Monday, October 6, 2014

I've moved!

Come visit me at  From here on out, I'll be posting more often with more practical self care tips on to that blog.  Also like me on Facebook please.  Join the conversation and let's make our lives more beautiful!

Friday, August 29, 2014

I'm still here!

Photo by the talented Stacey Veath

Hope you are having an amazing summer!  You may have noticed I've been absent here.  As much as I love writing here, I need all the energy I can muster to move forward on new projects.  Rest assured that I'm working away on my new website where this blog will be moved, hopefully very soon.  I'll be in touch here when it's all ready.  In the meantime, I'm cooking up lots of inspiration to share out with you lovely souls.  Until then!  Mwah!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

inspiration for the rough parts

this morning, i found this sweet little video about a rad independent bathing suit designer fitting bathing suits for beautiful women of all shapes and sizes.  it got me on the "love thy body + we are all goddesses" theme, but i was also so taken with how malia's business represents so much more than just bathing suits.  she is offering a window of true beauty into the souls of these ladies and that is so so valuable.

right now, as i am taking some big steps forward in my own self-care mentoring business, i feel so many things.  i'm excited and i'm also scared that i won't be able to do it, that my voice doesn't really need to get any louder than it already is.  this is normal fear stuff right?  it's the reason why most of us don't go after what we want or stay where we shouldn't.  i totally get it and kinda really want to stay where i'm most comfortable.  but when i watch videos like this, i know i can't because there is life that really wants to live itself through me.

so i make mantras about being grounded and open. i keep my routine stable and nourishing. i remember that it's not my job to decide if my voice is good enough or my message is important.  my job is to do the little steps every single day to put my vision out in the world and then the world can decide.

on our early tuesday morning chats, my mom keeps reminding me that most of success really is just showing up and doing what needs to be done.  she would know because she supported my brother and i as a realtor in northern virginia for quite a few years.  it's unglamorous and true.  i would add to that, a lot of success is tapping down the inner critique and adding in ample amounts of self-care when the going gets a little rough.  this is what i practice.  this is effective. this is what i need to teach.

and you, lovely, what are you big bad dreams? how does the world need your voice? how can you show up and work toward it just a little bit today? what self-care will help sustain you when the voices in your head start?  for me today, that will be pancakes at big bear with an sweet student who is in town, soft radiant music from these guys, and a 10pm bedtime which has been my magic sleep formula of late.  and deep breaths of course--those always help.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

figuring out fomo

this weekend i started writing a post about my recent relationship history.  i outlined the nitty-gritty ten month trajectory of how i went from being with a partner to being single.   i wasn't sure exactly why i was writing it all out and so i'm not surprised now that i accidentally deleted it while cleaning up my unsaved drafts.  (note, i was doing this in preparation for this blog to be transferred to my new beautiful wordpress website in this next month.  stay tuned for redirection to that site and lots of other fun changes).

for the sake of this entry, let's just start that right now i do not have a partner for the first time in almost four years.  at first this realization was a relief and then it was sadness and then it was exciting and then it was panicky and now it's mellowed to something like contentedness with a twist of possibility and the occasional venture into doubt.  overall, i feel great about my life--better than ever.  i've lived enough to know a few things about the healing process and i'm happy to report that i'm trusting life.  sometimes, when i am taking poncho for our evening walk, i like to look up at the sky and laugh at how how utterly impossible it is to really be alone in our ecosystem of complete connection.

but sometimes it's more complicated.  especially when the unstructured days of the weekend roll around, this other nagging feeling sets in.  my mind begins getting all worked out about any empty spaces in my schedule.  some like to call this fomo: fear of missing out.  with my fomo, the usual response is to start planning activities.  living in a city like washington, dc the possibilities are really endless.  there are so many great activities, often free, and beautiful public parks and incredible yoga classes and fun social things to do like eat delicious brunch or go see great music or just sit on someone's porch and take in the day.

my external thought on this:  i'm only living this life once and i have to take advantage of as much as i can. 

this is a nice and often-true thought.  but there's more to it than that.

