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Be the Beauty You Love

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Put Down the Weight of Your Aloneness and Engage with Beauty

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Good Day Lovely Reader!

Spring has been playing hide and seek with us all week. Even so all the white roses in the front garden are blooming.  And looking at them from the kitchen window puts a whole different slant on washing up. If cutting your own roses isn’t in the picture then buying them for yourself or someone you love is the next best thing.  If I lived in London, The London Flower Lover would definitely be my florist of choice. I love these beautiful women….They were one of the first to encourage me when I was a just a newbie blogger…. And they continue to inspire me today. Their blog is full of beautiful images, anecdotes, self-care practices, and most recently this poem by poet, David Whyte. I hope it touches you too!

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

— David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You 
©2003 Many Rivers Press

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Pillow Talk

Connecting to Beauty is another way of awakening and connecting to your True Self. "When you approach each moment with fresh eyes  and open heart, you are no longer defined by your past pain and your fears for the future." You are free to choose what truly nourishes your soul and bask in the beauty of life.

Connecting to Beauty is another way of awakening and connecting to your True Self. “When you approach each moment with fresh eyes  and open heart, you are no longer defined by your past pain and your fears for the future.” You are free to choose what truly nourishes your soul and bask in the beauty of life.

This post might be tagged #better late than never. The usual excuses apply and then some as I work toward physical independence and complete recovery. Most of the things I used to do with ease are still difficult. And some are not yet in reach. I can feel the sadness in my heart as I write these words…the longing to express the physical side of my nature freely and without restriction. To freely and easily write, paint, dance, walk, bike, cook, bake and make love for as long as I like as often as I’d like!

The down side of  my situation is just as bad as you think it would be- and worse, squared. And the up side?  Yes of course there is an upside. That is the way things work here. For every up, a down. For every in, an out. The trick is knowing how to Engage with the true nature of things including your Self. I like to think of it as seeing through the eyes of the heart. From this vantage point there is always something to appreciate. Start with your breath. If this sounds corny, than try holding it until your gasping for air…get my point…

It may seem counterintuitive, but closing your eyes can help you see yourself better.  During meditation we usually close our eyes to help turn our attention inward.  Using an eye pillow really helps me to go deeper into meditation and to relax.

English Fabric from Easy

Even if you don’t have an eye pillow, you can make do with a soft scarf, or even a washcloth. If you have some pure lavender essential oil you can add a few drops to the fabric and allow it to dry before placing it over your eyes.

I like to use one when I practice the Engaging your Senses body&soul Scan below.  I first discovered the pleasure and benefits of this simple tool in Melbourne when my Yoga teacher guided and invited us to relax the muscles around our eyes as she gently placed  them the cool, silky, lavender scented pillow over them during Shavasana (deep relaxation).I haven’t looked back since. I’m really excited to tell you I’ll be offering my first Engaging ecourse later this year which will include a silky, naturally fragrant pillow for your senses.

Ok lets get started. 

  • Start by breathing in and out through your nose, then on your next exhale breathe out through your mouth along with a big sighing letting go sound. hhaaaa… do this a few times. Then breathe normally.
  • Now bring your attention to your heart center and let the corners of your mouth turn up into a ‘half smile of the Buddha’.
  • Think about the last time you felt truly happy,  so happy it made you smile. Really smile- with your eyes as well as your mouth!
  • Remember how good that experience felt. That feeling sense belongs to you and no one can take it away! It is always available to you whenever and wherever you are!
  • Now imagine the shape of smile entering your heart as you breathe in slowly and deeply.
  • Next imagine the shape and feeling of a smile entering your belly as you consciously soften the muscles there.  
  • Breathe in again and as you exhale consciously relax the muscles of your belly.You may be surprised to discover how often you are clenching these muscles in reaction to stress during a normal day. 
  • Let the smile move up to your eyes as you consciously relax the hard working muscles around your eyes.
  • Continue to feel the smile and let it radiate out of your heart and belly like rays of sun warming the earth as you breath slowly, peacefully, effortlessly through your nose.
  • Notice the way the you feel now and make a conscious to bring this sense of relaxation and ease with you when you open your eyes and go on with your day.white eye pillow

“Engaging in this short simple practice first thing in the morning while still in bed sets you up for a beautiful day. Though it works equally well at any time of the day or night.”

So yes, the up side is that I get to, as good old Proust said, “look at the world through fresh eyes” each time I regain a small independence. The first time for years,(and this was only about 6 weeks ago) that I cooked served and cleaned up my own breakfast and lunch with out collapsing in pain afterward. The first time I took a spontaneous outing on my own. I was early for PT and stopped in at the craft store- by myself!  O the simple of joy of autonomy…of wandering at my own pace. Hell, the first time I was able to go to the grocery store myself…Who knew picking out my own sweet peas and papaya is such a luxury.

Other small victories are even sweeter- being able to accompany my daughter to get her driving permit.  And more recently when she was unwell- being able to make her a cup of hot water with fresh lime, honey and ginger and safely carry it down the long hallway to her room..and later that day heat and serve our dinner…I couldn’t have done that a month ago, or two weeks ago!  And whilst things are definitely looking up there may be some days still, where that simple task and act of love is out of reach.  

So then what??? Most of the time I remember to Engage my Senses but not always. Even after 18 years of yoga and meditation practice I still get get discouraged and feel overwhelmed and forget to be my own true love- and yes, it feels terrible!  And no amount of chocolate, shopping, drinking, eating, watching reality tv, smoking weed, or ________fill in the escape of your choice, will ever make it better.  So whilst there is no magic potion or wand to wave to keep me from occasionally falling back on my “vices of crisis”, these episodes grow shorter and less frequent because I have learned to Engage my Senses in order to find my way back home. No matter how lost I may feel or far I have strayed, what I know for sure is that what is always in reach is the Beautiful -which exists- even within the terrible. 

