29 March 2012

Pearls of Wisdom Press Release

It's official!  Pearls of Wisdom is now available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and many other bookstores!  I am moving my internet home base to www.lisalabon.com.  Please find me there and subscribe to for a free tip sheet "10 Family Sabbatical Ideas for Every Budget" and an MP3 audio interview with the real story about what led our family on the greatest adventure of our lives so far.

I am putting together an e-book of "Life On Purpose:  Our Story of Finding Home" which will be available at www.lisalabon.com as well as news about the release of my novel "Freya Wolf."  Please stay in touch!


This book will help you live your best life…now!

Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood, Chris Attwood
Hierophant Publishing
April 2012

An oyster can’t produce a pearl without first suffering
from a grain of sand…

In PEARLS OF WISDOMNew York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff, Chris Attwood, and Janet Bray Attwood along with today’s brightest stars in transformational leadership, offer 30 inspirational ideas for turning your own grains of sand into brilliant pearls.

Providing a wealth of practical wisdom and advice, each of the 30 authors share a meaningful idea that can be acted upon immediately – each designed to remove the blocks that interfere with living your best life now

Lisa Merrai Labon of Park City, Utah is one of the contributing authors.  Lisa is an essayist, novelist and mother of four who wrote about how taking a family sabbatical changed her family’s life.  In fact, this family adventure is what led them to choose Park City as their new home.

Lisa Merrai Labon
         “A family sabbatical will enlighten, inspire and motivate profound and often unexpected changes in your lives.  Whether you go for a month or many years, you will discover along the way a renewed definition of success and an enduring bond that will serve your children better than test scores or iPods.”

Jack Canfield
“Sometimes inspirations occur without our even seeming to ask for them.  Other times, we have to ask for them then create the quiet space within which to receive them.”

Marci Shimoff
“Most people aren’t in the habit of taking good care of themselves and honor­ing their own needs. Luckily, beginning that process is actually quite simple: you start by becoming aware of those needs. Three times a day, stop what you’re doing and ask yourself, What’s the most loving thing I can do for myself right now? Then pay very close atten­tion to the answer.”

Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood
“What you love and God’s will for you is one and the same. What this means is that the universe doesn’t play tricks. It’s not a mistake that you love the things you do. By consistently choosing in favor of your passions, you will find that you will naturally have the courage you need to live a fulfilled, success­ful life, one step or one huge leap at a time.”

PEARLS OF WISDOM offers great ideas and sound advice from today’s most accomplished self-help authors, combining traditional and new techniques, affirmations, theories, meditations and practices to lead readers from their struggles to a more enlightened and happy life.
About the Authors

Lisa Merrai Labon is a passionate advocate for healing Earth and local communities. As a writer, Lisa has invited her readers to embrace their own lives with conscious intention, exploring community values, health, education and spiritual connections.  Lisa contributed "Take A Family Sabbatical" to Hampton Roads forthcoming book "Pearls of Wisdom:  30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life Now!" featuring best selling author Jack Canfield and Marci Shimoff.  Due April 2012.  Visit her online at www.lisalabon.com.

Jack Canfield is the co-creator and coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, which has sold more than 500 million books in forty-seven languages, and The Suss Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.  He has appeared in eight films including The SecretThe TruthTapping the Source, and Discover the Gift.  Visit him online at www.jackcanfield.com.

Marci Shimoff is a renowned motivational speaker and a New York Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason:  7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out and Love for No Reason: 7 Steps for Creating a Life of Unconditional Love, as well as coauthor of six of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul.  Marci was also a featured teacher in the movie and book, The Secret.  Visit her online at www.marcishimoffblog.com.

Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood are coauthors of the New York Times bestseller, The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny, as well as cofounders of the online magazine Healthy Wealthy n Wise, in which they have interviewed such inspirational figures as Byron Katie, Wayne Dyer, and Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith.

All Authors in Chapter Order
Jack Canfield ▪ Chris Attwood & Janet Bray Attwood ▪ Marci Shimoff ▪ Barnet Bain ▪ Kelle Sutliff ▪ Renee Baribeau ▪ Chantal Herman ▪ Asia Voight ▪ Wendy Beyer ▪ Siobhan Coulter ▪ Sheila Pearl ▪ Susan Barker ▪ Glenyce Hughes ▪ Robert Evans ▪ Glenn Groves ▪ Leslie Gunterson ▪ Kimberly Burnham ▪ Liz Byrne ▪ Tami Gulland ▪ Susan McMillin ▪ Debra Hanes ▪ Stephanie Bennett Vogt ▪ Lisa Merrai Labon ▪ Patricia Cohen ▪ Craig Meriwether ▪ Marcelle Charrois ▪ Michelle Manning-Kogler ▪ Stacy Goforth ▪ Jacob Nordby ▪ Tim Anstett ▪ Randy Davila

Pearls of Wisdom
Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff, Chris Attwood and Janet Bray Attwood
Hierophant Publishing; Hardcover/ $23.95
ISBN: 978-0-9818771-5-0
April 2012
Available wherever books and ebooks are sold or through:
Red Wheel/Weiser at (800) 423-7087

17 March 2012

Farewell, Not Goodbye

This will be my last post on Life On Purpose.

