Category Archives: 2016

Where is HOME?

grandma-soraya-molly

Molly and I took Soraya to feed her beloved goats at the Gasthof Kleefeld Family Farm in Wolfgangsee last week.

“Hallo!” from Austria, or “Grüß Gott” as the greeting is in this beautiful country. I love the translation: “God greet you!”

You may or may not know that I am here in Austria to support my daughter, Molly, and her family as we await the arrival of my granddaughter’s little sister who is due in two weeks. This unique time with Molly and Soraya is being recorded deep in the center of my heart forever. I feel profoundly blessed to be here and to be extended the generosity of Molly’s husband’s loving Austrian family and their home. (Note: Molly has spent a good part of her pregnancy away from their own home in Fiji because of the Zika outbreak there. Her husband just arrived here two days ago. Hooray!)

My life here is completely different than my life back home. I’m packing snacks for Soraya’s mornings in nursery school, making yogurt popsicles, doing laundry, preparing meals, enjoying doing Nia with my granddaughter, doing laundry, taking my daughter to doctor’s appointments, changing diapers, (did I mention I am doing laundry–AND few people have dryers here?), teaching Soraya songs while she plays in the bathtub, reading to her, learning to use strollers and car seats made in the 21st century, and well, you probably get the picture!

All of this fills me with love. And it hasn’t all been magical and roses and easy. I do tend to focus on the love though, and it makes everything worthwhile and treasured.

I am learning a bit of German, driving along country and city roads, and eating foods readily enjoyed by people in this part of the world. I will be in Austria for a good two months so I’ve found that I’ve settled in here and consider it “home” at the moment.

Home–this word has new meaning for me. The saying “Home is where the heart is” now has a more expanded significance. At this time in my life, I feel deeply that, “Home is where love is.” I am learning to be at home anywhere. I can do this if I just remember to pack the love in my heart and then unpack it wherever I go. When I forget, things can get difficult.

My childhood home was in the countryside of Western Pennsylvania–about 30 minutes from Pittsburgh. After graduating from Penn State in 1971, I married my high school sweetheart and moved to Youngstown, Ohio where my husband was finishing his last year of college. That was home for several years.

In 1979, the three of us (we now had a 3-year-old son, Zachary) moved to Free Union, Virginia–just outside of Charlottesville. Molly was born there a year later. It was home for 20 years and the place where I also “grew up” as we raised our children and filled our home with love.

While there, I was a health teacher at Charlottesville High School and then worked for almost ten years at the University of Virginia as the Director of Health Promotion and assistant professor in the School of Medicine. I loved it there–my family, my friends, the community, the Blue Ridge Mountains, my colleagues, my life. I discovered Nia there and taught my first Nia classes there too.

In 2000, several years after our 25-year marriage ended, I followed my soul’s calling to move to the Seattle area. It has been home, a treasured home for me, for over 16 years.

And now it’s time to move again. It seems that the unexpected closing of three Nia studio doors in the past year has opened up a path that is guiding me to return to Charlottesville. I will be moving there on December 1. I had heard that when God closes one door, He opens another. But THREE doors? Believe me, I am paying attention! This decision to move is a big surprise to me. I am clearly letting the Divine take the lead on this one.

It feels like my work in Seattle is complete and my soul is beckoning me to this next season of my life. As I write this it feels both real and surreal. Seattle will always be a home to me–and the people I met there will hold a dear place in my heart. My gratitude is deep and my heart is full.

As I reflect on my professional life in Seattle, I smile about some of the things I accomplished:

I created Washington Wellness Associates (re-branded as www.susantate.org) and expanded my work to reach across the globe . . .

Earned my black belt as a Nia teacher and taught Nia classes weekly in Seattle and offered workshops across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and in Europe . . .

Joined Team Northrup and added a global nutritional product partner to share information and products to support the health of others . . .

Wrote two editions of Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit . . .

Wrote the 3rd edition of my first book, Into the Mouths of Babes . . .

Offered hundreds of hours of holistic wellness coaching sessions, both in person and through telephone or Skype across the globe . . .

Became an ordained wedding officiant and married 13 couples in various cities across the United States . . .

