Love Is

Love Is.

I can’t
buy it,
trade for it,
beg for it,
demand it or
work for it.

Love Is.

I can
open my eyes,
soften my gaze,
deepen my breath and
acknowledge what is.

Love Is.

Love Is

Opening my eyes, softening my gaze, deepening my breath and receiving the dynamic love of this sky

I can
open my eyes,
soften my gaze,
deepen my breath and

Love Is.
Love Is.

I can
open my eyes,
soften my gaze,
deepen my breath and

Love is.
Love is.
I am.

From Ann’s forthcoming second book, Strong from Within: Loving, embodying and expressing you.

Join the conversation ~ post your insights, feedback and experiences below.

How Are You a Messenger of Love?

My Valentine’s gift this year opened my heart wider – to the glory of God. And, my sweetie and I shared that amazing experience. We both wondered if we were too old for an indoor arena concert, but choose to go see TobyMac live anyway!

It was crazy loud. And complete overstimulation for me. Quite surprisingly, it didn’t matter.

Somehow, I surrendered to that deafening noise and powerhouse energy. It broke me open, reminding me to the depths of my being that the Love and Oneness of God is my foundation and that I am a priestess.

I thought I was going to hear fantastic, uplifting music. Turns out that fantastic, uplifting music called forth more of who I am.

How Are You a Messenger of Love?

TobyMac, Mandisa and Ryan Stevenson

TobyMac himself inspired me by asking us to pray for him – that more songs may come though him that reach people. Indeed, we need more messengers of Love.

I have prayed for him. And I pray for you and me. That we may each serve more fully as the unique messenger of Love that we are.

Thank you TobyMac for being a powerful, and loud, messenger of Love!

Join the conversation – post your insights, feedback and experiences below.

How Do We Know the Joy of Ritual?

“Thanksgiving kundalini yoga was phenomenal,” I texted my friend Gina. That tickled her and sparked her curiosity. What had made it extraordinary?

As I pondered it, I realized that ritual tends to help me experience my connection with others and all that is.

The yoga event raised money to stop sex trafficking. We did a yoga set that helped us claim and own our bodies. There were 50 beautiful souls practicing together. Talented musicians enhanced the experience. This was the 5th annual. I loved all of it.

I don’t decorate much for the holidays. Yet, on the evening of January 1, 2016, I took a field trip to the tiny town of Madrid, NM where the entire town lights up for Christmas. I was so enthralled and enchanted, that I came home, drug out Christmas lights that hadn’t seen the light of day for years and have yet to take them down.

How Do We Know the Joy of Ritual?

They bring me joy every day, reminding me of the magic of life.

What makes the holidays rich for you? Eating the same foods your ancestors ate on sacred days? Giving to those less fortunate? Singing the same songs every year? Rituals specific to your family? Inviting new people to join you?

As always, post your comments, experiences and insights below . . .

And, if you’d like to explore the spiritual and sacred, perhaps I can help you:

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What Experiences Spark Joy for You?

I have been studying A Course of Love with fervor for the past few months. It has both taken hold of me and frustrated me. I hear the Truth of “Love is” and “Dedicate all thought to union” and I don’t always live it. I hear the call to completely drop judgment and I judge that I can’t do that, even though I want to. Deep breath.

Reading A Course of Love sparks joy for me. Discussing A Course of Love with my Course mates sparks joy for me. Feeling into A Course of Love sparks joy for me. So, I’m allowing my frustration without thinking it has to mitigate my joy.

person sewing

Recently I explored with two of my Course mates the idea of the relationship of needle, thread and fabric as presented in the Course. Somehow, I can feel the service of the needle and the joy of the union of thread and fabric. That’s amazing and glorious to me.

I devote my 2016 to experiencing A Course of Love more and more deeply.

What about you? What sparks joy for you? What is calling you? What devotion is yours in 2016?

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you“)

What Opens Your Heart to Joy?

