Thursday, December 19, 2013

We Are ALL Beginners

Inspiration: To continue to become humbled on a daily basis.

It was a weekday afternoon. I make my way over to the Apple Store on West 66th and Broadway. Not to buy a computer, but to take a workshop on how to use my IPhone. It has taken me to late 2013 to retire my old and loyal Blackberry and join the multitude of IPhone lovers. Mostly because I was married to its keyboard and fearful of the completely touch tone screen, Who knew it would be so freeing!

So here it is 3pm and a small group of us gather in the back of the store to learn how to manuever this thing. I have had mine for about two months now and have managed to learn a bit, but I thought starting with the basics was good. Well let's just say I was the youngest of the bunch at a ripe age of 47. There were six of us in total and the teacher was late. One woman said she was on a schedule and couldn't wait any longer. It was a good thing because the "energy" of the rest of us was open, playful and eager to learn.

So finally the teacher arrives at quarter past and we begin. Two lovely women next to me made me look like I was a pro. The questions asked (including myself) to an adept user were a bit ridiculous, and our "guide" had to show us a myriad of times the answer to the same questions. Some didn't even know what version of the IPhone they had since they upgraded their operating system online. Make any sense?

I just smiled and smiled. My eyes and heart filled with wonder and possibility...Wow I thought. Beginner. Yes. Learning through new eyes. This is what it must feel like when I tell people I teach and love yoga who have never done it. A loving and gentle reminder to me what a true beginner feels like. In the land of Apple, I am pretty much as uneducated (always a choice) as it gets. A true beginner whose eyes have been cast wide open....

Do I now know how to use the damn thing? A bit better than before and I will continue to learn and explore on a daily basis. Not just how to use my phone, but to view this beautiful world through childlike eyes and wonder. Learning. Always learning. That is how we grow.

What would you like to learn??? Pole-dancing (check), drumming (check) and the list goes on....Your turn.:)

With Love, Denise

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Cat Came Back

Inspiration: To continue to believe in the kindness and compassion of others.

Walking down the street last week en route to yoga class, I noticed something odd...A cat running loose on West End Avenue. I wasn't the only one to notice this. There was a couple nearby who also seemed a bit concerned seeing this adorable creature roaming the city streets.

Our paths collided and we were trying aimlessly to stop this fearful cat from running under the nearby parked cars and possibly into the street. Finally, we were able to corner it in the entrance of a small building while eagerly attempting to look at the collar adorning its neck. Moments later, another woman walks by seeing what was transpiring and offering assistance.

After locating the cat's owners number, a phone call was placed. As I overhead the exchange, it appeared that the owner who answered the phone, seemed to be quite non-chalant. As if it was normal for a cat to be out and about. They didn't (at least from the tone of her voice) appear to think this was an urgency. Yes, cats should definitely roam freely when then need a bit a fresh air; especially in NYC. Don't you think?

Anyway, I had moments to arrive at my evening yoga catharsis (cleansing) but was able to stroke the cat along with a fearful and nervous man who was crouching to keep him from running away. So there were four of us; me stroking, the guy holding, and the other two woman eagerly awaiting the owner to show up.

Minutes later he arrives. I slowly apologize (in the distance) for having to take off but I manage to overhear the owner saying something like, "Oh, where was he. He usually goes only on this block." To him it was no big deal.

To the others present, it was a very big f**kin deal ! Just goes to show you, there are many levels of awareness, caring and urgency. What really hit me was that it was a reminder that what one person views as urgent, another views as it's no big deal.... But what I did love about this incident, was the kindness and compassion by complete strangers who were desperately trying to keep the cat out of harms way.

Always remember, there is kindness all around. What you reap you sow. One day, you may need help in some way. Why not be there for others. It's good KARMA. Just saying....

With Love, Denise

Sunday, October 13, 2013

16 Handles of Patience

Inspiration: To continue to do my best to remain present and calm under all circumstances.

16 Handles. The popular yogurt establishment that has gained popularity in recent years. With its varied array of delectable dessert flavors and toppings, it has become a staple amongst both kids and grown-ups. You can sample as many flavors as your heart desires and then create your own splendid masterpiece for digestion.

The caveat here is you can have as much as you want, but it is weighed by the ounce. So a colorful sweet and delectable dish can run you a pretty penny. Probably someone in the vacinity of ten bucks. But who cares, it so much fun to watch the spiral of swirl and yumminess fall into your cup.

Almost daily, this has been one of my added rituals, especially after yoga class. I arrive in an expanded, "blissful" state, looking forward to the possibility of having my favorite flavors; pistachio and ANYTHING with chocolate and peanut butter. :)

So on a recent weekday eve, I make my way over after a juicy and delicious yoga experience. I was pretty blissed out and rather peaceful...After I created my sweet treat, I made my way over to the checkout line. It happened to be rather short so I was elated. However, when it came to be my turn, here is what ensued.

For every fifty bucks you spend here, you receive a five dollar reward which can be used to your next purchase. You can either present a card or use your telephone number. Since my card was nowhere in sight, I gave my number. This tattooed looking young guy asked me for this number almost eleven times (I kid you not).Those gathered in line behind me were in complete awe of his lack of presence and possible capability. I finally said, "I usually have a lot of patience and just got back from yoga class, but I am losing my BUZZ...Do you need someone to help you out here?"

This young adorned guy of course said, "No. I know what I am doing." (of course you do that's why I told you the same thing so many times). If he knew what he was f**kin doing why didn't he get it right the first time? This brings me to the point of this whole musing. A question of presence. Was he present (not) or was his mind off somewhere else. I only say this because when we are totally present, everything unfolds with ease. There is no lag time whatsoever in doing or becoming one with the task at hand. Perhaps this guy just needs to get a little yoga groove on. One can only hope....The question is, "Are you being fully present to what is?"

Anyway, the desert was still pretty damn AWESOME!!!

With Love, Denise

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Mystery of the Capricorn

Inspiration: To continue to be amazed by the Universe's musings and messages...