Sad, but the good kind…like when you’re sad to graduate, a chapter is closing and a new one is beginning…an old life is folded up and put away, the gifts and insights mastered…This feels like farewell, not goodbye.

June 2009, we launched our family into the blue of the unknown.  Excited for adventures to be had but weary of the challenges and where we would end up.  After more than year packed in bags and cars, we flipped a coin and ended up moving to a new home where we knew no one.  August 2010, we arrived in Park City, Utah.  Would we find our community here?  Would we fit in?  Would it be everything we imagined?

Yesterday I was thinking about sharing this book that I’m in (Pearls of Wisdom) with my new community of friends and a wave of emotion bowled me over in the parking lot.  At first I resisted. 

What is this?  Where is this coming from?

And then I remembered to honor emotions as messengers.  So I sat and listened to the crashing torrent from deep inside my heart. 

These are your angels.  They are here to embrace you and assure you that you chose the right path.  This is your family.    

You are safe.  You are home.  You are loved.

I felt like a child crumbling in her parents’ arms.  I could just let go now.  I no longer need to hold the worries and pains of life alone.  I don’t have to soldier on or figure everything out all by myself. 

I don’t even have to figure anything out.  I only need to be.  Here.  Now.

I thought about my recent visit to WeCare and my time with my friend and mentor, Scott.  So much work has been done.  So much healing.  I see myself as a co-creator and manifestor of everything around me and yet, I still find my heart aching for love…wanting to feel cherished…wrestling with the shadow of doubt.

Rather than seeking love, BE love.

So simple.  And yet, until that moment, unattainable.  Be love.  Yes.

I thought about the weekend I spent with Kristen Ulmer and Ski to Live at Alta.  We learned about big mind zen and how the human being is a corporation filled with all sorts of conscious and unconscious employees running our lives.  Part of becoming a fully aware and free being is to witness the delusions and honor the wisdoms of each of these integral parts of ourselves.

On the last day, last run, Kristen asked us to ski in the mindset of “terminal illness.”  We all groaned.  Really?  On our last run on this gorgeous day?  Yes.

We set off, instructed not to talk to each other and really give it our best go.  I paused and took a few photos, of course.  I will take photos until my last breath.  The mountains glowed in the dusky pastel light.  The air was sweeter than usual.  Every nerve fiber in my body reached out to the swaying firs, soaring wings, and slumbering peaks.  The intense, immeasurable beauty of nature seared in vivid relief.

In awe as I drifted along a cat track, I came upon an elderly man, stuck on a steep rim of a canyon.  Another Ski to Live member and I stopped to silently anchor him and pull him back up to the safety.  Afterwards, my friend and I looked at each and he said, “Now, that was a pretty great way to spend your last hours, dontcha think?”

Indeed.  I felt bigger.  More spacious.  And in that larger space, love grew and burst from the seams.  Helping others is really what life is about.  And there it was.  It didn’t matter that I was dying.  What mattered was helping someone.

But that wasn’t all I learned in the mind of terminal illness.

I continued past the ravine to the double black groomed runs.  As I skied I felt the wind blowing through me, holding me up while I pushed into her canvas.  I sensed our boundaries blurring as I became the wind.  In an instant I knew that like the air will never really die, neither will I.  I may change form, but the energy and knowledge of life that I carry is forever a part of the vast ocean of shared awareness. 

And then, BAM.  I shifted into a new place.  I sat on the threshold between this world and the next.

There was my dad.  He sat with this understanding on his own deathbed.  At age 39, he let go of his body and drifted back into the cosmos of life.  I sensed him with me there on the slope as I sat and cried for him. 

Then, I heard him say, “Let’s take a run together.  Our last run.” 

So I got up, wiped the teary blur from my eyes and headed down, guided towards the wild and untracked slopes.  I found powder.  I found big fluffy moguls.  I hesitated for a moment, the mind of Fear checking me for sanity.  I confidently gave her that run off and whispered to my dad on my shoulders, “This is for you.”

I floated down some of the steepest, fluffiest, most complicated terrain I had personally or voluntarily ever skied.  I reached the bottom breathing hard and thrilled for chance to reach across the non-physical divide and bring home the knowing that anything is possible for any one of us when we are driven by love.

Here we are, always on the precipice and yet never taking life’s offer to live fully.  To breath with the wind.  To push our limits of perception and understanding.  To sing the melody of surrender and discovery.  To pull back the veils of the mind and see our whole being as the miracle and presence of God, the divine, the creative tour de force in form.

I’m so incredibly grateful and blessed to be here now.

To finally be in a place where I feel I belong.  Is it the place or the people?  No.  It’s me.  I am the one who changed.  I am the one who has allowed love to dwell in me and heal the hurt places.  And in my own healing, I am aware of the amazing life, energy and people around me.  That’s always how it works.

I recognize this.  And how wrong it has been to hold myself in the mind set of unloved.  For it is fundamentally untrue.  Oh the lies we tell.  Mostly to ourselves.

