Prana Shakti, Partnership, Pregnancy, Parenthood, Preparation, Power and Pranams.

My personal Path of Practice:
Prana Shakti
(the creative & pulsating life force within me), Partnership (a love story of two people who consciously choose one another every day), Pregnancy (Grace in my belly revealing herself through this growing baby boy who lives in my womb), Parenthood (The highest calling of them all), Purification (of all self-defining labels accumulated along the way) Preparation (for a new life, a new calling and for the birthing of all this woman has yet to become, experience, learn and know), Power (to fully stand in mine as a wife, mother and creative woman) Pranams (daily gratitude and humble thanks for my beautiful life and blessings along the way).

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crossing the Abyss in 2012

Dear 2011,

Thank you.
Thank you for the renewed faith in the unseen, for perspective in retrospect and for blessing my life with an abundance of love.

Dear 2012,

This will be the most beautiful, special year as I turn the page to a new chapter in my life. 2012 will mark my 35th year, the year I marry my true love and the year I give birth to this growing pearl child of mine we've created that I'm so blessed to get to carry, care for and be a mother to.

In this coming cycle of my life, this will begin a time where I answer the call to completely reinvent myself undoing all previous labels as I come into my own, preparing to become a partner to my the man who will soon become my husband and partner for life, a life-guide to my baby and a more fully expressed creative woman exploring completely new and unfamiliar possibilities that have been waiting for my arrival.

I am here.
I am ready.

Uncharted territory can be a frightening thing yet it's the unfamiliar, unclear muddy waters that the lotus' petals bloom.

As stated in the first entries of this blog, I've known for some time that the buck didn't stop for me "here" ("here" being where I was in my life at the time this blog journey was conceived... but even so, so much has revealed itself and taken new form since the first entries as well). I feel like I moved back to Austin in 2007 and committed to to something big and I'm so blessed to have been supported in every way to make that happen successfully by many personal standards. I am humbled to continue to be given really incredible opportunities within my craft; some I have chosen to take on and others I have chosen to pass on so that I can make the transition into this new chapter of so much change a smooth and graceful one.

While I'm currently unclear of how all of this will take it's new form, what I know for sure is that my priorities in the immediate future will be shifting in the direction of nurturing the roots of my new, growing family.

I'm ready and thrilled to cross the abyss into this new expression of my life and hold every one who has been a part of my current life's expression in the very highest esteem.

With love and joy,

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Day New Moon Sadhana~An Invitation for 2012 Vision

Beginning on November 24th (U.S. Thanksgiving Day and the first day of the next New Moon cycle) -December 23rd, I will be entering into a 30 day Sadhana (meaning "Sacred Practice" in Sanskrit) ritual  meditating on some exciting changes taking place in my life.

I chose the New moon vs the Full moon for this Sadhana because of the significance of New endeavors, plans, visions and possibilities. I invite my fellow students-friends, family, community to consider an aspect of this ritual that resonates with you and commit to it for 30 days.

To learn more about New Moon rituals (this is very general... take or leave what you like but this might help someone who is completely in the dark over this idea who might also be interested in the likes of it), you can check out this like for different bullet point thoughts about it:

The objective of my Sadhana will be initiated on Thanksgiving Day. To give you an idea, one of the rituals I will be committing to includes 20 minutes of daily meditation for the 30 day cycle. The focus of this meditation will be one that includes a lot of visualization, deepening intuition and opening myself up to all that I intend to step into this new stage of my life with.

I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to make public but it occurred to me that there are likely people out there who are interested who might not have the courage to ask questions. So in my detailing some of this information while still holding for myself that which I wish to keep private, my hope is to inspire others to take a deeper look into the mirror of Sva-yaya or self-study. Over the years I have had hundreds of emails and questions from yoga students world-wide asking me how to deepen their practice. Some would ask for references on sacred text or scriptures, others on how to refine their asanas. It's way more complicated requiring significantly more patience, skill, desire and dedication to have a seat with ourselves, ask the question again and again then sit quietly awaiting the answer. It is of my opinion that committing to this kind of self-study is the advanced practice of yoga and certainly the key to the LIVING YOGA practice. One could be clued on on the truth of this when taking a look at the 8-fold path Pantanjali outlined when he put breath control, control of the senses, awareness, devotion and Union (with the Divine/God/Grace) later on AFTER asana (the physical form practice) in the Yoga Sutras.

Where was I?

Between now and then I will be creating a mini altar that represents this personal sadhana practice. I think many people have a stereo-typical idea of what an altar is or should be. I know I did. I have had many altars over the years, all of which changed as I changed. As a matter of fact, ever since Jeff and I moved in together and the condo has been on the market, most of my personal belonging are packed in boxed so I don't actually even have any of my altars out (I keep close to the traveling alter I keep in my heart which is part, why I'm going for simplicity this time. Mine will be smaller in size but potent and meaningful). If I did, they would be recreating themselves to reflect the many changes in my life as any altar should.

It's important to know that there is a difference between "decoration" and an actual altar. It can be any size and include anything that reflects and supports the energy of your intention. Said alter might include colors, images, symbols, photos of loved ones, meaningful quotations or affirmations and personal "totems" that resemble your life or energy you are petitioning. What's important about altars is that there are no rules or guidelines other than it must be sacred and significant to the creator of it.

If you have never stepped into a sacred practice over a period of time, I especially extend this invitation to you. For starters, it is habit promoting. It also requires commitment which requires dedication and solid and meaningful intent. To help get you started, I have listed some ideas of possible rituals you could commit to that are short in duration, portable and realistic for all levels of explorers:

~5 minutes of seated, walking, mantra meditation daily
~10 minutes (5 min in the morning, 5 in the evening or 10 and 10) of the above
~750 morning words of stream of consciousness writing as noted in "The Artist's Way"
~Daily Nature Meditation
~Daily prayer, scripture, quote or contemplative question meditation for contemplation. NOTE: This would look something like meditating on the SAME prayer for the entire cycle noticing what comes up from it and what dissolves as a result of the contemplation
~30 day personal yoga practice (any committed period of time), alone in your personal space or nature... judgement free
~30 day commitment to abstinence of any addictions be it, alcohol, sex, (don't is and could be for some), sugar or anything else that may be toxic (or for some, otherwise healthy but has become toxic due to over use etc)

~Affirmation. NOTE: Always stated in the affirmative and in the present moment. "I AM..." rather than "I don't" or "am not" and always in present moment rather than "I am going to...". Extra points if you can do this while looking at yourself in a mirror and mean/believe what you are feeding yourself.

