Reach Out and Touch Someone

"No, you'd save your phone.  And only after you texted everyone about the fire would you then realize you didn't have any clothes on and would rush back in."

I hated to admit it but he was right.  My phone.  My email.  My Facebook.  This blog.  Have all become extremely important to me since leaping out West.  Even more important since embarking on this whole find my husband by August, cry in yoga adventure.

Because this new way of being has forced me to put my big girl panties on, pick up my hula hoop, and kick some people out of my circle.  One in particular who is quite charming and fun and cute.  But who was taking up a lot of space and ultimately was not someone I needed to be hooping with long term.  

That's left my space fairly empty.  Empty at a time when it's cold, and dark, and I'm in a new place 3,000 miles away from the warmness of my family and friends.  Away from my come over drink a glass of wine and talk friends.  Away from my here you're tired and your hoop is heavy I'll help you keep it up friends.  Away from the fullness and connection I thrive on.

I mean I'm a southern girl.  Connection is deeply embedded in me.  I can make friends with a sign post.  Or very happily spend countless afternoons on porches, talking, and drinking tea (sweet and iced mind you).  But that doesn't really happen here.  What with all the snow, and freezing, and people not really into that whole sitting around thing.  Not to mention the fact that my job is basically little ole me in front of twelve computer screens talking to myself all day.  Or that locals tend to be weary of newcomers.  Or that my lack of prowess on the slopes leaves me picked last on powder days.

If I let my mind get the better of me the weight of all that isolation comes crashing down on top of me and I start to not shower, or brush my teeth, or leave the house for days on end.  And I go back to that I'm going to die alone with cats place.  And that my friends is just crazy.  I don't even like cats.  And according to that book I won't be alone.

But I forget this.  Because while I theoretically understand that this space is good.  That it creates opening for new things to come in.  At times it's severely lonely and it overwhelms me.

So, yes.  Yes, I'd save my phone.  Because it's my lifeline right now.  It connects me.  Allows me to feel like I have help when otherwise I'm isolated and lonely.  When otherwise I'm hooping all by myself.  

And that connection gives me the strength to keep my hoop up.  To hold the space I've created.  To not get lazy and just let anyone in to fill the void.  Because I have you.  And you do such a wonderful job of supporting me.  Of helping me feel full.

So thank you, thank you, thank you.  You have no idea how much you mean to me.  How much you help me everyday.  How lighter you make my hoop.

I love you dearly and am so blessed to have you.


PS- Pandora thought it appropriate to play this song at the exact moment I sat down to write this post.  Maybe you need to hear it too.      

Attaching Without Attachment

"I love you, but it's no concern of yours."

I flinched when Dr. John Douillard spoke those words because they hit me right in the heart.  It was one of those moments when you slink down in your seat, doodle in your notebook, and hope no one makes eye contact with you.  Because you?  You are guilty as charged.  And please God don't let anyone notice.

I, like many people out there, often equate love with works.  What are you doing for me?  How is this benefiting me?  Why are you acting like that because clearly if you loved me you would call me and you would never do that really annoying thing ever again.  So stop it and do exactly what I want damn it.  It's all about me! Me! Me!

Which is pretty much the exact opposite of how Dr. Douillard is calling us to love.  Instead of getting out our balance sheets and working out complex equations of, "well you did this, so I must do this in order for it all to equal out in the end," we gotta let go.  We gotta love just for the sake of loving.  Because love is our true nature.  And our true nature is not worried about making sure all actions are balanced.  Or that things even out.  Our true nature does not say,  "Well if I put this much in, then you have to put this much because if you don't it won't be fair and then I'll have to have a tantrum."

No, our true nature loves without concern.  It just does.  It just is.  There are no worries about how it's going to turn out.  If there will be a ring.  Or 2.5 children.  Or why he's being so annoying.  Or why he won't make a big gesture.  Those are petty concerns.

True love squashes those things.  It just comes falling right out of you whether he changes his Facebook status or not.  Because it can't help it.  The sun shines whether we notice it or not, after all.

