Category Archives: be the best you

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’.

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It all matters

It mattered. Class was at noon on Wednesday and on the way there I got the same AP alert on my phone as zillions of others – Supreme Court Justice Kennedy had announced his retirement. Like many others, this felt like another giant gut punch in a week that felt similar to the days following the election. Ugh! Children in cages, families ripped apart, unions threatened, human rights in jeopardy, senseless gun violence, the free press under attack, the world in turmoil and now this – seriously! Sometimes it feels like a good time to hide under the covers just to catch our breath. It’s hard to find the time to breathe, smile and figure out which issue to fight first no less carve the time to get to the mat – but that self-care matters and yesterday it mattered that much more.

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On the walk home, I thought about what Amy said. Sure, in that moment, she was talking about the idea of putting a block under my hip and reaching on a downward angle towards the floor which would allow my back a different stretch than it ever had before. To me, the words held far more weight than those. It reminded me of another significant pearl of wisdom about going higher and reaching for better. It reminded me of decades of derision and lowly taunts of limited and hate-filled rhetoric and the charge to say ‘go high’, be the bigger person, aim for the better road, choose right. It sure isn’t easy. It’s a lot easier just to ditch the thought of ever hitting that pose, flinging up my hands and saying ‘I didn’t need that anyway’. But that’s not true, that’s not me and that sure isn’t the way to choose right, happy or joy – I know better, but we all have those moments.

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Take a moment, take a deep breath – and roar

To me, her words meant more about trying to lift yourself and others up along the road of life. Through every journey, there have been highs and lows and hopefully along the long scope, we learn from both types of episodes. Both tell a story, chart a course and often set our souls on fire; but this time, it was something about the idea of elevating while standing your ground that made an impression. My twisted back and hips are rarely level, but with some assistance, they gain the stability to stand their ground. Perhaps, that’s what it all means. Perhaps whenever Amy starts her class with the idea of root through your feet to rise through the top of your head it means more. Perhaps, in this chaotic time where the world seems to turn on its head every minute of every day, that’s what we need to remember.

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Personally we’ve been smacked a bit these past few months, but these recent weeks feel like the entire country took a whopper to the face and the hits have kept on coming. Perhaps the yoga analogies work more than I know. Most of the instructors I’ve ever had have uttered the phrase, ‘it’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect’ and remind yogis that making the time to show up on the mat is always a good idea. So sure, right this minute we’ll take any bit of wisdom we can get and find a way to extrapolate it out and apply it to greater life. Let’s keep practicing, keep helping, and keep lifting others up. My hips are happy when I show up on that mat and my heart is happy when I show up to support justice and helping others – so don’t give up.

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Show up – you make a difference

Thanks for the reminder, Amy – those nuggets of goodness gleaned from a yoga class hold weight on and without question, off that yoga mat. Sometimes you need to take those moments of time to hide under the covers and take care of yourself. Sometimes you need to spend time away from it all, hug your loved ones, regroup, do something to lift your own spirits and then return to the fight. Sometimes you need to realize your limits, get that support and do what you can. And sometimes you shove that block or blanket under your hip, boost yourself up and set your soul on fire. It was true on Wednesday, it’s true today and it’ll be true tomorrow. It’s not easy, but I’m going to keep showing up. What about you?

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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

Choosing you

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Sometimes it’s hard to choose you. For some reason, so many of us have grown up thinking that putting ourselves first or on the same playing field as others is selfish. Somehow we’ve been indoctrinated into the belief that everyone else matters more than we do, that work relationships mean we ‘should’ suffer, that we must ‘bend’ to what others need and that we put our feelings aside to make others feel better. Why on earth were we ever taught to think we matter any less than anyone else? Read the rest of this entry

Seeking home

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Home. For some it’s the beach, the mountain or the smell of a clean sheet. For some it’s a meadow, a valley or the smell of the leaves after the rain. For some it’s traditions, the aroma of baking bread or the sound of family waking up underneath the same roof. For some it’s a place, while for others it’s a feeling. Home is an interesting concept. As a child – home was my nuclear family, the house in which I grew up, the only street on which I lived and the town to which I was associated. Home was a short walk from the high school, down the block from the youth group, twenty minutes from the beach and about an hour from sleep away camp. Home was the people, an address, an abode, a town and a state to which I referred when introducing myself. Damn, a lot has changed. Read the rest of this entry

