No matter what, you can always count on death and taxes. I have never really resonated with this idea before. I always thought it was pretty depressing and defeatist. Recently though, perhaps because I am approaching 40, it has started to make more sense to me and I have actually found it liberating. Believe it or not, I enjoy paying my taxes now (although this year I did get a refund). Whether a refund or a check for 50% of my income, I am happy to pay my taxes. Thank you, I say; please build a new highway. Thank you I say; please let this money actually go to a school that is truly educating. Thank you I say; Please keep my neighborhood clean and safe – here at home and throughout the world. If I am going to spend money, I consciously spend it with as much love and positive intention as possible. try it. It feels good.

How much of our energy do we spend avoiding the inevitable? probably about 96% – though that’s just a guess. How many times have you heard:? “Our only real fear is a fear of death”. This is also one of those I never quite got. Probably because I heard the word death as meaning my actual literal death – of which I’ve never really been concerned about. I’m grateful to have not inherited that fear that I will suffer in my death. In truth, I think I am much more afraid of the suffering in life.
suffering. it always comes back to this. suffering. why does it exist? how can we stop it? If I create my own reality, why would I create suffering?
Once we move within ourselves to take responsibility for the power of our own thoughts and feelings, we must face this question at some point. If suffering exists, why am I creating it? or if the “I” sounds too egocentric or arrogant, then: If suffering exists, why are we creating it? co-creating it? The metaphysical and intellectual answer is: for our enlightenment. But what the hell is enlightenment and who really cares?
My highest self – the joyful child master – knows that everything is for my enlightenment and giggles when I resist and suffer, however, my human adult self can get pretty pissed off on a daily basis. Who created this reality we live in – with right and wrong, bad and good, rich and poor, single and married, dead and alive. What was she thinking?
The truth is, after taxes, there is death. And all you need during that experience is love and positive intention, so why not start practicing now. In death – an experience some call the Bardo of Becoming, no amount of money, political ideas, professional status, awards on your shelf, children you birthed, or books can help you. Only love and a clear rising of your own mind will guide you home.
This is what I am coming to understand as truth for me. Life is meant to be experienced in all it’s moments. And that experience is what we signed up for. So, why not enjoy the gift of this body, in this moment, in this life and trust that everything – the good, bad, and the ugly – is here FOR YOU to show you back to some inner truth. And yes, before this truth sets us free, sometimes it pisses us off. And maybe on some days, that’s OK.

I am writing on this Sunday which is the beginning of my week here in Egypt and the beginning of Holy Week for those that celebrate the story of Christ Jesus. I recently read an enlightening (and perhaps different than the mainstream) interpretation of death and resurrection by a woman named Celia Fenn. She talks about the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdelene and how together through ressurection they helped birth a new balance of masculine and feminine energy. You can read the whole thing HERE.
I was blessed to have my own experience of resurrection while cruising down the nile with my father a week and a half ago. Beyond the amazing gift of experiencing the beauty between Luxor and Aswan along the Nile river, the temples, the sun. the sound of the river, I also got to share time with Dad and his new friend Pam. This was a big deal for me, because when I first came to Egypt in 2006, my mom was still alive and very present with me. I was a little nervous about my Dad coming, thinking it would make me really miss my mom and bring up all sorts of uncomfortable emotions. Instead, though, it felt like new life – for all of us and some sort of completion for me. There we were cruising down the Nile, being present, enjoying all that was. And I got to share the temple of Philae – a place dedicated to Isis and the Divine Feminine with my Dad. It felt truly miraculous!

In life, when things change, whether it be losing a loved one, losing a house, or losing a job, we may often feel like life is over, or we will never recover. In fact, the Truth is just the opposite, if we trust and have faith, who knows what new experience may open up for us. If we feel what we need to feel, let go of the old and stay open to the possibility, we can’t help but experience new life. It is often from nothing, that everything comes.
From nothing, everything comes.
enjoy these pictures of the cruise. enjoy your own inner ressurections everyday, for they happen EVERY day if you are aware and present.
I am so grateful that I will be on retreat starting Wed at my home away from home in Ireland – Creacon Prema Agni Lodge through April 8.
And I will send each and every one that reads this, a big blast of love love love!

Spring is here. Be happy!

Happy March everyone! It’s hard to believe we are almost into the middle of March. Time is certainly moving quickly. February was poetry month at ISE and some of the kids poems as well as mine are now on the ISE website. Click Here to read more.

