Serenity Now!!


I never quite got the mantra thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was right there with all the suburban housewives in my yoga pants doing the downward dog, all of us trying to squeeze the dissatisfaction from our lives with a pretzel pose. It may have worked for some of them, but after class I’d always get that taste of dissatisfaction lingering in my mouth.

In some classes we’d chant. This was the worst for me. It was like going back to my Jewish synagogue when I was a kid, trying desperately to divine something out of words someone handed me on a sheet of paper. In fact as a kid this sort of thing just made me feel more detached.

I often think of the episode in Seinfeld where George’s Dad went on a kick, trying to reduce his anger. He was told if he just said ‘serenity now’ his problems would go away. So, in true Seinfeldian fashion, George’s dad, misinterpreting the purpose of his assignment exploded in anger passionately shouting “Serenity Now!!!”

That was me in yoga class some days.

Yoga was nice.  It made me limber, I learned how to breathe, but I often found myself like George’s dad, arms to the air, on the verge of a heart attack, frustrated that I still wasn’t fixed.

So, as of late I’ve tried something new. I’ve been doing hypnosis, and oddly enough—it works. Hypnosis works under the principle that all those conversations we have with our thinking mind—the busy, crazy, fretful entity that it is—are unproductive. We tell ourselves “Stop eating all that crap” and we do it anyway because our subconscious desires are out of whack with the great, steadfast logic our conscious mind.

The head knows that eating a whole box of Little Debbie snack cakes is not a good idea, however if the subconscious mind, let’s say, is heart broken over a recent break up, it may think that eating all those oatmeal pies is a good idea.

sue hypnotism

My teacher Sue David

In the case of the Little Debbies our subconscious and conscious minds are in disagreement and according to Sue, the subconscious wins.

In hypnosis, you talk to your subconscious mind and you go straight to the source of your problem. The theory is that because you’re communicating with the highly suggestible subconscious, in a state of peace, you embody the solution deep within you, and bypasses the noisy, neurotic  conscious mind.

I know it sounds like a gimmick to some of you (Tim Baker!), but I tell you it has affected me profoundly.

For me, hypnosis is powerful because it bypasses my anxiety ridden head games (for which I am a gold medalist!) and instead goes straight to my heart. It in essence shuts me up and says “cut the crap and just be.”

Several months ago Sue David my hypnotherapist (who does Skype calls if you’re interested!) told me that while I was under I would hear a message. She said to listen for key words that I could use to bring me to that mellow state.  Essentially she was telling me to find my mantra. This made me nervous. What if I chose the wrong one? Would it be good enough? How am I to know? (THAT’S the conscious mind talking!)

One day while I was relaxed and under self-hypnosis, I heard this: “I am Beauty, Love and Light”

Of course this wasn’t magic. It was just me—but a very relaxed, chilled me, that didn’t have the regular BS running through her head.

Here’s the cool part, with these words I felt an emanating force of love surrounding me, streaming from my pores. It was divinity, but not scary divinity like I was taught as a kid.

This was just the sheer understanding that it all makes sense. All of it.

All the stuff I worried about,  all my maddening seeking for perfection–it was all quiet. It was just me, these three words, and this beautiful, calm place I had created for myself.

And so, apparently I now have a mantra. When I go into my state of relaxation, ride the river of my subconscious mind I say those words to myself. It is in these moments that I am reminded of who I truly am…and the coolest part–when I come out of hypnosis and my kids are whining or I didn’t get enough sleep I still feel the power of the mantra.  There’s no magic, just quiet time with my heart and an understanding from my depths that I have the power to make change. I no longer need to be afraid.

I am beauty, love and light…. and so are you.




There’s Nothing We Can’t Do


I arrived at the gym yesterday and walked up to the front desk to check in. Right on the counter was a stack of cards titled “Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being”. The cards seemed out of place amidst weight machines and treadmills but the image on it intrigued me.

It was of an older woman with a glowing smile sitting in lotus pose wearing a red halter dress, arms over head looking to the sky.

Tao Porchon-Lynch

Tao Porchon-Lynch

Curious I picked it up. The card, a promo for a new book, said that the woman’s name is Tao Porchon-Lynch. She is 96 years old and from her resume she appeared to be more active than most forty year olds I know. Among many other things to her credit, she is an award winning ball room dancer and holds the title for the oldest yoga instructor.

Then as I read on and I felt my breath leave me for a moment.

Her life mantra is…

There is nothing you cannot do.

These words struck me deeply. It is the same message I had been hearing all week, from numerous places..

A few months ago, my friend first told that he believes he can do anything. I secretly laughed. It sounded like boyish pride to me. He couldn’t become a champion belly dancer, I thought…or a master chef on a Caribbean cruise ship …my list of “preposterous” things grew. I thought how childish of a notion it was and I actually felt sorry for him for being trapped in such a naïve reality. Wasn’t he just setting himself up for failure and disappointment?

But on Friday when I talked to him, I started to see that he didn’t just think this idea…he KNEW it. This statement wasn’t out of arrogance, nor was it some sort of grand delusion; it was the source of his power. There was no doubt that if there was something in life he wanted to do, he could do it.

That same day, in the evening, I was speaking with another friend. Sue, at 85 has a youthful spark in her eye, a playful sense of wit and a curiosity that makes her appear decades younger than she actually is.

I can’t remember what we were talking about, but when I heard these words slip from her mouth: “I can do whatever I put my mind to.” I paid attention. She too was a believer.

And so, you can imagine, when I was at the gym just the next day, holding that little card in my hand, reading about a 95 year old woman who’s life moto is “There’s Nothing You Cannot Do” the message felt profound.

I believe it is time to not just hear to these words, but to be them… to dive fearlessly into life, nod at the things that scare us and keep moving forward. We can do whatever we set our minds to. The only thing in our way is us. This doesn’t mean things will be easy. Quite the opposite, but when we truly believe this truth, we can’t be stopped.

Don’t give up.  It’s in you.



Here’s a clip of an interview with Tao,