Category Archives: Balance

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“A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step” — The Way Of Lao-Tzu

A journey of a thousand miles

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Reflections On Raising Daughters To Call On Their Own Masculine While Maintaining Their Feminine

By Jennifer Miller

Flowers of the soulWitnessing my daughters Navigating life and
Concerned they do not have
A father around.
They have learned to call
On their own masculine
While maintaining their feminine.
Transforming their pain
Into strength.
Sorrow into wisdom.
Broken hearts into kindness and compassion.
Their wit and humor is always present.
So many gifts come out of the struggles and
Journey of life when we look close enough
To see all the beauty and blessings.
Namaste

“Awareness Is Not The Same As Thought…More Like A Vessel Which Can Hold And Contain Our Thinking” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jennifer Miller 2012” Awareness is not the same as thought. It lies beyond thinking, although it makes use of thinking, honoring its value and its power. Awareness is more like a vessel which can hold and contain our thinking, helping us to see and know our thoughts rather than getting caught up in them as reality”

Click on Book To Purchase At Heart Based Healing Store

Click on Book To Purchase At Heart Based Healing Store

From “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” By Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Lighting Candles, Hanging Lights And Letting Things Be With Words By Paul Ferrini”

By Jennifer Miller
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Jennifer Miller Dvi-Pada-Sirsasana Pose 2012Fire up the Pavoni.
Morning coffee, so good.
Lighting candles and incense as
I start my morning yoga practice.
Arriving on the mat is like coming home again.
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Beautiful morning walking the dogs, aka “the babies”.
Breathing in the coves of Laguna ahhh!!

Breakfast at the local cafe; cool people, artist types.

Walking out, a homeless woman under a blanket.
All I can see is one foot.
My heart sinks and I want to ask her what she needs?
I know she is probably an addict.
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Back home to make homemade granola.
A yum yum Christmas tradition.
Looking through the mail and
a child support check arrives.
It’s been a while.
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My mind goes to the last 5 years.
No father in these kid’s lives.
No anger… only hope.
Could this man possibly change?
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I let it go to the Spirit and check my heart.
It’s in a good place.
Forgiveness is there.
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My beloved hangs Christmas lights.
So many years without lights.
They symbolize healing for my family.
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I look around….
No lights in the small neighborhood.
We have been judged here.
A single mom and trouble with her son.
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Interesting.
We are the ones with lights.
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A big lesson in my journey: do not judge by the outside.
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Open up a new book.

Click on book to purchase and benefit the Heart Based Healing Foundation.

Click on book to purchase and benefit the Heart Based Healing Foundation.

A favorite thing to do.
Reading,  deep reflections come to me.
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The poetic words of Paul Ferrini:
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Life is constantly asking us to make adjustments,
to give up our agenda.
It is asking us to give up the conceit that we know the way things are supposed to be.
Letting things be is a way of saying to God
“I’m willing to dance with you.”
From “Dancing With The Beloved”.
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Namaste, Jennifer Miller
Contact Jennifer Miller at yogagoddesslaguna@yahoo.com

Contact Jennifer Miller at yogagoddesslaguna@yahoo.com

The Importance Of Always Listening For The Inner Voice Of Guidance Within Ourselves

By Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller YogaGoddess 2012Its seems so simple to always listen to Divine Guidance. We hear it as a small whisper, and it sounds different from our normal brain chatter. But, in truth, this voice is always with us, as Caroline Myss states below:

“Do not assume that divine guidance flows only when you are in need of help. Guidance continues to flow whether or not you have problems…Whether guidance comes during times of tranquility or trauma, however, it is up to you to have the courage to acknowledge it”

It could be just a word, for example, while grocery shopping, as to what I need. I will often ignore it and when I get home, sure enough, that is something I needed. It’s happened so often that I know it’s “TRUE”.

