Sunday, October 31, 2010

When to Say When

There are times in your life you have to compromise.  The important thing to note is when you really have to make that compromise or when you're begin stubborn.  When it comes to things I have always done, giving those activities up can be humbling and necessary - especially when it's not just my health in consideration.

Such a challenge is being given to me when I'm in my last trimester of pregnancy, anemic, put on rest, and my husband who has been my champion and care-giver gets ill himself -  and needs to be taken care of.  Sigh.  Isn't that always the way? 

So what do you do when you're faced with needing help from others when you shouldn't do something yourself?  I have to tell you, NOT doing what I want to do and have been able to do in the past is very challenging.  Learning how to ask for help is the best thing I can do - and so I'm doing it.  I have great friends who live nearby who have offered to help out.  One little word was needed from me, "yes" (I added a "please.") 

Having people who I can count on touches me to the depths of my soul.  Who can you count on in your life?  Be thankful for them and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  Feeling needed is a great feeling!  Invite help and you might be surprised who is there for you.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When to Take a Break From Working

How do you know if you're burnt out?  How do you know if you've had it with your job?  How do you know if you just need a vacation OR if you need to investigate another career?

Some great questions to ask yourself include:
  1. Do I love telling people about what I do?  
  2. Am I excited to go to work every day?
  3. Do I feel a sense of accomplishment in my job?
  4. Does the idea of not doing my job anymore give me great relief?
 If you answered "no" to 2 of these four questions, you might consider the idea that you are not enjoying your chosen profession and it might be time for a change.  In this job market, changing jobs is not ideal, but you have to be happy.  Most people make sure they have another job lined up prior to leaving the job they're in to avoid any unnecessary anxiety created in the job transition.

A qualifying question you might ponder that often helps this decision is: do you feel you're defined by your job?  If so, you might be rolling up too much personal identity in your work.  That can be dangerous.  Why?  Because self-esteem that hinges upon performance rather than a variety of sources will make you completly reliable on always working - and you will be devestated if ever you are let go from your workplace.  Finding joy in other activities and connecting with people will be the best way to move toward a more balanced and happy life.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Monday, October 25, 2010

Comfort Food Comforts

When you're stressed out, do you reach for the mac and cheese?  You may have been able to kick some bad eating habits for the most part, but sometimes there are events in your life that simply call for good, old fashioned comfort food.  The loss of a loved one is certainly one of those times.

Friends, family, and people who loved the same person you did will gather to celebrate the life of the person you all lost.  The people closest to the person who past may not be able to function well, including simple daily necessities such as eating.  A tradition that I've come to cherish in these times of grief is bringing the bereaved some food that's tasty, easy to keep, and comforting.

In the end, foods that comfort also tend to be warm, carb filled, and reminds you of childhood.  These foods include lasagna (it's easier to make than you think!), macaroni and cheese, salads, tuna casserole, and almost any Midwestern church food you can think of!  When your heart is hurting - comfort food might be just the thing to ease some pain - with a dash of love!!!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Simple Rituals Help Heal Your Life

What are some of the things you do every day?  Coffee?  Shower?  Wash your face?  Take a walk?  Walk your dog?  Look yourself in the mirror and say, "It's a beautiful day.  What are we going to do with it?"

Structure in any form, and as little as a simple daily ritual, can help you reset and rejuvenate for your day.  The act of doing a familiar activity can calm the mind because you already know how to perform the task.  Enjoying the motions of the task are the key.

Whether you're starting your day eating a banana, drinking coffee, or taking a walk, enjoy your daily routine.  Sometimes that's the time when we can most easily discover how we're feeling in the moment - which will help us better prepare for the day.

Have a great day!!!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shame. Can it sneak up on you?

It sure can!  Sometimes a small comment from a stranger can surprise me.  Sometimes those comments are kind, and sometimes they are embarrassing, sometimes they are carelessly mean and cutting remarks.  So how can you avoid the hurts when they happen?

Well, truth be told, you can't.  What you can do is know yourself, know when a button in you is being pushed, and commiserate with a good friend to take the sting out of the hurtful comments made. 

What did my husband do when he found out I was hurt?  He came to my side immediately.  Does your friend have to be your significant other?  NO.  Just someone who doesn't allow you to take yourself too seriously.

