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Archive for October, 2010

“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”

Stephen R. Covey

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.”

Viktor Frankl

“No one can hurt you without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Viktor Frankl

“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”

George Bernard Shaw

“In the space between an action and reaction you have choice.”


A dear friend of mine asked me to write about finding the space between emotion and reaction.

She said that in her life, this translates a lot to her boyfriend. If they argue, she explained, most of the time it’s about something silly that one of them has reacted to–without being able to first find perspective–and minutes later, they realize it’s not a big deal, there’s no need to argue, etc.

She said that her Prana Power Yoga practice helps her to find that space, or even just be aware of it (some people don’t even know they have a choice!), but also to have patience and compassion with herself on the journey.

At Prana we talk a lot about learning to let go of reaction—learning not to re-act, but instead to act. To be present in this moment and operate from the now, instead of living in the past and operating from there, and hence, RE-acting.

This sounds well and good but my Sisters, you KNOW it’s challenging, as my friend has pointed out so wisely.

Especially when you’re interacting with loved ones!


Usually you just react in the heat of the moment, and then spend minutes/hours/days/weeks/months/years regretting it, explaining why you did it, apologizing for your words or actions, and so on.

A wise Chinese proverb says: “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

Ever been there Super-mom?

Said that thing that you regret and wished that you could take it back?

Had that reaction that you wish you hadn’t had, and wished you could turn back time?

Done that action that you have forever regretted, and spent way too much time “paying” for it.

I just had a heart-to-heart with my 12.5 year old.

While I was writing, she came to me sobbing, saying that one of her friends was being really mean to her. I asked her to tell me what happened.

She explained that this girl had told another girl whom she liked. The other girl told my daughter. It turns out that one of my daughter’s closest friends is “going out with” this guy. So my daughter told her closest friend—“to protect her.” Now, the girl who likes the guy is texting and calling my daughter saying “Who the H*** told you and why the H*** did you tell so many people?”

I asked my daughter repeatedly if she’d told a bunch of people. I told her it’s OK—that I won’t judge her or be angry with her, but she needs to tell me the truth so I can best advise her. She promised me that she hadn’t. She’d “only” told her best friend.

“OK, then,” I explained, you need to speak your truth to the girl who is angry, and then you need to let this go. You can’t please everyone all the time (you can’t dance with everyone) and if you are speaking the truth (that she didn’t tell everyone), then you know your truth, and that’s all that matters. People will always find fault with what you do—people even found fault with the Buddha—but as long as you know in your heart that you are “clean,” you can ask The Universe for help in letting it go, and move on.

This is a classic case of the life of a tween (thank the Universe I’m not in 6th grade again—oy vay), a classic case of reaction (both by “the girl” and by my daughter), and a classic case of synchronicity (helllooooowww, I was just writing this article on reaction and Madison comes in demonstrating the very thing about which I’m writing).

Pretty cool. I love synchronicities!

So what to do?

How to not find yourself in this situation?

Practice, practice, practice.

Get on your mat and breathe.

Set an intention to cultivate awareness, calm, and peace, and ability to operate from your center no matter what is going on around you.

Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself with love when you step off the path.

There are no mistakes.

There’s only learning.

Allow yourself emotion—but cultivate the ability to see the difference between emotion and reaction.

Talk to those you love when emotions flare up. Be real. Be honest. Apologize if appropriate. And then let it go.

Talk to those you love when you react. Be real. Be honest. Apologize and then move on.

Know that it’s all fine—it’s all learning—you’re doing great–and it’s not about being perfect.

It’s what you do most of the time that matters, and the fact that you’re reading this means you’re on the path.

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”


Wayne Dyer

“If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance.”

Andrea Boydston

“Being clear of clutter is one of the greatest aids I know to discovering and manifesting the life you want.”

Karen Kingston

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Super-Mom Betsy Parsons:

I expected motherhood to change me.  How could it not?  Everything was new.  But what I didn’t expect was that motherhood would strip me bare – drop me to rock bottom – force me to face that I had lost myself – demand that I pick up the shattered bits of me and piece myself back together.  It was all at once brutal and gratifying.  I am grateful for all of it.  I have learned who I am and how great my support system is.  I learned how absolutely wonderful my husband is, what a fantastic dad he is, and what a loving and supportive family surround us.  It’s not just me who is a super mom.  It’s my husband, my mom and dad, and my mother and father-in-law who make up this super family.  Each one of us plays an important role. Life is a tremendous gift, and we were all starkly reminded of that during the first six weeks of my daughter’s life. We almost lost her.  The first six weeks of her life were spent in the NICU.  She was a full term baby but a very sick one.  After she came home, every milestone was carefully watched.   She thrived.  And I almost missed it because I was worried about what could be wrong.  It was 9 months later when I started to splinter apart.  She was walking and I was cracking – emotions needed to be expressed.  I needed to feel again.  Not surprising, but I hadn’t been taking care of myself.  I was just trying to make it through a minute, then an hour, and a full day.  I wasn’t taking care of myself.  I wasn’t sleeping well.  I was sleepwalking.  I rationalized that all of this was well within a first-time mom response (ha!).   Eventually, I was diagnosed with PTSD and got help.  I began to piece myself back together.  It took another full year for me to hear the stirrings of my voice.  It’s been over two years, and just recently I realized that I am whole again.  I experienced such joy in finding myself.    I had really missed me!  But losing myself and finding an improved version had taken hold – makes me so grateful for the journey.  It has allowed me freedom to be myself, to slow down and enjoy the moments of motherhood, to rely on my family to play significant roles raising my daughter, to trust, and to embrace the unexpected.  It’s often what I need most!  I’m so thankful for my super family – including my husband who is embracing his role as stay-at-home dad!  Collectively, we’re a super team with a super daughter.