Begin Again

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1 January 2019

It’s January of 2019 – can you believe it? We blinked and December turned to January, the days are getting longer and the promise of a new year is upon us. What will you do with the blank pages? How will you make 2019 your best year yet?

It’s a brand new year – what do you hope to find? Like the first pages of a new notebook, the smell of a new car or the feeling you get when unwrapping a much awaited gift – it’s here. Today, 2018 is officially in the past and the future right in front of our eyes. I’m not one for official resolutions, but I fully believe in looking back on the year that’s gone, dreaming big for the one ahead and taking stock of it all. Whether it be your personal, professional, political, or positively possible perspective – it’s all important.

What do you want to do more of this year? How do you want to change the world for the better? What do you want to learn? How do you want to better yourself? Where do you want to volunteer? Who can you help? Where can you make a difference? What do you want to experience? Where would you like to explore? What are you passionate about? How do you want to feel?

These are only some of the types of questions to posit daily. Each and every day we get the chance to begin again. Whether it’s stepping on a yoga mat, dropping off kids at school, sharing a meal with a friend, making a phone call, listening to a loved one and waking up each day – no matter the act, we get to choose our attitude every moment. Can you make your outlook a bit more positive today? In the mornings, can you notice three things for which you’re grateful? Can you listen more intently, love more fiercely, employ more empathy, and hug more deeply? Where can you make a change, how can you implement that change and what will you notice from it all?

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We’re never too old and it’s never too late. There are new paths on which to meander, roads to take and mountains to climb. There are dreams to discover, plans to make and risks to take. There are comfort zones to blast open, people to help and lessons to learn. And through it all – all the bumps, bruises, twists, turns, roundabouts, setbacks and roads less traveled – there’s gratitude.

I recently heard a lecture on gratitude and forgiveness. It took on the notion of Steve Maraboli’s words, ‘If forgiveness is the medicine for the soul, then gratitude is vitamins’. Perhaps there were choices we made or events that transpired where we need to forgive ourselves and give ourselves that leeway to begin again. Perhaps we had expectations that weren’t met, relationships that didn’t pan out or things we’d change if we got that chance to do it again. Whether we’re forgiving ourselves or someone else – we all need that extra love, that extra hug and that extra shot at the do-over. In order to get us there, in order to get us to that point where we can see a lesson in everything and find that silver lining in even the grayest of clouds – there’s gratitude. For years I heard it bantered around, but until moving to California, I’m not sure I truly grasped the magnitude of the concept.

Trust me when I tell you, it’s a game changer. You know what – don’t trust me, try it out for yourself and see. The changes in your outlook, demeanor, body language, health, mindset and more are almost instantaneous. It takes practice, patience, persistence and perspective – but the reward is life-changing. In yoga classes, we often hear, ‘it’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect’ – gratitude is the same. It isn’t always easy, there are times when it’s elusive, there are days when that response isn’t what we’d like it to be and it takes work – but in the process of getting there (wherever there is), we change, we grow and find that gratitude. It really is the journey.

What will your journey be this year? Write it down, make a note, grab a journal, set an intention, create that reminder, tell a friend – whatever works for you…set those goals and start today. Jump in with an open mind, open heart and endless spirit – 2019 is waiting for you.

At home on the left coast

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We made it to San Diego

Exactly four years ago we arrived in San Diego. A cross country road trip (the first of four in four years) designed to plop us here for three months to avoid a New York winter has lasted far longer than we ever expected. What we thought would be a blip on the radar turned into a chosen city and a chosen home. Even when we thought about leaving, life turned us right back around. San Diego has been a far greater gift than we could have ever imagined. Read the rest of this entry

365 Days

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Last year the husband and I spent Thanksgiving weekend hiking in Palm Springs, California. I remember those photos as some of the happiest ones I had for awhile as shortly after, the entirety of my world shifted. The phone call came the following weekend and aside from sitting at the airport in tears, I don’t remember much after that. Flight, hospital, difficult familial conversations, funeral, shiva and a whole hell of a lot of tears – today, it’s been a year since Dad suddenly passed away. Read the rest of this entry

Awareness and awakenings on the mat

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Oh my goodness!!!!! A friend (and yoga teacher) of mine hugged me today and said, ‘Congratulations, yoga teacher’…..and she was talking to me!!! I can’t believe she said that out loud!

