Monday, December 22, 2014

impermanence::home

saturday morning i went to a yoga class at the yoga loft in newcastle. the teacher taught a theme of impermanence. i thought "why is this resonating SO FREAKING MUCH?!" hmmm.

organising this move has been hard: each step forward takes quite a bit of emotional effort. i've struggled with a lot of it: questioning my choices about what to take, worrying about the amount of items and furniture going; anxiety over choosing the best moving company, not understanding what services are included; trying to figure out where all the funds come from for all the shipping and airline tickets; et cetera and et cetera.

last week i realised this stuff was so hard because i was operating from this baseline level of self-doubt: i wasn't thinking that i could actually manage this transition. meanwhile, "moving" keeps autocorrecting to "loving" and "movers" to "lovers" in my texts. i think these were messages from the universe: i had to shake some of this doubt so that i could start really accomplishing some of the items on the list.

so i went to see patty to cleanse some of this out of my system. she helped me realise that: 1) yeah, i like my stuff, and that's ok. i'm not a bad person because i'm moving more shoes than imelda marcos ever owned. 2) i need to do what's right for me at each stage of this move. i don't need to answer to someone else's idea of how i should finance things before i receive reimbursements. 3) if i shift some of this doubt, i can start to actually get excited about this.

i had started a lot of the moving checklist items, but after this session with patty last week, i knocked some of these items out for real. i told anthony exactly how long i'd be staying with him (ahem). i packed up my office (with help from louise and hayden), got people to come pick up the items (thanks hayden!), and cleared out personal items. i called the movers that had given me quotes, got re-quotes, got more evidence, and finally scheduled a mover. i found and scheduled someone to pick up remaining items and donate them to an aboriginal help centre. i organised which day i'm actually flying out.

i thought: i'm doing well; i'm really going to move. i'm getting excited! ...and then the endings began.

--i had my last day in the office. (richard gave me flowers, we did speeches, i cried, hayden and mandy made me pose for photos, mandy states "it's the end of an era!")

--i had my last art therapy session with the woman i've been seeing here for six years. (we review hundreds of artworks, i relive my entire life journey in sydney, i cry.)

--i taught my last yoga class--and specifically, at a place where i've had that same time slot since it opened three years ago. (my class comes even though class was officially cancelled for the holidays--unbeknownst to me--and we have a beautiful class. i see my students putting their all into the theme and their practice. i see every student get into crow, even the student who asked for it because she was certain she could never do it. i cry. i promise to come back.)

woah, guys. this is all big stuff. *impermanence-slap-in-the-face*

impermanence. oh. yeah. that's my life right now. of course that theme would fucking resonate with me. i don't know where i'm going to be living soon, i won't have a routine, i won't know many people... and right now it's much the same: i'm living in the state of limbo--not knowing exactly what i'm doing for the next few weeks as i try to see all of my closest friends here those last few times.

chuck and bal keep saying "this is the last time we'll walk down this road on a saturday morning," or "this is the last time we will eat at this restaurant on a thursday evening," which are most likely true statements. but i BEG them to stop it each time they make those declarations. *impermanence-slap-in-the-face*

what's funny is that everything is impermanent. we just don't always see it. but when i looked back through the art i had created over the past several years in art therapy, i could physically see it: i saw myself move through numerous relationships and stages of friendships; i saw worries and stresses appear and disappear; i saw a marriage dissolve; i saw new opportunities emerge. it was all there in black and white. and color. and 2D and 3D.

everything is impermanent. and it is just as beautiful as those artworks.

if we allow it to be.

so, as i fill out the forms to organise the movers, and i look around at this apartment roxie and i have made a home, i feel a little sad.

but knowing that this sadness won't stay, and that there is so much excitement to come, helps me be a little more present in this space of impermanence i'm occupying right now.

because, after all, it's really where we all live.

Monday, December 15, 2014

intentions #illridewithyou

i love the hashtag that's emerged today about providing support to minorities that may feel oppressed in sydney. when i said something about it to SP, he said something like "actions speak louder than hashtags." which is true. but the hashtag does bring more attention and most likely more action.

and the reason i think it works is because it has intention.

intention has power. the energy we put behind our thoughts and actions is so much stronger than we realize. i can say the sweetest thing to mish while she makes my coffee, but be swiping some photo on my phone at the same time: mish won't even reply. you can feel the lack that sentiments have when there isn't full attention and intention behind them.

this is true in every area of our lives: on the mat and off. tonight while teaching yoga i used the example of being in a deep twist. there's this classic yoga teacher cue "don't rest your belly on your thigh!" instead, we are supposed to use our legs; use our core; twist a little deeper. but, umm, that's hard. and you know what? often, the teacher can't tell whether you're leaning on your thigh or not. i remember HUNDREDS of classes where i've thought, "F THAT! i'm tired. i'm leaning on my f-ing leg!"

yeah, that's right, ms. yoga teacher just confessed to cheating through yoga. but what's the second half of that example? that i always feel shitty about it. i wonder "does the teacher know?" and "why am i even doing this?" and "i know i'll feel better if i just do the freaking pose!" and yet, there are days i don't. i invited the class to put their full heart and intention into each asana--just experimenting with how much better it could feel when you had some of that power behind the pose instead of being concerned about just making the shape.

our whole class was themed about shaking out dust, wringing out our selves, finding the shiny parts inside, and reflecting back out what we thought our local and international communities really needed today. and we went back to that intention over and over. and at the end of class? i could feel it. i could tangibly feel the glowing energy through the room. i felt supported and loved.

and then i wondered how far our energy could reach.

a few minutes later i was on the train and saw the hashtag. i thought, yeah, there is some amazing intention in our city right now. and i think intention does translate to action.

so i'll send out all my hashtag intentions, and i invite you to as well. #givelove #livepeace #illridewithyou (hint: see what's linked in the hashtags!)

and to my love BP: your sensitive soul is inspiring. now come to yoga with me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

no regrets

before i move to NYC i have to find a moving company to make this whole thing happen. and before i choose a moving company, i have to get three in-person quotes. that all seemed straightforward enough a month ago when i started this process. now i realize that it isn't. and today, i also realized that the moving company needs to be able to handle more than just my packing.

the first quote was monday. the woman was polite, lovely, helpful, composed; i managed to hold my tears until after she left. the second quote was early this morning, and luckily i wasn't really awake yet when this woman arrived; i just nodded at what she said. the third was this afternoon, and i just straight up lost it while the moving company representatives were here. they went through the same topics and covered the same points that the last companies had. and, trust me, it's already started to sink in. but BAM. it hit today. (again.) the moving reps said "this is a great apartment!" they said "this is a great location!" they said "you have a lot to do before you leave!"

i gave them a bit of an evil eye. i felt the tears well up. i cried. i told them "if you are the company i choose to go with, you will get to see a lot of tears." they laughed. i cried a little more: i don't want to leave.

my life here is amazing. sometimes it even feels a bit charmed. gorgeous outdoor music festivals with friends that love to dance their little butts off? christmas parties at the opera house overlooking the harbour bridge? yeah. i know.

i told a few friends about the moving quotes experience. i got a few different responses. but my favorite was sam's: "they're just jealous," she told me, "everyone's jealous of you moving to NYC!" i don't think that's true. but i also told her that i was going to adapt my thinking toward that view. because if i envision this as a super exciting thing that's happening right now, then, well, maybe i won't be so teary over it.

there's two types of regrets: regret over something in your past, and anticipated regret about a decision or situation you're going through.


some people dwell on the past; agonizing over what decisions they've made. i'm not one of those--i'm super good at letting go of the past. i know that all of those past experiences have made me what i am today: i couldn't envision myself another way. but those anticipated regrets? eeeek. i get stuck in those. what if this? what if that? i constantly try to ensure the shiniest future for myself and those i love.

but i'm able to see that living with anticipated regret is just as bad as the other: living constantly in the future is still not living in the present.

ok. yoga time. being here. now.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I was scared of...

is the starting line of one of my fav songs. I love the lyrics of "riptide." it's all about this woman who is NOT the one coming unstuck, and the man falling in love with her. it moves my little heart. most of all I love how she's not the scared one, though--she's doing what she wants. favorite line: "there's this movie that I think you'll like; this guy decides to quit his job and head to New York City." IKR?! anyway, enough on that... but it's related. 

