Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mindful Eating

 Today is a day when many people get together with friends and family to share a meal and time. Often, there's lots of conversation, jokes and reuniting with loved ones whom you haven't seen in awhile. Lots of dynamics are available to experience. In the midst of it all, take a moment to slow down, breathe and truly see the people around you.

Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh, before eating, take a moment to look around at everyone and smile. This shouldn't take more than a few seconds and helps you connect not only to the people with whom you're surrounded, but also with the food you're about to consume.

"Every vegetable, every drop of water, every piece of bread contains in it the life of our whole planet and the sun. With each bite of food, we can taste the meaning and value of our life." 

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Self Care

Last Sunday, I enjoyed a beautifully crisp fall morning walk with one of my best friends. We took a stroll through the local farmers market and I met the man behind Montclair Skin Care. (

After hearing his reasoning behind all the creations, I was convinced I couldn't live without the American Peppermint Foot Cream. Wow...what an experience for your tootsies! I highly recommend buying this heavenly cream and spending some quality time with your feet. I mean, of all things, don't you think they deserve a little gratitude this Thanksgiving week?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Letting the Day Unfold...

After a fun night of dancing and celebrating a great cause (, I took a walkabout of sorts along the coast. I stopped in various places and allowed myself the time to absorb all the beauty around me. I practiced mindfulness meditation, took pictures and followed my curiosity. It was wonderful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life's Confusing Questions

From time to time, confusing debates emerge among my first graders as to whether I'm a "kid" or a "mom". Their understandings seem to align with the following basic principles: 

  • If you have children you are a grown up mom. 
  • If you don't have children, you must be a kid. 
A sweet boy in my class shared his mother's explanation that, "Some people can be a mother to a lot of children even if they're not her own." 

So precious...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pooch or Person?

So, my dog Flynn and I share a birthday...almost. Last year, we were the same age if you count his in dog years. This year, his best birthday gift from Grandma was a striped, stuffed, squeaky snake. Quite frequently, as I walk around our home, I accidentally step on "Snake".  Every time this happens, Flynn comes running over alarmed and high with concern.  He picks up his stuffed friend and walks around whining. I reassure him that Snake is okay and he eventually calms down. This is our routine.
Tonight he tried to take Snake out for a walk.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


We hold those we love in our hearts. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past, whether you live close by or see each other only once in a great while. Those we love are alive within us all the time. Relationships are so important in our lives. Let yourself stay connected with good people and keep them in your heart no matter what.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Letting go is an act of courage...

Recently I sat outside, on an uncharacteristically warm October night, catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in quite a long time. Needless to say, we had plenty to share about our lives and what's been going on for us. At one point we were talking about change and the difficulties that can arise...especially when we don't "choose" it. Generally, we talked about challenges that show up in life and how important it is to be gentle, compassionate and patient with ourselves. Take the time we need to move through it. 

Having a regular mindfulness meditation practice continues to be grounding for me. The process of letting go can often be accompanied by repetitive thoughts that bring us down an emotional spiral. Mindfulness meditation invites me to reunite my mind with my body. I find that the more I practice the more connected I feel with my experience in the moment and the less likely I am to follow negative thought patterns.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Being present for the here and now takes practice and patience. Sometimes my mind walks me through an experience that hasn't even happened yet. My anticipation gets the better of me and takes me right out of the moment. I tell myself all kinds of stories about situations or people and loyally cling to these beliefs as absolute truth. Often, I've worked past memories or future concerns into my story which exacerbate the whole internal  

I wonder what might happen if
 we slow down, take a few breaths and 
greet each moment
 just as it is???

One of my teachers said that one way to know whether your mindfulness practice is working is to take a look at the amount of drama in your life. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Open Arms

Each moment in our lives is a gift. I wake up every morning and read this beautiful quote by one of our world's incredible leaders. I hope you enjoy it too! Have a great day!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Friendships require commitment, compassion, acceptance, love and effort on both sides. At times we face changes and challenges and life isn't easy. Our paths are unique, but we don't walk alone when we cultivate deep relationships with good people. New friends and old friends all hold a very special place in my heart. Thank you for the love.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Today, I am grateful for the sweetness of my first grade students and their authentic way of "showing up" each day. I appreciate their excitement toward learning and their willingness to share exactly what's on their mind. They truly live in the moment and offer this teaching to us.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How Do You Walk Through the Door?

