I was on a bike ride today, listening to an On Being podcast, KATHERINE MAY – HOW ‘WINTERING’ REPLENISHES, referring to her recent book entitled, “The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” (Link below), and I felt inspired to share my thoughts on the idea of “wintering”.

First, a summary of the interview: “In so many stories and fables that shape us, cold and snow, the closing in of the light — these have deep psychological as much as physical reality. This is ‘wintering,’ as the English writer Katherine May illuminates in her beautiful, meditative book of that title — at once a season of the natural world, a respite our bodies require, and a state of mind.”

My thoughts to share: I have a hard time letting go of the green seasons (Spring and Summer). Although I appreciate the beauty of Autumn and cherish the spectacular changing of the season with the bright and sunny leaves, and “Indian summer” warmth that signals the transformation, I grieve. It takes me several weeks to settle into the change as I experience the hibernation of plants, the drying of flowers, and the shedding of leaves. By mid-November, when the brown season has settled in, I’m better, looking forward to snow and wearing cozy sweaters. Still, in my heart, I acknowledge a deep love of the green seasons.

The podcast interview with Katherine May helped me understand going inward, being contemplative, and slowing down during the wintering time of year. And right now in December, we are in a “quiet season” when we let Mother Earth rest. So I’ll rest with her until the Winter Solstice signals a promise of light returning. The days will get one minute longer each day as we cross the bridge of mid-winter. It will still be cold, brown, quiet, and introspective for a few months, and my heart will be sensing that the green seasons are not too far away.

Our life is one of cycles (seasons, rituals, celebrations), writes Katherine May, and we can allow ourselves to be part of the cycles without judgment. Staying present in each moment with equanimity is how we find solace and stability in the cycles of the seasons. In the words of the interview, “the framing of Wintering, of the understanding of the seasonal, cyclical, of the rhythmic nature of these things, gives you a frame actually to live with it.”

What are your thoughts on the change of seasons? Please share.

Katherine May — How ‘Wintering’ Replenishes | The On Being Project


Swimming and sports as mindful movement meditation.

Conscious Daily Mindful Musings

My first love (as far as sports) is swimming. I began swimming competitively at about eight years old. It’s also how I met my husband. (Another story) Last year, during the first wave of the pandemic, not being able to swim was a mental and physical challenge. Regular walking, jogging, and mountain biking kept me sane and were daily movement meditations.

During the summer months, I love swimming outdoors. The Quail Ridge pool (local tennis and sports club) has been a sanctuary for many years. And this summer, when it closed about a month early due to mechanical issues, I have been swimming at the Taos Spa and Tennis Club. Starting next week, I’ll be moving to the Taos Youth and Family aquatic center; so grateful there are many swimming options in such a small town.

I’ve also enjoyed swimming in the Rio Grande, and have created a workout for myself by swimming upstream for a while and then coming back down to the John Dunn bridge aided by the current. Hoping to swim there for a few weeks more as the water gets progressively more chilly.

During this morning’s pool swim I was reciting mantras as a way to bring present moment awareness to movements while counting laps. (Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Om, + number of laps) and (May I be ….. based on first letter of the number of laps). Combining these two passions of swimming and meditation uses all the muscles of the body including the mind in a wholehearted and harmonious way.

Life is good in the present moment. May we be conscious and healthy as we move about our days. How can you bring mindful meditation to your daily activities?

Mindful FrontiersMindful Frontiers CommunitySAGE Institute for Creativity and Consciousness#meditation#movementmeditation#mindfulnesspractice#swimming#awareness#presentmomentawareness#presentmomentreminder#dailymeditation

Sage Meditation Leader Program

Deepen your meditation practice or obtain credentials to teach meditation – See Sage Institute for Creativity and Consciousness page for more info on this well-rounded and complete 200-hour medtation leader program from which I am grateful to be a 2021 graduate.

Spotlight on Sage Graduates: Anne-Marie Emanuelli

Honored to be featured on Sage Institute’s graduate page

Anne-Marie Emanuelli is a 2021 graduate of the Sage Meditation Leader Program. She believes that mindful meditation is a holistic practice beneficial to human consciousness & personal growth. Her philosophy of wholehearted living includes the tenets that humans can learn from Nature, and that we are forever expanding our capacity for compassion and knowledge.

