Friday, January 25, 2013

Frozen River

I drove to Shutesbury for my cranial sacral appointment with Charles Gilliam this morning.  He is very calm and healing to be around.  The sun pours in the windows of his treatment room, which is in his home.  I get to float off to a buzzing delicious relaxation while he balances out my energies to help my back and body heal.  He helped me so much before surgery that I wasn't even in pain with my massive herniation.  Now we are moving towards balancing my body and the habits that got my back into trouble in the first place.

The river that accompanies the road through Montague, Leverett and then into Shutebury is frozen into thick layers with a liquid center of movement.  It is so cold out!  7 degrees when I left the house.  I was inspired to take photos because some other man had stopped his car and was hunched over against the wind walking toward the river with his camera.  I stopped a ways down the road and pulled out my camera, crunching over the snow, I watched the river flowing over the ice.

At the end of the hour long cranial sacral session my body felt so lengthened and tall.  He had worked on my jaw, which I clench while I grind my teeth all night.  Parts of my shoulder and neck had dramatically released. He even loosened up my ears!  It felt fantastic.  As I stood up I felt so different than when I'd laid down, everything in my body felt connected and alive. 

I said, "It feels so good!"
He replied, with a smile. "Keep it.  It's yours." 

That shifted how I felt about it.
It's mine.

That's how my body wants to feel.
Keep it.
It's mine.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How a Lady of Leisure Hustles

 Below is a blog post I really enjoyed from a few weeks ago.   It addresses something I am constantly muddled by, which is my desire, my need really, to read quietly by the fire and take contemplative walks, that is thwarted by the sheer overwhelm of a modern working mother's life.  I have been taking this woman's (Tonya Leigh a Martha Beck Coach who is a very insightful former nurse who is inspiring to me) advice.  In this post she combines leisure and hustling in a way that has been working for me the last couple of weeks.  I'm not getting everything on my to do list done, but I am making some progress and taking better care of myself through taking some walks, doing some yoga and meditating.  I thought I'd pass it on. (I loved this quote, "Life honors the lady who respects herself and life enough to take a little extra time for pleasure.")


How a Lady of Leisure Hustles


“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.”
― Audrey Hepburn
Numerous jokes have been made about me being a lady of leisure, and it’s true!  I am indeed.
My husband usually comes home to find me lounging on the sofa with a glass of wine reading Rumi.
My daughter knows that I’ll be taking a bubble bath between the hours of 8 and 9.
My massage therapist expects to see me bi-weekly.
I spray my favorite perfume on before going to bed and first thing when I wake up.
And, the thought of being in a hurry rarely crosses my mind.
Yet, my house isn’t falling apart.  My daughter is functioning quite well in society, and I have a thriving business.   Actually, when I think about it, it amazes even me.
So, I was quite shocked when I looked up the term “lady of leisure.”  Turns out that it implies that a woman is free of responsibilities or duties or a polite term for an unemployed woman.
Well, I am neither.  I have a family to tend to, a home to manage and a company to run.
I have discovered that I have two women within me:  my inner lady of leisure and my hustler.
So, I started thinking about this concept of “leisurely hustlin,” not two words that you’d normally put together, but I’ve discovered that it’s completely possible. In fact, it’s the only way, in my opinion, to go through life, combining moxy and ambition with elegance and sophistication.
A Peek Inside my La Tête
First things first, let’s talk about mindset, because leisurely hustling is more about what’s between your ears than anything.  So, I’m going to let you peek inside my head for a moment.
My old (frazzled) beliefs:
I don’t have enough time.
I have to get things done.
I’m behind.
I’ll do (insert that thing thing I really want to do) tomorrow.
When I finally (insert a goal), then I’ll do (insert a desire).
I don’t have enough money.

