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“And I remind you…..the truth is essential, but without love, it’s unbearable”….Reitzinger Cardinale (aka Pope Benedict XVI,   Caritas et veritas….(charity in truth)

It took your parents/caregivers over 12,000 hours to get you to be able to brush your teeth independently and consistently everyday – and sometimes, even as grown-ups having done this routine +20,000x we still need a reminder to take 2 minutes total to spend 30 seconds in every quadrant of our mouths. Wow!!! What persistence and fortitude your caregivers had to achieve this most important life skill.  Did you know that in the early 1900’s only 7% of American household brushed their teeth or at least had toothpaste in their houses?  During World War 1 most of the Army recruits had such poor oral hygiene that the military considered dental disease a national crisis.  Good habits take TIME and it’s the one thing we are loathe to acknowledge in our “gotta have it NOW” culture.  What does this have to do with ‘charity in truth?’

It’s hard to change.  It’s challenging to alter our social norms and in this time of challenge, to spend time alone.   The base of this from my perspective is this: we have a real issue with Now.  Our cultural habit is to want everything Now at the same time denying what’s happening right Now.  I encourage you to read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  The power of the present moment is a force for change and good that goes missing in our society.  For example, one of the ways we take ourselves out of the present moment, undermining our own power and life force energy for good, is the drinking culture we live in.  Alcohol is ubiquitous and socially sanctioned as a way to celebrate (weddings), grieve (funerals), relax (every social gathering), and just about everything in between. That said, with the social distancing required now due to COVID-19, we have to be present to the societal need to prevent a catastrophic load on our medical resources. Read more here:  We need to be mindful of what we do RIGHT NOW.  I was at a store yesterday, and kept my distance from the check out cash register and said “I’m social distancing.”  Others in line laughed and made fun of it.  One guy said, ‘I’m spreading my arms, no one come inside.”   I referred them to the CDC and how this virus can kill young, healthy people, and until it effects their family, maybe then they’d take it seriously.  Argh!  This is hard stuff.  Change is hard.  And without love for our common humanity, without knowledge and caring, it’s unbearable for sure.  I invite you to join us in 2 spiritual practices:

1) a quiet day: simply talk less or not at all. Just for one day. I did this today and it made me feel so much better!

2) roll out your mat and mediate now. Here’s one to start:     Please watch your email for mediation and class content.  Mostly free, all current and based on the challenges of NOW.

We will get through this crisis.  We will be stronger because of it.  We will come home to our essential selves and take these practices with us.  I’m sure of it.

Mindfully and with a full heart,  Dr. Carla

Yes, it’s true.  How does that work, you ask?  Well it’s rather simple (though not often easy, as most simple things tend to be).  When something difficult is behind us, we often want to be free of it, but sometimes, we’re so attached to what’s behind us that we can’t stop thinking about it (or him, her, or what happened, etc.) that it feels very much right in front of our face.  I had this conversation with a patient just today.  When we’re feeling the sting (read, loss) of relationship that was meaningful to us, and we’re missing that person and feeling lonely (and can’t do anything about it….they’ve moved to Tennessee, or in some way or another have made it known they’re really gone….) – we have a choice.  Our choice is to wallow – feel over and over and over again the loss of their presence – which, by the way is necessary in order to properly grieve, but not for an extended time.  So when we notice several months or more after they’re gone that we’re missing and missing, it’s best to NOTICE the missing then – TRANSFORM that feeling into something creative.  What’s that?  Only one thing can rewire and open us again to what’s next, to use the POWER of those deep feelings to CHANGE.  In a word, it is GRATITUDE.  We notice our missing that person, then we become and deeply FEEL gratitude for their presence in our life.  We begin to acknowledge that because of them, we were able to feel and connect this deeply and for that we are thankful, grateful, joyful.  In the process of this transformation, it’s like adding fertilizer (aka sheeeeet to our deepest longing) to our heartbreak and through it we cultivate a ground of joy and receptivity that ALLOWS us to draw that same experience to us, again.  So by feeling our missing, and becoming grateful for this deep feeling, we allow the energy and the feeling sense of it to HAPPEN again in our lives.  We literally invite connection to us by feeling it in the present for how it existed in the past which transforms us NOW.  What happened in the past, what’s behind us, sets us FREE to experience joy and fullness again and again. I know you can do this. I’ve seen you have and reach for what you’ve wanted before, and you can do it again, now. I DARE you!!!