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Inspiration Thursday: Come Fly with me to the Island of Kauai and Engage with Aloha.

Hello Lovely Reader,

This has been an exciting and unexpectedly busy week. I am putting the final polish on my promised “Talk Story” post. Please look for it this Monday. My daughter is getting ready to go on a Civil Rights tour on the South with her class.  So starting this Sunday I am going to have 5 days to solely Engage in solitude. I am very ready and have lots to bring together during this rare gift of time alone to engage my senses in creative self expression and care. Hmmm- Spell-check wanted to change ‘solely to holy’. Thank you Spell-check for reminding me that the time spent nourishing my senses and soul is sacred.Free to Engage the Senses

The attitude in which we engage with it is what makes time sacred- be it 6 days or 6 mins. Everyday this ‘holy which is the extra in ordinary is available. We can have it in bite size portable pieces- Thank Goddess! Lets face it- it isn’t too often that most of us get 5 days all to ourselves. My teacher, the great Yoga master, Krishnamacharya, said Yoga is about starting where and how you are.  Well Engaging the Senses is too!  So this morning when that midmorning wave of tired rolled in, I chose to spend six minutes practicing the Refreshing the Senses guided relaxation instead of pushing through and came out of it feeling grounded, peaceful and quietly energized. 

So this is a perfect example of that pragmatic and inclusive wisdom and of the way Engaging the Senses works with you and with where you are now. We almost always have 6 min minutes to devote to self care no matter how busy we are. And when we do engage our senses in that way the return is larger than the investment, and overtime and over time considerable profits build up! 

Until then I am leaving you with some Eye Candy in which to indulge you senses. So much thanks to the talented photographer and very special friend of Engaging the Senses, David Mathew, for their use.   Love and Hugs, Sabrina xoxox

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Engaging in Touch: The art of self Love

“Feelings aroused by the touch of someone’s hand, the sound of music, the smell of a flower, a beautiful sunset, a work of art, love, laughter… all work on both the unconscious and the conscious aspects of the self, and they have physiological consequences as well.” Bernie Siegel


“Engaging in Beauty is a conduit for awakening, for experiencing the presence of Bliss, Spirit, Source, G-d, Atman, whatever we call it, here on earth—what Jesus referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven, -can be touched can be known through the senses. Just as the physical senses are our conduit for experiencing human life, the spiritual senses open our awareness of the holy in the ordinary-as children of Spirit who long and need to be touched by wonder and peace and the pure happiness that comes sometimes just at being alive in order to awaken to the true beauty of life with all its blood, guts and roses.”

Hello everyone! I am so happy to be connecting with you again and am truly touched and encouraged by how many of you (old friends and new) stopped by, liked. pinned and followed whilst I was on holidays. Thank You-I’ll be stopping by to visit soon!

I have so much to share with you after spending a few weeks back in Hawaii on Kauai. Talk about soul food for the senses. From Hanalai to Hanapepe this is the little island that could.  As an until-recently- maui-girl, I have to say that I am ready to island hop and you’ll never guess the reason. After all who would expect there to be a first class independent  bookstore on a little island in the middle of the pacific? Talk Story is just that and more and I want to live within 30 minutes of its shores!

However in honor of Valentines and with the idea of Be-ing our own true Love in mind, I am  getting touchy-feely instead and sharing my favorite (G rated) way of touching myself with all of you beautiful peeps!

This delightfully sensual and nourishing practice of self-massage is the perfect Valentines day and every-day way to engage the senses while nourishing and nurturing your body, mind and soul. It only takes about 20 minutes and feels delicious. It is a great way to relax before bed, or if you have time in the morning it is a wonderfully grounding way to start the day.

Like all Yoga and meditative practices the benefits build on themselves. Best practice is to set aside 15-20 minuets 2-4 mornings a week. But some is better than none- so do what you can. Traditionally sesame oil is used, but for daily use, I really like how light and easily absorbed the Hawaiian Kukui Nut oil is and that it doesn’t stain or saturate my clothing.You can warm the oil right in its bottle in a mug of hot water, or you can invest in an oil warmer like the one pictured below.

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I had looked high and low for a small, portable oil warmer before finding out that my dear friend, Ralf Moler, the hard-working-visionary behind AromaLand had already created it!  In the mornings I boil the kettle and use the water to make a cup of tea and to preheat the oil warmer. Once the oil is warm take a little in the palms of your hands and then begin at your feet massaging between the metatarsals and circling your ankles and other joints gently but firmly. Continue moving up towards your heart. Use long pleasurable strokes on the straights…Experiment with what feels good to you. The basic method is to start at your feet, using long vertical strokes on your limbs/muscles, and small circular rubbing around the joints. So circle,circle ankles, strokestroke shins and calfs, circlecircle knees etc.

Benefits of applying oil to the body in this way are many: It imparts softness, strength and color to the body, decreases the effects of aging, bestows good vision, nourishes the body,increases longevity, benefits sleep patterns, benefits the skin,strengthens the body’s tolerance,imparts a firmness to the limbs,imparts tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body,stimulates the internal organs of the body and increases circulation!

When you are finished wrap up in an old robe and pair of socks and drink a glass of filtered water (infused with orange or lime is especially nice and so easy to do). I let the oil sink into my skin for 20 minutes while I meditate or journal before having a shower and getting dressed.I have received so much pain relief from this simple practice that I wonder why I ever resisted. Lately I’ve been silently thanking my body it for all its hard work as I massage.

So now that we’ve got the outside of you covered, how about trying this “Touching the Beauty Within” practice. Choose an object that symbolizes Beauty, Spirit or the divine, something small enough to comfortably hold in your hand. It could be a leaf or flower, a stone or shell or a small statue.