And do I now feel better?  Youbetcha.  Playing cards was a great move on his part too!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Window of Tolerance

Window Of Tolerance
Learning how to re-establish personal limits

We all walk around with our own tolenerance levels of how we take in the world and how we decide to interact in the world.  Pat Ogden has come up with the name "Window of Tolerance" because this window, like those in our homes, can open further than we exercise. 

How can we grow tolerance?  First, we have to recognize the way we interact in the world and how we prefer to live.  Some people like to remain quiet and not engage with people, some will engage with people and avoid confrontation at all cost, some will engage and effectively communicate with people, and yet others react defensively and often with anger.  These are only a few categories, but figuring out your primary modus operandi in the world will allow you to investigate how to increase your tolerance and ability to handle situations you might otherwise shy away from presently.

Some tools to explore to increase your tolerance include meditation, therapy (talk, Rolfing, massage, skin care), motion (to release any pent up energies) which could inlcude
  • yoga
  • dancing
  • working out
  • walking
  • stretching
  • yard work or house work.
According to Ogden, humor is a lovely way to diffuse your visceral reaction to any deep aversions you may have.  Not necessarily in the moment, but when you're reflecting on your experience later, you may find poking a little fun at yourself a great way to take some of the sting out of the situation.  When you're able to see the lighter side of your humanity, you are better able to diffuse the intensity of emotion.  This way when you are up against your challenging moment, you can better
adapt and create the moment as you WOULD have it rather than
the moment controlling you.

To read more about healing trauma or discovering new ways of being two great books I suggest are:
Healing power book cover
Trauma book cover
May your tolerance be high and you compassion for yourself be large!!!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin


Click on the link below and read about the Window of Tolerance we all have as well as why organic food is a good healthy choice!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Birthdays... love 'em or hate 'em?

This is the month of many birthdays - including my husband (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) and my twin brother (well, my birthday too if you do the math).  So this got me to thinking about how people think about growing older. 

Here in L.A., looking 20 is still coveted, thought I wouldn't return to my 20's if you paid me!  They weren't bad, but my 30's are SOOOOOOOOO much better!  And, to be honest, if I was worried about aging, my birthday on the fateful September 11 certainly reminded me that aging is far better than some alternative.

So why do people hate getting older?  I love my wisdom, how life gets easier because I know myself better, how every year the skills that I have become more refined.  Sure, I may have some aches and pains now and then, but with healthy eating, exercise, and happiness, life is good. 

You may really not feel good about getting older, but I love every minute of my life.  I'm better now than I've ever been and that's a trend I see continuing long into my aged years.  How do you want to celebrate life?  I think I'll do as they do in India and wear my wrinkles with pride.  Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Time to Create

Many people liken the experience of creation of a work of art to that of birth.  The artist has the idea, the passion, the drive, and the chutzpa to see the inception to completion.  As we face the many challenges life gives, remembering the times of creation will help you find the power inside yourself to weather the inevitable challenges.

If you've been feeling a bit stagnant in your life or you feel you are at a crossroads, now is the best time to be still, listen inside, and let your heart tell you what is next for you to create.  Listening is not easy, nor is it for the faint of heart.  Sometimes your answers will not make others happy.  Sometimes your answers may not make sense to you - but you know that choice will be your choice and the right one for you.

If you believe and have a spiritual practice with Universe, Spirit, God or whatever you'd like to call it, that may deepen your empowerment and faith when challenges arrive and you are discouraged.  Community is a wonderful support and church (your choice) can offer that type of community.

Now, my friend, is the time to create your life as you see fit.  Find your heart, listen, and leap!  Leap into your creation!  Good luck!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Clean out the Relationship Closet!

There are times in everyone's life when a relationship has outlasted its welcome.  Sometimes those relationships are personal, sometimes business.  So what should be the deal breakers when deciding who's to go and who's to stay?

  1. Do you feel your relationship is mutually respectful?
  2. Do you trust the person or institution?
  3. Do you look forward to interactions with the person?
  4. Does the person own when s/he does something wrong?  Meaning, do they apologize or just make you feel bad because they ignore your feelings and needs?
  5. Do you seem to have a core affinity for each other?
  6. Do you dread hearing from them?
  7. When you see it's them on caller ID, is your choice most often to let it go to voice mail even when you can take the call?
  8. When you get off the phone or out of a meeting with the person, do you sigh with relief?
Check it out with your people.  Life is too short to invite anxiety into it!  Surround yourself with the people who LOVE you!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How Do You Choose a Healer?