NOTE: Here's a hint: The idea is to commit to change for the new vision... don't go for "easy". Nobody ever grew personally and spiritually in "easy".

May we all remember that every day is a day of Thanksgiving. Every day is a day to begin a New Year. Every day is an Auspicious new beginning.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let Love In-Accepting Responsibility

The power is ours. The power exist within us, perhaps as our will or the part deep inside that knows we are here for so much more.

The life you want is waiting for you to claim it. It's waiting for your dedication and hard work, your commitment. It's achievable and so very possible.

For me, my road block was always about my confidence and what I felt I deserved (or didn't). I never articulated myself as being "unworthy" or "undeserving" but it's what I FELT even when the world around my thought otherwise (I was a great actress) and it's what I put out there which resulted in repeated situations of of self sabotage and a lot of emotional self-inflicted wounds. Another part from how I allowed myself to be treated.

I once heard that we allow ourselves to be abused only to the degree we abuse ourselves.

Hurt people hurt people.

In retrospect, I see this so clearly. I stayed in far to many relationships that were shitty and unhealthy because part of me believed it was the best I was going to get. Again, I didn't say it to myself in these words, it was much deeper.

Once I began to trust that I was supported by a love beyond anything I could ever grab a hold of; once I began to get that I was no mistake in this world even if with no other proof besides the breath I get to breathe, something changed for me. I began to believe in the goodness within myself and I began to believe in the possibilities for my life.

Once I got out of my own way and allowed love IN, I started to feel it's presence; I began to allow myself to receive it.

For me, accepting full responsibility for the life I have wanted, the life that is unfolding before my very eyes as I write this, was and is always about standing for MYSELF and being open to let the love in. On some days that looks like my appreciating Nature and recognizing Nature as the Mother, life-giver and sustainer of all that is. On other days, it's looking within my heart and recognizing that my Nature is not separate from the rest. On my best days, I look for Grace; for God, in every living thing. On the days I forget, I seek inward and  feel the love that is so present in my every day life and then I soften. Soon enough, I remember.


Monday, October 10, 2011

You cannot make someone love you.

Sometimes the most graceful and powerful choice one can make is to be the bigger person and allow the success of their abundant and love-filled life to speak for them.

No jabs.
No scars.
No threats.

As Gandhi put it, "My life is my message."

So much beauty in my life to focus on.
Onward and Upward...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

OCD~Balance Seeker

It wasn't until my mid 20s while watching a documentary on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that I realized there was an actual name for the constant mental nagging that ruled a part of my life from the age of about 10 until I was around 16 years old.

Nobody ever said anything to me about it nor was I ever diagnosed unless there were conversations without my knowledge but looking back from a present day place of "balance", it was severe enough that it threw off my mental well-being quite a bit.

OCD is interesting in that it's an extreme nagging of the mind that prompts people to the specific compulsion. Until that nagging is satisfied, there is a frequency of doing something one is pulled to satisfy but if any element to the pattern or rhythm is thrown off, it resets the entire cycle. This is the way it was for me anyway. One almost needs a degree in mathematics to follow what went on in my mind in the way of numbers.

For me, it was about balance; it was about even numbers but also mirror imaging whatever I did in the same even number pattern. My mind liked sets of 4s but the number of sets were also in 4s. MY OCD got way more complicated than that however. So when I sniffed (yes, sniffed...I always had the sniffles due to bad allergies...still do just not as bad) for example, I would have to do so in incriments of 4s on one side then repeat through the other nostril in increiments of 4s. If when during one of those cycles, one side happen to take over when it wasn't it's "turn", it would disrupt the whole thing aggravating my OCD even more so and I'd have to begin again only beginning first with the opposite side completing (incorrectly albeit it) the first patterns THEN mirror imaging it. Get all that? I feel your pain. That was the stress I had in my head controlling the situation a lot of the time never mind the headache pressure that I often had from sniffing so much to satisfy the damn thing.

In some cases like mine, it can drive someone fucking nuts just to satisfy this mental nagging. Some of the things that the compulsion manifests itself as can sound funny or harmless but to the one suffering, that's far from the truth of their experience. Some people are quite literally trapped in their lives from it and need serious help managing it. Mine wasn't enjoyable by any stretch but it was embarrassing, stressful and affected my health and wellness. I  really couldn't stop until my mind said so. That's what OCD does.

While my sniffing was probably the worst of it because it affected me physically, I experienced OCD doing things like stepping on cracks of the sidewalk or if I drug the toe of my shoe (increments of 4s, sets of 4s, the other side, then begin again starting with the other side first etc), if I hit my hand against a wall or something... it was those kinds of thing where a physical part of myself touched something else. Another interesting fact about OCD is that it doesn't matter who else is there. The nagging does not discriminate it just has to be satisfied before the individual can go on about their day. Take the person who locked their door on the way out. The KNOW they locked the door but the compulsive behavior is there and they go up the flight of stairs umpteen times to check the lock. Each time they may or may not get further from the house but the stress and anxiety that is present to continue to check the lock prevents them from leaving the house ultimately and at it's worst.

It's really quite fascinating, this disorder. I love watching documentaries on it. The brain is such an amazing computer. When there's even the tiniest glitch, it can fuck up someone's mental well-being in a second.