  • Find a quiet place to sit close your eyes and bring your attention to your heart center. Slowly feel the weight and shape and texture of the object in your hands. Note any sensations colors, associations or images that arise. What words come to mind to define how it physically feels and how you feel as you hold it?
  • As you notice how it physically feels and how you feel consider how this relates or not to the way in which you don’t or do hold yourself accountable for giving your body senses and soul the the love and the loving touch we all need.
  • If self love has been scarce or stop and start start now: forgive yourself and ask your heart to tell you what it needs to be healthy and strong. Be open to whatever comes..The answer might be more time spent reading, or forgiving yourself for ____, or going for a bike ride, or eating less candy and more fresh fruit or eating small servings of the best quality ice-cream once in a while instead of low fat yogurt once a week. Thank your heart for the message and promise it you will act on what you have learned.

I am going to leave you today with three of my favorite poems. Engagingly Yours, Sabrina xoxo

Three Times My Life Has Opened

Three times my life has opened. 
Once, into darkness and rain. 
Once, into what the body carries at all times within it and starts 
          to remember each time it enters into the act of love. 
Once, to the fire that holds all. 
These three were not different. 
You will recognize what I am saying or you will not. 
But outside my window all day a maple has stepped from her 
          leaves like a woman in love with winter, dropping the 
          colored silks. 
Neither are we different in what we know. 
There is a door. It opens. Then it is closed. But a slip of light stays,
          like a scrap of unreadable paper left on the floor, or the one 
          red leaf the snow releases in March.

—Jane Hirshfield


I was passionate,
filled with longing, 
I searched 
far and wide. 
But the day 
that the Truthful One 
found me, 
I was at home.

“I Want to Breathe”
James Laughlin

you in I’m not talking about
perfume or even the sweet odour

of your skin but of the
air itself I want to share

your air inhaling what you
exhale I’d like to be that

close two of us breathing
each other as one as that

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Engaging in Discovery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappy Holidays Lovely Readers!

There is something extra appealing about bookstores and books in Winter. It is a sensory pleasure to get curled up with a steaming cup of The Republic of Tea’s Peppermint Bark Tea and a plate of biscuits in a big, cozy chair with a good book or quality magazine like the slender but sumptuous spines I discovered during the cold, rainy afternoon Lilith and I recently spent at Barnes & Noble in Calabasas.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sure you can order books online. It is convenient and sometimes a life saver, however going to a book store is about more than 1click ordering and efficiency. Bookstores are about expansion, discovery and nourishing the Senses. Everything from the colors of the covers, to the beautiful note cards, and leather bound journals, to the lost in time feeling of wandering through the aisles with no particular destination in mind until something catches your eye and you plop down on the floor or on a bench or in a armchair – if you are lucky enough to score one to explore and pour over its pages. It is about the luxury and delight of being able to pick and chose and dip into other worlds without having to make a commitment until you find the perfect book for you that you otherwise would never have known existed.

I love the combination of photography and poetry in this special little book

I love the combination of photography and poetry in this special little book

This is my first real winter in 9 years and I am not complaining. What I am is aware of is needing to make an extra effort to get the nature and natural Beauty essential for my senses. So whenever the sun is out you will find me in it for at least 15 minutes soaking in its goodness. In fact, I am outside on the veranda writing this on a bright, nippy LA Saturday. Since my blood is still on Maui time, I am all rugged up as we say in Australia… We are lucky enough to have a gas fireplace in the living room and I loving standing in front of the cheery orange flames when it gets too cold.

It was still cold yesterday, but after days of days of rain being outside again felt important. So I took Satine Bunny out early for a hop in the back yard. The sky was so beautiful and for a little while the cold, dry air felt good. Standing in the early morning quiet, I breathed in its crisp freshness as I watched the reflection of the sun rising golden-pink across the clouds on the side of the glass tower across the road. At night, its wagon-yellow Wells Fargo sign glows (reassuringly?) over the backyard fence. It reminds me of a benign version of the eyes on the billboard in the Great Gatsby.  

There have been many gifts in my life this year, and I know there will be even more in the year ahead. If you haven’t gotten your Beauty-full-Self a holiday present this year I recommend any and all of the inexpensive sensory pleasures pictured, especially Aromaland’s bespoke line of Elegant Aroma Sprays which are an exceptional value at less than five bucks! Made with 100% natural essential oils sourced from small independent farms all around the world, they come is gleaming silver bottles with lovely labels and are ideal for clearing away any stale winter odors and nourishing your senses. They all smell wonderful so you really can’t go wrong! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the moment I’m enjoying the strong but light, cheerful scent of orange, pine, frankincense and patchouli inspired by Holei, better known as the laughing Buddha, the calming relaxing blend of Peace which is a delicious mixture of Lavender, Orange, Geranium, Cedar wood and Frankincense, and the gorgeous Bulgarian Rose Flower Water!

Last night marked the longest night of the year and today, here in the Northern Hemisphere, Sunday Dec 21st, the Winter Solstice marks the return of the Light!!! This will be my last post of the year. I am taking a break and working on the book over the next couple of weeks..which is very exciting. 

Until we meet again I wish you and yours Love, hugs, and every Blessing!!

Engagingly yours,

Sabrina xoxox<3


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The Art and Science of Engaging with Happiness: A free online course for people who want to be Happy

“Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.”  -Herman Hesse

Hello Beautiful Readers,

Harvard educated psychologist and happiness expert, Dan Gilbert’s 2006 TED Talk, The surprising science of happiness, has been seen and or heard by over 8 million people. If you aren’t one of them,  or if you are and would like to refresh your memory or share it with a friend, you can watch here.  

