Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Returning & Shifting

Today was a bit magical. Actually, the last few days have been a bit magical.

After I taught a yoga class in Tribeca, I hustled in the snowy slush to get to Elena Brower's yoga class at ViraYoga. To my surprise, I saw an old friend from Austin in class who I actually did one of my yoga certifications with a few years ago. What are the chances!? Attending the same class, at the same studio, at the same time...this city amazes me.

Kismet all over Manhattan.

The theme of Elena's class was the subtle, spiritual body and it's vantage point.

To me, this is the higher self, after the ego and desire have dropped. The body and mind of grace and complete compassion...the place that feels amazing to feel and live your life from. Easy to forget about this subtle spiritual body, but also easy to return back to.

"From this place, every mood and emotion can be shifted." -Elena

Shift. This is a word to remember. This resonated deeply.

          Last Sunday, I was getting ready to leave for work. The snow and chill had me feeling stir crazy and cooky, and my body was desperately needing a walk. I decided to leave the apt. with ample time to get to work by walking over the Queens bridge. My mood before I left the house was a recipe of antsy, claustrophobic, and peeved. I'm sure my roommates, including my boyfriend felt the subtle circuits of rage flowing through me. I left in an impatient, hurried chill. 

I was upset that "my plans" for my morning had not happened as I had wanted them to. The plan was to go to the gym with Adam, make breakfast and coffee, and spend some time together before I had to go to work. Instead, we snoozed, did not make it to the gym, and our roommate was using most bits of the kitchen to cook a laborious meal for her dinner party that night.

Expectations...such a challenge to be with how things are instead of where we think they should be.

I walked half way down the hall and felt anger boil up! I wanted to scream! In fact, I think I did a little (I'm a big fan of vocal catharsis).

And then I took in a deep breath and something shifted. I really did not want to leave that way. I really wanted to just drop my mental drama and try a different approach. I decided to let go of my expectations and flow with the changing of plans. I walked back to my apartment and knocked on the door.

I apologized for my huffy exit, decided to open up and express myself clearly instead of leave, and find the only thing I really wanted out of my entire morning, which was connection.

"Give me your gratitudes...and a brag too", Adam says.

We do this. I do this with a lot of my NYC friends. Start conversations with a gratitude, a brag, and a heartfelt desire. Try it. It sure can shift some shit.

I am deeply blessed to have the most amazing partner. 

Returning home, taking those 10 minutes to share, connect, be grateful, and humbly boast or remember our dazzle, and invite the love back in deeply shifted my day. I know it. I know that I wouldn't have had the same day if I had left on the first try. I don't think I would have been as present to the beauty around me as I walked over the bridge. I don't think I would have been as friendly, curious, and engaging with the world. I actually even got myself an interview that day, just by asking a few questions and putting myself out there.

The day may have stayed cold and a bit rigid but it shifted. From closed to open. From being "right" to just being. From a place of lack, petty mental drama to abundance and gratitude.

Man oh man, relationships ARE spiritual practices. The way we relate and navigate moment to moment gives us infinite possibilities to learn and grow, to shift the mood and tone and to wake up to the spirits vantage point, as Elena was talking about.

In yoga, we call these subtle layers the koshas.
Check out these great articles to learn more about the koshas...

In highest vibes,


Friday, October 11, 2013

Weight a Minute...

For some reason or another, I have never fully felt or understood the effects of societies projections on body image, womens bodies especially but mens bodies too. It was this thing that I knew existed but never paid too much attention to. Until recently, I have felt it very strongly and poignantly.

It happened a few weeks ago before I moved. I visited my grandmother and she poked (jokingly or not...i dont know) at me and said that I looked like I had gained weight in my belly.

"Really, Granny? But I feel so strong! Feel my abs of steel!", was my shocked yet humored response.

It wasn't until after I left her house, that I really felt the effects of that comment. Why would she say that? Is that true? Have I gained weight? But how!? I feel like I eat well...I exercise often...and I think well.

