home.

“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”
J.D. Stroube

For most of my life, I searched to “find myself” I was truly born a seeker.

Asking the WHY .WHY. WHY  of life.

As a teen, I suffered with this question. I tried to fit in. I “looked” normal. I drank a lot. I tested the boundaries between good and evil. I flirted with danger and drugs, and I did NOT want to have these questions in my mind, all the time. WHY. I was an observer. I watched everyone. I noticed everything. I just wanted to be “normal.”

I tried to be a dead head in high school wearing tie dye and spending a whole summer barefoot.

In college, I  tried to be a little more edgy and went to the urban street look, wearing huge Tommy Hillfiger sweats,  labels on everything and fell in love with the latest sneaker trends.

I watched groups of people and I wanted to be at ease like they were (or so I thought). I was looking for me.  I was trying it all on.. and what I found surprised me.

“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.”

Shannon L. Alder

Somehow, through motherhood, through movement and through facing my fears…I found me. The true- messy pony tail, slightly soft, always comfortable, ME.  I did not have to wear anything to prove anything, I did not have to be anyone to get noticed. I could follow my heart, my passions and spent time listening to my soul. ( dreaming, visioning, wishing, wondering) And taking small baby steps along the way, offering this and that- creating this- asking that… all within unknown territory ( no biz degree or experience, no clue if DC would want a family yoga center, no idea how childcare would work..)

Eventually, I created a yoga studio where we could ALL just show up, as we were- teachers or students – no yogalebrities here. And we are beautiful.

The REAL humans of Washington, DC. With stains and stretchy pants, aging parents, sick children… here we are.

And this week, as our classes end- and I’m sitting at my grandmother’s dining room table at home in CT while life continues on in DC.. while our community in DC mourns the loss of our family center, while I get emails from mamas who share stories with me about their lives, some apologize for not being around more, some wanting to know what they can do to keep us open ( find a new space! crowdfunding! increase prices!) and all I know, is that following my heart by creating the studio, led to the most authentic connections a person could ask for. Real. Deeply Personal. Loving. Painful… The kind that saves lives.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Brené Brown

I FOUND MY WHY. THIS IS IT. There is no magical formula, no easy way, no one true thing, NOTHING that lasts forever. All we have is this moment of truth, this class, this song, this hug and this day. My mind is like a slideshow of pictures and people and children and smiles and tears from the past 7 years. And it’s all REAL. It all felt so incredibly alive & honest & meaningful in ways in ways I had been searching for my entire life. I learned I am not a fan of small talk. I learned that a hug can help the darkest of days and that yoga really can bring us together. In the most primal, beautiful, breathtaking ways. Simple. Simple. Simple.

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

And once it all happened, it just flowed.  It became it’s own creative project, it’s own being, it’s own inspiration to us all. The multi-generational environment we had created, became this magical silent gift  to the littles and the bigs.  We are all in this together. 

Being home feels incredibly relevant to me right now- coming back again AS ME. Showing up as I am now, not trying to pretend or change.. and now it’s about the letting go.. the practice of listening.. the art of life and loss and love. It’s just part of the bigger story, our story. our lives here together. This is where we met, we fell in love, we shared our selves. No one can take that.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
John Lennon

I’m trying a lot of new things on for 2016. I’m not sure what will stick. I’m quite scared again, but this time, I don’t need to wear different clothes to find the way ( and I’m not trading in my yoga pants)… That showing up, and doing the work ( which is sitting still) & asking the questions will bring the meaningful, intentional life I want to keep living. I can’t even predict what’s around the corner.

“I don’t get it,’ Caroline said, bemused. ‘She’s the only one with wings. Why is that?’ There were so many questions in life. You couldn’t ever have all the answers. But I knew this one. It’s so she can fly,’ I said. Then I started to run.”
Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

with my heart

I told someone today.. it’s been a wild ride. So much has happened in a very short time. I explained the journey, the process, the struggle & the joy as I move through another tunnel, not totally sure of whats on the other side.

