Gravity Was Not My Friend


“What the hell is this?, I ask myself loudly in my mind. I’m in my first inversion and I have no idea what the teacher just called it. All I know is that every part of my body and skin is sagging toward the floor and it does not feel good at all. When did gravity stop being my friend?

But something about my first Yoga class inspires me to return. I am 3.5 years sober, 185lbs and I smoke and in a very sick marriage. I am so unhealthy, spiritually, and physically. I have learned that Yoga means “Union of mind, body, and spirit”. This is exactly what I am looking for.

For the next few years, I will research Hatha, Kundalini, Yin, and Hot Yoga. I will find the unifying qualities in each one.

When I suffered from Panic Attacks, Kundalini helped bring me, courage, peace and calm. When I had Gastroparesis and was too weak from lack of nutrients, Yin Yoga kept me going. When I was able to do more, Hatha. Now, I have found Hot Yoga and Yoga Sculpt with weights.

What is most delightful to me, is that there is a Yoga for just about any situation in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a cure-all. But Yoga helps us get through each circumstance as long as we are open-minded and spiritually willing to seek it.

Yoga has no bias towards age, race, body size. Yoga is true union, not just for those who are from the east, hippies or new age. Yoga also evolves with each cultural shift in each community. There  is no need for a purist attitude. Traditional Yoga is just as powerful today as it was in ancient times. Alongside traditional Yoga, Power Yoga, and Bikram bring about other options for various needs. One size does not fit all, and there is a Yoga for every type of individual alive today!

There is much controversy over Yoga. Some consider it a religion. In the Christian world, I have heard many warn of the demonic spirits present during such practice. I have let this type of influence keep me from trying Yoga for several years. Fortunately, I have experienced a wonderful spiritual awakening.

I no longer have to live with such religious restriction, concerned about my salvation. I have confidence in my relationship with my Christ. It is a wonder how many women are made to feel shame and guilt for our careers, hobbies and interests, and even our own form of worship.

I believe that God is loving, kind and forgiving. Not the vicious disciplinarian who can’t wait to strike us down with lightning for each transgression we have made. The message of Christ is one of grace and salvation, not damnation and destruction. Furthermore, Christ is not as restricting as he is represented within the church.

When I think of the video explaining Savasana below, I think of this scripture:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24

We believers in Christ, allow ourselves to die to the flesh daily and be born again in His Spirit. I truly believe that God speaks to us as we best listen and receives us as we uniquely worship Him. My worship is no more better than my brother’s or sister’s, it is just mine.

Since I started my yogic journey, I have:

  • Lost a lot of weight
  • Gained some weight back
  • Left an abusive marriage
  • Quit smoking
  • Suffered and overcame Panic Attacks
  • Suffered and overcame Gastroparesis
  • Got remarried
  • Bought a House
  • Got a promotion
  • Became a grandmother

My practice has been with me through it all. I have often uttered these words:

“There is not much else that can fill me with the same exhilaration as my Yoga practice. When I arrive on the mat, I am blissfully home.  This is a joy I would like to pass on to as many people possible.”

Yoga has brought me closer to my God and I see Yoga as one of my greatest gifts from my God. And after many years, gravity and I have become friends again!

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

The Elysian Life Part I.


A warm summer sun is a delightful thought as we feel the cold of a snowy evening here in Northern Colorado. But do we need it to be sunny all the time to have an Elysian Life? This question is as metaphoric as literal.

The word Elysian is defined as “Blissfull” or “Delightful”.

What is a Blissful life to you? Is it knowing  your day will begin with a cup of coffee and end with a bowl of sweet ice cream? Meditative walks in nature? Your surrounding family and good friends? Your career even?

I believe we define our own bliss. My bliss is knowing that I am comfortable in my own skin. That under any and all circumstances, I remain at peace with myself and with others. My bliss is also in inspiring others to find their bliss…Their Elysian Life.

