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Anthem Blue Cross' proposed 39 percent insurance rate hike has been withdrawn, and we need to make sure this can never happen again.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