Author Archive

Intention, Attention, Action

November 20, 2010

I’d like to make a formal introduction. Avalokiteswara, meet 1268 N. Cleveland Avenue. The Goddess of compassion, love and hope sets her helping arms and tireless energy on 1268 N. Cleveland in Loveland, CO. For this could be the Future home of Simply Toffee and the Sister Summit Meeting Place.

She’s a beauty. Simply stated. Humble and full of potential.


Making Room (or how to lose 30lbs. in one hour)

November 14, 2010

I have been struggling lately with what at the top layer feels like a sense of “is that all there is?” in my life. Some days it scratches as boredom. Other days it’s a welling up sadness, full of tears over a misunderstanding with a co-worker. Still others, it’s a feeling that I am not making progress with even the smallest of goals in my life. Not to mention the really significant ones. You know, the one where I want to make a serious and meaningful contribution.

What.  Am I crazy?  I have so much. A wonderful daughter thriving at a respectable university. A bi-weekly paycheck that covers the mortgage, tuition, comfy furniture, Whole Foods shopping, vacations to Costa Rica, cute jeans. I live in Pleasantville. I have an adorable and loving dog with joint custody that allows me to spend time with him at my convenience. I have a great man in my life. I mean, a really great man in my life. Despite achy hips, I have a beautiful, expansive, highly supportive yoga practice. I have connections. Friends. Sisters. And I have Sister Summit, our weekly connection over 3 times zones sharing our goals, challenges and support for one another.

I also find myself, at 49 years old, with experiences similar to many other women at this life stage. Aging parents. A mother with Breast Cancer (and a host of unrest about a relationship — at least one of authenticity — that I never had with her). A step-mother with a debilitating illness living her last day’s in a nursing home. A father (the guy I put on a pedestal for much of my young life) who is in deep grief with his wife’s situation, yet trying to cope and make the best of the “cards he was dealt” as he says. Hovering closely over this layer is the agitation I feel about my place of work. I want so much to contribute, to step out in a BIG and compassionate and loving and hopeful and supportive and “get things done” kind of way. <>. It’s just that it’s getting more noticeable to me every day. Every day I peel the layers away of ‘not Sandi’.

Yet as the optimist, the maximizer and the no-stranger-to-tough situations kind of gal, I seek the light.

Today that arrived in cleaning my closet. Aside from being a huge catch-all for what I don’t want to put away, what I keep saving and what I haven’t let go of, there was plenty in there that needed to move on. So,  I asked the angels for help. “What should I do up there with my closet today? What to keep, what to let go of.” Then, I picked 3 cards:

1. Self-esteem

2. Power

3. Music

I decided to use the”Self-esteem” card as a message to toss (goodwill) what doesn’t make me feel pretty and what is not comfortable. The music card was a message to play a favorite Pandora station while I worked. And to sing through it.  And, though I am not totally clear, I think the Power has something to do with the ability to make peace with my “is that all there is?”. And transform it into something AMAZING.

An hour later, as I had filled 2 large plastic bags for goodwill, I realized that what I am really doing is making room. Making room to shine with my radiant self. Making room to let go of the things that don’t serve me. Making room to blossom and lighten up, despite the season’s turning in and low light.

Does this sound familiar to you at all?

October 31, 2010

Meet Avalokiteswara. Goddess of Love, Compassion and healing

Yesterday in our sister summit call, I spoke about the murti (an image which expresses a Divine Spirit), Avalokiteswara. Here is a photo of her. You will notice she has 1,000 hands, working tirelessly with her divine energy to help offer love and healing. She sits on a lotus flower, symbolizing that even in the mud, one can emerge and grow, sharing beauty. It’s funny, because although I am incredibly drawn to her and she has deep meaning for me, and I love to look at her and she brings me feelings of love and healing myself, I have no idea what to write about her in this entry.

What I do know (or what I am working towards further clarity on) is that I am drawn to work where I can use my talents to offer compassion and healing. Maybe that has something to do with yoga therapy. Or working with the elderly. Maybe even in sister summit.

When I bought Avalokiteswara up in Estes Park at the Anusara Yoga Grand Gathering, the man instructed me to incorporate her in my mediation, in my daily life events, in chanting and in my yoga learning. Although traditional meditation continues to call me, I find it challenging to take the time to sit, let alone invite a daily chanting practice in my life. I can however, put her in front of my yoga mat when I do a home practice. I can set her on my desk when I write and work. And, actually, I do know a chant, about her – Om Mani Padme Hum.

So, sisters, with each of you I share my new friend, in love and compassion.

— 3sister, sam


Lessons from Growing Up in the Midline

May 22, 2010

Last week — brief as it was — I had the chance to reconnect with my five brothers and sisters. The six of us gathering with countless other relatives to witness the funeral ceremony for our 99 year old grandmother. Grandma Yula passed away in her sleep, in mid afternoon the day after Mother’s Day. Her frail condition over the last several months, signaled her readiness to return Home.  As each of us received word  of her passing, we began to phone, email and text each other, making our plans to travel east. Carolyn’s home would serve as our anchor, our meeting place. With last-minute flights hovering way north of our checking account balances, Judy, Bob and David rented a Lincoln cruiser (thanks to Chrisine’s “she-sells-cars” connections). Maureen wrangled a piecemeal flight from Priceline and I tapped into my frequent flier miles for a 6 AM departure to Newark, by way of Chicago. Amidst heavy spring storms centered in the midwest, by Thursday afternoon, we had all made it through the country’s midline and arrived in New Jersey  — in time for the first of several family gatherings.

