Thursday, November 21, 2013


As I was studying tonight in the library tears fell on the pages.  I was reading one of the lectures for my course on the Endocrine system and it was describing in detail what happened to my late husband Paul in his final months, hours and minutes.  Paul had cancer and he died after going into cardiac arrest.  I watched it happen, witnessed several ER doctors and nurses all around him even on top of him trying to bring him back.  I witnessed every minute, every second of those last months, hours and minutes.  Paul had been treated for cancer for almost three years but he had not been treated for all of the imbalances that contributed to and would result from a cancer diagnosis.  He was not being treated Holistically.  Cancers, and all disease, are the results of systematic imbalance and must be treated as such.  Imbalances break the systems down and our bodies function as a series of interdependent systems.  If one is sick it has an effect on the rest. 
Anger and hurt mixed with my tears tonight as I was thinking why did he not get treated properly if I am learning this as a Nutritionist why didn't his doctor know it and if he did why didn't he treat him properly?    I believe the answer is that I study Holistic Nutrition.  I have dear friends and acquaintances that are suffering tonight because we do not think, are not taught to think, Holistically.
 A fantastic example of this is the state of our environment.  We and all that we share this earth with can't live on the planet without water, air and food.  We pollute all of these essential elements of life and wonder why disease, illness and social unrest are so rampant.  We function as part of a system on this planet and when one is out of balance it throws the rest out of balance so we have sick water, soil, air and food as well as sick humans, animals, fish, etc. 
It is vital to our survival that we learn to think, teach and live in connection.  We are not separate and we cannot heal separately.  The idea of finding our balance is not just hippie, new age talk.  It is wisdom and truth. 
I purposefully chose a Holistic Nutrition program because personal experience with serious illnesses taught me that there is always a bigger picture.  The more I study the more I realize that the way illness is dealt with in modern, western ways is severely flawed in its' separateness.   We go to one specialist for digestive issues and another for skin problems. I can appreciate focusing knowledge and understanding on a certain area what about treatment that understands them as a connected system.    I am not in medical school even though it feels like it sometimes.  I do not just study food nutrients although many nutrition programs do just focus there.  I study food, body systems, including the mental and emotional and the connection they all share in creating the whole person.  This is Holistic practice and I believe that it is the only real way to be healthy.  I am not totally knocking Allopathic practice because it saved my life in 2007.  It left its' mark in other ways too.  It has its' place and there are times when it is necessary but we have come to view it as a catch all.  We can just go get a pill, a shot or an invasive procedure and we will be fine.  Not true.  The many fixes that the medical world is able to provide are not supposed to be excuses for us to shrug responsibility and live without care.  We are responsible for our health and we must learn how our bodies function so that when illness hits we can effectively deal with it. 
Also, if we want change in how our health care needs are met it is our responsibility to do something about it.  It is one of the reasons that I am studying and I intend to make a difference for people but I expect those people to make a difference for themselves under my guidance.
Live Holistically, learn what that means!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Letting Go