Before getting married, there were warning signs, all of which I ignored. When we are young and innocent, we don’t listen much to anyone. I remember, as a small girl, hearing the voice that I now know as guidance. Entering the teen years, I no longer listened to its counsel. Now, as a mother and wiser woman, I not only hear, but feel this guidance with my body. When something is truly right, my body sings with joy. I breathe freely and my heart feels alive while my spirit sores.

I now listen to my heart, which is like having your best friend inside of you. It knows me like no one else, offering unconditional love while wanting the best for me and my family. As I navigate life, I am now constantly listening for that small voice within. Like a soft caress, it has a smooth and loving feeling.

Click on the book to purchase at Heart Based Healing Foundation Store.

Click on the book to purchase and benefit the Heart Based Healing Foundation.

A great way to complete this connection is through controlled breathing, which helps to circulate the positive benefits throughout our body. Breathing in, I feel a soothing calm that is pulled upward from my feet until it reaches my head. Tensions melt as I close my eyes. Breathing out, negative thoughts and worries are expelled, leaving a feeling of contentment that comes with releasing, letting go, and not remaining attached to things and events.

So many good things happen when we maintain a healthy mind-body-spirit connection…

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

Feeling The Deep Sorrows Of Being Human Allows Us To Experience The True Joy Of Healing

By Jennifer Miller

Should we strive to be TAO (Transparent, Authentic and Open) at all times? I have always been open and honest with who I am as it has been an important part of my journey.

But are there times when we should refrain from opening our souls to others?

I have been reflecting on this and feel that so much of happiness in life is  dependent on relationships that nourish our body and soul. We must seek out positive energy to maintain our life force and vitality. This is why we must spend as much time as possible with members our tribe, people who support us emotionally and give us love and comfort. The “emotional vampires” , selfish and self-absorbed people who can drain our happiness and vitality, must be avoided.
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But there are events and situations, when we are a part of a group that is either unknown or possibly hostile to us, that we should make an exception. It was at one such event that I found myself this weekend. I was invited to attend a Bridal Shower for a friend that I have exercised with for many years, who was getting married for the first time. One of the women in the room mentioned to the group that I had gone through one of the worst divorces she had ever seen.
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I naturally shared with the ladies many intimate details of the my married life and how traumatic my separation and divorce were. I have thoroughly processed my anger and grief and feel true forgiveness now. In keeping with TAO, I opened up hoping that my story might inspire and/or give hope to someone in the room.
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But at the end of the event, my body was very stressed and I knew that my openness had taken a huge toll on me both emotionally and spiritually. The fact that many of these women might use what I had said as a source of gossip and not as a source of enlightenment represented the risk I took by being authentic.
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This represents an inner struggle I have within me. Whether to live by TAO at all times or be guarded when meeting with others that I do not have either an immediate or established connection. When we live our lives in fear of the unfamiliar or unknown, we risk shutting down emotionally and spiritually.
I choose to remain dedicated to TAO, realizing that there are risks to being authentic and true to myself and journey, but the rewards are so much greater.
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Contact Jennifer Miller at yogagoddesslaguna@yahoo.com

I have been through the dark night of the soul and have come back into the light of life. It is only through feeling the deep sorrows of being human that we can experience the true joy of healing, which leads to self-realization and ultimately inner peace.

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If I could help just one woman in that room to better deal with the pain and suffering that can affect any one of us in life, then the stress of being truly authentic and open would have been worth it.
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Namaste, Jennifer Miller
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“Love, Without Desire To Possess…This Is The Highest Love.” – Love Or Loving-Kindness (Metta), One Of The Four Basic Sublime States In Buddhism

“Adopt The Pace Of Nature. Her Secret Is Patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A Morning In The Life Of A Yogini” By Jennifer Miller, Published In SunGoddessMagazine.com

“In The Flow Of The Moment” With Sea Lions While Kayaking Off The Coast Of Laguna Beach

By Jennifer Miller

The beauty in nature can teach us so much about life and our place in it. I have been kayaking in the ocean on Saturday mornings for the past few weeks and have come to marvel at the simple wonders that abound off the coast.