there is also a behind-the-scenes whisper more like:  if i pack it all in, then i won't have to deal with this lonely feeling residing at the back of my heart. 

i wish i could say this was a totally new single-lady pattern but truthfully, there's always been a background lonely feeling.  it's been there since i can remember, has disappeared when i'm falling in love and then reappeared once i've settled into a relationship.  i've worked to cover it up with a variety of substances (some kind of peanut butter ice cream treat has always been a favorite method), but i've also worked hard to push it back by saying yes to as many things as i could.  more times that i care to remember, i've crammed in way too much--sometimes even consciously double-booking myself.  this has made me disappoint people by having to cancel last minute or show up late, given me anxious stomach aches, and many times made me not actually enjoy the activity i'm doing because i get worried about what has to happen for me to get to the next place.

but lately a funny thing has happened now. i've spent these past 10 months really cleaning up my daily routines, diet, home space and relationships.  obviously, it's really changed me. as a result, it's much easier for me to see my purpose for being on this earth as someone who uplifts.  as i feel into this purpose, i see myself as truly valuable.  this feels not so egoic because as i see my value, i see others more clearly too.  we are all valuable, full of possibility as human beings, non-negotiable, period--can we agree on that?

so now, when the weekend comes and with it the fear and loneliness that i will miss something vital and defining, i'm reacting differently.  just like always, my loneliness start to whisper scream at me that i need to plan more, do more, spend more, eat more, or else!!!  why did i miss that amazing show!?!  how have i not tried out that new restaurant yet?!?  I SHOULD BE ON AN LIFE-CHANGING HIKE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE!

but now i'm braver.  so when all that starts, i stare down the loneliness and ask--or else what?  you know, it never have any kind of answer that makes sense.  actually after all that screaming, it usually tires itself out pretty quickly and leaves.  once it's quiet inside my head, i do whatever it is i need to or want and i enjoy it more, from a very different place in myself.

crazy huh?  honestly, i would rather not share it out loud because it feels so revealing, but i sense i'm not alone on this one.  our culture teaches us that we can buy and eat and look a certain way we can avoid having to feel these tricky feelings.  yet despite so much ridiculous consumption, we are an under-nourished people.  we are under-nourished because we have become habitually, unconsciously disconnected from what really sustains us--which are knowledge and practices that prove our own worth.  when we don't know our value, we lack the strength to stare down our own fear before it causes us to make decisions which harm ourselves, others or our ecosystem.

what i love about ayurveda is that it doesn't claim to know what is best for each of us.  i've been lecturing on it a bit lately (let me know if you want me to give a talk somewhere!), and people are surprised when i don't give them a list of should and shouldnt's.  instead, i ask them to start paying attention to how they feel and notice when something doesn't make them feel good.  from experience, i know that we may have to feel the negative side effects quite a few times before we make a decision to change, but i trust that will come for all of us if we stay with it.  i really do.  the secret is consciousness, the methodology is knowing that we each deserve to feel good in our lives and the practice is sticking with it,  no matter how loud the fomo may be that day. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

how habit change can give you a calmer inbox

for those who spend any time with me these days, you know that i'm a bit obsessed with the science of habits.  as i create my own health coaching business, i need to look very honestly at why people know what is good for themselves and still choose to do other things.  i'm finding that it all comes down to our ingrained harmful habits and creating easeful ways to shift them into new, helpful habits. to practice, i'm getting to work with an amazing and frustrating subject--myself! 

over the past year, i've shifted some habits quite beautifully. now i get up before the sun rises each morning and eat dinner before it goes down.  i've cut way down on sugar, meat, dairy, and grain and love eating a mostly plant-based diet.  i start my mornings with meditation or journaling, which is everything to me.  

other habits have been harder to implement but they are starting to take hold. after struggling for months with the fear of being old spinster lady,  i'm in bed by 930/10pm most nights of the week and have to admit that the results are awesome. i have way more energy during the day to interact with the world and still feel like my vital 32 year-old self. 