But that non-attachment.  That releasing of quid pro quo.  That turning off the ego is hard.  Especially in a culture, in a family, in a world where we are praised for what we get.  What we have.  For the fruits of our labor.  To say I am going to do this.  I am going to love you and I don't care what I get in return well that's like me saying, "I'm not going to study for this test and I don't care if I make an A or not."  It's just not natural Internet.

But it's so essential.  It's what allows that stabby annoyance to melt away.  For true connection to flow in.  For real love to happen.

And if you could teach me how to do it I'd love you forever, because right now all I can see are the things I want him to do that he isn't.  All the ways I've been wronged.  How his actions haven't been what I wanted.

And that?  That's really not any concern of mine.



PS-If you want to hear what else John Douillard had to say sign up for Cate's Evolving Your Winter Traditions eCourse.  You can listen to a clip of his interview here.

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Sesame Street

Now I think we all know that on the scale of zero to really cares about what other people think I fall somewhat right of center (which may be the only scale I'm on the right side of).  I have no problem shucking my boots and trying on ski pants right in the middle of Peaked.  Or exclaiming loudly in public.  Or generally making a fool out of myself.  Most of the time I think people are a little too uptight and could use some loosening up and I'm happy to provide them with that comic relief (often at my own expense).

However, when it comes to the approval of my family and friends my Valedictorian of Everything tends to take over and I like to keep everything buttoned up and in place least I not win with them.  Yet, this path I've chosen.  Or rather been called to walk is one of open hearted vulnerability.  I can't very well ask people to go upside or reveal their insides to me if I'm not doing that in my own life.  What a hypocrite I'd be if I told someone else to buck and be themselves with their family if I wasn't walking the talk.

But walking the talk is hard Internet.  It's hard to fully put yourself out there especially to the ones you desperately care about.  Even harder still when you know they aren't going to approve.  That you aren't always going to win.  Then slather on top a layer of, "we're southern and don't really talk about our feelings," and well I'd rather just keep my boots, and coats, and gloves, and hat on thank you very much.  Nothing to see here.  Nothing to reveal at all.  I'm fine.  I may be burning up but I'm fine.

Except I can't do that anymore.  I can't have two selves.  Can't have the me I am around certain people and then the me I am around others.  And yes I've been doing that for as long as I've lived.  When I was younger it was the straight A student versus the party girl.  Now it's the good little tow the line girl versus the eat raw do yoga have a nontraditional job girl.

I can't wear all that anymore.  As my dear friend B said, "It's time to come out."  To shed the self that isn't serving me anymore.  To stand in my light even when it's hard.  Even when those I love don't understand or approve.  Because ultimately what we are called to do in the this life is to be the best version of ourselves.  To be what God made us to be.  And as much as this might pain my family, I'm fairly certain I was made to be a girl who does yoga, talks about her feelings, and has one too many tattoos.  It's just who I am.

So, I'm here...I'm queer yogic, veganish, a therapist, mostly a democrat, and probably lots of other things you don't approve of.  Get used to it.

I have.


PS-It helps if you play this video on repeat as loud as you can...

Guess I'll Go Eat Worms

This Thanksgiving is the first one I won't be spending with my family or a romantic partner.  I've done Thanksgiving without family before when I was living in Paris.  But I had the Duke then and the novelty of bringing a fat, unhealthy holiday to my French friends.  This year I got no Duke AND no family.  I know get out your violins and play me the saddest song.  Poor southern girl stuck in cold, snowy, Idaho alone with people who think kale is a suitable breakfast food, whatever is she to do?

If I allow myself to follow that train of thought it leads to crying in the shower and moping around in sweat pants all week.  So I choose to think about it differently...

I've done a lot of growing and changing recently. In ways that, bless their hearts, my family doesn't always understand or support.  I'm quite sure that if I requested raw food at our Thanksgiving table it would be met with a massive protest, as well as, the laying on of hands and a few signs of the cross (and we aren't even Catholic that's just how far they'd go to pull me back to their side).  Because clearly yoga, and vegan, and gluten free is straight from the devil.  And don't even mention mental health and counseling.  Or heaven forbid my nose ring and tattoos.  Plural.  Tattoos!  Heathen!

