I’m sitting in a big window at a coffee shop watching the little bit of rain we’ve been gifted this morning in Venice. I’m cross-legged in my Converse with a messy topknot and a decaf Americano. And my soul feels really nourished by this.
I have to admit I’ve felt a bit “off” for awhile now. I was letting my caffeine-fuled and often hormone-ridden mind run the show, and as most know, that is absolutely no fun. I found myself caught in the same conversations in my mind over and over again. And you know what? Those conversations don’t make the most inspiring blog posts.
One morning when I was feeling particually worn, I happened into a class by Dana Trixie Flynn of the NYC-based studio Laughing Lotus. I’d always been drawn to her, though I’d never met her, never taken her class, just heard of her unreal energy (and it is) and playful sequencing. She’s often seen in a tank top that says “I sweat glitter,” her arms covered in beautiful, colorful tattoos and a trucker hat cocked to the side.
“Hello Family!” she said the moment we walked through the door.
Oh fuck yes, my soul said.
And my soul proceeded to say “fuck yes,” “hallelujah” and “thank you” over and over again during the hour-long class where I laughed and cried, many times simultaneously. Jacki and I kept looking at one another and just shaking our heads in amazement and smiling so big. We moved in a way that was much less about “the rules” and much more about liberation and playfulness as Dana kept dropping “truth bombs” all over the damn place.
One thing she said that stuck with me like glue: We often forget that yoga is a mystical practice.
The word mystical brought me back to my first teacher training at Flow Yoga Center, which was filled with Nag Champa and sunlight, where we spent the entire first day defining yoga in creative terms and then creating our own juicy home yoga practice. A time when my communion with yoga was pure magic.
And that’s what was missing for me: Juicy Mystical Soul Salve.
And to be more specific, my own Juicy Mystical Soul Salve – in my practice, in my relationships, in my very unique view of the world.
I used to practice in the dark sometimes, just a few candles lit and Portishead playing. No rules really. Just playing and letting go and offering up.
I used to write e.e. cummings poetry on my mirror in lipstick.
I used to write in a Moleskine.
Not all of these work for me anymore, as my own perfect soul salve of the now, but I’m in a place of creating anew – digging into a Course in Miracles with a big mug of hot tea, taking ultra-luxurious bubble baths complete with a glass of rose, baring my heart to my girlfriends in a way I was never capable of before.
And I implore you to discover your own Juicy Mystical Soul Salve.
Your soul is dying for you to come home to it, and what a beautiful reunion it will be.
The wall is the door.
As I’ve reflected on what I truly want in 2014, it all centers around getting intentional.
Last year’s word: Leap.
Leap into my every opportunity that comes up. Leap holding my husband’s hand. Leap with my eyes wide open.
Three years before: Learn.
The lessons really just would.. not.. stop.. By the end of that year I was begging for a reprieve but I emerged with a heart that was broken wide open, a strength that had been dormant and a lot more humility.
The year before that, and the couple prior, the word may have been Margarita but I’m not sure. It definitely wasn’t the Year of Intention.
And I never picked a word at the beginning of the year. Instead I set the same resolutions I do pretty much every single year – something along the lines of sweat more and drink less red wine – and only in reflection saw there was a bit of a theme going on. Lightbulbs and ah-ha moments but only in retrospect.
So why intentional?
My favorite moment in yoga class, whether I’m practicing or teaching, is the moment we get clear on an intention and what we are creating for this sacred time on our mats. I began taking it off my mat, setting intentions all day long. In traffic, in my relationship, with my writing, as I walked down the aisle nervous with excitement. Little paper airplanes sent right up to heaven with a wish written inside.
Intention brings color to all we experience.
By creating our intention, we create our universe.
And now I’ve been doing this living thing for thirty years now – sometimes fumbling, sometimes dancing, sometimes making big moves – and the word is no longer Margarita.
Instead it’s a time to get intentional in my work, intentional in my writing, intentional in my relationships, intentional at healing my body. Intentional in what I want and what I really don’t. There are no hard and fast rules. There’s simply noticing where you feel supported and where you feel joy and where you don’t.
Keep your gaze toward the light and keep moving toward joy.
What we strive for
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
and then nourishes
— David Whyte
Whenever you start guiding yourself by caring about how you feel, you
start guiding yourself back into your Stream of Source Energy, and that’s
where your clarity is; that’s where your joy is; that’s where your flexibility
is; that’s where your balance is; that’s where your good ideas come from.
That’s where all the good stuff is accessed from.
What would you tell your twenty-year-old self?
