Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hope you can make it to our retreat on May 9-11th in West Virginia!  It's going to be an deep, relaxing weekend of yoga, relaxation and play in nature.  Contact to sign up!

Also, this is so necessary for me today...

Dear Brave Souls: LETTING GO
To let go. 
Some have a hard time
letting go of what is no longer,
what cannot be, what is not,
what has never been.
People say
'just let go,
just let go,
just let go'
scattering the platitude like confetti
immediately swept away by any wind.
What is it exactly, this letting go?
No longer allowing the eye
to be caught by the hook...
No longer fastening the lock on the door,
just letting the door swing as it will...
No longer visiting the graves
where there is no love
and no blessing in both directions...
No longer reviewing and reviewing the past,
even the last moment,
as though there will be a test.
There will not be a test, dear soul.
What is it exactly,
this letting go?
Not reading the same chapter over and over
and over and over, futilely attempting
to make the indelible facts be rewritten…
Making new memories of quality
to bathe old scars and new life...
Moving into a larger world
in which the past
is but a dot on the landscape
rather than the only continent in sight.
We all find our ways…
letting go is shaking loose,
letting go is turning
in your great coat, into a new wind
forward into new sky and open road
leaving what cannot be,
and taking all treasure
from the wreck.
Each in her own way.
Each in his own way.
This comes with love. Hang in there. No one deserves to be nailing the hem of their cloak to the crossroad that once was, but that is not now.

--Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Friday, April 4, 2014

i haven't shared a pet photograph in a while and this one of lucky lady caught my eye this morning.  it reminds me of how stinking primal we all really are and the amount of sensitivity that is involved in feeling the world through our senses.  my dog poncho teaches me this all the time.  sure, i can analyze a moment and call it good or bad but he can drink it in through the way the wind smells and then pee all over it to mark it in time someway.  he has his own mastery of the world.

has anyone else been having a topsy turvy kind of week?  it seems like many of us are and my heart goes out to all as we work to find balance within tough circumstances.  the more i endeavor to live from my whole heart, the more i am humbled and the more i am humbled, the more blessed i feel to just be here at all.  i don't have it figured it out AT ALL, but it's still so dang rich.  within the problems and confusion, i feel the promise of solutions.  as i live my way into those solutions--and somehow i always seem to--i evolve and the world evolves alongside me.  i struggle, yet i'm in the flow.

i like embracing this "warts and all" attitude amidst a regime of extreme self-care.  for me, this week, that has looked like early morning deep-listening meditation, buying two big bags of organic greens from the local market, voting for our next dc mayor,  calming oil massage, asking for support from my family and time with my friends that have known me the longest.  sleep also helps.

this may be all the wisdom i have to offer right now but it feels like enough.  oh and this line from mary oliver just jumped into my head so i can also offer that.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?

have a wonderful weekend. i love you all so much.

Friday, March 21, 2014

kapha love

this is my dinner smoothie--a cara cara orange, coconut milk, parsley, avocado, and some soaked walnuts with a sprinkle of cardamon (which soothes the nervous system).

happy spring! in ayurveda wisdom, this is the kapha time of year which means we have lots of earth and mud element in the air (think mud).  this is the energy of cohesion and grounding, so it's a beautifully stabilizing time if you are normally scatter-brained or anxious.  my monkey mind is definitely feeling much more focused in my meditation.  when kapha goes out of balance, it can lead to stagnation and unhealthy attachment.  spring cleaning makes a lot of sense right now, as does cleansing the body.  an easy way to do this is to start adding lighter, well-spiced foods to your diet.  bitter, pungent and astringent tastes are also great.  think dandelion greens and cayenne in your soup or parsley and grapefruit in your smoothies.  i made a salad dressing with lemon juice and mustard today that felt about right.  it's a time to cut back a bit on all but the healthiest of fats, and eat dinner a little earlier because digestion can slow with all the muddy energy.  exercise is important now too.  walk often and fill your lungs (a place where kapha likes to hang out) with deep, nourishing breaths.  kapha is also the energy of an open-heart and love, so spread this around!  give the best of yourself by listening from a grounded place to the people you meet.  you'll learn so much and shine inwardly.  if you need inspiration, read this long but worth-it poem about mother nature by goethe.

Goethe: Aphorisms on Nature

NATURE! We are surrounded and embraced by her: powerless to separate ourselves from her, and powerless to penetrate beyond her.

Without asking, or warning, she snatches us up into her circling dance, and whirls us on until we are tired, and drop from her arms.

