Stepping Stones: In and Up


At first, my yoga practice was piecemeal. I couldn’t have told you what made me feel so great about it. Just that it did…make me feel great. I had an intense fear of being in a room with lots of people and moving my body (at least without alcohol involved). That is on top of a general fear of doing things “wrong” in an atmosphere where everyone seemed to somehow just know how to do things right.

So, I would pick a spot on the side of the room close enough so that I could see the teacher (because I had to watch every move he or she made) but not in the front row (heavens, no). Preferably behind some kind of pole or other obstruction. I would fumble and fall, weird noises would emanate from my body, and I would think that everyone in the room was silently laughing at me.

But I still did it. Occasionally. Despite the stomach tied in knots, the sweaty, slippery palms. Believe it or not, I would sometimes have panic attacks during savasana (the restful part at the end). I did it because it made me feel good. And because somehow, between grunts and struggles and panic attacks, I could hear the very yogic message that it really was all okay, all just part of the process. That each struggle was just a bump on the path to myself.

And then, after a few times (not even that many!) I wasn’t the newbie anymore. And I wasn’t remotely laughing at the person who was. And, I realized, neither was anyone else. I was excited for the newcomer! I wanted to be like, “Woo hoo! Aren’t we so great for doing this!? Isn’t this so, so awesome!? Like 2 weeks ago I couldn’t do that either!”

And then I started going regularly, and changes were taking place so slowly, I didn’t notice them as they were happening. It may seem counter-intuitive, but that is one of the things I absolutely love about yoga. It is a practice. And as you practice you improve. Slowly. But, really, you do! I have come to love the slowness of it. Taking each pose as it comes to you, on that day, in that moment. And then one day you just realize that your knees are a lot closer to your nose than when you started. That you can twist a little bit deeper than you could before. That your breath is getting longer.

Breath is incredibly powerful. When you get to know your breath, and start working with it, you can calm yourself down through the worst of a panic attack, quiet your mind in chaos, slow your rapidly beating heart, or, if you are wanting the opposite, heat yourself up, get ready for a fight.

I started picking these things up like tools. Strengthening, balancing, aligning, centering, grounding, rising up, calming. These are things I sorely needed in my life, and they found me on my mat, and I could take them with me everywhere. I can, and I do.

And each day I woke up a little more to myself. It happens that while you are opening space in your body, you are opening space in your soul.


Sometime last year, sitting in a week long workshop (every morning at 6:00am so I could squeeze it in before work) something else came to me, in a flash, like some really good things sometimes do.

“I need to teach this to others.”

Simple, right? I didn’t know how that would work with a 1 year old, and a job, and life. As much as I would have loved it, it was not in the cards to live at Kripalu for a month. And then one week later I came upon a program through YogaSpirit. 3 hours a week, 5 intensive weekends, 13 months. 25 minutes from home, after work hours, a form class with a beautiful balance of study between the asana (poses) and the spiritual. 14 of the most amazing, beautiful fellow students I could have imagined, in a heart-centered studio, with a powerful, wise, guide. Bam.

Here I am almost 12 months later, nearing the end of this phase of training. Wondering where I’ll teach, how I’ll teach, who I’ll teach. Excited for what is next. So grateful to my teachers, my students, and to myself for going in and up.

I mentioned I would introduce you to the people and things that have helped me along the way. In keeping with my baby steps theme I am going to call these posts “Stepping Stones”. These will be posts where I highlight people, systems, tools, stories that have supported me, nudged me, or downright launched me down my path.

Free tools & resources 100 ways to teach with twitter 100 ways to teach with twitter february 7, 2010 279 here’s 10 great ideas on how to use twitter in the classroom, from blogger steve wheeler


But first, the groundwork.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you have heard about how I was so anxiety-ridden I panicked all the way through a spectacular vacation. You’ve read that I couldn’t drum up the courage to call a good friend who had reached out to connect with me. And you’ve heard about how signing up for a retreat had me paralyzed with fear. There are a million more stories like that.

I couldn’t raise my hand in my MBA classes because my mind would be racing trying to analyze my answer, making sure it would come across perfectly. When in a circle, going around with each person asked to speak, I would be concentrating so hard on what my story would be, that I took in very little of what others were sharing. I made so deep this pattern of rearranging my thoughts and feelings before they left my mouth that if called upon out of the blue, I found I didn’t even have access to my deepest inner knowing. I would echo what someone else said, or say something that sounded good, or just make some damn thing up.