I'm in New Zealand. by myself. yeah that's right: it's like I grew up overnight, huh? I've never been on vacation by myself. ever. sure, conferences, yoga retreats, or even trips with people I just met. but... alone? never. 

I have friends that vacay by themselves regularly. (lisa--you're the champ here!!) I've always wondered how people did it: how they had enough self-efficacy to do that.  (and I also have friends who have drastically failed at the attempt; scary!) but I'm confident; I'm fairly street-smart; I love travelling. but... by myself? I've never even considered it.

until I had this opportunity fall in my lap. and I thought, I'll find someone to go with, and started making plans. well I didn't. let me clarify, I found someone amazing for the second half of the six days. but that still left me exploring a new country on my own for three days. and I thought, yeah, no worries, mate; I got this.

ok. the planning (or lack thereof) was scary. the day of the flight was scary. the taxi to the airport was scary. but once me and all of my liquids made it through security, I was fine. plane? cool. Christchurch earthquake arrival? cool. figuring out what the hell I'm doing the first few days? cool. (after a run and a local yoga class!)

but I'm still pretty amazed.

I still remember the first time I ate at a restaurant alone: June 2006. tamar, liz, sunam and I were studying abroad in germany for the summer. we did weekend trips together but occasionally would explore the cities we went to separately. we were in berlin, and I ate lunch in a cafe. alone. I remember being panicked at telling them "one;" thinking they would judge me.

of course no one did; of course it was fine: I had a lovely bowl of soup while writing in my journal (I didn't have a blog yet!). and I've eaten alone in restaurants at least a hundred times since.

seeing a movie alone for the first time? just after billy left: October 2012. laurel said I just HAD to see "wreck-it ralph," so I went. I felt ridiculous going to a movie aimed at kids as a single adult. but I did it.

and I LOVED it. I probably haven't seen too many more movies alone, but that's just because I don't see movies much.

I think that this super slow evolution of being able to travel alone is indicative of my perception of my self-worth: I probably didn't like myself enough to spend this much time alone in the past.

but it turns out that I'm actually pretty good company.



so. what have I learned thus far? sometimes trusting that everything will work out is a good "plan," I'm always stronger than I expect, I have amazing friends that support me while trying to get out of town (hal, chuck, bal, mish, andrew--that's you), I have super cool friends that will join me for a few days at a moment's notice (SAM!!!!), I can make friends ANYwhere (thanks for the training ground, USAF!), and, um, I kinda like travelling alone.

granted, I'm still in this. but, like I said, I got it. what was I scared of?

#butexpectmoreselfiesthanusual

Monday, November 24, 2014

healing ourselves

i taught one of the most fulfilling classes ever tonight. the class focus was on breathing through those hard times, those uncomfortable situations, those everyday frustrations: intentions of responding to these challenges with love.

after class a few people applauded... which happens occasionally, but still, it feels kinda weird. and then a student came up to me and asked to tell me something. something in her eyes made me divert all of my attention to her.

she told me about a heavy pain that's been her body, about her struggles with doctors to treat it, about the medications she's tried, and about her resulting depressed state at nothing succeeding in easing it. i cried as she talked, feeling her sadness and frustration through her words. she talked to me for half an hour.

and then came the kicker: she said that my class healed her; that the pain in her body had lifted, and that she felt happy.

it was a beautiful heartfelt sentiment. and it really touched me.

i'm still feeling the reverberations of her conversation, actually. partly because of her amazing sincerity. and partly because i know exactly how she feels.

if you know me even a little bit, you know that i love yoga and that i think everyone can benefit from it. it's almost like you're not a real friend of mine until you've been dragged to a yoga class or been forced to be a participant in a one-on-one with me. but there's good reason for that: i love you and want you to know what i love. and why.

i truly believe we can heal ourselves: the past hurts we carry with us, the emotions that are sometimes too hard to feel, the deep-seeded fears. we can learn to let go of these things and create brighter futures.

i'm sure there are other ways of doing these things, but, to me, it's yoga. it's breathing through all that shit that we try not to acknowledge that gives us courage to breathe through the next thing.

even my graffiti choices are yoga!
and that's why i teach. a couple of days ago a friend asked me about how i got into yoga and why i teach it. i went through the chronology of it. but for sure i would've quit it by now if it wasn't for the healing: both what i get and what i see in the lives of others. i've had a few friends tell me that they are thankful for the yoga i've brought into their lives.

i'm deeply humbled when i hear that. but really, like i told the woman in class tonight: you're doing the work. that work can be really hard. and the choice to continue to do it can be just as hard.

but the benefits?
yeah.
way more worth it.
so.
go heal yourself.
LOVE.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

retreating to my mermaid cave

i do a lot. and then i do a lot more. i spend most evenings outside of my home; meeting friends, going to yoga classes, working out, having drinks, going to museums... anything that pops up and looks interesting. but it can also be super taxing emotionally and physically--and then i need time and space to recover.

and i think all of my best friends are a bit like that as well: i tend to be drawn to people who aren't afraid to try new things, and to do it at the drop of a pin... but i'm also attracted to sensitive people who actually need their own self-care time.

butttttt... i ignore that i need the down time. if someone says at 7pm, "hey; what're you doing? wanna have a quick drink?" i think, "umm, actually, no. i'm super tired; i need to get up at 6am." but what i say is, "yeah, sure! see you in... 20?"

wednesday night bal and i went to see the coffee ground reader. while he was reading my grounds, he said to me, "you're a mermaid. you need more mermaid time; you need to spend more time in your cave."

and bal started cracking. the fuck. UP. it's true. and most of my friends know it's true. i push myself a little too much sometimes. like last night. i had a friend last minute ask for a catch-up.

i thought, "i'm exhausted!"

i said "i'd love to!"

and then i got home, started to run a bath, and thought, "what. am. i. doing. right. now. this. is. in. sane." and texted a semi-cancellation: i asked to change plans slightly to something more low-key. ok, so i didn't fully get mermaid time, but it's a step in the right direction!

this morning in yoga SJ taught a theme of knowing when to step back. oh, synchronicity, how i love you.

there are so many areas of our lives where we need to know when to step back. but there are equally as many when we need to know when to jump off the cliff. i've been doing a lot of jumping lately. i feel nervous about most of the things happening in my life in the last month and the next two months. going to uluru with some girls i don't know? wearing my heart on my sleeve all the time instead of only very rarely? going to NZ with a lovely girl i met once? leading big team meetings with important researchers? risking comfort and security to move across the world (again)?

yeah. jumping.
and, luckily, mostly flying.

it's so hard to know when to keep leaping and when to pull back. but we all need that balance; we all need to continually search for that space where we are making decisions from our heart, and feeling at peace with ourselves and our choices.

so, in other words, if i text you a cancellation, beg for a re-schedule, or just don't make a plan with you right away, please forgive me; right now i'm needing my mermaid time.

but that doesn't mean i don't love you. just spending a little time loving myself up. {insert dirty joke here}

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

pride without prejudice

last week i received funding for research that we had applied for. it was one of the most amazing things i've experienced: it was the first time i successfully planned and coordinated a project to be put up for such a competitive grant scheme.

all day i freaked out. i jumped around like crazy for a while; i called all the people involved; i tried to pick up my coffee a little later, but my hands were still shaking. the excitement just wouldn't die down. and kitty and hayden planned a little celebration party for that evening.

it wasn't until later that afternoon, after i yoga-ed it up (and calmed myself down), that i realized what felt so different: i was proud of myself.

i was proud of myself, and it felt weird; i was not used to that feeling.

when kitty arrived to escort me to drinks, i mentioned to her that we should be having the party simply for the fact that i felt proud of myself. it was that big of a deal.

i reflected on that over the past weekend while at uluru (formerly ayers rock for the americans in the audience--that big red rock in the middle of australia).