What do you GET to?

September 28, 2019

I just love this – the idea of ‘getting to’ is the BEST reframe for doing something required to get where we CHOOSE to go.  Before we dig in deep – here’s an everyday example:  You want to go to PARIS (insert favorite destination for a well-deserved vacation) and you’re starting to plan.  Oh, if it were only so easy as to pick a few dates on the calendar and call your travel agent to finalize plans.  Back to reality – you’ve chosen your dates, and you go on-line to get a flight.  You find flights on your chosen dates and they’re not ridiculously priced – BINGO, credit card inserted and flights done.  Then you spend at least 2 hours online finding a hotel that’s also not ridiculous, in an arrondissement (area) that you can walk and be near sites, restaurants, etc.  Then you pack and put the mail on hold and make home care arrangements for your pets, etc. and get your daughter to drive you to the airport.  So far, so good. Then you get in line for security and they say your bag is overweight, and you have to take off your shoes to pass through screening. Then they frisk you like you’re crossing the Radcliffe Line (check it out – I was there in 2010 and even though I had a female frisker / aka security guard, yes, you get used to it – it was still something:

So far this post could be an endorsement for why NOT to travel, but that’s not why we’re here – and something I would NEVER support.  The real issue is what the heck we tell ourselves when we have to go through all this trouble to do something we WANT to do.  Why, all of a sudden, our HAVE tos eclipse our WANT tos, when we’re just trying to get to PARIS darn it!  And there in lies the rub.  How getting to our goals can become such a PITA – pain in the ass – can be so hard when at first glance, it doesn’t really have to be, does it?  Well, yes it does and does not.

So, I wanted to get my PhD and I realized shortly into it (I am a bit naive still, no doubt, but that’s another story) that I could also get licensed as a school/counseling psychologist which means I can do what I’ve done for a long time, but now I can take insurance and offer therapeutic services to a broader spectrum of patients.  And that’s all good, right?  Well yes, and then I started to study for the licensure exam. And in short order, I am spending 5-6 hours per day – that’s PER DAY, unpaid to do more of what I’ve been doing for over 3 years, so that I can pass a 4.5 hour exam so that I can APPLY – apply my friends, for a license.  ARGH>>>> and YAYYY!!! I am learning, again and for the first time, so much about my field that it’s awesome – and when I don’t want to sit my butt down again and again I tell myself (with conviction because it’s true) I am so blessed that I GET TO spend this time studying so that I can pass this exam in one try because I will demonstrate that I have the required knowledge to practice independently, and to be the best psychologist that I can be for my patients.

And so we’ve come full circle – I ‘get to’ and you ‘get to’ do all the steps, the hard things, required to get to where we CHOOSE to go.  And if they weren’t worth our effort, we wouldn’t have chosen them in the first place, and if WE weren’t worth the effort, we would have quit a long time ago. So, here’s to GETTING TO and becoming all we can and choose to be, and to going to all the AMAZING places that challenge and excite us – whether or not we get frisked or hassled!!! Bon voyage my friends. I’ll meet you at the baggage claim!!! xoxoxo

The mountains are calling….