With a personal practice spanning over 20 years, Anne-Marie has been teaching mindfulness to children since 2016. Her credentials come from Mindful Schools and Sage Institute as well as an 8-week course in MBSR. She deepens her regular personal practice with silent & guided meditation retreats. Having retired from full-time classroom teaching in July 2020, she created Mindful Frontiers, an education-based meditation center in Taos, NM.

Mindful Frontiers welcomes a mindful future — one child, family, adult, educator, community —one present moment at a time. Anne-Marie teaches mindful meditation through Mindful Frontiers, Be Meditation and privately.


Short vs Long Meditation Practice

Everyone encounters stress and we are living through a challenging time right now. Some stress is necessary and when it causes anxiety or fear, it may not be healthy. Mindfulness meditation calms the mind and settles the body.  Jon Kabat Zinn, the “father” of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) defines mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” The human mind is very active and when we are still, thoughts inevitably stream into our awareness. We follow our thoughts into imagining, inventing and creating beautiful objects, ideas, and stories. That incredible thinking can also be stressful because some of these thoughts are filled with worry, anxiety, and ruminating; stories of what has already happened or has yet to occur. Paying attention to the present moment in a particular way is a helpful tool to relax; it benefits the brain, body, relationships and is something anyone can do; anytime, anywhere. 

There are many types of meditation and people from many cultures and traditions have been meditating for generations; it is called a practice because it takes time and repetition to master.  The three most widely accessible for the general public are Concentration, Insight practice and Mantra or Affirmation meditation also known as Loving Kindness. Mindfulness meditation is a concentration meditation practice that Jon Kabat Zinn introduced to medical centers over 40 years ago to help patients who were not demonstrating pain relief from conventional medicine and treatments. Being aware of the present moment by focusing on an attention anchor — sounds, sensations, or most commonly, the breath — is the fundamental principle of concentration-based meditation. Being aware of the present moment and doing it over and over trains the mind and body to relax into stillness. 

  Meditation quiets the mind and settles the nervous system. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is a bodily system that determines how we respond to emotional experiences. It is made up of the sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic (PNS) nervous systems. “These two systems are activated in times of arousal or recovery. Put simply, SNS activation leads to a “fight or flight” response, and PNS activation leads to a “rest and digest” response.”  (Roxanna Salim, November 12th, 2019, Although, as the name suggests, the ANS is automatic, we can stimulate the PNS response through meditation. By quieting the mind’s reactivity and calming down our attachment to emotional thoughts, we settle the fight or flight reactions of the SNS,  thereby stimulating the PNS which helps our body and mind come back to homeostasis. 

The multitude of benefits of regular meditation are explined in “Altered Traits” by NYT bestselling authors, Daniel Goleman & Richard J. Davidson. Some of the benefits beyond neurological relaxation and pain relief are increased selectivity of attention, awareness of body sensations and reactions, and ability to avoid being triggered by emotions. In the words of Richard Davidson, “Among meditators with the greatest amount of lifetime practice hours…the amygdala hardly responded to the emotional sounds. But for those with less practice… the amygdala … showed a robust response.” (page 243). The Amygdala is part of the SNS which, as explained above, is connected to “fight and flight” responses; in other words, being triggered and protecting humans from danger is what the amygdala does. When the brain isn’t triggered as described by the response of the long-time meditators, emotional resilience moves to the frontal cortex areas of the brain. In this frontal area mindfulness awareness and desensitization allows the meditator to regulate emotional responses. 