My favorite, meditative place to go is Riverside Park NYC in the evenings. It is here I empty myself completely to the night sky, the trees and the water in the distance. This has become somewhat of a ritual for me, especially on these beautiful Summer nights.

After 9pm, the dogs are in charge and roam freely off leash. They are a myriad of different shapes and sizes and it always brings a smile to face to watch these beloved animals wander aimlessly with complete joy. I have become friendly with some of the dog owners and recently met one in particular. A beautiful woman with a labradoodle who exuded a positive vibe.  A couple of years ago, I recall we briefly spoke about what kind of dog she had. On this particular Sunday evening, as I was walking towards exiting the park, I saw her with a friend and their two dogs playing. As I walked by, both dogs gathered around me without me paying any attention to them.

This woman said that witnessing this brought her "chills" . I didn't think much of it but that my energy must have been chill, especially after yoga and meditation. We began a dialogue and soon enough I found myself walking out of the park with her. Since we lived quite close to one another, I walked in her path and I felt a familiar resonance with her.

She opened up to me about her love for nature, being out of the city and just being in flow (yoga). She shared with me a recent break-up with a man she had been with for nearly two years. After listening and having complete empathy for her (as I could totally relate), I asked the question, "He's not a Capricorn is he?" To which she responded YES. My follow up question was, "When is his birthday?" She replied, "December 24th." A great big smile came upon my face. Here is why.

In the past decade, I have been involved with three Capricorn men. Some more seriously than others but all had birthdays within days of each other:...December 23, 25 and 26. When this amazingly, beautiful woman shared with me her now ex's date I couldn't help but share a bit of my story. We both laughed and took it as some GREAT sign from the Universe! It was definitely a missing piece to some sort of puzzle. Dare I try to label it or put words to what I think. Just a friendly "sprinkle" from the great unknown that there is always a message and gift in everything.

With this experience, I gained a new amazing female friend. A woman of like-mind and heart, who practices yoga and loves nature. So perfect. As for the Capricorn male, he is fixed, rigid, practical (but not all though) and most of all stubborn. But aren't we all in some way. No judgments. Just a thought and my observation.

So dear ones, be open to the messages the Universe powers have in store for us. When we pay attention and listen, we are somehow lovingly guided to the next step. Think about that for a bit and have a blessed day!

With Love, Denise

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Inspiration: To continue to believe that love moves mountains...

It has been said, there are many that walk the earth as Avatars and Saints. Last Friday, I was honored to be blessed by one of them; the beloved Amma, who travels the globe sharing her message of unconditional love and healing. She is widely known for changing the trajectory of ones life just by giving them a simple (but intensely loving) embrace.

Last year I attempted to go see her and feel her magnificence. To receive a hug from her, you must arrive many hours early to receive a token. Depending on the turnout, you may have to wait much much longer than you think an individual could bear. Some ten plus hours (for this saintly hug).

Recently, I have been thinking about her and was given sign one when a favorite yoga teacher of mine announced after class that she would be in town. A part of me knew it would be beneficial for to go, but my resistance and "ego" didn't want to spend an entire day and night at  the Jacob Javitz Center in Midtown NYC. Sign two came a day later when I was on the subway traveling uptown. A woman with her girl asked me, "Did you just come from seeing Amma?" It must have been the garb I was wearing. She had shared she just had come from there and felt truly amazing! So I knew for sure the UNIVERSE was definitely tell me to GO. But which day?

I decided upon Friday as it seemed best with my schedule. The morning of, I sat in meditation asking that my time visiting with Amma devotees and layman (as myself) be as ease full as possible. That the day unfold as it was meant to; with complete surrender to possibly being there ten plus hours. In the afternoon sign three came. Upon arriving at my gym to workout, reluctantly and tired I may say, I see a paper posted on the door that says, "Gym closed from 12-4pm for annual picnic." WOW!!! So I bolted down to the Javitz Center and was there by 3pm.

Upon arriving I had asked, "Where is the token line?" Since I was quite early for the evening program, I was the second person in line. Mind you, the place was still quite full with food vendors and concession stands filled with jewelry, clothing, books and Amma completing the morning program with hugs. I was then told by person numero uno to go and get a time card. What this does is give you some sort of precedence in seeing Amma. Without the whole story, I am so glad I did. While waiting on line to be seated, I met some truly wonderful people. One, a dear acupuncturist and a another "soulful", spiritual couple that just radiated divine light. This made the wait to be seated for the evening program leaving me with an inner sense of serenity and peace.

After all of this waiting, I was finally seated, in the fourth row of center. So excited!!! The evening program was divine and I had two encounters with people I knew before receiving my divine hug. My friend had spotted me on the way to the louve during the chanting. When I went over to her and her husband, I had immediately noticed she was wearing the exact same mediation scarf as I in a lilac purple (and she is a stylist and designer). The second encounter was when the girl seated next to me on the aisle got up for a bit. I then look down and see my friend, who last year was my hug from Amma. Meaning he gave me a divine hug.:) What are the chances of him just showing up at almost 9pm sitting on the floor next to me in a crowded venue?

Finally, hugging time came. I was filled with excitement. What would I silently ask of her? Should I be specific? A practice for me has been to truly surrender any expectations and attachments on outcome. When my turn came, I bowed down before her. The embrace was complete and total surrender. Tears falling from my eyes. I have never experienced such pure bliss, unconditional love in the presence of another. A divine encounter. When it was over I received a chocolate hersheys's kiss and some rose petals (as did everyone). I was touched by an unbelievable light. So full of gratitude. :)

It was just before 10:30pm when I departed from the venue. The whole time I was there was 7.5 hours. Thank you SPIRIT, for making this day so magical. A day I will hold close to my heart and soul. So dear ones, be mindful and surround yourself with individuals and group that raise your frequency. In other words, where your energy vibrates at a higher octave. From this space, anything is possible...

With Love and Many Blessings,

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yoga: The REAL Truth

Inspiration: To continue to deepen my practice of the healing benefits of Yoga...