Finding healing spaces along a bumpy road

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Since the early days of December – it’s seemed as if the world has been spinning on its axis and we definitely feel as if it’s about to fling us off to a bumpy stop or crash landing on direct impact. If I could raise my hand and ask the ride conductor to slow it down and let me off, I would – but I’m not sure that’s how this ride goes. So, we’re taking a chance, standing on the ledge and going to make the jump before we get spit out and have no idea how many bumps, bruises and broken everything we’ll have along the way. I’m trusting that in one way or another a net will appear – but with or without the security – we’re leaping. Read the rest of this entry

Getting to next

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What we expected to be three months turned into three years. San Diego became more than a spot to wait out the New York winter, it became our home. Three years ago we were bitching about the impending winter and hoping that someone would come through with a work visa for the United Kingdom and that that would be our ‘next’. Why wait in the cold when we could experience something new, we thought. We packed the car, drove west and found a home in San Diego.

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In those three years we’ve grown more than I could have imagined. We’ve done exactly what we wanted to and fully embraced the outdoor year ’round lifestyle. We’ve added hikes to our routine, elevated our yoga and gym days, come to love fish tacos and have without question come to favor a more holistic approach to life. Our daily life includes making time for self-care, being sure to find time for mindfulness activities and learning that health and wellness matter more than we ever thought before. We’ve gotten rid of those toxic relationships, become more aware of what makes our happiness flow and have decided that it’s more than okay to put that happiness first. No matter where we roam, these things are now ingrained in us and I hope, will continue no matter the post code.

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The two of us our lucky to have many places around the globe that we call ‘home’. Between the both of us, there has been life in New York, Melbourne, London and San Diego. When we headed west, we made the official decision to work contract and freelance so we wouldn’t be tied down and would be be able to jump at opportunities when and if they came along. Since the husband got an offer that was literally too ‘good to refuse’, our journey continues as we head back to New York for a little while. But we’ve made a decision that we didn’t make when we returned from our first ’round the world trip and this is the game changer.

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Experiences change us and those internal changes aren’t visible on the outside. Upon that first re-entry, it was almost impossible for others to see the changes and we felt as if these newly square pegs were supposed to fit back into our previous round holes. Needless to say, we felt squished, frustrated, agitated and struggled with the ideas of not wanting to push those life-changing experiences aside to fit back into the people we were before – well, not this time. After two ’round the world trips, two (with an impending third) cross country road trips and a three year stint living in a place we adore the changes are evident. Our attitudes, lifestyle choices, and views on health and wellness have shifted and those shifts are here to stay.

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After countless conversations, ‘getting to next’ has appeared more often than I can count. The ideas of planning for the time when your teeth might fall out more easily, where and how your heart is happiest and what makes your spirits soar are categories of chats that regularly appear around our picnic table. How to get the opportunity to spend the day to day in a space you adore while having the expendable cash to jet off on a moment’s notice and not have to worry about ‘taking time off’ – these are only some of our beach walk and hiking conversations. For now, we’ve added San Diego as a place we call home and would happily do so again. Who knows exactly what the full definition of ‘getting to next’ will entail, but for the moment, ‘next’ is bringing us to the land where the boys in pinstripes play, bagels reign supreme, and the Atlantic crashes on the shore.

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You’ll find us wearing newly purchased base layers, searching for new adventures, playing outside, wiggling our feet in the sand, seeking out proper fish taco shops and chowing down on those flagels that never seem to make it west of the five boroughs. We’re headed out in a few weeks and will fill you in on the road trip spots along the way. We’ll land in early January and are always open to new ideas, new experiences, new opportunities and new places to play. Join us along the way and come say hi when we hit the Atlantic. Wherever the journey takes us, we hope you’ll be a part of it all…here’s to ‘getting to next’.