We launched through the surf and were immediately “skimming” through a unique world, where sea lions frolicked in the water and shared a large rock with pelicans and other birds. These creatures were clearly “in the moment”, present within themselves as they swam, searched for food and basked in the sun. I could watch (and learn from them) for hours!

Landing at Laguna’s Main Beach, I met a homeless woman on a bench reading a Bible. She agreed to watch the kayak and paddles, which we had parked next to her sleeping bag and worldly possessions, for us while we walked over to a local cafe for breakfast. She asked if we could bring her back a cup of ice water but we included a bagel. She was very grateful for the little surprise. The beauty of simple moments in life.

 The trip back north along the coastline was remarkable for the different activities of people “sharing” the sea: snorkelers, scuba divers, paddle boarders, kayakers, and swimmers.

We encountered over thirty outdoor enthusiasts on our five-mile paddle, yet the only sounds were that of the waves, birds and barking sea lions.  The quote by Gandhi was never more appropriate:

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” 

Approaching the completion of our journey, the final landing reminded me of an episode of Hawaii 50 and riding a wave in through the surf. All went according to plan until two waves first spun the kayak sideways and then dumped us unceremoniously on the sand and foaming water. The shock of first being in silent partnership with nature and then being “roughed up” by its power and unpredictability, is truly a metaphor for life.

Our lives can proceed in planned and simple harmony and then “wham”, we are knocked off our feet and must struggle with disruption and crisis. But picking ourselves up, drying off, and re-establishing order is a necessity for a happy life. We must find the humor in painful moments which will keep us grounded, and not over-reacting to circumstances.

Just like the flow of the ocean, we must “go with the flow” of our lives. The only absolute constant in life, is change. It is how we react to and handle this change, that determines our happiness. I choose to be at peace in life, and staying in the moment.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

Honoring Ourselves By “Seeing” That The Most Beautiful Things Must Be “Felt With The Heart”

By Jennifer Miller 
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“There is never an easy way to escape pain and trauma in life. You have to feel to heal…” Jennifer Miller

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

Helen Keller (1880-1968)
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What are the best ways to honor ourselves each day? I have learned to start each day by acknowledging the beauty that is all around me, starting with the beauty that comes from within. It allows us to see who we really are.
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I love the connection that is possible when I walk past someone and after a quick look in each others eyes, there is a mutual “I SEE YOU”.  I can see and sense that person’s soul’s essence. This is one of life’s most wonderful moments, and confirms a sense of being alive and in the moment.
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My own life’s experiences have established a mind-body-spirit connection for which I am grateful. I have grown as a woman through the pain and it has resulted in an appreciation for beauty that I experience with my heart.  I learned that the only way through very difficult periods in life is to genuinely feel it and be transmuted to a higher plane.
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There is never an easy way to escape pain and trauma in life. You have to feel to heal…
Thank you life for bringing me here.  Namaste

Reflections On “A Course In Miracles”: Choosing to Live In A Place Of Love And Not Fear

“No matter what is going on in my body, I strive to remain in a quiet place of peace.” Jennifer Miller

By Jennifer Miller

Marianne Williamson’s “A Course in Miracles” teaches that most of us live in a place of love or fear. We have a choice of how we want to be and act in any given situation.I have been reflecting recently that I am at a point in my life where I am aware of how am feeling and, if I am reacting to these feelings, I know it. I am striving to limit these “reactions”, and remain in the moment, a state of peaceful quietude where nothing can “rock my world”.

And I continue to make progress. There have been many situations in the past year that might have “taken me out”. I now strive to find that place of acceptance and often, detachment, which allows me to step back and say to myself “I see what is going on here…game over”.

Every one of us can chose to live in fear or love at that very moment. I recently watched Marianne Williamson speaking to Oprah about how our life’s blueprint is designed to achieve our highest purpose.

Anyone can “download” their life plan but if it is not synchronized with our emotions, we have little chance of fulfilling our highest purpose.