It feels like summer here in Cairo – it was in the high nineties the last couple of days. Apparently this is unseasonably warm. My Dad arrives in a couple days with some friends, so that should be a fun adventure. I will post soon about that as well as my trip to Dahkla last month and my recent trip to Beirut. (see picture of me by the sea)
I am sending love to all. I am practicing staying present and letting go of expectations as many things in my life continue to change.
As always I am grateful for the many teachers and spiritual teachings I have been graced to have in my life. If you are looking for some guidance or support or connection as you walk your path, feel free to reach out to me or anyone you might find at SQ Wellness.
It’s an amazing time to be alive and if you are feeling cranky or overwhelmed (like I have been lately) – reach out. be vulnerable. ask for help. love yourself.
it’s much more fun, I promise. And ultimately creates more peace – inside and out.
love love love

Well it’s Feb 26 and I am just getting to updating my Blog with anything substantial. It’s been an amazing 2010 so far and time seems to be moving differently. I experience time shifting all the time. And I can’t even really say what that means, except that a day can feel a year and 2 months can feel like a day.

Because so much has happened over the last 2 months, I am going to update in three different installments. this is #1 – Jordan. more to come soon on my trip to Dahkla . . .
I returned to Cairo on Jan 15 and just 2 weeks later I went with a group via bus, boat, and more bus to experience the country of Jordan. To the left you see a part of Petra known as the treasury – made famous by Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the last crusade. Petra is a beautiful part of Jordan and is considered one of the new 7 wonders of the world.
We took an overnight bus from Cairo to Taba on the coast of the Sinai and then took a ferry, not unlike the hi-line in Hyannis across the Gulf of Aquaba to Jordan (Aquaba). Then we took a bus up into the mountains through ice and snow (seriously!) to finally arrive in Petra in which there was flooding and temperatures in the 30’s (F).

In this picture on the right I am walking through the Siq on the way to see the facade. You can see the water rushing at our feet and the amazing natural cut rocks with rose color. truly gorgeous and inspiring!
After this journey, we made our way to Amman – the capital city and enjoyed Jordanian hospitality at a hotel. After Egypt, we were all overwhelmed by the food, cleanliness, and overall good service. it was funny to see how shocked we all were.
The next day in Amman, we went to the citadel which is sort of an outdoor museum. The city of Jordan had many names. Here are some pictures showing the lineage of names – it was once called Philadelphia – something I never knew.

From the citadel, we had a great view of Amman which actually exists over 7 hills. While touring on our bus we were also shown the “beverly hills” of Amman. Pretty amazing amounts of wealth and beautiful looking homes. Jordan is governed by a king and is much smaller than Egypt. It was a great experience and gave me interesting perspective on the whole region.
On our way back from Amman to Aquaba (to get the boat back to the bus), we stopped at the Dead Sea. This experience was rather surreal. We stopped at a hotel that was overflowing in commercial abundance and clearly marketing itself as a resort and spa vacation spot. Here we were on the coast of the Dead Sea miles from where the stories of John the Baptist and his radical preaching of anti-establishment that ultimately led to his beheading, sipping juices and looking at marketing packets.
Across the way, we could see Israel, though to get there from here, feels not so easy given politics. Our Jordanian guide called Jordan “the switzerland of the middle east” meaning it gets along with everyone. I was definitely feeling the swiss vibe at the swiss owned movenpick complete with this view over the dead sea.
When I was home for Christmas I got a flip video hand me down as a gift from my big bro. So, I have started a youtube channel to post videos of my adventure. Here is some from the Jordan trip. enjoy!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two months since my last blog. I have been experiencing much both on the inside and out. I travelled back to the states for Christmas and new years and rode a lot of airplanes, received and gave a lot of love, and gained a great deal of perspective. Though it can be painful to feel like I am leaving loved ones behind to return to Egypt, I am also given the gift of continuing to let go of all old parts of myself that no longer serve me and open to the new.

Returning to Egypt and my own little cozy apartment has been surprisingly lovely. I had the opportunity to travel to Jordan this past weekend and see Petra, Amman and the Dead Sea. I also began teaching 3rd grade recorder. So I think it is safe to say now, I am a music teacher – the one thing I swore I would never be. HA!
All that being said, it often feels that every moment is new and anything can change. the more I focus on the moment at hand, the happier I am. Sometimes the moment includes uncomfortable feelings like anger, sadness, frustration, but if I am present and feel them, let them move through me, I get to the other side – joy, happiness, peace, compassion much faster.
It is an amazing time to be a human being. In the face of many challenges people everywhere are choosing love over fear, kindness over crankiness, joy over depression, and loving action over anger.
What do you choose each day and what helps you? This is what I have been meditating on.
love love love

I am typing this post from my apartment in Cairo. It’s somewhat strange to fly home to the US for Christmas and have to keep saying, well my apartment is in Cairo. What? My apartment is in Cairo. how did that happen? and could it be true that by the time the 3 weeks of US friends and family was ended I was looking forward to returning to my apartment to ground in after the holidays (in Cairo!). yes it is true. It feels great to be back in my own space. surprising., especially considering the last two days before I left I was quite weepy.