She is ever shaping new forms: what is, has never yet been; what has been, comes not again. Everything is new, and yet nought but the old.

We live in her midst and know her not. She is incessantly speaking to us, but betrays not her secret. We constantly act upon her, and yet have no power over her.

The one thing she seems to aim at is Individuality; yet she cares nothing for individuals. She is always building up and destroying; but her workshop is inaccessible.

Her life is in her children; but where is the mother? She is the only artist; working-up the most uniform material into utter opposites; arriving, without a trace of effort, at perfection, at the most exact precision, though always veiled under a certain softness.

Each of her works has an essence of its own; each of her phenomena a special characterisation: and yet their diversity is in unity.

She performs a play; we know not whether she sees it herself, and yet she acts for us, the lookers-on.
Incessant life, development, and movement are in her, but she advances not. She changes for ever and ever, and rests not a moment. Quietude is inconceivable to her, and she has laid her curse upon rest. She is firm. Her steps are measured, her exceptions rare, her laws unchangeable.

She has always thought and always thinks; though not as a man, but as Nature. She broods over an all-comprehending idea, which no searching can find out.

Mankind dwell in her and she in them. With all men she plays a game for love, and rejoices the more they win. With many, her moves are so hidden, that the game is over before they know it.

That which is most unnatural is still Nature; the stupidest philistinism has a touch of her genius. Whoso cannot see her everywhere, sees her nowhere rightly.

She loves herself, and her innumberable eyes and affections are fixed upon herself. She has divided herself that she may be her own delight. She causes an endless succession of new capacities for enjoyment to spring up, that her insatiable sympathy may be assuaged.

She rejoices in illusion. Whoso destroys it in himself and others, him she punishes with the sternest tyranny. Whoso follows her in faith, him she takes as a child to her bosom.

Her children are numberless. To none is she altogether miserly; but she has her favourites, on whom she squanders much, and for whom she makes great sacrifices. Over greatness she spreads her shield.
She tosses her creatures out of nothingness, and tells them not whence they came, nor whither they go. It is their business to run, she knows the road.

Her mechanism has few springs — but they never wear out, are always active and manifold.
The spectacle of Nature is always new, for she is always renewing the spectators. Life is her most exquisite invention; and death is her expert contrivance to get plenty of life.

She wraps man in darkness, and makes him for ever long for light. She creates him dependent upon the earth, dull and heavy; and yet is always shaking him until he attempts to soar above it.

She creates needs because she loves action. Wondrous! that she produces all this action so easily. Every need is a benefit, swiftly satisfied, swiftly renewed.— Every fresh want is a new source of pleasure, but she soon reaches an equilibrium.

Every instant she commences an immense journey, and every instant she has reached her goal.
She is vanity of vanities; but not to us, to whom she has made herself of the greatest importance. She allows every child to play tricks with her; every fool to have judgment upon her; thousands to walk stupidly over her and see nothing; and takes her pleasure and finds her account in them all.

We obey her laws even when we rebel against them; we work with her even when we desire to work against her.

She makes every gift a benefit by causing us to want it. She delays, that we may desire her; she hastens, that we may not weary of her.

She has neither language nor discourse; but she creates tongues and hearts, by which she feels and speaks.

Her crown is love. Through love alone dare we come near her. She separates all existences, and all tend to intermingle. She has isolated all things in order that all may approach one another. She holds a couple of draughts from the cup of love to be fair payment for the pains of a lifetime.

She is all things. She rewards herself and punishes herself; is her own joy and her own misery. She is rough and tender, lovely and hateful, powerless and omnipotent. She is an eternal present. Past and future are unknown to her. The present is her eternity. She is beneficient. I praise her and all her works. She is silent and wise.

No explanation is wrung from her; no present won from her, which she does not give freely. She is cunning, but for good ends; and it is best not to notice her tricks.

She is complete, but never finished. As she works now, so can she always work. Everyone sees her in his own fashion. She hides under a thousand names and phrases, and is always the same. She has brought me here and will also lead me away. I trust her. She may scold me, but she will not hate her work. It was not I who spoke of her. No! What is false and what is true, she has spoken it all. The fault, the merit, is all hers.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

five things i think are just great

1.  saturday afternoon oaxacan lunch on a beautiful day with my sweet liz and these nice folks at a communal table at the quasi-legal place that throws you down the keys and serves quesadillas with squash blossoms and tamarindo refresco.