Everywhere in the world there are healers other than medical doctors who can ease our bodies and soothe our souls.  But how do you know which modality is best for you?  And how do you know you're going to have a talented healer?

When I am looking for credentials, I make sure the person has proper licensing to insure legal training and ethics are followed according to the parameters of the profession.  More importantly, I ask friends who they like in the area.  If that's not enough, I make sure the person has been practicing at least 5 years.  That's enough time to determine if they have the talent and stamina to remain in the field.  After which, I look at any online reviews with a grain of salt and see if they sound true.

I have three standards that I hold dear when choosing a healer:
  1. Their work inspires me.  I want to work with someone who not only loves what they do, but I feel our moments together have impacted me.
  2. Their curiosity leads their work rather than judgment or a plan. I want to work with someone who is able to go with the flow and the moment because at all times anything can change.
  3. They love what they do.  The love for something will motivate a person to go further and inquire more than someone who is just doing a job.  
In fact, I love helping people find healers so much, I've created Guided Healing Journey

Next time you're looking for a healer, keep in mind the things that make a healer great!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Your Partner Should Make You Laugh

A key all successful relationships seem to share is laughter.  When I see people who love each other, I notice that both make the other sparkle and usually laugh most of the time.  That's not to say great relationships can't be serious at times - of course.  But humor is the glue.

My husband just returned from Chicago and I've been really missing him.  When he arrived at 2a.m., I couldn't see him because it was dark.  We laughed in the dark and told each other some stories we couldn't wait to share and promptly fell back to sleep.

In that time I laughed more than I had in the four days he was gone.  Yes sir, laughter is so important!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the ancient art of energy flow in space begun in China about 3,000 years ago.  Basically, Feng Shui posits that depending on what type of person you are, where you live, the direction of all entrances and exits, clutter, and flow all determine your quality of life.  Whether or not you believe in Feng Shui, there is something to be said for the tranquility result after applying even one or two simple ideas inspired by this art.

For example, clutter does not allow the mind to function well.  The idea is that clutter in your space is a reflection of the mind.  In order for your mind to work well, clearing the clutter is imperative.  Another example is placing your bed in a direction that does not stop flow into the room.  When you enter your bedroom (or any room for that matter), you want to sigh with happiness.  Does your space do that?

Another simple addition to your space might be a small fountain.  The four elements are very important in Feng Shui - and water is cooling for the fiery crazy-making that is a part of most of our days. 

Does your life and space flow? 

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are You Where You Want to Be?

I was lucky enough to grow up in the same house with many of the same friends in the same community - and I liked those people and that place.  Not everyone has this experience.  Now, as an adult, I'm the only one of the three children who has moved to live in other parts of the United States who has yet to return to Chicago to live permanently - and I don't think I will be doing that in the future (near or far).

So what questions do I ask myself to make sure I'm in the right place?
  • When I wake up, am I glad to be here?
  • Do I have access to the things I love to do here?
  • Does my home feel serene to me?
  • Do I have enough friends who I can call in need who I feel would come running?
  • Do people in my community value what I do?
  • Do I feel a part of a community?
  • Is there somewhere else I think I would be happier?
The last question is a trick question.  I think it's always easy to fantasize about places as you would like for them to be rather than as they are.  However, without asking this question along with the others, I don't think I would be as happy as I am (minus traffic - GUH), nor would I be as clear about the elements I love in my life so I can be sure to incorporate those things throughout my life.

How's your life going?

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Monday!

As my husband and I reconfigure our home to accommodate some changes we've been looking forward to, it makes me think about that time of year when it's best to clear our stuff you haven't used to make room for new things that you will use.  Some people call this Spring cleaning, I call it the Annual Toss. 

Once every year I think it's important to go through what you have to determine
a) if you used it in the past year
b) if you will ever use it
c) what organization to donate these elements to - don't wait for a garage sale!

For clothes, if I haven't worn it in over a year, chances are I won't.  The only exception is really fancy clothes because I don't have that many and I don't go to that many fancy affairs. 