(And if you stop reading this post, know that that is ALL THAT MATTERS) Do you eat for nourishment and feel satisfied? Do you exercise because you love it and because it makes you feel well? Do you think well? Are your thoughts positive and clean? Are you kind? If so...continue what you are doing. Nothing else matters!!!!!)

So that one comment got me thinking a bit. But I let it go shortly. Maybe the next day.

Then it really happened! I did it to myself!

I just had a photoshoot with a great photographer here in NYC. I needed an updated headshot and a few yoga pics. He took 250 pictures and gave me the unedited version on a cd to look through.

At home, alone, I was browsing my pictures. Terrible idea. Oh boy, did I start to get critical. "Wow, is that what I look like in that pose? My back and belly make rolls when I do yoga asanas!"

All of a sudden, my self image was shot to shit (temporarily) for at least a few days. Days!

Days of thinking less of myself because of my visual image is too long, even hours is too long. Days of not loving myself completely and entirely is too long. Because you know what? I started to judge and criticize other peoples shortcomings because I was unhappy with my own.

It rippled fast. But I guess when you live with a partner or loved one...there is a mirror to reflect it all. Being critical of my lover (not about self image...but little, silly things) reflected my criticisms of myself. Just like that. Disconnect. An argument. Too many hours of feeling distant and alone.

Too long to not feel love. Yoga is loving the spirit inside of the postures. Not the poses. Or the documented pictures of them. All of that is illusion. Deception. Pictures can be such liars.

Yoga never wants to make you feel less of yourself. If yoga was embodied and wrapped in one enlightened being, yoga would never judge the back or belly rolls. Yoga loves you. Yoga is a tool and guide to loving yourself so you can love your partner, spouse, children, and neighbors more deeply.

Deeply and completely. 

Yoga goes inward. Image is outward. So go inward.

It seems recently that I have practiced in or taught yoga in a lot of studios that have huge mirrors showing our physical, outward practice right to ourselves in the moment. Very lovely for all the perfectionistic yogis out there, right?

Okay. So this is the deal. If you are practicing yoga in front of a mirror, or even the next time you look at a better damn well be telling yourself that "MY, MY, I AM A SEXY GODDESS (or GOD)"

 Critique less and love more. 

Love yourself as a way of loving those closest to you. Be good to yourself.

Inwardly, be kind and the rest will follow. Stay soft. Or at least have moments of that soft, truly connected, whole hearted, "I love you no matter what" feeling.

Next time you catch yourself judging your weight, appearance, or image or someone else is judging yours...wait just a minute.

Find interest in this shallow and surface mask society can wear. Ask it where it comes from? Who is affected? What might a trail of these thoughts look like? And what may happen if we don't catch it after a few days? How much pain are we self creating? How much pain can an unconscious and unkind comment cause?

Go deeper. Rise above it. Know it. It exists. Understand it. And turn the critical eye into an open heart.

Our society deeply needs it.

So these pictures are from the shoot.  Real. Raw. Imperfect. Zero editing. The truth.

And you know what?

They are fucking fabulous.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Okay, Cupid. Okay.

I'm moving back to NYC in 3 weeks. Pretty much since I moved back to Texas almost a year ago, I have wanted to go back, it has been just a matter of when and how.

I have a feeling this time will be much more successful.

Close to 4 months ago  I got off of the Appalachian trail, ended a year+ long relationship, and had no idea where I was going next. I took a bus to NYC to stay for a few days.  It was in my last few days in NYC that I figured out a living situation in Austin to take place 2 weeks later. While in NY, I ended up able to teach a little bit of yoga, work at my old job, and see old friends. Including, meeting a new friend.

When I lived in NYC, I created an OkCupid account (yeah, yeah I am one of those online dating weirdos). Not really in hopes of  a romantic relationship, but just to meet exciting people and do fun things in the city. I think the entire time I was in NYC, I met two people from the site.

One who was moving the next day out of the city into the country because he was a writer and couldn't focus in the city. He was incredibly bitter about New York and wished me luck in a hissing voice. I thought he was crazy. Not loving New York? Come on. Fail.