And I cry tears of grief for the empty years wrapped in joy for the awareness I’ve found.  I cry for the years I spent resisting or holding back or too afraid to risk being hurt.  I cry for the confusion.  So much confusion.  I cry for finding my way back into the comforting arms of compassion and grace.  I cry for finding my new awareness on this amazing journey.  And I hug the ground and the people that I now call home, so grateful for each and every one of them.

I believe this is all possible because I have opened my own heart to the world.  I risked everything I knew to peel away the falsehoods, to dig into the muddy slush and find the richness buried deep inside.  As spring comes to many more hearts in this world, may we all discover the seeds of love within and nurture them with trust and faith. 

There is a powerful sun radiating life for each of us to blossom into our potential.   You can call that sun God, Allah, Buddah, the universe or the “son” or Christ.  It doesn’t matter what you call it.  Only that you open your heart and allow this energy to radiate and restore you.  We all come into this world with unique challenges, legacies, inheritances, beliefs, programming, etc…these are our teachers, our gifts.  In finding the gifts of our lives, we release ourselves from layers of grief and pain.  In healing ourselves, we heal the world.

However many hours you have left here, may you walk in love.


PS:  My new web home is www.lisalabon.com.  I will be sending all subscribers an invitation to join me there. The Life On Purpose blog will be turned into an e-book and available there some time later this year.

Peace and blessings to you all.

03 March 2012

Keep Calm And Carry On

I see the "Keep Calm And Carry On" meme everywhere now.  I first saw them on some mugs that I promptly bought for hostess gifts and shared with my girl friends.  I kept one for myself.  I must have known I would need the reminder this year as I tangoed with mother bear instinct to defend my young versus the desire to have my son behave in socially acceptable ways.

To read about my roller coaster of a fall, here are the posts to catch up.

Part 1:  Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
Part 2:  Wild & Wonderful

We had our second parent teacher conference for ZZ yesterday.  It was the shortest, cleanest, simplest conference any of my kids have ever had.  I saw a half dozen pictures of him working with friends in class, mostly building bridges, houses, pyramids.  I saw the progress he has made with his penmanship and number lessons.  I heard that he is calmer, doesn't fidget during circle time.  He does not communicate physically anymore (aka pushing, shoving, hitting) in fact the most abrupt action he's shown in class was puncturing some playdoh with a tool.  And he is the defacto leader in class and on the play ground.  The other children regularly ask him for direction as he directs a group river excavation or igloo assembly.  All signs point to a future builder in one way or another.

So, what made the difference?  

We were told he exhibited unusual learning behavior and they were concerned about his aggressiveness.  We were asked to take him to an expert in child development for suggestions, which we did.  We were told he was perfectly normal.

My suspicion, which simmered beneath my mortification, was that he was being pushed too hard.  That he was not ready for the work sheets and lessons they felt he needed to accomplish.  This is a highly regarded Montessori program, so I found it a little odd that they did not view him as the individual he is and consider the possibility that he may not be ready.  I wondered if he was shoving, hitting, pouting and reverting to baby talk as his immature way of saying, "I can't do what you're expecting."

During my investigation process, which took at least two full months of my undivided attention (which is why I wasn't able to blog or work on my novel), I found out that his day was upside down and backwards.  The morning, when he has the most energy, was spent primarily on life skills tasks.  Free play with various "work" projects such as playing with landforms, play doh, architectural forms, matching objects, snack, feeding "Puff" the dragon or the little birds that fill the room with their sweet melodies.  His classroom in the morning is bright, cheerful and very peaceful.

The afternoon seemed to be where the problems were cropping up the most.  Whether he came to the afternoon tired or not, that's where the more academic lessons were assigned.  He balked.  And misbehaved.  And we eventually discovered the frustration was mutual with the afternoon teacher.  Turns out, there are a few active boys in the afternoon.  We learned yesterday that this increasingly wise teacher, changed her program to accomodate the energy and learning needs of the group.  Is it a coincidence that our little guy has not had any negative incidents to speak of since the winter holidays?

His main teacher confirmed yesterday that since they backed off their expectations for him based on his age, he is doing much better.  He is calmer in the classroom and goes about his daily play and inquiry with ease.  His fine motor skills are developing a little more slowly, which is the NORM for boys generally, so that the handwriting and work with pencils or crayons feels a bit awkward for him.  He naturally wants to be successful so he gravitates to activities he can master.

We all smiled and sighed with relief that the panic over what to do with a rambunctious boy has faded.  I have to give a lot of credit to the teachers.  I was obviously very concerned about him being labeled and struggling.  No one wants their child to hate school or themselves for any reason.  But because the teachers brought it to us immediately, we were all able to brainstorm solutions.  One that I suggested straight off the bat is that ZZ needs clear boundaries.  At home.  At school.  On the ski slopes.  He is a hard wired risk taker and is unafraid of ruffling feathers to explore his environment.  He never likes to disappoint anyone, but his impulses are very powerful.  The teacher said that advice really helped her guide him more effectively.

So, note to future teachers or adults in ZZ's life, if you are not clear about the rules, he'll make them up as he sees fit.