This was me. It still is me, some days. Protected by a complex strata of camouflage, facade, perfected pieces of me, and just sheer will to remain hidden. And wow mama, I have been so very good at it. I have been the one often forgotten, the one who is frequently called by someone else’s name, or started at blankly as it is attempting to be recalled. I have been completely underground.

For a while it was comfortable in there. At least more comfortable than not-in-there. And then it started to get really lonely. How could anyone see me, if I wasn’t willing to show up?

I can’t pinpoint a conscious decision to emerge. And let me state again that I am still working on it, every day. But as I open up a bit more, and trust the universe to deliver, I am rewarded again and again. It feels like unwinding. It looks like unwinding from a thatch of dark, thick, thorny vines. And then I want to find the other women who are like me, and help them emerge, too.

This is the woman I want to be. ')}

Announcing emergingedtech’s 2011 free education technology resources ebook march 2, 2011 after years of writing articles here, and months of selecting, do my homework paper compiling, editing, and formatting the selected posts, my first ebook is finally done


“Baby steps to the elevator…”

I want to articulate how this journey is going for me. That is why I created this blog.

I have been finding things pretty difficult to articulate and being gentle with myself is part of this journey, so I haven’t pressured myself to write here.

What is happening, as I ease off myself, as I mindfully hold my intention for this year to shine my light and not hide it anymore, as I actively use my yoga practice and training to notice, spin, heal, my chakras (especially that 2nd one, is it ever a doozy. Sometimes it literally makes me nauseous.)? What is happening as I work with my financial coach to stand firm in my relationship with currency? What is happening as I work with various self-healing helpers to continue to open myself up?

I feel myself un-budding like so many spring flowers.

Osteopath. Star reader. Therapist. Shamanic Circle. So many more. These are my tools. And I want to tell you more about them.

So. I am going to. At my own pace, which by now you’ve realized is pretty slow.

And here is the full disclosure. These tools, and this part of my journey is a big part of what I have been hiding. Not everyone is going to understand. Not everyone is going to support me. I might lose some friends, or acquaintances who thought that I was someone else (not their fault…I’m the one who has been hiding). It is ok. It is time to shed the need to make everyone happy, or not make even a single wave. Everyone will be better for it, including me.

P.S. The title of this post is from the movie “What about Bob.” I really like that movie.


This 50 page booklet contains dozen of informative articles about many free web-based technologies that can help educators engage students, be more productive, and have fun in the classroom


What came to me today in meditation…


It doesn’t matter *when* you realize your gifts. Don’t worry if you didn’t figure it out in kindergarten. Now is a perfect time.

Announcing the new and improved 2013 edition of the free education technology resources ebook a million official declaration thank yous


Thirty Seven

Every year around my birthday I write myself a poem to capture the moment and what is in my heart. Since this is a year to let my light shine outward, I am going to write it right here. The idea is that it just pours out of me and doesn’t get edited which is terrifying. But, ain’t that just the point.

Hard work
has new meaning.
Less of the painstaking, backbreaking building of walls
and more learning to use the tide to tear them down.

As the moon-lit, moon-led broth slips under the cracks and pulls
     more of the slab away,
years of carefully collected silt and debris

And in the end I will be so like the unencumbered sea
you won’t be able to look away. ')}

I first came across my explanation jonathan bergmann’s work when I wrote 7 stories from educators about teaching in the flipped classroom last fall



Kyphosis of the cervical spine.

In layman’s terms that means the natural curve of my spine in my neck is not only gone, it is going in the wrong direction. The “C” is opening toward the front instead of the back like its supposed to.

Since I am not aware of any trauma to that area (like whiplash for example), the cause is pretty much unknowable. Could be all that hunching over a computer for that last 14 years. Could be the way I sleep. Could be that I never developed the proper curve. But it strikes me that is related to the fact that I have spent much of my life trying to hide. Curled up in a little C shape, protecting all my vulnerabilities like a caught caterpillar. Trying to make myself as small as possible. It has structurally become my default position.

For years I have been having intermittent muscle spasms in my neck and shoulders, and even tingling in my left hand. I never had it checked out. It always coincides with stressful times and so I figured it was just my body telling me to chill out. But this time, just last week, I decided to see a chiropractor. And he pretty much figured it out immediately. I had x-rays to confirm.