 The second date was with a very flighty, whim wisher, acid tripping type, who reminded me of an ex, which I found unsettling and unwelcome at the time. Fail...However, he did enlighten me on the fact that you do not need a visa to visit Nepal. Awesome!

After those two experiences, I realized OkCupid was a waste and spending time in the city alone was more beneficial and productive. So I forgot about the account and went on with my life.

I remembered my account on my 10day NYC trip in early May. This was the trip to the city after I left the trail and had newly found my single self again. Happy and inspired. Inquisitive about life again. Feeling very much myself. 

Again, I thought it would be fun to meet a stranger and just chat. I signed in, responded to a few messages, and soon enough I had plans to meet a guy who seemed quite interesting for tea. He was a Cancer, had The Prophet on his list of favorite books, was interested in personal growth and spirituality, and by the looks of his pictures was incredibly good looking, and seemed to know how to have a good time.

With little emphasis on the meeting, I ended up blowing him off and not showing up to our first "date". I didn't think much of it and life continued on. A few days later, with a proper apology, we decided to try again.

It is a damn good thing we did. I'm moving in with him in 3 weeks.

Double you-tee-eff. WTF.

So lets back up just a bit. The meeting is important. The first look is important. The feeling in that first moment is important. If you have ever read Malcolm Gladwells book, Blink or Ori and Rom Brafman's book, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections or any other book or essay that acknowledges and gives merit to first gut reactions, maybe you will get it. I hope you have felt it before or eventually do. It's a bit like lucid dreaming. I hope you experience that too.

Sometimes you just know.

These are our instincts. These feelings are real. Our minds cannot exactly comprehend them, but our bodies react accordingly. Maybe that is why falling in love feels like you are losing your mind...because you are. Brain off. Heart and body on. Oh shit!

Lets delve into the science of this phenomenon. Please read this article. It's so great!

So after this one hour tea date with this new hottie, I walked away in a total tizzy! If I remember correctly, we were texting each other half way down the block asking each other "Excuse me, what just happened there?" We met once more for lunch before I moved back to Austin.

For the last 4 months those two hours have been our inspiration to maintain a long distance relationship with one another. One 5 day visit to Austin, one 7 day visit to NYC. A ridiculous number of text messages, phone calls, skype sessions, facebook conversations, a few written letters, and nonstop telepathy.

Part of me feels like I have no idea what I am doing, but the bigger and wiser woman knows that this is exactly the path. It's energetic and must be the right way. I heard once that The Fool was actually the wisest character in the entire Tarot. Fools seem to take chances. To go for it. To risk it is to win it! Even if it results in a new direction. Isn't that the point?

My mind still cannot quite fathom this new direction. Mainly, because I wasn't looking for it. I was just looking to have a good time on vacation. But I found something much more meaningful than just a memory on vacation.

I love Adam. Loving Adam is easy. Being understood by Adam is easy. I can be exactly who I am with him in every single moment. All shades of crazy and all shades of simply wonderful. No more of having to live in a "safety" range, or fearing that my partner won't be able to handle me if I am 100% myself. My spectrum of emotion and being is far too colorful to live in black and white.

So, it's a very simple decision really.

Just a choice to follow who and where makes my heart happy. Happiest, I should say. Happiness is ever present...but life is much more fun and exciting with a loquacious, electronic dance raving, hilarious, sensitive and sexy Jew to hold hands with.

Mazel, mazel baby!
And thank you Cupid!

Your arrow is shooting me in the most perfect direction. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Freedom & Security

The earth and her energy,
Always changing, always positioning herself
Where the light and black holes are needed the most.
Her quest of topical balance.

Trust self.
Solace in self. 
Faith. Buckets of it!

Never promise comfort.
It is a sham place to stay, anyways.
Be responsible.
Own your rent. It's all over your skin.
Seek it yourself.
Security lives inside freedom, that I promise!

I don't want a house on a plot of land.
I want a house on a string, tied to a balloon.
I'm okay with getting a little carried away. 
And I'm okay if you never do.