Any amount of meditation will help regulate focus and emotional responses over time, however, the more time a person practices the more “plasticity” will come to the brain. This is similar to an athlete working out regularly. The muscles of an athlete get stronger and more resilient as they become more fit. The same is found with long-time meditators and those who increase their practice. One way to increase practice is to plan a retreat. There is nothing better than a silent meditation retreat in the peaceful mountain setting of a meditation center or monastery. However, during this time of pandemic restrictions, a home-based retreat can be a beautiful escape from the daily grind. This is more easily done by signing up for a virtual meditation retreat which is more and more common these days. Most well-established meditation centers offer virtual retreats. In my area, the Mountain Cloud Zen Center, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers a variety of retreats that can be done from home. These can be viewed on the MCZC website at  

From personal experience as a meditation practitioner for over 20 years and an experienced mindfulness teacher for about 7 years, I would not recommend that an adult novice meditator sit for more than 10-20 minutes at a time at the start, nor try to meditate alone. However, after regularly meditating for 20 minutes, it will be easier to stretch a practice to 30, 40, 45 minutes, especially while listening to guidance from a teacher and in a restful setting. Meditating in a natural setting such as a park or forest are great places to sit and the fresh air rejuvenates the brain and body. 

I do not recommend doing long meditation practices alone unless the practitioner has acquired the experience and knows a wide range of meditation approaches. Another reason jumping into long meditations is not recommended for novice practitioners is that the increased introspection and emotional release could trigger uncomfortable past memories of trauma that have been suppressed for a long time. Working through these memories are best done with the guidance of a meditation teacher who is trained in trauma-responsive practices. When done with guidance and when the practitioner has built up their meditation practice, longer sits can be an expansive experience. 

As for when to “fit in” a meditation practice, it’s a matter of personal preference and schedule. Many meditators profess the benefits of meditating as soon as they wake up, whereas others prefer meditating at the end of the day. It really doesn’t matter as long as a regular routine is established. Consistency is more important than when and what type of meditation approach. The best way to build a strong practice is simply commit to sit. Consider it as important as mealtime, exercise time and sleep time. 

 Mindful Frontiers, ( offers guided video practices as well as one-on-one online meditation instruction and coaching programs for any level meditator. Anne-Marie Emanuelli, creative director at Mindful Frontiers believes that meditation is the way to build a mindful future.

Enchanted confinement – 5 weeks

#pandemic2020 #incasa enchanted confinement New Mexico style

 Some days are boring while others are exciting and full of activities. 

Week 5 of confinement. Routine is settling in. Each morning starts with setting a positive intention for the day. “May I be healthy; may I be safe; may I be at ease; may I have pleasant, productive day”. After a meditation at my labyrinth the work day begins.

Virtual teaching schedule starts at 8:00. I have “prep” first block so I’m not really accountable until 10:00. I’ve been getting up later than during the normal school year when I have to be at school by 7:50. During the confinement I check email around 8:30 and respond as necessary. DTC duties have fizzled with the cancellation of standardized student assessments. I have taken on the responsibility of daily staff check-in email which have been fun. The intention of the daily staff check-in is to continue schoolwide community relationships. From 1:00-4:00 I am have Writing Lab tutoring. Students sign up for a 30-minute appointment to get help. On Tuesdays at 2:00, I have a group check-in for students taking a foreign language using Rosetta Stone.

Around 4:00, my virtual teaching day is over and I can transition outside for physcial exercise. This is my ultimate motivation for each day: the sanity break that comes from balancing body, mind & spririt through movement in the natural environment.

At the end of the day, I fill my mind and soul with further meditation, teachings & reflections through podcasts, videos, reading, and journalling. Some of the teachers I’m following: Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Oren Jay Sofer, Ten Percent Happier Live, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Abraham Hicks.

Vulnerable, New Spring #pandemic2020

Mountain bluebird illustrates mindful awareness.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

“Everyone” is writing, blogging, discussing, commenting, sharing about our vulnerable, brave new world during the #pandemic2020. Here is my personal experiece since the virus arrived in New Mexico.

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the school director asked all staff to meet. We had learned during the week that the Covid-19 coronavirus had reached New Mexico and there were two confirmed cases in our state; by Thursday there were three. She explained to us that so far schools were still on schedule and we would be coming back on Monday, March 23 after Spring Break. There was uncertainty in the room as she explained the current situation from the school’s perspective. Teachers were whispering that school would surely be closed soon.

