Monday, September 26, 2011

Spacious Mind Meditation



With one thought constantly following another, your mind may start to feel claustrophobic. This meditation will help you clear your mental 'space' and give you a much-needed mental holiday. Our minds are filled with memories, desires, plans, worries, and other mental impressions. Our constant thinking adds to the disarray. This meditation will help you clear your mental clutter and create a peaceful, open, spacious mind. By creating mental spaciousness, you will realize

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Dark and Sultry Art of Fabian Perez

"Proud To Be A Man"
"Flamenco"

Fabian Perez – I discovered the art of this amazing South American a few years ago at the Monarch Gallery on Prospect in La Jolla. I fell in love with his dark, sultry style and his subject matter of flamenco and tango dancers, lonely souls in dark bars, brothels, heartache, loss, beauty, age, the passing of time. There are so many emotions that are stirred up when viewing one of his paintings. There are so many levels on which to identify with his work. The sadness, the loneliness,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Meditations: The Universe is Testing Me


(This week's Monday Mediation post is written by a guest. I welcome anyone to contribute to my blog platform to offer other viewpoints, insights or experiences to add to our well-being and avenues to expresses ourselves!)

By Elizabeth Manzo, guest blogger

Over the past month and a bit, I have been unexpectedly homeless for two weeks, learned a hard lesson in friendship, moved three times, and had my first (known) stalker break into my apartment while I was there (incidentally creating the need to move a fourth time). Besides all of these overtly negative happenings, my practice as a yoga guide are growing,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hugged Your Liver Lately?


Ok, fess up. Who tried the Inner Smile Meditation this week? I am proud to say that I did – not only once or twice, but probably 30 different times! How is that possible? I’ll tell you. Because I discovered that this type of meditation was, for me anyways, one that could be done on the go!

While running, I would take a few moments to think about how

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making Glass Stringers


I love to learn - my husband calls me the Forever Student. But when you are an artist, I think it is crucial to keep learning and incorporating newness and experimentation into your repertoire!

Since June I have been taking all kinds of classes and workshops to further my glass exploits. I took a weekend workshop with a wonderful glass artist, Rob Morey, who is local to San Diego. He introduced us to several techniques such as silk screen printing onto glass, using glass enamels and paints, organic matter (fusing glass over plant leaves), laser printed images in glass, etc.! So fun and such an inspiration for new ideas.

Something that he is really into right now is a process being called Vitrograph - creating thin lines of glass to create design. The thin lines are created by pulling molten glass while in liquid form (is that redundant?) and stretching and manipulating it before it cools.

He offered to show me how on a day he was pulling stringer at his studio. I brought my glass and we heated it up in his kiln to 1700 degrees until it became molten. Pliers are used to literally tug the glass as it slowly begins to ooze out of a hole in the bottom of the kiln. It feels like you're pulling taffy! The faster you pull it down the more it stretches and the thinner it becomes before cooling and hardening. If you pull it and then bring it back up on itself quickly you get these great squiggly lines of glass that are so much fun to use in other projects. The video here shows my introduction to the process and how I used it in some larger pieces later. I had a blast and now have 2 boxes full of stringer. It will probably take me years to use it all!











Monday, September 12, 2011

Inner Smile Meditation





This week's meditation is in honor to our inner bodies and the wonderful organs that reside there. It's origins are in Taoism an Ancient Chinese philosophy.

"Smiling to yourself is like basking in love: you become your own best friend. Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself."
                                                  - Mantak Chia, Taoist Master

You can practice the inner smile meditation any time, anywhere, even when you are waiting in line at the grocery store. It can be particularly beneficial if you notice any disharmony in your body, and it is a good exercise to strengthen your connection to it.

Benefits
  1. Promotes awareness of your internal body and organs
  2. Prevents illness
  3. Promotes healing
Remember in the movie Eat, Pray, Love when Ketut tells Julia Roberts, "To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile to your Liver."? That was such a powerful line to me. It made me realize that yes, even your organs can "smile" if they are happy and loved, and it's up to us to provide that happiness, health and love.

Practice
1. Preparation You may want to look over an anatomy book or website to remind yourself where particular organs are in your body and what functions they serve.

2. Sit Comfortably near the edge of a chair with feet flat on the floor

3. Imagine and visualize a source of smiling energy about three feet in front of you. (This can be an image of your own smiling face or of someone or something you love and respect. It could be a ball of radiant light or a plant.)

4. Let It Flow Allow the smiling energy to accumulate between your eyebrows and flow down through your face, neck. and into the space behind your sternum. Picture it glowing and full of vibrant health.

5. Expand Your Heart Center Feel the stream of smiling energy flow down into your heart. Feel your heart expand with love and happiness. Radiate the love from your heart to your lungs. Breathe in the smile, feel your lungs fill with life sustaining breath.

6. Share the Love Now smile into your other organs - the liver on the right side, just below the rib cage; your kidneys in your lower back; your stomach and pancreas.

7. Feel Gratitude Thank these organs for their hard work and effectiveness.

8. Visualize Continue sending this smiling energy to any other area in your body. Wherever you feel tightness, discomfort, pain or unease, use your smile to soften those areas. Even if some of these organs are suffering, envision them healthy and functioning smoothly.

9. Keep It End by storing the smiling energy in your navel area, about 3 cm inside your body. See if you can access this smiling energy throughout the day when you notice something making you tense (traffic, a rude person, a headstrong child). Know that this energy is always there for you to access.

We can't all be in Bali looking like Julia Roberts (and sitting this straight), but we can all smile . . . even to our livers.