To eat more kale? To never ever skip Pilates? To make sure “thank you” cards go out exactly on time?
Highly unlikely, unless you are a young Martha Stewart or some sort of alien.
When I was twenty-two I took a job that I knew I’d be miserable in. But it was at a “prestigious” magazine and according to the talking heads of the world I really needed a 401K and health insurance. About a month into the job I started a two year countdown in my notebook and I quit right around the day. When I told people I was quitting my job to be a yoga teacher and a freelance writer I got a lot of bewildered looks and a whole lot of “But are you sure?”
Well, not feeling too sure when you are looking at me like I told you I wanted be a Unicorn.
And I made a lot of mistakes in the seven years since – like getting into to debt then getting out then getting back in again, sleeping through a couple of 7 am classes I was supposed to teach, telling my students to pull their shoulder blades in toward their farts (yes, seriously) – but man, I am inspired by what I do. Like every damn day. What a gift. Now when I make a mistake or do something seriously strange (I opened my mouth to exhale while teaching 50 students and a strange Teradactyl-sounding noise came out of my mouth) I just laugh. Like truly, truly laugh until my belly hurts and theirs do too.
As I reflected on the past year there were so many things to celebrate – leaps in my career and personal growth, getting married to a very rad man, traveling all over the world – and those things didn’t happen because of a diligently planned schedule. And all of those things weren’t easy either. Matt and I’ve had some epic blow outs. I’ve had moments when I felt like an imposter while teaching or coaching. And I was slightly hungover the morning of my wedding. And I wouldn’t change a damn thing.
Matt and I fight because we’re still learning how to create a partnership and a home. I was nervous while teaching and coaching because I wanted to deliver something perfect, and that’s a joke. And I was hungover because I had 175 of my favorite people ever in the same room and we were serving the best wine ever. Obviously.
My twenty-year old self would likely high-five my thirty-year-old self. Because I’m comfortable in my own skin, doing what I love and still a whole lotta fucking fun.
No need for the word “mistake.” How about experience? Learning? Moment in time? A truly funny sounding noise?
I want to move forward with grace, playfulness and a great sense of humor.
I want to laugh til I cry when I do something weird. Which is likely to be often.
And when I make mistakes, I want to bear hug anyone I’ve hurt, and if it’s just me, I’m gonna wrap my arms tight right around myself.
Looking cool is boring.
Go out and make some mistakes.
Then own them.
And above all, be sure to laugh (a whole lot).
i’m sitting at my makeshift desk with a candle burning and a hot mug of decaf. it’s sunday. by far, my favorite day out of the week. i slept in, hit up a sweaty yoga class with two of my good friends and have bought myself the afternoon just for me.
it was a tough week. i made the decision a few weeks ago to leave a yoga studio i have been teaching at for four years, a studio where i have truly grown into myself and have been lucky to have unbelievable students. i made the choice because i wanted my evenings. after a full day of teaching, coaching and running around, it was taking quite a bit of caffeine and sometimes a personal bribery of coconut ice cream to get me rallied to get there.
leaving the studio is scary to me. i rarely spend any time in my comfort zone as of late. what i’m up to demands me to live outside of it, as desired otherwise i would’ve always stayed put, but it can be pretty damn exhausting. what i know though, is that to give a lot to others, you’ve gotta take the time to fill back up.
at the end of my very last class at the studio last wednesday night, i took a moment to look around at so many of the students who have been there every week for years. our relationship has deepened beyond the time on the mat. i feel committed to their growth and happiness, and i think they feel committed to mine. i was determined not to cry until i heard a hiccup of a cry out of one of my students irena. immediate waterfall of tears from me. it’s almost funny – it’s not like i’m moving to alaska, i just won’t be at this studio anymore – but it’s also total proof of our powerful and vulnerable our time is on our mats. in fact, these relationships that i’ve built is precisely why i do what i do. it’s the truly yoga – a deep connection with others where we see ourselves in them and they in us.
as we said our goodbyes, irena handed me a package. i unwrapped it to find a tank she made me that said, “blisscrafter” on the front and “practice joy” on the back, as well as a card inscribed with a quote i read in her very first class:
“all is well, and you will never get it done. life is supposed to be fun. no one is taking score of any kind, and if you will stop taking score so much, you will feel a whole lot better – and as you feel a whole lot better, more of the things that you want right now will flow to you. you will never be in a place where all of the things that you are wanting will be satisfied right now, or then you could be complete – and you never can be. this incomplete place that you stand is the best place that you could be. you are right on track, right on schedule. everything is unfolding perfectly. all is really well. have fun. have fun. have fun!”
when she handed me that card i remembered the night i read it, i remember the extremely painful time i was going through, i remember trying not to cry.
but now i’m gonna cry, i’m gonna be vulnerable, i’m gonna be right outside my comfort zone if you are trying to find me.
because all is really well. have fun. have fun. have fun!
