Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Forty Already? How did that happen?

On September 29th 2015 I’ll officially bid my 30s goodbye. Stepping into the decade of “sophistication,” crossing the other half of the line and welcoming the “later years.” 

I’m not prepared. I’m not ready. I don’t feel forty. How did this happen so quickly? 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Mind: Friend or Foe?

The morning sun stabbed my eyelids, waking me with a pounding headache. It felt like woodpeckers were perched on my ears tapping my temples uncontrollably. And my mouth tasted like one died in it. Pulling the covers over my head before forcing my eyes open, I smelled the regret of last night’s party. Suddenly I felt a rush swell to the top of my throat. The haze of dust quickly cleared as I hurried to find a toilet. “I did it again,” I thought.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How Badly Does Tragedy Suck?

When national tragedy strikes we get shaken.

Uprooted from our regular routine, we’re affected, if only for a few moments. It’s underneath the grief and sadness that the depth of reality slowly gets uncovered.
Our instinct is to avoid the pain and run. We want freedom from burdens, so stepping into them seems counterintuitive. It’s easier to turn a blind eye. On a national level we’ve done a great job circumventing the topic of mental illness. Perhaps it’s too daunting a task, an elusive goal with too many variables—a problem too big to face. Or perhaps it’s easier to ignore in hopes that it’ll go away on it’s own.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Freedom from the Trance

Sleepwalkers: the slow wave sleep stage in a state of low consciousness performing activities that are usually performed during a state of full consciousness.

“Am I dreaming?”  A question I’d ask myself often during my pre-adolescent years.  My life was spent in a perpetual haze, daydreaming to get me through the harsh reality that was my world. It was one way of coping – conjuring up fantasies offered relief; other times it made things worse.  I began to wonder if I was walking this world half-asleep.  My inquiry grew and I started noticing others and watching their patterns. I became convinced no one is ever fully awake. “We’re all asleep in a dream together and nothing is real.” The thought made me shudder. I forced myself to stop thinking it.  But as we all know what we resist persists.  There was no letting go.  Not until I sat, embraced the notion and fully understood what it means to be completely awake. 

Friday, February 14, 2014


Michael Schulder writes for  His most recent piece: Valentine's Day Magic Ratio was written after interviewing my husband, Pete Dominick, and I.  The piece fits well with Inner Light of Mine's mission and is included below.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Losing Ourselves to the Age of Distraction: How Mindfulness Can Help

“Mindfulness,” the latest buzzword has recently hit Time Magazine. The word is everywhere; you can’t get away from it.  It’s an adverb (mindful eating, walking, working, parenting), a clothing line, a magazine, and even a tea brand.  The trend has officially gone mainstream.  More and more people are gravitating toward the pull of this ancient wisdom.  Not because it’s the latest fad, but because it’s a means of coping in an overly stimulating, competitive, and demanding society.  Distraction is the leading condition of our age.  And as the Time’s article states, “there are no signs of things slowing down; to the contrary, they’re getting stronger.”  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Overlooking The Edge

It was the first day of January. Standing on top of the world, my breath froze in my chest.  Looking over the edge I reminded myself to breathe, but the second that breath came, fear snatched it away.  A gust of heavy, cold air came toward me in a hurry. I felt as if I was trying to subdue a tornado with my bare hands.  Determined, I stood strong, planting myself with conviction. “I can do this,” I whispered.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Are you a bucket filler or dipper? You may be surprised.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

That rhyme became my childhood mantra. Each time my insides were bruised by hurtful words I’d repeat it silently to myself, hoping it would liberate me from the pain. As a child it seemed like a practical way of dealing. Words can't physically hurt me - right? But the damage was happening on the inside.  The mantra wasn't complete. It didn't work because it was only half true. 

Dad once told me kids made fun of his ‘banana’ nose and Dumbo ears when he was young. A shy Italian immigrant, he was the bullied kid, the target of ridicule. Dad never admitted it, but I knew.  He probably became an expert at ignoring it – just like he told me, “Just ignore them Valerie.” I envisioned him a lonely fourth grader singing that silly jingle to himself as he fought back tears.  As his nine-year old daughter it was obvious those names still held welts under his skin. Practically twenty-five years later the torment was still in his eyes. “Whoever made up that stupid saying is a total idiot,” I thought.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Afraid of the Dark?

My racing heart bashing against my chest briefly distracted me from the perpetual screams.  “Is sixteen too young to die from a heart attack?” I thought.  The pounding was so loud the person next to me must have heard it.  Fear held me captive - paralyzed by the unknown, standing motionless.  What lurked around the next corner? What must be confronted despite my resistance? Safety wasn’t in jeopardy, this I knew. Yet the uncertainty of the next moment kept me frightened.  Eyes stayed shut, despite the black that already surrounded me. Victim to the darkness I pushed through.  Another scream.  Jumping back I knocked over the person behind me and tumbled to the floor.  “Why the F*#@ do I keep doing this to myself?” I asked out loud. Opening my eyes for the first time the goblin's face was in front of my own.  A playful laugh came from behind the mask.  He answered in a muffled voice, “Because you looooove being scared.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feeling Alive

The afternoon was bright in mid-July.  Warm sunshine dripped through the holes between the clouds.  It was like the sky was a cracked blue and white bowl trickling with golden honey.  As I walked with my yoga bag toward the pavilion at Camp Champion, I looked up and caught myself noticing the vastness above me.  “Spectacular,” I thought, “I’m so glad I looked up.”  I wondered about all the miracles I miss every day.    

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mindful Thinking: How the simple act of noticing our thoughts broadens our self-awareness.

“Let’s go!  We’re going to be late!” These are the familiar words my children have grown to ignore.  “Hurry up!” has become standard even when the clock says there’s time.  After years of transitioning from homework to soccer practice, ballet auditions and weekday birthday parties, we live a perpetual rush to make it  ‘on-time’.  Mindlessly moving from one super hurried day to the next.  Ending each day with the same overpowering heap of exhaustion.  And tomorrow we do it again.    

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Yoga: One Path to Mindfulness

In. Out.   My breath was loud in my ear while sitting cross-legged on my mat.  The warm, dim yoga room wrapped me in comfort as sweat dripped from my brow and landed on my closed eyelid.  There was nothing on my mind but the hum of the breath, my stretched muscles relaxed after the flex and pull of a vigorous class.  “In, out, let the breath flow and feel its presence within the body.”  The instructor’s voice was soft, putting me in a trance. This is it, I thought.  I’m finally getting it.  The yogis are right.  This feeling is beyond words.  No description can do it justice.