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A LETTER TO MY STUDENTS…

2013 November 11
by head2zen

To all my students…Past, Present, and Future:

I’m not sure what brought you to me and not always sure what brought me to you but it is spirit that connected us!  This year I have had the joyous pleasure of being introduced to a new group of students in Houston.  My oldest students are 80 years young, give or take a few.  They were the first to arrive in my class and though one had already engaged in his own yoga at home, would actively participate each and every teaching.  My youngest students have been 3 years old, a group of pre-schoolers. I was asked to teach my daughters class at Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta, Georgia. We would do poses like the “crab” and the “tree”.  Yoga is great for everyone. Yoga is the body’s movement and breath while readying it for the day.

I adore my students!  The energy that we exchange, the emotion that is surfaced, and the devotion that I take home is priceless.  I became a student of Yoga in my early 20′s.  I was an emotional yuppie, feeling alone, and knowing I had some type “A” expectations of myself that were unrealistic…I gave way to the teachings.  I became a Teacher after my husband had back surgery and the surgeon prescribed yoga as his treatment. Yoga is my daily devotion.  Everyday, I have the opportunity to picture each and every student and loved one in my morning meditation.  I create bubbles of love to each individual that has crossed my path and fill that bubble with love before sending it off with each exhale. My morning meditations sometimes last 5 minutes while others I find are a bit more lingering. Beginning each day this way has blessed me more than I can describe.  My breath is clear, my mind is ready, open and my soul is enriched by your presence in my life.

Yoga is a practice.  It’s a devotion to yourself. I find the more you allow it to move through you, the more you expand. The great fun about yoga is you need no extra resources other than your body.  It’s nice to have a mat but not necessary and sometimes exciting to just use the “sticky carpet” of a “not so nice” motel floor to just work in your favor!  This is what I’m trying to convey…”Sticky carpet” when used properly,…can be a blessing…as with everything!  Nothing is ever happening without purpose. Yoga is the vehicle we all need to WAKE UP AND SEE IT!

Today, I said a brief “see you soon” to my students. I put them in savasana…sprayed my pixie dust…and asked them to give thanks to their body, their eyes, their ears, their breath.  I read my poem, I blessed their presence, and was blessed by their presence.  I gave them t-shirts…”HEAD2ZEN” T-shirts.  Some were so excited by the gift of a free T-shirt, some said” I’m so glad for this class every Monday”…and one said…I WAS SOOO MAD at my HUSBAND before coming…to which I said, “BREATHE”…sometimes a GOOD HARA BREATH, works wonders.

The tools of Yoga are unmeasurable.  My prayer for all my students is that your yoga journey continues.  Perhaps, I am the introduction or your front door.  Maybe, I’m your bridge to carry you through troubled waters and perhaps I will be there with you, by your side in savasana, giving you one last exhale before flying away on butterfly wings.

It is and forever will be my HONOR to be your teacher!

LOVE and LIGHT,

SUZEN

IMG_2143 IMG_2308 IMG_1556 100_7187 IMG_1546_2 100_7189IMG_1577Len_Foote_Hike_Inn_016A perfect ending..to a perfect day!IMG_0214IMG_0075

Got it,  oh wise master of the bend it like...backward!

Got it, oh wise master of the bend it like…backward!

Acts that make people smile!

Acts that make people smile!

Yoga goddesses...My team always behind me!

Yoga goddesses…My team always behind me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE JOURNEY…

2013 October 24
by head2zen

My journey for 2013 has been a hike. It started with a bang of joy and resolution. Then contentment was muddied by yet another move while still waiting to settle into our new re-location.  Though unsettling… the ground remained firm and the oxygen was still flowing. Happiness comes from within, never far behind is gratitude. Though the forest gets dense and thick, we must never forget how to get to the other side. Finding the joy in all things is a real journey. Realization that I succumb to any other emotion, is a daily adjustment to my mind and perspective. To wake with a grateful heart and to see beauty in the days and moments as they unfold… is my souls journey. We have so much to be thankful for and my hopeless optimism yearns for more seeing of greatness rather than exercising energy into what is dark, dismay, frivolous and gray. Today, I am moved by these poetic words that I hope they will inspire you when read then…digested.

IMG_1087

Clearing

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.

by Martha Postlewaite

Enjoy and know whenever I find something that is amazing cross my own path…I wish nothing more, than to send it out to you, to enjoy as well.