This meditation was adapted from Madonna Gauding's book, The Meditation Bible.




Saturday, September 10, 2011

Solace in Encinitas


Normally you wouldn't find me writing about restaurant experiences in my blog, but I am just too excited about the stuff that is happening in my backyard town of Encinitas! Not only is it on the world map for yoga and surfing, but Encinitas is fast becoming a destination spot for its funky shops and GREAT restaurants!

This past weekend my husband and I went to chef Matt Gordon's Solace & The Moonlight Lounge in the heart of downtown Encinitas. It's located at the new Pacific Station, the recently opened, mixed-use project that boasts several shops, a Whole Foods Market, a super cool condo development and underground parking (which this city is now going to need).

Even though it was a Sunday night and Solace just opened a couple of weeks ago, there was a decent crowd that continued to grow while we were there. We sat outside the Moonlight Lounge upstairs so we could have a view of downtown, the sunset, and also be privy to the action inside.
"Modern French" cocktail
Seared Albacore Chop Chop

What we ordered was to die for - the Seared Albacore Chop Chop starter followed by the Four Cheese Grilled Sandwich with Tomato and Basil. Yum. Yum! YUM! Hubby had their Hefeweisen beer, which he loved. I tried their Modern French cocktail (organic gin, organic vodka, lemonade with Lambrusco wine float. All good. The food servers and bartenders were all very friendly, accommodating, and great team players. They all helped each other out and genuinely seemed motivated to make sure we had a good experience.

I was a little disappointed that they served red wine in a small white wine glass. My husband is Italian and has taught me well, so I have to call them on that one! (Maybe they just haven't gotten their red wine glasses in yet.) The pour was also very light - hopefully that was an oversight and they don't literally measure the ounces like some places do. The last thing I will whine about is this: I know that having to deal with building codes while trying to maximize seating is a huge challenge, but the unisex single bathroom on each floor was a little unsettling. Sorry! Just being honest!






Getting back to what is awesome about Solace though - I love the portrait at the bar of Jeff Bridges (silkscreen on wood?) by local artist Jason Feather. I was told that it was Gordon's homage to the actor for his role in "The Big Lebowski". Very cool that Gordon introduces some mystery, and gets patrons involved by providing an avenue to inquire and learn a little factoid about him!

I also love that as part of a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, Solace uses recycled bottles as light fixtures, organic ingredients, local farms, happy eggs, healthy fish, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, and natural sodas!! I am also a big fan of chef Matt Gordon who finds the time to cruise around the restaurant, checking in with the patrons and staff to make sure everyone is happy. They just started offering lunch and will soon be adding Sunday brunch and entertainment. Can't wait!

Did I mention that I love, love, love, that it is only 2.1 miles from my house?!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Danced, Did You?

I wanna know. Who was brave enough to dance their hearts out in the company of themselves and maybe a confused pet or two? Did you try the Dance Trance meditation??

No?
Well, there's always next week.

Yes?
Good for you!!

I tried it and I will definitely be doing that one again. I created a playlist on my iTunes that was just a little over 30 minutes. It started out fast and ended slow.

I loved it! But I sorta knew I would. The best thing about it though was that I could count it as "meditation" even though it just felt like reckless abandon and pure fun. I will admit that at first I kept checking the window feeling certain that the gardner was going to unexpectedly show up or that a neighbor would appear looking to borrow a cup of sugar, but I got over that quick enough.

And then it was just the music and me. And my dog Scooby, looking at me like I had finally lost it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Necklace Giveaway

Monday Meditations Giveaway!

Besides improving your relaxation, mental health and goal achievement, here is another great reason to follow along in my new Monday Meditations.

By liking Cocoon's facebook page and commenting on your own meditation efforts (or just letting me know you're with me) you can win a peace or ohm sign necklace!! And, it gets even better. Each comment counts as an entry.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dance Trance Meditation


OMG - break out the leg warmers!!!....No, seriously, DON'T!!! Unless they speak to you. This week I'm going to practice the Dance Trance from the "Get Moving" section of The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding.

Here is what she says:
This movement can be lots of fun, and it can bring up a flood of emotions. If you end up laughing or crying, your tendency may be to stop. It is important to keep dancing no matter what happens. Dance through any feelings and see what emerges.

This meditation is about emotional, physical, and spiritual release. The idea is to transcend your usual left-brained linear thinking and access the wisdom of your body in movement. Through dance and letting go of thought, you may have realizations about reality not normally available to you in ordinary life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Swing & Soiree

Golfers and Shoppers, this one's for you!

Cocoon will be setting up shop at the Lucky Duck Foundation's Swing and Soiree, benefiting The Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, Challenged Athletes Foundation, and Father Joe's Villages. Read about the organization and how they help our local communites here.

The event will take place next month, October 24th, at the beautiful Santa Luz Golf Club.

Mingling, golfing, and shopping - sounds like a good time to me! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Training Wheels

Thought I would share my experience with this week's Monday Meditation - Flowing Water. Let's just say that my dog, Scooby, did much better than I did!

Since I don't have a small desk fountain, I decided I would utilize the waterfall in my backyard spool ("spool" - bigger than a spa, smaller than a pool = spool!). The first time I tried it was at night and was actually quite wonderful. I wrapped myself in a blanket, closed my eyes, and listened to the waterfall. I could feel the coolness and moisture in the air that was created by the water and I breathed it in. The entire 90 seconds was bliss, and then my kids burst out of the house to see what the heck I was doing. They thought we were going to have a nighttime swim even though it was past their bedtimes on the 2nd day of school!!

That's ok. I tried it again the next evening - this time