Clouds, credit Kirsten Akens 2015

Today's prompt from Rachel Cole's Savor project is focused on "no."


And I just want to give you one quote from her meditation to contemplate:

No is a complete sentence.

In order to make room for "yes" in our lives, we also have to be able to say "no." (And we don't have to couch it in "but," or "if," or "although.")

What can you say "no" to today?


Lucy the Boston Terrier, credit Kirsten Akens 2015

Today's prompt from Rachel Cole's Savor project is focused on rest.

I think about rest a lot.

Rest is my work.

As a restorative yoga teacher, I preach rest. I guide people through an hour or more of deep rest and relaxation. And I know when it's been successful when their faces shift. Closed-lip half-smiles. Drowsy eyes. Skin that shimmers.

Bodies that move slower, steps that are smoother.

They breathe differently.

I recognize deep rest in my students because I've felt it in my own body. If I could give every person in this world a practice for better health, it would involve daily rest. (Myself included. I'm pretty good at it, but I can always use a reminder.)

Take time out of your day to:

  • sit
  • stare at the wall
  • breathe with intention
  • meditate
  • reflect
  • snuggle with your cat or pup
  • hang out for 15 minutes in a supported Legs Up the Wall yoga pose at home, or
  • find a great restorative yoga class to take. ;-)

Not only will your body move better and your brain work better when you need them to, you'll sleep better.

Just call me Dr. Kirsten, and consider this your script.


Winter trees with snow, credit Kirsten Akens 2015

Today's prompt from Rachel Cole's Savor project is focused on resilience:

And still I rise ...

Truth is, I'm having a hard time with this one. It's too close to home. (And it's why my post is a few days behind. I was off the grid for Thanksgiving, and then when I returned, life shifted.)

I live in Colorado Springs. For those of you who are here with me, you know what happened Friday.

For those of you not here in the Springs, many of you — if not all of you — have probably heard some bit of the shooting spree that occurred near and in our local Planned Parenthood facility. A man killed three people. Many others were injured.

Living through the experience, knowing I somewhat regularly shop at the grocery store that shares the parking lot with Planned Parenthood; knowing that many of my friends also eat and bank and access health care services at this strip mall; and not knowing who might be there in danger or on lock-down in one of the businesses, I was scared.






I was not feeling resilient.

I wanted to crawl into bed, under the covers, with my phone, and obsessively scroll through Twitter posts.

I also wanted to toss my phone out the window, and then crawl into bed, under the covers, and ignore everyone and everything.

I wanted to go back off the grid and pretend this was not happening again. (About a month ago, we had another shooting spree just four blocks from my home. The people who died? One of them could have easily been me had I made a different choice that morning.)

What did I do during those painful moments? I did spend some time in bed. And I spent too much time on Twitter. I read Alice Hoffman. And I watched two documentaries, two episodes of The Voice and one episode of Dancing With the Stars — How much do I love Bindi?!

Hello avoidance.

Two days have passed now. Details surrounding the shooting continue to top the news. Names of those who were killed have been released. Grieving is happening all over this city. Politics are getting ugly.

As for me, I'm washing T-shirts and socks, and meeting friends for coffee, and making tacos for dinner. I'm getting back to work. I'm (mostly) staying off of Twitter.

All of this could also be called avoidance, but I think it's the thing called resilience.

How to make change, or even hope that change can be made, isn't on my radar yet.

It will come, in time. But today, and tomorrow, and for however long my heart needs, I will simply rise. Take one step forward. And then another. Offer kindness where I can. First to myself, and then to those around me.

And I will let that be enough.


Chandelier in the barn at Soda Rock Winery, credit Kirsten Akens 2015

Today's prompt from Rachel Cole's Savor project is focused on the supportive people in our lives:

Because of [insert supportive person's name here] ...

My meditation this morning called on naming one specific person, but for the purposes of this blog I want to broaden my response. Use it however you would like.

Because of a handful of very special friends in my life, I am loved.

I am comforted when I need to be comforted. I am cared for when my heart needs extra care.

I shine and sparkle in their eyes, which makes it easier to shine and sparkle in my own.

I am stronger.

Because of the special people in my life, I am grateful.

Happy almost-Thanksgiving to my American readers. I'm going off-the-grid tomorrow, so I'll return on Friday. Until then, may all of you be well.


Red leaf, photo credit Kirsten Akens 2015

Today's prompt from Rachel Cole's Savor project is:

In the quiet, I hear...

In the quiet, I hear my heart beat.

Have you ever slowed down and listened to your body so deeply that you can hear your heart beat? Not physically feel the pulse of blood somewhere in your body with your fingers, but actually hear the oh-so-soft thump, thump, thump.

It's soothing.

Give it a try.

Turn off any external noise that you can — TVs, music, phones. Find yourself a comfortable seat. In a chair, or on a couch. Or lie down on the floor on your back or your side.

Begin to notice your breath first.

Feel the inhale.

Feel the exhale.

Welcome the thoughts that arise. And let them pass on by.

Continue to notice your breath. Don't try to change or shift it in any way. Just notice.

Feel the breath in your chest, around your heart. Feel it slip over the heart on the inhale, and back past the heart on the exhale.

Then listen. The heart's beat is soft, but consistent. When you hear it, breathe with it. Try inhaling for two beats, and exhaling for two beats (or for whatever count works best for you).

Settle in and breathe with the beat of your heart for a few minutes. Relish this connection with yourself.

Then slowly let your breath come back to normal. Blink open your eyes, and continue on with your day.

It might feel just a little quieter.