  What The Science of Happiness and Engaging the Senses share is the understanding that happiness happens in the present moment. Yes, surprisingly even when we are doing  something that we think we would rather not be doing, we are still happier when we are fully engaged in the task at hand. So the next time you have to cook a meal and you think you’d rather be doing something else,  I invite you to mindfully engage your senses and take pleasure in the sounds of the chopping and sizzling, the scents of the spices and other fragrant ingredients, and the way the colors, textures, and shapes combine to create a meal that nourishes you body, mind, senses, and soul.  For more free and effective methods for increasing your happiness quotient, you may want to register for “A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that will offer practical, research-backed tips on living a happy and meaningful life” that can be done at your own pace. Health professionals who register can earn continuing education units for their participation.

“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.”- James M. Barrie

“The Science of Happiness” explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students can engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives.  Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.”

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”  -Groucho Marx

We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. That’s where this course comes in. It offers students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So students learn many different research-tested practices that foster social and emotional well-being—and the course helps them track their happiness along the way.

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” -William Feather

The course’s co-instructors, Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, are not only leading authorities on positive psychology but also gifted teachers skilled at making science feel fun and personal. They’ll be joined by world-renowned experts discussing themes like empathy, mindfulness, and gratitude—experts including Barbara Fredrickson, Paul Ekman, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

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How to Be Your Own True Love Right Now in the Middle of Everything!

Be your own true love final edit 2

Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.- Margo Anand

Hello again Beauties,

As the holidays grow closer and commitments grow greater, I invite you to give your self the gift of bliss by be-coming present to and nurturing your own True Beauty. After a life time of looking for love in all the wrong places, people pleasing and putting myself last, I’ve finally recognized that this is the most valuable gift I can give and receive. And I am not alone in my need. Far from it. The response to “Be your Own True Love” indicates that this is the case for a lot of us and I mean a lot of us. So come on join with me and Be Your Own True Love.

The how is easy. Start right now by reflecting on and  getting a keen sense of what it means (in any given moment) to be your own true love?  Love is guided by the highest principles that exist and includes nonviolence toward self and others (Ahmisa). So if what you are doing or not doing isn’t in alignment with your highest good then you aren’t in that moment being your own true love.

There is no need to judge and chastise. There is need to take note. Often only a subtle shift changes the equation for the good. What do you need right now that you aren’t allowing yourself to have. Is it a sip of water and instead you are drinking coffee or eating something salty? Is it a five minute lie down and instead you are having “an energy drink” I need to stand up and rest my back and arms and rotate my shoulders.

In Yoga one of the ways to be your own true love is through the practice of Abhyanga (ah b ong ga ) which means daily self massage with warm oil. This only takes a few minutes and makes a world of difference if done consistently, and is great in the short term for temporarily relieving achy, sharp or burning pain in knees, elbows as well as hips and shouldersThis short, sensational self massage is one of the first things I offer to teach students when we create their personal practice for engaging and awakening the senses. I plan on posting a YouTube and or Vimeo video demonstrating this wonderfully delicious way of staying and getting healthy early next year.        

Yikes here we are again in the hectic happy holiday season and yes I am suggesting that YES there is still time to Be Your Own True Love.

Yes, it is true I am saying that there is no better time than this one right now no matter how messy it is because your, my, our quality of life depends on right relationship to self and by extension to others and our world. If you want to experience and explore the benefits of Creating a Personal Practice for Engaging and Awakening the Senses that includes simple postures, guided relaxation and meditation, journal prompts, recipes and tried and true ways for Hearing, Seeing, Smelling, Touching and Tasting Being and Experiencing the Beauty you Are and Love you can email me and set up a free consultation! 

Engagingly yours,


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There is Always Room for a Belly Laugh: Engaging with B’tches in Bookshops

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Engaging with Thanks….


On my desk 2

Hello Lovely Readers,

As the holidays grow closer it can be harder to stay engaged and remember to be the Beauty you are and Love. To this end I offer a photo of the rose on my writing desk (fresh from the front garden), and this beautiful definition of Love by one of my favorite teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, for your Thanks-Giving holiday…Oh and some bonus eye-candy to soothe those overstretched and stimulated senses at the bottom of the page.

My dear friend, Gyana, whose husband of 7 years asked her to frame it and put near their bedside sent it to me! Ahhh.. now that is beautiful and so are you..xoxox Engagingly Yours, Sabrina

For us to remember……..According to Buddhism, there are four elements of true love. 

The first is  maitri, which can be translated as loving-kindness or benevolence. Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person; it is the  ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer. Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice  deep looking directed toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly.
The second element of true love is compassion,  karuna. This is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person, but the  ability to do so. You must practice deep looking in order to gain a good understanding of the nature of the suffering of this person, in order to be able to help him or her to change. Knowledge and understanding are always at the root of the practice. The practice of understanding is the practice of meditation. To meditate is to look deeply into the heart of things. 

The third element of true love is joy, mudita. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love ―it is even the opposite. If there is no joy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love. 
“What must we do in order to understand a person? We must have time; we must practice looking deeply into this person. We must be there, attentive; we must observe, we must look deeply. And the fruit of this looking deeply is called understanding. Love is a true thing if it is made up of a substance called understanding.” 
The fourth element is  upeksha, equanimity or freedom. In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. If the opposite is true, it is not true love. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free, not only outside but also inside. “Dear one, do you have enough space in your heart and all around you?” This is an intelligent question for testing out whether your love is something real. 

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Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace.

His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.

Thich Nhat Hanh has published over 100 titles on meditation, mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism, as well as poems, children’s stories, and commentaries on ancient Buddhist texts. He has sold over three million books in America alone, some of the best-known include Peace Is Every StepThe Miracle of MindfulnessThe Art of PowerTrue Love and Anger.

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Engaging with Eye Candy, Art-journaling and Poetry Goodness

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Hello Lovelies,

It has been such a busy week..doctor’s appointments, mine, the kid’s and the bunny’s, deadlines, domestic duties, rehab, and recalcitrant help at home have made it just that little bit harder to engage my senses and nourish my soul..I never wanted to run away with the circus so I wonder how I ended up doing so much juggling….

