On leaps of faith and other madness…

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Well now, it seems rather time for a bit of writing to update at least the old blog for record keeping sake.  So much has happened and there is so much to catch up on, it’s damn near criminal that with all the time I have on my hands, I actually have NOT been writing.

That’s not entirely true, of course.  I have been writing daily…sometimes a cover letter for an intriguing job…other times an email coaching response to a soul seeking some insight….yet still other times updating close friends and family on the “haps” that have led to my present day life…and more often of late,  reassuring folks (trying to at least) that I am, in spite of the complete reversal of circumstance, worlds and intentions that have come to pass in the past month – that I am truly and in fact, doing very well, am at peace and am happy.

I am SO grateful for all the love and concern that has been shared by you.  Your support, kindness, offers of shelter and assistance has been extraordinary and restorative.  I am beholden to you.

An update is part of what I hope to address here in my typical likely too long missive, but I find it so cathartic to put my thoughts in writing.  And sometimes, I’ve been told – it helps some of you too.  And that, my dears, is everything.

So, what’s going on these days in my world?  Oddly enough, a LOT.  My days are rich and full of beauty and connections with the loveliest souls, wanders through prehistoric nature, (plants and trees so damn big, you know they have been here since the dawn of time!) tough as hell, soul feeding runs up hills that seem to go on forever and straight up into the sky… and the ever inspiring and ever changing ebb and flow of the glorious Indian Ocean.

…and so, what’s GONE on recently in my world?  Well, that’s a longer story that I’ll try to make as brief and digestible as possible.  After five years of living quite happily in Abu Dhabi and traveling as much of the world as my vacation time would allow for, I made the very difficult decision to step away from a guaranteed paycheck, a great job surrounded by colleagues I trust and care for and students who inspire me and awe me every day to move to the South African bush to work with a fledgling foundation with the hope and mission to offer my assistance and my love to a greater cause to help educate, preserve culture and bring compassion and love to an impoverished community mostly without electricity and running water that is so rich with beautiful children with spongelike minds that simply need to be shown there is another way, and how to get there.

Regrettably, after only two and a half weeks, I realized that my dream and vision for what this life and my contributions were intended to be to the community I came to serve, were not going to come to pass and that I wasn’t going to be able to engage as expected. The specific details are part of a shared story that I don’t truly feel comfortable sharing publicly, but I can only ask that you trust me when I say (as I had to ask myself to trust the same) that it was not a decision that was reached impulsive or lightly.  In the end, my physical body rebelled against my being there.

In my many years of life coach training, one of the most important things I have learned is that our bodies hold emotions and truths that sometimes our minds don’t hear or comprehend yet.  But if we learn to listen to them, they will lead us towards our truth and what is right for us.  They will also lead us away from whatever does not serve or is harmful to us.  My body spoke to me loudly and clearly in a voice that said, “You are suffering needlessly…and if you stay in this situation, you will suffer more and more deeply. You are not safe here.”

How did it do this?  Quite unpleasantly, actually. At night when I lay down to rest, my body would shake violently for several hours before I could get to sleep, and then my slumber only lasted a few hours at best.  I’d awaken, try and calm myself with yoga…journal about the events that transpired the day before…meditate…converse with friends in different parts of the world…anything for sense and normalcy.

Other times, throughout a given day, it became a regular occurrence for my body to start to visibly tremble whenever I found myself not following my truth and my voice.   I wondered if I was going crazy…wondered why I was so damned isolated…wondered what the hell I had done and what the hell I was doing there?!?!  (Wondered why I had ignored all the signs? another story for another blog…)

Then I remembered other times in life that my body had reacted this way.  It was always in response to an injustice, an abuse (from my mother, from my narcissistic ex husband, from that former boss who brought me into his office that time to accuse me face to face of doing cocaine with other employees whom he had just fired that morning, but was keeping me – I fear for unsavory thoughts in his head that most certainly never came to pass.) For real, ya’ll – that shit happened.  WTF? Had he MET me? Cocaine? I had forgotten about that until just now. Oh well, it is so good to be able to laugh about that decades later.  It’s all information, in the end.

I digress as usual, but the moral of the story is I decided to listen to my body and to GTFO as quickly as I could. And that leads us to today…

Or first it led me to three days and nights with a dear friend on her family’s crocodile farm. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was en route to said farm, but when I arrived, I was more than pleasantly surprised.  The place was tranquil, extremely well laid out and operated and the crocodiles extraordinarily well cared for.  Ultimately, I know they aren’t going to die of old age, but since I own a few leather items and eat the occasional meat now and then, I figure I can’t be a total hypocrite and suddenly become a crocodile rights activist.  So, yes, I was very pleased to see that they were as lovingly cared for as one could hope.  I understand there are many other farms where the conditions and treatment are not in any way so thoughtful.   Words can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the love, kindness and care given me by my dear friend, Claire there.  Thank you, my angel.  Your medicine is strong.