and alas, there are some habits that i will work with for a while longer.  every time i drink a cup of coffee and feel the jitteriness take hold in my nervous system, i swear it's the last time.  but the problem is that i love everything else about it, even though i know it's not good for me.  i write this having just finished a cup of coffee and feel ok to dance with that one a bit longer. 

a habit that i've also struggled with is how i maintain my email inbox. for a long time, every time i was sent something to read that looked awesome, i would star it to read later. the problem was that later time never came.  i would let those emails pile up and eventually have to delete them all without reading them. i hopes of avoiding dooming these emails to stardom, i would often try to read something quickly on my iphone--sometimes at stoplights.  but i obviously this was not effective for enjoying the process and learning from the words.  

so the new habit i'm working on is giving myself 1-2 hours during the weekend to just read from my inbox.  my sunday morning schedule has been to go jogging with poncho, shower, eat a solid breakfast, and make a warm drink (yeah sometimes coffee). then i sit in a comfy spot with no pressures on my time. 

it's a win-win new habit.  during my week, every time i'm sent an big email, i just star it and feel totally relaxed that i'll get to it.  plus now, during my reading time, it feels totally decadent and educational.  during yesterday's reading session, i pulled out a few quotes from the brilliance that gets sent directly to my inbox so you can share in the fruits of this new habit too. 


"Look around. Outside of the natural world, everything you see has been thought of by a human, designed by a human, or made by a human. Spectacular, no? We never meet the majority of people who touch our lives, but knowing that almost every part of our day is possible because of what another human being dreamt up is totally breathtaking." -- Dr. Danielle Dowling


"When you look at someone who has achieved something you aspire to, it is easy to assume they have always been there or were destined to get there eventually. But this is almost never true. Instead, it typically means that they started before you, and are therefore further along on the journey. I gave up dieting in 2007 and have been slowly but steadily optimizing my healthstyle ever since. I don’t have any magical abilities, I’ve just been working at it for a long time and continue to improve every year." -- Darya Rose


"The greatest thing about love, I believe, is that it’s the most democratic of human experiences. Anybody can do it, and just about everybody does it (with the exception of sociopaths). What some of us forget to value or recognize is that even if we aren’t doing it in a romantic way, we’re doing it in other ways—and doing it well." -- Leigh Newman


"The truth is, you're free. You're free to work hard or slack off. You're free to abandon your children or take tender care of them. You're free to buy a weapon and do something terrible, or tell the truth and do something brave.

The truth is, you can do whatever the hell you want.

The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can make choices that really line up with what you want and what you value.

What's interesting is that when you switch your language, suddenly some of the things that you used to tell yourself you 'had' to do won't seem as onerous. You'll realize that you're freely choosing to do them because you like the result you get, even if you don't enjoy the process very much. " -- Anna Kunnecke


"Try to imagine what it would be like to live without any conditioning at all. You might feel the way an alien creature, raised in another universe, might feel if he was suddenly dropped onto Earth. Everything would be a wonder. A mouse running out from the bedroom would be a wonder. And if I’m honest, I did experience excitement and joy, along with nervousness, when I saw the mouse this morning. Had I been conditioned differently, I might have believed that a mouse in one’s room indicates good luck for the next year, or that I will come into a lot of money. Who knows!

With mindful eyes, I can see that a small beige creature moving along the floor is just a small beige creature moving along the floor. In that moment, she has the potential to be anything or do anything because she is not limited by my mind’s labels and categories. Maybe she will stop, turn around, and tell me about her most recent trip to the moon. Just because it hasn’t happened before, doesn’t mean it can’t happen, just that it hasn’t happened yet." -- Annie Mahon


