world tour begins today…

first stop:

two years ago, i journeyed north to my first squam. it was the first time i’d really been traveling on my own for a long, long time. i hadn’t even been off the island for years. as i pulled out of my driveway i was bawling my eyes out…terrified (so a note to any squammy’s  to be – if you are feeling this sort of fear…i get it. reach out to me. i know it oh so well and i’m here to say the journey is worth every ounce of strength you have). see, my world had become so very, very small. island living is an immense privilege and while i’m happy here on this strip of sand, if you don’t leave it can become isolating…and this life is working hard to be as big as it possibly can. 2011 is shaping up to be a year of travel…today marks the beginning and i’m fired up.

brooklyn, brooklyn take me in…


yup…it’s my three year anniversary of starting blissful*thinking. i remember the day…and i wish i had more time to reflect on the journey today, but alas this is what my life looks like right now:

many, many real and imaginary reasons for the above disaster. but can you look away from the mess and see that sweet little puppy face? cute, right? well he just jumped out of his playpen…he’s a willful teenager asserting himself whenever he can. which is fun, and has me in stitches most of the time. this morning…not so much. back in he goes…

and i wish i had more to say. but let’s just say the embarrassing clutter on my dining room table that is serving as my desk as i remodel my office, and the fog out the window that are making the gorgeous view completely invisible… are precise metaphors for how my brain feels right now.



and foggy.

i know the clarity will return. and i’m waiting patiently, taking deep breaths in between grinding through the to-do list and daydreaming of sunshine, deep woods, the smell of pine, pink unicorns and soulful, sacred work because…registration is open for SQUAM ART WORKSHOPS and you all know how near and dear elizabeth and squam are to my heart and soul…i’m teaching again in both June & September, two lovely yoga/sacred movment classes both held on campus this year. so come get grounded and spread your wings. there is so much fun to be had on the docks of that magical lake… see:



The only people for me are the mad ones,

the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,

the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.

~ jack kerouac

my word for 2011 just showed up. it wasn’t on any of my lists…but it’s here and i understand why. and why today.


as in burning desire…as in burn brightly from within…as in passion…as in tapas and burning up that which is not serving me…as in lighting a fire under my ass to get it all done…as in the spark of an idea…as in the sacred fire of service.

i realized there is SO MUCH i want to share…

SO MUCH i want to do…

SO MUCH i want to see and feel and touch and taste…

this morning i awoke with a memory of this amazing old flame of mine, who once told me that everyday he woke up feeling like he was standing outside the gates of disneyworld. he was that excited for his day to begin. which i didn’t get.

at. all.

now i do (and i hope he still feels that way).

also, this holiday elizabeth gifted me with a mini-session with intuitive bridget pilloud (thank you sweet sister!). bridget is lovely, and shared with me a lot of insightful information (obviously right?), and i highly recommend working with her (you know when someone just gets it, and she does!). aaaanyway…she told me my third chakra, the yellow one at my solar plexus, the one that has always been my “achilles heel” so to speak, the one that has suffered through two surgeries, the one associated elementally with fire…is tired.

so, with this sacred declaration i am asking the universe to help deeply nourish my third chakra and bring the fire back to my belly.

p.s. universe – this is a really scary word for me to declare given my deep rooted fear of fire. this voracious element has already taken the summer of my 13th-year to fire-fear induced insomnia, a beloved jeep, and an apartment with most everything i owned (thank you for protecting little duncan). so i respectfully ask that you keep to the metaphorical kind of flame…thank you and love, *michelle

we miss you little duncan…

one year ago today we made the heartbreaking decision to let little duncan go. it was time. maybe even a little beyond (and for that i know he forgives me). i couldn’t bring myself to make the decision, or the phone call, so bryan had to muster the strength to call the vet. she was at our house in under 15 minutes (barely time to let it sink in what we were doing) and like that… he was gone. he slipped away with bryan rubbing his ears, and i held him as the life left his body and it became limp.

as the days had drawn nearer to this moment we had researched places to have him cremated, most of which meant giving him to the vet and waiting for his ashes to be returned to us via the mail. i couldn’t bear the thought of his body out in the cold, or in back of someone’s truck, or worse – lost. so, we found a place that we could bring him to ourselves. it was interesting to me how much clarity i had about these things. how firm i was about how i wanted it to be. still, i blindly wrapped him in a red blanket with flowers, feathers, lavender and rosemary from our garden, and one of his favorite toys. we placed him in a box. i took a photo. he looks like he’s sleeping.