Studied at Sanoviv Medical Institute, a functional medicine hospital in Rosarito, Mexico to become a Certified Nutritional Advisor . . .

Presented over 50 work site wellness presentations in the Greater Seattle area . . .

Led retreats and wellness workshops across the globe . . .

And I “grew up” a bit more as I learned to love even more deeply.

As I move in between homes, I respect the opportunity to connect with you through the many wellness services I offer. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.

What will I do in Virginia? I am not sure exactly, but I feel lucky to have created a wellness business that is portable, and even global. So, I’ll pack up www.susantate.org,
pack my love, and be on my way.

Home–where is it for you? Is it a physical structure that you move in and out of? Is it where your love is? Can you take your love and pack it with you when you go to the store, or to work, or to the park, or on a plane, or to a different country? I’d love to hear your thoughts about home. Feel free to leave a comment here!

13 Tips for Transformational Wellness

13 TIPS FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL

“All transformation begins with an intense burning desire to be transformed.”
~Wayne Dyer

Do you have this intense burning desire to transform a part of you life that isn’t serving you? Are you looking for a little less stress in your life? Are you desiring to feel more love? Do you want to feel really, really well?

These 13 Tips for Transformational Wellness will take only 13 seconds to read. Then you can choose one to practice–and of course practicing them will take MORE than 13 seconds–but they are all capable of adding to your well-being. And all of them are filled with love.

We get to take one step at at time on our wellness path. Which one will you choose for your next step?

  1. Intend to be well
  2. Listen to your body
  3. Nourish the body/mind temple
  4. Live in the present moment
  5. Pray and/or meditate
  6. Seek balance and pleasure
  7. Speak your truth with kindness
  8. Reframe worrying
  9. Cultivate forgiveness
  10. Practice peace
  11. Love radically
  12. Don’t complain
  13. Magnify gratitude

If you would like suggestions for implementing each of these tips, you will enjoy learning more in my book, Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit.

Buy Into the Mouths of Babes on Amazon

Please let me know which one you picked to play with today! Please leave a comment here or come on over to my SusanTateCommunity Facebook page and share your thoughts.

©2016 Susan Tate

Shifting from Manual to Automatic

2008 Toyota

My “new” car

Let me tell you up front, I am not a car person. I just like my car to be safe, get good gas mileage, have a way to play some music, and for it to get me where I want to go. So, several months ago when I replaced my old car with a 2008 Toyota Corolla, the first automatic car I ever owned, it was such a surprise to me as to how much I loved it!

I named her Grace. I love that name and all it reflects. More on that later . . .

My old car really was pretty old. I reluctantly sold my 1994 Toyota Corolla after driving it for 22 years and over 280,000 miles. It had a manual transmission and the stick shift was a part of my driving life.

I have been driving a stick shift since I learned to drive in 1965. Of course I’ve driven plenty of rental cars that were automatic, but I had only purchased cars with a manual transmission. It’s what I knew.

About a week after I had been driving my new car, I pulled up to a stop sign. After simply moving my right foot from the gas to the brake, I began to cry. That moment, I suddenly saw this whole shift from manual to automatic as a glaring symbol of my life up until that point. I worked somewhat hard while I was driving and realized that I had been working really hard for most of my life. I just thought that’s how life was. I was often “doing it myself” and taking all kinds of energy to shift from this gear to that gear. Now I know, it just doesn’t have to be that hard! (Life OR driving a car!)

So, I’m slowly learning that life can be a little more automatic. I can keep my eyes on the windshield of life and continue to move forward safely and mindfully. And maybe I just don’t need to fuss so much with so many gears in between. And maybe I can enjoy the time in between by just being, or observing, or by listening more.

Speaking of listening, I love playing music when I drive. Before signing the papers to purchase this car, I of course checked out the sound system. (You may want to know I also had my mechanic check out the other important parts of this car!) I grabbed a CD from my old car–a mix of my favorite spiritual tunes. I was pleased with the speakers and how great it sounded. I then turned off the music to go into the car dealer’s office and completed the purchase.