Recently, one of my coaching clients mentioned it was hard for her to keep her focus on what’s important to her. How often does that happen for all of us?

Especially at this time of year, it can be easy to slip into a whirlwind of activity or focusing on what’s missing.

If you’ve taken a moment to read this, take another moment to check in with yourself, become present to this holy moment and notice what opens your heart to joy. Allow yourself to be present with that in this moment.

Ann Strong Blog Post 122315

As I was writing this, I realized I wanted to run outside and photograph the beauty of this shortest day of the year. The clouds and the mountains and the snow – opening my heart to joy . . .

And this moment.

And this moment. What opens your heart to joy now in this moment?

Hmmmm, perhaps a wonderful way to live a life . . .

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

Happy Autumn Pictures from New Mexico

For those of you who have listened to my talk at Celebration a few weeks ago, you know that my primary church is the great outdoors. Right now for me here in New Mexico, it is the Galisteo Basin Preserve. 13,522 acres of open space, 3 miles from my front door. To celebrate autumn, I thought I’d share a bit of my “church” in pictures.

Gorgeous first day of autumn.
Gorgeous first day of autumn.


I always feel so alive and peaceful in the serenity<br /> and solitude of this place.
I always feel so alive and peaceful in the serenity and
solitude of this place.


The glory of the autumn sunset . . .
The glory of the autumn sunset . . .


I would love to know about your “church” and what it means to you . . .

My Intertwined Paths to the Divine

Last Sunday, I gave a talk at church about my two intertwined paths to the Divine. The more formal, worship and body prayer path and the church of nature path.

The worship path
From the Catholic church of my childhood, through Christian mysticism, Quaker meeting, a dozen Christian church field trips, Dances of Universal Peace, Unity and Religious Science churches and Kundalini yoga to Celebration Church in Santa Fe (a non-denominational, co-created church without a minister.)

The church of nature path
As a child, I spent hundreds of hours laying under a tree watching the clouds. I also wiled away many summer afternoons on the banks of the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers making smithereens. As a teenager, I was mesmerized by the stillness in the trees while skiing.

In my late 30s, I discovered the sacred vastness of New Mexico. This is the second time I’ve lived here because it’s the home of my soul. It feel easier for me to know God here – in the earth and the rocks, the sun and the moon, the sky and the stars, the sage and the rocks, the trees and the wind.

When I lived in Denver, I wrote most of the prayers in my first book while sitting under trees in City Park. I would drive up to Red Rocks when I was in a funk to hang out with those awesome red rocks. And, I climbed high enough to look out over the entire city, which consistently shifted my perspective.

It has always been natural and easy for me to connect with the Divine in nature, through nature.

Confluence of the Colorado River and Roaring Fork River.  Who could  not find God here?!?
Confluence of the Colorado River and Roaring Fork River.
Who could not find God here?!?

Back at Celebration Church last Sunday
I loved giving the talk. And what surprised me: 6 or 7 people told me that my story was their story. At first I was puzzled. Had they too visited Quaker meeting and several fundamentalist Christian Churches? Did they know how to make smithereens? Did they study to become a Unity minister?

Then I realized what they were saying – they too are seekers. They too had looked in churches and alternatives to churches and had often found the Divine in nature.

What about you? What has been your path to the Divine?

I would love to hear a bit of your story below . . .

Savoring the Uniqueness of What Sparks Joy

Recently I noticed I hadn’t been writing in my Gratitude Journal much. For years, I wrote faithfully every evening 5 or more things for which I felt grateful. I am appreciative by nature, and I wasn’t sure what to make of this.

I decided to let it be without trying to figure it out. Shortly after that, I got excited about writing a few things every evening that had sparked joy for me during the day.

For some reason the distinction of writing a Sparking Joy Journal rather than a Gratitude Journal tickled me. Throughout the day, I love being on the lookout for joy sparkers. I love being surprised.

