Muse of Roots and Blooms –  Three Ways Meditation Can Help

Muse of Roots and Blooms – Three Ways Meditation Can Help

Here’s a quick word problem for you. If most of us are taking in over 34 gigabytes of pulse-raising information a day and we feel wired to check our email or Facebook before we have time to set our own priorities for the day, when do we hear ourselves think?  Make time to sit and reflect? Meditate?

Forget it. We’re too busy!  

But I have another question.  What if the act of meditating, which business leaders like Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, report doing regularly, gave us more time to do what we care about most? In a way that made our life more satisfying–and our business more effective?

Today’s muse, Laurie Goldstein, creator of Root and Bloom, has developed an in-between-the-cracks (through email and Facebook) support system to bring people back home to themselves when they are swimming in distracting, possibly upsetting and/ or pressure-cooked oceans–through the ancient practice of meditation.

A long time practitioner of yoga and meditation who has been guiding individuals and groups in homes, studios and corporations in the New York City area for 20 years, Laurie’s weekly posts and the community she has built to support her growing following– are all framed around ancient insights combined with her expertise in the wellness industry. 

I asked Laurie three questions to start the week with focus, care and a deep breath.

How does meditation resemble roots with which we can develop more inner resilience? How have you seen the practice taken root and change people’s lives over time, both professionally and personally?

Whether dealing with an unexpected job loss or move, deadlines or other potential sources of anxiety- I’ve seen how much a consistent meditation practice can make a difference. I had a client who began to experience panic attacks before giving presentations at work. She shared that the breath work she practiced during meditation began to make its way into her day- in particular in a bathroom stall just before pitches. It helped. As she practiced over time, she was able to peel back the layers of what was triggering these attacks and eventually wound up leaving her job for work she found more meaningful. She credited meditation with giving her the headspace to do so.

So, meditation is the radically transformational practice of showing up fully- breath by breath, moment by moment- exactly where we are.  There is something that happens, that shifts, when we do so. When we send our roots down and come home to the center of ourselves with consistency- it provides a kind of nourishment and stability that we can’t find out there.

So too there is a spaciousness of heart that is created with consistent practice. I saw it provide solace, sanctuary and some semblance of solid ground for a woman walking through treatment for lymphoma and making peace with her own passing. I know a woman who healed her heart by continuing to show up for herself day after day on the other side of a miscarriage. Time and time again, I hear stories of acceptance and forgiveness being found, deeper wells of patience in relationships being forged in the space a steadfast practice creates.  

As we send roots down and out, we sense that we are held by a force that is of us and greater than us and are reminded that we are also here to do the holding- for ourselves and each other. Nearly universally, I find folks soften and become more kind and compassionate and empathetic over time.

The benefits of cultivating a calm mind seem so key to both business and creative satisfaction where we can choose our focus. Is there one specific practice you can share that might help people focus during a stressful time?

Returning to the breath is essential on so many levels. Doing so brings the mind home and helps restore a sense of ease to the nervous system. Perhaps thinking and feeling, as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests,  Here as you inhale and Now as you exhale or Just this as you inhale and Breath as you exhale. This simple act of gathering ourselves is essential and so beneficial. It brings clarity, focus and ease- it helps the muck settle.

But to me this question points to something bigger. Can we allow ourselves to be guided by the voice that emerges from the still center of our being… and in so doing, create less stress for ourselves to begin with? Can we find and allow ourselves to move in the direction of the feeling tone of Yes. The first time I went to a workshop with the incomparable Erich Schiffmann he had this scrawled on a board and  suggested we make this offering every morning on waking:

“Today I will make no decisions by myself.

I will make no decisions by myself because it is no longer intelligent to do so.

Instead, I will make all my decisions in silent counsel with the Infinite.

I want to do what You would have me do.

What would You have me do?”

He proceeded to share that we each have access to an inner intelligence that is of us and greater than us…. Unfortunately, many of us fail to check in with it until there’s a major life decision to be made.  So it becomes hard to parse out which voice it is and harder still to have the courage to follow where it guides. To remedy this he suggested playing with the following simple practice of taking ourselves off of auto pilot – out of the smaller mind and into the bigger mind. It’s the insertion of a deliberate pause with simple little decisions that have little consequence in your life. So for example, you go to the grocery store. You walk in and you stand in front of the fruit and you pause. You inquire do I want the honey crisp apples today or the motsu apples and you PAUSE…  and wait to hear a response. If you get no response you move on. Ok, do I want a mandarin instead of an apple? PAUSE. You might wind up with papayas. The voice will grow stronger, as will your willingness to honor as it guides you. And when it comes time for those major life decision, the voice will ring through with a quality that you’ll know by heart.

Meditation sharpens our memories and increases our capacity to learn. Can you talk about how you have experienced some of the physiological benefits of meditation?  And witnessed them in others?