Seriously though I was wondering if I would manage to post at all this week. Then I saw this poem from my friend and mentor Judith Hill and I knew I had to share it with all of you along with my new art journal cover. A long time ago when I still lived in Santa Fe I was privileged to learn from and occasionally perform alongside Santa Fe’s Poetry goddesses, Miriam Sagan, Joan Logghe (former Santa Fe poet laureate) and the redoubtable Judith Hill. These women somehow managed to “do it all”. To mother, work and write WELL. Now that I too am a mother I have even more respect and admiration for their achievements. What we shared then and now is a love of zen buddhism, writing and the belief that Poetry matters both on and off the page. Buen indeed!


Last Time at the Buen

Say coyote and mean surprise.

Say fallen petals and mean the way you look at me.

Say espinaca and mean the color leaves learn at birth.
Say doorway and mean a courtyard from memory.
Say chocolate and mean little Buddha in the mouth.
Say Febrero and mean first scent of sweet acacia on the wind.

When we are gone say lemon tree, say new buds, say palm fronds,
And mean that you loved it here.
Say maguey and mean thorny guardians of the heart.

Say mesquite and mean the rattle of later.
Say that twice and mean the rattle heard over long distances of night alone.
Say stars falling, and don’t mean that.
Say fish in the quiet pond and mean early rain.

Say starfish and I can’t tell you what that means.
Say cloud and mean a dream that wakes you.
Say glass table and mean the first step on a journey.
Say tamales and mean kalamata olives.
Say I will give you what I have brought and mean voice.
Say doorway again and see what it means.
Say look one more time and mean thank you.

Judyth Hill

Check out more of Judith’s poems, recipes, writing, editing and teaching schedule here



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Engaging with Space: a Soundscape for Your Senses this Saturday and beyond…

Check out this collaboration between london based Heliocentric and the one and only NyC poet,film-maker,musician,  Melvin Van Peebles. “Van Peebles weaves a story — an astronaut sending out messages while exploring deep, deep space — that’s been described as “an intergalactic ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’ ” The messages are about the sort of love you can find in the cosmos and are original, eccentric, and wildly imaginative. You can read more about it here.

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Miracles, Medicine, and the Healing Power of Sound Waves

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“We trust that the magic of sound, will contribute an ever greater measure to the relief of human suffering.”
Robert Assagioli M.D.(1888-1974)Founder of Transpersonal Psychology

Hello Lovelies,

How are you feeling? I am feeling better than I have in a very long time and I owe it to the healing power of sound waves (in the specialized form of extra corporal Shockwave therapy, and to the healing ways of LA based Dr. Gabriel Rubanenko an orthopedic surgeon, father, and gem of a guy with a thriving practice devoted to helping people heal without resorting to the knife.

Sometimes surgery is the only way. I know that from experience and thank god for the laminectomy that untethered the nerves that control the muscles of the front of my thigh from the extrusion of herniated disc material. Post surgery even though the nerves were freed again they were permanently damaged. 50% femoral motor nerve capacity. Rectis Femerus not involved in walking, nor the glute twins max and mini…. Thank god for my 20 combined years of Somatics and Yoga which kept (and still keeps) me from falling.

Regeneration of nerves is a slow business. An inch a month. Recovery time = time nerves were compressed which in my case equals close to 4 years. To make matter worse, I lost the entire first year to complications following surgery which made rehab impossible. In the meantime, my muscles grew even weaker and more atrophied which led to a recalcitrant case of hip bursitis…Ouchie. I could barely walk, lie on the affected side or bare weight- so sitting was hell-and I was basically house bound. I was a hanging on by a thread when I first hobbled into Dr R’s office which is conveniently located near the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art!

Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having it’s own function and character, contributes to the whole. Pythagoras (569-475 BC)

The technique of using shockwaves to break up kidney stones has been around for nearly a quarter of a century now, and in the process of treating thousands and thousands of patients it was found that many people undergoing the procedure had other unrelated aches and pains disappear. It was at this point that scientists began to consider that shockwaves may have an effect to heal other sorts of tissues. In orthopedics these sound waves shock and induce tissue repair and regeneration. The success rate ranges from 65% to 91%, and the complications low and or negligible. The vast majority of the published papers show positive and beneficial effects.

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This is great news for those of us with overuse injuries!  FDA (USA) first approved ESWT for the treatment of proximal plantar fasciitis in 2000 and lateral epicondylitis in 2002. It is a novel non-invasive therapeutic modality without surgery or surgical risks, and the clinical application of ESWT steadily increases over the years. Currently it is primarily used to treat sports related over-use tendinopathies tennis and golf elbow, plantar fascia tendonitis of the shoulder, knee, etc.

” There is a scientific statement to the effect that this earth is a vast harmonic wave system that is built and sustained by unheard music.” Corinne Heline (1882-1975)

Now, less than 5 months after beginning the series of Shockwave treatments, I am bursitis free and am able to attend the neurological physical therapy that I need for full recovery! I know that I am not the only one out there who can benefit from the relatively inexpensive, non-invasive and still little known treatment. Before Shockwave, I’d had to resort to steroid injections to control the pain and inflammation. But they only provided short-term pain relief, weakened my immune system, and didn’t help jumpstart the healing process. In fact they put me at risk for further injury of my already weak tendons. Things were bleak until Dr. R gave me a comprehensive program for recovery which included Shockwave therapy.

One of the best things about Shockwave is that it provides immediate pain relief for most people, and yet the healing effects on the injured tissues continue long after the treatments end. I can’t thank Dr Rubanenko and his devoted staff including Yeta, Demitri, Dr Gharibian, and Amy enough.  So if tendonitis, bursitis, or other overuse injuries are keeping you from doing the things you love and need to do, this may be the miracle you are looking for. It was for me.