Once When I Was Little by James Morrison

As I watch my wild and wonderful boy learning to compose himself in more socially acceptable ways, I wonder...will his dreams and energies persist or will more than misbehavior fade away.  Has he gained maturity and control or lost the inexpressible spark that none of us could quite comprehend.  Was something lost in translation between the free spirited boy and rule bound culture?  If he was a writer, I would encourage him to journal.  Maybe he will someday.  Remember this moment where he pushed back and the adults listened...if that is even what happened.

This morning as I snuggled with my now very talkative boy child, he was telling me all about the parts of the body, the bones, the organs, the veins (which he calls vines).  He said that when we die, the brain stays in the skull.  "That way, when I die, I can still think about how much I love you."  He smiled and curled into my chest, "And when you die, you can still think about how much you love me."

Indeed, little man.  Indeed.

Abiding with utter calm...

23 February 2012

What If We Stopped?

Butterfly Releaser by Ella Moss

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.  
~Albert Einstein
The news feeds are filled daily with oppression, depression, indignation, horror.  It’s always been so, hasn’t it?  It’s our collective status report, the one we subscribe to most.  How do we expect the news to change if we keep ordering the same dish?  While most of us are tucked far away from the epi-centers of our news, the truth is WE are part of the problem.  Our daily choices and habits reinforce the system that sucks our life energy dry.  We are participating and creating every single thing we observe. 

Our feelings, thoughts and actions become chess pieces in the greatest energy grab on Earth.  7 billion people jostling for scarcity and security in a world our news feed says is on the brink of disaster

But what if we stopped?

accepting the charade and lies of the status quo?
paying taxes to a system that fails to act responsibly?
buying toxic products of industry and convenience?
believing that we are incomplete, unworthy or powerless victims?
giving away our energy and resources?
polluting our bodies, minds and Earth?

Doesn’t it say somewhere in our constitution that if our Government fails to protect our nation, which includes the health of the citizens and the shared resources, that it then forfeits its power?  Doesn’t it then obligate each of us to kick the bums out and start over?  What if we start with what we can each personally do?  Voting is multi-level.  We can vote on a ballet, with our wallets and with our feet.  We can also vote with our hearts.

{and I can write something to get you thinking…}

Think about when you are happy.  Relaxing, in the sun, with fresh food, family and friends, simple pleasures.  Even those who are totally unconscious and driven by addictions know the simplicity of life, breath, health and earth.

What if we stopped this incessant push for more, more, more?  Walk away from the chips on the table?

Live with...
less stuff and more creativity.
less driving and more reflection.
less dishonesty and more acceptance.
less isolation and more connection.
less judgment and more curiosity.
less wanting and more giving.
less pain and more awareness of who we really are.
You don’t have a soul.
You are a soul.
You have a body.
~Carl Jung
What if the only real obstacle we have to our ideals, health, happiness and real freedom, is ourselves?  What if each of us did a couple of major reboots to how we live and act that took power away from toxic entities and directed it towards LIFE and empowered co-creation?  Can we examine every habit, behavior, interaction, purchase, vote, word, thought, emotion and see where it’s really taking us on a daily basis?  Can we move towards a healing pattern instead of a destructive pattern?

Is it possible?

Can we stop and change course?

If you think we can, please share your ideas for how to begin…

With hope,

11 February 2012

The Fruit of Detox

Last day at the retreat is always bitter sweet.  The sweet part is that you feel better than you have in year(s);  recharged, clear, energetic and transformed.  While I really miss my family, I know this amazing bright energy I have right now slowly drains away as I get caught up in the hurry.  Everyone here feels it. We say our reluctant goodbyes, exchanging emails and promises to stay in touch.  I see in each pair of eyes a witness, a friend on the path towards real health.

What I want to bring home with this new, healthier me, is tangible ideas that will manifest a healthier family and pace of life.

