Friday, March 30, 2012

Perfect, Whole, and Complete

One of my yoga teachers says the following phrase to us toward the end of class when we are deep in Savasana:

"You are perfect, whole, and complete - just the way you are, and just the way you are not."

Image Credit

I hadn't been to her class in a while, so it was a refreshing reminder to hear these kind words.  So much so, that I printed it up in a pretty purple font with a purple sun and hung it in the lady's room at work (after consulting with my only other female colleague, of course).

We both talked for a moment about how important it is to see, read, and speak these truths to ourselves.  Most of the time, we are talking to ourselves in such a way that we would never tolerate if anyone else spoke to us that way.  We are quick to notice and judge ourselves for our shortcomings and mistakes, but are we as quick to acknowledge all of the things that we do right and what a blessing we are to others each day?

Perhaps there are some words that lift, encourage, and remind you of the amazing being that you are underneath all of the "stuff" and labels that we live with every day.  Consider taping up a sign somewhere where you'll see it frequently, and consider talking more kindly to yourself.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Every 7 Years, We are "Made New"

I'm not suggesting that you need to wait until you are 35 to experience something like this, nor that if you are later in life that it's too late. It's not. We can, at any moment, begin to change our thoughts, make different choices, and begin honoring ourselves. We can begin to truly acknowledge how fortunate we really are, despite any past or present pains....despite the fact that life is not perfect, and while we'd like to be happy "all the time," this world is truly a mix of magic and tragic, and we are blessed to be alive and to experience all of it.

Yesterday I celebrated 35 years on the planet. For more than one reason, I truly feel like a "new" person. To begin with, let's say I'm fortunate enough to live at least until the ripe old age of 70.  You could say I am on the cusp of my official mid-life reflection (I don't need a crisis, thank you!).  I've realized that the first 35 years of my life are now the past. I release that time of my life. It's a powerful experience, to say the least.

I release childhood traumas and the crazy relationships and decisions of my twenties. I finally feel as if I am coming into my own as a woman, focusing on my writing, and making choices (such as returning to vegetarianism, eliminating aspartame and artificial ingredients from my diet, and honoring myself when it comes to boundaries) that are in alignment with the core of my being. I am honoring myself.

In addition to the emotional and spiritual shifts that occur at 35, there is something pretty amazing going on for all of us on a physical level at age 35 (and 7, 14, 21, 28, 42, 49...).  I once heard that at these intervals, human beings get entirely new cells -- we are made physically new every 7 years for our entire lives. I did some research, and science seems to support this information.

According to Nicolas Wade, a science writer for The New York Times, Dr. Jonas Frisen, a stem cell biologist at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden developed a method of determining the actual age of human cells.  In his research, he discovered that the reason that most people act/behave in accordance with their actual birth age - their years on the plant - is because some cells remain the same from birth and throughout life; however, the rest of our cells are renewed about every 7 years. So, it's no wonder that we may feel a physical "newness" at those intervals.

What age are you at now?  How many 7 year cell renewal cycles have you experienced so far? Was there a certain age when you began to really evaluate your life and make new, conscious decisions about how to live it?


PS Be sure to enter the 10k celebration - it's easy to win some great prizes! Click here to enter.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ask Someone's Story | Caring for Each Other in Mindfulness

I had an interesting experience at the post office this morning. I was stopping in on my way to work to mail a package and some cards.  There were two people ahead of me and another woman off to the side filling out a form.  As I was about to be the next person in line, I keep looking over at the woman filling out the form, hoping she wouldn't be done before it was my turn.  I wanted to be next.

Well, she did finish filling out her form, and then she looked to me, and said, "You go ahead. Please." I asked if she was sure. I told her I was on my way to work and that I thought she must be too. In my first impression, the initial scan that we all subconsciously do when we meet someone, I summed her up: late 50s or early 60s, dressed up nicely and probably well-to-do (I was at a post office in an affluent neighborhood on my way to work, so I assumed she was affluent -- even though I'm not and I was also conducting business there.)

Oh, no," she said, looking a bit downcast, "I haven't worked in a long time.  I've been looking, but I haven't been able to find anything."

Something shifted within me, instantly, I was aware of all of the judgments I'd made about this woman in literally a few seconds. I was all ready to feel inferior and to have an awkward moment with her about who would go next in line (so trivial, I know, but think about how many minutes in our day are taken up by these kinds of circumstances and thinking)...My heart softened instead.

I could feel my face and posture changing to that of a more compassionate, receptive person.  In my heart, I felt urged to make that moment matter and to let her know that SHE matters.

I asked her what kind of work she does or would like to do. She told me that she used to be an office manager and enjoys administrative assistant work, but that she's been a stay-at-home caretaker to her elderly mom for the past nine years, and her mother had just passed away. She also shared that she was at the post office because, not only could she no longer afford to pay the rental fee on her PO BOX, but she also needed the deposit back on the key.  Imagine how humbled I was in that moment.