For many years, I knew no peace. No bliss. Just utter chaos and no direction. I lived without much purpose. Thank God for Spiritual Awakenings and wonderful teachers.

How did I find this bliss?  Not on my own. I found good people who were more than happy to share their “secrets” with me. Now I must pass them on to you!

How to attain the Elysian Life

Keep it Simple

It seems the happiest people don’t have a lot of stuff. Stuff includes material items, chaos, time, even friends. Though everyone benefits from friendships.

When you look at having too many material items, you will find that the more you have the more you stress over. This can be the same with friendships. A good inventory of your friendships will help you find which friendships are quality and which are more beneficial as acquaintances.

Setting your own personal boundaries in this area is not only beneficial, it is empowering. Knowing that you are not necessarily cutting people out of your life, just acknowledging their place in it. With much love, blessing, and peace.

Taking an inventory of your material items and your current “projects” is also valuable. Too much of anything will certainly cause a lot of unnecessary drama in your life

Service to Others

After you have sorted out the material items in your life, you might find yourself giving things away. This is good.

In addition, now that you have trimmed a good portion of your time, you will find yourself with a little extra. What to do with it? Give some of it away…for free. Whether you chose to volunteer at your church or place of worship,  help a non-profit or do random acts of  kindness. The United Way is a good start to find something.


Living with Gratitude

I know, I know, nothing new. But this is the truth! By keeping a gratitude journal and counting your blessings, you will find a much better attitude toward life and other beings.  Just trust me on this one. Keep a gratitude journal for 21 days and if you are not happy with it, you can have your miserable old life back. Something tells me you won’t be asking for it.

Letting Go of  Expectations

This one can be quite difficult. We all have our ideas of how things “should” be. Then there is reality. We fight this battle trying to reign supreme in how we want things to be in our lives, whether it is family, work, our communities.

I once, so infuriated with a co-worker complained to another and he asked me this simple question “Did you expect something else from her?”.  True, I did even though I knew her personality.

During the holidays, expectations can be at their worst. This is the best time to let it go.

I remember one Christmas Eve when my family all met up with each other at  my grandfather’s home. I was in my first year of sobriety and the first thing I did was take a swig of my grandfather’s eggnog as he was telling me about getting the eggnog free from the food pantry “Course I had to add the booze myself!” he exclaimed. Straight to the sink I went and spit that out completely!  He apologized, but I just laughed.

Then walked in Aunt “B” and cousin “Jo”.  Aunt B had been hitting the Tequila and Vicodin and cousin Jo was definitely on Adderall. So Aunt B is talking really slow, cousin Jo was talking really fast. I expect that around 4 am the next day Aunt B was going to ask cousin Jo “What the Hell did you just say?” Not taking this lightly. I just accepted the situation. As long as I felt safe, I just sighed and smiled. I then proceeded to lovingly, laughingly watch my little nieces and nephews open their gifts. It was a great holiday!

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

I will end this week and begin next week’s blog with this. Nothing I am sharing is new. People have been doling this wisdom out for centuries. Since I have experienced such a grand transformation in my life, I feel the need to pass these little nuggets along to you. I hope you will find them as helpful as I have over the years. Stay Blissful my Friends – E

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9

The Snow Man

I have been intrigued with the term “Poetic Crossing”, in a more philosophical manner. I wanted today’s blog to be written about said term, but I am finding that it is going to take more research to give it my best words.

However, in my ongoing research I have found a lovely poem that I feel compelled to share. Please enjoy these words by Wallace Stevens…and stay blissful my friends! – E

The Snow Man


 One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright © 1954 by Wallace Stevens and renewed 1982 by Holly Stevens. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.



Each moment, each event in life is predestined. It is when we concede to them that we learn their intended lessons. Acknowledgements and acceptance. We acquire nothing from regret or disregard. Reflection is looking honestly in the mirror. At times we like what we see, at other times we don’t. It is important to give attention to both. Because each will speak their truth.