“what’s difficult in life is to stay centered when somebody says or does something that tempts us to close our hearts because their was closed. that is hard. but that is also how we grow. we go through those circumstances in order to evolve into people who can hold our loving center no matter what the world throws us.”
- marianne williamson
centered would not be a word i’d use to describe the last couple of months. more fitting? maybe whirlwind. change. growth. and throughout all of this, i’ve been looking toward my center but haven’t felt extremely grounded.
to be centered means something different to all of us. i know i feel my absolute best when i’m well-rested, eating healthily, practicing sweaty yoga and quiet meditation and always making it to my weekly acupuncture appointments. that’s my picture-perfect, control way to feel centered, but life happens. sometimes there isn’t time for it all.
what we do always have is our breath. inhale and exhale; ebb and flow. taking care of our inner selves and making sure our souls are well-fed, in order to move from our heart space. the curve balls will keep coming, no doubt about that, but tapping into our quiet, compassionate center will keep you grounded and open.
it’s been awhile since i’ve been the new kid.
i remember first arriving in los angeles meeting people at my job, at my 500-hour teacher training, at parties, at book clubs. that was four years ago.
i’ve since taught hundreds and hundreds of yoga classes, know my students so well and feel like venice is almost my hometown. now i’m taking a bit of a leap out of my comfort zone – teaching a couple of new studios and embarking on my life coaching training.
i don’t know about you, but being “new” is a delicious combination of exhilarating, ultra awkward and energizing. it’s a really, really good thing.
on wednesday i taught for the first time at a studio i love in manhattan beach. i’ve been teaching for about 7 years but i noticed as the class approached i started to get a little shaky.. heart beatin’ a bit harder.. my mind all over the place.
i think it’s middle school syndrome.
as confident and as sure of our path as we may be, there are those moments when we feel reduced back to our middle school selves.
we all have the thought: i sure hope they like me. it’s human. it’s just what you do with it.
so after the first class.. after the first life coaching call.. after the first date.. whatever it might be for you, you walk away a little lighter, a little brighter, full of joy. it’s all about leaping over and over and over again until it feels like the most natural thing in the world. and practicing a lot of compassion when it doesn’t. fumbling. falling. getting up.
can you step out of your comfort zone today?
last week was impossibly rad. i approached the week with an empowered attitude and managed to wake up before 7:30, make a smoothie packed with crazy energy and go to yoga every single day. (yes, even sunday.) i left a gig that’d been dragging me down. i had a meeting that had me beaming and strutting down the street. i took my bulldog for a long walk and sat in the park just enjoying this time with her. i went paddleboarding for the first time. i enjoyed vino with friends i hadn’t connected with for awhile.
and it was funny – halfway thru the week, i was on the phone with my life coach and i asked why it was so important to keep promises to ourselves. i mean, i sorta knew the answer, but her response was perfect:
so we feel proud. we trust ourselves.
when our daily lives match up with the dreamy way we’d describe ourselves on a stellar day, we feel energized. we are walking the walk, and that is really flipping important.
do i fall off the wagon? oh yes, of course. if you read this regularly, you already know that. but about a year ago, i decided to be really open and transparent about it. when i show my underbelly, you show me yours. i feel connected, you feel connected. we are real and that’s just really juicy. something is good for you, until it isn’t, and when that happens you have the responsibility to take care of yourself and make a shift.
to find your flow.
hard shit happens. no doubt about that. whatever we can “control” is a great a great reminder that we are the creators, artists even, of our days and, in turn, our lives. every single moment matters. choose the bike ride over sitting on the couch watching reruns. choose the smoothie over the coffee that makes your stomach hurts. choose what works for you, what inspires you.