1.  No more junk food.  That includes all kinds of fast food and most restaurants.  We don't usually think of sit down restaurants as fast food, but they are.  It's important to know where ALL your food comes from.  It's about sugar, chemical additives, GMOs, fillers, gluten grains, transfats, MSG alternatives, industrial meat, etc.  I will have to start asking our local restaurants where they source their food.  Eating healthy is expensive.  But so is poor health.
Health Goal:  I would LOVE to bring Cafe Gratitude to Park City.  For those who don't know, Cafe Gratitude is a semi raw and vegan restaurant that makes fresh, local, organic dishes and serves them with mindfulness and gratitude, of course.  I had the great pleasure of eating there before leaving San Francisco.  See "May I Be Frank" a documentary about a big unhealthy guy regaining his life with the help of Cafe Gratitude.
2.  Get Raw-nchy.  Our family already eats 2-3 vegetable dishes with lean wild or grass fed meat for dinner.  I want to increase it further and make sure everyone has salad at least once if not twice a day.  Greens BUILD our bodies.  No more bovine dairy.  No gluten grains and few simple carbs.  The author of Enzyme Factor says even white rice is "dead" food.  I want raw LIVING food in our home and our stomachs to fuel our bodies and minds.  Out of respect for the bodies that carry us forward on our life purpose, we honor them by honestly nourishing them.
Health Secret:  humans are supposed to eliminate at least 2-3 times a day!  If you're going #2 one or fewer times a day, you are constipated.  That means you are reabsorbing toxins your body is struggling to get rid of which often means fat storage.  Fat cells protect us from toxins by stuffing them away.  Stubborn fat could be a clue you might be toxic and need to detox.
3.  Shop Compassionately.  Where did the item in my cart come from?  How was it made?  Did it harm the Earth or anyone else in the process of reaching the store shelf.  I am thinking about everything from fossil fuel usage, to factory farming to child labor to pollution.  The more I can know or understand about a product I exchange my money with, the better.  All of life is energy exchange at some level.  My money is simply a form of energy.  I want to use it compassionately.
Health Secret:  Locally grown produce is by far and a mile the healthiest food you can ever consume.  Your back yard or a farmer near you.  There is nothing hotter right now than supporting local farming.
4.  Love in Action.  When I am writing, calling, cooking, walking the dog, talking to my neighbor, I want to bring love to my action.  I intend to ask for grace in every interaction I have so my hands, my body, my words, my heart, my mind may be wise and compassionate with those who reach out to me.  My teacher, Scott, said he likes to ask, "please show me in a way that I can understand."  And then listen to heart.
Health Secret:  Hugging creates happy hormonal reactions in both the hugger and the hugged.  Sorta like smiling makes you feel happy even if you didn't start off meaning it.  So, hug people.  Hug your spouse, your kids, your friends.  Make sure it's a heart-to-heart deep hug.
5.  Grateful heart.  We are all incredibly blessed whether we see it that way or not.  We already have a semi-regular habit of sharing what we are grateful for at meal time.  I would like to also thank the creative force-that-can-never-be-named for the the food that we choose with compassion and prepare with love.
Health Secret:  When we focus on what we want or what we love, we strengthen that in our lives.  Gratitude is a wonderful, natural way to focus our energy on the positive.
6.  Healthy Sleep.  It's so important to get enough high quality sleep.  Some serious interference happens with screens;  television, computers, ipads, phones.  I intend to turn them all off by 7 pm.  Business can wait.  Content on television is primarily toxic.  The light source also messes with your circadian rhythms which makes it difficult to settle down at a healthy hour.  Ironically, I sometimes like to write at night.  I will grab a notebook and pen, instead. Turn those screens OFF.
Health Secret:  Cell phones and laptops should not be left on your nightstand.  Electro-magnetic frequencies, including wireless interfere with cellular function.  Move your alarm clock or any device that emits electricity across the room.
7.  Exercise For Life. The heart is the primary organ for stimulating blood flow which carries toxins out of your cells.  It's absolutely essential for detoxing on a daily basis.  Forget about weight loss.  This is about cellular health and longevity.  As a writer I sit much more than I'd like because I haven't figured out how to write on the run.  I want to sit because I choose to not because I have to.
Health Secret:  Find a friend or group of friends you can take a walk with every day.  It will help make you accountable to yourself AND you get that social bonding we all need, too.
8. Meditation Miracle. Meditation is a very simple exercise to get in touch with the voice that has no voice.  In a few minutes, you can relax your feet, hands, eyes and neck, focus on your breath and notice your thoughts fluttering around.  Focusing on the breath is enough often times to drift to a place where you realize you are witnessing your body and mind.  In that space, your true self will arise and deliver insights or maybe a feeling.  Cool Cheat:  The EOC Institute has a track called "Balance" that my teacher/friend Scott recommended.  Listen with headphones and notice how quickly your brain entrains and relaxes.
Health Secret:  Meditation is a way of centering and setting intentions for the day.  It's like starting a ripple in your own pond.  The rings will lead the way.  Which way do you want to go?
9.  Laugh Out Loud.  Laughter stimulates health hormones and it massages your liver and stomach which helps with digestion.
Health Secret:  Take some food enzymes to help digest the foods we inevitably eat that are hard for our abused digestive tracts to break down.
10.  If you enjoy my blog, please pass this on, share it on social media, send me an email.  I am putting together a new website which will consolidate all my blogs and projects in one place.  I'm considering compiling Life On Purpose into a book.  I would love to know if that would be of interest to anyone who has followed along so far.  Please let me know!

Big bear hugs,

Previous posts related to my fasting detox retreat:
Dispatch from the Desert
Day One Ugh
Day Four Detox

10 February 2012

Day Four - Detox

I love the internet as much as anyone but it really is a distraction.  The connection went down Tuesday, which was perfect because the last 5 chapters of the novel I was really hoping to finish while here flew off my fingertips.  By the end of the day, I was in shock, thrilled and ready to celebrate with a tall glass of Kangen water.  

Kangen water is the #1 health tool of Japanese doctors.  It is in every hospital.  It is a machine that filters out the chemicals in regular tap water, alkalizes it and ionizes the molecules into a smaller size that penetrate cells walls easier so that toxins can eliminate faster.  I saw a demonstration of acidity and oxidation levels of pop soda, soda water, propell, vitamin water, fiji water and regular tap water.  Carbonation is so acidic and oxidative that the Kangen water could not neutralize it.  It did bring up the PH of tap and bottled water.  

