Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great
inspiration to me! In August of 1998, about four months after my
father passed away, I read about one of Carol's
workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and
synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the
bookstore. The themes of her teachings were
familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts
and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before
his passing. Her books and workshops ignited my
spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path,
which led to the very creation of
SoulfulLiving.com! Carol's participation has been
an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul
level! Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com
These three simple words of
advice from author and spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, connect
us to the attentive and aware state we call mindfulness.
When we are mindful, we are aware of our body, our feelings,
and our actions in the present moment. Buddhism teaches
that mindfulness is the path to freedom, wisdom, and
Try being mindful now. Where
are you sitting? How does your seat feel? Is any part of
your body straining, tired, or in need of a small
adjustment? If so, bring your attention to that place.
Breathe into it and allow the body to adjust itself in order
to feel a bit more relaxed. Mindfulness opens channels for
creativity, compassion, joy, and love.
I tend to become more mindful
when I’m scared. For example, I was thinking of the first
time I bathed my infant daughter in 1964. I had no
experience with slippery, wailing, little red bodies. I
laid out a towel next to the sink. I cleaned the sink
carefully, and began to fill it with just-right warm water.
Checked again with the other hand just to be sure my skin on
the first hand hadn’t acclimated and the water really was
too hot. Folded the wash cloth. Unfolded the wash cloth
for easier access. Laid out a diaper and diaper pins next
to the towel. Finally, I opened the little holes in the lid
on the bath powder. Ready.
Gently cradling her
melon-sized head and squirmy little wrinkled feet, I held my
breath without realizing it. She weighed only slightly more
than five pounds, having arrived three weeks early, and been
in the hospital for a week. Now, the time had come for her
first bath. Gently the warm water flowed over her bottom,
over her arms, her eyes opening wider, breath quiet.
Lesson of the Three-inch
One evening not long ago, we
had a family get- together at my house. Over dinner, my
grown son, Gunther, started telling us about an incident
that had happened to him a couple of days before. Hearing
it, I couldn’t help being anxious for his safety, yet
laughing at the same time. Each of the experiences in his
story is a good example of everyday mindfulness. I’ll let
him tell it in his own words.
“I was checking
out my compost pile in the backyard last week. I had so
much stuff in the box that I was afraid the natural
bacterial breakdown wouldn’t be fast enough. I used to have
a worm box in San Francisco, and so I decided to get some
About an hour later, I was
listening to the local college radio, KALX, and an
advertisement from BayWorms.org came on. I checked out their
Web site, and put in an order for a Vermi Start-up Kit.
Within thirty minutes, I received a response from Mickey at
BayWorms that I had been put on the waiting list for a Vermi
An hour later I received an
email saying that my worm kit was ready! Wow, fast
service. I could pick it up next Tuesday. They said they’d
be there around lunch-time.
On Tuesday I roped a
co-worker, who commutes to work by bike, to join me for a
trip, from where we work in Emeryville, to the community
garden in Alameda, where BayWorms is located.
We mapped out our ride and
set off on Mandela Parkway through West Oakland towards
China town and….the Posey Tube! [Alameda is on an island
near Oakland, California.]
After scratching our heads
for ten minutes, we finally found the bicycle entrance
into the hole known as the Tube. Bicycles have to travel
along a raised walkway about thirty inches wide, with a
curved tile wall on one side and fifty-mile-an-hour traffic
on the other. On my Xtracycle, the width of the handle bars
leaves about three inches of clearance on either side.
Twenty yards into the Tube,
my heart was in my throat. Over the traffic noise, I yelled
back at my co-worker, Chris, not daring to shift around to
look at him. ‘Are you cool with this?’ Chris said, ‘Let’s
I took one big breath, tried
to hold it, and continued into the depths. At this point in
the Tube, you can’t see the other end. You’re just driving
forward on faith that there will be an end--that you won’t
choke on the fumes, and that you won’t flip over into the
Fortunately, we didn’t
encounter anybody coming in the opposite direction.
