Archive of ‘ARTICLES’ category

Begin Within Receives Grant from The Awesome Foundation!

The Awesome Foundation


So full of thanks and gratitude! Begin Within has received a grant from The Awesome Foundation to produce an upcoming video they recognize as being “Awesome-worthy”.

I’m still keeping the nature of the video under wraps as the video is still in in development, but prepare for some awesomeness to be launched on February 3rd. Just in time for Valentines day… (hint, hint.)

Awesome foundation: Thank you for your generous support. The fact that each month you support artists to create and bring their artistic visions to life, you are truly awesome.

“Happiness” gets 5 stars in the San Francisco Book Review!

San Francisco Book Review

San Francisco Book Review


It’s always awesome to get a 5 star review from a renowned review source, but this one’s extra special. The reason? It’s reviewed by my target audience – a 6 year old girl named Disha. And the best part isn’t that she liked it, but rather, that it’s clear Disha “gets” the message within the story.

Here’s a few of Dishas own words:

“She (Leela) finally realizes that even if she can never do a headstand she is happy because she can do other things like a somersault. I loved this book because like Leela I cannot do a headstand but I am good at doing a tree pose!”

Bravo Disha! Each time I hear that a child is able to let go of the disappointment attached to having an unattainable goal, and can instead celebrate something that’s within their reach to do, it thrills me to the bone.

Now hopefully Disha can pass the message along to her parents…;)

Check out the full review on The San Francisco Book Review here…

Resolutions vs. Intentions

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The holidays and New Year are upon us and for many it’s a time of refection and resolution. While I’m a big fan of creating intentions and change, there are aspects about the act of creating resolutions that began to feel questionable to me a few years ago. An interesting thing though – since I stopped creating them, I’ve actually achieved more of my goals. Here’s why:

First of all, the “energy” around resolutions is a negative one. The belief behind creating resolutions suggests that we have to change or “solve” something in our lives because what we’ve been doing thus far hasn’t been working, that we aren’t good enough, and in order to “get where we want” in life, (suggesting it’s all about getting somewhere) we must commit to a “stepping up” of sorts. We need to be “fixed.”

While I do support creating change in ones life, there’s a tacit pressure attached to resolutions, which suggests that if we can’t successfully stick with our commitments, that we’ve screwed up – that in effect, we are screw ups. If we fail, we’re knowingly setting ourselves up to berate ourselves for not being good enough, strong enough, or resilient enough. So before we even begin to make efforts to attain our goals, there’s often a feeling of struggle or unlikelihood in fulfilling our resolutions.

“This time it will be different,” we say to ourselves, in regards to achieving our goals, but it rarely is. And we can’t understand why we’ve yet again failed.

Why is it that we commonly fail when our desire for change is so strong? The reason is clear and simple. We can rarely create change simply because we “resolve” to. Behind every unhealthy or undesirable action there is a habit – an unconscious belief that drives us.

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Some inspiration on those difficult days…

I love mutts.

I’m referring to the comic strip by Patrick O’donnell – not the dogs. Although I’m a fan of them too.

His comics tend to be so simple and yet so profound. One of my favourite combo’s.

Here is some inspiration for those difficult days. Those days where we have to dig deep to find enough strength to pick ourselves up and change the world.

mutts high res

Sometimes our resilience isn’t as out of reach as it seems.

Staying with Pain and the Uniting Force that it is.

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I call this painting “Teenage Angst.”

I posted it on my Facebook wall the other day and received comments and emails to the likes of “That was so me in high school,” and “Wow, I dated that girl,” and “That’s a spitting image of my own teenager…”

Everyone knows Teenage Angst – many of us carry it right into adulthood.

However, as we become older and wiser, we have opportunities to become more skilled in learning how to navigate angst. Ultimately, the best way to work with it, is to stay with it.

Learning how “be” with our pain is essential to compassionate awakening. But it’s a case of the hardest thing being the best thing.

Our instinct is to run—to be anywhere but here—but “here” is where truth and freedom live.

Pema says it best:

“To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.” ~ Pema Chodron

Learning to stay with emotion is tricky business. But with practice, it gets easier.

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“Happiness” has finally arrived!

At long last! “Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands” is finally here!
Begin Within is proud to announce the publication of Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands; now available for purchase at the NEW BEGIN WITHIN WEBSITE!

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Happiness Doesn’t Come From Headstands is a a modern day story about the search for happiness, and one girl’s discovery that even in the face of failure, peace can be found.

Final Amazon cover from Jose HPW2

Check out sample interior pages, the book trailer, and order your copy of the book at our new fab website (Which I personally designed and would love for you to check out!) Plus, until July 15, in honor of Canada day, Canadians will receive FREE SHIPPING AND HST!

Praise for the book:
For some extra enticement, check out these recent 5 star endorsements on our Amazon page from reviewers below:

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Kickstarter Campain Success for Begin Within!

I’m thrilled to announce that my Kickstarer campaign for “Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands” has been met with success!

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Here’s a quick summary of how it went down:

• I raised $16,021 in 30 days
• I had 248 backers from all over the world including Europe, North America, and Asia.
• I was invited to speak about the process and my book in interviews with Bloggers, Global Television, and 1067 FM. Additionally, my own posts were featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Elephant Journal and YogaDork.

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What to Do When You Can’t Get It Right (Life, Love Or That Damn Yoga Pose)

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As a “recovering” perfectionist, failure has always been difficult for me. Be it a job interview, a relationship or getting into those skinny jeans, I’ve often struggled with getting “okay” with what I can’t get right.

I began doing yoga 20 years ago. I fell in love with it immediately. After spending my teenage years enduring the Jane Fonda workout and doing hardcore aerobics that wrecked my knees, Yoga was bliss for my body.

At that time, there was only one yoga studio in the city; that small warehouse space was my haven. Aside from loving the dance and meditation of Ashtanga practice, there was something else I liked: I was good at it. I was the one in the front row who could achieve every pose with ease.

Then, life happened. I got busy and didn’t have time to get to class, so I did my asana practice at home. And by the time I returned to studio classes (at which point they had opened on just about every corner) I had acquired injuries that had affected my practice and was far less flexible. Oh, the joy of aging.

Suddenly, I was not the one in the front and center. I was closer to the back and kind of off to the side. And to boot, everyone in class seemed to be able to do that damn Sirsha-asana (headstand) pose except for me. Cause Yoga is a competition, don’tchya know?

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When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

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There’s something you and I likely have in common: a familiarity with the well-known children’s book The Little Engine that Could.

I’ll admit it’s a cheerful and uplifting story. We enjoyed it as children and now we read it to our own.

But here’s the thing. The message, ‘If we try, and we try, we’ll eventually reach our goal,’ has not always reflected my reality.

My experience is that sometimes we try and we try, and we end up falling on our face. And so do our kids.

I’ve thought long and hard about the messages we teach our children (and ultimately maintain as our core beliefs as adults). To expect our efforts will always result in consistent success is misleading at best. We’re setting kids up to have unrealistic expectations that life should and will be perfect, and that’s not the real world…

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