Blessings,

SUZEN

This is me

This is me

INNOVATIVE…

2013 March 24
by head2zen

This morning…the sun came up over my television screen, as it usually does while watching CBS SUNDAY MORNING.  Sipping on a cup of coffee, breathing in the headlines of the day, I was directed to my favorite topic…” New and Juicy”CBS News Sunday Morning

Today’s headline…“The Money Edition,” which highlighted many innovative and creative ideas for making money.

Perhaps your next Vacation takes you to Venice and you have 6 people in your family and only $200 or less to spend on an apartment. You want it on the water and it needs to come with a private boat….I have the answer for you. Maybe, it is a tree house you’re looking for with a view the Golden Gate Bridge, and walking distance to Union Square? Have a private plane or Yacht or even Airstream you want to rent out? A new way of sharing…check out, all options at Airbnb.com.

New ideas, success, and whimsy…I love my CBS Sunday Morning!

Love and Light,

Suzen

 

THE DIVINE BANK…

2013 January 29
by head2zen

This is the ultimate bank platform. Call it Karma, or Universal Law, I call it banking with the divine. Every day I try to have a transaction, some quite small, like the prayers over my children or the guidance to care for them. Others a little bigger for “The Mister” who rarely sees me on my knees asking for larger withdrawals of patience and love to welcome him home.  My Bank is always there, it never defaults, and adds more interest than I ever expect. My bank speaks to me in a way that is amazingly personal and specific to my needs.  Recently, I have been making deposits to the “Bank of the Divine” in the form of funds from teaching my Yoga classes. Some donations went to Sandy relief, some went to homeless people at Christmas, and some bought coffee for a stranger at Starbucks. In my little way I try to give more than I withdrawal, and last week one of my students shared with me a wonderful “pay it forward” story.  It is worth reading, it is worth digesting, and hopefully at the end you will be anxious to make a donation to the Universe as well. Here is the story she shared with me after I declined my Sunday fee for teaching and asked each student to do something of their choosing to pay it forward and feel the delight that giving definitely brings!

BTW, Remember how you (Suzen) told us to give $10 to someone who needed it? Well, I was at Memorial middle school last night and a friend found a checkbook. It had a name and address, but no phone number. I used my super sharp sleuth (not sloth) mind to deduct (Sherlock Holmes style) that since the checkbook was found at MMS in the gym…they probably had kids…AND since the address was an apartment complex in the 024… the kids probably went to school at Hunters Creek. I got out my handy-dandy, always present, school directory and found the lady’s name/phone number in it. I texted her and she confirmed it was hers. During all this investigative work (looking for name or clue) I noticed the last entry in her registry was for a $90 late fee for rent. There were also other entries where after rent she had only $30 in her account. It makes me sad knowing someone with three kids struggles to pay rent all the while managing to pay $150 for three yearbooks for her kids so each one would have memories when they grew up. ANYWAY, the other mom with me and I put cash in her checkbook and I took it to school in an envelope. Your $10 was included in our gesture. I think I will buy some Kroger gift cards anonymously and mail them to her throughout the year to hopefully be of help. Thanks Suzen for your kindness…I did my best to pay it forward.

We all benefit when we make our deposits willingly and when we can. Sometimes the needy don’t reveal their needs, and other times just a cup of coffee can set the stage for an amazing pay it forward encounter. Over the last 15 years I have bought hundred’s of coffee for the persons behind me in the Starbucks drive thru line.  Always a stranger, not expecting a blessing to come their way. This same week, I had my coffee purchased for me by a stranger. Significant because this was the first time I have ever been on the receiving end. It was the perfect reminder that no matter who you are and where you might be…doing something for someone else goes out into the world and takes on something greater than you ever imagined.

Love and Light,

Suzen

Len_Foote_Hike_Inn_017

 

Stepping up your game…

2013 January 13

It’s been a while since I have posted.  I miss you too!  The thoughts have been swirling, I just haven’t been diligent in posting. So much to share and so much still to uncover.

First of all, happy new year and happy 2013.  This year brings with it enormous change for the universe and with it, a lightness of being, to all living residents of planet Earth.  With these changes, I decided to make a few of my own. Health is always at the top of my new years resolutions but this year I decided, I really needed to “STEP UP MY GAME”!  Lots to share and some photos and book recommendations as well. Hopefully while you scour this post you will leave wondering what you too could do to step up your game.