My new (leisurely hustlin’) beliefs:
I have all the time in the world.
I don’t have to do anything.
I’m right where I need to be.
I have all the money I need right now.
Pleasure can’t wait.
Feelings, not goals, are what I aim for.
This moment is where it’s at.
This mental reprogramming took some time, but it’s been worth the wait.
Start the Day off With Some Leisure
Jumping out of bed checking emails, cooking breakfast, taking the trash out or feeding the dogs is a great set up for a stressful day.  That energy just spills over into the next thing of the day, keeping you on the wheel of doing.  This, darling, leaves very little room for leisure.
What if you started your day off with a conscious cup of coffee, reading a passage of Hafiz or taking a stroll around your neighborhood?
Life honors the lady who respects herself and life enough to take a little extra time for pleasure.
Dress the Part
Ladies of leisure take great pride in how they present themselves to the world. Think Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O.  On the flip side, a hustler is always ready for the next opportunity.
So, you must dress the part – both for leisure and hustling.
I’ll admit that it’s really tempting to sit around in my PJ’s all day, because no one would know. Or, would they?
I am a big believer that everything is energy, and the words I write are a direct reflection of how I’m feeling in that moment.  My inner lady of leisure wants to look fabulous, and my hustler wants to be fabulous.
So, putting on a cute dress and a little lipstick actually sparks inspiration and productivity, and you never know when your destiny will be knocking at the door.  That hustler in you better be ready, with heels and lipstick, of course!
Know What you Want (And, be reasonable)
Each Sunday, I decide on my top 3 projects for the week.  Did you notice, I said just “3”?
I no longer feel the need to inflict torture upon myself with these god-awful modern day to-do lists.
This week, for example?  The French Kiss the World Society details, Website Redesign and Book.  That’s it.  Just 3.
Of course, I’ll break these down further, like “talk with event planner about location details,” “get font selections to designer” and “write 5,000 words by Wednesday.”  But, I have a direct focus of what’s important to me this week.   It’s amazing how much time this frees up for leisure.
30 Minutes at a Time, Darling
I’ve never admitted it in public, but I think I suffer from ADD.  Actually, I think everyone has a touch of this modern day disorder.  But, that’s no excuse to not take action in your life.  However, there’s a way to work with your attention deficit, and it’s called “30 Minutes at a Time.”
30 Minutes of Hustling, 30 Minutes of Leisure.
30 Minutes of Writing, 30 Minutes of Dining.
30 Minutes of Exercise, 30 Minutes of Pinterest.
30 Minutes of Studying, 30 Minutes of Facebooking.
30 Minutes of Planning, 30 Minutes of Daydreaming.
30 Minutes of Calls, 30 Minutes of Pampering.
You get the idea.  And, it’s amazing how much you can get done in just 30 minutes when you have a clear focus and know that 30 minutes of leisure awaits.
Decide How You’re Going to Show Up
I am a big believer in taking inspired action.  I don’t push myself to write when I’m not feeling it.    I don’t create programs when I’m out of alignment.  I don’t believe in grinding, gripping or pushing myself.  That’s too much testosterone energy for me.
I know what you’re probably thinking.  “But Tonya, how do you ever get anything done if you’re always waiting to feel good?”
My answer is simple:  I work on feeling good before I do anything.  I decide how I want to show up in that moment, and then I generate those feelings for myself. Then, and only then, do I do the work.
If I’m feeling resistance, I don’t avoid action. I just get inspired before taking it.
Nothing is worse than creating from a state of fear, anxiety or overwhelm.
Nothing is better than creating from a place of love, generosity and excitement.
Ladies of leisure know this, which is why you’ll often find them having a Eureka moment during yoga class or while they are covered in a salt scrub.   Then, they are ready to hustle!