She explained that if anyone was leaving the state during the break, there was a strong probability they’d have to prove they were not carrying the virus upon return or spend 14-days in self-quarantine without pay (other than regular leave days accrued). Apparently, there had been a virtual meeting for all school administrators that afternoon with the Secretary of Education for NM at which contingencies were explained.

By the time I got home that day, school had been closed in all of the state’s schools for 3 weeks. The NM Secretary of Education with the Governor had “called it” by 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 12. “Schools in New Mexico are closed until April 6”.

Starting Friday, March 13, we knew that we were not going back to campus for at least three weeks. That’s where it stands at this point (3/22/20) although many believe schools will be cancelled for the rest of the semester and that we will be doing our best to offer online, virtual instruction to students until the end of the school year.

As the news sunk in, we realized we were in a new, vulnerable world. By the time I write this post, there are closer to 48 cases of the virus in NM. That’s over 2000% increase in one week. For a few days I was in shock and thought the sky was falling, the world was ending, we were done-for. Stock markets crashed several times over the span of several days. My investments have lost 15% of the original principal which apparently is better than the overall stock market that dropped 30%. I have to sit tight and wait until the economy improves. This could take months just like the crash in 1987. Patience and resilience is required.

After freaking out, I began searching for direction and perspective. There are quite a few podcasts and videos providing guidance on YouTube and Instagram at the moment. The majority of workers in the US are working from home now and are finding ways to be productive and of service. The teachers I’ve been following are meditation/mindfulness, new consciousness, and mind-body healing inspired. Most are nationally acclaimed and have an audience that now is seeking guidance.

Oren Jay Sofer events page

Brené Brown blog

Ten Percent Happier Live videos

Deepak Chopra Wellness and Deepak Chopra Instagram videos

Caroline Myss videos on the journey

Tara Brach “Create a Home Retreat”

Doterra Daily Covid-19 Updates on YouTube

Since I began watching these, my outlook has improved. I’m using my time productively. Creative projects, reading, writing, journalling, exercising and enjoying the example of nature’s resilience to inspire positivity. The birds and plants continue to follow their evolutionary process of getting ready for Spring. They don’t seem a bit affected by what we are dealing with and it helps to watch them day to day. I find strength in my daily long walks and jogs as well as walking my labyrinth and meditating. Something positive will come from this difficult chapter in our life.

Meanwhile, like the poem by Kitty O’Meara that I included in a previous post, after the danger passed, the people joined together and the planet began to heal.

May we be healthy;

May we be safe;

May we be happy;

May we find ease of mind.

Namaste – Amen

A Kinder World?

Screen Shot 2020-02-23 at 9.39.16 AM

(This photo came up on Tara Brach’s Insta page this morning. May the photographer and subject enjoy the love and appreciation that we experience by sharing this image.)

The Dalai Lama once said that “If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

This quote appeared in my social media thread this morning. It seems it had gone viral several years ago and just today came to my consciousness. Serendipity? What is the message I am to get from this? Did the Dalai Lama really say this? When? Where?

Anyway, it reminded me of a fundamental goal of Mindful Youth Mindful Future: teaching youth mindful meditation and compassionate awareness are ways to encourage a kinder future. I’ve had this idea for a while when contemplating future endeavors in mindfulness. I’m curious whether teaching mindfulness-based calming practices would be a way to avoid school shootings in the future. What if one would-be gunner had learned mindfulness meditation, and if that child used meditation instead of guns to deal with stress, how many young lives would be saved?

How old is “old enough” to teach children mindfulness, meditation, contemplation of self in the moment? Surely, the very young can sit and color a mandala, walk a labyrinth and follow a finger labyrinth. Eventually, each child could learn to focus on breath, bodily sensations, internal feelings.

Article on teaching youth meditation from HuffPost

One million youth meditating for world peace in Thailand from


Looking ahead…

women s white top and orange floral skirt
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on


Ten days to Christmas. Five days to the end of the semester. The last lap before retiring from full-time secondary school teaching.

What will the next chapter–Chapter Five–look like? What do I want it to look like? Allowing Source to guide me, here’s an affirming story to manifest the next chapter.