it isn't that i haven't accomplished great things; it isn't even that i can't recognize it per se. i think it's more that i feel embarrassed to feel pride, like it's an ego thing.

jane austen, in pride and prejudice, says: "Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."

being at uluru, dwarfed in its size and spirituality, humbled me enough to let me figure that out. and then it made me sad: why can't we feel prideful of everything we do?

there's something hard for us to deal with every week; every day is hard for some of us. and you know what? we keep going. we make it through. sure, it doesn't always feel amazeaballs... but that's ok.

i'm proud of kitty for trying a new way of eating. i'm proud of hayden for making it through this next grant submission with me today. i'm proud of NK for each urge she gets past. i'm proud of SM for feeling both the highs and the lows. i'm proud of sister for braving her way through sleepless nights.

i'm proud of all the steps, all the choices, all the work each of us do every single day.

and i'm proud of myself.

strange that that's so hard to say. but i'm also proud of myself for doing the work to get to a space that i can say that.

yesterday i listened to the most current episode of this american life; in part 2, they discuss the possibility of time travel, and what people would do if they could time travel. so many people wanted to go back and fix things--either in their personal lives or in history. but, interestingly enough, the people with the most life experience (the elderly), didn't want to time travel.

i agree. i don't want to go back and teach myself things. i don't want to go back and fix mistakes. i agree with the conclusion: "i'm traveling into the future. at 60 minutes/hour. and maybe that's how we fix things."

each step. each choice. each little bit of work. it all counts. it all builds. it makes us what we are. and that's something we should be proud of.

Monday, November 3, 2014

accepting anger. and the rest.

growing up, my home was a super comforting place to be. if my sister or i ever got in trouble, we never heard screaming. maybe we were sent to a bedroom for a little while; maybe our already limited-television watching was further limited; or maybe we were told the way we had acted was "disappointing." i would know when my parents were angry with me, but i never saw the anger: i never witnessed what true anger looked like.

i saw this model and chose to take this into adulthood. if i'm mad at you, you probably won't know it. eventually, when i can't handle it eating me up inside anymore, i'll have a discussion with you. ...and that's progress, folks! i used to hold it in for, well, forever.

i was in a bathroom this weekend where the entire insides of the room were covered in tags, including the mirror. it looked gorgeous, and i snapped a photo of myself in there. but when i looked back at it later, i felt a little sad, a little uncomfortable. seeing myself in that mirror that was covered in other people's tags felt like a metaphor for all of this. avoiding seeing where i am or what i need; allowing other people's needs to come first; minimizing the self; feelings EVERYWHERE.... you can go on and on with interpretations.

i'm practicing getting to those uncomfortable conversations sooner. i'm practicing avoiding the avoidance. but those big feelings are super scary for me to feel.

after announcing to my work that i'm leaving my current position, my supervisors here haven't been overly supportive. the emails i now receive daily are not fun to read. i have strategies: avoid opening, forward to a friend, call friend and see how bad it is, forward to a student, get student to draft reply, review reply, send reply. --yeah, that happened last night/this morning; i still haven't read that last email i replied to. it's that scary for me.

that's pretty hard core avoidance of feeling anger. i'm much better at dealing with it in personal relationships than in work relationships. but i still tend to go to avoidance first.

so when i see people get angry, i'm actually pretty impressed. well, let me rephrase that. when i see people get angry for a good reason, i'm impressed.

to my friend getting pissed off at her ED: you're fucking working through it. that's hard work.

to my friend getting pissed off at his depression: you're fucking working through it. that's hard work.

to my friend constantly pissed off at her anxiety: you're fucking working through it. that's hard work.

anger can be a useful tool. it's like that inner voice telling you "something isn't balanced here; let's do something about it. let's process. let's talk. let's get it out."

so anyway, this was mainly for NK today--don't judge that anger, that sadness. keep feeling. take each feeling and wrap it up in a blanket of acceptance. accept that feeling for what it is. and then allow it to pass. i'm super proud of you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

emotional fly traps

when I was little, maybe 8 years old, I was sitting in the car with my mom. it was biloxi, mississippi. it was summer. it was HOT. so we had on shorts. I looked over at my mom and noticed aloud to her "my thighs are like less than half the size of your thighs!"

I don't remember what she said back. I don't think she was upset at all. she probably said something like "that's because I'm an adult." but I know that on some level I must have felt some hurt from her. because I still feel bad about that comment.

I am a sensitive girl; I hold things close to my heart; I feel bad for unintentionally hurting others. and i get hurt easily: by others and by my own doing.

there is someone in my recent life who has continually hurt me. I kept resisting cutting him out of my life, despite the pleading of many other friends. "all my friends don't have to like each other," I thought; "I'll be friends with him even though he isn't treating me well; at least he acknowledges he wants to do better."

yes: I now hear it. that sounds like someone in a domestic abuse situation. and emotionally, it kind of was. you know how it's always easier to comment on someone else's situation; how it's always easier to find the flaws that are a little more distal? seeing (or hearing) the harshness of this situation took me a long time, but finally figuring it out is good for me in more than one way.

what's he do that's so hurtful? he jokes about my attempts at romantic relationships. it got worse over the past few weeks as I started to stop joking back with him when he called me a slut. I began to notice how bad I felt after each snapchat that insinuated I'd have sex with anyone; after each uncomfortable call where he joked that I must be out on a date.

so I decided to put myself first: I'm removing myself from this "friendship." I feel sad about this. but also proud.

why have I constantly defended someone who treats me badly? why did I immediately respond to the negative way he spoke to me? I didn't grow up with critical messages from family or teachers. I've never been in an abusive relationship.

well. except the one with myself. and that's the emotionally abusive relationship that is hardest for me to see and/or admit to.

the way he spoke to me is how I often talk to myself. I'm quite judgemental and critical when it comes to, well, anything I do. so I guess it felt pretty natural and almost comfortable for me to receive those types of messages from him.

the reason I need to limit contact with him is because I internalize what he says to me. even though i don't agree with his judgemental view of my life, I find myself starting to believe him. it's almost impossible not to believe something you hear over and over.

the same thing happens in my own head: when I say something negative in my head often enough, my subconscious starts to really buy into it. and sometimes I'm shocked when my subconscious says something like "I am not doing enough." I think "who said that? why would you think that? where did that idea come from?" and then I realise I put that idea there. I'm the one who silently judges myself hundreds of times a day.

so hearing the messages from my friend didn't dissuade me from being friends with him. but when I found myself internalizing the judgements of my friend, I was finally able to recognise that i needed to limit contact. he wasn't changing; he wasn't apologising. but I could take control.

and loving myself enough to change that is the first step in limiting contact with my judgemental self.

i listened to a podcast interviewing ellen burstyn today about survival. and it ended with this: "I’ve learned a lot from my plants. I learn that if a plant’s not growing, it’s dying, and that growth is a state of health."

I choose to keep growing. and, to my mommy: sorry for what I said when I was 8. xo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

guess i'm going to be a new yorker

writing this makes it public. official. i'm actually going. i am moving to NYC. the big apple. the city that doesn't sleep. the melting pot. the center of the universe.

shocked? me too. i have never really thought of myself as a NYC girl. and i LOVE sydney with a passion... like it is my favorite city in the world; i've never felt at home somewhere like i do in sydney.


so wtf am i doing? well. i got an amazing job offer from the CUNY school of public health that i could not turn down. which is so so so fantastic.

and scary as anything.

making this decision has been one of the hardest things i've ever had to do. i had at least four iterations of my pro/con list. i talked it over with everyone. i talked to my life coach. i went to see a coffee ground reader. i made a decision and then changed my mind. i went to see an energy healer. the thing i was most fearful of was that i would make the wrong decision and end up regretting it.

but how did i actually make the decision? i didn't. the decision made itself.

i had thought about it over and over. i went running and went through all the future scenarios. i talked about it until i couldn't talk about it anymore. i felt like i just couldn't make this decision, that i was incapable. so, instead, i did yoga. a lot of yoga. and then one morning, lying there in savasana after class, the decision came. it just kinda appeared in my belly really. this feeling of "yeah, i have to go." then i laid there and cried my little heart out. and then i facetimed my sister: i knew she would be overjoyed that australia hadn't stolen me for good.