"Because I write both poetry and fiction, and have never built a wall between the two, my desire has always been to blur the line between the more established forms. Writers who do this well tend to fascinate me. But they’re rare, I think, in part because of the way poetry gets overlooked in American culture. Poetry is basic to human beings, our love for it is deeply embedded in us, but there’s the sense at this moment that most people get it from other genres—popular song, hip-hop, rap. People argue about this—someone once told Paul Simon that he wrote poetic lyrics, and he said, “No, poetry is Wallace Stevens”—and yet songwriters like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and some hip-hop artists doclearly channel elements of poetry. In fiction, though, the poetic impulse is usually relegated to the end of the story, in the epiphanic moment we’ve come to expect since Joyce. At the end of a typical epiphany story, you do sense this sudden gearshift from the narrative to the lyrical; you start to feel that poetry is suddenly at work within the prose. But it’s usually because something big has happened that generates and justifies the gear change—poetry is warranted in these moments of extreme emotion, but otherwise its regulated to the sidelines of much of American fiction." -- Stuart Dybek


"I don’t make up marvelous tales. I only try to express — as clearly as possible — the thoughts and feelings many people have. Often my subjects are the simplest things in the world: joy, family, the weather, houses, streets. Nothing fancy. And when I sit down with these subjects my aim is clarity. I’m really trying to clear some of the muddle from my own brain — my brain being a very muddled place indeed. Sometimes I think my whole professional life has been based on this hunch I had, early on, that many people feel just as muddled as I do, and might be happy to tag along with me on this search for clarity, for precision." -- Zadie Smith, please read her whole speech on storytelling, so wonderful. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

the pain behind the pose

one of my favorite surprises of adult life has been making new friends that feel just like old friends. i'd heard about katie randall before we actually met because she is an RPCV and a yoga instructor (i've found there aren't too many of us out there).  then she asked me to join a ladies discussion group to dive into a great big text of female empowerment called "Women Who Run with Wolves." we choose one chapter a month, which is rich like a slice of quality chocolate cake, and meet on sunday evenings. our talks have been winding, juicy excavations into the nature of female.  we ask more questions than find answers and share what is really going on and how we really feeling about it.  in sanskrit there is a word called "spanda" which means a divine pulsation of energy and i feel it in our midst when we are sharing who we really are and who we really think we could be.

due to some inspiration from another amazing teacher of mine, i've been thinking a lot lately about the quality of conversations in my life and how my finest work could be to get myself into the best conversations possible.  i want to be part of a conversation that leaves both people feeling touched by the hands of brighter and more.  while leading a recent yoga retreat, it was too wet from spring rain to make the campfires we had planned.  instead, both nights of the weekend our small group of women retreated to a circle of puffed armchairs. we drank tea and shared with honesty about our own rambling quests and the ways we had learned to give our lives meaning.  during the closing circle, most people listed our impromptu circles as one of their favorite parts of the weekend.

i'm finding that kind of conversation takes a lot of vulnerability and deep listening and i'm not always capable of it.  i can't remember where, but recently i heard physical asana practice described as the practice of intimacy with yourself.  god that feels so true to me.  despite many intentions to just be present with my body + breath while i practice, my active mind can be so resistant to just really being there with myself.  the spaciousness of feeling into my tight left hip and the power of deep diaphragmatic breathing can be a scary place when it stirs up some stored emotional energy.  my ego mind makes it clear that it would rather think about other things and will run away very quickly when threatened if i'm not focused.

of course, i see this reflected off the mat, when i'm resistant to just listening to another person without agenda.  i find this is particularly hard when they are sharing tough emotions, as a few of my friends have been experiencing this week.  my instinct is to tell them what needs to be done or compare it to my own life, but i truly know there is power in just listening with compassion.  fully experiencing that power requires a lot of intimacy.  just like in my yoga practice, when i find myself getting distracted with what needs to be said or heard, i breathe and surrender into the wisdom of the present moment.  this practice reminds me that i don't always need to be in control or have the answers.  when i can do that--oooh, everything changes and the most transformational conversations arise.

so katie--who is studying yoga therapy and will change the world with it--asked me to be part of her project called "The Pain Behind the Pose" and of course i wanted to be part of this conversation.

here's an excerpt from her project description:

The Pain Behind The Pose is all that lies behind the physical expression of yoga.  We know when we step onto our mat that what happens in our physical bodies is a small feat compared to what happens within. Sensations are felt, emotions lit, stories told, thoughts flood, no matter how long you’ve practiced, no matter how strong your physical form.  We as individuals experience being in asana differently due to differences in body structure, past experience, stressors, injury, muscle strength, and so on.  This collective project is a culmination of yogis and yoginis that share their story behind the pose. I envision for us to expose the realness that so often is tucked away, or kept to ourselves, perhaps rejecting in the embrace of the pose.  This experience can be so powerful to each of us on an individual level, and my belief is its power being strengthened that much more by sharing our stories. 

here is my submission:

I choose the pose Warrior II because you can't get through a beginners yoga class without doing it and because it's simple and really hard at the same time.  My main challenge in this pose is really finding the true width of my feet so that my knee can bend right over my ankle while I experience the powerful sensations of a warrior pose. The temptation is always to shorten my stance so my knee can go over my ankle and I don't have to really go into all of that feeling in my hips and front quadricep. When I do find my true stance and am asked to hold it for a while, I tremble all over the place and sweat like a mad lady.  My brain goes into panic and all I can do to stay present is a deep ugayi breath.  When I come out of the pose, I feel a deep sense of release on every level of my being. 

In the archetypical mythology of the warrior poses, there is a order.  Warrior I represents the looking ahead and evaluation of what needs to be done.  Isn't it amazingly strong to just observe before taking action?  Warrior II opens up into the pose where appropriate action is planned and prepared.  Planning for action is so important and something I've always struggled with so it's no surprise this one is the hardest for me.  Warrior III balance is the moment of leaping into that action with the support of the universe behind you.  I was wobbly at this pose for years, but now that I've worked through the other warrior poses I am much more stable.

How can I not equate this to my own life?  For many years, my perfectionist tendency has been to look like I have it all figured out to any outside observer.  Things did look good, but inside I knew I holding myself back from my true power.  I've held myself back by skipping important practices, with negative patterns of thought and by numbing myself with a number of delicious yet destructive substances. As I walk deeper into my path and find a discipline I wasn't sure I had, I feel my warrior power.  I've observed the world and myself for 32 years and I have some ideas. My desire for my life to have impact--to experience my dharma here--is so big within me that I have no choice but to keep up.  It's also amazingly messy, trembling process that brings up fear like I've never experienced.  Reminding myself that the warrior path is the most efficient way to break through blocks really helps.  Also, knowing that nothing about should be easy really helps too. 

When I first began practicing yoga, I was confused how the warrior poses fit into the non-violent philosophy.  Now I see that it takes a true warrior spirit to be a positive force in this world and that the stages of these warrior poses are a true model of how to live a life a of grounded strength.  I'm still not quite sure what my Warrior III leap will be, but I am quite satisfied to work on the preparation and deep integrity of my Warrior II until that stage comes. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

enlightened lamas and yogic buffets

i went to a meditation training this weekend with an enlightened tibetan lama.  we gathered early in a dupont circle row home on saturday morning--many practitioners, beautifully diverse.  i had just spent a week holding a lot of space for some inspiring women during our amazing retreat to west virginia and then for my family as we go through some medical issues.  spiritually i felt awesome, but physical i knew i was still depleted and i was looking forward to a nice peaceful dive into myself.  then i met these delicious wheat-germ balls.

rather, i met a breakfast spread of all kinds of breads and cookies that were obviously made with love and concern for quality ingredients.  i love this about spiritual potlucks. the problem was that i had already eaten a big breakfast at home of oatmeal and soaked flax and nice butter with a drizzle of maple syrup.  this breakfast was meant to carry me to our lunch break at noon, as my breakfast usually does.  one of my big health changes in these past nine months is that i avoid snacking.  i've found that if i eat three solid meals, my body feels good and my brain feels clear.

in ayurveda, we call this connection between digestion and mental prowess, agni.  it's said that one who worships agni--mostly but not overloading it and giving it time to properly digest intake of food before reupping--will enjoy perfect health.  from my own practice of it, meal spacing is key to my feeling at home in my body and mind.