Every so often tiny traces of that OCD reveal itself  today only these days I favor trios. That's what gives me a sense of "balance" now aside of OCD. My favorite number is an odd number as well. Maybe that's me shooting the finger at the OCD demanding personal control over my thinker :) Thank goodness it's not at all extreme like it was before and most importantly, it's nowhere NEAR the same sense of mental nagging to satisfy the obsession which makes for significant increase in mental-well being which is so very important. It's more of an awareness of what once existed without the compulsion; a memory of what once was perhaps. In reflection I've learned that it matters not how well one's physical well-being is if they are not at peace mentally and spiritually.

Today, still a creature of balance, my yoga practice helps any residue of OCD left in me in so many ways. While I no longer struggle with OCD in the way I did when I was younger, the way I practice and facilitate practice; a way that encourages breaking the formal structure and ridgid form through fluidity and breath-driven spontaneous movement if you will, allows one permission to break symmetry and be with the possibility that "balance" can exist without it. One side of your body may be tighter than the other requiring more attention be it in a yoga posture, stretch, etc.

Somewhere between the spaces of my former extreme OCD and the practice I teach and share that encourages a deep understanding of the spontanious and liberation that can only be found in exploration, exists the place where I find the most balance not only in my body but in my recovering over-active mind. I have learned that "balance" is relative and different times of the year and periods of my life call on different actions to create a sense of balance.

If somehow you have found this blog and are not a practitioner of yoga, I really encourage looking into that possibility especially for those suffering, be it from OCD, ADD, .PTSD... what have you. While not always a cure-all, with time, patience and dedication, a steady yoga practice will deepend your sense of body awareness, create space in your body and mind through mindful breathing and allow one to witness the mind as the machine that it is, rather than the self-defining keeper of truth-telling conversation that it is not.

Breathe well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Driven by Love

This entry is inspired by something I read something recently that reminded me of a simple Life Truth...

When we are driven by our love for another person, we are truly unstoppable

Drear Grace,
May I continue to be reminded and honor the power of choice in the people with whom I choose to love and in doing so, may I always remember why I chose Love in the first place. May I have the strength to never take it / them for granted and may I be gifted with mindful moments of pause when I see my "stories", fears and patterns play out. May I continue forth with an open, trusting and forgiving heart... we are only human. May I always remember to ask the question,

"What would love do?"

And may I move from the question itself with open arms and with bravery. In doing so, may my inquiry into the question open me up to a life full of wonder and possibility.

May I learn, on the purest level, to recognize the teacher in all experiences, people and circumstances and in choosing to see the lesson and teaching in all things, may I inspire those who walk beside me to do the same.

May my love for other people and desire to help them reveal my own gifts and hidden talents and may the discovery of these blessings, fueled with an authenticity that allows them to take flight, find their full expressions in the world  fulfilling my greatest sense of purpose while continuing to reach the hearts of those I have yet to know and love.

May all fears and all that seems unsettled in my heart be calmed by faith, trust and and undeniable knowing within myself that I am MEANT to be here, standing in this very moment, with these people in this opportunity  TODAY. May I always remember that because I AM, I am no accident. May I always remember to call on my inner still-point as I draw closer and closer towards a radical self-love and as a result, may I move from love fearlessly every day, for the rest of my God-given life, so help me Grace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Augmentation, Self-Acceptance & Defining Beauty

I have been confronted with many opportunities throughout my life to examine what beauty means to me. It’s easy for young women in the West to become body obsessed from a superficial, self-defining place instead of  a place of health, wellness and comfort within the skin we’ve been given.

I grew up around a woman who taught me that I was so much more than my body, my hair, my boyfriends or even my circumstances for that matter. I saw my mother walk confidently and be within her body with grace and ease never once declaring conversations about my weight or shape nor did I witness her speaking poorly of herself. Where there were changes to be made, they were made from a place within, never in search of anyone else’s approval. She was a fine example of beauty and grace through her actions. I believe she mindfully lived this way knowing that at the end of each day, I would be a student to the choices she would make much more than the words she would speak.

I had never looked down on myself with self-deprecating talk about my body. Never as a child, pre-teen or teenager did I judge or compare the size of my breasts or my hips with anyone else nor did I ever feel insecure about my body. Don't get me wrong, I had my own shit, but this was not one of them. I saw my mother be present to what she ate and  I saw her take a proactive interest in a healthy and active lifestyle.

I was 19 years young when a line was drawn in the sand and my perception was forever changed.

Impressionable as I was, I became self-defined by external sources; the men I dated to be specific. I will never forget the moment I gave a part of myself away named "self-confidence" when I aligned my vibration with his words.

“This breast is larger than that one and you’re bottom heavy.”

It was that same year that I got breast implants to “fix” what someone else perceived as my “imperfection.”

In my mind, I justified this augmentation because my mother had breast implants. I knew the truth but it wasn't until much later I would admit to myself that my mother was a grown woman with four children and well into her 30's when she made that call and in doing so, her decision had nothing to do with anyone else’s approval. Nothing had changed in the way she presented herself to me or to the world. 

Over the years I would struggled to make peace with the new additions in my body. While a perceived “great boob-job”, never did they feel natural in my body. As a matter of fact, I was always so acutely aware of the left one. That one in particular always felt so foreign in my body.

Enter Yoga.

As I showed up to yoga and began to develop and deepen my practice, I became more and more body aware as is the case with many practitioners. Over time, I became uncomfortable physically and became self-conscious of "them". There came a time when I looked into their removal but it wasn’t until 2005 that I actually scheduled an appointment at Vanderbilt Medical Center to finally remove the implants that tried so desperately to make a home in my body.

Almost nine years to the date, my perfectly healthy implants were removed and not a day has gone by that I have regretted that decision. I actually woke up from surgery crying saying “I feel better already.”

Today, with much smaller, all-natural breasts, I have never felt sexier, more feminine and at home in my body. This is the body I have been given and while I can never go back to what was, I feel more in touch, with complete body awareness and in union with the skin I live in.

On the most basic fundamental level, yoga teaches us to remember our  innate perfection and wholeness. There is nothing missing. Let me say that again...


Everything we ever needed to know we already know and everything we will ever need to go forward is inward. Sadly, somewhere along the way, we just forgot how complete we really are. But we have arrived fully equipped for the journey and I have my yoga practice to remind me of that and this testimonial as living proof.