Each day offers an opportunity to begin anew.  In the last several weeks more than any time I can recall I have felt like things are/were changing for me.  The last three years have been an overwhelming whirlwind of change but I was not feeling it in my whole self as I have been lately.  I am in touch and aware of myself and those around me more than ever.  I feel like I have clarity and affirmation that I am right where I need to be with the people I need to be with.  The whirlwind is tame now.  Monkey mind is becoming still. 
Today I left one of Paul's babies (a guitar) at the UPS store to be packed and shipped off to the stranger that bought it from me.  This was a weird.  I kinda felt like I was saying goodbye to him all over again.  I still have lots of his babies and some will grow old with me.  Today feels like the real start of my chapter in this book of life.  I can't really explain how that feels but I can tell you that after over 3 years and through much prayer and guidance it feels good to let go. 
 We hear it all of the time "let it go" and it is a part of the spiritual teachings that I follow but  it has only been recently, as in this year, that I have really been able to put it into practice.  Ironically the last words Paul said to me were "Keri you have to let me go".  He was my everything so being able to do that seemed impossible. There were multiple layers of meaning based on the circumstances in which he said that to me but I now understand that my life with him was a lesson and a catalyst into my life now.   As I release him he is releasing me and I am ready.  Ready to embrace what lies ahead without looking back except to laugh at memories. 
So today I let go and it feels great.  Change is in the air and my life is becoming my own in such a beautiful and comforting way.
I encourage you to practice taking off whatever it is that is getting in your way.  Give it up and let freedom fill you.  You just might be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I am a pretty calm person.  Through the hits I have taken in my life and my deep, committed spiritual path I have found my peace and ease.  I feel like I have earned this even though they were present in me all of time.  I just did not know it.  In the last several years I have become aware of these parts of myself and I cherish them.  I do not want to go back to stressing out over  things, people or situations, feeling overwhelmed and anxious if things don't go as planned or dictated, etc.  I took my punches and the lessons they brought and I am happy, content, in my life and in my peace and calm.  I am finding lately that these attributes are viewed as liabilities instead of positive achievements.  Our society, no our world, has become so jaded that a peaceful, calm, at ease person is too shy and laid back.  Ha!  There is not a shy bone in my body.  I will talk to anybody about anything.  I stand up for myself when I have too.  I am the most important person in my world (this way of being is also misunderstood).  I do not want to put on a show for people to be accepted because, being honest, I don't really care if someone likes me or not.  What you see is what you get.  I am fiercely loyal and maybe a bit to protective of the people I love and care for.  I will go above and beyond for these people and the beliefs that I hold dear.

I am troubled that in these times a person at peace is a kind of freak.  I am all for getting your freak on that is one reason I live in the city I live in but since when is  inner peace a freak quality?  Is it really so far beyond most of our comprehension that we have deemed it unreal?  There are people spending unbelievable amounts of money and time searching to achieve this and not realizing that they already possess it.  They just have to let go, let be, open up and recognize it.  No more playing the victim, no more excuses, no more dependence on external stuff  or other people for happiness.  It's all you and once realized you find the connection we all share in nature, in spirit and in each other.  Dependence is not the same as connection.
So go on git...find your freedom and your peace!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Take Care

One of the teachings in Zen Buddhism is that our actions are our only belongings and they are the ground on which we stand.  This is a powerful teaching and one that I love because it is like a foundation for many things that I believe in.
In this society we do not take care of ourselves and when we do it is frowned upon as selfish even though we find the image or idea of a worn out mother getting a break from her responsibilities to get a massage or her hair done endearing.  It is confusing.  Taking care of ourselves means more than the occasional pampering session.  It means awareness, openness and forgiving.  Awareness of our responsibilities as a person as part of one community of people living on this planet not just your little section because what you do today impacts life tomorrow and beyond.  Yet, it is not the job of one person to change the world but rather it is the job of each person to care how they live in the world...AWARENESS.  Open to possibilities and opportunities because they present themselves everyday through other people or situations.  Keeping an open mind, heart and eyes allows us to be ready to receive and what we receive we can give out. Forgiving, the other F word.  It is an art but it is an innate art.  It takes practice, some times lots of it.  Mostly we need to forgive ourselves because if we do not do this the walls we are creating block our abilities to give and receive in a true way.  Forgiving ourselves is difficult because that means acknowledging and owning our actions and those can be unpleasant at times.  Well, newsflash, we all  have faulty actions in this life, we are humans, we can learn from them.  I like to think of them as teachers.  With awareness and openness we can take those actions that need to be forgiven and pluck the pearl of wisdom from them that can change us.  Forgiving ourselves is probably one of the best "therapies" around.  When we do it we can let go and focus that newly freed up energy in more positive directions.    If we do not forgive ourselves, truly forgive ourselves, we are keeping walls built that block our abilities to be open and aware.  The energy we are drawing is coming from that place of fault which can bring chaos, drama, needy people that are energy vampires and situations that reflect the unforgiven.
I believe that we draw energy towards ourselves and that means that we are attracting what we are putting out into the world.    Our actions represent who we are and how we are living now and energy flows from them into the world.   In order for our energy to be balanced and whole we must clean it up.  This begins and ends with our actions, our awareness, openness and owning up to things while letting them go.
 You know some times you walk into a crowd of people and it feels bad or good, well, that is the energy being put out by those people in that situation.  Do not ignore it.