when i talked to lydia about some hard decisions she was making, she told me that sometimes you can't force a decision; you can't make it until it is ready to be made. and then? it will manifest itself. she told me that, and i went, woah, YES; that is exactly what happened with the new york decision. it manifested itself once the decision was ready to be made. that's not to say i didn't think about it (TONS). but it couldn't be forced. no matter how many times my friends kept asking "did you make the decision yet?"



so. things that helped?
--every single little conversation with every friend and family member. (too many to list; thank you all so much!)
--this TED talk. (thanks nyree!)
--mish reminding me over and over that i had to make the decision for ME.
--matt saying "moving to NYC doesn't mean you can't ever live in sydney again."
--anthony promising to look out for me in NYC.
--my sister's pregnant belly.

things that made it the hardest to choose NYC?
--having to tell kitty i was leaving: i have never felt so nervous to tell someone something. i didn't want to see the look on her face. i didn't want to have to hear her cry.
--losing regular contact with adi, my co-founder of big sisters' club.
--thinking about leaving my PhD students that i love: don't worry hayden and mandy; we will figure this out.
--leaving a yoga community i love (yes, this means you, kel).
--realizing i would be doing it alone. <--this might have been the scariest
--and dreading leaving a place i call home; a place i love; a place and culture i've come to embrace.

recently someone asked me where i grew up. my stock answer is: i don't have a home; i grew up all over the US. but when i was asked a week ago, i said: well i did most of my growing up right here.

and that's the truth. i came to sydney newly married, a fresh PhD, and still pretty naive about a lot of things. i'm leaving quite a different girl. or rather, woman, i suppose. the amount of things i've learned about myself, my relationships, and the world in general, while in sydney ensures that a piece of my heart will always be here.

and so. if you're a friend in the states: i'll be back in january; come to NYC!! if you're a friend in sydney: start to try to see me A LOT. if you're a friend who has always wanted to visit me in sydney: HURRY THE FUCK UP.

but wherever you are, you know i'll keep in touch. i'm good at this "my life is online" thing.

“and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." --Ana├»s Nin xo

Sunday, October 12, 2014

i don't believe you

warning. not an actual blog post. just a rant really.

i haven't really talked to one of my best friends in a week. i tried to call a few times, but i never got through. tonight we finally talked. i wanted to know what was going on and i explained how i felt ignored. i was told that the reason we hadn't been talking was because of a photo i sent that was unappreciated. or rather, the interpreted context was unappreciated. but the interpretation was not correct. classic he said/she said really.

after chatting for 45 minutes, i was left feeling worse than before our delayed talk. mainly i felt betrayed that one of the people closest to me didn't believe me. one of the people who knows all the things about me. someone i tell my deep-seated fears and share all my anxieties with.

i'm not sure why i believe everything everyone says, regardless of the level of my relationship with that person. it could be me being gullible, or it could be my eternal optimism about humanity. but whatever the case, if you tell me something, i will straight up believe it. especially if you're a good friend.

and so of course i'm hurt: i don't feel nurtured or cared about by this friend. of course i feel like i'm being judged. of course i feel pretty fucking shitty. because i don't feel like i'm getting the same respect that i offer out.

-->another reminder of how every relationship in our life takes effort, i guess.

i then rehashed this conversation with two other besties (umm, duh). advice back: blog it out. and: i don't need that in my life; let go of the friendship.

1) so i'm blogging. i don't feel like i have something to say; i'm just trying to cleanse.

2) i can't just let go of someone i care about. i had a friend do that to me when she felt like i didn't fit exactly how she wanted me to respond to a situation. eventually we got to be friends again, but i know how badly that felt. just because i don't like the response i'm receiving right now, i'm not willing to cut a friend out of my life.

but what am i supposed to do?

this morning matt arrived from the US for a week's vacation. i'm super psyched he's here. he reminded me of my mantras from my energy healer. (in an affectionate making fun of me way.) i re-read them today after he mentioned them. and the part that is ringing loudly right now is: I feel safe expressing my truth now that I'm detached from the outcome.

practicing.

speaking my truth as i feel it right now. detaching from the outcome; just putting it out there. because that has to feel better than this.

#aimtrue

Monday, October 6, 2014

things are just things

my life seems to be all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows at times. and i guess i am pretty lucky. but i had a hard week last week: friends going through traumatic things, my mother is quite ill, and i was just a bit wrung out from offering love and support back out to the world. so much so that wednesday night when a casual friend asked me how i was doing, i started sobbing. and in art therapy thursday night the only way i could describe my emotional state was this: "my soul feels dehydrated."

i tried to quench the inner thirst through a yoga jam friday evening and by planning catch-ups with friends and a play date with my favorite four-year-old for the long weekend. half way through the long weekend, i was starting to feel a bit more 3D: things were sunny and happy, and i had lots of fun things planned for the rest of the weekend.

and then my friend's car was broken into. while parked behind my house. the back window was smashed and a lot of valuable items were taken.

ok. go ahead. get all the "you live in redfern" jokes out of the way. and then i'll try to refrain from telling you how safe redfern actually is and how i have friends who have had things stolen in every corner of sydney.

so after photoing the car and filing the police reports (yes, i totes snapchatted the forensics guy dusting for prints), i went about the rest of my day. rushing off to a friend's and then getting to the yoga class i had to teach. i was sad for my friend's losses, but i thought i was fine. i was feeling guilty about the robbery happening while he was parked at my house, but i told myself over and over "this is not my fault."

and then, while teaching yoga, i referenced the break-in and started crying.

it wasn't about the stuff. my friend didn't seem that upset about the things either. material items aren't what we're all about. and they aren't what really matter. so what was tugging at my heart?

i couldn't verbalize it at the time, but i think it was mostly about feeling violated. of being afraid to believe that the world isn't always a beautiful place. of realizing that karma doesn't mean everyone is always going to be nice to us. of remembering how unfair things can be.

pic stolen from here
i talked to my friend lisa about this, and she told me about how she had felt that way after her car had been broken into once (not in redfern). she also told me that she quickly returned to feeling "normal" afterward. i grabbed on to that bit of information.

maybe the world isn't perfect. but the more i thought about it today, i realized that my life-view hadn't actually shifted. i have a lot of magic in my life: just this afternoon adi and i practiced being mermaids at the pool. how can you beat that?

things are just things.
not everyone is a unicorn.
but i still believe in miracles.

#charmedlife

Monday, September 29, 2014

shining up my details

each time we make a decision, we create history. we affect other's history. we create our future. and we affect each other's destiny and future.

those little decisions, those little details, matter just as much as the big ones. in fact, i've recently realized that they probably matter much more. the details happen every day. and that's how we can really make a difference in our lives.

make the bed every morning: create order and peace.
keep your nails filed: create neatness and beauty.
sign off emails with something personal: create connection.

little details exist over and over. eternal opportunities for creation.

in yoga, paying attention to setting the foundation and to shining up the edges creates beautiful poses. i taught headstands in yoga tonight, and i had a student tell me that he had never tried one in 12 years of being a gymnast and teaching gymnastics. but through the details and intentions we set, he did his first headstand.

woah. it works.

i was talking to a bff tonight and off the cuff she said "i hate myself." and i thought, "god, how many times a day do you create that in your life?" i've done the same thing. i noticed a few months ago that every time i looked at my phone and it didn't have any notifications, i'd say to myself, "nobody loves me!" when i heard myself say this over and over, i was creating that. i had to re-train myself to say "i have lots of friends who love me; it's just that none of them are contacting me right at this moment."

and with that, i started to create more self-acceptance and love. i shifted. and shifting those little details makes a very real difference.

last night i binged and purged. just a little bit. but it sucked. and it left me feeling depressed and like a failure this morning. but you know what i did before i binged and purged? i reached out. i asked a friend for some reassurance. (thanks babe.)

that was a change. a little one, but a change. that little detail mattered. and i'm proud of that little detail. and being proud of that detail helped me get past the rest of it.