In yoga, we are trained to stay with our breath. Whatever asana or posture we are in, no matter what is going on in my body, I strive to remain in a quiet place of peace. Our body and mind follow our breath. I strive daily to remain conscious of this and come back to this “place of peace” when I feel rattled or off in some way.

Ahhhh… that beautiful connection to our soul is all through the discipline of BREATH…

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

“Countless Words Count Less Than The Silent Balance Between Yin And Yang” – Lao Tzu

“When You Move Amidst The World Of Sense, Free From Attachment And Aversion Alike…You Live In The Wisdom Of The Self” – Bhagavad Gita

“The Butterfly Counts Not Months But Moments, And Has Time Enough” – Rabindranath Tagore

“The Importance Of Being Our Own Best Friend”

By Jennifer Miller

I was just thinking of how important it is for most of us to have a best friend. We never forget that best friend from childhood, who was there for so many important moments as we grew up. That best friend may not have been your best friend after high school; in truth, we can have many best friends over our lifetime.

I searched important quotes on “Friendship” and many familiar and famous statements came up. But one stood out to me:

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.

The quote is attributed to William Shakespeare, but is also cited as being Anonymous. The source is the 16th Century, and I feel it addresses the importance of a (best) friend knowing our past, present and future selves. But who….

       “knows you as you are…”

                 “understands where you have been…”

                                        “accepts what you have become…”

                                                                       “allows you to  grow…”

The list of our friends that meet those responsibilities really narrows. And the truth is, that a friend, with those virtues, is most likely busy with their own life. And the person who most likely could meet all four would be your “soul mate”, and in a perfect world, your husband or wife.

Our best friend is, must be, ourself. We must be able to open up our heart and soul and love what we see. We must accept our own failures and successes with grace and ease, and not condemn ourselves when we make a mistake.

To love our “best friend within”, unconditionally, is to have a best friend for life.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

Reflections On My Daughter: “Finding Answers All Around Us…Just Blowin In The Wind”

By Jennifer Miller

Oh, to be sixteen, now that summer’s here. And so I hop into the passenger’s seat of my daughter’s car to go bathing suit shopping. She is wearing bright pink lipstick and shorts to show off legs that are long and tan. Clearly, she is in the prime of teenhood, with her mood brightened in these final sophomore days of high school.

“If ya dont know by know, doggy-dog is a freak,freak,freak!”

Rapper Snoop Dogg’s latest song blasts out from the speakers as the she starts the car. The lyrics are offensive and crude, but her car is her domain.

“I keep a bad bitch with me seven days of the week, week, week!”

Welcome to a modern mother’s world. I take a deep breath as she glances at me with a huge grin, looking me over to see my reaction. But the windows are down, and our hair is “blowin in the wind” (a little Peter, Paul and Mary to balance Snoop). I smile with complete acceptance. The teen years are always trying, but they can also be fun.

She has always followed her soul and has now embraced her inner goddess. I am grateful that she doesn’t seem to care what others think. She has been through a lot in her young years, and has the gift of wisdom that only a full life can bring. I haven’t had to make too many demands of my youngest daughter recently, but getting a job this summer is a must.

She knows this and hasn’t commented on her progress. I already know the answer if I asked: “It’s not summer yet”.

The bikini and beachwear selection proves very enticing and she is pleased; so is mom. As we are checking out, she spots the store manager and without hesitating, asks her: “Are you hiring?” The answer is “Yes” and my daughter goes into action mode. With a huge smile, she holds out her hand and introduces herself and takes control of the interview.

The power of confidence is really the power of being in the moment. The woman saw an authentic display of enthusiasm and interest in being “at that store”.  This is my independent free spirit, brimming with inner wisdom, openness, and a natural sense of being balanced and grounded.

I pray she continues to use her natural abilities to find the answers to life’s questions, answers which are always there, all around us, and within our soul when we take the time to go inward and self-reflect. 

