Morning Meditation

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Meditation & Yoga Room

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all”.

– translation by Sharon Gannon Jivamukti Yoga.

Happy Fall Y’all!

It's Fall Y'all!
It’s Fall Y’all!

Woo Hoo – it’s finally here. Fall has come to the desert and I am so ready. For Tucsonans this is a big deal. Huge. We are finally done with triple digit temperatures and this is the time of year when our town really comes alive.

Fall in Tucson
Celebrating fall in Tucson with a beautiful mug from Chalk Full of Love.

It’s time for NFL and University of Arizona football (go Cardinals and Wildcats); tailgate parties; hiking and yoga in the park; fire pits and backyard barbecues; fall planting and decorating for Halloween.

Handmade broom collection.
Hand made broom collection.
Celebrating fall with a Talavera jack-o'-lantern
Talavera jack-o’-lantern.
Fall blankets. Its's fall y'all!
Fall blankets.
Sunflower basking in the fall sun. Tucson, Arizona
Sunflower basking in the fall sun. Tucson, Arizona.

It’s time for apple and pumpkin picking at Apple Annie’s and getting lost in the corn maze.

Pumpkins at Apple Annie's in Wilcox, Arizona
Pumpkins at Apple Annie’s in Wilcox, Arizona.

And it means fall baking – apples, pumpkin and cinnamon galore.

Celebrating fall - harvest and sourdough bread and apple butter
Harvest bread and apple butter.
Celebrating the first day of Fall with chai tea and dirty chai muffins
Chai tea and homemade muffins.
Fall baking underway. Tucson, Arizona
Fall baking.

Fall also means nights under the stars in a warm jacuzzi, long evening walks with the dogs and maybe, just maybe, boots and sweaters (although we never put away our flip flops here in the Sonoran Desert).

Where ever you are on this glorious planet of ours, I hope you enjoy a glorious and bountiful Fall. And if you get the chance, come visit Tucson. It’s gorgeous this time of year.

Late Summer in Tucson, Arizona

Painted Lady butterfly
Painted Lady butterfly enjoying the lantana in our garden.

Its been a busy summer here in the desert southwest but things are winding down as we approach the fall equinox. Butterflies are everywhere these past couple of weeks as they migrate to their winter home. It’s a beautiful sight.

Had a couple of great egrets hanging around this summer too. The dogs didn’t know what to make of these gorgeous creatures who usually spend their time at the nearby Santa Cruz river.

White Great Egret
This graceful Great Egret decided to pay us a visit this summer.
White Great Egret
Great Egret showing off in the summer sun.

And even though it was outrageously hot in the Sonoran Desert I still got some baking done. What can I say? Bakers gonna bake. 😜

Cranberry pecan bread
Cranberry pecan bread.
Mushroom galette
Mushroom galette.
Mushroom galette
Warm mushroom galette with garlic and Parmesan in a flaky crust. Who cares that is was 110 degrees outside?
Peach Galette
Peach galette using local farm fresh peaches.
Glazed Apple hand pies
Glazed apple hand pies made with hand picked apples from Apple Annie’s in Wilcox, Arizona.
Sourdough bread
Sonoran sourdough bread hot and fresh out of the oven.
Bacon and cream cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers
Bacon and cream cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers because it’s finally football season again!

The September full corn moon was especially beautiful this year – bright reddish orange when rising and setting, and glowingly golden when it was high in the night sky.

September 2017 full corn moon.
The September full corn moon glowing behind the shadows of a palm tree. September 7, 2017. Tucson, Arizona.
September full corn moon
The September full corn moon riding high in the night sky. September 7, 2017. Tucson, Arizona.

As usual, summer sunsets provided intense and glorious color to the Tucson sky.

Sunset in Tucson
Pale purple and pink clouds amid the Saguaros in Tucson, Arizona.
Arizona monsoon sunset
Monsoon rain at sunset. Gates Pass, Tucson, Arizona.
Arizona sunset.
The summer sun sets behind a giant Saguaro cactus in Tucson, Arizona.

As for me, I’m thoroughly enjoying the last week of summer while at the same time  hoping today is the last 100 degree day of the year. And so looking forward to the gloriousness that is autumn in the desert – gorgeous sunny days, cool nights and plenty of outdoor activities.

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Reading a good book, sipping chai tea and enjoying a late summer morning in my backyard.
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Goodbye summer, Hello fall.

 

August 2017 Full Sturgeon Moon (aka Full Corn Moon) in Aquarius.

As summer monsoon in Tucson begins to wind down, the August Full Sturgeon moon makes her appearance in Aquarius signaling a subtle but inevitable shift of season.

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Here is a close up of the 2017 August Full Sturgeon Moon (also known as the Full Corn Moon) taken August 8, 2017. The moon has completely shifted position – her “belly button” was facing to the right earlier in the year. Represents change and evolution.

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And a pull back shot of the August Full Sturgeon moon in all her glory at dawn as she was beginning to set. And the wheel has turned once again.

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Greeting the Sun – Yoga in the Desert

Good morning from Tucson, Arizona. I’m getting at it early this morning before it gets too hot.

Sunrise Yoga in Tucson, Arizona

We are still waiting for our annual monsoon to arrive here in the Sonoran Desert. At  5 am it is 82 degrees and and humid. The air is heavy – a good monsoon omen.

Sunrise yoga - perfect way to start the day

It’s a great morning to be outside practicing to the sweet music of birdsong and wind chimes and I’m grateful for it.