We must learn to take care of ourselves first so that we can help and care for others.  If you can't take care of you then you can't take care of others, it is a cliche but it is truth.  You will wear yourself down trying and sink.  So, sit with yourself and have a deep talk, listen, learn and move forward.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


What is your truth?  I mean your truth not your ancestors, parents or friends but yours. I have been taught that the past stays there, it already happened and cannot be changed.  There were/are lessons to be taken but only take the lessons not the problems.  They are not yours and honor nobody.  The future has not happened yet.  The moment that matters and propels your truth is this one, the present moment.  We need to know it, understand it, make the best of it.  We do not need to dwell some place else and contemplate the "what if", "should have" and "because" or excuse it into the future.  We need to be present now! 
This is a difficult way of being for most of us because it is not how we are taught and in this world there are so many distractions and fears of what might be and what has been that what is gets lost yet it is all that matters.  This focus also places responsibility on ourselves and, well, that can be a very hard pill to swallow especially when we are so disconnected from who we are.  If someone asked you to tell them about yourself what would you say?  Would you give them various titles of the roles you play at work and at home?  Ok, those count to some degree but when you sit with yourself...who are you?  I wager to bet that most of us cannot answer that question.  So how can we know our truth?
Study yourself and the world you live in, teach yourself in every thing that you do.  What did you learn while you were washing those dishes, picking food in the garden, typing at work, praying for a friend?  When we have a connection to who we are, not what we are, we have a connection to each other and the environment we live in. 
I ask you to seek your truth from within and stop looking outside of yourself because it only dwells inside of you.  Let it set you free!  I join you on this path.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Today has been one of those days.  A day that I felt like a widow.  I can't say that this is a totally horrible feeling now but it is sure not a great one.  This title comes with its' own sense of empowerment, courage and strength as well as a deep sense of loss and need for healing and renewal.  This is how I wear it anyway.  It is an individual experience no doubt. 
This awareness in me today was sparked by two things: I had to make a copy of Paul's death certificate which meant I had to hold it and look it.  It has been safely tucked away out of sight for quite awhile and that is how I like it.  I don't need a reminder of something I live with and will live with everyday I am alive.  I also was not feeling well and Paul always took care of me in times like these.  Even when he was in the hospital during his last weeks he recognized me not feeling well one day and got out of bed to try and take care of me.  So when I don't feel well I miss him 100 times more.
I had errands to run and some appointments to go to this morning and when I got in the car I just sat there a minute and had this overwhelming What the Fuck Happened moment. How did I go from riding on the back of his motorcycle with him to planning the get together for my young widow's support group this month? I took a deep breath, started the car, turned on the radio and Led Zeppelin's Over the Hills and Far Away began to play.  Tears streamed down my face because Paul used to play that song for me all of the time on guitar and he would sing it softly.  Whenever I hear it I know Paul wants me to hear it and know he is still taking care of me, loving me.
  It will be 3 years this July since he passed.  It does not get easier in time.  It kinda just gets weird because you do get used to the fact that the person is not physically coming back but he/she was such a significant part of your life that it feels like you lost him/her and part of yourself too.  The wound and the pain feels to big to mend. All you can do is pick yourself up and keep moving forward no matter what it feels like.  It is truly like starting all over again.  The starting over is vitally important to the healing and renewal.  The trick is to shake off the guilt that accompanies it.  If we are happy, enjoying life and doing well we deserve to bask in these moments and know that our loved ones want us to do this.  I believe that Paul  and my other loved ones that have passed on purposefully present me with these experiences.  I am very proud of the life I have now and I do well letting that guilt go but I have my days when the WIDOW creeps in and hangs out.  