Helios, God of the Sun, what is this?
Big Bang of creation!
Stars of continuation! 
You are abundant.

It is enough.
I have enough.
I am enough.

I must be allowed to see the ocean inside of everything.
I must be allowed to touch the ocean inside of everyone.
I cannot compromise, for this swim is far too precious and terrifying! 

I'm going swimming now!

This is me. This is me. This is me.
Shameless, and full embodied. 

Restless, but rest assured,
 We are not really going anywhere.
We are already there.

The light, the black holes, the helium houses, the midnight swims...

Do not ask where I went, or where I have been.
I never left.
Not once. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Quit Trailing Off and Come Back to Center

Quit Trailing Off and Come Back to Center: How the Appalachian Trail Taught Me What I Needed to Know in Just 200 miles

The Appalachian Trail, one of North America’s most beautiful and scenic hiking trails, covering over 2,000 miles, weaving through 14 different east coast states, is a journey and an adventure of a lifetime. It’s a journey and a trip that one must feel from within. Just like any path, it too is sacred and divine in its own right, if you have the heart and trail legs for it.

My journey along the Appalachian Trail taught me many great life lessons in a very short amount of time. Lessons on letting myself be the leader, knowing when to merge and when to part, trusting time and nature, and reclaiming my own happiness and curiosity along my life path.

I must admit that hiking the Appalachian Trail in its entirety or in sections was never part of my life plan. Yes, I enjoy a lengthy day hike every now and then or a spontaneous weekend backpacking trip, but living in the forest for a month has never been a goal of mine. The driving force for this hike was love. Or was it fear?

Since I had started dating my boyfriend, hiking the AT had always been a goal and dream of his. Before we started dating, he talked about the trail. In the middle of our courtship, the trail was still in his plan. When he asked me to jump on board, my go-to answer was always, “Nope. I support you fully, but that is just not my thing”. I kept true to that answer up until two months before he was leaving. All of a sudden, I felt a shortness of breath, not ready to let him go, stressed by how fast time had passed, and not knowing where I would be if he left and I stayed behind.

I changed my mind. I like to think I followed my heart, but that I may never know.

I decided to go with him. With no camping or backpacking gear, I decided to spend almost all of my savings for everything I would need. With countless trips to REI, shopping and researching equipment, and hundreds of e-mail threads to my boyfriend discussing gear, weight, ounces, incessantly weighing out pros and cons of every single purchase, I finally had everything that I needed. I was ready to venture off with just a backpack, live a simple life, and be happy. This was my lesson in knowing when to merge.

My experience on the trail was not easy. I imagined the trail to be contemplative, mindful, a bit desolate, and something more spiritual. I imagined my days filled with ample time to read, write, practice yoga, and make love. In reality I found myself feeling rushed, expected to hike many more miles than I comfortably wanted, with poison sumac on my butt, and a urinary tract infection that lasted for days. I found myself unhappy, lonely and separated from my boyfriend, and I seemed to cry or feel like crying a lot with no safe place to go. I was in one of the most beautiful forests that was just revealing it’s beauty as spring time was just beginning to show herself, but something was not aligned and I felt deeply unsatisfied. How could this be? I had just worked so hard to make this happen for myself. I thought this was what I wanted.

After 200 miles on the trail, experiencing both highs and lows, I confidently decided to step off the trail, to follow my passion, and my true path no matter where that path would lead me. I decided to not be guided so much by external love or fear, and to listen to myself. I decided to find my own happiness, no matter what, even letting go of a relationship, and once again embarking on a new trail alone. After I left the trail, life was simple again. I guess sometimes living with just a backpack can have it’s own satchel of complications.

This is when I learned to radically let go.
What I found was bliss, love, and my innermost center. 

And more love. 