Thow in a delicious cup of double spice chai tea and vibrantly hued flowers and I’m in a little patch of paradise.

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I hope, wherever you are, that your day is filled with sunshine and love, and is everything you need it to be.

Namaste from the desert 🙏❤️

The Sweet Sound of Tibetan Singing Bowls

I have a love affair with Tibetan singing bowls. I play them daily as part of my personal yoga and meditation practice and also use them in the classes I teach. They are mesmerizing and undeniably relaxing.

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In his book How to Heal with Singing Bowls, author Suren Shrestha explains that quantum physics has proven that everything has vibration, whether it’s a table, a chair, a person, a planet, or a cosmos. And wherever there is a sound, there is a vibration. When we use sound coupled with intention, which is the most important aspect of healing, we can direct sound vibration to raise the body’s vibrational frequency.

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According to Tibetan oral tradition, the existence of singing bowls dates back to the time of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni (560 – 480 B.C.). The tradition was brought from India to Tibet, along with the teachings of the Buddha, by the great tantric master Padmasambhava in the 8th century A.D. (Bodhisattva.com)

Singing bowls are used worldwide for meditation, music, relaxation, sound therapy and personal well-being.  They are played by striking the rim of the bowl with a padded mallet, or by the friction of rubbing a wood or leather wrapped mallet around the rim of the bowl which emphasize the harmonic overtones and a produces a continuous ‘singing’ sound. Different bowls correspond to different chakras and produce different notes on the musical scale.

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Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York explains the use of sound for healing like this:

“If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of  our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.”

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If you attend one of my yoga or meditation classes, you will likely hear me play at least one, possibly two or more singing bowls. It’s my favorite way to begin and end practice. Soothed muscles and a soothed soul – what could be better than that?

 

Week 5 Backyard Remodel – And We’re Done!

IMG_7783After five weeks of demolition and construction we are finally done with our backyard remodel and couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

This backyard shouts “party over here!” It’s a perfect place to entertain during our beautiful desert nights – and just in time for the summer solstice.

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We kept the furniture simple and comfy and used colorful Talavera accent pieces and pottery to decorate with. Our style is a bit ecclectic – Buddah and Buddhist prayer flags share space with St. Francis and pagan gods and goddesses.

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The dogs are certainly enjoying their new surroundings too.

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And when the sun starts to set, its adds a whole new vibe to the place.

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Here is a before and after shot. We enjoyed many years in our “before” backyard and are looking forward to many more in our “after”.

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June Full Strawberry Moon

June Full Strawberry Moon. Tucson, Arizona.
Photo by Cindy Devin

June full strawberry moon in Sagittarius. June 8, 2017. Tucson, Arizona. Six different wild fires currently burning in SoAZ are creating a hazy, dreamy film for the last rays of sunlight to catch on this full moon night. While beautiful, it can also be deadly. Sending prayers for rain and favorable winds to assist the firefighters fighting the fires and the families who live in their paths. Stay safe.

And, as we approach the summer solstice in Tucson, hoping for an above-average rainy and life-giving Monsoon.

June Full Strawberry Moon. Tucson, Arizona
At twilight under a smokey wildfire sky. Photo by Cindy Devin
June Full Strawberry Moon. Tucson, Arizona
And later in the night when she rose higher in the sky. Photo by Cindy Devin

Happy full moon.  Woo Hoo, it’s summer in Tucson!

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Image via Pinterest
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Interest via Pinterest
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Image via Pinterest
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Image via Pinterest
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Image via Pinterest

Week 3 Backyard Remodel – We’re Getting There!

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Harley surveying his domain from the newly laid brick.

Finished week 3 of our backyard remodel and are heading into the home stretch.

The seating and walls have been painted and the flagstone toppers measured and cut.

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And the brick! So happy with the brick work. The colors are gorgeous and I’m loving the three different sizes and pattern.

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Kylee (our 2 1/2 year old cockapoo) checking out the comfiness of the newly laid brick. She is an old-soul and as loyal as they come. Love this mut. And the brick. ❤️

And the dogs are still supervising the project.

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Kona, the baby of the bunch, walking the job at the end of the day.
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Allie is testing her camouflage superpowers during construction.
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Luna Bella is going to be sad when the job is finished and she has no more sand to roll around in.

Week 2 Backyard Remodel – Dirt, Dust & Noise

Troy and I love quiet mornings on our patio. Chai tea for me, coffee for Troy, puppies playing and birds chirping in the shade trees under a stunningly beautiful blue Arizona sky. No shit, that’s how the mornings are around here for most of the year. Totally zen and pretty much heaven. A perfect place to write, read, nap, do yoga and eat breakfast.

But for now that peaceful little scenario has been shattered. It’s noisy, dirty and dusty — on steroids. The dogs think rolling around in the dirt is a competitive sport and every time I turn around they are dragging bits of debris inside. There is dirt in every corner of the house and it’s wreaking major havoc with our sinuses.

On the plus side the walls and seating have been built and stuccoed; the fire pit is almost finished (and looks amazing) and the whole yard is shaping up like we envisioned. Things are progressing on schedule and (for the most part) we’re staying within budget.

I think we are going to make it through this project with our sanity intact and I’m still convinced the mess is going to be totally worth it.

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Luna Bella is can always be found playing in the dirt.
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Seating and walls have been stuccoed and are ready to be topped, painted and inlayed with Talavera tile.
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Fire pit.
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Fire pit gas ring.
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Boulders have been placed.