First, I hid. Then, I went manic on planning. Finally, I settled down, took some deep breaths and landed.

As I watch from this ledge,  an observer in my own life- compassionately  looking in on everything I know to be true. questioning, knowing, feeling in my body what I need and want for this life.

There are things that were solid and real and alive in 2015- that will not be coming with me.

For months I thought, It’s possible.

that I would close the studio, that I would let go of a practice that was not longer serving me, that I could look so deep inside that I would make decisions that would be painful, let go of relationships that were draining my energy, it’s possible that I could actually live a less stressful life. one full of meaning and purpose driven from kindness- not from comparisons. 

“It’s Possible!” I wanted to shout- and yell and wrote over and over again in my journal. And then, it all happened- not only was it possible but it became true and the unraveling began.  Shedding this and that-

friends and responsibilities and weight and clothes and groups and … phew the list is long.

Have you ever had something so all consuming in your life that it filled your thoughts, your days and your nights-  your weekends – your whole life to the point you did not know where it ended and you began?  now, when reading to my children- I am with them. I see them- I hear them. without the constant flow of studio stress floating in and out of my brain. a student complaint, a no show teacher, filling classes, changing pay rates… the never ending pile of to dos and never enough. 

as a biz woman, I never grew tougher or tighter or into NO.. my practices always brought me back to generosity, love and saying yes. 

and now, I step back and see why. the overcompensating, overdoing, overachieving needs to chill out. 

And here I am. a candle, a dream, a human being ALIVE with the POSSIBILITY for delight. daily. weekly. monthly. in this life.

I’m going to move into the delight of it all- my actual living, breathing, thriving, LIFE- and hold it up with precious love and attention. Honoring my own heart- and my own way. 

Finding my way home through music and art and writing and moving. Life of meaning and purpose- jumping off the shoulds and coulds and woulds that can so easily dominate our next turn. You, my dears, are not allowed to stay. 

Even in THIS city, that celebrates cerebral intelligence over soul singing, your resume over your random acts of kindness and here, in DC- where the schools you went to are more valuable than the person you ARE- I’m going for it. I’m going to continue to break myself open to the joys of the daily sacred, to see my yoga students as whole human beings, and to move towards the light…… 

 

2, 3, 4 Start Your Day

Yesterday, I threw myself into a bunch of content from Elizabeth Dialto – I listened to a few of her podcasts & read a few chapters from her book. I love this girl. I don’t really know / remember how we got connected on social media- but I finally was able to dig in a bit and listen to what she is saying. AND I LOVE IT.  A refreshing unique soul. Her experience and wisdom with female/ male energy, taking good care of ourselves inside and out- and so much more.  So today, I put something I learned yesterday right into action.

HERE IS A MIND BLOWING, SUPER SIMPLE WAY TO START THE DAY!

  • I got this 2,3,4 idea  from Elizabeth and thought I would start my day TODAY with this ritual but what I did instead, was wait until my kiddos woke up AND we actually did it together.
  • All I can say is that a 6:50am heart- exploding- with- love moment, is really, truly good for the soul.
  • Is there some way you can try this? adapt it to do just for yourself or invite your loved ones to join you?

I’m already thinking about what song to play tomorrow.

Here is what to do..

  1. Breathe together for 2 minutes.  I set my timer on the phone and had a fun ring go off when time was up. We sat together with both kiddos on my lap for a minute of deep breathing, and then turned around and did some breathing together back to back.
  2. Move together for 3 minutes. I put on Mc Yogi’s Dancing in the Sun. There was some jumping and free flow and yoga and Milos breakdancing, some shaking, some hugging and dancing together.
  3. Write together for 4 minutes. I wrote about what I want today to look like, what I am grateful for, what I am dreaming about. Saylor did a gratitude list and Milo drew his current favorite animal. For this length of time, we just stayed quiet and did our own thing- pen to paper. Then we shared.

9 Minutes. That’s all. We were done at 7:01 and went to the kitchen to make breakfast and lunches. Connected. Peaceful. Seen. Heard. Loved.

HUGE Thank you to Elizabeth for sharing this super simple morning technique. She said she does this every morning alone- and I just played around with a bit to include my kiddos. MAGIC.

 

Hannukah Yoga Game

Here is a quick and fun dreidel game you can play with kiddos ages 2-8!

Take turns spinning the dreidel and see what comes up.. See below for poses.

ENJOY!  
  
  

When someone rolls a Gimmel- do Gorilla Pose ( standing forward fold, arms droop and sway).

 When someone rolls a Hay- do modified Headstand (knees down, head down).
  When someone rolls a  SHIN- do a Shoulderstand ( back down, legs up).  When someone rolls a Nun, do “night” pose ( savasana, REST).

Purpose, Passion and Planning

A few weeks ago, Michelle Mitchell and I presented a workshop called Purpose, Passion and Planning at The National Kids Yoga Conference. 

It was SUCH a lively and curious group- and we hope to expand the workshop next year.

Since we are rounding the corner on 2015, thought I would share with YOU the tools that we used for some of the workshop.

I have created these worksheets for you from a variety of sources, readings and information that I have collected over the years! Hope this helps YOU start to dream about your 2016. If a question is not relevant to you- then SKIP it!

Pull out your favorite markers.  Grab your journals. GET GOING!

Start to Dream… Get CLEAR

opening meditation

Begin by being grateful for your life. Release disappointments from the past or judgments of past experiences or any SHOULD HAVES or COULD HAVES. Just DREAM.  Acknowledge yourself. Clarify your path to your vision and begin to take inspired action. Inspired action is about embracing uncertainty and listening to your heart. 

Questions to Consider

If money, people’s opinions and judgments, and fear were not factors – what would I want to be, do, or have?

What beliefs or things would I have to let go of if I were to allow this into my life?

What would I have to believe in order to be, do, or have these things?

What really matters to me?

BE ( I am…..) WHO OR WHAT YOU WANT TO BE

This includes – how you feel each day, your purpose or mission, how you show up in life, your strongest traits, the kind of parent or partner you are, etc. If there are traits that you already love about you, include those as well!

DO (I travel, start, arrange,  create) WHAT YOU WANT TO DO

This includes travel, starting a business, offering a new program in your current business, learning a language, marriage, kids, playing the piano, etc. Write these in descriptive sentences or as a list. Really explore the options. Don’t limit yourself in any way! 

Have ( I have)  WHAT YOU WANT TO HAVE

This can be anything from a house on the beach, to free time, to a yoga studio, to a great wardrobe, to three kids, etc. Let yourself dream big here. Lots of people get a little freaked out and feel greedy if they admit to wanting. But, just open up to those “have” desires. Knowing what they are can guide you to the places where you resist or block your own success.

CORE VALUES

Who is the person I respect most in life? What are their core values?

What are the traits of the people I spend the most time with?

If I could have more of any one quality instantly, what would it be?

What are three things I hate? (e.g., cruelty to animals, credit card companies, deforestation, etc.)

Which three people in the world do I dislike the most and why?

Which personality trait, attribute or quality do people compliment me on the most?

If I were to teach someone about values that would give them the best opportunity for success in life, what would those be and why?

If I had enough money to retire tomorrow, what values would I continue to hold?

The top 5 qualities of the “ideal” man or woman or leader (boss) or partner?

Now take a look at your answers above. Do you notice any reoccurring themes?Taking what you’ve observed in others, what others have observed about you, what you want for others, and things you would fight for or against, create a list of your top 5-10 values (in any order) below.

I want to work with/teach…….

A day in my dream life would be…….

My personal mission statement is…….

My “work” mission statement……..