I have slowly, progressively stooped.

And it stops here.


What I did not know at that time was that he had won the presidential award for excellence for math and science teaching in 2002 and was named semifinalist for the colorado teacher of the year in 2010


My word for 2013.


I thought for a week or so that it might be “truth”. But then I had a moment of clarity.

Sitting in my in-law’s living room in Tacoma, by the fireplace. I was struggling. To be quite honest I was invited to open up to someone I care about and was paralyzed with fear. It was just an invitation to share in a phone call and I couldn’t do it. And I asked my husband why he thought that might be. And he let me ramble on about needing to perfect and not being able to edit, and middle school drama impairing my trust, and injury to my sense of self.

And then he hummed to me…”This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine.”

And it was so unexpectedly expected. And so spot on. (He’s good like that). So.


it is.

Light ')}

Aaron sams also received the presidential award for excellence in math and science teaching, in 2009


To do or not to do…

Back in December of last year I chose a word for the year ahead, like many do. My word for 2012 was “realize”. And I nailed it, but in a completely different way than I intended.

What I meant by “realize” was to stop doing so much thinking and start acting. What happened was that I thought. I thought a lot. Sure, I got some things done. I started this blog, for example, a place to think out loud. And after Matrilumina in August, something in me took a right turn, and I just needed to stop putting so much pressure on myself to Do. I needed to just sit. And be.

It took a while for me to understand that, of course. For months and months I was just frustrated with myself that I wasn’t getting things done. I would sign up for an e-course and would kinda just sit and listen to what everyone else’s experience was rather than participating myself. On facebook I would read important, meaningful conversations happening in my circles, and not comment at all. Hanging back. I didn’t create the business of my dreams. And I got pretty upset with myself for all that.

And then I realized that I am a do-er. I do, do, and do all day, every day. My husband and I joke about our shared online calendar being like a game of Tetris. We fill open slots with the appropriate shaped activities as quickly as we can. I am a mom to a toddler, I cook and I love it, I clean, I plan playdates, I work, I am becoming a yoga teacher, I knit, I create, I connect, I compost, etc. etc. What I am not very comfortable with is the not-doing. And this year was about realizing how equally important the not-doing can be. Slow down. Pay attention. Sit and listen.

I needed to pull back and rest to get back in touch with myself, to identify what is really important to me, and learn how to select to do those things, instead of trying to Do everything.

I am still working on my word for next year. I am letting it come as it comes, Letting This Happen, Too. I’ll let you know when it lands.

In the meantime, I wish you all inner peace and contentment all throughout the New Year.

Together, aaron and jon recently created the flippedclassroom


Squam by the Sea – Part Two

My time by the sea doesn’t seem so long ago, though it has been over a month and a half now. I am just rolling with how long it takes for pieces to fall into place.

My first class was with Alena Hennessy. I had heard her read from her book at Squam in the Spring, and my mother-in-love had taken her class last Autumn, so I was familiar with her gentle, beautiful spirit. I so looked forward to the opportunity to get to know her better and I was not disappointed. She almost didn’t make it. Alena was in a terrible car accident on her way to Squam. Somehow, miraculously, she walked away with minor physical injuries. And, she managed to continue her journey to Corolla, NC and teach two classes! It speaks volumes to her giving spirit, her resiliency, her strength that she arrived and was there, fully present for us, her students. I am so grateful for her, and for her gentle guidance.


In her class we spent some time with ourselves, meditating, and listening to our inner voices, journaling, sketching, delving in. With some brief instruction on how to use my new favorite medium, India Inks, we were given full freedom to explore and paint and glue and glaze on our wooden boards. I was pulled right into the process. Letting my intention guide my progress, I simply put down color, put down an image, glued down some fibrous paper. I was so into it I didn’t want to break for lunch, just grabbed a quick bite, and headed right back down to the classroom. I have never been so happy with a painting in my life. Not because it is something beautiful for others to see, but because I see my intention in it. It communicates to me just what I wanted it to. Articulation. I value it so highly.


My second class was split over Friday and Saturday and was with Susannah Conway. This has been a year of getting to know my Nikon digital SLR. I started with Amy Gretchen’s class in the Spring and got my footing with the technical stuff. With Amy’s guidance and some practice I have started to feel like I remember how to use my camera as a tool to capture beauty. I participated in Stacy de la Rosa’s Soulecologie course in the Summer which gave me prompts and practice for seeing beauty in everything.