Zen is simply …that state of centeredness which is here and now. -Alan watts

The Zen of doing anything is doing it with a particular concentration of mind, a calmness and simplicity of mind, that brings the experience of enlightenment and, through that experience, happiness. – Chris Prentiss

1. Mindful awareness: Challenge your self to be fully aware to what you say and do.

2. Get physical for at least 2 hours a day.

3. Only put into your body whole and healthy items. This includes french fries if they are homemade!

4. Read more.

MY READING FAVORITES THIS YEAR:

Proof of Heaven

Life of Pi

Wild

A walk across America

The book of Awakening

Zen and the Art of Happiness

The Buddha walks into a Bar

5. Go vegetarian: I have committed to a no meat diet for 2013

6. Give up something for at least 40 days, just to see if you can really be stronger without it.  Give up Gluten, or wine, or bread, or sarcasm.

7. Play games: many of you know I love a good fun family game that gets everybody involved regardless of their card counting ability or age. Making it about the connection instead of the WIN.

Telestrations ended up being a great game this year.

Tell me a story created magical imagery in both the old and the young.

8. Take a risk: Do something that scares you.

9. Step back and observe your thoughts. Realize that everything that happens, if you allow it, will bring you in alignment with the divine.

10. Let something go!  Whether it be a pain, anger, a jealousy, fat, physical adversity, sadness, unworthiness, inferiority, or dissatisfaction to anything…Let it go. ” Every event that befalls me is absolutely the best possible event that could occur.” 

Recently, I had a challenging discussion with “the Mister”.  He does not like change and he rather delights in making fun or ridiculing my desire for change. Most of all he would rather never change. While having our discussion, I realized, that his responses were simply a request for love. He wasn’t angry about the request for change, he was angry that I was challenging the love I laid at his heart.  It’s a deep discomfort and vulnerability that every one is guilty of. So regardless of whether you are the one asking, or you are the one receiving perhaps step back a minute and decide the intension of the request and begin it with the words “COULD WE COMPROMISE”…on such and such a need? Then see what comes of it. Sometimes the ask, comes from left field and in a way bombards the receiver. Best to say, I really need this___, now how might we make it happen together.

Get healthy, think healthy, and be well!

Love and Light,

Suzen

 

 

 

Let the inspiration speak for itself…

2012 November 16
by head2zen

ENJOY!

The message of God is like a spring of water: it rises and falls, and makes its way by itself.  

Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan: The key to the secret of the messenger is given in the Bible, but very few will ponder upon it and reason it out for themselves. The key is in the words, ‘I am Alpha and Omega’, ‘I am the first and the last.’ Can that mean, ‘I came only for a time, and then I was called Jesus, and only then did I give a message: I spoke neither before nor after that time’? Alpha and Omega means First and Last; always, continually present; never absent from the beginning of creation to the end. … God is seen in the one who glorifies Him. But if our hearts are closed, even if we wait for a thousand years for the messenger to show himself, we shall never find him. … the message is like a spring of water: it rises and falls and makes its way by itself, so that no one can make an imitation of it. If the message is true, it will always make its way to the end of the world. It is always so with the message of God.

But those who wait, may wait. It is their destiny to wait, and one cannot help them. They waited while Jesus Christ came and went, and they still wait and will wait for ever. And yet he has always come; to the individual, to the multitude, to the nation, to the race. He came, and spoke to the whole world; but did he come with drums and trumpets? No, he came in the humblest guise, in the most unassuming manner; as our brother, our servant, our friend, our equal. Man, because of his devotion, has called him Lord; but he said, ‘Call me not good. I am like unto you.’ It is not his absence that keeps man in ignorance; it is man’s own closed eyes. The Master has always been present, but man knew him not.

http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/IX/IX_29.htm~~~ The message of God is like a spring of water: it rises and falls, and makes its way by itself.

The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

“O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”

Read more…

 

Love and Light,

Suzen

S=Suzen

YIN and YANG

2012 November 4
by head2zen

The Symbol(Yin-Yang) represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work. The outer circle represents “everything,” while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, called “yin” (black) and “yang” (white), which cause everything to happen. 

They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other. While “yin” would be dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting, and weak, “yang” would be bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, and strong. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol, actually gives you a sense of the continual movement of these two energies, yin to yang and yang to yin, causing everything to happen: just as things expand and contract, and temperature changes from hot to cold.

 I like to play solitaire to keep my mind busy when moments like long waits in the car occur. It helps me to focus, to get out of the mundane and see a different perspective.   When I don’t finish a game, my computer asks me if I would like to select a new game or replay this game?  On occasion, I choose the “replay this game option”. One might think it would be “Boring” to replay a game over but often times I find I missed just one easy step, or card, in the process that could have made my deck so much easier.  In fact I am usually stunned when I see it and wonder “How could I have not seen this one card, the first time”?