My journey as a woman in what is often a very unrealistic, size-defining Western society is one that provides so many opportunities to define and redefine what beauty really looks like. One day, I hope to be an example to my children as to what real beauty is, where it comes from and what it actually looks like. Until then, I hope that I can be that for other women because the truth is this:

My inner light shines because I feel whole, strong, healthy and at home in this body. That wholeness is not dependent on the size of my breasts or the size of my ass. My light has not dimmed because I just cut 12 inches off what was my long hair. That light just caught fire because doing so liberated me on the inside. My light shines like a bonfire in the desert moon-lit sky because I choose what defines me and I have made a home within the costume of this body I was born into. As a result, I have learned to love every last scar from the choices I have made all along the way
... and I've learned to honor them as reminders of the battles I have fought and won.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Undiscovered & Unexamined Gifts

"Inaction is the greatest risk of all." Tim Ferriss

I believe in my soul that we all have gifts. I believe in my bones that we have all been blessed with these gifts in one way or another. In some forms, like a child prodigy in the way of music or art for example, these gifts are obvious. For some, like Micheal Jordan who got cut from his middle school basketball team then later became one of the world's greatest basketball players of all time, the gift is there but needs some work.

I have been considering my gifts; my under developed and unexamined gifts both recognized and the ones I have no idea that exist. Here are my thoughts:

We must train our gifts. Some of these blessing, I believe, actualize themselves in a tangible way. The talent is just there. In other ways however, I believe our gifts reveal themselves in our longing itself. The way author Carolyn Myss describes in one of her books...Anatomy of Spirit I believe it was, there is a seed that was planted long ago when we crossed that river before we were born into this world after having chosen the family we were to be born into to live the life that would need to live to learn the lessons we would need to learn to come into *full* self realization. With this, I have found myself looking at those longings, at the obvious potential in the way of certain talents no matter how undeveloped and have found myself sort of seeking out those talents and gifts I've been oblivious to.

When I look at music for example I realize that to someone who is not musically inclined, they might feel that I have some real talent. Being musically inclined however, and I don't say this from a self-defeating place mind you, I can see where I lack some skill and where I, dare I say, am not skilled enough to pursue it in a professional the degree that I view "professional" anyway. Now before you jump my shit, give me a moment to explain. I say this from a place of accountibility. I realize this is one of my gifts. My longing and musically inclined ability is a blessing I've been given but it's one I have leisurely worked on and have trained next to not at all. Some people come out of the womb with the ability and skill. I have been given the talent but it's up to me to exercise that talent.

Everyone is on the ball field but not everyone is playing the game.

We are all Graced with talents, gifts and blessings but often they are nothing but longings that require time and attention. Just as a professional (fill in the blank) trains for their big event, they train it. They train the skill. First the longing, then the potential is discovered (maybe) but then the skill; the craft must be trained.

So as I prepare to go into the studio this summer for a recording project I've sat on for 2 years, I find myself in a process with a fierce determination to uncover the hidden talents, gifts and blessings I've been Graced with. I am going to put more of my energy into following what the Tantrikas yogins call, the Spanda or the creative and very ALIVE pulse and creativity within us all. I'm going to see what I find there.

If for no other reason, discovering, exercising and developing our talents and longings make us feel more fulfilled resulting in our being better people in the world for having done so.

At the end of my day, when I am in my final breaths as I'm surround by the people who make my heart tick, I need to know there was no stone left unturned and no wrapped gifts in the bag left undiscovered and unopened.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Small Life vs Big life

I attended my very first Yoga Teacher Training with the Living Yoga Program where my roommate for the 10-day, 100 hour segment portion of the training was a gal named Gwen Bell who would later become a huge social media sensation (no really... she made the Forbes list for Most Influential Women in Technology and she's far younger than I. Ironically, she no longer considers herself a social media strategist and has goals of a permanent digital sabbatical...including email of course). Over the years I have been in touch with Gwen on and off and have followed her blogs and website (which has been totally revamped and simplified with far less content including a lot of bragging rights she has earned through her fierce dedication to her ever changing work in the world) as well as her twitter (nearly 18,000 faithful followers) and I continue to be inspired by the way she lives her life.

Those who know me well, I mean really well know that I consider myself a modern day renunciate to the point of regularly cleaning out my life of un-necessary tangible and materialistic items. Simply stated, I don't like stuff just for the sake of having stuff. Furthermore, I have to love it to buy it if it's $5 or $500. To me, I find it wasteful is something does not serve a purpose (and that purpose might be simply to have something beautiful to look at that inspires me but even so, same rules apply). I don't know where this began but I'm pretty sure it was when I was married, in the process of preparing for a divorce I intuitively knew was coming and needed to happen. I remember looking at the stack year books that had belonged to my mother that somehow ended up with, calling a friend and asking "Am I a horrible person if I toss these in the dumpster?" I also remember the relief in the realization that my mother herself would have stood there had she been alive and said to me, "Baby girl... if you are feeling bogged down because of those books or anything else, through that shit out!" And that's exactly what I did.

Ever since that moment, I have owned that part of myself to the point that when I start to feel crazy in my head, it's likely that I am surrounding myself by a bunch of un-necessary shit that clutters my life and mind. It might be people who drain me or it might be un-necessary random shit that serves no purpose or has any real use what so ever. All of this to say, I've got nothing on Gwen in comparison.

I'm actually not comparing here, just using Gwen as a term of measure actually. She's much more of a renunciate than I.

She was being interviewed and was asked the question as to when and why she got off of Facebook. Of the 3-page interview I read, it was her answer to this question that really got me thinking.

I quit Facebook when I realized it made my life smaller, not bigger. That was December 2010. I went through about a week of withdrawal and haven't  returned.

This got me thinking, "how are my choices contributing to a smaller life rather than the bigger one I want to be living?"

I'll be taking a deeper look at my life as to where I can simplify to expand, where I can clean and clear out so that there is more room to grow and I'll be taking inventory on what I can let go of in every aspect of my life. I like to do this often but as I am in a big, beautiful and exciting shift in my life, I am preparing for a larger "semi-annual" big clearing if you will.

