Sunday, June 14, 2015

Meditation with a mala

I get asked this question frequently and it's inspired me to write a blog.

"Hope, how do I meditate?"

I used to answer with a simple explanation, usually something like this, "Don't put too much pressure on yourself.  We all have to start somewhere.  Find a space that you will use to meditate, and depending on your beliefs you can fill that space with crosses, oil, sage, candles, Ganesh, prayer flags, etc.  You choose this.  YOU.  It's a personal practice, don't allow anyone to choose for you. Start slow, sit, quiet your mid.  Don't become attached to a certain thought and really focus on the breath and present moment."  

Since going deeper in my practice, I would like to expand on my answer.

Meditation with a Mala. 

Present moment, I start my meditation with setting sacred space (sage & Tibetan bowls), journal free thoughts, feelings, and intentions.  The journaling helps me become aware of what I need to improve upon that day, intentions, hopes, goals, feelings, etc.  I then choose a mantra (sometimes choosing 10 & sometimes I stick with one...for a whole week...).  

Let's say my mantra is "I am peace".  I take the mala in my hand and with my thumb and pointer finger I slide the beads repeating the mantra as they slide between my fingers.  I allow my breath to guide the mantra meditation.  I find my rhythm, <inhale> "I am", <exhale> "peace", slide bead.  With each breath I come to the moment more sinking into the feeling more and more.  The important part is to really feel the mantra.  So as you say I am peace, feel it.  If after repeating the mantra that 108 times I don't "feel peace", I do it again.  After I'm done repeating the mantras, I then sit in silence eyes still closed, hearing the sounds, feeling the sun, air, wind, light, etc.  I breathe in the feeling and then offer thanks.  First to God, then the universe, then myself.  The times and lengths vary depending on a lot.  Obviously, if Steve needs me, I will tend to him, offering thanks for the love he brings to my life while tending to him, and then return to the practice.  Distractions are what you make them.  My dog barking, is a test to stay calm in the moment, the mail lady maybe needed some loving energy, etc.  

Personally, using mantra mala meditations have been the most effective in learning to be more present and loving.  It is important to remember that meditating doesn't magically make life's problems disappear.  It helps you become aware of the problem and be able to use the practice while working out the issue.

Example: Steve needs me to wipe his nose for the 30th time that hour while I'm trying to cook, sleep, fulfill orders, clean, pee, etc.  As I'm walking to him/or wiping his nose I am saying any of these (sometimes out loud), "I am patient, I am love, I am caring, I am peace, I am helping someone I love.." This allows the frustrations of that drippy nose to stay just that & not turn into me self loathing for snapping on Steve, who can't help his nose is running and can't help he cannot wipe his own nose...

We are ALL HUMAN.  We will have moments of weakness.  However, the more you meditate the more you find yourself gaining control during these human moments.  The quicker you stop the cycle-to breathe and turn the negative "Damnit" thought to a positive, "I am damn calm"-the quicker you can go back to appreciating the beauty of life.  

Monday, June 1, 2015


1 year after the premiere of our documentary and I've been reflecting on all that has happened in a year.

We filmed a little update video for y'all. However, I started thinking on a more personal level what has changed.

Aside from lots, because we go through so many changes almost daily, more importantly it's the growth that has come from it all.  Putting yourselves out there you will find that you will get a mix of opinions.  With that mix there will inevitably be the negative opinions.

Initially I found my spirit being broken by the 1 or 2 negative comments and would find myself forgetting the 100s of positive comments, which pointed out an area of growth for me.  I had to learn why I was allowing the few negative opinions to affect me so strongly and then find a way for it to stop.

Here's what it boils down to, and has been one of the most life changing lessons I've learned.  
Other people should be entitled to think or feel whatever they want, without my judgment or reaction. Obviously, if I see someone causing another person physical harm then I will always step in, but negative thinking  just doesn't deserve my attention.  It's not my life, I'm not the one saying the negative comment, or putting out that negative energy, so why should I even give it my attention. 

When you can begin to see life in this way, you begin to also learn to accept others (and yourself) for who they (you) are. The REAL truth is that everyone in your life is going to do something you don't agree with, EVERYONE.  However, it is NONE of your business in how THEY CHOOSE to live their lives. 

Everyone deserves love.  No matter how different their lives are, they deserve love.  Even those who have negative thoughts on you deserve love.  Often they are the ones who need it the most. 

Learning to remove yourself from others lives and just simply allowing them to be themselves without judgement will change your life.

The, "ugh, the clothes she wears bothers me," becomes, "that girl is doing her, you go girl."  That's it.  No other thoughts needed, it's NOT YOUR LIFE.  

Is it easy?  No, of course not.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Obviously it's not something that always comes natural and it takes some work to train your mind to start to think this way. I promise every time you show love to everyone, but especially those who are the more difficult to show love to, you will find it come back to you 10 fold.  

Allow others the freedom to be themselves, be true to yourself, and love everyone, and watch life become a lot less complicated.  There doesn't need to be any drama about it. 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Different kinds of smiles.