I mentioned that I named my car Grace. The first time I put my hands on the wheel and started my car after I officially owned it, you’ll never believe what music sweetly emerged from the CD. The lyrics were, and I’m not kidding, “You are held in the hands of grace.”* Okay God, I am listening!

I really like this shift from manual to automatic.

Are there things in your life that you might be able to switch to automatic to make things a bit easier? I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a comment here or come on over to my SusanTateCommunity Facebook page and share your thoughts.

 

* From the song Hands of Grace by Jack Fowler

 

©2016 Susan Tate

11 Ways to Choose Love Over Fear

MakeYourChoicesQuoteWe are living in extraordinary times. Clearly, it is important to know about things that can keep us safe. But what is being splashed in front of us at a rapid rate is repeatedly fearful information aimed at keeping us on edge. Do you think it’s time to boldly create a revolution based on love and not fear? I do.

I recall the drills we had in the 1950s when we tucked ourselves underneath our little first grade desks to practice saving ourselves in case we were attacked by Russia. I don’t want to duck my head anymore. I want to look out more with a vision of peace, a sharing of our abundance, and a mindful caring for our fellow human beings, whether they live in the United States or some other place on this globe.

I want the children to walk upon this planet with light and love-filled steps and a trust in the adults who are guiding their way. I want our children to make safe, healthy, and loving choices.

During the 1990s, I was the Director of Health Promotion at the University of Virginia. “Make your choices based on love, not fear” was the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross quote we selected to be printed on the back of the condom packs provided during our Peer Health Education workshops. Yes, stop and think about it. We wanted students making safer choices because they had a respect and love for themselves (what a concept!) more than they feared unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.

Today, I would like to see this quote boldly printed on the nightly news, at our banks, in our work settings, in our cars, in our grocery stores, and all over social media.

We can speak and think from a place of fear or from a place of love.

 “Make your choices based on love, not fear.” We have the choice to shower our world with love or react with fear. I’m choosing love. How about you?

Here are my suggestions for how to choose love over fear. Feel free to add to the list.

11 Ways to Choose Love over Fear

  1. Notice when worry or fear creeps into your thinking. Observe the fear, release it as you exhale, and then breathe in love instead. Repeat if necessary.
  2. Pray, meditate, chant, or sing.
  3. Observe and give gratitude when sacred peace envelops you.
  4. When fear invades your thinking, move your body. Walk, run, swim, dance, bike, do Nia, yoga or other physical activities that create endorphins from your body’s inner pharmacy. If you move through your day in a wheelchair, take time to get outside and connect your wheels to the earth and breathe in love.
  5. Observe your tendency to judge others and gradually lose interest in doing so.
  6. Be the place where love shows up.
  7. Notice your surroundings and the people in it with appreciation. This may result in being more accepting of people who don’t think, look, or act like you.
  8. Choose to no longer view the “other” as “other.”
  9. If you watch or read the news, use it to support your prayer practice. And then spread good news whenever you can.
  10. Forgive someone. Feel free to put yourself at the top of your list.
  11. Choose love.

In what ways to choose love over fear? Please feel free to leave a comment here or come on over to my Susan Tate Community Facebook page.

 

©2016 Susan Tate

 

 

 

 

 

So We Danced in the Parking Lot

As I enter my 18th year of teaching Nia, I do so without having a studio to teach weekly classes.

To catch you up if you haven’t had the pleasure of receiving my newsletters (which you can easily subscribe to if you look to the right) . . .

The studio I taught in for nine years closed in December with a week’s notice; the next studio I found was temporary and will be torn down when permits are finally acquired; and the day after I signed a contract in April with the Ballet Academy, I received an email saying it was closing in June . . .

I have heard that God never closes one door without opening another, but three closed doors in six month? I am paying attention.

As you may imagine, it’s a reflective time and I sense the universe has plans for me that haven’t yet been revealed! I am curious, open, and trusting.

There are plans for me to teach in Austria this fall and I have just returned from the east coast where I taught Nia in two beautiful studios in central Virginia. So I know I will continue to teach across the globe. What will happen locally? I really have no idea.