Is it time for you to do an annual toss?  One man's trash is another man's treasure.  Give some treasure away!!!!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Comfort Food

When I'm really stressed and really want a delectable treat that's not THEE most healthy for me, I go to wheat noodle Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  To add finesse, I incorporate a chef's favorite: peas and carrots.  Who can resist?

If I'm not well, I go for Kraft singles in grilled cheese (on a healthy multi-grain bread) with some creamy tomato soup.  That's a personal favorite!

And if I'm missing my mother, I make her rice casserole with 1 stick of butter melted in a casserole dish with 1 cup of long grain rice (at 375), after 20 minutes I add two cans of beef consume, 1 small can of drained mushrooms, and one small white onion chopped.  Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover and cook 20 minutes more until top is browned.  Amazing!

What's your favorite comfort food?

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Friday, June 11, 2010

Headaches? A Natural Remedy

I was visiting my Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Deborah Gleisner, and mentioned I have suffered headaches and migraines much of my life.  She told me that soaking my feet in hot water increases the circulation in my feet which in turn draws the blood from my head to decrease the pressure in my head.  I didn't know that there is a similarity in viscosity in feet and my head as well!  Who knew?  Well, Deborah did!  

I'm sure there's more to it, but if you suffer like I do, anything is worth a try to get the pain gone!  Let me know if you try it!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Well... I'm Back!

Ladies and gentlemen, I've had some life things happen that add up to wonderful - and I needed to tend to those things.  Plus, the words were not finding their way to the screen, so I just let be what was and now I'm back. 

Allowing is a wonderful thing to practice.  There are days that you may want to push through to get it all done, but that just doesn't work well.  So I'm practicing letting things go that just can't be done in one day and prioritizing the things I need to do.  As a type A personality, that's a hard thing for me to grasp and practice.  Why?  I want to do it all!

Today, I encourage you to let one thing go that could wait until tomorrow.  Not an important deadline thing, just something that you really could wait to do that might cause you anxiety because you feel driven to do it NOW. 

I'd love to hear how that felt!
Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stop the next health care rate hike - CALPIRG

Anthem Blue Cross' proposed 39 percent insurance rate hike has been withdrawn, and we need to make sure this can never happen again.

CALPIRG is backing a bill in Sacramento to review every rate increase insurers propose, not just the ones that hit the headlines -- but the industry is fighting tooth and nail to kill it.

Take action today to help overcome their influence and pass this bill. Use the link below to e-mail Assembly Speaker John Perez.
Stop the next health care rate hike - CALPIRG

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Today, when you are faced with doing something you may not want to do, I encourage you to hum and see if that makes any difference in your outlook on your task.  Sometimes when we have a perception, holding that perception while trying to shift it can actually work.

Let me know which tune you use! 

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Friday, May 21, 2010

Constipation... more than one way!!!

Okay, so we all know that when we're putting into something and nothing's coming out, that's a loose definition of constipation.  When it's a lack of bodily function, we ingest acidophilus, eat roughage, and exercise to move it on through.  But what about when your life feels like you're putting all your energy into it and you're not getting out the same amount of energy?

Well, that could mean many things.  First, you have to diagnose the problem.  Is the thing you're working on really good for you?  What I mean is, sometimes we find causes that are just that: a cause.  It's usually altruism in some form that draws you to the expending of energy, and you might actually believe that you will get more than a good feeling out of your participation.  If you're working with others who don't seem to share your enthusiasm, the constipation quotient can be high.  Perhaps it's time to find another cause.

But what if it's you trying to find another job or some such endeavor?  Well, that's a different story.  I'm sure you're sick of hearing "it's a bad time in our economy."  There are still jobs out there, and more openings every day.  Many people believe that if you're following your passions, AND you have talents within your passions, an opportunity will come along.    Patience is not something I have in spades, so I understand the itchiness on this one.  Making a shift in life is not a small feat.  Sometimes you have to clear out other areas of your life so that you're ready.  I can't tell you what those areas are, you'll just have to go by your own instinct.

Bottom line:  if you're not getting what you want, figure out a myriad of ways to get there.  There is more than one road on this journey we call life!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Big Changes... Want One?

I took a few days off because I have been under the weather.  That rest I was talking about on Monday?  Well, I needed it.  After a few days of nausea and resting, I'm feeling better. 