And THAT leads us to today.  I’m in a lovely Bed and Breakfast overlooking the Indian Ocean where I am nourished body and soul daily by the an amazing breakfast,  fresh salty sea air, heart-quickening steep hills, the incredible bird and plant and animal life,  my nature coach classes and practice and the time to gently and deeply reacquaint myself with myself. And the owners of this place! Wendy and Kelvin…they take such loving care of me that I feel like protected family.  What a gift!  There are no more violent shaking, mostly sleepless nights.  I tend to sleep 10 hours or more every night now and dream beautiful dreams of the magic that dwells there.  No more body tremor warnings of danger during waking hours.  Just time. And beauty.  And space.

What’s the takeaway from all this, you ask?  Or maybe I ask, but I am guessing some of you ask as well….I’m still discovering them, but the obvious one as already mentioned is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  It does not lie.  It will tell you what is good and what is not good for you.  Choose not to listen at your own peril.  Many injuries and diseases can manifest after months and years of not listening to the body’s wisdom and intuition.  Listen.  Be gentle.  The old adage “you can’t pour from an empty cup” speaks volumes here.

For me, believe it or not, another takeaway is to always follow my heart and my call…and even if it does not turn out to be what I thought, imagined or hoped it would be, trust that the leap of faith was not in vain and that it will indeed lead me to somewhere even more magical than I could imagine.  I do.

I am trusting.  I am honoring myself and this time, this brilliant gift of time and rest that I have now.  My body and mind have worked pretty hard for more than 40 years (I started early), and I do feel incredibly lucky and grateful to be in a position to take the time to rest and heal and dream and just be that many may not be as readily in position to do.  Not forever, but for a while.  I am leaning into this gift…laughing softly at the old stories that sometimes try to discourage me.  They really ARE just stories, you know.  Old programming…old wiring…making way for what’s new and true at the core.

My life is and always has been a series of magical serendipitous events.  It could have easily gone another way…a darker way…a more destructive way…a helpless, impoverished, fear-based, from a victim’s viewpoint way.  But it didn’t…Sometimes I am not sure why.  But, at the risk of sounding like I am tooting my own horn (TOOOOOOOT, TOOOOT!!! I actually have no problem with that), I think it has so much to do with that little girl survivor in me who always believed, nay KNEW there was something better out there than the life I was born into.  And I chose to work my ass off to get there. To get here.

Today, at almost 49, I live my life from a lens of wonder, love and gratitude and the knowing that though my circumstances can and will change, fortunes have been made and lost, leaps of faith have and will be made, my heart has and will be broken, my body has and will continue to change, my wrinkles will deepen, hair get greyer…yet I trust.  I trust me.  I trust in my ability to rise like a phoenix and carve out new paths that will lead me into more wonder and magic and to make connections with amazing souls I haven’t met yet, while deepening the connections I have with those who are a part of my life already. What an honor.  What a joy. What a ride!

I’ve said it before and I will say it again with gusto – I am in love with this great big world and all the lessons and experiences that she holds for me.  Thank you Universe.

Those lessons and the gold are here for all of us…as are the heartaches and shadows. In the end, every day – I have a choice.

To succumb.

Or to rise.

I’m going to RISE, ya’ll. Or as Mother Maya Angelou said it best, “Still, I rise.

How about you? What’s your choice today?  Your life will go on either way, until it doesn’t anymore.

Knowing you have the choice, and that you have this one life...what are even the smallest ways you can RISE instead of SUCCUMB, every day?

I’m cheering for you.  I believe in you.  I love you.

Rise, ya’ll.  Rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amoureuse…

…last week, while on my last hike of the year in southern France, I found myself weeping and inconsolably sad. Grief stricken could be a more accurate description. I had a lump in my throat the size of a cantaloupe and a pain in my chest that felt like what I imagined it must feel like to have a gorilla rip out my heart. As I write this I am reenacting the whole scene, except that I am sitting on my couch in Abu Dhabi instead of hiking up that gorgeous path up towards Notre Dame du Cros in Caunes Minervois.

What IS this feeling? And why does it seem like every time I leave France, I am being ripped from the loving arms of a mother I’ve never known? Now, of course it’s true that I fall in love with every place I go and always feel a bit sad when I leave, but also usually excited and ready to get back to my apparently adopted homeland of the UAE.

But when I am about to leave Caunes, my heart breaks. The only feeling or scenario that compares is how I feel when I leave South Africa. There I feel a different sort of peace and ancient belonging along with the absolute comfort that I will be back, but a deep sorrow about leaving as well.

In the midst of this emotion last week, I sent a text to a friend asking if there was a word for it, this feeling, this emotion, this sorrow, this love.

He replied simply, “Amoureuse…that’s the word you are looking for…”

And indeed it was. I didn’t even know I was looking for a French word, but it was totally fitting.

Then it dawned on me that for pretty much the whole of 2015, I had become an emotional zombie. I didn’t notice it as it happened, but when that wellspring of pain and tears overtook me, I think I got ALL OF THE FEELINGS that I hadn’t been feeling all year back at once. Let me just tell you, THAT was heavy.

So, what does all this mean? I could certainly write and write and write (which I generally do and find quite cathartic and epiphany inducing), but I think I’ll sum it up in uncharacteristic simple terms.

2015 was the year of SO many things.
Sleepless, sweaty menopause induced madness and everything that comes with that bullshit.
(Hopefully that’s over now??)
The year I changed jobs and dove into a whole new world and way of doing things and loved/hated it.
The year I got to lead a class of NYUAD freshman every Monday night (off the charts inspirational)
The year I did my best to keep up with a 7 month intensive Nature Based Coach Training course with the Sagefire
Institute and met the most beautiful, supportive and heart open friends and mentors possible.
The year I irrevocably lost my best friend due to my own insensitive and very selfish actions.
The year my dear Stepdad left the earthly plane which allowed me to “see” my mother and forgive her.
The year I traveled to Sri Lanka for yoga at a Tea Plantation which changed my life.
The year I traveled to Marrakech for yoga which changed my life again.
The year I had tea and bread and olive oil in a small Berber home as the guest of the children who live there.
The year I traveled to London for Girlfriends Gone Wild Weekend with Susan Hyatt and friends which
enhanced the hell out of my life and introduced me to some damn fiercely amazing women.
The year I had more confidence in myself than ever before and then had less confidence in myself than
ever before. Still working on that one. That has been especially tough to plow through.
The year I traveled to Cyprus with the most wonderful new sister-friend, Jesusita.
The year I traveled again to Caunes Minervois, France for Christmas and embraced with my whole heart the
loving healing that the hiking trails and beautiful friends there bring me.
The year I broke up with and later forgave my birth mother for my traumatic childhood which I am still
in the process of healing from.
The year more insanity than I could have thought possible in today’s world happened in the US and the world.
(Mass shootings, innocent lives lost, Donald Trump, (WTF??) Beirut, Syria, Paris…and more and more…)
The year I realized that it hasn’t just been a year or two since I was in a romantic
relationship, but has actually been 6 or 7 years!! (what the what??)
The year I realized I am worth so much more than I have ever given myself permission to be or accept or
expect and the road to that healing is one I will travel on for years to come.

I have to let that last one continue to sink in. And I will stop there.

Amoureuse.

Perhaps it IS the word for longing to belong and the realization that I DO and that it really is all up to me. Perhaps it is my word for 2016.
Perhaps it is the word to remind me to follow my soul’s heart. (I believe she has a heart and even a soul of her own). That feels like truth to me.

So, I’m continuing the journey in 2016, and integrating the lessons, the love, the gratitude, the forgiveness, the confusion, the healing and the inspiration so that I can better deliver it to myself and to any others I can help along their own journey.

Ma’salaama, ya’ll.

I wish you all peace, love and light….and also patience and comfort with the darkness, for it will come when it needs to.

tu me manques

Judging my journey~

cure for pain

Judging my journey
Comparing and despairing

All this ancient wisdom
Has got me swearing

What’s my original medicine?
Why am I not better than?
Why’s it seem so easy…
Really nice and breezy..
For everybody else?

So now I’m judging my journey
and judging my journey’s judgment

what?

Now I’m thinking of Steve Perry
Which is kinda scary

I reckon I digress
Maybe I’m not such a mess
Or maybe I am…
And who cares?
It’s all good.

Lynn taught me to step into anger
Boy am I’m stepping and now I’m pissed as hell at her
Pissed about menopause
Pissed there ain’t no Santa Claus
Pissed I’m still scared of Jaws…
Pissed I’m not achievin’
All the stuff I’m believin’
That I am meant to do…

Been running from the anger
Been pushing away the pain
Been doing this so long now
Thinking it made me sane

Truth is, quite the opposite
You can’t escape the pain
Can’t outrun the anger
Those efforts are in vain
They know where you live
and will only come back again
And again

We think they’re the enemy
So we pretend we aren’t home
and don’t answer the door
So they’ll leave us alone

But, I’m discovering that I can invite them in
maybe for some for tea
And let them say their peace
And you know, just let them BE
Then this just makes me love them
And understand they’re ME

Here’s the magic, kids
Here’s where it all comes together
As I learn to love them as myself
I find that I am free

journey

Recovering my zen in Sri Lanka

sri lanka

Where to begin…

I am almost two weeks into my Sri Lankan yoga journey and truly don’t know where to begin in this well of love and connection and healing that I am sharing with my fellow yogis and myself. As I write, I am sitting at my dream writing desk surrounded by windows and nothing but lush green as far as the eye can see in a gorgeous room with open windows listening to the healing and magical sound of the rain.