Yoga, yoga and more yoga....Studios are opening by the month across the country and probably the world. It has become a billion dollar industry. Apparel, trainings, retreats, festivals,you name it. This is a wonderful thing, to help others connect to their true self, their highest potential. But it seems like with anything else, things are a bit out of alignment.

This morning on facebook I came across a video posted by a celebrity yoga teacher who works with Jennifer Aniston. How to get a body like Jen? Really people, you have to be f**kin kidding. Yoga is not meant to be  a "workout". Yes, it is a physical  practice but this is only 1/8 of what yoga is. It is the 3rd limb of yoga; ASANA. What about the other 7 ???

Being both a fitness and yoga teacher and practitioner, I have to admit I quite was taken a back (putting it mildly). This is not a judgment but a deep reflection and observation. Yes, yoga does provide a very active and physical element but I think many are missing the point. It is to become aware, to be present so that there is space within to see clearly what is most important. To live our lives from a place of authenticity and wholeness.  That is what it is for me anyway. It helps to rewire the nervous system, negative patterns and beliefs so we become a more integrated, conscious being. Yoga facilitates healing on a very "deep" core level.

So the next time you think about yoga, think about the entire premise. An energetic system of healing to becoming whole: In mind, in body and of course in SPIRIT! Think about that and have a very blessed day.
OM Shanti.

With Love, Denise

Monday, June 3, 2013

Of ALL Places A Yoga Studio

Inspiration: To continue to to trust, while being mindful...

It happened again. I just couldn't believe it. In the holiest of places, to me anyway. My yoga studio. It is here a myriad of times a week, I practice. I surrender. I create space internally for my heart to be transformed, to be healed of any emotions that no longer serve me. Feeling the sweetness of my breath, my body and my SPIRIT.

But for the second time within six months, my wallet was visited by hands other than my own. Money was taken; the same exact amount. Can you believe? Kinda twilight zone-ish. Truth is, I knew better after the first time. I tend to be trusting and rarely use a lock when I leave my belongings in the locker room. Hence the word, locker: lock

Who would have thought of all places, a yoga studio??? Not me, but it just goes to show you, that anything can happen anywhere. Maybe I was playing out some past or present life karma. Who knows. What I do know is that I felt violated by my beloved space which has once again showed me IT"S humanness...That there is always contrast in some form. A dark and a light. A yin and a yang. Make any sense?

Listening to our intuition, that tiny subtle voice that speaks in whispers is essential. This second time around, I happened to bring my belongings into the yoga studio when I practiced and then took a quick two minute shower, with bag in locker. Anything can happen in a moment. As in the song by The Spinners goes: " It only takes a minute girl, to fall in love"... But that's a very good moment.  Have a deliciously blessed day!

With Love, Denise

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The POWER of Affirmations

Inspiration: To continue to believe in the POWER of our words.

Words hold creative power, creative potential. What we say, feel and do will at some point create our external (and of course internal) experiences. It could be spoken, thought or written. But truth be told, when we can SEE what we are speaking, thinking and believing it has the innate ability to show us where we are going.

One of my fav's is: " I am a magnet for Divine ................. You fill in the blanks. Some powerful words are abundance, prosperity, love, guidance. All stating that you are already that and are accepting and creating the space to receive it. But however, there is one caveat. You have to believe it. One can say or scribe, " I am in a loving, committed, romantic relationship" but if you do not feel worthy or ready, what you get is just that. The feeling of unworthy and not ready which will not bring your desire to fruition.

Recently, I have been thinking of creating a gigantic mural in spray paint of affirmations. Just the thought of creating something BIG makes me feel expansive. So by scribing this here, I am making myself accountable (at least at some point anyway) to do this. Creativity brings expansion. Expansion brings space. Space brings possibilities....

So what it it that you have been thinking, feeling and desiring??? Write it down. Shout it out. Claim it as if it is already yours. The UNIVERSE loves this! It is saying a great big Yes to whatever you are. Whatever you desire to make manifest. Believe in you, believe in the power of your words. Marinate on that for a bit. And shine your gorgeous, great, big "beautiful" lights!

From my heart to yours.
With Love, Denise

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Two Moons

Inspiration: To continue to be surprised by anything...

This REALLY happened! While the above title may imply the literal meaning of a moon, it is not. It refers to the nakedness of one's backside. I know this may seem a bit weird, but this past week I got a glimpse of two moons in the same day. Let me explain.

Moon One...I was working with a home client while her husband was getting ready for his day. We usually work in the living room, but I happened to be standing in the hallway for a moment. Then, suddenly I turn around, and see nakedness from behind. It was a brief moment, as this gent was making his way from the bathroom into the bedroom which appeared to be a foots distance away.

Moon Two...In the brownstone building I reside, we are lucky enough to have someone home all hours of the day in addition to the UPS man having a key. I had noticed a small package for my downstairs neighbors and thought it may be important. So I make my way down the stays to their ground level apartment. I hear dogs barking and a baby crying. Then the bellow out of the dad's mouth. Oh God, I say. Perfect timing. Anyway, I didn't want to add to the noise level so I gently knocked on the window. No reply. Then I pier into the apartment and I see dad, butt naked holding his son. Okay, whatever. So I then ring the doorbell.

I share this with you reading because in my whole incarnation living in New York City, I have never witnessed a "mooning". Not deliberately, but it was clearly a MOON. And two in one day!!! I have to think the Universe is speaking to me in some way as I view all of life's messages as some sort of sign. I cannot even hazard a guess as to what this means or do I even attempt to try. It was just simply unexpected, hilarious and funny all wrapped up in one surprising moment.

It is these unexpected moments, signs, inspirations that keep life vibrant. Often comical at times and even bizarre. It is within these musings, that you have to believe there is an intelligence far beyond our comprehension, running the show...So the next time something seemingly awkward happens, just smile and take that as a amusement from the divine.

Have an amazingly blessed day!
With Love, Denise

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Blinded ONE

Inspiration: To really OPEN up to receive the gifts in each moment...