Six months ago, I hadn't pondered the meaning of equanimity or it's significance in my daily life. As I navigate life's twists and turns, I'm learning to pay attention to the way I embrace moments. Sometimes I enjoy pleasant moments I wish would last forever and sometimes I face difficulties I'm not convinced I can bear. Equanimity invites me to notice how I greet each moment whatever it offers. The lightness and darkness of our human experience can be overwhelming, but can also be met with gentleness, compassion and acceptance. Sometimes this is easier said than done...

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.



Sunday, March 11, 2012


"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy."- Brother David Steindl-Rast

I've recently been turned onto the notion that we can choose happiness. At first, this seemed like a really strange concept to me. How can you choose happiness right? Well, I tried it the other day. I was in a grumpy mood from the moment I set foot out of bed. This dark cloud continued to follow me around as I arrived at school and began preparations in my classroom. Deciding that I wasn't going to let myself be hijacked by a foul mood, I practiced mindful breathing and set my intention for a positive day.

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us to be appreciative of life and our ability to participate in it. We can be grateful for our sight, our capacity to move our body, our breath... No matter the external conditions, we can find peace and happiness within ourselves.


It truly is the best policy. I can't think of a time in my life when honesty hasn't been the optimal way to go. As difficult as it can be, there's a freedom that comes with telling the truth. It helps me stay in touch with my authentic self and reassures me that I'll survive whatever the hardship may be. Sometimes we need to face the truth to heal. This has been the case for me.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I'm evolving my mindful breathing practice. My intent for now is to sit quietly and focus on my breath for at least ten minutes each day. I'm not entirely there yet, but acknowledge that it's a process which develops over time and is definitely not as easy as it sounds.

Like many, I am challenged with the simple task of carving out the time. It's interesting how distracted we get with mindless tasks that fill our days while finding all kinds of reasons not to take five quiet minutes to connect with our breath. It's not always a pleasant experience which is another reason many of us tend to avoid it. Thoughts come and go, images come and go, and it requires a lot of patience with ourselves.

I'm going to continue developing my routine of mindful breathing. As I do, I feel connected to my body and am grateful for the hard work it does every day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Express Yourself

Tell those you love that you love them.
There are never too many moments in which you can do this.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Can You Do?

One definition of irony is an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

Today I decided to get my car washed. Rather than clean it myself, it
seemed easy enough to drive through a prepaid service station and have machines do it for me. I admit that I was partly motivated by the thrill I get while sitting inside the car as it gets covered with soap, when I can't see out the windows and it feels like the world could be falling apart and I'd never know... Anyway, I was really looking forward to my car feeling and looking clean again. So I chose the "Rainbow" package, dutifully paid my fee and joined the queue. After the wash is complete, you are instructed to proceed slowly under the powerful hanging dryers. A digital timer reminds you there are 60 seconds available for this final step. I carefully rolled through, kept my eye on the clock and hoped to dry my car completely. When my minute expired, I set off to the grocery store.

While I was shopping, a flock of birds pooped all over the roof and windows.

Isn't that ironic?

Monday, February 13, 2012


The wind is howling outside, Flynn is cuddled up with his stuffed animal on one of his many beds strewn throughout the house and I am home from school recovering from my latest bout of Strep throat. It is here, sitting at my dining room table, that I contemplate the subject of authenticity. How closely aligned am I or are you to your personal truth?

I believe one of the many reasons people bond so deeply with dogs is for this very quality of authenticity. The photo I'm including here is dear to my heart and embodies living in the moment! It isn't surprising that an abundance of authors have written books about the bonds they share with their dogs, and have written novels from the perspective of their canine companions. We all need reminders to be authentic from time to time and who better to deliver the message than our trusty pooches?

I watched a video blog this morning by Gabrielle Bernstein (, a modern day teacher of mindfulness and self awareness. She brought up some simple signs to pay attention to when it comes to following your inner truth. For example, if you are behaving in a way that creates anxiety or guilt, there is a strong chance you've diverted from what you know to be right.

Despite all that we can intellectually comprehend about mindful practices, I find that staying connected throughout our daily behavior is where the rubber hits the road. We all have ideals of what we know to be true and good, however, there may be a disconnect between what we believe and how we behave. Authenticity is present when you're living out your beliefs in real time. Let us pay attention to our behavior today. Notice, without judgement, whether our actions align with what we know to be our truth.