With employment application in hand, we are back in her car and her domain. As we head home, the windows down, I imagine how appropriate Bob Dylan’s lyrics would be if we could change just two words:

How many roads must a WOMAN walk down, before you call HER a WOMAN.

The answer, my friend,
is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

 

“Breathing In The Moment To Stay Centered And Balanced” By Jennifer Miller

“Durvasana”

Arriving at the Yoga Center, I roll out my mat and make sure it lines up with walls that surround me. Each time I place my feet on this six-foot long, 2-foot wide space, I have a feeling of  “returning home”. I fill my lungs with deep breaths, exhaling and begin the process of “letting go”.

In yoga, this breathing technique is known as “Ujjayi”, a Sanskrit word that means “to be victorious”. Breathing, or “Pranayama”, engages the diaphragm and the “chakras”, or “force centers”, producing a sound similar to waves crashing in the ocean. I feel a calming and quieting of my mind and begin a move inward.

“Ujjayi” is important in overcoming distractions, which prevent focus as we move towards “being in the moment”.

This mind-body connection produces a warming of the body, which increases to an intense heat in my pelvis as I bend and stretch deeply. I fuel this rise in energy with deep breaths, and become one with my movements, aware of the energy in the room created by other dedicated yogis.

I am grateful to my teacher and happily drive an hour each way to the Ashtanga Yoga Center. Nearing the end of my 1 1/2 hour practice, I complete work on a third-series pose called “Durvasana”, where I am standing with one leg behind my head. This pose requires me to stay centered and balanced, as I continue the journey inward towards my essential self.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

“Finding Our Soul In The Little Girl Who Beat To Her Own Drum” By Jennifer Miller

“I am who I am”, not to be defined by conventions regarding a “role” as wife , mother, or daughter.

As a child, I was always told by people that “I beat to my own drum”. And because I did not always conform to the “rules”, my actions were frowned upon by my family and schools that I attended.

I can now see the beauty of following our soul and not caring what others think or say about us. Although I would lose this part of my soul at times, life would always bring it back to me.

Women, by allowing society and others to “define” them as daughter, wife and mother, come to believe that their “identity” resides outside their soul and bodies…Our ego becomes attached to these external realities, and it makes reclaiming our soul very difficult at times.

When my life collapsed several years ago, destroying all of my so-called dreams of having the “perfect family”, I found my soul again in the little girl that “beat to her own drum”. And her little voice told me that “I am who I am”, not to be defined by conventions regarding a “role” as wife , mother, or daughter.

 “I am me…a soul free to grow and expand beyond societal restrictions”

As women, we must reach out and embrace the infinite as this is always in the best interest of the soul. Do not let anyone or anything define your Dharma. We should strive for independence, and like a child follow our hearts.

The best path to understanding the connection with “our truth” is to start living it, breathing it, thinking it, acting it and ultimately “feeling it”.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

“How Yoga Allows Us To Master The Mental Blocks Holding Us Back In Life” By Jennifer Miller

“Vrschikasana”

As a yoga practitioner for the last 10 years, I have personally observed the mind-body connection. When I work on “inner growth”, I know that my practice will act as a mirror to my soul.

And there have been many “aha! moments”. 

The times when my ego would restrain the movement into difficult asanas; but through “Pranayama”, or the control of breathing, I was able to relax and flow like a river, expanding my ability to learn.

To remain open and let go is to find the answers that are already there.

Once, I found myself blocked and unable to complete a difficult asana for two years. It also happened that this time of frustration mirrored” a difficult time in my life, a time when I was forcing life and trying to control it.

To master and move through this asana, I would have to “trust” myself and overcome mental obstacles.

A now simple “forearm balance” created an overwhelming amount of fear inside me. My life also lacked “balance” as I was I was going through so many transitions; I was overwhelmed. My ego did not let me accept what was happening. As I observed myself and this asana, the issues became clear and I soon progressed through the asana. Yoga is a great gift to the inner workings of the mind as it connects through the body.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller