How Sara Got Her Groove Back

"You know for the next cycle of creation to happen you have to completely finish the one you're in. What do you need to finish?"

Two names punched me right in the gut and without thinking I blurted them out.

"Just remember that they may not be available to help you complete the cycle.  You might have to do it yourself.  But it's important you find that closure somehow so the next thing can bubble up."

Five minutes later I found myself sending Brian a message.

By Sunday night I hadn't heard a word from the boy.  And as annoyed and hurt as I was that he couldn't show up for me for just fives minutes.  For one cup of coffee.  Or a walk around the block.  I wasn't surprised.

But it was time I be done with it whether he could man up and help me or not.  So I put on my iPod and started running.  And I ran and ran.  And when my timer went off.  I kept running because I needed to get it all out.  I ran while my iPod played the most perfect songs.  I ran while the sun beat down on me.  I ran while I wheezed and about fell over dead.  And with each step I was determined to let go of all that remained of him.  Of us.

Then I circled around to the playground where I sit atop the sliding board and do my daily meditation.  Red faced and winded I started talking to him from my perch.  Out loud.  I told him I was sorry for making him everything to me all the time.  For repeatedly falling apart and making him help pick up the pieces.  For not leaving months ago when I knew I should have.  For making him feel not good enough.  For making him witness and be a part of my complete soul makeover this year.  That I knew it was too much for one person to bear.  I asked him to forgive me.  Then I thanked him for leaving me.  For doing what I wasn't strong enough to do.  For making me laugh.  And teaching me how to survive the winter.  And for being such a nice guy.  For sharing his time with me.  Then I sent him on his way in a very Elizabeth Gilbert kind of way.

Then I sat.  Silent.  Quiet.  Open.  I sat there until something else came in.  Something else entirely.  Something wonderful and unexpected.

Something I can only describe as Love.  Love so complete and whole and God given I started to cry.  Then laugh.  Because this.  This amazing.  Top of the world feeling is what I've been so afraid of?  What I've been running from.  Been eating banana nut muffins to avoid.  My god I've been silly.  Because that feeling.  That feeling of total completeness.  Of perfectness.  Of not having to do or be.  But being held and supported and loved even if you aren't the Valedictorian of Everything.

That's better than any Brian.  Any boy.  Any banana nut muffin.  And all I had to do was create the space and ask it in.

I sat there until the sun went down.  My skin glimmering.  The biggest stupidest smile on my face.

And for the first time in a long time.  Since that time in October when Brian and I broke up actually.  I felt like myself.  Like my hopeful, encouraged, joyful, squealy, bubbly, full of love, jump up and downy self that I'm so famous for back South.  I spent the rest of the night dancing and smiling and laughing.  Marveling at how great, how light, how connected I finally felt.

Monday morning she said, "You look so much better.  I mean I've just watched you lose your joy over the course of this year.  But you look radically different now.  Back to how you were when you first moved here."

Then someone else said, "You know he's got another girlfriend."

And I said I know.  And I smiled.  Because I knew I had finished it.  That the cycle was done.  And because of it.  Because of that divine love I let in greater things were about to happen.  And boy have they...I've gotten a job interview, dates with beautiful friends, items crossed off my life list, and a reconnection with a wonderful man.  All sorts of things have danced right in.

But most importantly I have.  I've come back.  Bright, bubbly ME.   And that's something far greater.  Far more valuable than any relationship.

And something I'm determined to never lose again.  Regardless of what man or banana nut muffin happens to wander in.


This was the song my iPod decided to randomly play on my walk home.  Thought it fitting since I had gotten my light back.


As I sat down to read my book this evening my eyes caught the spine of another book sitting on my shelf.  Succulent Wild Woman by SARK, I picked it up at the thrift store and haven't gotten around to reading it yet.  I'm always doing that-collecting stories for later like a squirrel preparing for winter.  Upon seeing it I was reminded of her inspiration line-a hotline you can call that has a recorded message on it.  I found it after my mom died and use to call in frequently when I was feeling lost.  But it's been years since I dialed the number.

I found myself being pulled to dig it out and listen in.

Of course it was exactly what I needed to hear.  Especially this poem she read...

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the
Indian in a white poncho lies dead
by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you, how he too was someone who journeyed through the night
with plans and the simple breath
that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow
as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness
that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day
to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Maybe it will be what you need to hear too.


Only the Lonely

The day after Brian and I broke up I did what I always do-called the first available man in my phone and arranged a date.  Then I called all my girlfriends and arranged dates with them too.  And when neither man or girlfriend was available I arranged other dates.  Dates with going out of town.  Or running.  Or reading.  Or working.  Or doing.

Except all my dates kept saying things like:
"You know ever since you were about 13 you've never had any trouble finding a boyfriend.  How about you start working on quality instead of quantity and take your time."
"Maybe it's time to figure out what you really want without a boyfriend."
"Have you thought about being alone for awhile?"
"I know you don't want to hear this but maybe you should be alone for awhile."
"I don't think you need to rush into something else.  Take some time to figure out what you want."
"What does Sara want?  Not what does Sara's boyfriend want.  What does Sara want?  You can only figure that out if you are alone."

Alone.  Alone.  Alone.  I felt like punching each of them.  Because how much more alone do you want me to get?  I live in Driggs.  I work in a studio that has no other employees.  I could easily go days without interacting with another human being if I tried.  My friends and family are 3,000 miles away.  And my one rock solid person in town just dumped me.  I am alone ok!

Except I wasn't.  I was doing a dang good job of filling my days.  Because I don't do alone.  It makes me nervous and twitchy.  Gives me the extreme desire to jump right out of my skin and bolt.  Causes a pit to develop deep in my stomach.  One that calls for banana nut muffins and chocolate.  Or anything that will fill the giant gaping hole really.

Because to sit and feel your feelings and be alone.  Truly alone.  Well that's hard.  That's when the real work begins.

And who really wants to do that?  Who wants to wade into their dark places?  Feel all their feelings and be alone?

No one that's who.  So we don't.  We numb ourselves with other people.  With calendars full of busy.  With dinners and dates and banana nut muffins.

But when we do that.  When we fill the giant gaping hole with things and stuff and talking it blocks the Divine from coming in.  It's pretty hard for God to get through the front door when you're always running out of it.

So I've tried to, "Get comfortable with the emptiness (the aloneness) to make space for the Divine."

I've left holes in my calendar.  Cancelled dates.  Sworn off men.  Sat on top of swing sets and cars and mountains listening.  Feeling.  Being alone.  Really alone.

I even plunked down a hefty chunk of change to be taught how exactly to sit in silence, alone, feeling all my feelings without reacting.

Because I'm so bad at it.  Because every inch of my body screams run when I sit to meditate.  Tells me to talk or do or fix.  To eat a banana nut muffin and call a boy.

And well that's not how true Love gets in.

True Love doesn't need talking and doing and fixing.  It doesn't eat banana nut muffins and it sure as heck doesn't call random boys.  It just is.  It's perfect and whole and wonderful.  And it's there waiting-wanting-each of us to let it in.

And all we have to do is drop our fears.  Our insecurities.  Our busyness.  Our banana nut muffins.  And let it.

We just have to clear out the space and throw open the door.

We have sit still and be alone so we can see that true Love is always with us.  It is us.

So when she said to me, "You must feel so alone."  I started to cry.  Because I do.  And I know that's the first step to letting real Love in.


Proceeding to the Highlighted Route

"There's this screen in the plane that has all these little blips on it.  Each representing another airplane and where it is in space.  There are numbers and arrows that tell you each plane's altitude and whether it's ascending or descending.  When I first started flying I was so concerned with getting the plane safely on the ground I rarely paid attention to those blips and arrows.  It was too much to try to manage on top of everything else I had to do.  Now that I have more experience though I easily read the screen and see everything that's around me."

His words made me think of my own blips and everything I have on my screen.

I've been so focused on my yogic journey this past (almost) year I've ignored other things.  For instance it's been a year since I've sat with a client.  Or made art.  Or talked to some of my friends.  Or really looked at my life list.  And that's not ok.

It makes me think about Eat, Pray, Love.  And how there's a reason why Bali is the last chapter in Elizabeth Gilbert's famous book.  Because you can't just hide out in an ashram forever.  You have to come back to your real life.  You have to mind the blips, land the plane, disembark, and get on with the process of enjoying your life.  Otherwise, why did you waste all that time and energy getting yourself where you are?

And while some people are called to shave their heads and spend their days tying themselves in knots, it's not authentic for me to keep flying around in my yoga machine shutting out the rest of my life.  The path of a renunciate's is not mine.  While I was learning.  While I was gaining strength and testing the controls I needed that focus.  That one pointed pursuit.  That seven days a week public practice and kicking into handstand as if my life depended on it.  And I'll still need that at times.

But I also need to widen my gaze. To tend to other blips.  Because those other things are just as much a part of me as full lotus is.  They're what give me my Sara-ness.  And what I'm called to do in this life-what we are all called to do-is to use all the gifts God has given us not just the ones that allow us to balance on our heads.

Not to mention if you ignore parts of yourself for long enough they have a way of jumping right out in front of you and smacking you in the face.  Saying, "Here remember me?"  And since I'm tired of beating myself black and blue, I think I'll start paying attention to the whole screen instead of just this one tiny blip.  Least I find myself in a pile on the bathroom floor again, for the millionth time (which yes I know will continue to happen-I'd just like it to happen a little less frequently thank you very much).

What that means at this point I'm not sure.  There's still a giant question mark looming on that part of the screen.  But things have started to come on line in a very big way.  To blink.  To demand my attention.

And they're things I can no longer ignore.  I have to proceed to the highlighted route.  Decisions have to be made.  Ground control is demanding I start my descent (even though I'm not exactly sure where it is I'm going to land).

So this next little while is going to be bumpy.  And I'm not sure how much I'm going to be able or willing to share.  It's hard enough to fly the plane without having to talk about how I'm doing it much less while giving detailed accounts.

So I apologize in advance if it gets quiet over here but it's about to get real up in here.  The pilot has turned on the fasten seat belt sign.  The tray tables are locked, the seats in their upright position, and the jets kicked into full gear.

I'll keep you posted as much as I can.

Please know that I'm eternally grateful for the connection and love I've found through this site.  You guys have been amazing support for me as I've embarked on this epic flight.  I apologize if I haven't always responded as well as I could have.  I hope that changes in the future as I learn how to manage all my blips.

For now I'm gripping the controls, trusting the process, and getting this plane on the ground as safely as I can.

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't crash land. ;)

So much love and thanks,

Ok so this is about take off but whatever you get the idea...

I'll Be Your Mirror or The Best Metaphor Yet

I'm refraining from writing a string of expletives because oh my gosh I've watched this Ted Talk about a million times in the past 12 hours and my mouth is still agape.  Because this-this is seriously the best metaphor for what happened between Brian and me I've ever heard.  Between all my exboyfriends and me really.  Between handstand, and Ben & Jerry's, and the job I'm afraid to create.  Between everything I've ever had some sort of relationship with including myself.

Turns out all these years I wasn't beating a dead horse I was just unwilling/unable/afraid to dissolve my own fears and insecurities.

Which of course goes along perfectly with this article I recently stumbled upon.

How to Love Happily Ever After

Guess I know what I'll be working on for the next while.  You know after I get over the shock of how perfect that video was for me.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.


How to Bounce Back

Oh Internet there are so many things I want to tell you.  These past two weeks have been full of the best and worst things about life (as it usually happens).

I've been so encouraged and inspired and held by all your thoughts, and well wishes, and prayers.  I really couldn't have made it out the other side without all of you.  So, thank you, thank you, thank you.  I wish I could hug you all.

I've also learned a great deal and accomplished a lot.  Some it I'd rather not share as I want to respect and honor Brian's and my privacy.  Not to mention we each have our own sides of the story.  I'm sure if you asked him he might tell a different version-which is ok.  And I really do wish him nothing but the best.  He's a good guy.  Just not the one for me, sadly.

There are, however, generalities I think worth putting out here.  As what I've learned and struggled with are universal-you have an expectation and when it doesn't get met you feel awful about it.  Regardless of if that's getting a job, losing a loved one, not finishing a race.  We all feel grief and sometimes need reminders on how to ride out its storm.

So without further ado and in no particular order here's what's helped me.  I hope it helps you too.

1.  Somethings happen that you aren't meant to understand.
Will I ever truly, fully, completely comprehend why my mother died?  Or what was going through Brian's head when he so casually dumped me?  No.  No I will not.  You can guess and speculate and make assumptions about why things didn't turn out the way you hoped.  You can replay every second of the situation looking for the reason why.  You can grasp at the answers so violently that before you know it you're accosting him at the bar demanding that he answer.  Except he can't (*and you'd never really do that, would you?).  And even if he could, would it really satisfy you?  Probably not.  Who knows why you didn't get that job?  Why your best friend is moving away.  You just didn't.  She just is.  And would the answer change anything?  No.  So the quicker you can stop asking yourself, "Why?" the quicker you can get on with things.  Which will make everyone in the bar much happier.

2.  Self flagellation is not attractive.
I mean really.  That constant loop playing over and over and over in your head.  The one that tells you all the things you did wrong.  The coulda, woulda, shoulda.  Yeah you gotta kill that one and quick.  Sure you probably screwed up in some way.  We all do.  But you can't change that now.  What's happened has happened.  Make a note of the valid points, apologize to yourself and anyone else you might need to, then silence the rest.  Playing that soundtrack on repeat is the quickest way to find yourself up to your elbows in ice cream and desperation.  Neither of which is flattering or necessary.

3.  Now is not the time to self destruct.
Yes I know you want to drink wine, eat ice cream, and wallow.  But now's not the time to over do it with junk.  Seriously.  You feel crappy enough as it is without the hangover and sugar rush.  And as hard as it is to pry yourself away from whatever your poison of choice is, I promise you you're going to feel a lot worse when at the end of all this you discover not only were you dumped but you gained 10 pounds.

4.  Nourish yourself.
Take baths.  Connect with friends.  Read a book.  Do yoga.  Get a massage.  Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel loved because you're going to need a lot of that to get over this.

5.  Feel your feelings.
Give yourself permission to feel all your feelings.  And I mean all of them.  What you're going through sucks and you have every right to be hurt and sad and angry even if everyone tells you you're better off.  Feelings are real and the more you ignore them the stronger they become.  So let them out.  You need to be sad for a day and cry on the floor about it-do it.  You need to scream obscenities at the top of your lungs for an hour-do it.  Do it and let it go.  Because, "No feeling is final."  Another will come-a better one-but you gotta get the icky ones out first.

6.  Get out of your head and into your car.
There are going to be times when those feelings you're feeling are intense and you just need them to stop because wallowing in bed for a week is unacceptable (and self flagellation unattractive, remember?).  When that happens get up.  Get up and shake your body around.  Go for a run.  Go for a drive.  Plant something.  Do yoga.  Dance in your underwear.  Do whatever it takes to stop the flood.  To distract yourself.  To change the chatter.  To give your mind something else to wrestle with.  Sure it might be a Band-aid on a severed leg but you gotta start somewhere.  Up and moving is as good a place as any.  Not to mention it's rather hard to run and sob at the same time-trust me I've tried.

7.  Remember-it really is for the best.
And yes you might want to punch a person in the face when they tell you this.  Try not to.  But do try to hang onto that message.  Because chances are bad things have happened to you before and with time you've turned out just fine.  Better even.  Reminding yourself of that from time to time will help you make it across the Swamp of Sadness to a more beautiful shore.

8.  Wash, rinse, repeat.
Do this.  All of this.  Over and over and over again.  Until you don't need to.  Then keep doing it because they're all good tips for living whole hearted and authentically.  And if you can do that then the next bad thing that happens won't knock you down so hard.

Thank you to everyone who's helped me do these things recently.  I'm so blessed and I love you all.


I Feel It All

"She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short."

"You got this, girl.  Read a good book, take a bath, celebrate you."

A felt a small lump rise up in my throat as I read her words.  Read a good book-Ok, I can do that.  Take a bath-Got that one covered too.  But celebrate you?

What's there to celebrate?

I'm an almost 30 year old very single, very broke girl who does not use her degree on a regular basis and who lives in the back of a yoga studio.  Not really much to pop champagne and tap dance about there.

I had a similar feeling last week when the facilitator of a meeting I was at asked the group to give ourselves a round of applause for all the things the organization had accomplished that year.  Restrained claps went out around the room as we all stared at our shoes.

My resistance in each case made me realize just how awful we are at celebrating ourselves.  

How we're taught not to see how well we did.  But how poorly we failed.  We get tests back marked with how many we got wrong (not how many we answered right).  Our bosses pull us in to chat about a botched task (not to thank us for all the things we do well).  Commercials tell us we're not pretty enough, smart enough, good enough until...(not that we're perfect just they way we are).

There are no gift registries for not marrying that jerk.  No parties for deciding to be childless.  Or landing an awesome job.  No way we mark accomplishments like getting out of bed when it's hard, or making tough decisions, or staying true to who we are.

And if you dare give yourself a pat on the back people whisper about your ego.  How full of yourself you are.

But I'm tired of that.  Because everyday we all do extraordinary things.  Things we should be congratulated for.

Because life is hard and sticking with it.  Embracing it.  Opening our arms wide to it over and over and over again when it kicks us in the teeth is the bravest thing any of us could do.

So she's right.  I'm celebrating myself.  Because I'm a 29 year old free from constraints, the world is my oyster girl who's not afraid to haul off and do something seemingly crazy because she got a "go for it" feeling in her gut.

Who thankfully hasn't married the wrong guy.  Who's smart, and charming, and funny.  Who has a whole gaggle of people who love her and believe in her and support her.  Who laughs most every time she falls down (especially when skiing left).  Who tries and tries and tries some more and doesn't give up.  Who's interesting and passionate and at times a little wild.  Who's done fun things and made people smile.  Who can see the thread of good in all things.  Who gets up in the mornings even when it's hard.  Who isn't afraid to cry and be honest and tell people how she feels.  Who isn't always perfect but who's willing to learn from her mistakes.  Who's open and loving and alive and willing to experience it all.

And that my friends is definitely worth celebrating.  Because it is rich.  And wonderful.  And crappy.  And fantastic.  And sad.  And a million other things.

And if we can't have champagne and tap dance about that than what can we?

Because the world really is beautiful (even when it's not) and life really is short (even when it feels long).  And we are all alive.  And here.

How cool is that?

So pop the champagne.  Put on your dancing shoes.  And celebrate.

I am.

I hope you will too.


I would like to point out that I have the exact same outfit she's wearing in this video.  Even down to the boots.

When All Else Fails Trust the Process

I watched in fascination as he plunged the shovel into the earth revealing a hand full of wriggling worms.  It was my first day on the farm and I was mesmerized not by the beauty of the sky, or the cute calfs, or the smell of basil but by sh*t.  Literally.  By muck.  And mud.  And manure.

Things we are typically taught to despise.  To throw away.  Toss out.  Get rid of.  Vilify as dirty, and disgusting, and unclean.

Yet here this man was, shoveling that stuff into a pile.  Saving it.  Culling it.  Creating a space for it.  Nurturing it.  Not pushing it away and carting it off.  But giving it prime real estate right in the middle of his farm.

I couldn't help but draw parallels to my own life as he explained the life cycle of compost and why it was separated into three different piles.  Because apparently I've run out of other metaphors and have started just telling the honest to god truth.

Which is-my life is a giant pile of manure right now Internet.

The past few weeks have been hard.  Not only because Brian dumped me (see the similarities just keep coming) but because that's just how it is right now.  I'm nine months into my leap and it's time to birth something new.  And if you didn't know the birthing process ain't easy.

I've been laboring and pushing and trying to make decisions.  And I haven't handled it well.  I've been sh*tty at times.  And now I'm up to my neck in poop.

It's easy to see only that.  That giant steaming pile of hurt and anger and confusion that's right in front of you stinking everything up.

But that's not all there is.  On the farm there are three piles.  Three piles of muck in various states of decay and stink.  One new and fresh and rotten.  One older but still not completely broken down.  And one that's been left to sit.  To age.  To decompose so completely it's turned from muck and yuck and stink into black gold.  Fertilizer so rich.  So valuable.  So potent.  It turns a plot of land and some seeds into something beautiful.  Something plantable.  Something life giving.

Which made me think back to my own pile of crap.  And how if given time and a little help.  It too will transform.  Turning from stinky and messy and awful to rich and useable.  Allowing me to grow.  To bloom and become beautiful.

But the process of changing the pile isn't easy.  You have to wait it out.  Turning the soil every now and again but ultimately letting nature do its job.

Which is hard for me.  I want to be finished NOW.  I want to be rich and ready and ripe THIS INSTANT.  I don't want to have to turn the crap over.  Wait it out.  Sit in it.  Take my time. And stew.

But I know that's not how this process works.  I have to be patient.  Give it time and space.

Because if I can do that.  If I can just be where I am and trust the process.  Something beautiful will grow from this.

Just like at the farm.

Thanks for sticking it out with me even when it stinks.  I've been blown away by all the love and support and encouragement I've received.  I'm so blessed to have you all.  You have no idea how much your words, and calls, and notes have meant to me.

So much love and thanks,

This has nothing to do with poop but I dare you to feel crappy while listening to it...