Back in the day, I was an avid runner. Running any distance under six miles I considered a joke. Guess my ego self was truly in the lead. Today, if I ran that distance I would be as sore as anything. In fact a few weeks ago I was.

It was a beautiful sunny day. The thought of going to the gym made me cringe. So out of nowhere I put my old running sneakers on and decided to go to Central Park; a place my feet literally made love to for so many years...I told myself I had to take it easy no matter how good a shape I was in. So on that divine day, I ran about 2.75 miles. Then I must have walked a few more around NYC and by the next day, my hamstrings were screaming!!! Ouch I thought. Especially after going to yoga class and really feeling how tight my muscles were.

It has been a few weeks, but since the weather here in the city has truly been stellar, I decided to give it another "run". This time going a bit further; not to fast. Taking in all the beauty that surrounded me. I was good to my word and didn't complete the entire loop and decided to walk. I still get the whole running thing, being in nature, connecting with the nature elements. But when I slowed down to walk at a  literal snails pace, I really saw it all.

As I was walking I was thinking about some external issues that were weighing down on me. Then suddenly, I turn to my right. I see a sweet looking younger woman. A brunette with a ponytail and sunglasses. In her hand was one of those sticks. That the blind use.

She was standing in place and looked as if she didn't know which way to go. I casually walked over and asked her what her destination was. With a great big smile, she said, " I would like to go to the East side. Eighty-eighth and Madison." After explaining to her the best way to go, she then broke it down directionally to me. East, North, etc. This is how she directed herself. A huge smile and radiance exuding from her being. She was happy to just be headed in the right direction. She thanked me politely and was on her way.

As I left this divine encounter I was amazed. Here was this girl who couldn't see with her eyes but really saw more deeply than most of us. She was truly living in the moment with an energy that exuded love, gratitude and heart. Wow I thought. A big wake up call...

Many of us (and yes me, guilty) walk around in a haze or daze at times. Not feeling as abundant as maybe we should be. Not experiencing the beauty and gifts that are around us in each moment. So who was really more blind??? As I continued to walk, I thought about a dear friend I have not seen or heard from in a while. A moment later, I found something with their first name initial on it. I pick it up and cried. A gentle reminder that it is in moment where we are truly alive. It is the small stuff that really matters. It is living with an open heart filled with possibility and awe....Are your eyes wide open?

Wishing you a day filled with grace and MAGIC!
With Love, Denise

Monday, April 15, 2013

It's Showtime

Inspiration: To take a moment and a breath, before deciding.

The NYC subway system. The quickest way to get around the city, and the most disruptive. Yesterday,  I had the pleasure of traveling down to the Wall Street area (on weekend), when the subways tend to be overcrowded with tourists and express trains tend to go local.

It took me about forty minutes to travel downtown and find my way to my friends gathering who was having a Reiki healing circle. On my way back uptown, I really was looking forward to just zoning out on the ride home and enjoying the energy radiating within. Then it happened...

A teenage or young lad, gets on the train with his "boombox'. He says, "It's Showtime!" I say to myself, "OH GOD, can't we just have a little peace here." Then his performance begins. He asks the people to clear near the doors so he could put on his act. He starts doing acrobatics, aerials and break-dancing. Minutes later a friend joins him in this adept acrobatics show. Actually, I was really impressed....It brought a smile to my face. I usually loathe when people ask for money, but these guys deserved it.

What is the moral of the story? To take a moment and reserve judgment. You never know when you are going to be amazed!!! The kid even had a ripped eight pack. Guess it was from his handstand push-ups he showcased.

Be open to the magic that is all around YOU!
Have a blissful day!

With Love, Denise

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Private Number

Inspiration: To continue to be awe-struck.

The phone rings. It says "Private Number". I usually never answer my phone when I see this (tend to not answer my phone much anyway) but at this particular moment, something inside me said to pick it up. "Hello, I say?" The person on the other end says, "Denise?" I reply, "Yes" but did not recognize the voice.

So I explored a bit further. I asked, " Who might you be looking for? This is Denise?" She said she was looking for Denise from the school. I was a bit confused but stayed on the line.  I said this is Denise Brandi. She then asked who I was and what I did. For some strange reason, I told her I was a fitness, yoga and spiritual teacher. Really that my heart was into spiritual teaching and that I was intuitive. She said she was in the market  for someone to assist her with weight loss and feeling balanced and grounded. A few moments later, I recognize her voice,

Without using her real name, let's just call her Valerie. I distinctly remember meeting her almost ten years ago at Tobay Beach when I was with my mom for the day. She was with her husband and three "beautiful" kids. We spent a considerable amount of time chatting and connecting; her family and mine. It was a divine conversation. We had exchanged numbers and I heard from her once. She had called to tell me her husband was sick, maybe nine years ago.

Well fast forward to present day. It was Valerie! The woman I had met on the beach a decade ago. She had shared with me her story, and how she had lost her husband seven years ago. I could feel her heart. Her pain. She still seemed to be in a very heavy place; a place of unforgiveness and carrying a tremendous amount of guilt and remorse. At one point I remember saying to her, " I remember your husband. He was a beautiful man." I could feel her smile broadly as I said this. She thanked me for speaking so honestly and that she deeply appreciated my frankness.

The conversation lasted for a bit and we spoke about the possibility of getting together. For a drink and for me to possibly work with her on her journey back into healing and wholeness. I felt honored and humbled, simultaneously.  I have absolutely no expectation on what this means or what is to unfold or not. All I can say is that some things happen spontaneously and mysteriously and we never really know why. Maybe someone just needs a bit of support during a dark time. A safe and loving place to honestly be with their emotions. I hope I was that for Valerie yesterday.

All in all, you just never know where or when something "magical" can happen!!! Be open and allow the divine pulsation of life to guide you in each extraordinary moment. Be love and loving. And you are....