They say start at the beginning with a story, but that tends to imply that time is linear and I don’t think I subscribe to that philosophy anymore, so maybe that won’t work. What would the beginning be anyway? Birth? Death of an old life and rebirth into a new one? The day I discovered yoga? The day I discovered myself? The day I discovered what love really is? The days and nights I keep discovering it? Or that we are all so beautifully perfect and connected that sometimes (often) I just need to weep to take it all in and let it all out? I know, I’ve already lost some of you who are reading with this woo woo talk, but that’s ok.

So, perhaps for this passage of sharing, I will start with the experience of the journey to Sri Lanka itself, and what it has been for me so far.

The last couple of times I have traveled, I have done so with a really heavy heart and not being really ready to go for some reason, even when returning to places that I have already left pieces of my soul that are home to people that I have fallen in love with (as you may know, I tend to fall in love with people everywhere…not the romantic love, but the big “you, you, you!” love that Martha Beck and Liz Gilbert like to talk about.) Maybe then it was work stress and the imminent return of that same stress that I knew would still be there when I returned and that actually followed me away on holiday or maybe I was having one of those dark soul times that I just needed to get through. I think it was a combination. But, to my great delight, this time when I was packing to travel to this absolutely stunning tea plantation in the mountains of central Sri Lanka, all I could feel was pure love and the sensation that I was answering a call of my soul. (Those are the best calls, you know...)

The travel here itself was a bit less than stellar with a late night flight and early morning arrival followed by a 4 hour twisty, windy ride through the mountains —- but my arrival at the Ashburnham Plantation was warm and welcoming and full of bright shiny faces fresh from their morning’s mysore ashtanga practice. I arrived just in time for breakfast. Seriously, I could dedicate an entire blog to the otherworldly deliciousness of the beautiful and mostly vegan (occasional dairy or egg) meals that have been prepared for us here. It’s colorful, full of many veggies I’ve never seen, spicy and prepared with such love by the wonderful Reegie, Sylvie and Vish who are the staff who have become family in this piece of heaven.

After that first breakfast, I pretty much shut down for about a day and a half due to sleep deprivation, a condition I am sad for now because I missed precious time with many of the beautiful souls on this retreat, 7 of whom left last Wednesday morning. Many of them in tears and many of us as well. Ah, the sweet release of emotion and love. We will meet again, I know this— Christina, my soul daughter; Esther, sister of my soul; Marta, Michaela, Laura, Melena, and George – beautiful, kindred spirits who showed me immediately exactly why I had chosen this place in Sri Lanka without even knowing… We will meet again.

Even before this mass exodus, the beautiful and inspiring Eva from Prague left us to return to her life of teaching there. I wish we’d had more time Eva, but thank you for your grace and warmth and for sharing that first sunset with me after meditation. I will see you again, also.

At this stage in my life, I can now say with solid gratitude that I now have 3 yoga teachers that I would gladly travel the world to practice with.

Peter Askew who introduced me to Ashtanga in Portugal in 2012 and gave my ego the utter lack of attention it needed so that I could actually learn to listen to my body and my soul.

Olivier David, who gave me the opportunity to break down my ego once again when I learned exactly what a Mysore practice meant in Thailand in 2013 (then again in South Africa 2014).

And now, Jacob Handwerker who is my new teacher I’ve come to really appreciate here in Sri Lanka. Jacob has achieved expert level safe space holding status with gentle guidance and peaceful energy that is both soothing and encouraging allowing you (me) to push myself to (your) my edge without judgment, without injury and with deep respect. There aren’t enough thank you’s, Jacob. But thank you from the bottom of my heart just the same.

I actually have a 4th teacher in the beautiful and radiant earth mother, Sue Billington in Portugal. Sue has guided me to deepen my Ashtanga practice and my connection to myself in general on many an evening with her very nourishing Yin practice. Love you, Sue.

Best of all, I can truly call each of these wonderful teachers my friend as well.

As I continue to write, I realize it will be impossible to adequately encapsulate this experience, and I am sure I will be processing much of it for some time to come.

The days here are so simple and so full at the same time. I wake…I meditate or do pranayama or both, have a little walk, eat an incredible breakfast, then either read or hike to the private waterfall and have a swim and a healing lie on the hot rocks there, or even have a swim in the pool before a shower, evening meditation and then another vibrant and nourishing dinner. In between, connection and conversations with the remainder of the group here. There are fewer of us with a different energy than when our mostly Spanish and Czech contingent was here, but they are some of the loveliest souls I’ve encountered. There’s our beautiful, healing love goddess Anna from Dublin who sort of floats through the world bringing joy and light wherever she goes. And then, there’s our gorgeous Aussie friend, Phil who brings an energy and an edge that help to keep it all real and who makes me laugh. Jonas, from Czech, deeply sensitive, kind, loving and happens to be an incredibly talented circus performer who moves from the heart wanting to connect to the audience and all who he encounters. Joanna left us on Sunday and we miss her (we will meet again, too Joanna). Joanna is a generous and caring soul from Holland who looks like she belongs on an old Hollywood movie set. She oozes glamour, confidence and calm and looks like Katherine Hepburn.

And who can forget Fabian from Germany…a curious young fellow with a passion for acro yoga, long solo visits to the waterfall, eating 4 or 5 meals in a single sitting and making videos of things that I’m sure there’s a market for somewhere…(smile) I’ll never forget the evening when Reegie and Vish came around the corner en route to the waterfall saying “we are going to find the boy!” as Fabian had been gone since breakfast. He was found safe…perhaps overexposed to the leeches, but safe nonetheless.

Then there’s David, who owns the Ashburnham Estate we are all so fortunate to be living together in, and his beautiful wife Indie and their 3 gorgeous children. David is an accomplished astute business man who likes to solve problems and listen to new ideas and who manages to make us feel as welcome and at home as if we were old friends from University. He also likes to hike and accompanied us at the beginning of an 8 hour hike through the tea plantations and jungle last Saturday. (He’d have completed the full hike, but he had guests in for lunch, and managed to spend 4 hours hiking anyway.) Then there’s David’s terribly handsome young nephew, Max, who is the temporary manager for the place while we await the arrival of the newly hired full time manager. While Max hasn’t yet joined us in morning yoga, I believe he has really enjoyed the peace and calm energy the group has brought to the estate. His sense of humor and complete dedication to making sure we have whatever we need whenever we need it have rounded out the experience.

It’s funny, whenever I leave for vacation and tell people I am going on a yoga retreat, they usually give me puzzled looks and ask what on earth is “vacation-like” about going on a yoga retreat? Before this trip, I actually had someone say “how could THAT possibly be relaxing?”

WHAT??? I am not sure I understand the question. I have so little interest in lying on a beach with an umbrella drink in my hand and waking up dehydrated and hungover every day…or traveling to some place with an agenda to see as many tourist sites as possible that ends with a return home and the lingering feeling that you “need a vacation after your vacation.” No thanks. I’ll take yoga, no agenda, peace, quiet and the beautiful souls I meet when I journey – every time.

I could go on and on, and am sure I will revisit, but for now – this little piece of inspired sharing feels complete. I have only two days left before I return to the land of sand in Abu Dhabi and the beautiful and shiny souls that I love so dearly there. You know who you are.

I can wrap it all up with a gratitude bow and with a return to the peaceful and grounded happiness that I recognize as my true essential self and that I met for the first time in 2012. My big takeaways are remembering that we are all connected, and we are all love, and we all need and want and often feel the same things.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING is permanent, and that is ok. It is good to embrace until it is time to let go. And in the letting go, space is created for the beautiful embrace of whatever is next on the journey. There’s an incredible gift in that. Priceless.

Sure, there are always going to be stresses and day to day quandaries to solve, but it is and ever will be true that all is well, all will be well.

A mantra of mine has often been “if you get a chance, take it…if it changes your life, let it.”. You have chances every day. Take some.

Yeah…that feels really good.

Namaste, ya’ll.

sometimes I spill…

Sometimes I rant..

Sometimes I gush…

Sometimes I retreat…

Sometimes I inspire…

Sometimes I feel so much love I have to share it…

Sometimes I feel so much gratitude, I want to shout it…

Sometimes I feel the world is so damn beautiful, I want to cry about it…

Sometimes I control…(or fool myself into thinking I can)

Sometimes I share the thing that is dancing around in my soul in the moment it starts that tango…

Sometimes I have so much to say that I pour it all out in an almost manic rain on my keyboard via text or email, or blog because at that exact moment, there is something inside that I just HAVE to get out. A message I need to give, a love I want to share, a story I want to tell about me, a story I want to tell about you, a gratitude I want to express, a dream I want to send to the universe, a forgiveness I feel like giving, a desire that wants to be realized, a truth that has just landed on me as so profound that I feel that I will burst if I don’t say it right then and there in some medium because It. Just. Needs. To. Be. Said.

Of course, there may be a recipient on the other end who thinks “this really didn’t need to be said”.  And sometimes they tell me so.  And sometimes, I tell myself so after I’ve gotten it all out.  I walk away ten minutes later or wake up a day later with regret thinking I shouldn’t have done it…shouldn’t have written it…shouldn’t have said it…shouldn’t have felt the need to express it…shouldn’t have put it out there…shouldn’t have thought it…shouldn’t have wanted it…shouldn’t have shared it…shouldn’t feel it…

Shouldn’t. Shouldn’t. Shouldn’t….these are poisonous words.  Just as damaging as Should. Fuck “shouldn’t”.  And for that matter, fuck “should”.

I’ll tell myself that it was all about me and so why, oh why did I feel the need to throw up verbally or textually or blogally all over some poor unwitting reader soul who wasn’t expecting it and who is rolling their eyes when they read it or hear it…and that I’m unworthy and they don’t want to hear my message anyway and that they probably think I’m full of shit or I say too much or I drop love bombs on them and it overwhelms them…and who the hell do I think I am to feel inspired to share something that matters to ME?

This duality of bursting with love and shaming myself for sharing it comes from a pattern I learned growing up in an epically dysfunctional home. In that home, I was never allowed to express myself, wasn’t listened to, wasn’t believed, wasn’t treated as worthy, and wasn’t nurtured.  And that little girl was too small to assess the situation, say “fuck it” and leave to find healthier surroundings.  So, I learned to hide. To blend. To censor. To mute. To believe myself unworthy. To make myself small. To overachieve or to underachieve. (whichever brought the least negative attention.)

So, today – I consider it one hell of an accomplishment to have the ability to love and to feel and shine and to inspire….to feel gratitude, to want to forgive, to be in love with the world and all the people in it and to feel it all so deeply and strongly sometimes that I say it. A lot. Or write it. A lot.

Because, I’ve discovered that it’s all well and good if I am thinking it, but as that small girl who physically grew into an adult but had no idea how to relate to other people or walk among them or to sometimes set boundaries for myself – I learned to observe. I had a lot of opportunity to do this.  To watch.  To notice how people speak (or don’t speak) to each other. I watched couples mostly not say what was most important to them in a moment.  I watched parents mostly not say what their kids most needed to hear to help them learn and grow and be whole.  I watched bosses mostly not say what their teams could most benefit and grow from and be motivated by. I watched strangers mostly say unkind things to each other because they are carrying around anger and hurts and pain from other parts of their lives.  Or avoid each other entirely and not speak at all. I watched people mostly not say to themselves what would be most loving and serving and nourishing for their own souls at a given moment.

But, I also started noticing that there were couples who did say what they needed to say in kind and loving ways.  And I saw parents gently disciplining and guiding their children into who people who could think for themselves and show up in the world as light.  And I found bosses so impactful that they couldn’t speak without inspiring, motivating, invoking a chemical reaction that pushed their teams to be their best. I witnessed strangers paying each other the most heartbreakingly beautiful kindnesses and treating each other with love.  People who just inherently knew we are all connected and you are me and I am you and therefore we can either be loving to ourselves or not. I met people who knew how to tend to their own souls and through that consistent self nurture were able to model that for others.

Somewhere along the line, I realized this is why there is a choice.  This is why both heaven and hell exist right here on earth, because we create both with our energy, our decisions, our treatment of others and our treatment of ourselves. This is how I realized that although I had grown up in hell, there had been a lot of heaven in my world as well. This is how I realized that I had alternately created heaven or hell for others simply through my words or actions or my silence and inaction.

So, yeah – SOMETIMES I SPILL.   Sue me. ~smile~  

Because I know how it feels not to say it.  I know how it feels not to hear it.  I know how healing words and actions can be.  I know how very often we don’t say to one another the gorgeous loving things that when said with love and generosity can create an energy that starts a movement that changes the world.  I know the power of human touch and just how healing an embrace, the caress of a cheek, holding a hand, squeezing a shoulder, stroking of hair, sustaining eye contact, and a kiss can be.  And I know so many of us walk around scared to death to feel or to let anyone in for even a nanosecond because they might hurt us or because we will have to give up our cloak of numbness and actually experience our emotions. Or we think that letting someone in somehow discredits someone else. Or that if we allow ourselves happiness or comfort, we are not punishing ourselves as we have decided we surely must for some wrong we think we have wrought upon the world or our family or friends (or selves). How many of us walk around under mountainous weight of guilt and shame we have decided that we deserve and actually cling to it like our badge of courage, because suffering is our nature? Right? Any of this sound familiar? Any of this sound a little too martyrous if you hear of someone else doing it, but it’s ok for us to do it ourselves because, you know – we can handle it right? And it’s just easier. Safer. No risk, no pain. Also, no risk, no joy. Flip sides of the same coin.
I know all of this because I have done it.  I still do it.  But, I don’t want to do it. I want to spill. I want to share.  I want to feel.  I want to LIVE. And I want you to know how I feel about you. (any of you)….because honest to cliché, Life Is Too Short to wait till our deathbeds to feel and to let go of fear and tell people how we feel. To allow ourselves to feel.  To suddenly realize, “oh shit!!! THAT is what it was all about, and I wasted it.”   