Know your Non-negotiables
Movie night, a beautifully set dinner table, coffee dates with friends, bubble baths and nightly readings are a few of my non-negotiables.  These are the things that I will not sacrifice in order to get more things done.
These beautiful moments are creating my life, and there’s no amount of money that will tempt me away from them.   I work to live, not live to work.  (That’s my lady of leisure talking.)
Get Creative
I am a master of combining work and pleasure, and I have discovered some fun ways to combine leisure with my hustling spirit.
For example, meet a business associate at a spa, exchange your home with someone else for a week in the South of France, find a way to speak to a group in a place you’ve always wanted to visit, serve Champagne at your next presentation, recruit your kids to help with social media.
With a little creativity, you can combine what you love with what you do.
Slow Down
Sometimes, I must remind myself to slow down.  So, I bring my walking pace down to a sashay.  I slow down at the table.  I slow down my speech and listen more.
The truth is that I love living fast, but I also want to live slow enough to savor my life, which is why I’m always reminding myself to decelerate enough that I can take it all in.
Most women are living fast out of fear – fear of being behind, not being good enough and fear of failure.  The problem is that actions taken out of fear create more fear.  It’s a toxic cycle that’s impossible to escape unless you’re willing to slow down.
So, repeat after me:  there is no hurry, and I’m right where I need to be.
The Leisure Effect
It seems counter-intuitive to take moments for leisure when you’re wanting to get things done in life.  So, let me offer you a reframe that may entice you to become a lady of leisure (who also happens to be a hustler).  I’ve noticed this consistent occurrence associated with my leisure time, and it’s called inspiration.  In those moments when I step away from the office and meet up with friends, go for a hike, play with my dogs or cook a divine meal, I have revelations.  Ideas are sparked.  People show up.  The next step is revealed.
All this leads me to my final conclusion:  a woman who feels good is a magnet to her desires, and her inner hustler will know how to make it happen!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Evening comes cold and quick

What a cold day!  !-2 degrees.  The kids didn't go out for recess because it was 21 degrees at playtime, so we tried to bring them on a brisk walk before dinner.  We bundled up but turned around pretty quick, glad to get home to the fire.

The moon was lovely and bright.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Well hello weird eye creature that startled me as I came around the corner.  He looks like such a sympathetic character.

Monday, January 21, 2013

More snow; make snowballs

Magical Oils

I ordered oils this summer from Elizabeth Van Buren and as a clinical aromatherapy student I got them half price!  The oils are beautiful and rich.

The two oils on the left are from Alchemy Works, a magical site at

that has a great variety of interesting and hard to find items.
I was drawn in by the description of the Artemis of the Mountaintop Oil and I bought it along with the Night Blooming Flying Oil

Here are the descriptions right from the website:

Artemis of the Mountaintops Magic OilArtemis of the Mountaintops Oil This oil honors the wilder aspects of Artemis, the virgin goddess. There is some indication that her worshippers used mugwort or wormwood as aids to prophecy in her name. I chose five members of the Artemisia family (named for her) for this oil - wormwood, mugwort, davana, peach artemisia, and dragon's wort - and combined them in a grounding base of distilled baked earth. While still wet, the oil smells very strongly of wormwood, but as it dries, it changes first to a somewhat minty, fresh scent and then settles into a lightly fruity sweetness. It's a very wonderfully virginal with a strong Air quality that sets it apart from many of my other oils. It's good evoking the wild aspects of the forest or for honoring Artemis. She is associated with the wilder parts of the Old World, especially the dry, stony mountains of the Mediterranean. There she amuses herself with archery and wide circle dances, according to Callimachus. Although she is a hunter, she also protects the animals that roam the mountain forests and dances there with her nymphs. These would paint their faces white in imitation of the full Moon (she is connected to the moon as her brother was to the sun) or wear masks made to look like the dogs she went hunting with; clearly, tapping into one's wild side is important with this aspect of the divine. 

Full Moon purpleNight Blooming Flying Oil This floral flying oil focuses strongly on night-blooming flowers, which release their perfume to the Moon, not the Sun. I also chose flowers representing each of the planetary influences except Sun, which I figure doesn't have too much of a role to play in a flying oil. I included tuberose and osmanthus (Saturn); gardenia, white rose, and night-blooming jasmine (Venus); carnation (Jupiter) and mimosa (Mars). Many flower scents, especially those of night-blooming flowers, have qualities that enhance trancework. In addition, I included the Moon's favorite, clary sage, for its divinatory effects. For Mercury, I chose a soft Australian white sandalwood, which allows the various scents to work together. Sandalwood also has its own long tradition in magic and trancework. I was lucky enough to obtain some very rare ingredients for this oil from sources that I trust to reject synthetics, as I do. These rare natural perfumes increase its price, but I think they are worth it, as they make this oil truly unique. I'll wager you will not find anything like this anywhere else.