Many speak about being in the moment. Have you ever done an inventory of crucial moments in your life? Where have you come from? Where are you now? Are you ready for the next moment? Will you cherish or abhor it?

I have taken some time to do some reflecting on my own. Though the moments I came up with were not all good, I look at them with open eyes. I look at them with loving eyes. I look at them with God’s eyes.

If you were to take the time to write a list and read it out loud to God, what would God say to you? Would you be turned away, rejected? Or would God say something like:

“Elysia, you are doing the best you can and that is good enough for me. And Elysia, I love you!” This is indeed what God has said to me on more than one occasion.

This moment

Taking that breath as I enter this world.

This moment

My mom holds me for the very first time, pain of childbirth all forgotten.

This moment

My father rocks me and makes eye contact, beaming with pride.

This moment

I take the first of many steps, some with my feet and others with my heart.

This moment

Kindergarten! I’m excited to learn all that I can.

This moment

Awkwardly singing on stage with the other 1st graders.

This moment

I have entered puberty on a hot August morning.

This moment

My first drag of marijuana in my best friend’s backyard.

This moment

I’ve met cocaine. The love of my life. I will never be the same.

This moment

Is this my first, second or third overdose? Why did it have to be in school?

This moment

“You’re pregnant”, the nurse says. Somehow a small smile appears on my face.

This moment

I hold my newborn son for the very first time.

This moment

Meeting another man I think I love.

This moment

After a long painful night of sweat and screams I meet my second born son.

This moment

In the midst of a most insecure time, I meet God

This moment

Another man and this time we marry.

This moment

My daughter arrives on the first day of fall, just as a 30-day heat wave begins.

This moment

Saying a painful farewell to my father.

This moment

Saying a painful farewell to my best friend cocaine.

This moment

God still loves me!

This moment

Liking the person I see in the mirror.

This moment

The end of a diseased 14-year marriage.

This moment

An exciting new life has begun.

This moment

I am ready to be a wife for the very first time.

This moment

“Welcome to Menopause!” the doctor exclaims. That small smile again.

This moment

I am ready for whatever comes next.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

Normal is So Overrated

Sunday 7/26/15 - Louisville, KY. Bonnie St. John, Elysia Valdivia-Giauque
Sunday 7/26/15 – Louisville, KY. Bonnie St. John, Elysia Valdivia-Giauque

On Monday July 27,2015 I was fortunate enough to meet Bonnie St. John and hear her speak at a gathering of Administrative Professionals in Louisville, KY. What a gift  to my spirit!  Bonnie’s topic was “Why Settle for Normal?”. Great topic. How many of us just want to be normal instead of appreciating our unique identifiers? I know I have desired “normal” for myself and my family.

If you have never heard of Bonnie St. John, here is a brief description taken from her website:

Bonnie has risen to the highest levels of achievement in a variety of endeavors throughout her life.  Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, she became the first African-American ever to win Olympic or Paralympic medals in ski racing, taking home a silver and two bronze medals in downhill events at the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.  In recognition of this historic achievement, Bonnie was quoted on millions of Starbucks coffee cups and was honored at the White House by President George W. Bush.

Bonnie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, taking an M.Litt. in Economics.  After returning to the US, she began her business career at IBM where she won awards as a sales rep.  Soon, though, Washington came calling and Bonnie was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a Director for Human Capital Policy on the White House National Economic Council.

The celebrated author of six books, Bonnie co-authored her most recent #1 bestseller, How Great Women Lead, with her teenage daughter, Darcy.  Together they traveled around the world on an extraordinary mother-daughter journey into the lives, and life lessons, of fascinating women leaders including Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, fashion designers, CEOs, women’s rights activists, and many more.  – From <>

good one

Talk about rising above challenges and going beyond “Normal”.  Bonnie inspired me to look deep inside my personal goals and dreams. Why would I want to be normal when there are far more opportunities to go above and beyond?  I know I am not a star athlete or a skilled artist. I do know that I have something to offer my fellow brothers and sisters. And so do you! We all have that one thing that others appreciate in us and which also brings joy to ourselves and to the people around us.