i think i reached out because i had a bff reach out to me last week. i remember feeling so proud of him. so thankful that he asked for help. and so hopeful for him creating the rest of what he needs.

kelli asked us saturday what we wanted to create in our lives. i want to create grace. beauty. heartfulness. love.

details.
create it through the details.
try this one kk: "i love me."
try this one c: "i have so many friends here that care about me."
i'm gonna try: "good job, spring."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

ruts

my bestie asked me to call her hairdresser and schedule an appointment for her after she had to cancel one last minute recently. i said "sure," because i knew that i didn't like doing things like that. she asked me to pretend to be her, which i did. little did i know how poorly this salon takes to cancelling appointments. after chatting with the first woman that answered the phone, i gave information about "myself" to book "my" new appointment. i was then quickly put on hold while a new person came on the phone. the next person to talk to me started by stating "my" full name sternly. i knew "i" was in trouble. and i freaked out.

when i feel strong negative emotions, or when i think others will put negative strong emotions on me, i resist. and i put up cushions and cushions of softness and avoidance to prevent myself from experiencing these things. i was talking about this with someone recently and she asked me why was i so afraid of people being mad at me. i said, without thinking, "i guess it's because someone might be mad at me and not like me any more and leave me."

woah.

so, yeah, what am i actually afraid of? being left.

we can go back to the millions of times i moved as a child to understand what leaving friends behind over and over did to my psyche. or we can examine the two 4 year plus relationships i've had and the break-ups that involved them leaving me and not telling me (yes i'm serious).

or we can simply say "no one likes feeling left; no one likes feeling alone; no one likes feeling lonely."

my ink droplets, following
the path of least resistance 
but the danger i fall into is that i grab onto the path of least resistance. just like water droplets that will find another existing pathway and follow it instead of making their own. that existing pathway is the easiest. so i avoid potentially upsetting someone. i put up cushions so that i don't feel any uneasiness of my own. i try to make everything ok for everyone so that everyone is happy. i follow that already-created-path. because i'm used to it.

i fall into a rut.

but kelli gave me a reminder saturday night. she said we should be like YEA... RESISTANCE... I CAN GROW!!! which is what #miraclesnow and gabby taught me: be grateful for what we can learn from our fears. and it's also what my energy healer told me: when you feel those uncomfortable feelings, take them as a SIGN that you need to change something.

it's the same lesson over and over, but in different words: "don't avoid. feel. do. evolve."

so why do i keep forgetting this lesson? i don't know. (yet.) but i do know that i see lots of my friends forget it. one of my BFFs in yoga the other day PUSHED and pushed through the practice; ignoring body signals and feelings of tiredness. the result was not pretty (crash landing anyone?)... but it was just the physical interpretation of the same lesson. there was no acknowledgement there: it was "nope. gonna ignore that. gonna do what i always do instead."

and when i saw it in yoga, in someone else, i cried. i recognised this for what it was when it wasn't me. but when i do it? shhhhh. avoid. let's not acknowledge that, k? k. thanks.

it's sad when we avoid what we need. when we avoid what we feel. when we avoid what can be an opportunity for more in our lives.

when i was in my marriage, and unhappy, i wasn't going to do anything to change it. i thought "this is where i live now," and i wasn't going to even try. i resigned to it. i used to wish for ANYthing to come along to change the situation for me: even an illness or death. i was desperate for something to get me out of where i was--but i couldn't see a way out on my own.

last week i had a friend express almost that exact same sentiment to me: she said she wished sometimes that a certain person in her life would just drop off the face of the earth. why? because the situation she was in with this person seemed hopeless to her. she didn't know how she was going to get out of it; how she was going to change it; how she could ever be happy.

part of all this is that avoidance. part of it is not wanting to feel those strong things. part of it is being afraid of being alone. and part of it is just being stuck in a rut.

who new ruts could be so fucking heartbreaking?

so?

change the pattern; shake it up:
feel what's happening.
forget about the fears.
react in a new way.
and then: let your heart sparkle;
be glitteringly happy.

that's the plan anyway. xo

Monday, September 15, 2014

through your eyes

i was at a birthday party a couple of nights ago talking to a friend i don't see very often. he gave me a few compliments that were hard to hear--because they were so genuine and nice.

like SO nice. i kept saying "really?!" to things he was saying, and he kept saying "oh, come on, you know this; i'm sure your five best friends tell you this all the time!"

when i repeated these things back to kitty (still in disbelief), she said "umm, i tell you that ALL THE TIME!" oh. hmm.

three lessons here: 1) we don't tell our friends genuine things enough. 2) sometimes we may not hear or believe the things our very best friends tell us. 3) we often have no idea how others see us.

if you asked me how i see myself, this is what i would say: i'm just a girl.

sure, i know i am talented and have a lot of good qualities. but everyone has their own talents. and everyone has some great qualities. so i guess i just don't really feel that special most of the time. but it's really a strange thing to hear yourself described by someone else. luckily for me, it was also positive.

there's this old episode of "this american life" that i love so much i've listened to it a few times, and i never listen or watch things more than once. this episode is haunting, but amazing: it's called see no evil. the episode is all about pretending that things are ok and ignoring things that are uncomfortable--on personal, business, and national levels. in the first segment, there is a family struggling to see the bad in one of their loved ones. even when that something is really bad.

why is it that we can only see the most amazing things about our loved ones but we struggle to see those things in ourselves?

there's this exercise in gabby's 40 days book that has you look into the mirror and say things to yourself as if you were saying them to a best friend or lover. the exercise is quite confronting, and hard to get through. i've gone back to this a few times to try to get it "right." but it's always hard. (i dare you to try it.)

telling yourself those nice things, and believing them, is something that takes practice. we can do it on the mat or off. we can practice cultivating inner strength and power by breathing through a challenging yoga pose or by breathing through a difficult conversation.

after seeing kanye friday night, i taught a theme in yoga about stepping up to a stronger more powerful version of yourself: like believing SO MUCH in your inner strength and power. but not for ego reasons (yeah, i'm calling you on that one kanye). when we truly believe in ourselves, we can do more; we can give more; we can become more; we can inspire more.

we can manifest miracles.

and it's important to do. hard work... but super important.

practicing believing what i hear. love to you N for your words saturday night. i actually heard what you said. and it means a lot to me.

sharing the love back. words to KK you may need right now: you're smart, intelligent, genuine, kind, caring, loving, and loveable. to A going for a job interview later today: you're going to rock it. #nodoubts and to all y'all: you have it inside you too. xx

Monday, September 8, 2014

spring cleaning

i once went to a comedy show where the comedian started off the show saying "does anyone out there actually know what their name means?" me, sitting in the front row: "umm, yeah."  he asked what my name was, and as i replied, he immediately followed up with "and what does it mean?" i looked at him like he was insane and said, "it's a season!" he replied, "oh. yeah. ok; you win that game!" and moved on. everyone laughed and it was hilarious.

i love all the opportunities my name has for jokes and teasing.  and i'm obsessed with things that have my name in it. when springtime comes, i get to see my name EVERYwhere.  and the really great thing is that i get to have this when it hits springtime in the US, and when it hits springtime in australia.  i'm a super lucky girl.

anyway, it's spring in sydney.  finally.  spring is the most exciting of the season changes (yeah, yeah, i know, i might be biased).  but the reason i think it's so exciting is because it really is the time of year when everything is fresh and new. we get to break out of hibernation.  we get to blossom.  we get to really glow.

you'll notice people getting outside more; breaking up their routines; smiling more; reconnecting with others in their lives... getting happier.

o recently made me clean my closet; it was way worse than cher's.

and one of the super typical things we associate with spring is "spring cleaning"--the act of getting rid of stuff we don't need anymore; clearing out our space; making room for the new.

we do this in our closets regularly. but we also need to remember to do it in our lives.


i went to kelli's day retreat on saturday where she used "spring cleaning" as a theme for the day.  i stole the idea of the theme and made it my own when i taught both yesterday and tonight: the idea of letting go of things that aren't serving us in our lives is one of my favorite yoga themes.