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Engaging in the Art of Imperfection….

mindfulness, beauty, senses, perception

The imperfections of a man, his frailties, his faults, are just as important as his virtues. You can’t separate them. They’re wedded. ~Henry Miller

Hello Beautiful Readers!

Our senses are our direct connection to the experience of Beauty. Since all experience is perception in order to touch, taste, see, smell and hear the Beauty that is all around us you don’t need to seek out perfection, you just need to change your perception….’that’s how the light gets in’.

Engagingly, imperfectly- perfectly yours….  xoxoxoSabrina

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/5859747″>Leonard Cohen – Anthem (live)

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Starting the Week Artfully: Soul Food for the Senses

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Chill out: a little night music to sooth the urban senses…

Love the time-lapse fusion of music, stars, sunsets, seasons, oceans, landscapes and cloud fields….So much beautiful nature imagery- very chill indeed. Engage and Enjoy, XOXOXOX Sabrina




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Beyond Funny

I wanted to share this beyond funny John Oliver piece on the supreme court because laughter is good for the soul. Not sure what is going on with WordPress today- none of my embeds work so I have to leave with with this link and I hope many belly laughs.



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Engaging in Awakening: More Beauty for the Urban Seeker

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Truth is One:

I have often said that if Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, and other true
emissaries of God came together, they would not quarrel, but would
drink from the same one cup of God-communion.

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)


Hello Lovely Readers,

A couple of weeks ago I began the first in a series of reviews of urban sanctuaries. This week I had planned a post on Lake Shrine, in Pacific Palisades- the amazing ten-acre site, with gardens and a natural spring-fed lake, that is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including swans, ducks, koi, and trees and flowers from around the world- when I discovered that the L.A. theatrical debut screening of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, produced by CounterPoint Films, which began on Friday, October 17 will join in a special celebration of the another groundbreaking film ‘What the Bleep’ tomorrow evening at the Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood. I know this will be a fascinating event and I so wish I was well enough to attend!!

Consider no one a stranger. Learn to feel that everybody is akin to you. Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 - 1952)

Consider no one a stranger.
Learn to feel that everybody
is akin to you.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)

The film has received many excellent reviews and a few prizes, including I am proud to say, Maui Film Festival’s,

Spirit in Cinema Award, and includes dozens of interviews with yogis, spiritual leaders, scientists, and entertainment legends – a diverse group of seekers who all have found life-changing inspiration from Paramahansaji’s teachings.” According to the New York Times, Awake “is compelling..and enough to make the modern soul look inwards.”

So if you happen to be in or near Weho (West Hollywood) tomorrow evening, Oct 21 you can join in an event that promises to be both uplifting, through provoking, and just plain fun.

Author Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love and more recently an aspiring member of Congress)  called Yogananda “truly one of the great spiritual masters. He shone a light that continues to bless millions of us living on the earth today and THE MOVIE NETWORK called Awake an absolute treasure and should not only be watched, but experienced, and THE MOVIE NETWORK called Awake “an absolute treasure and should not only be watched, but experienced.

The same could be said about Lake Shrine itself. The grounds include a Court of Religions honoring the five principal religions of the world, and the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial where a portion of Gandhi’s ashes is enshrined.

walking the path at Lake Shrine

The sun shines equally on diamond and charcoal, but the former has developed qualities that enable it to reflect the sunlight brilliantly, while the latter is unable to reflect the sunlight.  Emulate the diamond in your dealings with people.  Brightly reflect the light of God’s love. Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)

“The colorful history of the Lake Shrine began over half a century ago. In the early 1920s, the then-famous Inceville motion-picture studio filmed silent movies on this site in Santa Ynez Canyon. The land was later purchased by Los Angeles real-estate magnate Alphonzo Bell, Sr.; and in 1927, the surrounding hillsides were hydrauli­cally graded to fill the canyon and make it level for future development. However, these earthmoving activities were halted prematurely, leaving a large basin in the part of the can­yon that had not been leveled. This basin quickly filled with water from the many springs in the area, creating Lake Santa Ynez – the only natural spring-fed lake within the city limits of Los Angeles.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 12.53.24 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 12.53.00 PM

How the McElroys’ ten-acre park became the Self-Realization Fellow­ship Lake Shrine is a remarkable story. In the late 1940s Mr. and Mrs. McElroy sold the property to an oil-com­pany president, who moved into the windmill and planned to build a multi-million dollar resort hotel com­plex around the lake. Before he could proceed, however, the new owner of the property had a strange experience.

One night the oil company execu­tive awoke around three a.m. after a vivid dream in which he saw his new property as a “Church of All Reli­gions.” He had dreamed that a large group of people was assembled by the lake, and ministers gave inspiring ser­mons from a podium. He fell asleep again, but again the curious vision awakened him. After this had hap­pened three times, he got out of bed and looked up “Church of All Reli­gions” in the telephone book. The only such listing was for the Self-Realiza­tion Fellowship Church of All Reli­gions in Hollywoodd. Deeply moved by his unusual expe­rience, he immediately began to write a letter describing his vision and offer­ing to sell the property to Self-Reali­zation Fellowship. His wife woke up, and learning what he was doing, ex­claimed, “You’re going to sell our home at three o’clock in the morn­ing?” Unperturbed, he finished the let­ter and mailed it to Paramahansa Yoga­nanda, founder of Self-Realization Fel­lowship.

The Phone Call

Rather than waiting until the letter arrived, the man telephoned Self-Realization Fellowship headquarters later that morning.Coming to the phone, Paramahansa Yogananda said–before the man could introduce himself or explain his purpose—“You have some property for sale, don’t you? When can I see it?”

“But you haven’t received my letter,” the man replied.

The letter will come tomorrow morning,” the Guru told him.  “Can we meet tomorrow afternoon?”