Bottom line:  do not drink any carbonated sugar drinks.  Ever.  They are turning us into those old rusty cars whose engines are dropping out.  Cola can dissolve a tooth!  Imagine what it does to your stomach and intestines!  Chris Young, the rep for Kangen Water (and an incredibly fit and healthy 51 year old cancer survivor) tells the most amazing health recovery stories solely drinking this water.  The staff at WeCare also have personal stories of how their health or weight improved only drinking the water.  I believe it's a big reason why people can detox so quickly and deeply while at WeCare.
Tip:  Lemons absorb toxins out of liquid so add it to your tap water to help remove the chemicals municipal water companies must add to keep everyone safe from dangerous microbes.  It also alkalizes the water which helps your body manage all the toxic substances we inhale, absorb and digest daily.

With my novel completed, I was free to relax.  Finally.  Sometimes we get so caught up in busy we don't realize how long it's really been since we took care of ourselves.  I started coming to WeCare in 2009 and intended to make this my birthday present every year.  Somehow last year I didn't make it.  Although I have incorporated many ideas from WeCare into my home life over the years, I was surprised by a caffeine headache Monday night and into Tuesday morning.  I drink chai, not coffee.  Apparently that has enough caffeine in it that it really hit me.  Back to Yerbe Mate for me.  They recommend Yerbe Mate at WeCare because it is an energy lifting tea without the addictive qualities of caffeine.

In many ways our addictions teach us a valuable lesson about our nature.  We can be addicted to many things.  Most people think of recreational drugs or alcohol.  But caffeine and sugar are huge addictive substances.  Any food is addictive and toxic if we eat more than we need.  Lifestyle can be addictive, too.  Television.  Exercise or couch surfing.  Habits.  Toxic relationships.  So the question is when does an addiction start to have a negative impact?

When you cannot stop doing something you know or suspect may be harmful to you, those you love or the world, you are addicted.  Entrained with a pattern that is toxic.  Many patterns are unconscious so bringing them into our awareness is the first step.  Often times we rationalize, justify or feel trapped by our patterns.  The blessing in this dynamic is that at some point the symptoms, discomfort, threat to your well being becomes so great that you must wake up and choose.  An important aspect of choice is knowledge. When you know better, you can do better.

Spiritual Healing

My absolute favorite part of these fasting retreats is not the very structured detoxing regime (body work) or even the informative classes (mental work), but the spiritual work.  Healers of many types are invited to come and sit with the clients, teach, and have private sessions.  The clients themselves share and touch each other's lives in mystical ways.  It never fails that every single retreat the perfect assembly of souls arrive to hold space and wisdom for each other.

Today someone asked me what the greatest "take away" has been so far.  I thought that was a great question, so here are my answers:

1.  I learned from "Dolly" to have a shaker full of love to cook with.  Literally put a little heart on a condiment container and add it consciously to anything I cook.  I remember the movie "Like Water For Chocolate" about infusing food with love.  Our intentions and energy flavor everything we do.  What a beautiful idea.

2.  I learned from my dear healer friend Scott Schwenk that relationships are always about what we can bring TO them, not what we take from them.  Rather than thinking "I want love" the more empowered space says "I am love."  What I am feeling a lack of, no one else can fill.  He reminded me to renew my practice of meditation.  Another great way to fill the love tank is to recall past moments of unconditional love, like when I held my babies.  Bringing that love memory into my now moment and infusing my body and awareness with it is like marinating in delicious love sauce.  He also pitched asking for grace in any encounter or situation where I was unsure.  Genius.

For those also interested in relationship work, he recommended the book Kindred Spirit by Mathew and Terces Englehart of Café Gratitude.  And if anyone wants to open a Café Gratitude in Park City, Utah, email me!

3.  I learned from “Jason” that health gurus can be hypocritical and dogmatic. Hunting has been and can still be an honorable and healthy way to eat.  Blood type science supports that we are different in our needs.  As Jason pointed out, many vegan/vegetarians honor so much about the Native American traditions and yet ignore the fact they ate meat.  Together we speculated that much of the hostility stems from anxiety, mistrust and lack of control over our food sources today.  Industrialized meat production is horrific and toxic for everyone.  There are humane, healthy alternatives just as with every food type.  We decided the solution is to get reconnected.  Grow your own.  Know your food from the source.

4.  I learned from Susanna Belen, the founder of WeCare to throw my gluten free grains into the rice cooker all at once for the ultimate convenient healthy dinner.  Basmatic brown rice, quinoa and lentils with frozen or fresh veggies.  Add some olive oil and Bragg’s or WeCare’s “My Protein” to taste.  It really is delicious!  Soak bean before cooking to remove outer shell and release enzymes for easier digestion.  Make Tahini with a Vitamix using sesame seeds, lemon juice, water and “My Protein.”  It makes a fabulous dressing for salads or rice.  She also said her mantra “Home is where your nutrition is.”

