Afghan Refugees

I have a side gig. I am teaching Afghan refugees English. It is a meaningful service opportunity that is feeding my spirit.


This week I planned a field trip with them.


These women are family members of former New York Times employees. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan last August, the NYT got their people out on one of the last flights out of Kabul.


Since coming to Houston, the only outside food they have eaten is Afghan and Persian food, so I decided to take them out to eat and do some clothes shopping.


The day before the trip, I was stunned to find out that one husband told his wife that she couldn't attend. He allegedly said that she should stay home with her kids and that America is not good for women.


This prompted a side conversation with another woman in which I asked about the matter. She told me, “My husband is different. He says that I must go and go and go and go.”


Imagine my surprise when all the women showed up...

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Finding Purpose

When I was four years old, I went to a wonderful Montessori school. I vividly remember asking all of the other kids to sit down while I stood at the small blackboard and declared that I was their teacher. I proceeded to “teach” them numbers, letters, and more.


It seems that my purpose has always been to be a teacher. I could be teaching kids in a school, teaching ESL to adults, teaching yoga, or teaching nutrition, but that thread remains the same.


Pictured above. I taught some kids yoga last week through the Peaceful Planet Foundation. It was so fun! I also did an Instagram live discussion last week with Jessica Sontag about finding one’s purpose. While researching some information about purpose, I found this cool equation from Richard Leider, the author of The Power of Purpose:


Your Gifts + Your Passion + Your Values = Your Purpose


I love these kinds of equations, so I immediately had to jot down some notes.


  1. My gifts are that I...
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Stress Management Basics

Got stress? The science about stress shows us that stress can be helpful or harmful depending on how we handle it. 


Here are some stress definitions: Stress is defined as 1. pressure or tension exerted on a material object, 2. a state of mental or emotional tension, and 3. a “surprise.”


Stressors are external environmental circumstances, and our stress response is our emotional, behavioral, and physiological reaction to environmental circumstances.


There are two kinds of stress: acute and chronic. Acute stress, that fight or flight response, that is not managed well over time can lead to chronic stress which causes mental and physical health problems. However, stress in and of itself is not a bad thing. How we manage it turns it into a good or bad thing.


Interestingly, when we experience stress there are two hormones that are released. One is adrenaline which causes the fight or flight response in the body. This is a helpful stress...

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I started the week last week feeling in awe of the way my life is manifesting. For instance, in my yoga classes, there is a lot of intimacy as people share bits of themselves over time and we build relationships with each other. We all come to depend on each other and on our time together to enhance our well-being. Also, I am savoring the moments before I become an empty-nester at the end of next summer. Life feels sweet and satisfying.


By the middle of the week, a war started that brought confusion and sadness. These feelings caused me to shift from savoring to acting, and I have been consciously sending prayers of strength and resilience to the Ukranians. I am especially praying for the children, the innocent, and the helpless to find strength and safety in these tumultuous times. 


I also have done some reacting when seeing notifications of bombs and blow ups literally blowing up my phone. I have felt stressed, sad, and anxious. I truly believe that we are not...

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I was first introduced to mindfulness when a friend gave me Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness back when I was living in China in 1996. 


Thich Nhat Hanh, global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist and “the father of mindfulness,” died a few days ago at the age of 95 years old.


As my friend who introduced me to Nhat Hanh’s teachings texted me, “There is a person who has really helped decrease suffering in this world.”


Nhat Hanh taught mindfulness as a way to live in a state of peace.


Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us or inside of us. 


Mindfulness is something that we already have within ourselves; still, mindfulness can be cultivated through sitting, standing, and walking meditation, through short pauses that we insert into...

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We Get What We Need

I am taking a leap this week to borrow a line from the Rolling Stones as a spiritual teaching. 


I’ve been watching my daughter work very hard in her AP high school classes this semester. She’s a senior, and this is her grand finale for this period of her life. At times, it seemed that a few important things may fall through the cracks with such a busy schedule. 


I have been a bit grumpy and critical about the possibility of those important things falling through the cracks.


However, last week it was clear that she does really try hard, and that she does always seem to get what she needs. 


In fact, isn’t that true for all of us? Don’t we always get what we need?


Look back on your life. You may not have always gotten everything that you wanted. But did you get what you needed?


I can say that this is true for me. I do tend to get what I need.


For this week, when worries arise in your mind, you may...

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Cancel Diet Culture

Happy New Year to you!!!


Many people start diets in the new year. This post may have you rethinking that a bit. Lately, I have been studying more about Intuitive Eating which is about rejecting diet culture, listening to the body’s cues, and trusting oneself with food.


Eating a plant-based diet has helped me to work on Intuitive Eating. A plant-based diet is not a weight loss diet; it’s a lifestyle choice. I’ve noticed that going plant-based has helped me to allow myself to eat what I want and as much as I want more of the time. I am learning to trust myself with food. 


This week I reflected on the problems with dieting and diet culture. 


Evelyn Tribole says, “The problem is that whatever names diet culture falls under, its roots remain the same: the perpetuation of fat phobia, body shame, and self-disconnection.” Dang! That’s quite an indictment against dieting.


I started dieting at around 13 years...

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I hope you had a happy Christmas or holiday!


This week I have been thinking about the topic of happiness. After all, we are all about to wish each other a “Happy New Year!!!!”


I have some quotes from some great yogis about happiness.


"If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you." - Paramahansa Yogananda


"Be happy for those who are happy, have compassion towards the unhappy, and maintain equanimity towards the wicked." - Patanjali


"Make others truly happy as you strive to make yourself happy. Speak a helpful word. Give a cheering smile. Do a kind act. Serve a little. Wipe the tears of one who is in distress. Render smooth a rough place in another's path. You will feel great joy." - Sivananda


When I read these quotes, I understand that happiness can be a practice.


Maintaining my own...

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Karma Yoga

Karma is a law made by God for man. It means actions, works, or deeds. It is also the law of cause and effect. The intentions and actions of an individual are the CAUSE.  The future of that individual is the EFFECT. The Bible verse “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a lesson in creating good Karma. A colloquial way of speaking about Karma is “What goes around comes around.”


There are three kinds of Karma:

  1. Sanchita Karma - the sum total of all accumulated Karma from all previous actions
  2. Prarabdha Karma - that portion of Karma that we are working out
  3. Agami Karma - Karma that will be created while Prarabdha Karma is being worked out.


One of the highest yoga practices is Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is the Yoga of Unselfish Action. 


Karma Yoga helps us to get rid of the lower nature of selfishness, greed, anger, envy, and fear. We begin to replace these with the higher emotions of love, tolerance, compassion, and...

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Nourish Bowls

My daughter was right. My 17 year old daughter had been begging me for almost two years to make nourish bowls for our lunches. These bowls are filled with raw and cooked foods and are also known as macro bowls and buddha bowls. I was not that convinced that this would be a game changer for us as we are already eating a lot of vegetables and we are 100% plant-based. Also, my husband likes eating hot, cooked foods except for lots of fruits and the occasional raw cucumber. So, I was hesitant to make these hearty salads as our regular lunches. Then my business coach Corinne, who is also plant-based, shared that she was feeling so great after eating these bowls for lunch. So, I set off towards the nourishing world of nourish bowls.


What makes a regular salad into a nourish bowl?

  1. Greens: Start with a bed of raw greens like romaine, baby spinach, spring mix, or massaged kale.
  2. Grains: Cook a cup of quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, millet, bulgur, couscous or other whole grain. I use...
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