Paramahansaji visited the lake and its grounds the next day, and immediately began making plans for the open-air shrine of all religions he wished to establish in L.A.  Shortly thereafter, he was able to acquire the property, and the Lake Shrine was born. From “temporary headquarters” on the Mississippi houseboat, Yogananda personally directed monks of the Self-Realization Order during the many months of contruction and extensive landscaping needed to create the spiritual oasis he envisioned.During this period he spent many hours in deep prayer and divine communion at the lake, invoking God’s blessings on all who would visit there.”

Whether you are a believer or not,a visit to Lake Shrine offers our senses respite from the business, noise, technology, and pace of the modern world. It just isn’t possible to overstate the effects of natural beauty on our health. We need this beauty like we need water and a safe place to lay our heads at night. Much of the time we are too busy to notice yet it is there for the finding. It is up to us to appreciate its healing nourishing touch and to rest our weary minds in its spacious embrace. I know I’ll be spending more time there as my leg grows stronger. I hope to see you on the path….

Engagingly Yours,

Sabrina xoxoxo









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Engaging with Cravings: Coconut Wisdom

let life happen

Taste-second Chakra Collage

The “function of the sacral chakra is to produce happiness, self-love, healthy relationships, ambition and creativity.”  More of this please!

If you are wondering where in the world to have fresh, young, sweet, cool real coconut water right out of its shell maybe you should saunter over to Crave on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks for a cooling coconut drink replete with straw and watch people eating cream cheese and lox Panini’s, nutella crepes and drinking Intelligentsia Coffee like we did the other day.

It’s kind of surreal in the best possible way to drink this cooling concoction of sweet medicinal deliciousness right out of its shaved white shell in the middle of a busy urban day 2675 miles from the closest Hawaiian Island; and the whole experience got me thinking about how our sense of taste relates to the second chakra.

Each of the six senses correspond to one of the Chakras and has an inner and outer expression. Cultivating a taste for taking care of our bodies as well as our soul and using food as medicine is a beautiful way to expand this important sense. When we get a taste for feeling good, we can build on that by regularly engaging in practices that support this, like mindful eating. For me, that means no more eating whilst reading or talking business, or letting my stomach get empty.

According to the science of Ayurveda, the liquid from the Baal or Tender coconut is 90 to 95 percent water is the purest and most healing. It is considered the best for its cooling properties. It is a proven pitta-pacifier which can help repair the gastrointestinal tract, and its sweet quality gives it a pranaropana-life-restoring-capacity. (prana is life force energy) Since I am in the process of healing a stomach ulcer and reducing the amount of heat/pitta in my body, my desire to taste this sweet, cooling deliciousness is spot on. 


Whatever the reasons, (death, separation, fear, loss, anger, grief,) some really big life changing issues related to this energy center have called out for completion for the past few months. Anybody out there, besides me, with an ulcer, insecure attachment, and or boundary issues? Or maybe you are grappling with lack of passion, ‘writer’s block’, or maybe it shows up in your knees, hips, or lower back.

One of the tastier ways of nourishing this energy center is by eating yummy autumn favorites like pumpkin soup and garnet yams baked in the shells until they caramelize and are then mashed with ghee, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Other correspondences include the color orange, the symbol of the  crescent moon, the element of water, essential oils of sandalwood, myrrh, bitter orange, and vanilla, the musical note D, and the mantra or seed sound ‘VAM’ which is pronounced ‘vum’. A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation.”  Click on the link a the bottom of this post to hear it and other seed sounds.

Some nice affirmations for this chakra might say something like:

  • I am open to the world and flow easily with change.
  • I am passionate and creative and express these qualities easily in my daily life.
  • I deserve pleasure in my life and find small ways to nourish my self regularly
  • I absorb information from my feelings and use this for growth
  • I embrace and celebrate my sexuality.
  • My sexuality is sacred and a means of connecting with divine energy.
  • I move easily and effortlessly through life.

The ability to experience pleasure as well as nurturing ourself and others are all affected by this chakra! Engaging our senses in every day practices that balance and strengthen it help us create healthy boundaries, the ability to change,to be expressive, passionate, creative, and emotionally intelligent. I’ll have seconds of all the above thanks- what’s that extra helpings all around…Absolutely!



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Engaging in the City of Angels: Tips for the Urban Beauty Lover

Hello Lovely Reader, Autumn already.. I can hardly believe that I’ve been in LA for nearly five months now after living for 9 year in the Hawaiian Islands. This isn’t my first foray into urban life. Before Maui came 11 years in Melbourne, Australia, where I helped to create The Judith Wright Prize for Poetry and launched The Ibis Foundation- Australia’s first non-profit celebrating, Art, Nature and the Human Spirit.

It was there, in what at first seemed to be an overwhelmingly noisy city, that “Engaging the Senses” first became a glimmer in my eye. It was conceived out of necessity and I’ve been practicing, refining and expanding its breadth ever since. Finding ways to mindfully engage with Beauty on a daily basis through the power and intelligence of my senses! Maybe it is because my mother repeatedly read me “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse”? Or because I spent the first five years of my life in the heart of NYC where We lived in the East Village and I attended City and Country in West Village with the children of other bohemian parents before we moved to a house in the Mountains above Estoril,Portugal where I got what I hadn’t even known my senses and soul longed for- a backyard with a real tree.

Not the scrawny, pale-grey spindles I was used to as a city kid, but a large hearty oak with heart-shaped emerald-green leaves and strong branches perfect for climbing and swinging on when I wasn’t riding horses or at the beach swimming topless and racing the sun to eat my chocolate shell covered vanilla ice-cream on a stick before it melted onto the sand.

So whilst I am a green tree luvin, big-sky-country girl at heart, I also enjoy and need the liveliness, art and culture that comes with living in a metropolis. Country Mouse, City Mouse-I am that I am. City living, like living itself, comes with special benefits and challenges. Especially for the senses which can easily get so overstimulated and distracted that we end up feeling ‘all over the place’ and out of touch. Noise is a big issue. So is light pollution. And if you’re not careful, it is easy to go from one artificial cooled or heated interior to another without so much as a breeze or a ray of sunshine touching your skin. (We need a minimum of 20 minutes of natural light a day for good health.)