It would be a wonderful opportunity to have the chance to replay in life.  Telling our minds and bodies to check in on the second chance.  To have all focus and concentration as well as saturation to observe everything we need out of a moment.

I am teaching Yoga this morning and this shall be my lesson for my students…”In this pose…What can you soften, resist resisting, or simply let go of in your mind, in your body, in your soul…while still allowing your balance?”

In life we often bring some expectation, of winning, of comfort, of expected result, of other actions, into another action.

STOP…hit replay…and open your eyes to a game winning hand or perhaps… just the card you missed the first time.

It will be rewarding…It could be game changing…It could be the best day of your life!

ALLOW THE NATURAL BALANCE AND ALIGNMENT TO OCCUR!  You already have it, it already knows where it is…just get out of its way.

LOVE AND LIGHT,

S-ZEN

Dating the Mister…

2012 October 19

I am often awed by whimsy, balloons, and sparkles. I am a dreamer, I am an optimist, and forever hope that my light continues to shine on a gloomy day.  Recently, the Mister and I, had a date planned, rather, “I” had a date planned.  The Mister, though intelligent, strong, kind, and less distracted by bright shiny objects, is not a romantic. He enjoys whatever I throw his way but would rather not be the romantic glue that keeps us together.

Being married and sharing intimate space definitely has its challenges. We somehow scrape off all the allure and glamour that once drew us together, and reveal ugliness and disrespect oozing in its festering place. The Mister and I spend many days, nights and sometimes weeks away from each other. He jumping from city to city, or hotel lobby while I tend to details of scraping dishes and reviewing homework requirements. There isn’t much “SPARKLE” in our day-to-day lives, and often flirtation gets pushed aside by tasks or deadlines.

I have three rules about my marriage and how to keep it going and they all begin with “I”.

1. I wear something that makes me feel special everyday…This includes sometimes only perfume or other times lipstick.  On my best days or nights it includes a REALLY GREAT PAIR OF HEELS, A PRETTY DRESS, SOME AMAZING LINGERIE accented with something really dazzling.

2. I make time for date nights…even if I am the one who plans them, gets ready for them, calls the babysitter and drives her home.  Date nights are PART OF THE RECIPE!

3. I do whatever I have to do to leave the house when given the chance.  I  find myself…on my walks with my dog, or at the mall looking at the latest styles, or having a cup of coffee at the cafe, or working out, or doing Yoga or going on a nice hike with God.  I find the bits and pieces of myself that even I have forgotten about. We often become what people know of us or see in us rather than what we were or yet still are.  Don’t become your work! Working from home is just as consuming as a fortune 500 company. Create some space to find intrigue, so that you can be interesting and exciting to yourself and those you love. The adventure of life is always in front of you. Have more to talk about than what is going on in everyone else’s life. Be the starlet in your own movie!

I woke up Friday morning rather dreading the date night I had planned.  I wanted to reconnect but feared it would be hum drum and I would hear more about the office than complimenting words about my lipstick or shoes. That he would forget to ask me about my day, my life, my passions.  After dropping the kids off at school, I sat on my  floor looking for inspiration. “I love my husband, and he deserves to feel my love”.  He reflects back to me what I put out and my energy was low; I have to be more than…”TIRED”…I didn’t want to allow hum drum. I wanted to be interesting, I wanted to feel the way I felt when he use to look at me, or stop him cold in his Texas boot swagger. I asked myself, what did I do before when anticipation guided my thoughts? How do I get past the familiarity of my roommate and delve deeper into expressing my sincere appreciation while creating opportunity for him do the same?

We all need some infusion. Love needs infusion, marriage is a commitment of more than honesty and cohabitation. We need love notes and kisses on the forehead, hand holding and a snuggle while watching a movie. We need energy exhausted to reveal that we are more important than the latest P&L.  I decided to send the Mister on a scavenger hunt for…me. Hoping perhaps for just a few moments we might again feel the anticipation of our lips pressing against each other and hearts leaping in the same direction.

We did,…he did,…and it was lovely and ADVENTUROUS.

Dating...it’s the best kept secret about marriage…and the slipper always fits!                 

LOVE AND LIGHT,

Suzen

 

THE SIMPLE THINGS…

2012 October 12

This is what I saw last night…It has been there since Sunday…I noticed it then, but I really saw it last night.