One of the things we hear the most, that make our hearts swell, is that we inspire someone with our choice to face life with a positive attitude.  We put a lot of thought into our lives & how we live them.  It's encouraging when we hear the love and support from you all and it keeps us fueled.  Reminds us why we choose happy even on the darkest of days.  

Here's the truth about life and us.  We do try to choose everyday to be happy.  We believe it's a choice, and we make it every mornings as we are saying our gratitude's while I do Steve's hour morning routine.  It's a slow paced routine as Steve is an adorable sleepy bear and takes a while to get going.  

Some days that idea, of choosing happy, is hard.   Some days life is kicking our ass so much and our over active brains take over, but we still try, even if that means we have to choose it over and over and try to change the day for the positive.  Some days we take lots of photos and share our lives with you----because we are asking for your light to shine in on our darkness.  

You see us when we are drowning but trying to break through with a smile AND you see us when we are shining. We of course share both because like the Eb & Flow of life, you will experience waves, and you have to do whatever you possibly can to stay grounded on that boat. We are so very blessed so even on our grumpiest discouraging days we still remain thankful, that we are so loved & supported, & most importantly that we have each other.

So this month everyday Steve has had a dripping nose.  He's so strong physically and mentally that he makes an effort and choice to remain positive and driven despite.  Image having to have your nose wiped every 20 minutes, to have your nose plugged, to the plugs being forced out by so much drainage, etc, all while not being able to move.  

Steve still wants us to live "our normal" which means, we wake up early in the morning, do our routines, working during the day on our various projects, and enjoy the evenings together while reflecting on all we accomplished that day.  

Some see Steve, and see him as a man just laying in bed all day, bored, weak and suffering.  I'm here to tell you that even on his bad days that's not any where near accurate. 

Steve has his beautiful genuine smile on to greet the day, he says his 5 thankfuls every morning even if it is through tears, he then asks about my day and nudges me to make sure I take some time for myself today, we talk strategy for his day with his stocks, and he then watches stocks, reads the paper, emails with his loved ones, facebooks, interacts with me the 387867 times I'm in and out of the room, we share laughs multiples times a day, share each others accomplishments, I come show him every painting/mala/new yoga pose, and he tells me about his trades he has done.  We then shut down from the busy of the day to curling up to a movie, documentary, show, etc.   

But some days there needs to be a few hours of naps because he's not feeling well, some days we need some extra cuddles because we may be hurting emotionally or physically, and to be frank some days we are just plain old sick of seeing each other so we try to take our own space.  

We plan to always be open about our lives because we truly hope that we can help others create brighter and more positive lives.  We also, some times take our own space, shut down a little, and when we let you in on those days, please know we want you to share your light with us. If even just a little.

Love & light. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015


So I have to say I try to be completely authentic with y'all and sometimes my insecurities get in the way, and I don't share certain things or worry about what people will think.  I used to actually think, "Ha, I don't have any insecurities."  For real, I was that girl.  However, through the past 4 years I have really gotten to know myself & I can see all of my insecurities.  

It's a beautiful thing but a little dreadful.  Because now you have to face these head on if you want to change them.  How daunting right?  So little by little, I have been asking in my meditations to improve in certain areas.  Starting from. 'more patience' to 'not allowing others energy to influence mine.'

Of course, I had to come to the understanding and acceptance that, when asking the universe to help you change something you will then be faced with some hellish things to teach you the lessons you NEED in order to reach that goal.  

So what makes you want to even deal with them, right? 

NO! Not right.

When you reach the point where you start noticing the things as lessons and see yourself not allowing them to trigger you the breakthroughs happen.  Each breakthrough peels another layer of yourself helping you reach your true self.

Because in the end you need to feel peace with yourself, love yourself, be happy with yourself to be happy with ANYTHING else in this world.  So I am taking today to be thankful for some of the frustrations in life and even more so gratitude for some of the beauty life has offered lately.

Because with every eb & flow, the dark seems daunting but at the end of that tunnel awaits you a beautiful beautiful light that heals and empowers you.   Because life is meant to be that beautiful.  

Thank you to everyone for the past 2 days and the beauty, joy, & love you have brought into our lives. You all refuel us & we are so thankful for you.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lessons from ALS

Hello May.  The start of ALS awareness month.  This month I will be posting on all of our outlets several different things but I wanted to start this month by shining some light on what ALS has taught me.  

Aside from the devastation of watching Steve struggle with all that ALS brings, it has brought some unexpected astronomically huge positives in our lives & I would like to take the first of this awareness month to express gratitude for some lessons.  

First and foremost, the acceptance of what life presents us.  Acceptance was something I struggled with most of my life.  I would think, "How could this possibly be happening to me?  How unfair..."  However, now my outlook is, well so this is happening, and now I have to face it head on. 

With that came, living in the moment.  The fear of what is happening next is common in life, add being told you will loose your ability to do ANYTHING for yourself, and that will play tricks with your mind.  Thankfully, early on Steve & I chose to change our attention from, "Crap what has Steve lost today,"  to "Gosh I'm so thankful Steve can still do this."  