So I'm glad to have this space away from them this year.  And I love them.  I do.  And they mean well.  And they are great people.  But my life has taken a drastic departure from what is acceptable to them and it's hard to maintain who I've truly become while sitting around their dinner table.

I'm also not yet in a space where I'm ready to fully come out to them.  To let my freak flag show.  I still feel like I have to hide parts of me.  That I can't be proud of what I'm doing.  That I can't fully express how wonderful it is to be studying yoga and drinking green smoothies.  Like somehow I'm a failure because I'm 28, broke, living in a yoga studio, and not a doctor.  Oh and don't forget unmarried.  I'm not married either!

Failure, failure, failure!  Which is a hard pill to swallow with your mashed potatoes and gravy.  Hard when all you want is their love, and support, and well wishes.  When all you want to to be able to call them up and share this great new project you're working on or this awesome class you taught.  But you can't.  You can't share the parts of yourself that you're happiest with.  Proudest of.  Because they just don't understand.  Don't get it.  And hardest of all they disapprove.

And that, Internet, is why I'll be spending Thanksgiving with fellow yogis.  People who get why I don't want to stuff myself with processed food.  Who don't mind eating later so I can go to a special morning class.  Who look at me and my tattoos and nose ring and see a girl.  A beautiful girl who's doing exactly what makes her heart happy.  Even if that means she's broke and alone on Thanksgiving.


Full of It


Yeah I know.  It's the week of Thanksgiving.  Everyone and their momma is going to be blogging about, teaching about, talking about gratitude.  And being thankful.  And how lucky we all are and how we should be soooo thankful for everything we have.  Which we should.  Life is indeed great.  These ARE the days (@Max).  I AM stupidly blessed.  Beyond reason.  Can't even really fully comprehend how fortunate I am.  Blessed.
Homemade card from that 3-year-old

But that's easy for me to say right now because I spent the day inside where it's warm (very important now that the temperature is a number my body does not compute).  And in the company of a lovely three year old and her amazing parents.  So yeah I can bow my head and express thanks.  Easy peasy.  Done and done.

However, having a truly grateful heart is being able to express that same thanksgiving when your car doesn't start, or your computer crashes, or your heart gets broken.  Those things.  The yucky.  Icky.  Annoying.  Kick you right in the gut things.  We're often not too keen on saying thank you for them.  Instead we let loose a string of words that would curl my Nana's toes.  We shake our fists at the sky and carry chips around on our shoulders.

Yet we'll write laundry lists of thanks for the birds, and the sky, and our warm beds, and the flowers, and all the things that are pretty and easy to love.  But last time I checked that bird didn't force me to grow.  Didn't jab me awake.  Or move me to make a change.

Her note to me
At least not the way say (and I'm just going to go straight for the big one), a dead mommy does*.  No a dead mommy, a broken car, a crashed computer, a smashed relationship.  Those things shake you up.  Make you take stock.  They are the real things we should be thankful for.  Because I bet if you close your eyes and look back on your life those tragedies.  Those short comings.  Those losses that blindsided you on a random Tuesday.  Those are the very things that have given you the life you have now.  And isn't that great?

Had my mom not died I would have NEVER gone to grad school.  I would have never moved West.  And right here.  Right now.  I am exactly where I need to be.  So, as odd as this sounds, I'm grateful for that.  I'm grateful that I can see the good.  That I can bow my head and express thanks for all the parts of my life.  Even the most horrible.  Even the saddest.  Even the muckiest.  Because without dark there would be no light.  And I have so much light.

I love you all so much.  And I'm so grateful for each of you.  Even the ones of you I don't know.  You all have such beautiful lives.  Even if they don't seem that way.


*For those of you who don't know me my mom died from Ovarian cancer when I was 22.  I tell dead mommy jokes as a way of coping.  Stop being offended.  My mother would have loved it.  She did after all tell me to, "Play the sympathy card as much as possible."  So I'm fairly certain she is in no way scathed by this.  Just go with it.