I try to welcome her because she has truth and I do derive a few positive qualities from her but it is a daily choice to shake her off and keep her at bay so the rest of the stuff she brings to the table stays off the table.  I can handle a lot but this is one chick that packs a powerful punch.  Recovery time is long and slow but I believe it is possible.  I am living it.  It does not happen by forgetting or sinking into some kind of superficial band aid like drinking, etc.  It happens through acknowledging and accepting that this is part of life and yes it is painful but it hurts because we loved and were loved so deeply.  This is awesome!  Appreciate that pain as symbol, a badge of a beautiful life and know that this pain can breed strength and courage that you never knew existed in yourself.
Like I said I am very proud of my new life, the life that I am building for myself and that makes Paul proud.  I  make an effort to enjoy every moment. I took a vow when he died that I would make the best of the life I had left.  I am doing that and I have amazing, supportive people helping me to achieve this everyday.  I also have some amazing, supportive spirits watching me do it and helping me along this path so that my new chapter is a page turner.
Make your life a page turner do not procrastinate because we do not know what tomorrow will bring and like it or not it is out of our control.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tonight I had dinner with a dear friend and we were talking about how some of the happiest times in our lives occurred when we were broke, financially.  We agreed that this was so partially because we did not have "stuff" to manage or worry about.  I am still strolling down memory lane very happily and felt the need to share some of those times with you. 
My late husband Paul moved to Los Angeles with two of his close friends one year with the intention of pursuing his dream as a musician on larger scale than he felt was possible in the Midwest.  The three of them shared a two bedroom apartment in West LA close to Venice Beach and Santa Monica.  About one year later I moved out there too and we all shared the same apartment for a few months.  I quickly found a job and fell in love with the city of Angeles.  I never thought that would happen because I had always preferred the Bay area.  Paul and I got our own place  within a half of a block away from the guys' apartment.  I eventually got a job with a magazine publishing company and I adored it.  It did not pay much but it was enough to scrape by and I loved it.  Paul worked two jobs and tried very diligently to break in somewhere on the music scene.  We did not have much money and for a long time the only stuff in our apartment was our bed, a card table, two folding chairs, guitars, a 4x12 speaker cabinet and an amp head.  We were happy though because we were doing what we wanted to do, where we wanted to do it with each other.  We could not afford to go out to see live music and drink like we did in the Midwest so Paul played for me pretty much daily and we cut back, way back, on our drinking.  If we got restless we went to the beaches.  Venice Beach offered endless entertainment and any beach in Malibu offers Awesomeness.  LA is a big city with lots of places to explore and hidden treasures to seek like Runyon Canyon, Silver Lake and places like El Cid to watch Flamenco dancing or The Dresden to watch in wonder the somewhat bewildering act of Marty and Elaine.  I remember meeting up with some of my co-workers one night and their girlfriends and as the boys talked us girls were sharing stories of how when we did actually go to one of the "cool" clubs or bars we felt self conscious because we had old clothes and could not afford to buy anything new just to go out.  I joined into this conversation in agreement but also thinking so what...I had always shopped at second hand stores so it was rare that I owned anything "new".  It did not stop me from having fun.  To this day when I buy something my mom asks if it is new or Keri new?
  I won't lie, it was not all fun and games or sunshine and ocean breezes...well, it was always sunny and the scent of the ocean hung pretty heavy (so wonderful).  We struggled at times but we always went back to the fact that we had each other and we were following our hearts not a guidebook of what society says is supposed to happen.  I carry that philosophy with me to this day.  I would rather be broke and happy than financially rich and cookie cutter.  That said, I do believe it is possible to be financially stable and happy and still do your own thing and I think that being broke and doing it first makes it all the more feasible.
I encourage you to follow your truth and your heart. Take refuge in them because money and stuff only have the meanings that we give them and are innately worthless.  We are not 

