Friday, March 22, 2019

come to India with me!

in a month i’m leading a trip to India. it’s the first time i’m leading a trip anywhere, and the only reason i decided to do this now was because of how crazy amazing my experience was in India the first time i went, two years ago.  i went to India for a week expecting to learn some things and get out of NYC for a short while. but i came back healed and more whole. the way that India makes you say “guess i’ll let go of my plan” is more powerful than any other place: when i came back from India, i felt like i had shed 42 more layers of my eating disorder—something that might have taken several more years otherwise. if you’re ready to get out of your own way, i’d love to have you join me on this trip!! it’s a small trip, departing april 20th for 8 days, and i have a few spots left. we will do yoga every day, but it is not a yoga retreat. but it is a chance to shift your life. ❤️❤️

check the event here: India + Deepbeats 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

moving toward clarity

there is an overused quote that i find completely ridiculous: "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."  because guess what--this isn't even possible.  the context is ALWAYS different.  as if we could repeat something exactly as it was done before, in any sense.

however, one of my favorite quotes is: "repetition is the key to clarity."  it was something another yoga teacher heard in a workshop and passed on in a yoga class i was attending.  now, that's a quote to learn something from.

in yoga, we do the same poses, the same vinyasa, the same mantras, and the same breathwork over and over.  and, if we're paying attention, each time we learn something new; we grow. 

we move toward clarity.

we begin to understand our physical selves better, our metaphorical edges, and how we inhabit our bodies.

repetition as a tool for learning in our lives is an interesting concept.  responding the same way to every argument with a friend or partner, for example, teaches us something, whether our response is effective or not.  if we observe, maybe we learn that our response is something we utilize in order to protect ourselves; maybe we learn that in differing times of stress, the response is accepted differently.  to really move forward, though, we have to be able to absorb as much information as possible at each time point.

it's that observation and awareness that we consistently try to develop through our yoga and meditation practices.  the more we burn through, the closer we get to that internal point of stillness that allows us to see our lives and relationships with clarity.

and that's the real reason i practice yoga and meditation.  because woah. that clarity, in the bits and pieces i keep finding it, is the balm to life's insanity.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

beats, heart


being alone is better with you.  I fit next to you. you fit into me.
we lay.  we dream.  when the sun comes up, you’re looking at me.
your eyes; my eyes.  your smile; my smile.  like spring.

beats.

what the fuck do you think love is?  you don’t know.
suppose I never met you.  freedom.
freedom?  freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.
wake up.  WAKE UP.

beats.

would you have listened to you? you were crazy. 
I cry because I know.
the worst part is, there’s no one else to blame.
but still, I don’t want you to leave.
will you hold my hand?

beats.beats.
glasses of champagne on the dance floor.
beats.beats.
it fills my head up and gets louder.

beats.

nothing ever stays wrong that long.                              I look up.
I look
  forward.

your shadow            recedes.

I glow.

I reflect. 


I wish you love. 

you have to believe we are magic.

beats.

beats.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Guest Post: How is everyone acting so normal?!



“HOW IS EVERYONE ACTING SO NORMAL?!” I screamed, to everyone and no one, in my nearly empty subway car. Everything might have seemed normal to a naïve onlooker. Just like any other early evening commute home to Brooklyn on a Wednesday in early November. In fact, the sound of shouting or merely the presence of someone “acting crazy” isn’t particularly abnormal in the tunnels of the New York City subway system. Except that the seemingly crazy person shouting was me; and I don’t like shouting; and, at least up to that moment, my most insane moments in life—of which there have already been many—had taken place in far less public places. No, things were not normal, and I certainly wasn’t feeling normal.

It had all begun the previous night, nearly 24 hours prior to this episode on the subway, when news began to “break” that Donald Trump had been elected as the 45th president of the United States. I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t the only one feeling abnormal that day.  And my screams were just the beginning….

To my great shock, the other humans in my subway car barely reacted to my frantic outburst. Some glanced at me, at my tears. Tears that had been slowly flowing down my cheeks and chin long enough to form little marks of moisture on my pant legs. Tears that were accompanied here and there by audible whimpers of distress. My discomfort and fear were quickly escalating as my state of mind began rapidly unraveling.

Now might be a good time to inform my readers that all four of my grandparents fled from and successfully escaped Nazi Europe by various means and that I have, since childhood, been obsessed with the Holocaust. It also might help to know that prior to the evening this story takes place, I had already been hospitalized twice for severe suicidal depression and had for nearly six years been taking an ever-changing prescribed cocktail of psychoactive drugs.