Luckily the remedy is simple- engaging the senses in Beauty of the natural variety. Because as wonderful and nourishing as seeing Monet’s waterlilies, and garden paintings in a gallery or online are,there are times when only real living, breathing, water lilies will or weeping willows will do!

When I lived in Melbourne the Royal Botanical Garden in St Kilda was my salvation and I tried to go there every week at least once and walk around the lake with its exotic black swans and visit the cactus garden when I felt nostalgic or homesick for the southwest. Here in SoCal almost every neighborhood is bursting with charming front yards from the modest cottage garden to the grand estates visible behind mansion gates, and these offer the passerby’s senses some much needed light refreshment and nourishment. But sometimes a bigger “meal” is required. This is when it is time to seek out the parks and gardens created especially to offer solace and sanctuary to the city dweller’s singed senses.

Thank Goddess for Gardens. Big and small. Urban and suburban, public and private. Last week in need of some sensory soul food my friend and talented photographer, David Stodder (who took most of the gorgeous pix on this page), and I visited The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys. Ahhhh. What a pleasure this little known gem in the middle of the often hot and dry San Fernando Valley is!  Created by the late, renowned landscape architect,and renaissance man, Dr Koichi Kawana, all of the Garden’s water is supplied and “recycled” by the adjoining Tillman waste water facility!

Until this century, gardens like these were built by the ruling elite to create in their surroundings a mood proper to worship and contemplation and were seldom opened to the public. Shugaku-in, was built for a retired emperor so that he might spend his remaining years in tranquility. The garden of the Silver Pavilion, also in Kyoto, was created for the Shogun Ashihaga Yashimasa so that he might escape the maddening conflicts and violence taking place in the capital nearby. So the next time you are feeling a bit battle worn, find your way to the nearest Garden, Japanese or not. Once you are there, turn off your phone and lay down the swords of your busy mind (just for a little while or for as long as you like you can always pick them up again on your way out), and give your Self over to the sights, sounds, and smells of Beauty as you practice ‘being the Beauty you love’ and need!. If you do, I know that you will find yourself better able to face the inevitable ‘battles’ of ordinary life again.  Engagingly yours, xoxoxoxSabrina

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#Capturing Gratitude: Engaging with Happiness and More

“The remedy for all wounds is understanding why you had to go through a particular situation that hurt you. Emotional wounds are like thorns stuck in the flesh, and sometimes they get infected. This infection is when bitterness and skepticism develop regarding the possibility of being happy. This bitterness can sometimes turn into revenge, and can activate vicious circles that act in different ways, but always generate suffering and destruction. However, the wound should be seen as a teacher, because it is always teaching you about the mystery of life: it is teaching you to forgive.” Sri Prem Baba

Emotional wounds are like thorns stuck in the flesh, and sometimes they get infected. This infection is when bitterness and skepticism develop regarding the possibility of being happy. This bitterness can sometimes turn into revenge, and can activate vicious circles that act in different ways, but always generate suffering and destruction. However, the wound should be seen as a teacher, because it is always teaching you about the mystery of life: it is teaching you to forgive.” Sri Prem Baba

Hello Lovelies,

Happy Autumn and Shanah Tovah! How exciting to be entering a new season and cycle of life. I had planned on posting something entirely different, but when I received an invitation from one of my heroes, the amazing activist and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg, to join #Capturing Gratitude an online  photographic happiness project where thousands of people from allover the world snap pictures of things for which they are grateful, created by Dr Lauren Tober of New South Wales, I knew I wanted to join the Gratitude Revolution. And especially that I wanted to share the invitation with all of YOU, today! You can upload your photos on the Capturing Gratitude website and find community and get all social on Facebook, pinterest, and instagram! If you want to challenge yourself to taking and posting every day for the month…beautiful. But if you would just like to share the odd moment you’re grateful for…that great too! As Lauren says…There are no rules…just loads and loads of gratitude. So share the love. As a Capturing Gratitude member you’ll be able to upload your gratitude photos directly onto the site, creat your own profile, comment on other’s gratitude photos and admire the “awesome gratitude wall created by us, the gratitude community.” You can also download one of the Capturing Gratitude membership badges and use it on you own web site, blog or social media pages.”

“The remedy for all wounds is understanding why you had to go through a particular situation that hurt you. Emotional wounds are like thorns stuck in the flesh, and sometimes they get infected. This infection is when bitterness and skepticism develop regarding the possibility of being happy. This bitterness can sometimes turn into revenge, and can activate vicious circles that act in different ways, but always generate suffering and destruction. However, the wound should be seen as a teacher, because it is always teaching you about the mystery of life: it is teaching you to forgive.” Sri Prem Baba

You will also get a free copy of Lauren’s ebook “Capturing Gratitude in which she has interviewed 15 inspirational people and asked them to share their day to day experience of gratitude. Hopefully their heartfelt wisdom will inspire you to bring more gratitude into your own life. So grab yourself a camera, any camera, and start photographing the things that make you the most grateful. In her work as a clinical psychologist Dr Tober sees the HUGE benefits of the simple practice of gratitude all the time..The research show that gratitude increases happiness and results in a stronger immune system, better sleep, lower blood pressure and feeling more forgiving, outgoing, generous, compassionate, alert and alive!

“A tiny shift in focus can make the world of difference”. So engage your senses and focus on what is already good in your life and the beauty of the every day, because when we “let go of thinking about what we don’t have and what we’re not good at, our lives become infused with joy, love, contentment and happiness”. 
I can’t take a photograph of all of you….Just know that if I could it would be here expressing the gratitude I feel for your time, attention and willingness to Engage your Senses. Wishing you every blessing!! Sabrina
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