but i've also had a lot of practice at enjoying buffets and a strong mental story that i will not miss out on good food when it's offered, especially tasty wheat germ balls.  ignoring my first thought to avoid them, i grabbed a ball.  texture-wise it was soft with a nutty taste and a hint of salty caramel.  i praised it aloud and then internally told myself i wouldn't eat another.  then i did. then i told myself i wouldn't eat anything else until lunch.  then i ate some trail mix.

i sat down to meditate and felt a burny kind of feeling coming from my chest.  i've learned to understand this as a signal that my digestion is going off-kilter.  it's especially strong when i eat a lot of sugar.  using my learned techniques, i breathed into it and felt compassion for myself.  then i made a plan to eat a light lunch.  right away, i felt better and sank into a deep silence where i was guided through different levels of internal light and felt the great spiritual power of the lama.

then we had a break and i ate another wheat germ ball and a chocolate chip cookie.  after lunch--which again would be it--i ate another ball, more trail mix, and a slice of heavenly chocolate avocado mouse pie with a date almond crust (again, love you yoga chefs out there).

when i sat down again to meditate, my body really felt bad.  i breathed into it but i couldn't find relief or compassion for myself.  i felt lumpy and right away a story started to pound down on me.  it told me i was out of control and this was the moment where i would gain back all the weight i've lost and along with it lose my mental clarity--all of the benefit of the good habits i had worked so hard to achieve.  again, we were being guided through the different levels of light and i could barely hear the words, because this voice in my head was so loud.

luckily, i know this voice.  i made friends with her during a 10-day silent meditation retreat five years ago.  of course, she had hung around before then, but there was so much other stuff going on in my mind that i couldn't quite identify her as someone that i had to watch.  she's quite nasty, goes for the jugular in my most vulnerable moments, and turns my most positive qualities back on me as shame.  she thrives on perfectionism and avoids intimacy--true connection--at all costs.  i wrestled with her for days on that retreat.  then, within the quieting of my my mind through the meditation techniques i was learning, i realized how weak she was and how much loves she needs. i let her into my heart but took away her deciding power.  

remembering all of this, i listened to the lama and relaxed my mind.  i reasoned that my body would be just fine and i could use this experience to make better choices in the future. i might still choose the wheat germ balls next time, because habits die hard, but all that awareness would be a step in the right direction.  it also seemed like a positive sign that the nasty voice had emerged again, because it meant i was getting to some vulnerable territory in my mediation practice. i've learned that hanging out there is an amazing place of growth and connection.  but it's hard work, especially when i romanticize spiritual practice enough to think i can get through a weekend of silent contemplation without a few tough moments arising. 

after a good nights sleep, i showed up for the second day of the retreat with a healthy breakfast in my stomach.  again, the table was laden with food--lox, bagels, sweet breads and everyone was enjoying them.  i took a few deep breaths, poured some chai and checked in with the actual hunger level of my body, which was low.  i wanted to enjoy the food but i also wanted to not repeat the previous morning. i stood in that tension until i overheard the retreat organizer say he needed someone to go buy envelopes. i immediately volunteered.  

once i was outside and breathing fresh air, i remembered how the during the previous day, the lama had stressed service to others as being very helpful on the spiritual path.  in that moment, i wasn't sure if i was serving the retreat by volunteering or if they were serving me by giving me a distraction from the minutia of my mind.  either way, walking in the morning sunlight, those esoteric teachings seemed to be applicable and working some very big and human magic in my life.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

yes, and...

this is a photograph of the cherry tree that lives beside my apartment.  it's always great to be at eye-level with a big lovely tree but once a year, it's amazing.  for a couple of weeks in the spring, she explodes into cotton-candy blossoms and is just unabashedly beautiful.  this year the blossoms were delayed due to some late frost but when they finally came around, it was more stunning than i remembered.  i spent as much time on my balcony as possible and opened my curtains wide each morning so i could worship her during my yoga practice. it felt like living with a goddess.