We talked a bit more. She told me that she thinks that she isn't getting responses from jobs because her last job listed on her resume is from nine years ago. I encouraged her to go home and update her resume right away.  Being that I am sometimes hired by clients to revamp or create a resume, I felt in a position to give her some advice. I suggested that she list herself as a "Professional Caregiver" for that nine year period and to list all of the skills, abilities, and tasks that made up her days for the past nine years. I told her that all that effort and hard work counts. I told her that what she did matters, and that SHE matters. She thanked me. I told her not to give up hope. She responded, "I was about to. Thank you for your kindness. God Bless You."

She's been on my heart all day.

Remember, a stranger is only "strange" until you know her story. Then, she's just as human, vulnerable, and important as you.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sulilo 10k Views Celebration Giveaway!

Dear Readers,

I am so excited to share with you my joy in reaching 10,000 page views at  This blog is truly an extension of myself. I rarely hold anything back and wear my heart on my sleeve, all with the hope that one person, every now and then, gleams some hope, insight, motivation, or compassion from my writing. This makes it all worthwhile. 

From the comments I receive from time-to-time, I know that my intention is being honored by the Universe, and that for every person who chooses to comment, there are many others who have read and felt something but didn't necessarily feel like leaving a comment. I am thankful for all of you.

The journey continues...

To celebrate this milestone, I have reached out to several companies and individuals whose products, services, and talents I adore, and I've asked them to be a part of my 10K Giveaway.

I hold the following sponsors near and dear to my heart for reasons I will outline.  Please be sure to visit their websites and check out what they have to offer. I think you will be delighted and blessed by their offerings.

If you would like the opportunity to share in my joy by winning one of the items below, all you have to do is:

  • Subscribe to - In the upper right corner of this blog, you'll see a space for you to submit your email address. Just do so, and when the email comes to you confirming you subscription, please confirm.  Be sure to check your spam filters if you do not receive the confirmation with 24 hours.
  • If you have Facebook and/or Twitter, please kindly follow the sponsors whose prizes you hope to win. You can even let them know that sent you!
  • Lastly, please leave a brief comment under this post indicating which prizes you are interested in. You can also say why, if you'd like.

That's all there is to it. Good luck, and let's celebrate!

Prize # 1:  Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

Click HERE now to order a copy of
Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater
from Rodmell Press

If you're curious about what it means to take your yoga practice to the next level and live a yogic life outside of class, this book is for you. My spirit began to feel compelled to take the lessons I learned on the yoga mat out into the world.  This book reveals powerful insights on how to go about this. It is life changing for the individual who makes this choice and all of the people she or he comes into contact with.  I am thankful to Judith Hanson Lasater and Rodmell Press for their generous donation of a copy of this book that will change your life.

For more information:

Order a copy of the book
Judith Hanson Lasater
Rodmell Press (website)  Facebook, Twitter

Prize #2: Subscription to Daily Word by Unity 

Click HERE to subscribe to
Unity's Daily Word
Daily Word offers inspiration and practical teachings to help people of all faiths live healthy, prosperous and meaningful lives. Daily Word magazine includes two months of daily affirmative messages, feature articles and spiritual poetry.

What I love about Daily Word from Unity is that the organization's intention is to love and celebrate life with all people, from all walks of life. There is no exclusion. Their metaphysical interpretation of biblical verses is also something that I find fascinating. When I read the Daily Word,  I feel inspired and encouraged - never judged or as if I must conform to a single belief system in order to gain wisdom, comfort, and insight from what they have to offer. One lucky Sulilo winner will win a YEAR's subscription to Daily Word!

Subscribe to Daily Word Magazine
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Prize #3:  A Coupon for a free 6-pack of Zevia Soda

Get some Zevia
I was a soda addict. Even though it often tasted bitter to me, I couldn't get enough of the leading diet sodas.   At one point, I realized I was drinking several cans a day of a beverage that contained ingredients that I wasn't totally clear on. When I began to do some research on aspartame, I realized that I could no longer subject my body and mind to the chemical. I began a quest for an all natural, calorie-free soda.  I wasn't sure that one existed. I tweeted out my mission to find such a drink, and a friend wrote back, "Check out Zevia."  I'm glad she did. Zevia is sweetened with a natural plant extract called stevia and is all natural.  I feel so good about having made this switch and am a true cheerleader for the product anytime I see someone drinking a chemical laden soda!

Another fun fact...I came across this Zevia  blog post, which claimed that you could take any box of cake mix, add one can of soda and then mix together and bake as directed.  The results: absolutely delicious. Click here to read my blog that covers my test of this recipe.

Visit Zevia's Website
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From Zevia: 

Zevia is very active with our social media, always doing contests, giveaways, and just chatting with our fans!