I choose the bigger life. I choose to act in a way that supports creating that bigger life. I choose to make changes where I feel there is clutter in my life mentally, emotional and literally because I know the result creates a clutter-free spiritual life. I want to be the best I can be for myself and when I am at my best, my light shines its brightest for the people I love and surround myself with.

It's never crowded along the extra mile. -Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sunday, May 8, 2011

March/April Wisdom.

My personal epiphanies, thoughts and "notes to self" I've learned and realized the last few months. All words in quotes were morsels of love and wisdom shared with me.

*I said "My light feels dim right now." He said "Then let me give you some of mine."
*It's true that it's never too late. But waiting until later may mean that the process takes a hell of  lot longer and is a hell of a lot harder.
*Create and check in with goals and intentions often. Take note of what has been accomplished, what has changed and what is no longer as important as you once thought it was.
*"There is no room for embarrassment or shame in an honest effort that results in failure."
*At the end of the day, no matter what you have done in your life or what others have perceived as a full life well lived, YOU must be content and proud of YOURSELF. A fine line between being contempt and being complacent. A fine line between forward movement towards reaching and exhausting your fullest potential and never being satisfied, beating yourself up and never giving yourself the credit you deserve.
*There is no greater defeat or disappointment than that defeat and disappointment you can feel within yourself. And even that...ESPECIALLY that, deserves fierce understanding, forgiveness and compassion.
*Check yourself often.
*You CAN do it.
*Everyone has a different lot in life. No wish for anyone else's lot. Live yours with purpose even when you're uncertain of its purpose.
*What you see is not always what you get.
*You are strong, beautiful and powerful.
*Don't wait until last minute to take the online defensive driving course.
*Pay attention to the newly updated online defensive driving course or you'll be retaking it.
*When they keep coming back. You're doing something right.
*Be an encourager.
*Success is relative.
*Open communication wins every time.
*Be kind always.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Original Possibility

Antone's in Austin,TX October 2002

When I attended the Landmark Forum and Landmark Advanced Course last year, I became aware of the term Possibility in terms of using it as means to explain what is possible...what was always possible. It was through this educational seminar that I got just how much we get caught up in our past, our fears of *so many things and whether or not we believe we are worthy or OK within ourselves and in the eyes of others. I realized on a very deep level just how often we create boundaries and ideas of what we train ourselves to believe is and is not possible. I don't want to get into my attempt to explain in any more in detail as that would do both the courses and a reader a huge dis-service but I highly encourage everyone I know to attend these life changing courses when they come through a city near you.

I don't remember how it came to me but I started thinking about the original possibility in my life; the first big dream/vision I had for myself and in doing so, I started to think about where I lost it.

For me, being a singer/songwriter was my original possibility.

Photo: May 28th, 2007

It wasn't really encouraged or supported but I wasn't banned from it or anything either. I have books full of songs I've written since the first one I wrote when I was 17 shortly after my mother was killed. While it wouldn't be my first choice of expression today, its title is tattooed on my ankled, but that's beside the point.

I use to sing in the choir (somewhere I have a VHS tape of myself and a guy named Dustin singing "After All" by Peter Cetera and Cher...ohh memories...) and with my mother as she played the piano in the living room. I've sung at the legendary Antone's here in Austin opening up for Jr. Brown
Antone's in Austin, TX October 2002

and was featured on the former Warner Brother's channel singing a tribute to the September 11th Anniversary. I've been in the recording studio (one of the best in Austin) with support of some of Austin's best to make a record quality demo CD that would eventually shopped by Arista, Sony Dallas and others. It was a totally different time for musicians back then but I was given opportunities that many work their entire lives towards and on a few occasions, I walked away from them as my life called for different necessary experiences I had to go through.

It wasn't until later on that I got my first guitar (I'm on my third currently) and while I'm not great at it by any means; to someone who doesn't play at all, they might think I could play well or at least that I know what I'm doing (I know very little, lets be honest!). Perception...

While I don't claim to be the best vocalist in the world, the way I feel when I use my voice with creativity and passion from my heart is unexplainable. I use to dream of the big stage but these days, I get so much pleasure out of sitting on my office floor working on new songs or putting my flavor on a cover and I do so in the company of only my dog. Rarely do I share these personal stories that have made their way through my hands, heart and mouth and when I do I quietly begin by humming, then I pretend its just my dog, myself and my story and my mouth opens and I set aside the fear of judgment and I let it out. When the song ends, I bashfully put the guitar down, smile at any commentary and move on about my day.

Being a singer/songwriter; my original possibility.

Somewhere along the way, it got lost.
But inside...
it never died.

What was your original possibility?
What would a resurrection look like in your life today?
How 'bout it?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's in a Goal?

In response to the "talent search" (and the enormous controversy over it) currently being put on by Yoga Journal Magazine, I've been thinking a lot about goals.

It was last year when I wrote about re-assessing some of my goals. I wrote about how some of them had changed, some were no longer important to me, some I had already accomplished and some were just straight lame and served nothing more than the inflated ego; so I adjusted my goals accordingly. What I didn't say out loud was that being on the cover of Yoga Journal Magazine had been, at one time, one of my "goals" until I realized that I don't believe a "goal" should really be a goal at all if attaining/meeting it didn't involve something I actually had power over creating or turning into a reality. More simply stated, if the outcome/end result itself is not within my power, I'm thinking it's not something I want to call a "goal".

For a moment, I found myself getting energetically caught up in the hype and more recently as there's been several heated public debates about it in the local yoga community and beyond.

So with all of this swirling around and being a part of "talent search" (if you have no idea what i'm talking about, click here: ) it was nice to recall that while it might be a "goal" for some it's not for me. It is something I would do if it were offered to me of course, but A goal, no.

This brings me to my point.

What's in your GOAL?

Are you really in control of the outcome?
If so, power on. If not it might be something to think about.