i like this theme so much that i usually go back and teach it about once a month. because there are ALWAYS things we need to let go of.  there are so many little habits and ways that we get stuck. and being reminded that we have the power to let go of them, to move on, to expand and blossom--well that's just about the most empowering thing in the world.

when i practiced with kelli on saturday i thought of the relationships in my life that weren't giving me everything i needed.  i meditated on thoughts of my heart blooming.  and in savasana, these images of angels dusting out my heart snuck in front of my eyelids.  i was lying there, completely calm, completely at peace, and i just felt myself being dusted out.  i felt myself shining a little brighter.  and it felt amazing.

after i taught this theme sunday afternoon, i had a few people tell me how much they got out of it.  one student told me he had never had such an emotional experience in a yoga class. another told me how much she shifted during that hour. a few others told me how much they enjoyed it.  tonight, the same thing happened.

but you know what's so cool about that? each of us has that power. each of us can do that for ourselves.

i had dinner last night with a friend who is on a super high vibration right now.  she's got her duckies all lined up and she is ready to take on the next stage of her life: no doubt about it; she's gonna rock it.  she and i talked a bit about that idea of realizing your power in a situation, or even just realizing your power to change your attitude in a situation.  and about how easy it can be to forget that we have that power.

so, here's a little reminder: you can do it.  you can let it go.  you can have a little more spring in your step.  even if you're living in the "other" hemisphere right now.  clean out your inner closet; let go of that thing that's holding you back--why would you want to keep hanging on to it any longer than you have to?

to my friend that's on the verge of a divorce. to my friend who isn't sure what her marriage might hold for her. to my friend that doesn't know what career she'll have next week. to all my friends.

make room for new patterns, new ideas, new opportunities, and new people in your life. make room for the next, better thing. make room for yourself.

Monday, September 1, 2014

work work work work workin' on my sh!t

(i seriously have that song stuck in my head right now.)

every relationship is hard work. not just romantic ones. not just the emotional friends. not just the crazy second cousin. every relationship. each friend, each family member, each co-worker. every person we interact with is a whole complex person that deserves a whole complex understanding.

in the past week i've noticed this theme over and over: one of my bff and i got in a disagreement over a miscommunication and didn't really talk for a few days. another bff received an embarrassing text from me that we had to work through (hell no i'm not sharing what it said). another bff (yes i have this many best friends) felt left out when i didn't get an invite out. another friend called me and worked through a misunderstanding we had. two different friends got back in touch after a several month hiatus. a co-worker broke down and shared something personal after feeling under-appreciated. ...this is just off the top of my head, but there are so many examples of how important it is to put time into each communication and each interaction we have.

the theme also popped up this weekend when i went to a few festival of dangerous ideas talks at the opera house. in a talk about loneliness and depression, someone said (my interpretation): we spend so much time being busy. busy-ness is a stand-in for fullness in our lives: if we're busy, we're full, complete. but busy-ness doesn't allow time for connection. in fact, quite the opposite. we end up rushing through our interactions to get to the next one, not allowing space for fully connecting with the people in our lives.

to fully connect with someone is hard work. it takes more than a few minutes. and it takes empathy as well. it needs time, space, compassion, and understanding.

friday afternoon i spent time with my favorite four-year-old: adi is brand new big sister; her little sister is under two weeks old. adi has been feeling a little left-out since her little sister was born, so she and i had a special "big sisters club" afternoon on friday. she and i put on shiny tattoos, went trampolining, and then spent a couple of hours working on a dinosaur activity book and coloring. adi soaked up every second of time that was fully focused on her: she didn't want the time to end and made sure we scheduled the next meeting of big sisters club before i left. "umm, how's friday?" she asked as i was walking out the door. i don't think she even knew which day it was, but she knew she wanted to get her special time scheduled in.

after i left i thought about how adi might be feeling, and i thought about my own sister and how i might have felt when she entered my life. and i thought about how much she drove me nuts for several years. and how she copied everything i did and wanted to steal everything that was mine (like when she ripped the arm off of my favorite doll trying to pull it from the crib so she could play with something dear to me).

and i thought about how my sister and i are best friends now.

i'm super grateful for where we are. but it wasn't easy; it was work. and it still is. just like every other relationship. so part of this blog is a promise to myself and the relationships in my life. part of this blog is a reminder to keep working. part of this blog is an apology for the places i haven't put in as much effort. and part of this blog is dedicated to all of those siblings; all of those co-workers; all of those ex-partners... just all of the people: all of the people who have ever felt like they didn't get the time they deserved from somebody.

relationships are hard work. but they're worth it. and they're probably the only things in this world that are worth that much hard work.

Monday, August 25, 2014

slooooooooower

i'm sick today. i don't know what it is: some allergy, me running myself into the ground, or the fact that i forgot to get a flu shot this year (shhhh, julie, I KNOW!).

so i spent a majority of the day in bed. mostly snapchatting a few of my bff and texting kitty about... you know, things.

while lying there i received an email titled "are we ever really prepared?" by patty kikos. funny you should ask me that, patty, because i'm lying here thinking "umm, i have other things i need to be doing!"

but, guess what, the universe had other plans for me today. and i am pretty sure that the universe tends to give us what we need. the universe thinks i need to slow the fuck down? well: the universe will make my muscles achy and me tired and feverish. and then? i won't move an inch from the bed, even for that glass of water i'm dying for. (not for seven hours until my laptop dies anyway.)

oddly enough, as i texted and chatted with friends over the course of the day and night, i think all of them said to me "maybe you've been doing too much." yeah. maybe. but i like to be busy, so it's hard for me to take space to slow down sometimes.

it's funny how sometimes you can't hear these universal messages unless they're a bit heavy-handed. while i've been much better at listening to my intuition lately, i still need to be hit over the head occasionally. and i think that has also happened a lot recently. either that, or when i realize something, i REALLY realize it. which can feel like a clubbing.

and that's what today felt like. so i slowed down. wayyyyyy down. mostly i let my mind wander slowly around. being silly a little with kitty: "you're funny when you're sick!", making up diagnoses for myself: "i am a doctor after all" (you're welcome O), or just thinking about my little piece of the world.

one thing i thought about: how much i love my friends. as soon as i found a cover for the yoga class i was supposed to teach tonight, i posted to my students that i wouldn't be there. i got a few messages right away wishing me well ...and one from SP telling me to chain myself to my bed and do some "sexy soup eating." umm, i did say i snapchatted all afternoon, but let me be clear that it was not of that. (that would have involved me moving more than a few inches!)

i talked to some friends on this continent, and some on my "other" continent. i even got to talk to a friend who hadn't been in touch in a while. which felt like another "here's the universe giving you what you need today" moment. (one that did NOT feel like a clubbing!) when she offered to bring me things i might need tomorrow if i was still feeling sick, i felt this wash of "OMG i'M SO LUCKY."

my friends are amazing. all of them. ones that i speak to rarely, and ones that i speak to every day. ones that i have known for years, and ones that i've recently met. ones that i know through work, and ones that i know through coffee shops (yes you, MR... but i still owe you a "proper" shout out for all of your amazing life advice EVERY DAY!).

one of my most amazing friends is going through some major life changes right now. she left her life and husband behind today to go to the US for 7 months for an amazing PhD-training-related opportunity. and she also has some major family stuff going on. which means she is one of THE BRAVEST. MOST COURAGEOUS. MOST FEARLESS. women i know.

i know i cry a lot. but i've sobbed all three times i hung out with her this week. and every time i walked past her house (which is a block from mine, so that equals: A LOT OF TIMES). ...and every time i thought about her going away (which was way more than the number of times i walked past her house). i'm so proud of her, and so glad for her opportunities both professionally and personally with her family. and that's why i'm going to miss her so much. (no, not because she could've brought me popsicles today.)

...i'll miss her support. her ever-present energy. her love. her FEARLESS love that anyone can see shining out of her.

and so all of this comes full circle, yet again: lydia, you've got this. the universe is there for you. and the universe is there for me. and, with its backup, i'm there for you.

so much gratitude to y'all. and to the universe.