There’s something amazing about the connection we all have as brothers and sisters — this connection that doesn’t even think twice about navigating flights, rain and work schedules to meet up with each other. And though I did not come to appreciate and truly leverage this gift until these last few years, I love that I am a part of the McCann family, sponsored by Jerry and Kathleen McCann.

As scrappy as we are in this snapshot from a time long passed, I realize that the closeness we all share today is a result, in large part, of growing up, hugging “the midline”. Carolyn has referred to it as “the Iowa factor”, and we all pay tribute to our midwestern roots. But ‘hugging the midline’ is also a term I borrow from my Anusara based yoga practice.  “Hugging the midline is created when you access the strength of your core energy to support the pose from within, rather than relying on the strength of the outermost muscles to hold the pose.” — Ash blog.  Because the physical practice of yoga has been a tool for me to apply the principles of alignment and asana off the mat as well — I am reminded again of the lessons from the midline.

  1. No matter how tough it gets, we still have each other. Unconditionally.  Geeky glasses and all.
  2. It’s still home, no matter where you pitch your tent. From Arizona to Colorado to Chicago’s west suburbs to New Jersey, somehow we’re all “home” whenever we come together.
  3. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Individually, I am one, younger middle sister, who spent much of her youth seeking happiness outside the “midline”, the family. Now I know with certainty that I am so much more because I am connected to the strength, the community and the love that this family is made up of.

So let’s click our red sparkly shoes together three times . . . there’s no place like home [in the midline].

Post by Sandi McCann, 3 sister


Dream Boards and Liberation

March 23, 2010

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
’till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
’cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too.

—  Fleetwood Mac

The inspiration for this week’s Sister Summit Blog entry came to me on Sunday. Carolyn and I talked very briefly about a yoga teacher training program that is on her path right now. She was on her way to Michael’s to get stuff to make a Dreamboard. A Dreamboard (as defined by wiki)  “. . . is a collection of images, words and colors which reflect your visions and desires as they are manifesting in your life. A Dreamboard is a tool to allow you to become clear on what you really want. Becoming clear on what you really want is the key to manifesting.” Through all the challenges on her path, Carolyn is clearing the way to make her dream a reality.

I then went off to a yoga class — where the instructor’s theme (or dharma talk) was about liberation . And after an intense, sweaty and challenging asana practice, the song, Landslide played during savasana. I have heard this song countless times, and I love it. It reminds me of Carolyn. And Judy and Maureen. And all of us sisters, collectively. It makes me think of our time in the mountains, and our struggles and challenges as we climb to our own summit.

And as I relaxed into the posture on Sunday, soaking up the wonders of a practice  you all know how much I love, I got to thinking about liberation and dreams. And the freedom to choose what we want in our lives and how we want to show up and contribute — no matter how many times we have to start over. As the song says, “time makes you bolder . . . and i’m getting older, too”. Bolder to come together in authenticity and to share our dreams and visions. To become really clear on what we want to manifest.

So, I thought this might be a good place to start with Sister Summit’s new virtual home. We have a vision. We have our weekly calls. We now have a place to record it — the written word. We’ll build upon our vision and show up.

Sister Summit dedicated the month of March to rebirth, new growth, new beginnings. This sister is working on the newness of Social Media and how it can power up my professional work as a marketer. More importantly, I am visioning how it can help Sister Summit plant seeds, nourish and grow. I am studying it, learning it and showing up (albeit, toe in water). I am excited and energized.

What are your new beginnings?

Monday morning, March snow. Is spring near?

March 15, 2010

Good morning sisters,

You may notice that I cleaned up the page a little yesterday. I deleted our “test” Posts, yet kept Judy’s and added a comment to her post. Did you see it?

I am delighted that we set up our blog on Saturday. And I have been thinking a lot about how we will use it. Will we Post during the week? Comment during the week? Will we use it to Power Up Sister Summit, the “place”? I am optimistic about all of these possibilities and will do my part in that effort.

The only thing that was missing from our sister summit on Saturday was the usual “catch-up”. And I have a lot on my mind. Particularly, my visit to Sedona. And Nancy’s failing health. And Dad. This is a part of life that is inevitable — our own getting older and having our parents experience failing health. I desperately want to do something to help. And when I was there, we were in the thick of it, just managing the hour by hour, day to day of caring for Nancy. I left there with a very heavy heart, sad and filled with compassion and a longing to connect with them from afar. I have been thinking about things that will help both of them. Maybe we can talk about this on Saturday?

So — Happy Monday. And while our skies are filled with grey clouds and snow lingers, I will keep in mind that spring is right around the corner. And the promise of 60 degrees this week in the forecast.

In my Meditations on the Mat reading this morning, the quote, “I learn by going where I have to go.” by Theodore Roethke, inspires me. Rolf Gates goes on to say,  “ . . . And every time we choose life, we find that fear loses its grip on us. We all know more than we think we do, and we are stonger than we believe ourselves to be.”

Yes, sisters, we do!

I love you all — Sam