Emerging from the Tube into a no-man’s strip of earth
between the lanes entering the Tube, we started winding our
way through the main streets of Alameda toward the garden.
After two miles of pedaling,
we turned into the neighborhood that hosts the community
garden. At this point I looked over at Chris, and said, ‘If
the marketing material for this ride wasn’t perfectly clear,
let me tell you right now, that our final destination is a
low-income housing project.’
After a detour into the
Plowshares for Swords Community Garden (which is not
where BayWorms is located), we arrived at the Alameda Point
Community Garden. Much to our chagrin, we saw no one
there. Chris asked if I had told them I was coming, and I
said, ‘Yes! Mickey promised me he’d be here.’
I yelled out,
‘Hello.’ Like mushrooms, two people popped their heads up
between the garden rows. One was Mickey. He looked like an
aboriginal Swami Muktananda, with wild hair and blue eyes.
The other person, Debra, was a twenty-something six-foot
tall grad student in jeans and a chambray work shirt,
chestnut hair down to her shoulders.
After introducing ourselves,
Mickey assembled my Vermi Start-up Kit—which was four
handfuls of worms and leaves hefted into two used Target
bags. Chris was as quiet as a fly on the wall during this
I told Mickey that we had
ridden our bikes through the Tube. ‘Oh, man,’ he said,
‘Don’t take the Tube. I did that once. I thought my heart
would stop!’ I said, ‘Damn, Mickey, that happened to me,
too!’ He said, ‘Put your bike on the bus rack and take the
bus back through the Tube.’ I thanked him for his advice,
and paid him for the worms. Chris and I headed back.
When we got to the Tube, the
AC Transit bus that goes through the tunnel pulled up. I
asked Chris, ‘Want to take the bus?’ Looking straight
ahead, head down, he said, ‘Let’s do this thing.’
This time Chris went first.
He barreled through so fast, he disappeared into the
darkness of the Tube. I lurched behind him, the heavy worm
load unbalancing my bike on the right side, adding to my
We finally emerged back into
Oakland’s China Town. Before going back to work, we had a
taco at a taco truck near our company, and felt lucky to be
That night I built a worm box
out of an old Ikea toy chest. I reached into the regular
compost bin to grab some vegetables I’d thrown in two days
before so the worms wouldn’t go hungry. Much to my surprise
the vegetables in my compost were already completely broken
down. I’m still glad I got the worms, though.”
It’s through mindfulness that
we listen to intuition, that we learn what’s needed next.
It’s through mindfulness that we connect to ourselves and
On Sunday, my partner,
Robert, and I went for dinner at Kirin, a very good Chinese
restaurant on Solano Avenue in Berkeley near where we live.
We were seated next to the window looking into the kitchen.
Neither of us could stop watching the four chefs, busboys,
and waiters perform their duties during the busy dinner
hour. It was a ballet of mindfulness. Hot flashing fire
flaring up against metal back splashes. Arms wielding wok
after wok--shake, shake, shake. Chef turning expertly,
filling bowls with perfect mountains of glistening
vegetables. Next order.
Happy, Mindful September.
© Copyright 2009 Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. is an intuitive counselor and life coach who has helped thousands of people work through doubt, procrastination, and obstacles to create the life they want to live. Private consultations and coaching available. Contact her at
Please email Carol with a story or question about your own life for consideration for her monthly column.
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Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.,
is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her latest book is When Life Changes, or You Wish It Would. Oprah hailed, The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using
Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense a must-read. She is also an intuitive counselor and life coach who has helped thousands of people work through doubt, procrastination, and obstacles to create the life they want to live. Visit
to register for free newsletter subscription; free numerology birthdate analysis, or order numerology charts and forecasts. Private consultations and coaching available.
Please email Carol with a story or
question about your own life for consideration for her
monthly column at
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