Monday, March 4, 2013

How's That Working For Ya

Excuses, we have all  used them as justifications a time or two.  At what point do they become a debilitating crutch for us to not actively participate in our lives?  Excuses are based in fear.  Fear is a powerful driver and that means the excuses we chose to live by can become overwhelming. When this happens we start to believe in those excuses as truth.  The end result is a life lived in fear and confusion of our own making.  The "I can't", "It is to difficult", "I do not know how", "What if", attitudes stunt our growth and make life unpleasant.  This modern world feeds us these messages. We are told that inequality, struggle, tragedy & chaos are to be expected and we better be ready for them. How exactly are we supposed to prepare for these events?  Well, it seems that if we have enough money, the "perfect" family life, the right kind of education and job, plenty of insurance for our things and the hospital and doctors then we should be covered.  If you don't have these things, sorry, but you are screwed.   Now there is nothing wrong with being prepared but people let me share some personal experience.  At 34 years old I suffered a serious illness that seemed to come from nowhere.  All of the sudden life as I knew it came to a halt, flipped upside down and changed in ways that I could have never foreseen.  While having the medical insurance did come in handy to a limited extent it did not stop the illness or its' lingering side effects.  Before my recovery was complete my husband, at 39 years old, was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.  Our lives flipped again and, honestly, seemed impossible.  By all accounts we had every right to live on excuses but we realized that was not living and that sometimes life gets dirty and very real.  In those times there really are no excuses.  You sink or swim that is all there is.  It is your choice ! When my husband died I was ready to sink but I only allowed those feelings to linger for a couple of days.  I kept hearing a phrase he used to say when people were making choices that were not benefiting them... "How's that working out for ya?" and my answer was it's not.  So I decided not to play the widow card.  I felt like and still feel like I had every right to do so and it would have been accepted by people.  However, in my heart & mind I could not accept it.  I did not want to live by excuses.  I am better than that.  It has not all been a clear road guided by sunshine and bird songs but I kinda like the rain at times and I posses the gear to make it through any climate.  We all do! 
Next time life throws a few curve balls your way catch them don't run from them.  They will catch up to you eventually.  Deal and move forward with life because you are better than any excuse you can come up with.  This is your life and your choices.  Ask yourself  "How's this working for me?" and be an active participant in your life.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What Life Are You Living?

With this new year I have been doing a lot of contemplation on my life.   I have been thinking about life events and how they shape us but are they supposed to define us?  Each of us has story but can we let it be or do we need it ?  This is the thought I want to talk about.
It was not that long ago that I was living a very, very different life from the one I have today. A dear friend had this talk with me two years ago.  I was still pretty deep into my grieving process and trying to move forward but resisting it at the same time.  I had a vision for myself and this new chapter in my life but, honestly, it scared the crap out of me and I felt guilty leaving my other life.   It is ironic, that guilt, because I did not choose to leave that life and never would have.  It left me.  So I found myself living in a new city, trying new things, dreaming and always looking back. My friend recognized this in me and she gave me this thought that helped to change the way I was thinking and living.  She said you have a big story of you and Paul (my late husband) and it is meaningful and important but what about Keri?  Can you step outside of that story because you are here?  At first those questions cut through me and they caused pain but along with that came insight so deep that I could not ignore it.  I was allowing my life to be defined as tragic, beautiful, but sad.  I was/ am fully aware of the beauty of that life and a few others knew of it too but to so many I had a tragic and sad story to tell and I must be so strong  because how was I carrying on.  No, no, no, I did not/ do not want to be that person.  I respect and love that chapter in my book but I have a new chapter to write and I respect and love this one too.  It is exciting and it is mine! I do not want it to be defined.  In fact, I tend to like to escape definitions and expectations.   That is an underlying theme in my new chapter.  My past influences my everyday but it does not define it.  It is not my crutch.  The guilt is gone. 
I encourage you to step outside your story and let that story be.  It isn't going anywhere but you might be ready to, so go on, git!