.  A hill.  Let's say a hill.  Hey, if you aren't familiar with your surroundings, and you're not sure what's at the bottom or what happens if you just sit at the top - it's just as intimidating, methinks!  How about if you're on the ground, but still feel frozen - paralyzed - afraid to take a step in any direction cuz you're not sure how it might turn out?  Aaaaaaah...I recall that Anais Nin quote I used to having hanging on my bulletin board in my...ahem...corporate penthouse office...

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Oooooooooh yeah.  Now.  Now we're really getting into it!


"Where's the closing paragraph?" you ask.  

Today feels like a day for deciding for yourself, don'tcha think?

~ T ~