And here’s the kicker….I don’t give a green goddam (where did that phrase come from anyway?) if you feel the same. If you reciprocate, great. If not, great. If you love me back or hate me, great.  If you roll your eyes or think nothing of me at all.  Because when I share my love, light, peace, gratitude, forgiveness, anything at all with you – it is because that is how I feel and it is completely independent of anything else.  It’s the same if I share my hate, darkness, greed, disdain, guilt or shame with you.  That isn’t about you either, that’s about me. So, I have a choice.  And so, yes – sometimes, I spill.  Because I don’t want to die with regrets and I want you to know you have had an impact on me if you have and because I know that you too sometimes struggle with unworthiness and fear and doubt and pain and guilt and shame and that even though we are all responsible for our own feelings,  we are all connected and our shared humanity flourishes in appreciation of one another and our souls can wither and die when that is lacking.  We live in a modern world of marvels that makes it too easy to hide and numb and pretend.  We drink, we get lost on the internet, we watch TV, we smile with our mouths and not with our eyes and we get through the day pretending that we are living when we are really just dying from the need and desire to just connect and be understood, heard, loved.

So, sometimes I spill…. and starting right this minute – I am DONE apologizing for it.  I am finished regretting it.  I am saying goodbye to second guessing my motivations. It’s au revoir to worrying that I am not worthy or that it was too much or over the top. Hasta la vista to self loathing and punishment for wrongs that only get worse if I don’t forgive myself for. Adios to the hangover of fear of unacceptance.

If I love you, I’m telling you. And I’m showing you.  If you’ve impacted me, I’m grateful and sharing that with others.  If you inspire me, I’m glowing and I appreciate you.  If you touch my heart, I’m hugging you. If I am overwhelmingly attracted to you on the woman/man level, I’m kissing you. If you do or say or create something amazing, I’m celebrating you.  And I’m celebrating me. If you hurt me, I’m forgiving you.  And I’m forgiving myself. 

Living. Growing. Healing. Learning. Smiling. FEELING. Accepting. Being.

I’m walking through this world unapologetically as a neighbor, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a companion, a partner and a witness. Join me, if you like. Or not.  I love you anyway. But just know that sometimes, I spill.  And I dig that about me.

 

beauty

Stolen poem…

That Kind of Love. {Poem}

Via Rebecca Lammersenon Sep 5, 2013 (no credit for me, just sharing a little something that speaks to my soul and is the very evidence we need to know we are all connected.)

That Kind of Love

Yeah, I believe in love.
The kind you can’t hide from, you know?

The kind of love you miss when
he gets up to go to the bathroom,
or to get a glass of water,
and he walks back in,
like a soldier, comin’ home from an eighteen month deployment.

That kind of love.

The kind of love, when you meet for the first time,
you know he’s the one you want to give your love to—all of it,
hand it over like he was robbing you in the alley,
and your life depended on it.
Even if he ran and you never saw him again,
you’d give him everything you’ve got, cause it’s that kind of love.

The kind of love that drowns you,
in conversations until two in the morning about everything and anything.
You can’t remember the starting point,
you just know you don’t want it to end.

The kind of love television is banned from,
and, when you do watch a movie,
you are more fascinated with the dialogue between your limbs and your fingers to his stubble.
Yeah, that kind of love.

The kind of love that can’t get any deeper,
because if it did you might never surface again.
Like getting pummeled by the wave you just couldn’t catch in time—
Only to get swept in it’s somersault.
There is no way to swim out of it—
You are part of it now.
Up or down doesn’t exist.
Yeah, that kind of love.

The kind of love you can’t fight,
because if you do,
you will always lose, it will overtake you,
despite your efforts.

The kind of love that is impossible to find and impossible to keep,
so you don’t even try.
If it finds you,
you are captured and you have to surrender.

The kind of love that has been stalking you your whole life,
only to become part of the slide show—
you and he growing up in parallel universes,
through the seasons of t-ball and dance classes,
fishing trips and graduations and then,
you t-bone one another somewhere a third through your life,
when you’d given up,
and loneliness became your boyfriend.

The kind of love that uncovers a smile you never knew existed,
and a lightness borrowed from the clouds.

The kind of love that doesn’t want to be patient,
but must learn to be,
because you can’t feel this way, this fast—
It’s not right.
Yeah, that kind of love.

The first date was the final date,
and then, you were just together,
like you had always been.

A kind of love that isn’t kind to time,
it doesn’t want to wait anymore,
it wants to break free and create it’s own clock.

It isn’t great love.
It isn’t making love.
It isn’t perfect love—
It’s life.

The kind of love that brings you to life,
never to die again.
You can’t die,
not with this kind of love in your heart.
You are immortal now.
Yeah, that kind of love.

by Rebecca Lammersen

Rebecca Lammersen is the founder of Yogalution, a donation based yoga studio in Scottsdale, AZ. I love being alive. I love being a mother. I love teaching yoga. I love to write. I love to know. I love to not know. I love to learn. I love to listen. I love to read. I love to travel. I love to dance. I love to help. I love to serve. That pretty much sums me up.