Bare-ing It All: What I Learned From Being a Life Drawing Model

I've been at war with my body since I was in 3rd grade and my mom told me I was too fat to be a dancer.  In her defense I believe her exact words were, "Honey, you just don't have the body type to be a ballerina."  And I know in her own way she was just trying to protect me, because let's face it, I don't have the body type to be a ballerina.  Nor the grace (have you seen me trying to walk in the snow?).

But when you are 8 and lusting after a pink tutu and pointe shoes all you get is that you're not one of those girls and you never will be no matter how hard you try.  You are Other.  Unworthy.  FAT.  And that's when the lasers began shooting out of my eyes every time I saw a beautiful thin woman.

That's when I starting believing I didn't have a choice in the matter.  That I might as well give up because I'd never be pretty, thin, athletic, a dancer.  Might as well have another donut covered in self loathing.  Why not really when you're already doomed?

So I've spent most of my life fighting against myself.  Desiring to be healthy, thin, beautiful.  But self sabotaging because I was born wrong.  And then I met yoga and Cate and moved West and all that fell away.

Because fat is a choice.  Uncomfortable is a choice.  Hating your body is a choice.  No matter what size you are.

And it's a choice you make everyday by the foods you eat, the habits you cultivate, the people you surround yourself with.  You don't have to be at war with your body.  You don't have to hate the skin you're in.  You can be bien dans sa peau, as the french say.  You can stand naked in front of 7 people and enjoy every minute of it because you don't have a ballerina's body.  Because you are curvy and fleshy and full and interesting.

But most importantly because you are embodied.  Because you have a body.  A body that moves you through this wonderful life.  That reads, and drives, and poops, and does all this incredible, amazing, mind blowing stuff every single day.  Most of it without much thought on your part.

And that's beautiful whether you can do a pirouette are not.  Whether you look like a Rebuens or a Schiele.

So take care of the skin you're in.  Because the body you have is the only one you get.  And life's too short not to be totally completely madly in love with it.

I think you are all so beautiful.

PS-This completes #142 on my Life List.  While it may not have been Dr. Sketchy's in Columbia-I was a model, people drew me, and taking it one step further I was naked while they did it.  So I think I can totally call #142 DONE!

Are you there Sara? It's me, God

I've never really had one of those voices of God moments.  Sure I've felt the presence of spirit.  The nagging of do this don't do that.  The knowledge that the choice I was making was the right one.  Small signs that I'm not alone and that I'm on the right path.

But that shout out loud booming voice of God thing.  Not so much.  Until this past weekend.

A series of seemingly random events came together to put me with a friend in a town three hours away for the weekend.  Which was auspicious in and of itself because it was was 11.11.11 and he hadn't exactly planed to be in Bozeman it had just "happened" to work out that way.

This is a friend who is dedicated to his own spiritual journey.  Who is tapped in and aware and disciplined in his practices.  So why I'm surprised some of this rubbed off on me I don't know.  After all, you are the company you keep so keep damn good company.

After many long discussions, heartfelt conversations, and synchronistic events, I came to realize it's not a romantic relationship I need right now but a mad love affair with spirit.  But for that to occur I need a teacher.  A guide.  Someone who's gone before me and can initiate me and hold my hand and teach me.  Of course this friend of mine has such a teacher.  One that he's currently studying with.  And while laying out his case for why I should also plunk down the money to study with said teacher the GPS on my phone shouted-"Proceed to the highlighted route."

Now had this occurred say while we were driving in my car.  Or while programing our route I wouldn't be writing this post.  No, this happened while sitting in our hotel room, Internet.  While my GPS was seemingly off and my phone asleep.  OFF and ASLEEP!

Call me crazy but when your electronic devices start interjecting their two cents I'd say you better take their advice or you know go check yourself into the looney bin because you've completely lost it.  But Max heard it too.  And after we got over the startle and then the giggles that followed, I decided that was indeed what I should do.  I should proceed to the highlighted route.

I'm not sure how I'm going to get there.  Or better yet pay for it.  But I'm guessing that when God speaks he has a plan, even if you don't know what it is.

So I'm trusting he'll let me know.  And if all else fails I'll just ask my phone, it seems to be relatively smart these days.


Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

In yoga we call that pulse Spanda.  Other people call it crazy.  Whatever name you give it, it's that ever constant push and pull.  The contraction and revelation.  The dance between things that's always happening.  It's only crazy when you pulse between serial killer and giggling hyena.  Otherwise, I think a little sometimes you feel like a nut sometimes you don't is only natural.

No one is happy alllll the time.  Ok, well maybe there is one person, I went to high school with her and my god her always sunny mood was obnoxious.  I'd never actually wish ill on someone, but in her case a little catastrophe might be in order.  The same thing can be said for being sad all the time.  It just ain't right.  Always existing in one state is stasis.  Death.  Living?  Growing?  They require movement.  But I digress, Internet.

The point is-sometimes you cry on your mat.  Other times, you do cart wheels you're so mind blowingly happy.  Such is the nature of life.  Of spanda.

The problem is we often forget about this pulsation.  This dance.  So that when we're down, we forget that we'll be up again.  That the universe is abundant and will provide a reason to smile so hard it hurts. Instead we waste a lot of time crying in inappropriate places, or day dreaming about how we'll never love again and other melodramatic probably never going to actually happen things.

Then the universe does what it does.  It pulses and you suddenly remember you have about five billion things to be joyful about.  One of which is realizing that when you set pure intentions and get out of your own way Grace does a hell of a job giving you exactly what you need.

For me that has been community and connection.  Phone calls.  Emails.  Facebook messages.  New friends.  Visits with old friends.  And I didn't even have to makeout with a single one of them to get their attention.

I know this heart blasting, jump up and down joy will fade.  It's what happens.  But the more I practice this dance the easier it gets.  The quicker the steps.  So that when I'm down it doesn't take a full song to set me right.  Just a quick turn step and I'm floating again.

Thanks to everyone who has connected with me these past few days.  You guys are amazing.  And I'm so stupid, crazy blessed to have each of you in my life.

I love you so much!

The Girl Who Cried (in) Yoga

Well Internet it happened again.  That's right I cried in yoga.  It's becoming a thing.  At least this time it didn't have anything to do with a boy.  Well not a specific boy at least.  I blame Bridget and Cate this time, my new yoga aunties, who are determined to beat some sense into me.  Or to at least make me twist in such a way my heart is wrung out each time I come to my mat for one of their classes.

It all started with this book Cate threw at me and demanded I read after not being able to take another day of my whining about dying alone and cats eating my face off.  The title alone made me throw up in my mouth a little, Calling in "The One," 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life,  in case you're wondering.  Yeah I know.  I know Internet.  But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  Plus, I trust Cate.  I mean after following her directions regarding enemas and garlic suppositories a book recommendation seems rather harmless and uneventful, ya know?

Turns out this book does not pull any punches.  In fact, it punches you.  Repeatedly, right in the baby maker until you can't help but cry all over your yoga mat (or car, or book, or bed, or shower, or wherever it is you cry, which is probably a way more appropriate place than in a public class).  Its lessons hurt so bad they're good because you know once you get to the end (and by God I will get to the end) something will have changed.  And if it doesn't?  Well then me and God are going to have words.  Lots of them.

So I've been a little raw lately.  Which makes rolling out my mat even riskier, because chances are when shit is up in your life it spews out all over your mat.  Because that's what yoga does.  Busts you wide open.  Gives you emotional diarrhea (have I told you that here in Driggs we talk about poop a lot?).

Try doing handstand.  Filling your back body.  Trusting.  While you got all that deep, reorganizing, clearing out the demons stuff going on.  You'd cry too.  Cry because you are a yoga teacher who can't kick into handstand on your own.  Cry because you are single.  Cry because you are a million miles from home.  Cry because your mom died.  Cry because you are tired damn it and can't this just be over and life be perfect already.

But cry mostly because you realized that for a majority of your life you've ignored your gut when it comes to boys, and love, and sex, even when it's been yelling at you.  Sure I knew it was there.  What it was saying.  What I should do.  I just tended to do the exact opposite for lots of reasons (this is the part where I blame my family and culture).