This from a woman who never used the word joy or liked surprises a few months ago. Go figure. I feel like my life is a treasure hunt. Without any angst about the hunt. There are so many things – big and small – that spark joy for me each day.

A few from today:

  • Hearing the connections my client and her staff were making as they explored their StrengthsFinder strengths together as a team, as a family.
  • The feel of laying on the ground, noticing the Earth holding me.
  • Being interviewed about Strong from Within.
  • Jasmine, my cat, crawling up my chest and putting her paws together in prayer pose right on my heart.
  • The road graders coming to fix the rain damage on our road.


And, these beautiful wild four o’clocks. Such joy.

Earlier in the summer, I had bought annuals for my big pots on the patio. Between the periodic hail and intense sun, many of the plants are long gone and the ones hanging on don’t look too good.

Today, I noticed the beauty of the four o’clock plants that just sprung up and require nothing of me. I learned they are the wild, high desert version of the four o’clocks I loved as a kid growing up in Denver. They are all around me here. And I just noticed them!

What about you? What have you noticed recently that sparks joy for you? How might you bring more awareness to noticing your joy sparkers?

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you“)

I would love your thoughts and responses. Post comments and insights below . . .

Evoking the Best of You: From the Archives – Outer Simplicity, Inner Richness

Circa: 1991

Ann Strong, Outer Simplicity, Inner Richness

Thank you, Moreah Vestan, for asking for this postcard: Outer Simplicity,
Inner Richness, 69 things you can do for yourself, for children, for neighbors,
and for all inhabitants of planet Earth.

I wrote this piece in 1991. (I had to look it up!) I appreciate that you
had a hard-to-read copy in your Reflections file and that you asked to
see the original. You made my day!

Enjoy! This stuff is still as pertinent today!

Guaranteed Gratitude

I have written about gratitude for the past 15 years at Thanksgiving. Many years, I have written about it at other times as well. I love it – appreciation is one of the strongest perspective changers that we have freely available to us. Today as I sat down to write, I wondered what would be my fresh perspective this year.


What aspects of your life consistently bring you joy? Every time? No matter what? Even if you’re annoyed at the same time?

That you might overlook feeling appreciative because they are ever-present? Like breathing?

Yes, deep breathing is one for me. No matter how upset I get, my breath can calm me down. When I remember to slow down and deepen my breathing, I reconnect to me, to the Universe, to whatever is in front of me.

Jasmine, my magical black kitty with deep green eyes and seven toes on both front paws and six on the back ones. She has the strongest will and loves to talk more than any cat I’ve ever known. She is pure love and freedom in action. Regardless of how much she’s ripping up the room, I can’t help but be grateful for her.

The moon, oh the moon. She’s just a sliver today and I am so grateful to have her visible once again. She shines as a reliable, beautiful companion.

Kundalini yoga. Even when the postures seem impossible and I am muttering under my breath, I feel immense gratitude for having this practice that loves my body, mind, heart and spirit!

My ability to walk. To get to be out in nature every day makes me very happy. I’m even learning how to appreciate wind. I am so grateful for the Earth and all of the elements and my relationships with them.

One of the many wonderful places I now get to walk and delight in so many elements of nature: a sunset from my "Big Backyard," the Galisteo Basin Preserve

One of the many wonderful places I now get to walk and delight
in so many elements of nature: a sunset from my “Big Backyard,”
the Galisteo Basin Preserve

My consistent courage to change and grow and experience. I am so grateful to be me!

My niece, Alisha. Allow me to be a proud aunt for a moment. She just learned Friday that she passed the California Bar. Yes, on her first time of taking it. All that led up to this huge accomplishment has made her grumpy. Often. Over many months. And it didn’t even matter to me. I love and adore her and appreciate every minute I spend with her, even via text. I am so grateful that I get to have such an extraordinary young woman in my life.

So, what about you? What are your Guaranteeds?

Post your comments, insights and progress below.


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