then it rained and rained for a couple of days and the blossoms washed away.  i felt like a little kid whose birthday passes and the next day realizes the length of a year.  it's been a rough winter for us in dc, and it seemed unfair that our peak passed so quickly.  but a few days later, i noticed pink buds popping out on other trees that were just as beautiful as the cherries.  but that didn't last either.  one morning this week,  i went for a rainy jog around the catholic university and saw the lawns were blanketed with pink petals.  it made everything quiet and holy. yesterday at the arboretum, the azaleas were in bloom.  one fuchsia one pulled me in so strongly with her color that i stood in awe and silence with her beauty.  she taught me things in that moment.

flowers are beautiful and they are not forever.  they are beautiful because they will not last forever and i know this and it makes me pay attention.  it makes me love them even more.

i'm feeling the realities of change in almost every area of my life.  since embarking on an amazing ayurveda course in september,  i've made big changes to my diet and lifestyle and lost 25 lbs.  i'm slowly getting use to a new body shape, buying new pants that fit and finding my way into formally elusive yoga poses.  in it, i've also met a mentor who is showing me step-by-step how to build a really smart business for myself as a healing professional.  it's deep work that is exposing my professional desire and how much i hold myself back.  last year, i was living with a partner and pretty content with my career, and now i'm a single dog-mom and realizing i have a lot of dreams for what i want to do in this world.

they're beautiful, these changes.  i'm so grateful to evolve and sometimes it's way too much for me.  i came home today after a lovely morning around my neighborhood and was flooded with so many emotions at once.  i did what i always do in those situations and dug for my notebook.  since starting the ayurveda course, i skip my morning pages and meditate instead.  but i've been craving them lately--usually in the afternoon with a cup of tea--and they never disappoint.

after throwing every emotion that i could on to the page, i wrote my way into some clarity.  the message that came through was that i am on the right path.  but being on the right path does not mean it will be easy. the right path has brambles and the right path is decidedly unsexy at times. the right path throws everything it's got in your face and watches intently to see what you'll do.  the right path has no guarantees except that it's the right path.  walking it is hard, kinda lonely and gives me an amazing sense of peace--because i know it's the right path.

change is hard but it's so necessary to evolution.  the people i admire most are ones who are always looking to build something new and become something bigger.  to me, it's not so much about outcomes, but more the thrill of life moving through me into action.  i want this action. i want to feel there has been a path from point A to B and that i could teach others how to walk it more smoothly. i want it all to be continually beautiful and when i can bear to keep on walking straight ahead, it really really is.

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.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

(this is a little throwback to my adventurous summer.  i'm dreaming of bali on this blustery winter day)

and i wanted to share this quote that i love...

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what 
we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, 
so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with 
our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
- Joseph Campbell 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

i'm rrrrrrrrich

wildly wealthy on the billy goat trail this weekend

one of my favorite prosperity practices comes from the awesome coach and writer anna kunnecke.  it's called "i'm rrrrrrich!" and all you do is list all the little every day things that make you feel fabulous and wealthy, yet are easy to overlook when that little voice in your head tells you you need more.  i use it when i want to buy way more than i can afford or i have a weird feeling in my stomach after checking my bank account balance.  it's so easy, lets do it together.

today i am rrrrrich because...

...i had the time to chat with my girlfriend julia about her recent trip to india while scratching poncho's sweet, furry belly on my comfy bed

...driving downtown to teach, i found an amazing parking spot and used my smart phone to pay for a two-hour session.  and i have a car and a smart phone! whoa i'm so rrrrrich. 

...while avoiding the cold rain by drinking chai at teaism, i was gifted a salty-sweet cookie from one of the sweet people who serves me there several times a week with great energy.  this makes my heart feel very big. 

...i taught someone his very first yoga class today and helped someone else understand an arm balance that had been troubling them.  they both looked proud and strong afterward. there aren't words for this amazing wealth. 

...right now the sun is setting and i am writing this on a borrowed computer (mine is in shop right now) and listening to new music (check out rhye for some great soft jams) and smelling the garlic i'm roasting in the oven and planning my 8pm flow class at yoga district.  nice people come to take this class and the room gets filled up with a unified goodness and i get to bathe in it for a while.  