So with that glaring revelation hanging over my head, it made me realize my whole deal with handstand makes sense.  I mean why would I be able to go upside?  If I can't hold to my core during daily tasks that don't come with the risk of injury and death, then how the hell am I going to do it while balancing on my two hands upside down?  Probably not gonna happen.  Which is why when Bridget asked us to take our mats to the wall this morning I crumbled.  

Because now I gotta own the fact that I'm a big wuss.  That saying no is hard for me.  That standing my ground is difficult.  That I don't know how to puff my kidneys.  Or kick by myself.  YET.

That I am 28 years old and I have manifested exactly what I have put out.  And that Internet is a hard lesson to swallow.  But that's the thing with growth.  It hurts and it's hard and sometimes you want to give up.  But you don't.  You keep kicking because one day you'll go upside down.  You'll call in "The One."  And that's going to be so rockstar awesome it'll be worth all the tears.

Or at least it better be!  I'll let you know in seven weeks when I get to the end.

So much love,

PS-In the meantime go download Florence and the Machine's new album.  It's pretty fantastic.  Or at least I think so.  Mainly because it feels like Florence crawled into my brain and wrote a bunch of songs I needed to hear right now.  It's the soundtrack of our lives (Brian Kooyman).  Plus she's a crazy hot red head!

Here's the track I've been playing...

Breaking Up Ayurvedically Isn't Hard to Do

I cried through my practice tonight because sometimes the Universe gives you exactly what you need.  Other times it pushes you down and repeatedly kicks you in the teeth (which usually is exactly what you need but that's another post).  These tears were the result of the latter.  The teeth kicking one.  That cute Ski Bum boy dumped me (again).  Three months ago I probably would have used this time honored tradition of getting over the heart break...

*Ummm so somehow the conversion process cut my head off?  Sorry using new software!

But now that I eat green things, do enemas, and meditate on a regular basis, I'm not too keen on wrecking my body and mind just because my heart is a little tender.  Crap food and copious amounts of alcohol aren't your friends after all.  They mostly just make you feel fat and bloated and give you zits.  And how will you ever find another mate when you look like that? I kid.

But really, how do you deal with heart smashing in a mindful way that doesn't add to your waistline or make you question your self esteem?

Well first, you put down the ice cream, step away from the wine and go outside.  Seriously.  Move your body.  Dance.  Hoop.  Stretch.  Run.  You need to burn off the bad juju not swallow it.  Plus, it's a proven fact that exercise releases endorphins and happy people don't kill people (no matter how much they may want to) nor do they wallow around feeling sorry for themselves.  So scoot!

Now that you've burned off the ick and have a clearer mind, sit with how you feel.  Really.  Tune in.  Are you angry?  Hurt? Sad?  Disappointed?  Do you feel stupid for believing every word that jerk said?  Do you regret funneling so much time and energy into what you thought was an awesome relationship?  Then great you aren't a cyborg.  You do have a heart.  And how cool is that?  Because once you get over this little disaster you can give that heart of yours to someone else.  Just make sure the next person is worthy before you go planing your children's names and ordering his and hers monogramed bath towels.

Once you determine exactly what it is that makes you want to ram sharp things into people's eyes or use up a box of tissues wiping teary Alice Cooperesque mascara off your face, you can then do something about it.  Cry.  But don't wallow.  Scream.  But don't hit.  Really go for it.  Whatever will allow you to fully experience your feelings is fair game, as long as no children or animals are harmed during your expression.  My new favorite thing (thanks to a kick ass girlfriend)?  Buying cheap shit from the dollar store and smashing it.  There's a certain something about bashing in the head of a ceramic cat that really allows me to let go and surrender.

And that's really what healing your heart is about.  So it didn't workout.  Chances are this isn't the first time that's happened.  You've just forgotten.  You've become so wrapped up in the what ifs, and buts, and I don't understands, and the this sucks you can't remember you're going to be ok.  In fact, you're going to be more than ok.  Especially if you don't reach for the sugar and pity sex.

So quit reading this, go draw yourself a bath, talk to people who love you, and remember, you're a hell of a catch, he/she probably didn't deserve you anyway.

Plus, "when the wrong train is in the station how can the right one pull in?" (That's what he said? Bada ching! That's for you Jenny!)

Love you so much!