When sampling Zevia keep it cold! We always say cool is not cold enough!  We recommend that you drink it out of the can. It gets warm and flat in a cup!

Prize #4: A Custom Made Greeting Card by Cards By Haley

One of a kind greeting cards by
Cards By Haley
I met Haley on twitter (@CardsbyHaley). When I found out that she made custom, one-of-a-kind greeting cards, I was intrigued. Send her an email and let her know what kind of card you'd like to have made...who it's for...something special about them, and she will whip up a masterpiece that is a beautiful gift in and of itself.

Haley is generously donating her time and materials to create one custom greeting card for a lucky Sulilo winner. 

Here are some of the beautiful cards I recently ordered from her:

Cards By Haley

Cards By Haley

Prize #5: A Beautiful Print from Artist Jeremiah Ketner

From the moment I saw artist Jeremiah Ketner's work, I was mesmerized. His paintings transport me to a beautiful place where colorful, fairy-like creatures express their divinity in countless ways. You may have seen his mural work featured at Nordstroms, or you may have read my blog post about some of my favorite paintings by this very talented artist.  

One of my favorite paintings by Jeremiah Ketner: "Hiding Place"

Jeremiah is generously donating a small print of one of his beautiful paintings (his choice) to a lucky winner. You can view his online store by clicking HERE.

Facebook, Twitter

Prize #6: A Gorgeous Print from Miami Photographer AJ

Years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Southern Florida. I fell in love with Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Though I have not yet physically returned to that area, I have, on a number of occasions, revisited it in my dreams. Florida is written on my heart in a sacred way.  I'm sure this is why I was drawn to the photography of Miami-based freelance photographer, Anthony Jordon, Jr.

This is one of my favorite images of Miami, taken by
Anthony Jordon, Jr.
Antony Jordon (AJ) is generously donating one print (of his choice) to a lucky Sulilo reader. See more of his work here.

Facebook, Twitter

Prize #7: A Subscription to Your Beauty Industry Magazine (YBI)
Sponsor added this prize on 3/5/2012

I absolutely love celebrity makeup artist Debra Macki. She is beyond talented, passionate, and genuinely loves to get up in the morning to do her work. She inspires me. This magazine, Your Beauty Industry (YBI) features her work, along with that of other talented artists, stylists, photographers, and more. If you love makeup, want to be a makeup artist, or want to draw inspiration from tips and tutorials, go for this prize.

Facebook, Twitter

Debra MackiFacebook, Twitter

And there you have it.  Thank you for sharing in this joy with me.  Winners will be contacted via email (which I will have once you subscribe).  

There is much more to come at  Thank you so very much for sharing in this journey with me.


Debbie aka Sulilo

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Children Understand More Than You Think

Last night, I was watching my TiVo'd episode of "The Voice" on NBC. I was moved to tears when I saw the very young brother of a contestant rooting for his sister. He must have been about 9 or 10, and she around 30. When his sister was selected for the show, the boy became so excited and happy for her that he clung to his mother as his eyes welled up with tears of joy.  It was so moving to see.

"Tears of Joy" image courtesy of MoLifa

I flashed back to when I was about 5 years old. I was in kindergarten. Because the relationship between my parents was tumultuous, this was one of those years where I wasn't sure if my Dad would show up on Christmas...but he did.  I was so excited to see that, by the big, lit up Christmas tree, my father, who I loved dearly at that age, was sitting there holding a present for me. I opened it up, and it was the "It's a Small World" book and tape. I remember feeling so touched. I somehow knew that my parents didn't have much money for gifts, and they knew how desperately I loved this Disney song and story.

That is the first time that my eyes welled up and I cried tears of joy. My Dad asked if I was ok. I just said, "Thank you Daddy," and wrapped my arms around him. I carried that plastic resealable pouch with the book and tape EVERYWHERE with me. I even brought it to "show and tell."

One time, after class, the teacher told my mother how the morning kindergartners really enjoyed the story and tape. My mother offered it out to her to borrow for her afternoon class. She didn't ask me. I cried and remember going into hysterics. My teacher, Mrs. DiFiori, kept asking my mom, "Are you sure?" They had no idea why this gift held so much significance for me, and how I felt like a precious part of me was being taken away, and neither of them really seemed to care much. I never forgot it. 

Thirty years later, and I remember, clear as this monitor is before me, both the event where I was filled with joy at the thoughtful gift I received and the devastation I felt when I was ignored, invalidated, and not consulted when something so precious to me was involved.

Please be gentle, kind, careful, and loving with and around your and others' children. Do not assume that because a child is very young that he or she doesn't really "get" or understand what is happening -- that the child won't remember.  Some things get written on our hearts and souls and remembered for decades after.

When you have the enormous responsibility and honor of spending time with a child, behave as if everything you say and do matters...because it does.

I couldn't believe it, but I found something
very similar to what I had on ebay just now.