I am now settling into a “routine” without teaching three classes each week (which has been what I have done since I began teaching Nia in 1999). As you might suspect, there is some sadness that comes up for me.

But I must also tell you that I am still grinning when I think of the last Nia class we had on Saturday morning, June 11 at the Ballet Academy in Edmonds.

Here’s what happened:

When I arrived at the studio, the door was locked.  But that didn’t stop us–there was a parking lot right there!

It seems Michelle has a great sound system in her car. Since we didn’t have the right iPod cord to connect to her car, I searched the CD stash in my car and found one marked “Nia.” I had no idea what was on it but it proved to be the perfect mix for dancing in the streets! Michelle moved her car into a horizontal position, inserted the CD, opened the car doors, turned up the volume, and we danced with JOY! Thank you to Michelle and to the delightful group of 12 Nia students who came to dance. I’ll never forget it! Until we dance again . . . my heart is forever grateful.

If you find a locked door or a door closing unexpectedly, what do you do? I’d love to hear it. Please feel free to comment here or over on my Nia With Susan Tate Facebook page!

 

Spiritual Wellness, Prayer, & Meditation

 

Prayer hand over heart

Spiritual wellness is a uniquely personal journey for each of us. As we awaken each day, we get to choose how we will view world events, our country, our local community, and the life experiences we are experiencing in this moment. We get to choose peaceful thoughts or worrying thoughts, loving thoughts or fearful ones. I don’t know about you, but lately, prayer and meditation have been more valuable than ever in sustaining my spiritual wellness. This prompted me to share an excerpt from my Wellness Wisdom book. May you enjoy it with a sense of sacred peace.

Chapter 7: Pray and Meditate

However you choose to pray, you will deepen the communication between you and the Divine. I view praying as a reverent act of deeply communing with or talking to God. The message goes out as if we were talking to someone on the phone. I view meditation as listening to God via a heavenly phone—to recognize that voice we must be quiet so we might hear.

Declarative prayer is one of the many ways of communicating with God. With declarative prayer, you state that you accept the quality or thing you want in your life right now. An example would be, “I accept radiant health and wholeness.” Until a few years ago, I had always prayed using the “Please God” begging method. Now I assume divine help and support. Everyone prays differently and I certainly believe God listens to us however we pray; but I really like this positive, trusting, affirming method and it has been extremely powerful in my life. I’m learning to give up a time line, to trust divine guidance. I’m also learning to give up being right about many things. And there are times when I still get down on my knees, sometimes weeping with a “Please God” at the beginning (and the end) of my prayer. God listens.

Some people love reading the Bible, the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, The Course in Miracles, or from the Vedic texts. Others enjoy poetry or philosophical readings to connect them to Spirit. You may find the prayers of your childhood to be soothing. Find what works best for you.

There’s a beautiful meditation that I have found to be simple yet profound. It’s from an ancient Hawaiian practice known as Ho’oponopono (meaning “to make right.”) The words are simple and powerful: “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I thank you.” What’s your favorite prayer?

In the early nineties, I had the honor of meeting monthly with my sangha “sisters” to enjoy dinner together, to listen to “what’s up” for us, and to pray. (Sangha is a Sanskrit word that means “community.”) We then shared our prayer requests for the month and agreed to pray for each other in between our meetings. Would a gathering of your own prayer community support your spiritual wellness?

I don’t think God minds whether we declare what we most desire or simply ask for it. God is ever-present and knows you well, so praying the way that feels best for you will keep this part of your spiritual wellness sacred. The ritual of praying the rosary or reciting the Hebrew words that hold a place in your heart may be the way you connect and become closer with the Divine. If you are one of many seekers who yearn to heal wounds created by old religious beliefs, you may enjoy reading Joan Borysenko’s A Woman’s Journey to God. She offers inspiration to women and men who want to create new ways of prayer and connection to Spirit.

I’ve heard it said that prayer changes us, not God. It can be an empowering way of shifting so we know what the next best steps might be. Have you heard the saying, “Pray and move your feet”?