As I continued my underground journey, extreme paranoia began to eclipse all fear and discomfort. At the stop closest to my apartment, I did not disembark. This trip could be my last experience on the subway, I thought; I might as well keep riding to the end and then take it back while I figure out how to GTFO of this mad country. And, thus, the terrifying inevitability of a third world war began to cloud my consciousness.

In this mounting state of panic, my sense of time and reality soon vanished as my plan to survive evolved. What was my plan and what did I need to survive, you might ask? Here is where my depressive obsession with and depth of knowledge about the Holocaust becomes significant. Temporarily out of touch with reality, I felt certain that Trump and his people might already have access to voting records and could already be plotting an organized retaliation against those who did not vote for him.

Drawing from the story of my maternal grandmother’s departure from Luxembourg on the evening of the day the Nazis invaded her country, I suddenly felt certain that I didn’t have time for one last joyride to the end of the subway line.  I must return home and pack a suitcase at once. Countless Holocaust books and memorial museums had taught me how quickly and lightly most Nazi victims were forced to pack. With this knowledge in mind, I began discarding any items I would no longer need onto the floor of the subway car. At least those things might be of use to others, I thought; and then, at the following stop, I exited onto Eastern Parkway.

I honestly cannot remember how exactly I got home from there, but I’m pretty certain that my determination to walk the few miles back to my apartment eventually subsided and I hopped in a yellow cab. At home, my mind continued to run wild as I attempted to pack my suitcase wisely, without concern for rational considerations like the fact that my passport had recently expired and ordering a new one was still lingering on my ever-growing “To Do” list.

For what felt like an eternity and was likely far less than an hour, I thought crazy thoughts and I packed for my big escape. As it turns out, the lines between a severe panic attack, mania, and psychosis are quite blurry firsthand. So I packed, and panicked; panicked, and packed…. Until, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the look of terror on my poor little puppy’s face. Seeing him seeing me freaking out beyond my wildest nightmares forced my body and, more importantly, my mind to freeze. I stopped packing, and to some degree I stopped panicking. Almost immediately, I began seeking help from my established human support network, which is where my history of mental illness blessed me with the existence of a personalized and memorized plan of action for moments of “crisis.”

Now, nearly two years later, after a shitload of self discovery, and hard work, and soul searching, and riding the waves of life’s ups and downs, I no longer subscribe to the belief that taking mind-altering prescription drugs benefit my state of mind.  It’s been well over a year since I tapered off antidepressants and nearly a year since I stopped relying on medication to help me sleep through the night. These days my medicine comes primarily from nature, yoga, dancing, mindfulness, and meditation; and I have never felt better.

Today, I can state with abundant clarity of mind and relative certainty that a third world war will not begin the day after this upcoming midterm election. There are just a few other truths with which I would like to conclude this story. First, people risked their lives and died in the political movements that expanded the rights of voters in this country, so please go out and exercise your right to vote on November 6th! Second, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the Nazi party) was elected to power in Germany nearly a decade before the start of WWII, so it is neither crazy nor unreasonable to be alarmed by the other-phobia, anti-media propaganda, and violent rhetoric of the current president and his party. Third, emotional support animals really can save the day—the puppy I got following a suicide attempt a few months earlier successfully thwarted the escape plan upon which I became fixated during my mental breakdown following the 2016 election. And, finally, regardless of the outcome of the 2018 election, if you’re not feeling “normal” know that you’re not the only one; and, maybe, come up with a plan for who you can call if the results have you feeling like you might need to scream out loud in front of a bunch of strangers in the subway.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

exposed//rebuild

i will never again hear the word "exposed"
without cringing
without feeling a sense of dread
without sensing my defense mechanism kick in


i run to relieve stress
i listen to loud music on my iphone
i run far past the rock sculptures
i keep going



i will never again approve message requests from strangers
without fear of being called a stupid cunt
without expecting to see my own nudes
accompanied by strangers telling me how i helped them cum


i run to escape
i leave my phone behind
it has become a device of torture
i stop when i see two rock sculptures that look like a couple



i will never again wonder whether i can cry for 8 hours straight
my privacy no longer exists
i've been repeatedly assaulted
by someone who loved me; by strangers


i run to move through my emotions
i look forward to the rock couple
they give me hope                            but
all of the rock sculptures have been dismantled by a vandal



i will never again doubt my resilience
my strength
my power
my ability to move forward


i run to prove my strength and determination
to myself
i run by the rock sculpture creator
he is rebuilding--the morning after destruction



he has not missed a beat
as i press play on a new playlist

Friday, April 6, 2018

otg (off the grid)


I’ve been off the grid for 5 days.  (I like to chant “OTG! OTG!”) I was a little afraid my life would fall apart while I was “gone,” and maybe it did a little bit: my gmail is apparently full and refusing emails, and who knows what else. I admit that makes me anxious; I’m not sure who might not try to re-contact me once I purge my email inbox.  But, I suppose I can look at the bright side: that also means I have a few less emails to wade through upon re-entry.