While I was resting, I was thinking about how people can decide to change or not.  I thought about if there's anything in my life I'd like to change... and, yes, there is a biggie: my relationship to money.  When I get stressed, I want to hold tight to the perception of security that I place in money.  I'm perfectly aware that my need is an illusion, but I hold fast to it. So what can I do to bust through my unnecessary perception?  Since knowing the facts intellectually don't seem to help change my point of view, perhaps a faith in the universe might.

The truth of the matter is I have many people in my life who will support me and help me if I really need it.  To date in my life, I've not really needed to take advantage of that kind of support.  Which tells me two things: my worry is not based in historically accurate behavior, and I'm lucky to have people who I can count on in my life.

I encourage you to take a look at anything in your life that you'd like to change - from all angles.  Sometimes even the looking at it can help you begin the evolution to where you want to be!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Monday, May 17, 2010

Some Days It's Best to Rest

This is a great day off.  I relish the couch.  Now, not all days off are like this.  However, there are select few that I actually want to couch potato with the zeal of the unwell.  Today was such a glorious day.

There is something to be said for only moving when I'm hungry, channel surfing for entertainment, and being alone in the house.  It's best when I've a sweet man to get me food, but I reserve that luxury for when I'm actually sick.  I can tell I worked hard this week because today seemed like a long day full of ease and whim.  Ah, what a delight!  Often, days off seem to fly by - but when I'm working really hard during the week, the day seems blissfully longer than normal because I'm not constantly moving.

You know, it wasn't a hookey day for me, but I want to underline how important I believe in one day a year a person should take off work for a mental wellness day.  You don't have to be ill, you just have to want your personal time - a time to recharge.  My mom allowed me this when I was growing up once a year.  It's a tradition that I cherish.  The world seems different on days like that because you're doing something that's out of the ordinary.  And that's refreshing.

Is it time for a personal day for you? 

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Today I am thankful for
the quiet that greets me in the morning
the house that holds my solitude
my husband that loves me unconditionally
my faith that the future is going to be delightful
and the friends who people the story of my life.

What are you thankful for?

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I see or I hear
that more or less kills me with delight,
that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.
It is what I was born for-
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside the soft world-
to instruct myself
over and over in joy, and acclamation.
Nor am I talking about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant-
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise with such teachings as these-
The untrimmable light of the world,
the ocean's shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?

by Mary Oliver

Friday, May 14, 2010

Little Demons Coming Out to Play

As I was sitting in my supervisor's office for my Ph.D. teaching practicum, I was face to face with my demon: thinking about something so much I've sucked the joy right out of it -- in spite of teaching being my most favorite thing to do in the world.

He noticed I had no joy in talking about the plans I have for the teaching intensive I will be teaching at the end of this month... I noticed he was right.  I was mucked up in the work I thought I should be doing for the teaching, like reading tons of books, planning every second of my lesson plans, and having every exercise ironed out to the last iota.  Puh-lease!  Did I mention I've been a teacher for years?  Yeah.  Don't get me wrong, plans are great to have, but more often than not they get tossed because the needs in the room are different that what I, the teacher, expect.  I do not have all the answers.  If I did, I would not be a good teacher because the answers live in the lives of my students.

And YET I have a niggling little demon inside me that pushes me to do more, be more, think more - as if what I am is not enough.  Where did this "pusher" come from?  My supervisor helped me name it as a classical trait of the masochist  (check it out in Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith).  Up until now in my life, this trait has helped me succeed in a variety of fronts.  Now she can rest.  He suggested I give her something else to do - like help make sure I eat healthy.

We all have little demons.  They have helped us get to where we are in life, and sometimes it's time for them to retire.  To bed!  To bed sweet demon!  It's lights out for you.  When you wake, you'll help me eat right.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Living in Los Angeles is not like living in Chicago.  When I grew up in Chicago, people were kind, did their thing, and moved on.  Here in L.A., people seem to be more into their own world.  I attribute most of that to the narcissistic activity with film and television - but not everyone is like that.  And I love those people who remain present - who like to share smiles.

Many of these people are my friends, but that's not really who I'm talking about.  I'm talking about strangers you meet on the street who will make eye contact with you and share a smile, as if you both have a secret.  I think the secret is something like, "Life is neat, huh?"  Or some such ubiquitous thought.

The days that I'm crabby, those smiles are crucial for me.  On all days, the smile makes me feel good. 