This weekend I saw this…and experienced it, breathed it, witnessed its beauty, I camped with it and heard the world surrounding me.

These are the three people that bring me delight purely by their existence.

 

This week…

  • I got to smell the pine trees
  • I got to fold the perfect t-shirt
  • I saw ” For the love of the game” while I unloaded the dishwasher
  • I finished my coffee
  • I walked my dog and my legs did not hurt
  • I was kissed and gave kisses
  • I slept with toes pressed into my side
  • I woke up before the sun did
  • I ate crab cakes that made me want to have more

The amazing thing is people have to find out that they are dying to see and appreciate these moments. Life gets better when you notice it. Love is better when you feel it. Take chances and try new things, live new places, travel to places that you can’t spell. It is heaven on Earth! Have faith that it will all work out in the end.

Love and Light,

Suzen

Daddy, Death, and Dogs….

2012 September 28

I am a student of life. One of the most lasting lessons of my life, I experienced through the death of my father.  I was 11 years old. I was able, even then, to look beyond the mortal and explore the lesson? We have choices when faced with the surprise of grief or loss; self-serving identity to the loss or longing, or the acceptance that the soul served its purpose. My heart was blessed through my father’s death and somehow I was gifted the perspective of the later, I was able to see the gift in his passing which helps me now to celebrate LIFE!  The revelation that remained, allowed me to understand that lessons are taught, both through life and death, if you are willing to see it. So many times I have counseled children placed in the same situation as I and have shared my experiences with them. I believe I was given life to share and serve, that experiencing death early on has taught me.  Being alive is precious, awake today with gratitude for what has unfolded and being able to see the gifts in the simple and the complex. Live it…be it…experience it and be open to it all.

Recently, I was sitting with my favorite pooch, Lilly.  We were watching a television show about a dog revealing to its owner “that he/she” was working too hard. The dog had a history of being frantic and over-active. One particular day, this dog was running crazy around the residence, the owner stepped away to answer the phone, at the same moment…entering an email, and then answering the door.  In the 2 minutes of crazed activity, the dog was found choked on a ball.  The dog died immediately, the owner survived, seeing the lesson revealed in that very moment. The pet had sacrificed itself, to reveal to the “OWNER” her own busy and frantic pursuit, or at least that is how she saw it. The loss was a lesson, if willing to see it.

Lilly and I sat there staring into each others souls.  The look of a pet into your soul is like no other.  I believe they really are our guardians, our guides, our muses, our gate keepers, our protectors.  Experiencing this together, I was honored to have shared this television show while “resting”. The moment of exchanged looks, the deepness that I hope you can relate to, it was as if she were saying to me…”see mom, I would do that for you”. I thanked her for the blessing she has been to me and my family.  It was as if the thoughts of this blog, while watching the show, hearing how this dog changed this woman’s life, was all happening with purpose through our deep exchange.

As a married couple, we have had three dogs.  We got one as a Christmas gift for our son whose favorite number was five.  When asked if he wanted cookies?…he would say “yes, momma…five.”  If you said its time to take a bath…he would say “just five minutes okay, momma?”  We named the dog Five.  Then, just 18 months later, a german shepherd puppy showed up on our doorstep on Christmas eve. We named her Chrissy.  Seven years ago, I set out to find another dog, the right time had come to call another soul forward or welcome a new guardian in our life. She is our beloved Lilly.  Our dear labrador Five, taught my son unconditional love when he was unsure of himself.  Five taught the Mister that a dog means much more than four legs and fur.  Upon his passing, I witnessed my husband cry so deeply, the day he sat at our Five’s side. Their exchange was legendary, the strong man telling the dog “he had done his job”…”he was a good dog” and we all were very thankful. Today, Chrissy resides with my Mother in the mountains that are cool to a shepherds coat.  The two of them have had an incredible bond over the last 11 years and it was in my heart that our Chrissy would serve a greater purpose. It took 11 years before she was ready to receive the love and joy the furry ball of a shepherd gives her “daily” now. The stories I hear about their walks and talks confirm to me that the dog picks the owner… never the owner picking the dog.

I know the case of pre-selection can be made in a variety of animals, both domestic and wild, it is really a matter of whether you are paying attention.  We are connected, to the birds that wake us in the morning, the deer who eat our bushes, the trout swimming to get away from our hook, the ant that crawls across a yoga mat.  Welcome them, thank them, and be open to the lesson that they are here to show you. It is within life and death that our truths are revealed, honor ALL the souls you encounter no matter what the shell!

LOVE and LIGHT,

Suzen