Meditation, a very ancient practice, is growing in popularity in our fast-paced western society filled to overflowing with cell phones, text messaging, Facebook and BlackBerry technology. How interesting that meditation needs no expensive electronic equipment, just a quiet mind. Not too many years ago, if you lived in North America and told someone you were meditating they may have looked at you a little funny. Today, many people join meditation groups or classes and are aware that it is a practice done daily by many people worldwide.

Swiss-born psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, author of the ground-breaking book On Death and Dying said, “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.” It may seem intriguing to think we might need to get in touch with silence—it seems like such a simple act. Yet, for many of us, our mental chatter is in high gear during most of our waking hours. Taking the time to sit in silence opens up an avenue of peace that adds richness and deep wisdom to a spiritual practice. Take some time to listen, observe, and not judge the thoughts that pass through your head. Like clouds in the sky, thoughts pass by us and are replaced by new ones. Your gentle breath can guide you as you breathe in and breathe out.

As with prayer, many styles of meditating are available. Some individuals prefer to listen to their iPod or to CDs that provide guided meditations full of soothing words and images. You might enjoy listening to Karen Drucker’s tender song Morning Prayer at the start of your day—it’s one of my favorites. Other people meditate by sitting still or lying still in complete silence, quieting the mind of all thoughts. When a thought enters the mind, the idea is to notice it, observe it and let it pass. You can say, “That’s a thought,” and watch it melt away. Eventually, the noisy mind becomes still and you have access to divine wisdom. That wisdom is always there, I believe, but it has a tough time getting through our constant, sometimes flood-like stream of thoughts.

How would your day be different if you started it with just five minutes of silence? Ten minutes? How would your day be different if you added one of the above suggestions to your spiritual practices? If you’re interested in experiencing the simplicity of silence, you can try taking a walk alone or planning an hour to move in silence with no TV, computer, music, or cell phone.

Like prayer, meditation is a gift you give yourself. Talking to God, listening to God—what a high and holy conversation. I can just hear God saying, “Can you hear me now?”

What practices do you have in place that sooth your soul? As I have strengthened the spiritual dimension of my own wellness path, these seven spiritual activities and resources have added blessings to my spiritual wellness. Everyone defines “spiritual wellness” in their own way and I want to note that the following resources are not affiliated with any religion. I encourage you to explore which activities feel right (if any) for you to add to your own practices of spiritual wellness.

Seven Practices to Enhance Your Spiritual Wellness

  1. Start your day with five minutes of inspirational reading, music, or meditation. I often begin my day with Karen Drucker’s beautiful song, “Morning Prayer.” (From her latest CD Songs of the Spirit IIII.)
  2. End your day with your own thank-you prayers or by mentally listing ten things you were grateful for that day.
  3. Consider learning about the powerful Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono. It has simple, peaceful, and poignant lines: Dear God (Or whatever you call the Divine) I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. And I thank you. You may want to Google “Ho’oponopono” to explore resources that appeal to you.
  4. Listen to healing music that sooths your soul. My favorite is the music to support the “healing stream” practice created by Bruno Groening (www.bruno-groening.org). This free music is available by clicking on “download” and then “music.” My personal favorite is an instrumental entitled, “II Gitarre 2.”
  5. Subscribe to a daily message that uplifts your spirit. Abraham-Hicks Publications (www.abraham-hicks.com) has a daily quote I read at the start of my day. The top corner of their banner says, “You are loved. All is well.” If I read nothing else, it’s a great reminder that makes me smile each morning.
  6. Create or discover a daily affirmation or short prayer that inspires and directs your day. Gay Hendricks shares what he calls the “Ultimate Success Mantra” in his empowering book, The Big Leap. “I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.” I love this affirmation since it includes others too.
  7. Find ways to access the healing power of love. If it calls to you, check out Robert G. Fritchie’s work through the World Service Institute (www.worldserviceinstitute.org). This organization teaches people how to apply Divine Love as a healing energy to amplify spiritual wellness.

Excerpt from Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit, 2nd ed (2011) by Susan Tate

Do you have practices that support your spiritual wellness? I’d love to hear about it here or over on my Susan Tate Community Facebook page.

 

 

Posted 3/25/16

 

 

©2000 – 2016 Susan Tate