“You are never to old to set another goal or dream a new dream” – C.S. Lewis

It’s enlightening how goals and dreams change along the way. If you asked me years ago if I was ever going to want to be a yoga instructor I would have looked at you as if you were nuts – fast forward three weeks and I’ve finished a 200-hour yoga teacher training course at my home studio. WHAT? I know; I feel the very same way!

Yoga One San Diego Summer Intensive Teacher Training Class 2018

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Root to rise – on and off the mat

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Genius, she is. Once again, after class ended and I asked Amy why she thought I couldn’t quite grasp one particular pose – she knew exactly what to say. It wasn’t the fact that every body type has different possibilities. It wasn’t about my scoliosis and it wasn’t about anyone’s talent in yoga. And sure, it’s definitely got something to do with the internal and external rotation of the hips, but that’s not the point either. She said, ‘most of the time, in yoga, if you can’t get to a pose – the key is, sit up higher’.

thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

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Be the change

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When I was little, I had a friend who lived around the corner. I can remember building forts out of couch cushions in her basement, creating chalk drawings on the driveway and playing spud on that lawn. But more importantly, I remember her grandparents. They had the most wonderful accents, the most genuine hearts and they were the first people I ever met with numbers tattooed on their arms. This Nana and Pop-Pop who adored a stranger from around the corner were the first Holocaust survivors I ever met. To this day, those adopted grandparents hold a very special place in my heart.

Conversation with Edie Eger Read the rest of this entry

Connections in movement and mindfulness – an interview with a passionate performance artist

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My best friend in high school wanted to be a dancer. I remember countless nights practicing with friends as she choreographed our performance for the Senior Show. When she majored in modern dance in college, I went to visit her and see all of her years of work come to fruition. This week it seems another part of life has come full circle. Read the rest of this entry

6 months

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Torrey Pines Natural Reserve

Don Mattingly was at the game, Piano Man was randomly selected for the karaoke section, there were friendly neighbors on either side of us and a stranger was dancing his heart out to stadium tunes – Dad was definitely with us at the baseball game last week. It’s been six months since that fateful day; it feels like worlds have shifted yet everything is standing still. Growth, change, sadness, grief, shift, confusion, thought, anger, disappointment, struggle – it’s all been there, but alongside it there’ve been rays of light, forward movement, slivers of calm, moments of joy and memories of smiles. These past six months have been quite the journey. Read the rest of this entry

14 year old wisdom

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“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

The other day I spoke to my favorite 14-year old. In perfect teenage fashion, she was lounging in her room, babysitting her brother and detailing her excitement for the end of the school year. We did social studies homework, found frustration with end of school year insanity, dreamed about travel and talked of the utter joy she gets from her passion for horses. And then, unknowingly, she paid me the best compliment ever. She called me ‘earthy’ and seemed to light up at the thought of taking time out of the day to go to yoga and find an ease. She has no idea how big my heart smiled at that very instant. Read the rest of this entry

Dropping in – on and off the mat

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sand dollars on Coronaado

When I hear the phrase ‘dropping in’ I often think of surfers grabbing their best wave, but when Zaquia mentioned it in her yoga class it seemed to have a different meaning all the same. Then @yogagirl wrote about how yoga is so much more than an on the mat practice and that hit home, too. Then I had a chat with a friend who maintains a plan to move houses every decade to try out a new space and be as present as possible in her new community and that landed the trilogy. Seems the universe wanted me to see that ‘dropping in’ is far more than finding the sweet spot atop the ocean. Read the rest of this entry