Monday, September 23, 2013

Mexico Early Bird Deadline & other stuff...

Early Bird Discount ends in 7 days!  
go to to register today.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Give yourself the gift of Self this Christmas.

New students are coming to every class here in Springdale.  I feel happy every time I walk in the door of this lovely space.  Bring a friend with you and enjoy some yoga bliss together.

I recently entered an essay contest.  The topic was 'The Bravest Thing I've Ever Done'.  My submission is below if you would like to read it.  I would also love to hear from you.  What's the bravest thing you've ever done?


Who’s to say what’s brave and what isn’t?  Sometimes brave might look foolish or wrong, crazy or selfish.  But there’s one thing that brave always is.  Brave is always honest.  Honest like naked.  Full-on-frontal, bare-ass naked.  Out-in-the-cold-with-no-place-to-hide-while-the-wind-and-the-critics-cut-like-knives naked.

Honesty.  That was the bravest thing I’ve ever done.  I said the honest words.  I told the truth.  The price of honesty was high.  It took everything I had.  Now I’m broke and homeless, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I knew I’d have to start over if I was honest.  All the way over from the beginning right in the middle of my life, but this time with no prescription for how it was supposed to be. 

‘The struggle for security is no pic-nic.’  ~ Charles Schultz

That’s the caption of a Peanuts glass I bought at a thrift store.  It only cost a dollar, but its message is priceless.   The cartoon on the glass depicts Linus outraged that Lucy and Charlie are having a picnic on his blanket and he swiftly yanks it out from under them. How dare they enjoy a carefree afternoon?  How dare they be happy?  I get it, Linus.  Desperation for security leaves no room for happiness.  Security had me by the neck and it was squeezing tightly.

There was only one way to save myself.  Say the words or suffocate.  I took a breath and said the words.  BAM.  No more security.  Welcome to the rest of my life.  Real life.  Uncertain.  Butterflies-in-my-gut living.  Alive.  Finally.  

The courage to be honest didn’t come all at once.  Courageous honesty isn’t on the drive thru menu at McDonald’s.  I found the strength to speak my truth slowly, over about a decade on my yoga mat.  First, as a student, then after a few years I followed the path to become a teacher.

Yoga taught me how to check in with the wisdom of my body.  Before yoga, I didn’t know how to get at the truth that made its home in my bones.  A long time ago, I had followed my heart into love and it didn’t turn out well.  I remember the exact moment when I decided, quite emphatically, that I would never get hurt again.  I was done with feeling.  My insidious heart could not be trusted.  I chose to live only from my head, completely disconnected and disembodied from the deeper parts of me.

The physical yoga practice brought me fully back inside my skin.  On my mat I felt safe to investigate my thoughts and emotions.  I explored the past without regrets and pondered the future without anxiety.  I began to notice a soulful inner intelligence rising up inside of me. 

As a teacher, class after class I heard myself asking students to check in with their bodies, be honest with themselves.  I challenged them to live the truth they could feel inside the edges of their skin and in alignment with the love they felt in their hearts. 

I was teaching what I needed to learn.  I was expressing my own desire.  I started to wonder if it was possible to trust my heart.  Again.  For the first time.

‘I had a second birth when my soul and my body loved one another and were married.’ ~ Kahlil Gibran

There was a decision to make.  Stop saying those things.  Stop teaching.  Stop practicing.  Stop selling what I wasn’t willing to buy for myself.  Or, be honest and live honestly.  In order to do that, I had to stop blindly following the prescribed life that was imprinted on my psyche.

The prescribed life made sense.  It was mirrored back to me everywhere I looked, but my inner knowing hinted to me there was another way to be alive in this world.  There was a way to live that was unique and true for me and it was becoming clear that it had nothing to do with the prescription.

My life looked fine from the outside.  But it wasn’t fine.  Even if it was fine, I knew I couldn’t live with fine.  The prescription promised ‘fine’.  But what was ‘fine’, anyway?  ‘Fine’ is what you say to someone who asks you how you are when you haven’t actually asked yourself.  The comfort and security of the prescribed life became a maddening numbness that I could no longer ignore.   ‘Fine’ feels like nothing.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin

The prescribed life came from the past.  But it couldn’t come with me into the future.  There was a gnawing knowing that kept nagging at me.  I felt pulled, tugged by my heart in another direction.  One way or another, the prescribed life and I were going our separate ways.  I wasn’t getting a refill.  I didn’t know how it would work out or what it would look like.  But my body and soul were in this decision together.   Then, all of a sudden, after a million years, it was time.  I spoke the truth that set me free.

It’s a strange sensation to not have a sense of the future in the way you’ve known the past.  No prescription to go by.  No promises.  No security.  Being comfortable with uncertainty is true freedom, but it’s also hard as hell.

Saying goodbye to a lengthy marriage for the sake of living honestly made me the bad guy.  I’d never been the bad guy.  I liked to do things they way they were supposed to be done. I liked it when the people around me were happy with me.  This wasn’t one of those times. 

My head lead me into marriage, but my heart was leading me out.  Marriage had been what was next on the list.  The prescription called for it.  The prescription told me what it should look like and who my partner should be.  I did not consider how I felt.  I had forgotten how to do that.  I had vowed not to be vulnerable.  I had promised myself I’d be careful.  I had promised I wouldn’t get hurt.  So, I made a smart choice.  I made a safe choice.

I won’t pass it on.  I won’t hand the prescription to my daughter.  I want her to intimately know the truth of who she is.   I want her to know that no matter what she believes or how she lives that I will love and accept her unconditionally.  I will be on her side, always.

It’s been almost two years since honesty started running the show.  My life has become a constant process of turning the never-ending present moment experience into something that sustains, fulfills and satisfies me.  My heart, soul, mind and body are working together.  I feel whole and am getting comfortable living in this state of not knowing what’s coming next.

Over the last few months, I shed another layer of fear around the desire for security.   I created what I called ‘my gypsy summer’.  It started by terminating the lease to my apartment.  Then, I took my sweet 16 year old to Kenya.  We met my Kenyan friends who run a school and orphanage.  We got to spend the night in their home with no running water and giggled together under the covers.  Honesty gave us both a rough ride.  On this trip we celebrated love and forgiveness. 

Then I took some time away from teaching yoga for self-study at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.  I met some amazing people and completed a month-long work scholar group focusing on leadership and presence.  When I got home, I posted on Facebook that I needed a place to stay for a while.  So, now I’m living with a sweet friend who has an extra bedroom.  Thanks, Lindsay.

This month I opened my very own yoga studio!  Aptly named, YogaGypsy.  I am motivated to share with others the freedom that honesty brings to life.  Every class is an opportunity for my students to get stronger and to practice checking in with their bodies.  It’s an opportunity to ask their inner wisdom how they really are and have the freedom to answer something other than the ‘fine’.

Living honestly is definitely a good investment. I am humbled and in love with the journey of living.  Really living.  Everything is good.  In fact, it’s exactly perfect because it’s my creation.  Not someone else’s prescription.  Brave. Stupid. Crazy.  Whatever you want to call it.  It’s the good stuff and it’s honest.  I have everything I need and I am in awe of the fact that I wouldn’t want things to be any different than they are right now.  I am fully supported by the Universe.  My bank account just doesn’t know it yet!


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