September 21, 2019
I learned the coolest thing studying for my licensure exam (well, lots of cool things but this one stands out….) and that is:  of
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to self-actualize – that is to meet one’s personally defined need to grow, to
be creative, to find meaning in one’s life – NEVER ENDS!!!! Why is that so amazing?  Well, every definition and description
of Maslow’s theory that I’d read prior presents the six needs in a linear fashion, that they are stages one passes through to
get to a defined end point. But we all know that’s not how it feels to accomplish things, to be in process with life!
Here they are fyi:
  1. Physiological needs, such as needs for food, sleep and air.
  2. Safety, or the needs for security and protection, especially those that emerge from social or political instability.
  3. Belonging and love including, the needs of deficiency and selfish taking instead of giving, and unselfish love that is based upon growth rather than deficiency.
  4. Needs for self-esteem, self-respect, and healthy, positive feelings derived from admiration.
  5. And “being” needs concerning creative self-growth, engendered from fulfillment of potential and meaning in life.

Psychology Today describes Maslow’s theory thus: “Maslow’s hierarchy reflects a linear pattern of growth depicted in a direct pyramidal order of ascension. Moreover, he states that self-actualizing individuals are able to resolve dichotomies such as that reflected in the ultimate contrary of free-will and determinism. He also contends that self-actualizers are highly creative, psychologically robust individuals.”  From:

That said – 2 little words NEVER ENDS became like a beacon to me.  One I rushed to my daughter’s house to share with her because the implications are so important and they are this:  WE CAN RELAX a little.  We can BREATHE knowing that where ever we are in the process of self-actualizing, we can rest because we’re always going to be in this process. The rush to get there (i.e., pass that damn licensure exam) is going to be replaced by the next thing anyway, so WTH is the hurry?  I know what you’re thinking – you’re saying to yourself  – “hey lady, aren’t you over 50? ” (hmmmm, yes, I am), what the heck took you so long to figure this out?”  Well maybe I’m one of those smart/dumb people you know. I actually am one of those people, for better or worse – I hope you kinda like me anyway….but really, I am like that – a bit naive and yet smart on lots of levels, but still a bit dumb so maybe, I don’t know – maybe I’m just HUMAN!   But when I read that self-actualizing never ends I understood more about myself and that felt good especially because I always read this theory as a place of arrival rather than a process.  Maybe achieving my PhD is awesome for me but it’s not the end either, and I can always be in process, and that’s ok because according to Maslow (and who doesn’t love a great theorist?), I’m always going to be in process and that’s great because it means all my other needs are met (which is fantastic and awesome and I worked by butt off since I was 12 to get there – another story, but a good one, I promise)… I can be, I mean BE and take this exam and it’s all good no matter what!

And the mountains will continue to call – and I will go, and I’ll rest a little while I’m there – which will be new for me. xoxox

Climb every mountain
Search high and low
Follow every byway
Every path you know
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Every day of your life
For as long as you live
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream (climb every mountain)
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Gotta love the Sound of Music where this song originates…. when Maria realizes her fate, when her inner self-actualizing potential (to marry and be a mother) meets the hard realities of her life (she thought she’s be a nun) – like when 6 volumes of study books meet my need to jump, run, yoga, barre and basically not sit anymore…..;0(   – not quite the same but feels like it!!!
Lots of love for all of our adventures.  Meet me on the other side of this mountain and let’s climb – together. How about in the Madonie Mountains – May 2020 –  Flourish Sicily – reach out here:  Come with Us!!!
Reach out – ask questions – JOURNEY TOGETHER.
Much love,

You’ve likely heard this before – some stress is good – it gets us up in the morning to work on time, it nags us to do our homework to reach our goals, and cajoles us to choose studying for an exam over another Netflix episode of – insert your latest crush title here. It elbows us to save for retirement over splurging on a new pair of Choo’s, and it gets us to cut the grass before it gets so long we’ll have to do it twice to finish.

Like any relationship though, it’s best to read the signs along the way, and to address chronic, underlying issues before they show up sideways.  We usually can see these sideways signs in our life before we recognize them in our bodies.  Having lots of accidents lately?  Avoiding opening the credit card statement?  Misplacing the overdue medical bills month after month? Getting snippy with your loved ones for no reason – or worse – for really little things like the way they put away the dishes?