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Territorial Irritation

Do you ever have one of those days when people seems to be everywhere you don't want them to be?  Today I came home and two young women were walking on my grass and hanging out in front of my house - and they didn't have a car parked in front of my house to signal why they would be there.

So I did what any nosey and territorial person does, I went out and asked if they were okay.  I didn't want to know that, I really wanted to know what they were doing in front of my house.  They didn't make eye contact, were belligerent, and did not seem to be associated with anyone in the neighborhood.  Punks.  Female punks. It's time for a fence.

Do you ever have days where other people's point of view just makes you a little nuts?  Sometimes they may act entitled or just odd enough that it's hard to grasp their rationalization of behavior.  *sigh*  Well, I just have to scratch my head and chalk it up to different strokes - or move to a cabin in the woods! 

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's Your Communication Style?

There are abundant resources out there that will help you determine how you communicate and exist in the world with the hopes of your discovering others who are like you.  Categories, such as in the Myers-Briggs test adapted from Jung (pictured right), are such tests that can be fun to take and interesting to ponder.

This test is general and covers your personality style, your communication style, your outlook style, and your family style (not in that order).  The idea is that by knowing where you fit, you're better able to know your strengths and to put yourself in the ideal situation to succeed.  Plus, if you choose to align yourself with people who are in the same category, your communication styles will align to support you both in success.

The Personality formulas are:
  • Extroversion - Introversion
  • Sensing - Intuition
  • Thinking - Feeling
  • Judging - Perceiving
As it happens, I am an INFJ.  There are supposedly less that 2% of us hanging around in society, which makes me feel pretty special.  What that translates to is I'm an introvert who is intuitive, aware of my feelings but not often overwhelmed by them (and aware of others feelings), while having a great ability to organize the ideas and spaces I have.  Yep, that's me!

What are you?  Take the test!  (One link is above).  Let me know!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black. 

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Own Your Baggage

When I was in high school in the suburbs of Chicago, a few friends and I started a self-esteem and drug awareness weekend at our high school called Operation Snowball.  My best friend and I joked around that we had been asked to go to the "druggie camp."  We had no idea what to expect!  When we had a great time, it was a total surprise.

We were sent by the faculty to create the weekend retreats at the high school.  We slept over in the gym and had small groups lead by students and faculty together.  At the summer camp (called Illinois Teen Institure), we were given lectures on feelings, how to express feelings in a way that allowed others to hear the feelings more easily, and we also talked about things that were important to us.

Learning how to communicate big feelings around sensitive subjects is a gift that still serves me today.   The simple form of communication they taught was, "when you do ________________, I feel _____________."  Now, as a Ph.D. student in somatic psychology, I have learned more refined skills that help keep the focus on the behavior that riles me up, own my reaction, and options that could happen in the future to avoid me getting riled up.  That might look something like, "Wow.  I'm noticing that as we're talking about building the deck that I'm getting wound up because we're both putting in ideas, but I'm not feeling heard.  I wonder if it would be alright if we stepped back for a minute and took a breath."  Later, my husband and I decided that we are not to tackle outdoor jobs because he hates it, which makes him uncharacteristically irritable.  Plus, he has mucho baggage from childhood about yard work and I get really crabby when I don't feel heard.

When you're getting riled up, I encourage you to look at what's really bothering you, name any behaviors (to yourself) that might be instigating your irritation, how you can ask those around you to help you make the situation exist in a way that makes you comfortable, and breathe.  Then let your needs be known - and always own your part in the challenging situation.  The element that's getting you miffed is always inside you.  By embracing the fact that you're agitated, you can investigate the trigger in order to minimize the yucky feelings.  Feelings make us humans; communication makes us happy.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sending a Card

I'm not implying that I'm great at sending cards for thank you's or just thinking of you's, but I do acknowledge that when I receive one, I'm touched.  In the age of email and electronic communication (which has its distinct advantages), someone taking the time to send a hand written note means something.  The card doesn't have to be fancy, the note doesn't have to be long, and all I can think is, "this person must think I'm special to take the time to do that!" 

You don't have to subscribe to my experience, but I do encourage you to think about it.  The next time someone does something for you that really touches you, I encourage you to send a hand written note and see what type of response you receive.  Seriously, no pressure.