Susannah’s class was beautiful punctuation, bringing all the pieces together. My classmates ranged from some simply using their iphones to those who had brought three or four different cameras, old and new. Talking with them and seeing through their eyes was, in itself, a valuable education. Susannah took me to the next level. She gave us pointers on perspective and using light and framing, and gifted us little cards with prompts like “shadow/light playful/serious” and set us free. That permission, and pulling those prompts out of my pocket as I strolled along the sea…it opened something up in me. I was so thrilled with the images I was capturing. Again finding a way to articulate my intention, almost effortlessly. It just came from my gut.

faces “perspective reality/fantasy”

Both of these teachers helped me open up, broke down some old barrier I had between my vision and my creative action. They each helped me set intention, and gave me the freedom and the gentle nudge to let the medium take me to it. The result was a truly glorious sensation of fully enjoying both the process and the creation itself. With this new-found satisfaction I submitted both my painting and a slideshow of images to the “gallery” we had on our last night. For the first time I can remember, I didn’t need people to love it, or like it even. That hope just wasn’t part of the equation somehow. This time, it was just pure me out there on the table, slideshowing across the screen of my laptop. And, probably not surprisingly to you all, people did like it! I don’t know whether I was just that I began to HEAR people telling me they liked it, where before I would have shrugged off their praise like it was an ostentatious fur coat, or if my work was actually connecting with more people. Probably a bit of both. Either way, it has changed me – this knowing what I am capable of. It is utterly refreshing.

Run “selfies/people moving/still” ')}

Org social network, and this year they have published, flip your classroom reach every student in every class every day


Squam by the Sea


The great sea has set me in motion ,
set me adrift,
moving me like a weed in a river.

The sky and the strong wind
have moved the spirit inside of me
till I am carried away
trembling with joy.

-Uvavnuk (Mid-19th-Early 20th Century)

Too much of a good thing? I suppose this concept applies to many aspects of life. Wine, brownies, and Etsy come to mind as things in which I can easily over-indulge. However, Squam Art Workshops is not one of those things. I did wonder about that, as I packed up for my fourth Squam in two and a half years. But I was quickly, and summarily, put in my place.

This time I attended Squam by the Sea. All the magic transported from the lakeside to the seaside. Sparkling in the luminous Michelle Madden Smith‘s ‘hood, she noted that in the Outer Banks of North Carolina we are “dangling on the edge of the Earth”. Her words are heartbreakingly evidenced by the devastation Hurricane Sandy has left in her wake. It is situated on a strand of land spit out into the Atlantic, the sea tearing endlessly at the eastern shore, constantly altering the boundary between yourself and it. The bay at your back. For me it is breathtakingly powerful to be so precariously balanced.


I traveled down to Squam with two good friends I met at my first Squam. Though we see each other infrequently, we picked right up where we left off. Effortless friendship. We stopped at knitting sisters on our way down and my friend and I decided to stretch our novice knitting skills and take on this project. For the remainder of the weekend we alternated between cursing “make-one-lefts” and our own fumbling fingers and feeling like knitting rockstars. Thankfully we had a few friends around to help us when we got stuck, and plenty of wine to lift our spirits. Still a work in progress for me, and it is addictive.

On our first evening, we received a beautiful gift. The first of many – this one tangible. Tracey Lee Duncan had us each pull a necklace out of a small paper sack. She made each one individually and every one was totally unique. Each had a word or two inscribed on it and somehow, magically, that word seemed to perfectly fit its new owner. The color schemes almost always matched what the person was wearing. They became a way to instantly connect to your neighbor, to the people you met in your classes, to a stranger passed on the path. Just as quickly as that, we all had a secret decoder.

My necklace reads “thoughtful”. It is a gift I cherish.

And there were so many amazing souls, once again. 80 creative, wide-open hearts. My people. Some I’ve known for a while now, some I just met, all have left a mark on my heart. Being among them gives me purpose. We are all vulnerable. We are all valued. In that space blooms so many wonderful things. Affirmation of self, creative works of art, friendship, compassion, healing. And all the while the sea, holding us.

Oh, and I happened to take some classes, too. I’ll get to that in my next post, as this one has languished long enough.

Till then.


The book is an outstanding introduction to the flipped classroom by two teachers who have honed their craft over many years