I remember listening to a friend share how she had once prepared a luncheon for a women’s event.  The keynote speaker was a well-known celebrity at the time. My friend was honored with the opportunity to serve a woman who had such a powerful message. Then something happened. This said speaker expressed at the podium, her amazement in the rose shaped strawberries and what a wonderful talent to be able to create such beauty!

It kind of reminds me of a part in the movie “The Breakfast Club”, when the students start sharing their unique skills. The one line that I always remember is “Everyone has something they can do”.

This is true. We may not all be actors, models, athletes, artists, engineers or scientists. But we don’t have to be. We can go beyond normal using our very own distinctive talents! You might not think much of your skills. But to someone who does not possess them, they are just the bee’s knees…

So today, appreciate and celebrate your uniqueness. Whatever it is. I will share something I can do: I can pick up objects with my toes, toss them in the air and catch them. Ha! And…I actually do this joyfully, blissfully!

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

Personal Values/Break on Through


Personal Values

In my last blog “A Moment of Clarity“, I posed the following questions:

“Ask yourself if you still believe the words that you speak or even the thoughts that you think. Are your actions representative of the values in which you are living today? ”

I also wrote of taking action. Elysia, where do I start? I’m glad you asked. A few years ago, I experienced yet another painful bursting of a bubble. I found a support group on-line and one of the first assignments handed out was to prepare a Personal Values statement.

I had done this several years before after reading The Purpose Driven Life. Again, I found myself asking the same above questions. Not a bad place to be really.  At this point, I would do anything to step outside of the raw emotional pain I was enduring. The Personal Values writing process was simple and I would love to share it with you today!


  1. Start with a list of everything important to you. You don’t need to overthink this, just write.  Some examples: Having dinner at the table as a family; Getting to Work on time; Daily Meditation and Prayer at a specific time of day; Going to the Gym in the morning; Spending one night a week with my girlfriends; Volunteering once a month at a shelter.  Got it? Good. So write, write, write!
  2. Review this list and choose 5-6 of the most crucial items for you today.
  3. Summarize these 5-6 items. Elaborate and expand on the importance of each value.
  4. Then again, ask yourself if you are already living according to any of these values.
    • If yes, identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.
    • If no, how do you intend to make these work? Where are your strengths and weaknesses in following through? Might you slightly tweak one of these? For instance: It could possibly be more attainable to have dinner at the table as a family three times a week, or meet up with your girlfriends every other week.
  5. Ask yourself if your current work/life situation is allowing you to live these values.
    • If yes, then you are ready to go forward with living your personal values! I like to post them in a place I can see them daily as I begin the process of living them.
    • If no, well, this part can be difficult, because  you are probably due for a major life change. But be fearless! This is an exciting part of your life!


Life changes are a positive thing, just not always easy. I remember when my little Chevy Aveo was a total loss due to a rear ending accident. I was sad. I loved that little car. It was fun and it made a really cool sound when I accelerated. Then I saw my new car…A beautiful purple Ford Fiesta with all the perks that the Chevy did not have!  I know this is just material, however transportation is a daily part of life for most of us.

If you trust the process, you can truly experienced the satisfaction of breaking on through to the other side!  

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day, tried to run, tried to hide
Break on through to the other side

Break on Through

I know right? How do The Doors fit in with all this personal values jigger? This song can mean so many different things. Today I see it as anthemic. I am ready for a change. Fired up, ready to go, ready to break on through! This song did not represent such a thing to me several years ago.  That my friends, is the true magic of music. But that is a topic for another day ha!  I love the idea of changing my perception or psychic change if you will. I have a tattoo of a blue rose that specifically represents this type of change.


Today is a different day. The bubble has been burst. Nothing will ever be the same. Thank you God!!

Now Go!

…And stay blissful my friends – E