And, remember, mother's day is tomorrow.  If you don't send a physical card, you might consider   Sometimes, the thought is enough.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Friday, May 7, 2010

Monring Rituals

Morning is a time where we begin a new day.  Most of us have a routine we do most days like take a shower and have a cup of coffee or tea.  Some of us like to eat breakfast.  Sometimes Sunday is the special day where a larger breakfast complete with sausages or bacon, a personal weakness, and eggs are involved.  I know I'm really feisty if I'm into French Toast.  Yum - so good!

Ritual is different than routine in that it helps you center for the day, at least that's how I see it.  So what do you do to center yourself each day?  For me, a steaming cup of chai or coffee or tea is my heaven.  I sit quietly and contemplate the things I have to do.  If I'm lucky, my husband will have time to share his coffee sitting time with me and we both share our thoughts for the day.

Another ritual I enjoy is we have a window in our bathroom so when I'm showering, I can look out onto my garden or up into the trees.  So lovely.

Whatever you do in the morning, I encourage you to take a moment - even if you don't think you have one - to appreciate the things you have today.  Have a great day!!!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Feeling Stuck?

Living in an urban environment like Los Angeles can take its toll.  Five years is the estimated average of how long a person needs to live here before L.A. can feel like home.  That's true of most places.  So what do you do if you're feeling stuck here?

When I'm feeling stuck, I love to get out and be in nature.  Sometimes I walk, sometimes I hike, sometimes I drive or fly to a place that makes me happy.  When I'm in nature, I'm not so overwhelmed by the everyday things that are eating at me.  I stop obsessing about this and that and simply breathe.

If you're not an outdoorsy type, I would suggest turning off all the electronics in your home and either sitting on your bed or the floor in a quiet place, closing your eyes, and noticing all of the sounds you hear (not to change them, just notice them).  Then you can try for all the aromas you smell.   And if you're feeling rather adventurous, keep your eyes closed, stay on the floor, and slowly explore your space.  Do not move quickly enough that you might hurt yourself.

If that doesn't work, hug therapy might be an ideal option.  Or a massage or healing session!  Every try attending a crystal sound bath?  Touch and sound heals!

After your mini get-a-way, check in with yourself and see how you feel now.  Better?  I thought so!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up?

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?  I always knew I wanted to be an actress - but I did fantasize about being a farmer or a veterinarian.  I've always liked digging in the earth and animals.   It was in my wildest dreams that my life as I know it evolved.  I constantly think about what makes me happy and what I want to make of my life and augment my life to match.

The problem with happiness, sometimes, is you have to give yourself the time and stillness to be able to hear those yearnings inside you.  Simultaneously, concentration is required to quiet the judges or nay-sayers in your mind long enough to avoid talking yourself out of your dreams.  In other words, you don't always have to have all of the answers to every moment, you just have to know the answers for today and how to proceed TODAY.  Tomorrow will come whether you're ready for it or not.

Another thing to keep in mind is that what you want will not always make sense to you immediately, you just want it like that.  Sometimes this happens because you may have smothered some prior impulses that are now surfacing, or you may simply have changed.  You can take a little time to contemplate that decision, but those thoughts can sometimes be your greatest gifts.  Don't just chuck them because they might seem odd.

In short, grab your life by the throat and make of it what you will.  You only have one shot, make it a good one!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Make Your Heart Smile

Grown-Up Girlfriends: Finding and Keeping Real Friends in the Real World (Focus on the Family)I was walking with my husband this evening and we were talking about the moment for me that I knew this wasn't just some cute guy, but a man who was really someone worth considering.  He noticed a detail about me that I didn't think many people would - I had a pink (once purple) streak in my then red hair.  He noticed.  Nobody else had even mentioned it!

When a person takes the time to take you in, he is sending you the message that you are important to him.  I was happy to return the favor.  And then the sheer wonderfulness of it scared me to death.  But that's another story. 

To be a good friend to another is, in my opinion, to be present.  Listen.  Ingest thoughts.  Share.  Discuss.  Be.  By doing these simple things, we make life better because we're growing a relationship as we grow self.  Notice if you like to talk or share more than listen, or vice versa.  Sometimes you'll want to be the listener more and sometimes the talker.  Notice if you have the urge to "fix" the other or if you're simply able to listen.  Notice if the other wants your advice or just to be heard.  You can always ask what the other person would like from you if you're not clear.