August light 2013…what a difference a year makes…

Today is not at all the day that I was so magically given exactly one year ago. Nor will tonight be anything like that night. But that day, and that night, changed my life…Ignited my soul…Reminded me exactly who I am, what I want, who I’m not, what I don’t want… and that I am beautiful, even and especially when I don’t think so. It also flooded my brain with dopamine and all those other connection chemicals that happen all too rarely in my life. So grateful.
And I’ll tell you, I’ve almost dreaded the coming of this un-anniversary of sorts. I’ve imagined I’d be heartsick, bottomlessly sad, wake up crying, start drinking at dawn (just kidding), that I’d re-read old emails that I’ve intentionally not re-read before…that I’d pine and mope and turn myself inside out in anguish. But I’ve already done all those things (except the drinking at dawn…not about to start).  And I’ve done them countless times. Sometimes they’ve caught me by surprise, while other times the feelings just greeted me softly like an old and familiar friend. They comforted me.  Odd. The utter soul drenching sorrow that I’ve felt over the past 10 months has become such a regular part of my life that I think I’m almost afraid of living without it. You know, as in, if I let it go, then I am also letting that love go and then it simply ceases to exist. And without love, then I cease to exist. Because of that mirror analogy. We mirror each other. Mirrored.
The truth is, Love doesn’t cease to exist.  It cannot.  If it does, it isn’t love. So, there’s never anything to fear. That’s just the lizard talking. (“there, there little lizard, everything is ok”)
But, I’ve held on to that for so long.  Why? Human nature? Sure. Addiction to the feeling of said mirroring?   Sure again. Wishing? Hoping? Wanting? Craving? Missing?  Yes, all of that. Especially missing. Missing my mirror. My love. My “you”. My co-defined “One”.
More accurately, the truth is it’s a bit more pitiful and self serving than that.
Because I know better. On the cellular level, I do. However halfway evolved I like to think I am, my monkey mind, my citta vritti still takes over sometimes. More than I’d like to admit. And then I selfishly feel sorry for myself. Then, of course, the inevitable self loathing for stepping off my own path to evol-lightenment. (That’s my hybrid of evolution and enlightenment. I don’t kid myself thinking I will attain enlightenment, but hope to simply stay on the path that enlightens me a wee tad more each day. Micro-Turtle steps.)
What a mess!! Do you see a downward spiral pattern here that makes you want to roll your eyes, or just chuckle at me softly because you are all human too, and understand, and know that I will right myself once again? Yes.  I will. And am. It’s so funny, really.
And this life o’ mine, really is extraordinary. That I’ve been privileged with this gift, this adventure, these eyes that get to see so much beauty…and these ears that hear so much music…these fingers that get to touch so much texture and life…this heart that gets to feel and experience so much magic… I have to chuckle at myself in spite of the monkey.
Looking back over the past year, I can scarce believe all that has happened and that I’ve experienced. The full moon night meeting with a kindred soul whose company I never grew weary of (no small feat)…a desert sunset, discovery…loads of discovery…hiking in Oman, night swimming in iridescent new moon waters…my father’s death – forever sealing the deal that he and I will never get to know one another…trips home to be with my loves in Virginia, time spent getting to know my brother (at least over email), camping in the Mangroves and watching Abu Dhabi’s lights from my open tent…an unforgettable karma yoga trip to India with 8 magnificently heart-beautiful women and meeting the most enchanting and loving children there…getting to sit in the temple of the Amritapuri ashram before dawn meditating…sleeping on the hard floor of the ashram dorm room and loving it…the inevitable breaking open of my heart when the time came to say goodbye to the subject mirror of this post…a journey to Thailand to meet new magical people and deepen my ashtanga practice Mysore style…the journey to France to reconnect with myself through endless daylong hikes through the mountains, vineyards, villages and the nights with beautiful friends there who have become family…the indescribably fortuitous experience of enrolling in the Martha Beck Life Coach course and the countless way-finders and beings of light and love I encounter there every single day and know that I will continue to in my evol-lightenment…watching the place I work fall apart and my job there start to die a slow death. (Yes, that’s happening, but it’s ok…when its over, new exciting things will await me!! I have no doubt about that)...all bringing me to today.
Reflecting on the magic and wonder of this past year. Astounding!! Profound. Beautiful. Otherwordly, even!
And yes, though through the writing of this post, I have found myself in a few heaps of heaving sobs, I end with the feeling with which I began:
Gratitude.
Sheer, unadulterated, endless, universe sized buckets of gratitude. Mixed with a bit of wonder over it all.  And complete unconditional love for all that has passed and all that is to come. Acceptance. Love. Unconditional. Peace. Enough.
…and that’s my message for any of you (however discombobulated it may be) who may not know what is next, or who may feel a little blue, out of sorts,  going through a heartbreak, unsure of how to start…
Start where you are.  Practice, practice – all is coming.  (You gotta love the yoga metaphors, as they are filled with truth.)  And know that you are loved and that you are love, as are we all.   It’s a big world and there’s a lot going on every day, too much really.  We are all in this together.  I’m honored to share the ride with all of you.
Yep! That’s a whole lotta feeling for a little cricket, but maybe, just maybe, that’s my superpower :-). 
Namaste.
august