I notice in myself and in others the ability to more fully and consciously inhabit our bodies and the space of relationships we share. After a few months of practice, I had a student reach out to me saying that she was beginning to notice times when her breath would become shallow or erratic. Her jaw would clench and she’d find herself gripping her hand into a fist. This led to a questioning of why and a cue to soften, which led her to more insights and greater ease.  

I am able to settle more fully into the space between trigger and reaction to more consciously choose how I respond to situations. I notice more things to feel grateful for. I feel more at home and at ease in my skin. I sleep better. And I’m not alone. All of these are things are just some of the fruits of the practice.

laurieG is a lover of life, a mama, a partner and a convener of sacred spaces for reflection, transformation and healing. In the Autumn of 2017, she launched her heart project, Root & Bloom. Through it, she offers guidance, tools & resources for those looking to develop a home practice of meditation and self study. Participants receive guided meditations, mantras and self study prompts for contemplation and transformation on the weekly. Life style and life cycle advices drawing from ayurvedic wisdom, yoga philosophy and buddhist teachings and monthly full and new moon reflections and insights are also provided.

It’s not too late to join in the journey through Autumn, find details through the link below or email laurieG at

Details :::

Instagram : litWithin

click here to receive invitations for special offerings & experiences

What people are saying about Root and Bloom:
What people are saying about Root and Bloom:

“Absolute game changer…”

“I feel like a kid Christmas morning every week, waiting for your message to come… and the content never disappoints. Each week I find myself changed by what you’ve shared. It’s like you’re writing exactly what I need to read, exactly when I’m meant to read it and I am thankful.”

“Authentic, down to earth and life changing. After years of trying and failing, with your help, I am now meditating consistently- and I actually look forward to sitting. Your gentle voice, the wisdom you share and this whole experience have changed me. I can’t thank you enough.”

Muses of Endurance and Guardians of His (and Her) Story

Muses of Endurance and Guardians of His (and Her) Story

Today, it is with special excitement that I announce my Monday Morning Muse –not one but two women who have spent over a decade bringing communities and students together for a fresh look at the past. It has been my incredible honor to work with talented authors Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills on their book, If These Stones Could Talk, which is now due to be published on November 7th by Wild River Books.

When I first studied history at Rider University, and later went to graduate school for history at University of Connecticut, it would have been my dream to be involved in a project as far-reaching in scope and authentic in voice as If These Stones Could Talk. But don’t take it from me. Here’s what Pulitzer-prize winning historian James M. McPherson said:

“Rooted in an amazing amount of research and written with grace and flair, If These Stones Could Talk brings to light a rich past that had almost been lost.”

I first learned about Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills when Kate McGuire, the lead librarian on what was named the Stoutsburg Project, emailed me for help in transforming an enormous amount of cumulative research –wills, property deeds, vital records, verified oral histories and more–into an educational history book.

But Elaine and Beverly’s research wasn’t your normal shade of arduous. It was downright painful for both authors.

The more Elaine and Beverly  learned about the lives of their ancestors, both freed Blacks and slaves, the more they found documents as shocking as runaway slave notices, wills that bequeathed their ancestors’ names next to spoons or signed Revolutionary war papers of Black soldiers who hailed from the Sourland Mountain in New Jersey–and yet no historic markers graced their memory, and no written histories told their stories in museums.

Not yet.

I felt their passion and I heard their powerful author voices from the very first time we met at a local library around boxes of papers they kept neatly organized.   I also felt their unwavering dedication to their goal. They needed to write a local history book with national significance–a book that would not ignore or diminish their ancestors contributions–and more fully acknowledge the realities of their past. 

My deep respect for Elaine and Bev continues to grow as I watch them build bridges –and truly change consciousness–everywhere they walk–whether through walking into the doors of a school or speaking at a community event or gathering people around their purpose. You can see that impact the moment you take a look at Beverly and Elaine’s popular Facebook page and their weekly post, Friday’s Memory, devoted to Beverly’s 4th great-grandfather. In the 18th century Friday Truehart was brought from Charleston, S.C. to Hopewell, New Jersey, by his master, Reverend Oliver Hart.

I am deeply proud of the final outcome of our work and I’m equally thankful for how our work together has changed me, stretched all of us thin at times and then delighted us as I watched two incredibly wise and hard working authors bring their final manuscript home with grit and determination and an outcome that has been getting rave reviews.

Author and TEDx Speaker Jill Sherer Murray

Jill Sherer Murray is my official muse of letting go, but not just any shade of  letting go. Not a throw-it-all-to-the-wind type of letting go. Rather, the kind of letting go that comes with deep care, exact measure, awkward finesse and after some hard decisions that are all about nights of revisiting the soul—wise discernment. When Jill came to me for help on sculpting her TEDx talk along with crafting her book proposal and brand positioning, I quickly discovered what over 320,000 viewers would soon find out, Jill’s got the goods and a message that hits home for all of us! The time is now. Jill’s message has the power to change your life. Read our story and watch her video if you dare.

[otw_shortcode_button href=”” size=”medium” icon_position=”left” shape=”square”]Meet Jill Sherer Murray[/otw_shortcode_button]