Whether or not these things ring a bell – how about the physical symptoms that get overlooked… irritable bowel syndrome, shallow breathing, dizziness, poor sleep, repeated broken toes, or heart palpitations when you think of….- insert your current relationship struggle?  The first step is to recognize the signs in your body when stress is going overboard before these more severe symptoms begin yelling at you to pay attention, before you get into a vicious stress cycle that’s difficult to break.  The image below is borrowed from my friends, Drs. Michele & Mark Sherwood, from the Functional Medicine Institute in Tulsa who work tirelessly to provide tools for your wellness.  Check out their work!

All that said – the way to break-up with stress is to activate the relaxation response, the feel good physiological processes that crowd stress out.  Take one minute now, close your eyes and simply feel your breath – in and out, up and down, just sense yourself and listen.  Begin to awaken to how you FEEL, right now.  If you do this today, and again tomorrow, just for a few minutes, you can change your life, break-up with stress for good, and even better, make stress a friend rather than a toxic enemy.  For more tips, tools, or to have a session in-person or remotely, drop a line here at my private practice.  We’ll get in touch and work on that break-up for good.

In well-being,


What is courage?

January 28, 2019

I never thought of this until today while listening to Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach in their On Being talk with Krista Tippett…..there is rage in courage. What? Courage comes from cor (heart in Latin) and age (with) = with your heart. Or in Brene Brown’s language, wholeheartedness. Where does ‘rage’ come in? This seems at odds…..with your whole heart seems loving, kind, yet rage or raige in Old French, refers to madness, spirit, passion – or rabies in Old English – you get the idea. Wild heart, maybe?

Many years ago at my first yoga training, we were asked to identify a word that we could become, grow into, a way of being that would spark our higher nature and our fullest life. A word that identified what we desired to take from the fire of transformation that our week-long, 14 hour per day yoga practice would birth for us. Mine was courage. One does not choose their word from a rationalized process or dictionary. The word comes from the spiritual world and lands on your head like bird poop in a Roman alleyway. How is it that my whole heart and my rage can be activated at the same time? For me, I’ve come to learn that there is a sense of injustice in the world that I aim to redress while at the same time loving the difficult, heart-wrenching problems that enter my office in my work as a psychologist. Wholehearted with people who show up, and at the same time incensed by the trauma and heartbreak that the people I treat have endured. I can tell you firsthand, it takes a lot of courage to show up. If I bring only wholeheartedness, I will break from the gory details of their suffering. If I bring only rage, I will be unable to empathize enough to be helpful. There is rage is courage, and I’m glad I can sit with the light and the dark of this growing capacity within, and assist those who show up in my office with my whole heart, while activating my rage to reach upstream toward the problems that brought them to my office to begin with. It helps a lot. Thank you Glennon and Abby.

Kindness.  “Be nice” our mamas said.  So simple.  So right.  Yet, we see often the highest worldly rewards going to those exhibiting completely opposite behaviors. Why does it work that way?  Well, if we want ‘good’ things to happen, then kindness comes without the expectation of reward. It’s naturally fulfilling, on its own.  Even better than that – kindness wires a pathway in your brain toward increased kindness and it begets itself.  Kindness breeds more kindness.  And the secret of all behaviors is that all of them – from brushing your teeth to saying “please” and “thank you” – wire pathways or routes in the brain that make those behaviors come more naturally, easily.  That’s how habits work too. Practice, practice and what you practice becomes a way of being.

Kindness – it starts with your word – keeping your word, being “impeccable with your word” to quote the first of The Four Agreements.  Start there and work on only saying what you mean, what you can commit to doing, under promising and over delivering. No one wants too much wind in their environment (:0) isn’t the word ‘blowhard’?) – because excessive wind makes quite a mess. Don’t we know it as hurricanes are routinely given people names!  So, be kind to yourself and right now forgive yourself the times you’ve not followed through – for when you may have prioritized other things over your word – then move on – and begin today – keep your word, say less (you’ll stay out of trouble), and begin to practice kindness with your word and your actions.  Good things are on their way!