“the first task, though not the most important task, is to quiet the busyness in your mind. the second task is to find your song. and the third task is to sing it.”
the smell of summertime in the air. makes me want to buy hawaiian tropic and sit in a baby pool all afternoon long.
an entire, solo weekend ahead of nothing but sunshine, yoga, green juice and lots of sleep (i know, i know.. it’s only monday but i can’t resist!)
cotton tanks. i live in them.
new opportunities ahead in the world of yoga and life coaching. (more to come on that, of course!)
my morning smoothie – sfh protein powder, maca, spirulina, bee pollen, frozen berries and a handful of spinach followed by a jasmine green tea.
my reggae playlist for tonight’s sweaty yoga class.
what’s the best part of your day?
morning cuddles and bailey licks.
what inspires you?
people who are living their truth, and making a difference in the world. people who do not succumb to societal norms and are willing to live outside the box, regardless of how it may be perceived. people who do something with their time, success, finances, and give back to the world. smiles, children playing, humility, patience, traveling and adventuring to some unknown place, people in love, individuals with depth and soul, artists and dancers. love inspires me. nature. the ocean. the wind blowing. birds chirping. a starry night. all the beautiful souls behind innovation africa, one of the organizations that the the neshama project supports. people who have overcome obstacles and choose to stay resilient, and grow, even in the face of pain and tragedy. my brother and sister. mary beth. all my soul sisters from around the world who bless my life and make me feel rich with love and support. zeno mountain farm, a camp for adults with special needs that i regularly volunteer at. oh man, i can keep going and going! and you know what, i’m gonna say something that i normally wouldn’t, but what the hell, i inspire me!! and thank god for that!
your favorite trip.
traveling with meaning and purpose to some unchartered territory. learning about different cultures, communities, and ways of living. talking to locals, eating new foods, experiencing life though their world, no plan, no map, all trust and magical unfoldments. and since i call myself a hippie in heels my ideal trip would be a good mix of camping in nature-no makeup, minimal showering (dont judge me! you know you want to do it too!!) then followed by massages and champagne at a swanky hotel (lots of showers and hot tub action). not too much to ask for, right? forever a hippie in heels!
what’s your ideal sunday?
no plan. bike ride adventure. champagne brunch with the ladies followed by a ping pong game (i just recently bought a ping pong table that currently resides in my backyard. i am hard core about my pong! and yes, after i win, i have a “ping pong champion” dance! ) running into friends. hike/yoga. allowing the magic of the day to unfold. sunshine kisses and belly laughter. time spent with my pup, bailey, and the people that i love most in my life.
your favorite words of wisdom.
“everything happens for a reason.” my aunt likes to share this story: when i was nine years old, after my mom passed away, she was tucking me into bed one night and consoling me, and i apparently looked up at her with my big blue eyes and a smile, and said in hebrew “gam zu latova,” meaning “everything happens for a reason.” and i still believe this today with all my heart. you never know why someone has entered your path, or why this challenge or triumph is showing up. i take comfort in knowing that everything happens for a reason; it all adds to the tapestry that highlights the bigger picture of why we are all here.
when do you feel most “you?”
on my yoga mat. being with my friends who just “get me.” and dancing wildly with my eyes closed, not caring at all what i look like.
what fulfills you?
the neshama project. teaching and practicing yoga. having meaningful conversations and interactions with people. listening to others, complimenting random strangers, and making people smile.
your favorite outfit.
a long flowy dress, some bangles on my wrist, and my hamsas close to my heart.
what’s on your ipod?
flight facilities, blackmill, owlle (a song called “ticky ticky” just does it for me every time), death cab for cutie, rhye, pink floyd, ellie goulding, poolside, anthony valadez, bon iver, radiohead and little dragon!
five things you love
1. my outlook on life, my heart, my past, my bright future, and deep connection to something Greater.
2. my family, soul sisters, friends, and ever growing community around the world.
3. the neshama project. for all the lessons i am learning in what it means to start a business from my heart, and how it continues to connect me with people from all walks of life around the world.
4. yoga. it is my lifestyle and permeates throughout everything that i do in the world. i have been enjoying teaching more than ever before. i think it is due to being more comfortable in my own skin.
5. my soulmate who happens to be in the form of a fluff ball goldendoodle puppy, bailey. we just get each other. she makes me smile none-stop and reminds me to pause and play, and what unconditional love feels like.
it’s a good sign when i keep wanting to continue writing more and more things that i love… i am a lucky lady!
how you feel in one word today.
grateful. very grateful. (i know that was three, but i felt the need to emphasize the gratefulness!)
being stuck inside with a head cold and a pinched nerve (what a combo!) for the past few days has inspired me to do some spring dreaming.
our star jasmine all along the back gate has begun to bloom, our fruit tree is producing left and right and our backyard has taken on a bit of a rainforest vibe.
what else in on my mind?
wine drinking on the back patio / camping with friends (maybe some baja surfing/tecate action, miss collins??) / hiking in the morning / morning outdoor yoga practice in my skivvies / doors and windows open all the damn time / sundresses and sandals / fresh flowers / sunday night dinner parties and barbecuing / photographing venice