Have a magnificent day!
With Love, Denise

Monday, April 8, 2013

Being with WHAT IS

Inspiration: To remember to breathe into the fullness of the moment.

Life. It has it's ups and downs. It's peaks and valleys. Usually the way we determine this is by what is going on in our external environment. In our physical lives. Questions may arise as, "I am not where I am supposed to be?" or " When is he/she going to finally arrive?"

What I have learned and continue to learn on a daily basis is what is required of us is our presence. Our truth, living with an open heart and embracing it all. To many, this may appear too simplistic but this is what it takes. To be at peace and accepting of all that is. Right now, in this perfect moment.

Yes, of course there are more pleasurable ones than others, but what I would like to really emphasize it is always in the way we FEEL that creates the trajectory and tone of our lives....So if you are having a bad day on earth school, embrace it. Feel it and do whatever you can to move through the uncomfortable feelings without pushing them away. Herein lies the gift. If you can feel the fullness of your suffering, you could feel the fullness of your joy.

Just like there is hot and cold, and black and white. There are ups and downs. Don't resist. Invite it in. Breathe. PRAY. Surrender...Your life is a beautiful MASTERPIECE!
Have a blessed day!

With Love, Denise

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Passover Squirrel

Inspiration: To continue to gaze in awe of the present moment.

Sitting upon a bench right outside Riverside Park, I was gazing up at the warm Spring sun. A big smile emerges on my face and heart. Then moments later I look straight in front of me at a great big beautiful tree. What I saw was definitely a first.

A squirrel had climbed up this tall monstrosity to exactly where the bench I was sitting on was parallel to. He seemed to be eating something that had his complete attention. It was a large piece of Matzoh of all things. I was in awe. The jewish squirrel I called him. My inner and outer vibration was pulsating with child-like eyes. I thought to myself, "This would be a really cool picture to take and post on Face Book."

So I reach into my bag and take out my camera. I took a picture but my zoom was not close enough to see the Matzoh in the squirrels arms. I was disappointed. In the next moment, the squirrel dropped the Matzoh and it plummeted down to the earth. He/she followed immediately.

The lesson for me at least in this experience is this. I was fully present, engaged and ecstatic when I was one with the squirrel enjoying his feast. The moment I separated out from this experience and my ego stepped in, it was all over.

Such is with life. When we are fully present and engaged whole-heartedly, there are magnificent and magical moments all around us. The moment we separate, is when this comes to a complete standstill. So I thank you my Passover squirrel for the lesson I will hold close to my heart and soul. The gift of this present moment. The gift of breath, sight, sound and being.

With Love, Denise

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Cracked POT

Inspiration: To continue to let the mundane inconveniences pass me by with a smile.

Yesterday, I was boiling a pot of water to have some tea. I usually do this in a regular 3.5 inch sauce pan without a lid. But this time I used one. A big one at that. Upon completion of my task, I poured the boiling hot water into my cup awaiting it to simmer a bit. Then I took the over-sized lid I had used from another pan and placed it over the burner I had just turned down.

Within seconds, the heat of the simmering burner had made the lid crumble into pieces. It's glass started to separate from the middle and burn throughout. I just stood there and watched this without any emotion. Interesting I thought. Probably was not the best idea to place the worn in top over the burner I had just shut off. Note to self : Not a good idea to place anything on a hot burner after you shut it off.

During this whole episode, I was completely detached. I waited a moment for the burner to cool so I could gather the crumbled glass from upon my stove. It was like a yoga flow, from one pose to another. Being in my breath with what was transpiring without reacting. Maybe it is the yoga and the practices I do my best to implore that keep me in this state.

Well, this example was with an object. When it comes to witnessing the bigger stuff, that can be more of a challenge. But a gentle and loving reminder to myself and whoever may be reading this, that as long as we can stay present with what is, and move from that place of intention, we stay in a state of absolute presence and ease. From that space, we do what needs (or doesn't need) to be done with a sense of stillness within. There are lessons in all things. Thank you to my retired pot lid.

Have a wonderful day!
With Love, Denise

Friday, March 22, 2013

My SOUL Keeps Talking to ME

Inspiration: To do my best to listen to the VOICE.
I am having an ongoing battle with my soul. Every time I go to the gym, it is like pulling teeth. It takes me hours just to get my barrings. I know this may sound ridiculous, especially since one of the many hats I wear is personal trainer. Seventeen years to be exact.
At many times during this period, I have trained myself to the ground (metaphorically speaking) where I am completely exhausted and energetically depleted. The more I continue to "open" myself through yoga, meditation and prayer, the louder the VOICE is becoming.
"When are you going to listen to me? When are you seriously going to let go of your rigidity of having a toned physique. You say you want to be a total peace, right? Then why are you STILL not listening to ME???"
Well, what I can say is that compared to my Linda Hamilton looking, terminator two running and eight-pack abs (yes eight) I have said goodbye. The moment my abs look a bit too defined now, I invite in more softness in the form of eating and allow for the peaceful yogini to emerge. I cut back and embrace.
So for right now, I am dancing between both worlds; the world I have known for so long and the world that excites me beyond words. One day at a time, right?
What might the voice of your SOUL be trying to tell you? What is it's quality, texture and tone look and FEEL like? As long as you live with an open heart, divine intelligence will dance with you. And that is truth.
With Love, Denise

Friday, March 15, 2013

Listening To Your Intuition

Inspiration: To listen under ALL circumstances...

It was a Thursday evening. It had been some time since I took one of my favorite spiritually-infused yoga classes. I was exhausted from the week, my "cycle" and just needed a good dose of chanting, devotion, practice and meditation.

The class began with the teacher inquiring who had any injuries. Nearly the entire room made a contribution; even me but only because he asked and he already knew. His question was quite purposeful as you will soon see.