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to be in the world's largest yoga magazine in terms of the size of international distribution...certainly couldn't be a bad thing for business especially knowing they do nothing without calculation in the way of who is in the magazine, why and when as they should. They are a business too, after all. But the difference is this: I realize that I do not have the power to make it happen by "skill" or hard work unlike a different goal such as competing in triathlons for example. While my body is conditioned and disciplined in the way of yoga asana we are taught that there is no hierarchy within it. So while some postures are more complicated or "advanced" in nature, one does not have higher value nor does any one bring us closer to being a good person in the world than the next. I trained for triathlons, worked to improve my time, endurance and distance and was able to fulfill the goal(s) based on my own merits, efforts and hard work.

While the *art as I prefer to call it, does involve skill and technicality, I'm torn on calling yoga a "talent" unless we are talking strictly physical and if so, we should have a backbending competition or something  to which case would be gymnastics or a "Cirque" experiment and not yoga. This post isn't about the details of what differentiates these distinctions so I'll save it but again, I get it. Like I said, it's a business and if you know anything about this particular business, you might be impressed that it's being extended to the "real" yoga community so if nothing else this is worth silencing some of the negative speak. Up front the entry form asked those who intended to enter not to use their most fabulous "advanced" posture... they suggested using one the  participant felt they fully embodied and were comfortable in ... one that they felt they had "mastered".

Having been at one of their major conferences and having attended the Shakti Panel that included the editor, my teacher, Shiva, Judith HL and Seane Corn, this very topic came up. So I've been there and have heard the source address the topic of "pretty people" and "famous" people being on the cover and within the pages and their justification for it all. Some of it sounded legit, some, well, I questioned but I'm not inside the business yet I understand that it IS business therefore I have respect and an understanding that yoga itself is a business as well like it or not. I teach yoga full-time and for a living. If you teach yoga for a living you get the business element that the next person who teaches on the side to get their Zen on might not fully understand or see. That's not an insult by any means. I'm only stating fact that when your ass is on the line you have multiple aspects invested.

Unfortunately, like any business it's not always pretty and recently that has come to life in many public strings of unproductive opinions and statements being tossed around into the ether. I'm a FAN of people speaking their truth when it's unpopular and controversial. I quite like it actually and don't think there's enough of this bold honesty *especially in the world of yoga. Being a yogin doesn't mean being a doormat and it sometimes calls for unleashing something fierce when it's uncomfortable. So I have such respect for those who are willing to put themselves out there and am fascinated by this debate where it's actually productive. That said, because I've seen anger within the world of yoga, it's important to be clear on who you are angry or upset with.

I would love to see real people in the way of different body types and certainly fresh faces of every day yogins (teachers and students alike) who are out in the world making a difference locally, appear on the cover and within the magazine. So if this is the way to make that happen, them maybe it's something to consider and support even if it is a voting contest disguised as a "talent search". I do think it's important to determine how much weight is being put into this from the standpoint of those who are in the big running pool and of those voting alike...and yes, those who are put off by it as well. There are so many different angels to consider here.

This whole discussion has me wondering what it is, as a society and culture, we put our value into. What is a healthy goal? I'm making no secret of the fact that I would love to be in the magazine and it might be an accomplishment ("fulfillment of desire") but I fully understand the basis of the process. It would certainly be a honor but it's not my "skill" or "talent" that would make it happen, its public votes...and that's OK but lets call a spade a spade and not for a second let our egos convince us otherwise. I wish the same for my peers. I'm grateful to be known and recognized in my yoga community and I hold that with humility and want to support my peers and the wonderful teachers around me and certainly those teachers who might be under the radar and not as well known. In doing so, I encourage them all to put themselves out there in this way because with the international big fish publications and local ones alike, it may very well be the only means to highlighting "real world", everyday yogins who are out there changing lives, and doing it every day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shameless Plug-VOTE!


(***If the link doesn't show up, it's here----> <---*****run your arrow over it!)

And please VOTE every day! One vote, per person per DAY until April 15th! There are a few thousand in the running... yes, thousand. And it's going to take a lot but the top 5 people with the highest votes make it into Yoga Journal Magazine, the largest of its kind in terms of international distribution.

That said, help a sister out! Vote! Share this direct link on all things social media and remember you can vote every day!

Photo credit and gratitude to, Dave Re photography...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Piece of Paper ~vs~ The Process

 Coming in from the green (the big green waters behind me) passing a local Balinese surfer who is in the background "of my life" smiling and cheering me on...even when I didn't know it. One of the most memorable captions of my life and a true metaphor.
Since starting school I have been so busy and could not have planned for the amount of time required outside of class to be successful. I'm grateful for caring professors who are teaching me very valuable life lessons, friends and family who have supported me and Jeff who has taken on the not so easy task of being my personal tutor working just as many algebraic equations with me while being the voice or reason and encouragement that always seems to sit on my shoulder when I need a gentle reminder of why I'm doing this in the first place.

I do miss my personal writing time however. Spring break is around the corner and I intend to sit down with things and create space for more creative self-care incorporating more time for those things that sustain me. Writing is one of them for sure, as is nature and travel...which I will be doing some of immediately following the semester's end. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my energy source that is the ocean via the white sand beaches of Florida then (hyper link is acting up! Click over here ---->) on retreat at Maya Tulum a few weeks later. Until then, there's a lot to get done!

Last Sunday I found myself sitting at the table staring at what should have been a word document filled with my personal analysis on an essay I had read. I sat there rubbing my head, holding my face and questioning what I was doing. 

"Why am I even doing this?"

Across from me sat a brilliant and patient man who I have so much admiration and respect for who would later say something that would change my entire view of this project I've taken on.

He told me a college education is not about getting the piece of paper in the end. 

"A college education is about who you become through the process. That is your college education." 

When I think about the process that got me here, the years of confidence I didn't have in this area, I'm reminded of the truth to these words. That said, there's a level of confidence being developed that I had been unable to relate to until now. There's the academic learning, sure. There is also the testing of my spirit to go beyond what I sometimes question as possible, reasonable, maintainable and one of the hardest things I've ever done...and it's only just begun. Such is life. I'm writing about college here, but any experience that seems foreign or out of reach or ridiculous could be filled in the blank.

I'm a smart woman. I've had to be to both survive and succeed in the life I have been born into. While I realize many others have had it far worse than I could have ever imagined, I've made it no secret that it wasn't always easy for me. I had to teach myself to become a woman and how to relate with the world and all to often, unsuccessfully so. I've had to be my own encourager and cheerleader and the one to pick myself up when I've fallen. What I've learned is that I'm not alone. There are people around me who love me who are cheering me on sometimes quietly; sometimes quite loudly. Through all of this, I crossed an abyss in my life (when I arrived into 30s for starters) and began to change the way I saw the world and the way I saw myself

I still have not finished paper 4; the Interpretive Analysis, but it will be done today. I am a woman of integrity and will fulfill this personal goal I set out to take on. I know now that it's not about the time it takes me to complete this process. The growth and fulfillment will be in my returning to this commitment each day. And as I return to the commitment I will continue to develop a belief in myself, in my potential which will prove to break free from the labels I've defined myself in the world by or have been defined by, and in the possibilities of what it looks like to live a life fully explored; played full out.

As he said... 
"This is the 'bold and brave' part."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Lessons Learned & Mindful Observations

*Writing the letter/email can be quite cathartic so go ahead and do it. Just don't send it.
*You cannot will someone to have an awakening-to see or "get" something. We are all on our own karmic journeys on our own time frames.
*Once you get good at hitting the curve balls and you make it to the Majors, you're considered a badass (an All Star) when you bat .300. This translates as MISSING 70%. Bigger translation: The curve balls in life count for a LOT.
*Sleep on it. For God sakes, sleep on it!
*Practice yoga then seek out it's parallel in your life. This.Will.Change.You.
*No matter what, commit to standing in your Grace and being kind.
*When you blame, you loose the lesson.
*You're not a victim.
*Everyday, try your hardest to be a good person.
*Stay true and honest with yourself. Do not sell yourself out. Do not sell yourself short.
*There is no such thing as being "too open". This is the language only of those who are afraid, closed off and contracted.
*Balance your actions and reactions.
*Learn to view everyone and every experience as a teacher.
*Some teachers are inherently assholes. They too, however, are teachers.
*You choose the "way you are". Douche bag, diva, divine delight... It's your choice. Choose wisely.
*Self reflect.
*Trust your intuition. Just don't confuse this with your thinking mind.
*Stop beating yourself up for thinking you should have known better (or for any other reason for that matter).
*Gratitude is the heart's memory. Be grateful.
*Start a gratitude journal.
*Know what stokes your heart-fire and begin stoke it's fire daily.
*Make close friends with humility.
*Encourage others every opportunity you get and be an empowering force.
*Be an awesome observer.
*Admit your faults and work on them.
*Train your weaknesses.
*Do the thing. Stop talking about it or dreaming about it. Just f'n do it already!
*Decide what's important to you and focus your energy.
*For an entire day, let every.single.word. be one of support and encouragement of every.single.person. you come into contact with. 
*Simplify your life. Cut out as much bullshit as possible.
*Be true to thine own self.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Radical Self-Care~Conversations of the Heart.

You know what's good for you but the voices get in the way. Then finally, in a single solitary moment after all of the other moments, you honor what you know you need to do. No matter how hard it may seem in that moment, you get up and out of something broken, you create something new; something beautiful.

I am committed to living an inspirational and limitless life; setting an example through dusting myself off, overcoming life's adversities and  doing so with dignity, grace and strength. Nothing is impossible in my world and everything that seems to be missing, absent or void; it's all in it's own state of flow and I will work diligently to strengthen my belief and trust in this. Every person and every experience I am meant to connect with in my life will arrive in the order intended by the Universe that conspires to support and reveal it's love to me. Because I am committed to learning and being open, I recognize them as such. So far you have come, so far you have yet to go. Keep your gaze forward, your heart open; continue picking yourself back up when you fall and never ever let anything turn the switch off of your ability to forge ahead with an always open and loving heart.

Train your body and your mind alike.

Train Olympic style.

Everyday is a new event; Your Best Life; Your opportunity to be the woman you are meant to become who lives the life she was meant to live fulfilling the promises and purpose she was put here to fulfill all while sharing it with the people she was meant to know, love and be loved by.

Feed and treat both your body and your mind as sacred. 

Monitor what goes in to both and demonstrate the highest, most optimum means to succeed, perform and build endurance because as you've already learned, this ride can be bumpy. You will be jolted from time to time. You must be able to sustain your faith when your foundation seems to have been rocked and you find yourself in question. You are strong, are SO strong. 

Stay open... no matter how much it stings
Look ahead...there's so much yet to be seen... be excited
Be soft you are in some ways, so hard you can be in others... it's OK, none of it matters now... you can soften
Forgive yourself...we are all growing and learning.What is meant to be will be. 

And when you need it, remember the way is in knowing how to harness one's warrior energy; be strong yet graceful moving and communicating from your calm and fullness instead of confusion or fear. Harness the strength and use it as needed; in defense...not defensiveness. And always, always lead, leave and complete each experience with grace and honesty. No need to leave scars in anyone else's story.

In every choice you make, be it what you put in your body, who you choose to open yourself to, what you share, what offers you oblige and what you choose to pass on...remember to ask yourself

"What choice am I making with this decision right now?".

You will work harder on your personal and spiritual growth, your academics, your livelihood, and all relations than you have ever worked in your life, ever.

You must commit to this and trust the process of your life's unfolding.

You choose this way because this is your road map to the success and abundance of all things beautiful in your life. This is the way to the redemption of your perceived "failures" and to creating expansion for everything you want in your life while recognizing; REMEMBERING; the wholeness present within the woman you already are.

I will not fight myself.

Not today. Not again.

Today you SHINE. Today you FLY. Today you demonstrate radical acceptance...because in your acceptance, is also your trust that everything you need will find its way to you.  