Cultivate your friendships, my friend.  They're worth their weight in gold!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Monday, May 3, 2010


That's what I'm doing today... breathing! 

Join me.

Great!  See, you're doing it without pressure. 

Now take a big sigh.

It's good to be alive!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ruiz's Four Agreements. Can you make one?

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom BookDon Miquel Ruiz wrote The Four Agreements back in 2001 and it became a smash hit.  This tiny book is a great read and it's message is simple to comprehend.  Follow four agreements and your life will be better. 

  1. Be Impeccable with your word. This means avoid lies, gossip, and say what you mean.  Doing harm to others can take many forms and always results in hurting the self.
  2. Don't take anything personally.  95% percent of what is spoken to you has more to do with the person speaking than your effect on that person.  
  3. Avoid Assumptions.  Many people assume what another is thinking without asking that person.  That creates anxiety and difficulty when it could have easily been avoided.
  4. Always do your best.  Live in integrity; in every moment you can choose to put your best foot forward.  This way you will have no regrets at the end of your life.
This book offered me a way of thinking that I try to continually practice and already believe.  If you're interested in learning more, you can click on the book to the right and purchase one - OR go to your library and check the book out. 

Do you have agreements with yourself in your life?

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Baby! Should We Have A Baby?

Is a career in the theatre or acting really a good match to becoming a parent?  Cost of living is high, stress is high, and auditions happen often with less than 24 hours notice.  Does an actor have to choose to act or to parent?  Some would agree to succeed you cannot have a family and others would not.  You have to decide you want a family and then go from there. 

If you choose to have a family, the bottom line seems to be your support system; create or have in place people who you can go to for help.  Now, this does not mean that you have to live next to your family, though that is a rather ideal situation for most people.  What you can do is create a co-op of other friends who are artists or new parents in your area and hope you can be mutually supportive for each other on a variety of fronts.  Going through pregnancy, the medical ins and outs of childbirth, to breast feed or not, babysitting, and the millions of decisions that can overwhelm new parents.  Everything is easier if you do it with other people.

As I evolve my lifestyle with my husband, I continually have to think outside the box to create what I need when it comes to the idea of starting a family.  The way I do this is examine what I desire as the result and determine a variety of options that would lead to the result.  Los Angeles makes this task challenging and possible because many others are in my boat.

Every decision has a consequence.  Will being a parent make me a better person?  I believe it will. Being a mom is something I would love!  I am lucky enough to believe firmly that my husband will be a phenomenal father.  Do I think parenting is hard?  Hah!  It's the hardest thing a person will have to do.  I'm up for the challenge!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin
Home Births: Stories to inspire and informWhat to Expect When You're Expecting: Fourth EditionThe Working Woman's Pregnancy Book (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Movement... Duh. Uhm... What Is It?

Natural Intelligence: Body-Mind Integration and Human DevelopmentMovement is a type of therapy that is also one of the three pedagogues of actor training, the other two being acting and voice training.  Movement is used to help the body become more free.  For example, if a person has slumped shoulders with her head jutting forward, she will not be able to play royalty until she creates the option of upright posture.  Often, habituated patterns do not allow for the body to simply spring up and be upright if the pattern of slumping has been in the body for a long time.

What do you DO? 

First, I like to understand your goals and what you want to address.
  Past clients goals:
  • behavior awareness to succeed in the workplace
  • opening of the body because of limited posture (like the example of slumped shoulders)
  • increased breath capacity
  • fuller range of motion throughout the body
  • enjoyment of each area of the body rather than disliking one (belly, legs, arms, etc.)
  • to decrease anxiety
What might we do as experiments in the session?  Second, applied learning might include:
  • behavior examination and practice
  • guided relaxation or imagery
  • gentle range of motion exploration with all moving parts
  • sensory awareness experiments
  • passive and active stretching
  • mask work (so you use your body to communicate rather than face)
  • field trip to mall to observe and discuss behavior
If you would like to try Movement, which I call Moment Awareness Development, I am offering a workshop on Saturday May 15 from 9:30am -1pm in Altadena.  If you would like more information, please visit my website  Class size is limited.  Cost is $30 - space will not be reserved until payment is made.  Or feel free to email me or call me at 626-421-6296.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin
The Use of the Self
Bodystories: A Guide to Experiential AnatomyThe New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World