...i was taught to read and to enjoy it and i do so much when i read beautiful poems like the one below


And the waves
gush pearls
from their snowy throats
as they come
over the moss-green,
glass-green roughage —
as they crumble
on the incline
whatever they carry
in their invisible
and motherly
icy and plump
with waled shells,
for the gatherers
who come flying
on their long white wings—
who comes walking,
who comes muttering:
thank you,
old dainties,
dark wreckage,
coins of the sea
in my pockets
and plenty for the gulls
and the wind still pounding
and the sea still streaming in like a mother wild with gifts—
in this world I am as rich
as I need to be.

--Mary Oliver

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

hello 2014

acroyoga beauty at playa hermosa, costa rica

the second half of 2013 was a big one for me.  after a few tough months of contemplation, adam and i broke up in early october.  we had been together so long that making the decision felt as a surreal as it did sad.  i just couldn't believe that the person--this best-friend person, this everyday-in-my-life person, this stability person, this co-dog parent person, this person who i had thought i'd be with in my life for a good long while--just wasn't there anymore.  still as strange and sad as it was, it also felt right.  we had a good relationship but there were divisive differences in the way we envisioned life and i could see things getting harder instead of easier.  we saw a therapist which was helpful but not enough to fix things.

in the months of indecision prior to the break-up, i was so afraid of how hard it would be to separate out our lives.  i wondered who would live where and how we would share poncho and what our families would say.  in my most private moments, i also worried that the grounding and stability i had found in myself through our relationship would melt away when he packed up his things.  i pretty much knew that wasn't true, but there was a little nasty voice in my head that told me i would fall apart and it would take a good long while to recover.

of course, the reality of things was much softer than my fear.  we made the decision, i called friends to cry the immediate tears, and then, feeling a bit numb, went with my brother to see "gravity" in 3d imax.  my mom was in town so she took me to the korean spa and spent the day reassuring me that everything would be ok and i would get through it.  we maturely divided our things in less than a hour, found a reasonable way to share poncho, and the timing worked out so i was in mexico when he moved out.  i felt every emotion that i expected but also a bedrock of ok-in-myself beneath it all.  my heart was sad but my self-esteem was intact.

now fall is officially over and 2014 is here and i guess i am ready to write about it (i sat down to write something else and then this came up). i'm doing pretty well and i think what helped me the most through it all was the thought that it wasn't supposed to be easy. if it was hard i let it be hard and watched as it passed.  it's still hard a lot, but thank everything for my yoga practice which teaches me on a daily basis how to breath through lots of sensation and then watch as it changes into something else.  everything ends, and everything changes and the only thing that remains the same is that i can observe it all. yoga teaches me to identify more with the observer of my experience.  this helps me to really think about how i want to respond to a situation instead of flying crazy with my first emotional impulses.

once the truth of adam and i ending our relationship came to the front, i felt a lot of relief. i could let it fall apart and trust that this would bring us both to better places.  we ended up relationship with gratitude and very little bitterness. it was a shift for me to understand that all good relationships won't last forever and that all break-ups don't have to be bad.  as we divided everything up and said our goodbyes, i kept thinking about those tibetan monks who go around the world making sand mandalas.  they work so hard for days to make these beautiful, intricate sand designs.  and after all that work, they end their demonstration by blowing the design away.  it's a reminder of the beauty and impermanence of all things in this life and that despite that, the building is still worth it.

so 2013 was hard and it was also amazing.  i have to take both of those at once.  i ended my year on a beach in costa rica and welcomed 2014 with a showering of bright white fireworks and a swim through the luminescent ocean. it felt good to be there, just as myself, soaking in what i could of my life.  i am surrounded by so many true people these days and still i feel a deep loneliness at times that i can't change but only breath into.  the work i do feels vital and important to me and i get anxious sometimes that it should be more than it is.  in my still, honest moments i feel so content with the up and down of my development and i know i couldn't have gotten here without my time with adam.  still, i don't need him to continue my trajectory. who knows what comes next?  i'm sure some wonderful things mixed with harder emotions.  life will keep moving me and my dedication to going with the flow of things has never felt stronger.