You may find the need to go off on your own for a bit but only long enough to 
lick your own wounds, Sanieh. 

Depend on no one else for this. 

Then get up again, and bring yourself back into the world because you have a responsibility to have a responsibility and an agreement you made that is the existence of your LIFE to share yourself with the world. You are the Universe's only opportunity for all of time to experience YOU in this lifetime. Don't disappoint and do not rob others of the gifts, blessings, love and insights they were meant to know through knowing YOU.

Honor your needs in their many forms.
A run or a hike in nature, a cry, a belly laugh, conversations with strangers, stepping on the mat when it seems to be the least of your needs or through a glass of wine with a good or new friend. We're all here to nurture and love another but you must first know when/how to call on your inner lover and your inner mother... You must know how to self sooth.

In the void...

Practice PatienceRadical self care requires patience.

And Patients requires Trust.
Trust, ahh trust...

And Trust requires Faith.
Faith, requires a bone chilling, knee knocking belief in the unseen; in the understanding that it's all happening just as it's meant to.

Every pain, disappointment and hurt...
Every success, gain, and joy...

all necessary for the unseen blessings that await you. Some of the familiar will come back around in new form as you (and they) grow and learn more about yourself while other's footprints will be a part of the pages in the story that continue to shape you.. Every day is necessary for your journey. Vow to see all things and people as teachers in one form or another. Did you get the lesson?

WHAT you are VS the belief of WHO you are...a practice of compassion, never self deprecation. 


See it all for what it is.

Love harder.
Be open.
Be graceful.
Be patient.
Be mindful.
Be present.
Be open to new things, perspectives, possibilities and changes.

It's All You. The light is flashing and the stage has been set for the leading lady of this life to take her spot.

It's Right Now.

Create it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Surrender, not Submission.

(Video: an overdue update to my youtube channel posted 1.11.11)

I believe that for all of us, there are crossroads and events in our lives that inevitably bring one closer to Spirit.

It's a visitation that's become a little more frequent in the last year and a half of my life. A form however, that's morphed into a way of being face planted in what seems to be an unwanted prostration of sorts, where the knots in the pit of my stomach seem like some sort of Navy Seal torture technique meant to pierce through the heart. The only difference is that it all takes place with a little less longing for whatever it is that I feel I'm lacking or void/empty of in the given moment.

I read something not to long ago I felt strongly connected to about the principal (and a very advanced element in one's yoga practice) referred to in yoga as "Ishvara Pranidhana". The writer expressed her interpretation of this principal as a very deep understanding; a trust, for divine order.

Ishvara Pranidhana ("the final act of surrender") has become an aspect I'm reminding myself to consider; one that I'm developing, as an ongoing practice. In doing this work, I'm seeing fruits in the form of *inner peace during the storms of life* that could never be matched through any position I could possibly condition my body to get into over any extended period of time...certainly not any that I've attained in close to a decade of practice. It's all means to take me deeper into what I am beneath all things tangible I could ever possibly begin to define myself as but even thats' not where I get off the bus. As I deepen this trust; this "knowing", I'm finding myself able to be with my experiences and calmly sit next to any inclination or hint of emptiness. Granted, I still want to feel or taste or smell the thing but i'm consciously committing, every day, to being a student to this deep aspect of my personal and spiritual evolution. I am learning to be with the longing or desire with an undertone of acceptance because I know it all serves a much larger purpose and is a part of the greater, Spirit driven sequence of my life.

This morning I received an email from a student-friend who was so open in sharing with me where he's finding himself in his own experiment with self-study. Much like myself, with a heart wide open, he shared of his going through an awakening in his life finding himself focused on things like kindness, love, health and expanding his capacity to learn. It took me quite some time to get that one. For quite a while my insecurities (and they take SO many forms... even that of outwardly seeming ever so confident for some) held me back from so much learning and so many lessons because somewhere along the way, I decided that if I didn't know something, it meant I lacked intelligence. Instead of walking away with more, I continued forward with less and less for YEARS because every time, I had to fill the space of what would have been LEARNING with nonsense, assumption, being "right", trying to convince...the list goes on.

So brave we have to be to sit in the seat of admitting that we don't know everything and being OK with that not turning it into a bad thing. It's really an "awakened" place to arrive in my opinion, when we can open and listen to our hearts (a feat in and of itself that I'm learning is not an "easy to use", built in "app" for all...although I remain CERTAIN, it is an *innate* one within all...our fear just covers it up) and when we have matured enough, in the spiritual sense, to know that every encounter with every human being is yet another opportunity to uncover our own light. In the spirit of Ishvara Pranidhana, it's about trusting the deepest voice within us, the sixth sense that connects us closer to our Truth than intellect ever could and even in the uncertainty, *trusting that sense. The work is in knowing that it's all a process. Very little in life is black and white and for what is, it's not always the biggest, most profound things.

I'm grateful for the passengers who have been on the same train. I'm grateful for the "passer-byers" even. Mostly, I'm grateful for the experiences and growth that have brought me to a place of having at least a partially open heart and set of eyes to be able to have recognized all of them as teachers of some sort; messengers of the greater sense; always leading me back to search myself.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In the bed I make

I will sleep in the bed I make

where passion arises and it's all at stake

in the waking hours of all that could be

in the cold chill of the night when it all seems bleak

We all sleep in the bed we make

when the fear takes over and the heart begins to shake

where the inner fire burns and there's no sense to be made

when the bonfire dies and our defeat turns to shame

Everyone sleeps in the bed they make

when the moment shines for all to see

the doer mistakes provocative fear for pain

and in the graceful moment when the one who hurts ceases to blame

You will sleep in the bed you make

in the screams of your terrifying witnessing

when the body turns to ash; where your spirit runs free

all the times love was hoarded so needlessly

In the bed we make at the the end of our day

it's where honestly, apology and yesterday

have no room for what he who withholds will say

"I left my light behind choosing fear to stay"

In the bed I make on my final day

all I did wrong, the angels say

won't be a thought or worry when I close my eyes that day

because I chose love every time, in every way.