There is a distinct feeling when one is on their true path. It is a feeling of unfolding, of great excitement, and of true wisdom. It is a feeling of inspiration and great confidence, moments where instant manifestation is available, and new growth, faces, and opportunities appear abundant. The true path and knowingness feels fertile and supportive of life. The true path has infinite surprises and gifts to show us. The unique journey we all have yet to uncover lies in a moment’s choice to choose to listen to our internal compass, and allow ourselves to be guided by our own divinity.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Appalachian Magic & Uppsee


Today is my 7th day of experiencing this trail-life sub-culture type of livin'! We actually only hiked 2 miles today, got a ride into Hiawassee, GA from a man named Jim who was parked in a parking lot off the trail chanting Buddhist chants. (Lots of synchronistic moments, this was but one of the many thus far!)

We got a ride to our first hostel this morning and will be our first bed to sleep in this past week. The other nights have been either in a tent with the net, under a tarp with no net, and last night we decided to just lay our sleeping bags out under the stars. After we took showers and washed our clothes at the Blueberry Patch Hostel this morning, we hitch-hiked and got a ride from Sheriff Wayne into town. Wayne was a nice southern man who was jamming Eminem, something I found lovely since a lot of the music I brought for this trip was hip-hop and rap : ) Just to change things up a bit.

Oh man the Trail Magic, or just the good luck and good fortune that comes your way when hiking is REAL.100%

Just when we have run out of water, to be without a spring for another 4 miles, there is someone waiting at the bottom of the hill before the highway intersects our path with gallons of h20. Remarkable. Blessed faith.

My body has already begun to undergo quite a bit of change. My knees were killing me the first day of hiking. So much that I cried myself to sleep, thinking that I was sure to have to pack it up and go home early. The next morning, there was no pain in my knees.

I have been approaching this hike like I approach yoga: erring on the gentle side, yet persistent vigor, respecting the body, and rejoicing in making modifications. No competition. No judgment. Taking breaks to catch my breath, moving slow. My trekking poles are my second pair of feet and I love them so dearly.

The first 3 days were rough. Knee pain. Blisters. Fatigue. Bad shoes. (Got new shoes on our first stop in Neels Gap). But it is getting easier and I am learning.

The beauty is overpowering. The mountain air gets me high!

Strong body, open heart.

All in perfect timing!


Uppsee (my trail name that was given to me!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bodies to Bees to Butterflies

A poem I wrote...maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I found it on the interweb, and decided to repost it.
To keep it alive.

I hear their bodies move, along with the crisp sheets.
As they change positions, they simultaneously pause.

The world fades away and they all of a sudden have the energy.
The energy to touch wings. Or was it mouths?
In the midst of a silent slumber.
The energy to take the time to slide their fingertips
along the others bare shoulder.
The energy to lift their lashes, just for a quick glimpse,
before sleepily pointing them back down.

All before fading back into their sweet, sweet dreams.

There is stillness.
They are still.
Their nectar drifts to my side of the room.
Seeing their sweetness puts me in a place that I have not been in a long while.
It brings a smile to my face and a flutter to my eye
But it also makes me realize:
I am alone.

I am the only one to manipulate these wings of mine. 

How badly I wish you were here.

Not again.
The Butterflies!
They spin and swirl in my abdomen, blindly mistaking my cavity for a way of release.
The only escaping them, those butterflies, is for this to morph into nothingness.
I am not there yet.

May I call you honey?
You say ‘we are bees’
But we are butterflies.
And I could never settle for anything less than butterflies.

When the next moon arises,
Will you please come over and ruffle my wings?
Tangle me and entrap me.
I would love nothing more
Than to get lost in this with you.

We could lose our color and our appeal,
The will of flight and the drive to pollinate.
We could change our names,
Cocoon ourselves.

Just as they do.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Warriors and Cups

            I seem to have found myself surrounded by children, teenagers, or populations of youth the past months. I work with children just about everyday; either as a nanny or babysitter for children who have loving parents that are fortunate enough to hire a nanny or babysitter, or I am working with children (mostly teens) in a shelter. The children in the shelter come from broken homes where they have been abandoned, neglected, or abused. Most of these youth are Hispanic or black, differing from my ethnicity and the heritage I was raised in. Not only am I white skinned, I am terribly fair skinned, fair eyed, and fair-haired.
            When I work in the shelter, it is as if I am entering a very different universe, an entirely different species of thought, behavior, and existence—even the language is sometimes different. "Saca la basura y limpia tu cuarto!"