For some reason, he then proceeded to ask the young woman next to me a bizarre follow-up question."Even though you have an injury you are happy who you are, right?". He then went on to say, "Your ailment is perfect and you wouldn't want to be Denise, even though she is pretty." Her reply was no. My EGO self was annoyed because I definitely wouldn't want to be her, at least in the physical anyway.:( Our mats were quite close and this was the beginning of me not enjoying her proximity. For some strange reason, (aside from me obviously not enjoying her company) I felt like moving my mat. But I didn't. I was a good yogi and decided to stay and be with my feelings.

As the class began, her breathing was quite loud and was extremely irritating. Again, being a good yogi, I focused on my breath, my practice. As the class ebbed and flowed I was immersed in the dance and  surrender of my being. Then it came time to do inversions. There were two variations of headstand offered which are my fav's. The postures were broken down in advance. I am adept at this posture but did listen to his explicit instructions. I was in the full expression of headstand and then all of a sudden, it happened. She toppled onto me; sideways.

Not only was I startled and concerned for myself, I had to be mindful as one of my injuries resides in the shoulder and cervical spine. Thank heavens she fell on my good side and was okay. But boy was I fuming, pissed and ready to explode. But I didn't. I am a good yogi and I was okay. But my teacher needed to go further and address what had happened since her thump apparently caught the attention of the entire group. He looked at me and asked if I was okay. And knowing me well continues to say, "Recognize you have Karma between you. Accept that." To which I gave him one of my seriously, dirty looks. This takes a great deal of seething to come to the surface. He then goes on to say to the girl,"This is why I ask to follow my instructions and to not let your EGO get in the way. You shouldn't have done that." No s**t!

Why am I scribing all of this story? Because my intuition was to relocate my space.After class had begun, I was "guided" to move but didn't want to cause a disturbance and like I said, be a good yogi. So as important as it is to let these situations be a teacher, my greater teacher last night was my sixth sense. I should have listened and then I wouldn't have been pissed off. As I continue to scribe, there are lingering remnants of my fuming feelings residing within...Can you sense it?

Any way, all feelings aside, here are the bigger questions: Are you listening and following the guidance you receive? Are you taking care of you or worrying about how you will be perceived? First and foremost we have to honor ourselves no matter what. While it is considerate to be mindful of others, it is most important to stay true to YOU. Think about that for a bit....and have a blessed day!

With Love, Denise

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hello Mercury Retrograde, Bring IT!

Inspiration: To continue to move forward fearlessly regardless of what the planets are saying...

Ahhh the planet Mercury. The ruler of communication, connecting and the thinking mind. There are three to four times a year, that this distinguished planet decides to take a vacation so to speak and turn retrograde. We are now in the midst of this cycle.

From February 23 through March 17, 2013, dear Mercury is once again allowing us to retrace our steps. To review and rethink the past. Our actions and deeds. This is not particularly the best time to move forward in any new venture, relationship, business, or  to sign any contracts. Best to WAIT a bit. But as I said this is a fabulous time to review and revisit.

Me and most usually cringe at this, but for the first time (I believe anyway) I am inviting it all in. Taking a good look at what I have previously pushed away and some of the situations that have since presented themselves. So far, I can say I am having a grand time!!! The more we can welcome whatever we need to learn, transcend or discover, the more ease full our lives become. It doesn't have to be in a Mercury Retrograde pattern but then again why not.

Movement tends to be slow, communications are funky, so what else should we do? Reflect that's what.We should also begin to clean up any loose ends, the clutter, the paperwork, that long overdue phone call. So when this powerful planet begins its forward motion again, we are in a magnificent place to receive. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the dance....

And most of all, have fun!

With Love, Denise

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ten Years After

Inspiration: I am GRATEFUL for who I am now.

Today marks a decade upon my return back from Southern California. Today is also the day, a dear friend of mine decided to move there.Someone I have known for over six years. Someone I had a dalliance with last year. Strange. Karma. Who knows.

All things aside, life is funny. It did not hit me until I awoke this am that I have been back in New York City for a decade. A time filled with great change, loss, redemption and awakening. Aspects of myself I have seen drift into the distance; new parts of myself being reborn.

When we ask the powers that be for our lives to be different, what happens is that the foundation we have known is deconstructed, and a new building given shape. This structure has many rooms, many aspects that need to be fine-tuned. Just like the plumbing in a house has to flow, so it is with our energy.

When we invite in divine possibility and ask for our lives to change, we go through an intense period of rebirth. While it is challenging and extremely humbling at times, the journey into our true authentic selves is worth it. It takes great courage to step out of the known into unchartered waters.

As this is a continued process of contraction and expansion, know that when you are down in the valley, eventually you rise to the mountaintop. The choice is yours....So today, I feel that much of my karma has been released. Especially as I made peace ( in a magnificent way) with this friend whom I saw at his going away party last night. Simply divine. I couldn't have asked for a more blessed experience. I am filled with gratitude for literally coming full circle and invite in the new and wonderful; in all directions of time and space. Bring it!

Enjoy the journey; this magical ride!!!

With Love, Denise

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Baby Diamond

Inspiration: To continue to let go of attachments while remaining at peace.

It was a snowy Friday evening. The East Coast was in the midst of receiving the blizzard known as Nemo, due to be the largest snowfall since 1978. So as everyone was preparing for this winter wonderland, there was not much to do. I decided to go to the local gym and perform an elongated workout, take a good steam and shower. No yoga class today.:(

I had left the facility after 5pm and  walked in the steady downfall of white mass to pick up some last minute groceries in case I would go hungry...Upon my arrival home, I took off my abundant layers of clothing, scarfed down my dinner (was famished) and then settled into my evening. As I always put my hair back when I dine, after dinner I had noticed that I only had three earrings in my left ear. I have four piercings and one was gone. It was the ONE, I was most sentimental about. My baby diamond.

I was gifted this by my parents at a very young age, I believe it was the fifth grade, and it always reminds me of being a kid. So to gaze upon my ear without this adornment, was a bit startling. After just a few minutes, I decided to practice what I know to be true; to let go of attachment, especially material ones. Somehow, if I was meant to find it, it would just show up (mind you it is quite tiny). While looking to replace it, size wise, I found a petite sapphire post. given to me by my ex-husband that I swore I would never put in my ear. Maybe it is all the yoga I have been doing, so I said to myself, "Does it really matter anyway?" It is just stuff?"