Tips:  Susana says the fumes from cooking on Teflon are known to kill birds.  Throw it out.  It can kill you, too.  Microwaves kill nutrients.  Throw them out.  Inevitably the majority of restaurants are serving inferior food, cooked and served by unhappy people in kitchens that are not very clean.  That is an energetic recipe for poor health for anyone who consumes the food.  Get your nutrition from home not restaurants.

Susana has so much to teach, that even after having sat in her classes many times, I always learn something new.  You can either come to WeCare yourself or get her book Detox and add some healthier habits to your life.

5.  I learned from Mary, the rock star acupuncturist that gratitude should be expressed openly and frequently.  She does a gratitude/health blessing before and after every treatment.  It’s incredibly touching and her work is simply elevated all the more.  She has a gift and it may be in part due to her attitude and gratitude.

6.  I learned from Renee, the hypnotherapist, how to go into a meditative state to reprogram my subconscious.   I was able to write down all my personal goals in my subconscious “book” in the presence of my “coaches” (JK Rowling and Deepak Chopra) while seeing myself dance throughout my day doing all the things I really want to do.  The result?  Incredible joy and ease.  And the more I envision and embody these goals in a deep place of meditation, the more they automatically play out in my conscious waking life.  How cool is that?

7.  I learned from Pam that we teach our children about relationship.  It’s important to make sure that as parents, we offer them tools and knowledge so they can be compassionate and self-aware partners in their life.  She shared the book “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived:  King Solomon’s Secrets to Success” by Steven Scott as a book she plans to give to her sons so they might navigate all their relationships and endeavors with wisdom.  She gave me a wonderful passage on husbands and wives that really made so much sense.

8.  I learned from Susana, Dinah and Bill that the 70s are beautiful, active and vital years if you take care of your health.  They are all so accomplished and energetic with so much more yet to offer the world.  Very inspiring.

Here is an amazing song by the greatest American rock icon that never was.  Sixto Rodriguez is the subject of an amazing movie at Sundance called "Searching for Sugarman" where some South Africans went looking this rockstar who was bigger than Elvis or the Beattles in their country.  It was by far my favorite film at Sundance.  Definitely catch it if you can.  And get his albums.  I think he's better than Dylan.  That's just my opinion.  His lyrics are incredible and his voice is impeccable.

I wonder by Rodriguez

I am already thinking about when I can come back.  Yes, it's that amazing here.

The light in me, sees and bows to the light in you,


Detox by Susana Belen
Clean by Alejandro Junger, MD
Kindred Spirits by Matthew and Terces Englehart
Alkalize or Die by Dr. Theodore Baroody
The Enzyme Factor by Hiromi Shinya MD
Killing Cancer Not People by Robert Wright

06 February 2012

Day One - Ugh

I forgot how hard detoxing feels.

Despite my heavenly bed and entirely flexible schedule, I could not sleep last night.  I tossed and turned and found myself wide awake at 4 am.  This NEVER happens at home.  I could easily sleep until 9 am any given day if my kids and early school schedule would allow it.  I'm a night owl, not a morning lark.  I had every intention of doing morning yoga at 7 but with my head already pounding and no sleep, I opted for a few more zzzs.

I wrapped myself in a very cute Lululemon wrap sweater and headed over to the common room in the main building.  The air was crisp.  The bunnies hopped around the garden along the path.  They are so darn adorable.  They are sheltered here from the coyotes and hawks by the fences and trees.

Inside the large living area is a big comfy sofa, four facing chairs, a large island and a long counter where all the "food" is set up.  Each client has a list of supplements and juices to prepare throughout the day, a little bag full of the labeled pills and teas and some basic condiments to add to the various concoctions meant to help nourish and detox.

Probably the least favorite "drink" is cod liver oil.  Thankfully, I haven't been ordered to take that.  I believe it's prescribed when clients need some extra help in the elimination department.  My least favorite is the detox drink which is basically a foamy fiber porridge.  One fellow camper suggested adding cinnamon and apple juice so that it tastes like soggy apple pie.  We also take probiotics after the colonics {more on that in a minute}, food enzymes with the carrot or green juices and our dinner "soup"du jour.  There are lots of green drinks and pills which are basically all your green veggies on steroids and freeze dried.  Not actually on steroids since everything here is natural, organic and holistic.

I am skipping all the food and health classes this week even though that's where you get "real" food in exchange for learning healthier habits.  Fresh kefir, almond milk, smoothies, rice with different delicious dressings.  Or maybe I will take those classes after all.  I'm definitely feeling hungry.  I was having a grand old time picking out design ideas on Pinterest until I noticed all the incredible food pictures intermingled.  I was even eyeing the Body Deli "Living Shampoo and Conditioner" in our guest rooms.  The ingredients are. wheat grass, oat grass, kale juice and dandelion.  {yes, you can eat dandelion.}

I'm not really hungry.  What I am is tired.  My head hurts.  I know very well how this fog clears in just a few days but right now the heavy clouds are closing in.  I've been wanting to get to my book all day but I also know that the first few days of a detox are slow so I'm going slow.  This is a type of healing crisis.  My body is in a bit of shock.  I don't think it's the lower calories because I'm getting tons of nutrition.