             I enter a universe of trauma survivors, children who have blamed themselves for burdens as large as mountains, that no human could possibly create, a world where their gifts have never been pointed out to them, a universe that houses bright cities of possibility, but the electricity bill was neglected to be paid.

When I go to work, I make sure to put on my warrior suit, because some days I need protection. Some days I am not sure what words will fly through the air, trying to stab me, or the possibility of a pain projected and clenched so tight that a fist through the air is the only perceived outlet. 
I have to wear a warrior suit because I work with young warriors. They are tough and iron to the bone. They are rough, and sometimes mean. They have abilities to lie, cheat, and steal because that is what they were taught. They have a whole universe to unravel, un-do, un-know, and so much to let go of. 
They are strong, so very strong willed. Their hearts are some of the strongest I’ve ever seen. Their hearts are guarded and protected, cradled like an infant, exactly how they swear they will treat their own children one day. 

And you can imagine the delight an outsider like myself must experience when I get to see these young warriors open their hearts, even for a moment. To realize that a rapport is being created right now! To be able to listen to these young, strong-headed, warriors tell of the tales of horror and hell of their pasts, and to soften their hearts enough to tell a stranger like myself, that they are scared, deeply saddened, and wounded of what was. The immeasurable compassion and empathy shown at key and crucial moments by all of the staff, counselors, and other mentors like myself is sometimes enough to take even the tightest of chains one link looser around the most imprisoned of hearts. 

There are two cups that I recognize with the population of youth I work with. One cup has no bottom, for it is the drain of human emotion, energy, and symbolized deprivation. The feeling and embodiment of not having enough, a constant and plaguing hunger. The other cup is a spring and well of human emotion, energy, and symbolized plenty. This second cup has much to offer, give, heal, and connect to. The second cup quenches the thirst of the first, and is the ultimate Band-Aid.
Some weeks I forget the second cup of life even exists in this world of profanity, violence, drugs, and street smarts. Then a child opens up. A child takes me into their world, and shares a piece of their life with me, a piece of their skin with me, failing to see the difference between my fair skin and their ebony skin. At that rare and dazzling moment, reminders of the second cup flood my mind, and wash away every instance of the first cup; for the second cup, the cup of heart connection, trust, and love is the very reason why I put myself in the battlefield of warrior’s everyday.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Moon Trip has a little change of Heart.

I smile as I come back to my blogspot, which has been abandoned for many months now. I smile and feel an incredible warmth by reading the title of my blog: Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.  

Ah, yes. Reaffirms everything, and the point of this post right now. For many months I have been prompted to go on a very large are lengthy trip. Hiking the Appalachian Trail with my siggy-other*.
A six month, over 2,000 mile rigorous hiking trip. 

"Eh, no babe...that is your thing, your trip. I fully support you, gonna miss the hell outta you, but I've got other things to do on my path. Like grad school, work, save money..."

The above was almost my exact excuse for at least 9 months now.

AND THEN. The epiphany and greatest scheme my mind has conjured up since NYC days...

I can HAVE and EXPERIENCE both!

My hopeful plan of grad school in for the next few months....and do maybe half of the Appalachian trip.  Sounds like a win. Moving to Colorado for grad school (fingers crossed...still waiting...) has totally justified purchasing expensive and necessary hiking gear. What better place to be ready for a hike than the good ol' Rockies?

 I think the next plan of action is to get my mind right for all of this. Starting by taking my own ownership of this trip. Seeing my individual journey and mountains to overcome while being part of a pairing. Creating my own reasons and intentions for joining. Creating a path just as much as I am joining on an already planned and paved path. Asking myself pensive questions, and working on creating and redefining those answers. Getting involved in the plans and realizing that the mountains have been waiting on me this whole time to just say YES!

Getting on my way,

Moon Trip ;)

*siggy other: aka. my boo, my man, my love shack  :)