So I put on this earring and decided not to focus on it and my lost diamond. For the rest of the night, I went about my business, watching a few movies and settled into my cave. When I awoke this morning, I noticed something in my bed sheets. I was "amazed' at what I laid my eyes upon. It was the diamond! I smiled, and smiled and smiled.. This was a  gentle, loving reminder, that if we truly let go, things show up. I truly thought I would never see this earring again.

As there are many, many things I am working on shedding, I will use this instance as a loving reminder to be present and surrender any attachments I may hold in my mind and heart. This continues to be an ongoing practice (and patience) for me as there are specifics areas that have been a challenge. So for right now, I am just grateful! Grateful for the message and inspiration I learned.

A lovingly reminder that the Universe works in "mysterious" ways...Be open, be love. Always.

With Love, Denise

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Prada and The Butterfly

Inspiration: Everything exists, everywhere, anytime...

Two yogi friends meet for lunch at a local vegan restaurant. One a creative fashion designer, stylist, with impeccable taste, the other a holistic, intuitive fitness and yoga teacher. This is the first time the two have ventured out of the confines of the local studio where they practice, where amazing insights and conversations have occurred.

So on this Wednesday afternoon, the pair sit for over two hours; discussing everything from life, love, spirituality and healthy living. As if they have know each other for some time. After their divine meal of fried tempeh over healthy greens, with two sides of peanut dressing was finished, the check arrived. Both pulled out their wallets. One, a gorgeous, black Prada, the other a cotton material pouch with a butterfly emblem as its adornment.

You can probably guess who had which wallet. The stylist, the Prada; the teacher, the butterfly. They found it very comical after talking about materialism and how the fashionista has splurged on many a $5000 bag. How it held very little importance after the "thrill" of having coveted it. A gentle and loving reminder that it is not what we have, but how we FEEL....about everything.

Well the butterfly owner was me, and I have never owned a bag of such prominence and probably never will: unless someone gifts me with one. :) Both of us smiled and laughed at the whole experience. How everything exists and how in the end it really doesn't matter. What really matters is:

How fully did I live? How fully did I love?
How fully did I learn to let go?....Jack  Kornfield.

And, she did like my butterfly...

With Love, Denise

Friday, February 1, 2013

Football and Yoga

Inspiration: To continue to find the humor and surprise in all ways.

It was a Thursday evening. Three yogis gather early before class begins. One, the creative director for a prominent magazine, one a vegan restaurant owner and the other moi. We all know one another and briefly catch up with the minutia of the week. Then, I posed the question, " Does anyone know who is playing in the Superbowl this Sunday?"

I found it rather interesting, intriguing, rather "comical", that neither of these two men knew who was playing. The Superbowl... One of the most highly anticipated and crafted sporting events of the year and none of us knew who the teams were. We were talking more about, "Do you think people will be at yoga class on Sunday at 6pm?" I know, I will for sure. And the yoga teacher teaching, who is a heterosexual man,  will not sub out his class to view this spectacle.

Why do I scribe this right now? Because what we focus on an what is a priority; is what is important to us. That doesn't make us right or wrong, it is just a preference. Football/Yoga? Yoga/Football? To assume that everyone knows something about this event is a judgment. Should we know? We know what we pay attention to. Where our energy is directed at any given moment. What moves us, inspires us.

So it is safe to say, the three of us, prefer to OM and flow, to empty ourselves and expand our Spirits. What moves you? Inspires you? The modality is not what is paramount, it is the feeling behind it... And I do know a fellow yogi friend ,who played football in college and loves the Sunday night class. Wonder if he will be there. Just sayin...:)

Make it a "blissful" day!
With Love, Denise

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When You Least Expect It

Inspiration: Anything can happen anytime, no matter what.

It's finally winter here in NYC. Yesterday it was 52, today it's 20. I spent the majority of this long holiday weekend in bed, nursing a very bad head cold. Out the window went my favorite yoga classes and time with others. So much for planning...

I stayed in my apartment, without television (but Neflix on comp)... Slept, ate, read; both online and the myriad of books on my shelf. A time of really going inside. Talk about being still. This was like elongated meditation times 10,000!!!

So today after two days in hibernation, I ventured out in the freezing cold to work and later to visit an oral surgeon to have something removed in my mouth. Nothing major, just something that didn't look kosher. On my way back home from East to West side, I find myself on a bus with a woman preaching the gospel of Jesus. Literally walking up and down, talking to others in Spanish. I do my own fair share of devotion, but really just wanted to sit and daydream out the window of the streets of the city. It was a bit difficult.

For me, nature holds the key to peace, calm and clarity. I was determined to catch even a glimpse of solitude and serenity, no matter how f **kin cold it was in Riverside Park this afternoon. Shortly after returning West, I walked one of my favorite paths in this extraordinary park and then ventured into a local market for some items.After stuffing my face with some ready made portabello mushrooms, I make my way towards home.

I was walking down the street where I practice yoga, two blocks from home, when all of a sudden I saw him! The guy I have been waiting to see, since we first met a month ago unexpectedly in yoga class. A class I frequently take that he doesn't (but did on that day). We had noticed one another before a couple of times in passing in the form of a few big smiles. There was definitely a spark, some sort of chemistry, a good vibe. A vibe unlike no other man I had ever been draw to before. A calming energy to my forceful zen...

So here I am walking, trying to stay warm and I look up. It's him all bundled up and he says, "Hi, How are you doing" and continues to walk by. There was a girl near him but don't know if they were together or not. The bigger message is...I was feeling crappy, went for a walk in nature, cleared my head and BOOM!!! I see the guy I have been hoping to see for many weeks. What can I say? You just never know....Be open to everything and attached to nothing. That is the message for this moment.

Shine your light. Speak your truth. Live abundantly. Always.