And that just brings me to the truth of how hard I have worked in my life to not feel pain. Why do we think feeling pain is so bad? Maybe because when we are feeling it, we are afraid it will never end. or perhaps, we don’t want to appear weak or damaged or out of control.

If you ask questions like this check out SQ Wellness for a little satsang.

Hello Friends!

This is my new view from my new terrace. not bad!!

I am typing this from sunny Cairo – yesterday there was a high of 70 degrees. Within 24 hours I will get on a plane and fly to Boston via JFK . I am reading on facebook and elsewhere that the snow is falling. Nothing like a little weather shock. Here’s hoping the beautiful snow is finished by the time I land. 🙂

So much has happened for me over the last month here in Egypt. I can’t believe my last blog entry was a happy thanksgiving and now we are on the eve of Christmas. Remember when we were little and that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas felt SO LONG? Now, it seems to go by in a split second, especially as a teacher. Within that time though, it can feel like many lifetimes are lived – at least for me.

My retreat in Nuweiba, a coastal town on the Sinai (Nov 27-Dec.1) was a great gift. I joined Lady Colleen Heller and a few others for a time of reflection, meditation, great bedouin breakfasts, music, sounding, and a few brief and cold snorkeling moments. There were many highlights of my experience – witnessing a bedouin Eid ritual in the desert including the sacrifice of the sheep, singing my original songs with some local drummers, waking each morning in my beach hut steps from the sea, meditations led by Lady with the sun and the sea, new friends, and of course my multiple Nescafes from our fabulous cook and host, Nasser. You can learn more about Lady and the work she does here: Lady Colleen.

After that wonderful trip I returned to Maadi and moved with the rest of my co-teachers into our individual apartments out in New Cairo. The move went relatively well, though it took a few days to get the hot water rolling and it’s a lot chillier out here in New Cairo. Needless to say, it has taken a little adjusting. The apartment itself is beautiful, the air out here is better, and we are now only about 5 minutes from school. I have a very nice guest room in my new place, so I hope some will consider visiting me sometime during Feb – June. Who knows where I will be after that . . . . . . 🙂

Without a car, it is a little isolating and requires many taxi adventures to get into the main part of town. Just last night we took a ride home from Maadi after some Christmas shopping and burgers at Lucille’s and I felt as if the front seat was not actually attached to the taxi car. It kept sliding as the car sped up or slowed down. thank God I lived in NYC for 11 years and trying to talk to a cab driver who can’t really speak English feels kind of normal. 🙂

In the last two weeks of school, we managed to throw together a “winter show”. Like much of this first year of ISE, we make a lot of it up as we go along and the room you need to present the concert gets finished about 20 minutes before you need to be in it.

Given all that, I think we did OK. Elementary school concerts can be a lot even under “normal” circumstances – and the logistics rehearsals – each class practicing going up on stage – almost sent me over the edge, but in the end as I listened to the fourth graders singing “I’ve Got Peace Like a River, ” I couldn’t help but smile and know we were creating something very special.

The theme was “Songs of Peace” and we tried to focus on the idea of inner peace. Here are a couple stills from the flip video.

When you talk with Egyptian children about peace, they often talk about Israel and Egypt and how we have to get along or how Sadat created a peace treaty. Through art and poetry and music, we attempted to help the kids explore the idea of being peaceful within themselves and within their classrooms. I tried not to yell too much while rehearsing the songs of peace, but often had moments of total contradiction and wondered, “what am I doing?” and “How is this peaceful education?.” In the end, I offer it all up and trust that we all did the best we could. A colleague took some great flip video of the show which I can share with some of you in person.

Here is a picture of our school entrance with Kyera, our fabulous art resident who did an amazing amount of work to help decorate over the last 2 weeks and for the concert too. thanks Kyera!

So, On Aug. 6 I flew to Egypt not really knowing what I was in store for and now I fly back to Boston (and then California) to spend until Jan 13 in the USA. I am grateful for it all, and especially excited to be with beloved friends and family for the next few weeks.

More than ever, I have been given the gift to feel and know that I have everything I need always and every experience, whether I think it’s “good” or “bad” is created for me to grow, enjoy, learn and remember who I am.

It is an amazing time to be a spiritual being having a human experience, whether here, there, or everywhere.

Enjoy this time of outside darkness and inside light. Know that everything you need is within you and that everything you experience is here to bring you Home. And when I say Home, I imagine a space inside of our beings and our hearts that is so expansive and connected it can hold everything – dark, light, peace, anxiety, joy, pain and we accept it all as it is with total faith and trust that all is well.

May you feel the peace, clarity, joy, and love love love that you are!

Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas!
love love love