Monday, August 18, 2014

my heart's voice is not a pipsqueak

quote and image from gabbyb, my #miraclesnow guru!
i had one of the most emotional weekends ever. and then i had the most emotional monday ever.  i don't think i need to, but let me just tell you: i'm an emotional girl... so that's really fucking saying something.  

after going to the energy healer last thursday, i had a lot of confrontation to face.  i had a lot of "speaking my truth" to do.  i had a lot of conversations that i had been avoiding to OWN UP and have.  and, as a result, i had a lot of unsettled feelings.

telling people things about myself, about my wants and needs, is strangely hard.  putting my needs first is something i've rarely done.  and when i have done it?  i feel like i've been punished for it.  

when i told someone that i needed more from them?  i was told i was selfish.  when i requested more from someone at work? i was told it was impossible.  when i put my needs first after my separation from my husband?  i was cut from most of our mutual friends' lives. when i was exploring my needs in those several months following? i've had my actions thrown in my face; repeatedly.  

so, yeah.  why would i bother to put my needs first?  oh. that's right.  i just paid $100 to be told why: because no one else does.

thursday i blogged about how great it felt to speak my truth; to be in my power; to be in control of my needs.  and then i had a hard conversation friday.  "i want more from you" i said.  "nope; not gonna happen" i heard.  and then i spent the rest of weekend trying to explore the unsettledness.  i thought i was supposed to feel good.  i thought i was detached from the outcome, and that i'd be glad i had said what i said.

hmmm.  well, i gave myself over to these feelings all weekend.  and what i came up with was that maybe i just hadn't expressed them well enough.  i started to say things, but i didn't finish them.  i hinted at things, but i didn't fully say them.  ok.  i guess this takes practice.

but what else have i noticed?  my handstands improved drastically this weekend. no wall? no problem.  weird.  speak your truth and internal confidence starts to bloom, even when you can't emotionally feel it yet. and, even though i still felt unsettled, i taught the theme in class tonight.  we practiced it in each pose: let go of the outcome (the final version of the asana); let your heart speak its truth (be fully shiny in your version of the pose); we practiced it for life: where can i let my heart's voice be louder?

my energy healer warned me that if i didn't practice speaking my truth more often, it would come out sounding squeaky and tiny when i used it.  (umm, has she HEARD my actual voice?!?!)  so.  i committed to more practicing.

and then tonight i had the most unexpected "i've been meaning to do this" conversation.  i was talking with a friend who didn't know my romantic history with her ex.  the whole reason and background to this is complicated.  and shitty.  but what i do know is that i have felt extremely uncomfortable with the current situation for quite a while.  i counted on him to have this hard conversation for me, because i thought it was important for him to do.  but guess what--that was putting his needs ahead of mine as well.  i allowed too much time for the conversation to occur, and i didn't ensure that everything had actually been truth-ed.

so while i still felt unsettled about the situation, i hadn't corrected it.  i had promised myself i wouldn't actively lie about it, but i secretly hoped no direct questions were asked of me.  but the friendship i was building was strong; and the hope of avoiding this truth was quickly diminishing.

tonight, after discussing the importance of speaking our truths, she asked about my dating life.  and, through some tears, i told her my truth.  i hated telling her: i didn't want to hurt her; i didn't want to betray him.  but, underneath everyone else's needs, were mine.  and i didn't want to live this way.  

i didn't want to hide things (umm, i'm TERRIBLE at hiding things in my life anyway #seemyeveryblogpost); i didn't want to threaten the reality of our friendship; i didn't want to continue to let someone else's mis-placed protection determine my actions.

so we talked.  i felt her pain.  i felt my grief.  i awaited berating words from everyone else involved.  i called my BFF and cried about all the potential lost relationships awaiting me in the next few days. i wrote a few emails to make sure people knew where i was coming from in this conversation, hoping for the best out of it all.

and then?  i felt at ease.  

i finally felt at ease.  

after this whirlwind of anxiety eating at my insides all weekend for not fully expressing myself, i had released my heart from its prison.  what's funny is it was un-intended.  i didn't mean to have this conversation.  i had been dreading how it would happen for weeks.  actually, months.  i didn't want to hurt people; i didn't want to anger people.  i bought into the idea that protection from truth was ok.  

even though my intuition YELLED at me when i tried to convince it of this, i ignored it.  and now? i can recognize that this fear/anxiety/self-doubt/shitty-feeling was actually my sub-conscious saying: this is not ok; do something about it.  

i'm sorry i didn't do it sooner.  but i'm also so fucking grateful i had the courage to do it tonight:  i'm certain of my friend's strength and power.  i'm glad we talked about it for her sake.  and for my sake.  and for the sake of the future of any friendships we hope to have. because no friendship or relationship can be built without that honesty--that real honesty from our own hearts and truths.

so the evidence is in: hard conversations are apparently now my thing.  i've got this.  and they're not (quite) so hard when you let go of what the outcomes are.  my conversation tonight stands to have me potentially risk two pretty important people in my life.  but--if i hadn't had the conversation?  neither of those relationships would be as authentic.  i have hopes about the outcomes, of course, but i can't spend my life worrying about them.  

and the only reason i would ever have such a hard conversation with someone is because i value them.

just like when kitty kat yells at me for not answering her straight away when she asks about something (knowing i'm weighing up everyone else's needs before answering), i am now listening to the internal screams that direct me.

"as you elevate your presence, you give other people the permission to do the same" gabby says. and i hope that's true too.  i hope everyone in class tonight; everyone reading this today; and especially everyone i've involved in my truth-telling finds the internal energy to glow a little brighter.  

don't be afraid to shine.  no one else will do it for you. 


addendum: i had a beautiful reply to this blog post from a friend that i hadn't spoken to in years. she's a dear friend who was feeling like she needed to keep quiet about something. but after reading this, she spoke up. i'm so proud of you B. you're a shining star in my galaxy. xoxo

Thursday, August 14, 2014

my truth

I went to see an energy healer today.

yoga friends: yes! she was amazing!

academic friends: 1) shut up. 2) see above.

first--how do i feel right now?

like I'm happy. like I am living my truth. like I'm totally connected. like I AM love. and kinda like she spiked my water with some MDMA.

I also feel a little nauseous. because I haven't been living this way every day? because I was giving up some of my power? because this is a shift? I'm not sure.

but I'm gonna get out of my head a little here. bc we all know that's what I really need.

kitty's writing about why it's hard to speak our own truth. I'll leave her to the intellectualisms today.

I'm gonna tell you how it feels to be fully aligned; in your power; always speaking your truth:

fucking good.

you don't have to TRY to be things. you get to just BE these things. I get to be happy. I get to feel loved: by myself and my friends. I get to feel relaxed. I get to feel at peace with myself and the world around me.

my mantras to keep me here:
I honor my needs at all times.
I'm ok being alone now that I love and nurture myself.
I feel safe expressing my truth now that I'm detached from the outcome.
my normal operating system has been upgraded to love: I feel it; I don't think it.
fear is now a guest that comes to visit me and bring messages from my soul.

big big big hearts

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

my email reply to NK

hey girl.

in response to your ego, to your questions, to your struggles...

cliche time: recovery is a journey. we're never really there. i can feel so amazing for months and then binge and purge. or i might not binge and purge, but i'll have a day where all i think about is what i'm eating, when i'm eating it, and how i can work off the calories. having days where i am consumed by eating disordered thoughts is terrible. thank god those days are much more rare now. but they still happen.

what i do know is that when i have a bad day, it isn't the end of the world. even if i binge and purge, my recovery is not ruined. i'm still committed to being whole. i'm still committed to loving myself fully. i can forgive myself for these missteps and move on. because i know that i don't want to live that way. (it's actually a pretty sucky way to live.) and i can watch myself trying new restaurants, trying new foods, not special ordering something, taking a day off from working out... and i can recognize the progress. i can see the amazingness of my life that i'm creating for myself now.

working out is still a struggle. i want to work out every day. i want to spend most of my day working out. i want to go for a run. and then i want to walk everywhere i'm going. and then i want to teach a spin class. and then i want to do yoga. and then i want to do yin yoga. and then i want to do some handstands. and then i might want to go for another run. depending on if i ate or drank "too many" calories. ok. that was yesterday.

how do i balance those crazy days? well, i've finally just started to figure that out. i feel like i can't force myself to balance them, that i can't fight them. but when i focus my attention on choosing love, or when i focus my attention on designing happiness in my life, i notice that i forget to listen to the crazy thoughts. for a while i just don't hear the voices; or i can somehow ignore them. but it almost isn't something i consciously do... it's something i've just noticed happening more and more. i think one of the main things that has swung this around has been writing it out. acknowledging what i do, why i do it, and making it public to the world. when i can't hide from what i'm struggling with, the light gets in. and thank god for the fucking light.

so, keep sharing it. keep telling me. and i'll keep telling the world.

xoxo

ps i loved the coconutty banana bread you gave me!