With Love, Denise

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An Upper West Side CLASSIC

Inspiration: To continue to open up to new avenues.

It was a foggy Sunday evening. A dear new friend I had met most recently in yoga class was leaving for her home in Nepal the following morning. So I really wanted to see her before she left. We were supposed to meet for class that afternoon, but she had much to do; places to go people to see.

So I ended up saying farewell ( for now) at her apartment she shares with a lovely, incredibly brilliant, versatile woman. When I arrived a bit past 6 pm, it was a full house. Her roomies sister, niece and mom were over. I felt as if I was intruding, but they lovingly invited me in. I had had an early diiner, so I was pretty full. Turns out they had just ordered theirs from "Big Nicks".

Big Nicks, an Upper West Side staple, that has been around for decades. There are two locations, one on Broadway and the other off Columbus Avenue. At the Broadway spot, they have outdoor seating when weather permits. When I have walked by, I have seen heaping piles of french fries smothered in cheese, enormous burgers, and decadent pizzas, just to name a few. Known for the grease and decadence, it is open 24 hours.

This entourage was having the Big Nick for dinner. The last time I was here, was on Thanksgiving, where Zabars was lovingly catered with a free-range turkey. A healthy, clean meal. Knowing I am a health fantantic and very mindful of my eating, her roomie says. " Your not going to eat this are you?" I had explained that I had dinner prior, but to show I was somewhat NORMAL would try it.

The food arrived over an hour later because her sister ordered from the wrong location. You had to be there...truly a Seinfeld episode. I managed to stuff my face ( I was full already) with a yummy slice of cheese pizza, with onions, broccoli and mushrooms (only the top). Also on the menu was fried zuchini sticks, spagetti in meat sauce and two variations on desert. I believe a chocolate cheesecake and something that looked like devils food cake.

My thoughts during this whole meal were: "So this is how most people really eat!" No wonder why I was thin and in shape. But was I fulfilled? Ah, that is the question. The answer food wise was a definitive NO. Eating is joy, it sustains our beautiful body, temple. While eating a strict regimen has it's benefits, it also lacks flexibility. The key is flexibility. So with this wonderful lesson, I promise myself to entertain the "Big Nick" sometime in the future.

I had a wonderful evening and my beloved friend Naila gifted me with a beautiful healing Buddha I attached to my mala beads from her homeland. I will miss my friend but will see her when she returns in the Summer. We should immediately visit the Big One upon her return....

So why do I bother to write this stuff? As an "invitation" to EXPAND. To expand your vision of what you think something is. It doesn't have to be in the sense of food, or it can. What have you been holding onto with rigidity? What are you afraid of and why? Just a few thoughts to pine over if you desire.:) Think about it and have a magical day!

With Love, Denise

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Let It Go, Let It Flow...

Inspiration: To release and clear my heart from the past in all ways, in all directions.

Happy 2013! A new year, a clean slate. As many of us begin yet again, we carry forward our experiences. Whether positive or not, these experiences help us to grow and evolve. Are you happy what you FEEL internally or might there be a bit of remorse?

Most recently I've re-tweeked" for a better word, a long standing, physical injury. This occurred in the year 2006 and was traumatic for me. In  February, NYC had a 26in covering of white snow. My staircase had been shoveled, but what remained was a sheeting of black ice I did not see...

While some of the pain has still lingered, I thought I had made peace with it, since I am still able to workout to my hearts content and do most yoga poses (except some really cool arm balancing). There was indeed negligence on the part of my landlord, but I was "guided" not to pursue an legal action at the time.

So here we are in 2013. Last week we had a sprinkling of snow. A sprinkling that barely covered the streets on the city. However, there seemed to linger a small layer of black ice partially forming on my brownstone steps; so I needed to be mindful when I walked up and down. For some "strange" reason, I fell suddenly, just like I did many years ago. The difference being, I fell towards the bottom, grabbed the railing with one hand, while my "tweeked" arm hit the concrete while in 06 I slid down the entire showcase. I could not believe this was happening again.

My physical activity has been a bit limited and I have been in pain. As I been praying for guidance, asking why this happened yet again. Why this, why now. There may be a myriad of reasons for this but last night I was gifted with this divine rationale (or at least I think so). Let me explain.

Earlier that day I had taken a yoga class (modified) so I could continue to open myself up and move the energy. Shortly afterwards,. I took my sunset nature walk along the river, which always brings me peace. I had noticed that my heart center ( actually the middle of my chest 4th Chakra) was feeling heavy, congested; energetically speaking. I was really surprised at this heaviness I was experiencing.

My injury occurred in my left shoulder, arm and hand. In Chinese medicine, this is connected to the HEART. Pretty cool! So last night lying in my bed, listening to some dreamy music, my higher self told me I was holding on to the past wounding and betrayals. This past month especially has been heavy for me as three men I have been involved with (some much much longer than others) had there birthdays within four days of one another. My ex-husband, a past relationship and a BOY (you know what I mean) I had a fling with recently.:(

So I began to weep, then I began to cry, then I began to empty myself with every fiber of my being. The tears continued to fall like buckets for a little bit, but what I realized was that this was a necessary part of my healing; to release and free up my heart center. When I finished my cleanse, my heart felt more open and my injury was feeling better. Interesting right?

I share this with you now because many of us hold onto our past. Whether we realize this or not, it lays heavy on our hearts. Our ability to love fully, our ability to be unconditional and free.You don't need to have an injury to explore what emotional blockages you may be experiencing. All setbacks, are ultimately a gift, a lesson to look at for review.

The question is "What is really going on? How are you FEELING?" Give yourself the permission to feel the fullness of your feelings. Many have learned that it is cowardly to cry. It actually is the exact opposite. It is the most freeing thing we can do for our cell tissue, for our hearts. Try it, you may like it..You know what I mean anyways.

Remember, you are all beautiful divine beings. Choose to release that which no longer serves and create the space for divine miracles and magic in you life! You are deeply loved. Always.

From my heart to yours.

Wishing you much love and peace,.