Before this experiment, I tried smaller ones: in the past couple of months I have regularly been doing two hours without my phone while going for a run and then stopping by the grocery store on the way home.  Not relying on my phone for entertainment while running and to remind me of my shopping list give me a sense of independence I didn’t know I missed.  And, when I get back from these little excursions, I often am not overly excited to look at my phone.

So, when I turned my phone off for the past several days, I expected to enjoy the freedom.  But I also thought I would miss the ease my phone offers: both emotionally and logistically. And I think I did at first.

In the first day or so, there were moments when I was waiting in line, or for a menu, where I instinctively wanted to grab my phone and scroll Instagram.  There were times when I got back to my room and automatically thought “oh I need to check and see who has texted since I was last with my phone.” There were instances when I wanted to know the answer to something quickly and wanted to immediately turn to Google.  And then sometimes I’d almost reach to carry my phone with me “just in case.”

After a day, though, these urges began to fade.  It was a relief to not have to carry my phone, or to have to check on its charge. The autonomy I had felt on my two-hour trial periods increased exponentially: I didn’t need my phone.  And, more notably, I didn’t want it.

I connected more deeply both with my best friend I was spending time with and the strangers I encountered each day; I listened to them more because I was never phone-distracted or even pre-phone-distracted (when I’m wondering what might be happening on my phone).  I noticed more things around me in the world because I was never ever looking down at a screen. And, when I wasn’t engaged with other people, I found myself meditating, which, over a few days, gave me a deeper sense of peace then I’ve been able to maintain for the past couple of months.  

I never felt bored.  I never felt lonely. 

As the end of the five days approached, I started to dread re-connecting. I tried not to waste any energy thinking about my worries, but I did brainstorm ways to stay as disconnected as possible once I returned. When I first started dating the man I married, in 2007, he used to leave his mobile phone at home during the day: he said it "lived" there.  I remember being angry at him; wanting to be able to text him to arrange things mid-day.  But now, in a totally different world, I see the appeal and plan to leave my phone at home as often as possible.  And so, now, as I am moments away from turning my phone back on, I find myself only slightly terrified of the other side. 

**24 hours later**

Turns out there was a disaster waiting for me.  But, like one of my best friends said, wasn't it better to have the space away for a few days, since the disaster would've been their either way?  (Yes.)  I'm pretty sure I was much better equipped to deal with it after my time away anyway.  

Oh, and you can email me again.  JIC you're one of those emails I missed! 😂

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

betrayal --> bloom

yesterday i got on the train at 148th and got out a few minutes later at 125th.  in the few moments that i was underground traveling about a mile, the weather changed.  i had walked on to the train amidst sun and i walked out into heavy rain.  and i felt betrayed.

that betrayal is an exact replica of another area of my life right now, where i experienced a lot of warmth and then, shortly afterward, an insane storm that left me slightly ravaged.

betrayal can leave you feeling detached from others, which is protective (from the person who betrayed your trust), but it is also harmful.  i.e. how can i move past this and continue fostering my relationships with others while feeling so detached?

i've had some version of this conversation with many many people over the past week.  i've also meditated and yoga-ed myself to exhaustion, journal-ed it, art-ed it, and had it invade my subconscious and dream spaces.  in other words, i've thought about it a little bit.

i've practiced several techniques of severing energetic ties, practicing forgiveness and compassion, and letting myself sit with my emotions, even the detached ones.  overall i feel calm; i feel like i've processed.  and i can see that it is working: as walking and conducting one of the meditations, a woman who was screaming and cursing into her phone as rushing down a busy NYC street stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me.  she smiled, saying "you look nice." i felt her energy shift just as i keep re-directing my own.

but then there are tiny, seemingly innocuous little things throughout my day that trigger me, letting me know that i need to continue the process.  to continue to trust; to continue to build; to continue to bloom.  because really, isn't that what i naturally have to do? my parents gave me a name, a birthright, that seemingly demands it.

yesterday in yoga felipe read us a portion of this quote by marianne williamson that further sparked my desire to stay on this path of blossoming:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
who am i not to be in full bloom?

despite the weather, despite the betrayals, who are you not to be?