How could I resist?
I have been drawn to Artemis ever since College freshman Greek and Roman Mythology class when Herb Goldman, my eccentric and quite charismatic professor stood up at the podium and read one of her myths out loud.  It sent shivers all over me with a feeling of  "This is it!  Pay attention!" 

This summer I found the notebook from that class when I rummaged through my teenage bedroom closet.  There it was!  I couldn't even bear to open it because it had held so much power and magic when I was 17 years old, sitting in that huge lecture hall hearing him speak, I was shocked the notebook looked so pedestrian and  shabby.  I thought it should be glowing with a golden light, not bound in a plastic torn notebook.  I still haven't peaked at the myths that caught my soul like silk on a thorn, saying "These are for you.  You've heard them before.  Listen.."

It made me think of the Carl Sagan quote about writing as a magical act.

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cold Sunset

It was difficult to capture the vivid PURPLE of the hills as I stopped to get milk at Upingill.  It is cold, but the days are lasting longer and the light is bright and clear

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Amherst day-trip

We dragged the kids to Amherst for some errands and even though it was cold they wanted the frozen yogurt from Go Berry.  Georgia begs Rob to bring it home to her whenever she is home sick, which is quite a logistical commitment on his part.  The gummy bears were hard on her wiggly teeth but I loved their clear bright color. 

The holiday season this year kicked my ass.  I totally lost touch with taking care of myself and having any time to mull over and appreciate the everyday beauty around me, which is what this blog reminds me to do.  Noticing these bright gummy bears was a sweet awakening for my creative eye!

Here's everyone playing on their devices.  Huh.  I never thought we'd be that family.  Santa brought the Kindle for Christmas and Georgia found a game on Rob's phone.  I've been enjoying the Kindle much more than I thought I would.  I'm reading Harry Potter with the girls, which is a delight to me.  We've been snuggling together in front of the fire and Georgia has been enjoying it (Lily and I have read them all, but we are trying to capture Georgia's attention and it has worked.  Hooray!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Melted

We've been walking on the golf course.  You can hardly see Rob, Lily and Cookie amidst the green.  Interesting when the snow comes you never know if it will stay until spring or if it will come and go.

Looks like it's going...
I hope it comes back.

Georgia climbs the hills with her bow that she got handed down from Lily after Lily got a new bow for Christmas.  We shot the arrows high into the air and watched them fall in a beautiful arc back down to the earth.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dear Tooth Fairy

Georgia was hoping to lure the tooth fairy in because she had a wiggly tooth.  My children are late losing their teeth, just like I was, and it is driving Georgia crazy.  Her first grade classmates are pulling teeth left and right and hers are holding tight to her gums for at least another year. 
Sadly , her ploy didn't work and the tooth fairy didn't come. 
I would guess the Tooth Fairy has some pretty strict guidelines or she'd never do all she's got to in a night.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Don’t wait any longer. 
Dive in the ocean, leave and let the sea be you.

Silent, absent, 
walking an empty road, all praise.

-- Rumi

Fifteen year old co-authors paper on dwarf galaxies.

Three days ago a paper discussing the dwarf galaxies surrounding the galaxy Andromeda was published in Nature. The paper itself is fairly revolutionary, and could completely change our understanding of how galaxies form. It's also notable for another reason - one of the authors is fifteen years old.
The paper discusses a new survey of Andromeda, which detected 27 dwarf galaxies orbiting it. Fifteen of these are aligned along a single plane. Current theories predict that dwarf galaxies should be more scattered, and cannot explain their alignment.

Astronomy magazine article:
Journal paper:

Neil G. Ibata is fifteen years old and he is the tenth author listed on the paper linked above. If you look under "affiliations" you'll see Lycée International des Pontonniers listed - this is his high school.