it was a 3-hour drive. along the way bryan and i told stories of the things we remembered about him. it would be quiet for a while and then one or the other of us would say “remember…” remember, the noise? (a contented stutter sigh when he finally got the pack all together), remember the way he drank water? (a sort of dot-dash, dot-dash, dot-dash rhythm) and all his funny little idiosyncracies that even now are slipping away from me. we talked about his spirit, the way he owned a room, and the way he would sleep in some mornings wandering upstairs long after we were up and drinking coffee. all the while, duncan was in the box in the back seat, and i so regret that i didn’t hold him in my lap along the way. once there, we were able to place his body directly into the crematorium. this too was important to me as i only wanted our hands to hold him. an hour later we were on the road back home. i held a small tin of ashes with his name affixed with a p-touch label in case we forgot.

today, sick on the sofa with some all over ickyness, i am missing him more than usual as he would have been curled up at my feet…making his contented little sigh because the pack is all together.

i miss you sweet little duncan…


HARMONY Deer Art Print

harmony deer by pixie campbell

the original of this piece of pixie’s hangs on my wall. it spoke loudly to me when i saw it in person in september of 09. little did i know the magic it would bring in to my life for 2010. this is the reading that acoompanied it:

Deer bridges the gap between domestic and wild. He lures us to exciting new quests. Because Deer is known for gentleness, he reminds us to be in peaceful communion with ourselves as we embark upon a new aspect of the journey. Growth with Deer is about seeking harmony with ourselves and our environment; about allowing mistakes, as we wander the forest of our inner creative process. Deer medicine suits those who tend toward self-criticism or harshness with others. His is a call to healthy communication and compassion. Deer is a very important ally when fear would keep one from adventure.

last year, my word was awake…it came on the heels of the pain of watching my sweet little duncan fade from view until he stepped over into the invisible.  beyond that, i had been in a fog for a couple of years (she says with the clarity of hindsight). heavy and dense it settled on me tinged with fear, confusion and insecurity about life, love, my path, my gifts, my purpose…an existential crisis, dare i say a mid-life crisis, as in 2010 –  i turned 40. nothing like having that socio-cultural guillotine looming over your head to make you get down to the nitty gritty, no b.s. soul-work, right?

then sometime in january or february, i started some anusara yoga training and it was there that the concept of “unmesha” was introduced to me:

Examine the three energies that comprise our Yoga,
contractive, expansive and equanimous.

These pulsations
inward and outward
lead us to stillness for moments at a time.
This occurs on every level; pose, practice, life.

In Sanskrit, this pulsation is called SPANDA,

and the three energies are called
nimesha, unmesha and sthira, respectively.
“…stability, the point or place at which
there is a calm, strong, stable potential,
where neither and both are fully present– that is sthira
like the eye of a hurricane, the space between the breaths:
still, but alive and moving.” (from elena brower, vira yoga)

i recognized that i had been deep in a place of nimesha, inward, inward, inward focused energy and to find balance i needed to practice unmesha – the outward expansion.

unmesha fit in well with awake and i quietly added that to my intention for 2010…awaken and expand.

and boy did i ever – i started moving out of my cozy little rut, i traveled to brazil, continued with the anusara training, taught at both june and september squam art workshops, volunteered at the mountain photo festival lookbetween in charlottesville virginia, co-hosted bringing ashtangi david williams here to the outer banks, ran workshops for photographer david alan harvey, squam goddess elizabeth and i co-hosted a magical squam by the sea here in nags head, i collaborated with keely at savvy home to offer a seasonal second location for my yoga studio, and the studio grew for the first time in 3 years (even in the recession!), and my working relationship with my major client was fun and fulfilling.

most importantly, i made some rich and honest friendships along the way, deepened my ongoing relationships, and continued on my path of self-inquiry.

i haven’t talked about it here, but i had an awakening, a shift in september sitting alone on the dock at squam lake and in the days that followed at elizabeth’s beautiful healing space on the farm. since the magic of that window of time, for the first time in my life, i have woken up happy every day. in short, i finally got it. i woke up to the reality that abundance and beauty were all around me and in many ways they always were.  i just couldn’t see it.

and the key to it all? gratitude. gratitude is the antidote to fog.

as is often the case, the solution was so, so simple. i have found this place of happiness because the ticker-tape in my head that used to stream endless miseries, has been replaced by a litany of things i am thankful for…that is not to say that the unfortunate realities of a human existence don’t come into play, there have been hardships, emotions, grief and conflict to navigate. but when these things appear, i have a new and different perspective. stable footing. sthira.

so thank you…thank you all for being a part of my journey, thank you for visiting me here, thank you for commenting, thank you for supporting me, the studio, the workshops. thank you for filling my life with laughter and your stories. thank you for your love, your kindness, your creativity. thank you for inspiring me. thank you.

thank you.

thank you.

i’ve yet to settle fully into my word for 2011…but thoughts on that coming soon.