What this detox retreat does is interrupt the toxic daily habits we all fall into.  I hear one person after the next talk about how hard it was to stop drinking coffee or wine or eating meat the few days before arriving.  Only a few days.  Here those things are simply not available.  How often do we think we should quit or scale back on something unhealthy only to continue with excuses?  Generally it's a losing battle unless someone really takes the option off the table.

And as our bodies begin to withdraw from the daily input of tough chemicals, sugars, caffeine, processed foods, our minds struggle to adjust to this new experience of self.  Self in pain?  Self in doubt?  Self wondering if this was such a good idea.

So smart spa that this is offers classes to help everyone work through these tough days with new and healing information.  Classes with nutritionists, gardeners, cooks, naturopaths, healers and life coaches.  Everyone is invited to free classes and may schedule private sessions with anyone they wish.  No one leaves here without fresh, new ideas and tools they can take home with them.

I promised I would get back to the colonic part of the experience.  This is a tough subject to talk about to anyone who hasn't experienced it because there is alot of misinformation and fear surrounding it.  All I can say is if you allow a proctologist to stick an enormous camera and laser up your colon (and beyond), you can certainly allow fresh filtered water and the direction of a professional working for well over a decade with thousands of people to help dislodge stuff that really has no business being stuck.  Most people have so abused their digestive tract that it no longer functions well.  Most people are some degree of gluten and casein intolerant (up to 80% of Americans) which is known to flatten and scar the filia in the intestines.  How the heck can it do it's job if you've been doing that for a lifetime?  It's essential during detox because while you're giving your digestion a break, your cells are working over time to expel all the toxins they socked away to protect you for all these years.  Do you really want to let that stuff get reabsorbed just as you've finally released it?

The answer is no, you don't.

I was skeptical the first time I came here.  And afraid.  I'll admit it.  But frankly, any medical exam is humiliating to some degree.  Speculum anyone?  Colonics are way more dignified.  I swear.

And the proof is in the pudding.  I know from experience that in two more days I will begin to feel like a shiny brand new person.  The head ache and fog will lift.  I will sleep like a baby.  My energy will return despite the juice fasting (or because of it!).  And my restored organs and cells will be ready for another year of healthy, active life.  That is the amazing pay off.  That's why I keep coming back.  That's why most of the guests are return visitors or people whose friend or family member sold them on the experience.

There is much more to share about this retreat but I need to rest my eyes and brain now.  Next time, I will share the spirit work that is so integral to health and healing.  It is even more important than the juice fasting and detox.

If you have any questions about fasting or this retreat please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a private email.

Good night,

05 February 2012

Dispatch from the Desert

The warm desert wind out of the East is like a melody to a song whose lyrics are forgotten or irrelevant.  Her greeting is ancient and fresh.  She stirs the glorious pot of memory; moons of possibility, fires of transformation, patterns freed, heart in repair and mind unbound.  I have returned to the desert.  A place of healing for those who find it.

This is also the place where I began this blog.

In early 2009, just before we had to commit to leaving our city life, I booked a trip to this desert oasis.  I was stressed and confused, desperate for clarity.  A friend came back glowing and peaceful.  I wanted that.  I needed that.

I arrived today for my fourth juice fasting retreat.  Everything about this visit is different from that first one only four years ago.  I was so nervous packing that first time.  I knew there were no laundry facilities so I packed 7 outfits not realizing I would spend 90% of my time in a bathrobe or yoga pants.  I expected to have hours and hours of free time so I brought my nightstand reading stack not realizing the spa provides a free library and every room has a dozen very interesting books to read.  But more importantly, there are so many classes and treatments and interesting people to meet and chat with that I hardly spent any time in my room.  That was the year I planned to start writing for the first time in decades.

This year I am here to finish a writing project.  I have six chapters (or so) left to write for the first book of the fiction series I've been working on for well over a year now (two if you count the idea phase).  I have the space, the quiet, the sun, the birds and rabbits, the meditative walks and the tools to resolve whatever blocks that may be in the way of finishing this long beloved and sidelined project.  Certainly I can't blame incompletion on my kids.  Not this week.

The thing about this place is that whatever it is you need, where ever you are in your life, the universe conspires to provide it here.  If you are open, listening, and sincere in your desire to receive, magic never fails.

This evening during open sacred circle, the facilitator had us write down whatever blocks we wanted to release on little pieces of insta-flame paper.  After walking around the fire and setting our intention to let go of xyz, we set the paper on fire, transmuting the issue in a powerful alchemical ritual.  Then we picked up a small rock found on the retreat grounds.  In my years studying various energy healing modalities, I've come to immediately sense vibrations of things.  My little rock hummed with life.  The facilitator said whether the rock has our name on it, chooses us or we choose it, matters not.  What matters is that we can use the rock to anchor our entire week of experiences and take it with us when we leave.  Every time we feel something really powerfully shift or change, we should send that energy into the rock as a marker, a record, a memory bank.

How lucky are the rocks, trees, and people of this desert oasis who hear the song of the wind and know her melody by heart.

Be Here Now by George Harrison

My wish for you is that you find a space in your life to be, listen and receive the great wisdom that is right inside you, now.


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