Being Connected

October 3, 2017

There’s something just magical about connection – first conected to ourselves through meditative activities (i.e., meditation, yoga, music, creating art, sports, walking – whatever works for you).  And most of all, connection is especially sweet when we have those wonderful moments of connection to each other.  That feeling of ‘you get me’ that’s special and tender and so much fun. I’d love to hear how you connect to yourself and to your friends, family and loved ones.  Most often, it takes some quiet time without competing noise and motion to feel that resonance.  In psychological terms, connections to others that are close and healthy are referred to as ‘attuned.’  Daniel Siegel, MD describes attunement in his books as “how we focus our attention on others and take their essence into our own world.”  Think of the way a caring mother looks into the eyes of her baby.  It’s the present moment understanding of how another human being is feeling – an awareness in real-time to their internal, emotional state.  You know what that feels like – when you look into the eyes of your beloved and feel that they see you. They know you. We teach how to connect to ourselves first – how to be intimately aware of ourselves and how we feel so that we can meet the world with a quiet readiness – a connected body/mind energy that’s ready for anything.  Learn more about attunement on youtube:  HERE

Let me know your questions and comments.

See you on your mat!


A yoga studio in East Rochester, Flourish Yoga Project can help you enrich your life through our Pilates, Meditation, Cardio, and Yoga classes & programs.

Your Body Story

September 8, 2017

Movement is life!

What’s a body story and more importantly, what’s YOUR body’s story?  Every body holds the imprint of its past – experiences good and not so that are held in the cells and tissues often described as muscle memory or simply pain.  These memories are easy to see on the skin – the largest and most visible organ of the body, in scars and structure that identify life events.  For example, I have two almond sized scars on my lower right leg from a steel pin that once held my tibia and fibula together after getting hit by a car when I was 5. Ouch! That was really painful and there’s a whole story underneath those scars of buried memory, deep pain, and a tendency to look three ways when crossing the street.

Most often as body stories show up in yoga class, there’s a sense of an old injury, or a discomfort that’s constant in particular poses.  People often just claim, “I can’t do that!”  Then there are those yogis, you’re likely one of them if your reading this far, that get curious about what their body can and can’t do in class. I always tell people that if you can breathe, you can do yoga – because the point of yoga is not to bend ourselves into pretzels (though that’s lots of fun and can be motivating for some like me who couldn’t move for six weeks after that car injury).  The point of yoga is to breathe deep, to connect within, and to explore where your body is right now, what its story is today. Because like all memory, overtime, the body story changes.  Dr. Bessel van der Kolk writes in his excellent book, The Body Keeps the Score, “memory is fickle; our [life] stories change and are constantly revised and updated…”  So too the body story that we’ve been carrying around for so long. As we get curious and look within the beautiful interior landscape of our body and its story, we can heal old wounds, and let go of remaining energy around past difficult events in our lives. That means we can feel what we feel without judgment and overwhelm (i.e., “I can’t do that!”), and without becoming enraged, ashamed, or giving up.  We can understand ourselves and go from there.

While the body never forgets, it beautifully changes and grows, and as you understand and integrate your body’s story, there’s a newfound sense of physical freedom and power within.  Dr. van der Kolk writes that through this kind if healing, there’s “a feeling that you are in charge of yourself….fully alive in the present and engaged with the people around you.” These are just a few of the benefits of yoga practice, of discovering your body’s story, and embracing all the twists and turns. See you on the mat!  Check out our full Class Schedule here




How Yoga Works

June 23, 2017

How DOES yoga work? Here’e one way to describe it: as you root into your feet in standing poses, you release negativity into the earth – that strong, expansive receptacle of rebirth and regeneration. As you breathe and focus on your breath, you dispel limiting thoughts and beliefs that hold you back.  From your feet (1st chakra, base)  and your head (7th chakra, crown) your root down to rise by becoming strong and light at the same time. This is referred to as sthira sukha asanam in Sanskrit, and represents the qualities of steadiness and ease. Read more here:

It’s also that amazing feeling derived from poses like half moon.  See you on your mat.

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