I am teaching mindfulness and meditation in a variety of ways. I have a weekly family meditation group. The “students” donate (dana) in a abasket and I earn a comfortable return for my service. By teaching mindful meditation to families I am sharing the importance of present-moment awareness and  self-compassion to youth and their parents. Through this weekly practice, I am helping to create mindful youth, mindful future. 

With a mindfulness-based grant for early childhood community school initiatives, I share mindful meditation with many youth in kindergarten through second grade at local elementary schools. I teach mindful meditation in five classrooms weekly. The teachers come to my family-based weekly mindful meditation group for support with their own formal meditation practice. 

Other than mindfulness practice instruction, I teach a couple university classes at our local community college in French and English or Computer Applications. Mindfulness is incorporated in those classrooms as well because it belongs everywhere and for all ages.

My post-retirement schedule also includes coordinating DTC functions for a couple local schools during Spring semester. It’s a way to bring balance to my professional endeavors by using both brain hemispheres (mindfulness meditation teaching for the right hemisphere and testing coordinator consultation for the left). It is something I started my last semester of teaching and it ended up being a contract that I was able to continue after retiring. 

Each year, through challenges and successes, through sadness and joy, I have grown into the teacher, woman and person I am now on the precipice of retirement and new frontiers. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

May This Be So (Ainsi Soit-il). Gratitude is powerful. 


Staff mindfulness workshop


At the end of Spring 2019 semester, we had a day-long staff mindfulness training with Rio Grande Mindfulness Institute. Three teachers led our staff of about 20 in a variety of practices: sitting, walking, eating, visualisation. We started the day with yoga stretches and chi gong style movement to get us warmed up and awake. Then, after some guidance from Kara, a meditation teacher from Durango, we sat for about 20 minutes. Throughout the day, we alternated between guided sitting, silent walking, guided movement and a noble silent lunch buffet. I was grateful and pleased with how our staff responded to the training. Everyone participated, shared and was able to sit for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. The walking meditation went well, too, with some people walking back and forth inside while others went outside. It was a cold May day outside and the chilly temperature was envigorating. The sun came out in the afternoon while I was doing a walking practice around the swimming pool. I tried backwards walking, too.

It is possible that next year, using the Healthy Schools grant, that staff will have the encouragement and funding to attend further mindfulness workshops with RGMI at Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe.

Mindful Communications


Notes from the online course through in Aug-Sept 2018.

The process takes its inspiration from Non Violent Communication techniques introduced by Marshall Rosenberg. The teacher of this course, Oren Jay Sofer, has written the book “Say What You Mean” which goes into more details with the precepts of mindful communication.

First step: lead with presence. Observe self, others, situation.

Second step: come from curiosity and care. Share feelings.

Third step: focus on what matters. What are the needs.

First Foundation: Presence: Effective communication requires presence. Stay aware of your presence in the conversation; maintain focus; honesty with self about what’s happening. The more aware we are, the more choice we have. Accept the unknown of what is going to happen and new possibilities of the dialogue.

Second Foundation: Intention: Intention determines direction. Intentions shape experience; Be aware of habitual conflict styles in order to transform underlying beliefs. Avoid thoughts of blame and criticism. Everything we do, we do to meet a need. People are more likely to listen when they feel heard. Reflect before responding.

Third Foundation: Attention: Attention shapes experience. Differentiate between “strategies” and “needs” to have more choice and clarity. The more we understand one another, the easier it is to find mutually beneficial solutions. Establish mutual understanding before problem-solving. Awareness of emotions supports ability to choose how we participate in conversation. Take responsibility of our feelings, connecting them to our needs makes it easier to be heard. Hear others’ feelings as a reflection of their needs which helps us understand the other person without blame, the need to agree or feeling responsible for their emotions. Having empathy for ourselves makes it easier to listen to others. Stating clearly what happened without judgment or evaluation aids in being heard. Observations rather than judgement or evaluation. Check in with other for understanding; use fewer words and more sincerity; speak in short chunks makes understanding easier. Be clear about what is wanted and why to get more creative about solution. Awareness of our reactivity to help make wiser choices of what to say. When in conflict, listen more closely to the other person first; increases chance of their willingness to listen to us.