Monday, August 11, 2014

practicing grace

this weekend i practiced with kelli at her beautiful home in avalon. the theme of the class was "presence," which is perfect as a constant theme. i was feeling the need to practice presence that day, and had even worn my non-watch that reminds me of that fact. when things are crazy and swirling in my life and in my head, practicing presence is non-negotiable.

presence is one of those things that if we don't constantly practice, we can lose. but really, everything is like that. and anything that we want in our life needs to have attention focused on it. more and more i realize that when i put my attention somewhere, and when i direct my energy toward that thing i want in my life, it happens.

i made a list of things i wanted to happen this year. no. not "happen;" things i wanted to create in my life. and they're all manifesting. it's almost ridiculous that they're all actually becoming real in my life. i've been practicing placing my energy where i want it, and i've been cultivating little miracles. over and over.

one of the things that kelli mentioned during class was that the only way to embody something in our lives was to practice it constantly. and she mentioned grace.

grace.
beautiful.
amazing.
grace.

now that is something i want more of in my life.

grace is smoothness. it is elegance. it is one of those gorgeous, yet sometimes elusive, qualities that most people want to embody. i always strive for that on my mat, but sometimes i forget about it in my every day life. but, since saturday afternoon, i've been focusing more on practicing it throughout my days. i was originally thinking about grace in terms of movement, but the more i thought about it, i knew i wanted to also practice grace in how i live.

bustle on the train? grace.
someone pushing past me in the grocery line? grace.
washing dishes? grace.
panic about trying a new food? grace.
feeling fat? grace.

i practiced grace so many times yesterday. and when there were times that i felt a little un-present, i re-aligned with what i had been practicing. i.e. i practiced again.

i taught this theme in yoga tonight so i could get more practice, and share the practice. we used the hard positions; we used child's pose; we used the transitions.

oh. the transitions. both in yoga and in life, transitions can be bitches. just before yoga tonight i had a friend tell me that she had just started menopause. as someone who did her PhD project on periods, that excited me. she mentioned that it kind of made her sad, because she was ending a stage of her life. i responded that she was also beginning a new stage; that she got to have this "right of passage" into.

but, also, i get it. being between things can be hard. but that's also an extra place to practice grace.

i did yoga with kathryn budig on yogaglo this morning. the class was about loving your body, but more than anything, it reminded me about the quality of grace. the natural love and supportiveness that seems to accompany the idea of grace.

that's what i want in my life: i want to live in a place of gratitude. and so? i will focus on my soul. i will focus on my heart. i will practice seeing grace in myself and in others. i will know that i am whole. that i am perfect.

(and you are too.)

addendum: a week after teaching this theme in class, a friend and yoga student came up to me and told me that she had named her public transport card "practicing grace" so that every time she topped it up she would be reminded that she wanted more grace in her life. how beautiful is that? so full of grace; love you AD. xx

Sunday, August 3, 2014

yolo

this afternoon i had a response toward a situation that gave me a major urge to binge and purge. like i planned all the things i was going to buy and thought about the timing and everything. i was pretty deep in it. i even planned out how to not feel guilty about it: my best friend moved away this morning; i felt unsupported: i am allowed to feel bad. when i felt this flash of anger, my immediate response was to lash out--and i reached toward my tried and true method.

and then i remembered something elena told me to consider this past week: "who do i think i'm punishing with my eating disorder? the only person i'm fucking over is myself." binging and purging wasn't going to teach anyone a lesson. it wasn't going to bring me closer to anyone in my life. it wasn't going to accomplish any goal i am working toward.

and i really don't need to punish myself any further.

so i spent the afternoon walking sydney's streets. i ran into a few friends and had sidewalk chats; i stopped and bought some art materials; i planned and bought groceries to make myself dinner; i listened to a podcast about the history of zoos; and i had a good chat with a bff. in other words: i took care of myself. i chose not to punish myself.

most things we do to ourselves are not at all productive. but we've learned them somewhere along the way. we've chosen to take these behaviors in to our life. and it can take so much effort to choose new behaviors.

i was thinking about all this while painting tonight, and little lion man came on my playlist, and i was like YES.
Take all the courage you have left
And waste it on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head

But it was not your fault but mine/ And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time/ Didn't I, my dear?

i like two parts of this so much. the first is the line about all the problems: all of those (insert "RIDICULOUS") problems i made in my own head. luckily i found the courage tonight to battle those spring's-mind-creations. the second part is where the songwriter claims ownership for the fuck-up. because that's all i'm trying to do. own my behaviors, my choices, my responses, my life. and the only way to do that is to recognise that i've chosen each part of where i am. and i get to keep choosing.

my heart's on the line, and i choose to give it everything. because i deserve it. we all do. and yolo.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

endings/beginnings/circles

i sobbed for about 100% of the 15 minute savasana in yoga tonight: this flash of something my friend anthony said to me about 8 months ago popped into my head. and then all of these memories came flooding in: anthony insisting on phone numbers for every one of my million dates per week; anthony spying on me while on dates, checking up on me; anthony checking in on me when i felt depressed; anthony making me come over when i insisted i couldn't get out of pajamas.

never mind anthony creating and then having train club with me several times a week, distracting me via funny snapchats across the table at work meetings, covering for me when i needed a mental health day (or had a date at the beach).

more than anyone, anthony has been there for me consistently since my husband left almost two years ago. anthony has been that strong, centered, consistent, and reasonable (yet ridiculous) voice that i've listened to when i refused to listen to anyone.

ever have something bad happen and ALL you want to do is prove that you're ok? i don't think i really knew it, but that was me. i tried to prove i was ok after my husband left in about 100 ways: oh, i'll just date all the time; oh, i'll live by myself and make it on my own; oh, i'll be super tough and independent and not lean on anyone.

oh, wait. maybe i don't have to.

anthony stepped in when i didn't know i needed it, and he has been one of the best supports, colleagues, and friends that i could've asked for.

and, this weekend, he moves back to the US.

i'm heartbroken. i am actually heartbroken. i am more heartbroken that when my husband left. anthony helped me and he helped me help myself become whole again. and thinking about him leaving is something i've avoided. HARD CORE.

when anthony practiced his leaving speech for our boss, when anthony discussed plans to get his dog tillie home, when anthony talked about plans for his new apartment: i put my fingers in my ears and say "i don't want to talk about this."

but that hasn't changed anything. he's still leaving. he's going on to a great job at a great university and a great new life.

and i know that i'll still be part of it. but i'm still sooo soooo soooooo sad.

so it hit me tonight. and it hit hard.

and it has me thinking about beginnings: starting a new life after a friend or partner leaves, starting a new job, moving to a new country, or just trying a new yoga class.

and about endings: relationship ending, leaving a job, leaving a home, letting go of something that hasn't been serving you.

beginnings aren't always rosy. they're not always easy. and endings aren't always sad or difficult. but you know what both beginnings and endings always are? the same: it's all the same circle. it's all just life.

and i'm super grateful for this life. and grateful for all the amazingness that i've found along the way, including my amazing relationships with friends and partners.

and, anthony, i'll miss you most of all. (yeah, that's an OZ reference. super appropriate leaving AUS and all... but umm, no comment on the brain thing... ;) xx tony