Almost 2 years ago, we decided we were going to start our days with 5 things we are thankful for.  The beginning was hard.  With all honesty the first 2 months we would just say the same 5 things almost daily.  A shift came, about 2 months into our gratitude's where we began to grow our ability to find beauty in so many situations.  A leaking trache means the infection is leaving his body. A trip to the hospital is an opportunity to share our story and visit with some of our favorite people (our hospital staff).  A night without sleep reminds you of how grateful you are that you slept the other 4 nights of the week, so that you don't feel totally drained.  

By being more in tuned with the world, we then learned the importance of using your energy wisely.  Being home daily may seem dreadful to most, but Steve & I have learned to make every day special & to put our energy to good use.  What used to be cuddles & movies all day everyday switched to working from 8:30-6 M-F then cuddles & movies after.  We have learned new jobs, that fulfill us more than jobs prior to ALS have.  

Everyday we are given is an opportunity to share our light with others in some way, so we open ourselves up to people in every realm we can from social media to face to face visits.  Opening yourself up to other people you find that you will meet some of the best most like minded people that will continue to support, inspire, & fill your life with joy.  You have to be open and clear on what you want & need, ask for it, & then be grateful for when it comes pouring in.

It's a daily choice to wake up, say our gratitude's while we do our morning routines, meditating/praying/exercising, and then to hit the ground running with our list of things we want to accomplish that day.  It's a daily choice to re shift your focus to the positive, to find things to be grateful for, & to open yourself up to the life you want.  One I'm thankful we chose & thankful that we get to experience it everyday we get together.

Remember like the lotus flower you CAN grow in the MUD.  ALS is a struggle, and it's demanding, and takes a tool on not just your motor neurons & health but your soul....which can either be an opportunity to curl up & be defeated or to GROW & blossom to a more beautiful you than you could ever imagine.  

If you can take anything from this month of ALS awareness, not only would I encourage you to speak about ALS, donate to, but also find the beauty in your life.  There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for & the more you seek it the more it will seek you.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hello are you there? Yes. Yes we are. :)

Hey Hey!  I told y'all the blog would be neglected.  I've gotten a huge dent done on my book, so I want to get back to blogging more often again.  I'm sure y'all aren't surprised that a ton has happened since I last wrote, and for those who follow us on here---I owe some updates.

Steve is stable & chubby. :)  Yes I can say this, because I am sure everyone remembers when he weighed 67 lbs right?  Well, now he weighs 130!  Yep.  Determination, positive thinking, prayers, love, good care, & the will to live are powerful & Steve amazes me more daily. 

We've had some frustrating experience with drainage around Steve's trache and the stoma eroding in result.  After a short and unproductive hospital visit it has been determined that because he is stable, his numbers on his vent are all good,& that the stoma doesn't need repaired yet, and I will be doing some wound care to help try to slow down future skin deterioration.  

Aside from that Steve & I have been busy with our passions.  I've launched my website for my malas & paintings & have been enjoying both of my creative outlets. I continue my practice with yoga/meditation which brings me something new and life changing almost daily. Steve is doing trading with the stock market & motivating everyone with his social media use.  Steve also has plans to start writing when he feels up to it some himself.  He is an amazing writer and I look forward to seeing him spread his message more.

The documentary process has moved forward.  As I'm sure y'all know the process of getting things legally sound is a long process, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  So very thankful for the crew and our amazing lawyer for all their hard work.  Also grateful that the wait for us to release the new version of, Hope for Steve, available to buy online & DVD to be soon.  We've been honored to be selected for the Arizona International Film Festival, the New Hope Film Festival, & to have won an international accolade award.  Stay tuned for the re-release soon! 

Well, you have my word you will be hearing from me more often & as usual we love y'all so much & have extreme gratitude for each of you.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hello, ground! Good to see you again.

When making goals I always try to focus us on remaining grounded.  There are some days that life is very surreal for us and it's hard not to get cocky; I don't just mean mentally but spiritually as well.  I am often saying, "If we get too far off the ground please bring us back down. "

Right around new years we had some difficulties with Steve's health, he felt so bad one night, I almost called the ambulance. "I'm sorry but I think it's just my time baby, I love you," he kept typing through tears.  This obviously is a phrase I've heard before twice when he did die on me, so it makes me sad and panic.  

Thankfully (so so so very much thankfully) I was able to get Steve back to health and then I had to bring myself back to zen.  I was so off balance so I increased my mediation side of life; which I'm still doing because it's been life changing.  We have had some really great days and great things happen the past week and it's made us float on positive energy.

We've learned that these moments aren't permanent and there is only this very moment so that whenever we feel happy, we do easily need some grounding because let's be honest we like floating.  :)  Not a bad thing as long as we can float while keeping both feet on the ground.   

So today I got some negative feed back on instagram and I had the automatic, "huh well that was mean, who the bla bla bla..."but then I stopped....  

There it was, I asked that if I got a little too off the ground to bring me back.  I'm back and yes for those who worry I'm fine, the comment isn't what the focus was in this and when I was able to see that I was able to shake it off.  

So now I am feeling grounded but full of positive floaty energy.  

Oh but for all intensive purposes, remember that words do matter.  Choose them wisely.  Be nice.  :)