2.  this ted talk about the grapes of wrath and emotional resiliency and the immune system and healing cancer through compassion.  it's helped me to really understand the ayurvedic concept of ojas and how to bring more of this connective, flowing energy into my life when my tendency can so often be to over-plow (burn out) my energetic resources.

3.  this quote from the book i'm reading for a yoga ladies book club called women who run with wolves.  i really suggest checking it out if you feel at all like you've lost a sense of connection to your own depths.  i'm two chapters in and it's rocking my world.

"I'll tell you right now, the doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious.  If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door.  If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door." 

4.  these bands that are getting a lot of play on my spotify favorites downloads as i drive around this city:  frankie rose, dum dum girls, courtney barnett,  au revoir simone, blood orange, agnes obell, and austra.

5.  this spring yoga retreat i'm leading with the stunning julia romano in west virginia this may.  like the other goddess women i lead my retreats with, it's such a pleasure to co-create a theme, pick a space and know how many of us will be changed by a weekend of really getting to know ourselves better in the relaxed space of mother nature.  last friday morning, my meditation teachers guided me through a deep exploration of how all each of us is is open presence and that by abiding in this presence as often as we can (meditation), there is healing and truth and connectivity.  that same day julia sent me the write-up for the retreat with the title of "practicing presence."  of course it's divine and right and you should totally come.  you can find information on signing up here.  much love!

Monday, March 3, 2014


just saw these guys on saturday night!  they are really good duo that filled u st music hall with lots of dreamy music.  plus they both have such excellent hair! plus they are local!  win win win!

Friday, February 28, 2014


happiest friday!  it's a cold one here in dc but i feel like the sunshine brings some promise of a less-bundled life soon.  i was thinking this morning of how particularly hard these cold months have felt to me and made a little map of all the things that have kept me warm in the midst.  my mvp of the season is the rice-filled bean bag my dear julie gave me for my birthday.  i put it in the microwave for two minutes each night, fall asleep with warm feet and praise its miraculous simplicity.   also important are the l.l. bean shearling slippers my brother gave me for xmas.  it was the first present he gave me in 5 years--because they are that good, he said.  another is the faux-fur lined winter coat i bought for 50% off last month, after many of the coldest days were already behind me.  it was a chilly evening in georgetown and with the encouragement of sweet friend, i bought this coat that is both incredibly warm and feels 100% luxurious.  an extra bonus is that the fur-lining is the same color as poncho so i am able to more fully live out my dream of being dog and owner look-alikes.

i think about all of this and it makes me feel more festive and connected.  despite being cold down to my bones often, i made the best of the polar winds and the deep inward drive of winter.  it's right for nature to wind down another cycle and i'm learning that it's also ok for me to take a deep pause.  today is shivaratri, the hindu festival of honoring lord shiva.  he the holder of both stillness and movement and the keeper of consciousness itself.  i think of him each dark morning when i sit to meditate.  it always begins the same way. i light incense and say a prayer for my personal evolution and that it might help those who are suffering. i feel my body and breath--so terribly, consistently present--and then my mind wanders and then i notice it's wandering and then i'm conscious of body and breath again and then i forget and then i can remember.  i see now that it's all the dance of shiva.  i forget so that i can have the joy of remembering.  it's held in the container of the present moment, which i often cannot see because of the plans i am making, all that i want to fix about myself and the world.  when i pause though--usually out of a desperate need to see past some suffering--the moment is there and it's full and i'm dazzled by it.

in honesty, i have a crush on shiva.  he is powerful, the river ganges dripping from his dreadlocks and a the snake--representing the unconscious sphere--wrapped around his neck.  to me he represents the ability to hold whatever arises with absolute strength.  he is the transformer, the one who breaks down who we think we are so that our true nature can arise.  his super power is alchemy.  instead of destroying the poison of the world, he transforms it to nectar and sends it back out to those who need it.  what was dangerous becomes useful, what is dead is reborn, and the cycle of consciousness goes on unbroken.

maybe i have some dreams of living in warmer climates and maybe they will some day come true.  for now though, i am feeling strong enough to wrestle everything i want to resist--the cold, the inward pull,  the loneliness knocking and the poison that arises from just being a human being.  the more i practice, the more i see that the path of practice is so very challenging.  it's hard to see so many things about myself that i want develop and habitual patterns that i want to cast away and yet still be gentle and grateful for all that i am.  i have things to help--warm things, meditation practice, people i care about and even sexy deities that i get to celebrate once a year.  most importantly though, i have this moment, right here, and when i get really still, i feel a truth that nothing is really wrong within it.