The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes. -Elizabeth Gilbert
To everyone trying to find their own commitment and connection to the practice: let it be easy. Know that stillness and breath more than just count. Soak up even a 5 minute stretch in your bed. Take a class at the studio with a friend when you can. Sip coffee while you practice. Sip wine after you practice. Take your pup for a walk and know that it's yoga. Heck, belly laugh on the phone with your bestie and know that THAT's yoga. It's all yoga if you're present. You've got this.
I don't even know where to begin. With excitement? Gratitude? How do I even begin to summarize the past month?
I'm a firm believer that life is a series of wake-up calls. Moments to shock your senses. Experiences to catapult you out of monotony. I also know that the cure for anything is hard work and passion.
So maybe that's the summary? Passion? Maybe it's a surprise happy morning in Atlanta to visit Maria and her new home. Maybe the summary is the labor of love that each artist put into their craft at Renegade Craft Fair. Passion is giggling and trading artwork with designers you admire. New friends like Go_rings, kristen salsa juan, the six of cups and lmorganics.
Passion is surely the way Sam and I STILL talk about those fried avocado cones we ate somewhere in Austin. Passion. Taking cues from Texas and believing that bigger is better. Big heart. Big love. Big swinging attempts even if you strike out.
Passion tastes like that cinnamon bun I ate in Tucson. Yep. Gluten free/ dairy free heaven. Inspiration in that Arizona landscape. Freedom for a sadness to turn to anger. and a heartache that got left behind somewhere before making it to the west coast. Because those California mornings needed room for coffee strolls alone. And the evenings were surrounded by family. Dancing. Feeling the least alone you've ever been. Days became filled with strangers telling me how they take their coffee. How they hold their cup. Who this mug is for. "They're gonna love it" while I wrap and pack.
I washed my face in Santa Monica saltwater. I watched a Malibu sunset. I prayed at the Seven Magic Mountains. I made a wish to the heavens while the stars were out and the moon was a sliver. I listened to Nicole sing sweetly in the car. I walked on sacred ground. Connected. I sped through the desert missing home. Passion caught up with us again in Nashville. Rooftop with Janelle & Sara. Mugs for sale, but a priceless skyline. Lattes in bowls. The excitement I feel to hear a new story.
I've been sleepy in the few days since getting home. Sleepy but Awake. Do you know that feeling? Resting but Alive? That's passion.
I gave up yoga and meditation for a week and here's what happened:
I heard myself. My desires. My unhappiness. I cried.. a lot. I vented and word-vomitted. I got a little bit snappy at times. I watched GIRLS. Ok.. I binge watched ALL of GIRLS. I read. I cried more. Listened more. I felt small. I felt my faults. And I felt human.
I temporarily shook off the pressure to be or to feel any better than I actually am. I wasn't manifesting. No affirmations. No intention setting. I wasn't releasing negativity. Instead, I felt it. I felt it all. When I was mad, I got good and angry. When I was sad, I shattered.
My yoga was filling me with the illusion that I needed to love more. Bigger. Harder. Without even realizing it, my practice was guilt-tripping me into trying to be all things. I am not all things.
My week off from yoga was a release. No morning intentions to trick myself into thinking that if I put in the work, I'll be loved. That if I'm just a little bit softer, I'll be seen.. noticed. That if I get my energy just right, I'll make it through the day. But ya know what? I still made it through the day. And the next one. And the next. And now I'm back on my mat every morning with more honesty. Less pressure. Just me.
Sometimes our love is stolen. Or our heart gets broken, shattered, torn. Maybe you lost your energy. Maybe you fought so hard that you forfeited pride. But lucky for you, resilience stays. Resilience mimicked your loyalty and it laid at your feet. Waiting for you.
I feel out of place in the era of "Zero Fucks." I never quite feel like I belong in this age of shrugged shoulders and clean consciences. I still require my confrontations to be followed by a nap to help with the emotional exhaustion, and a snack marathon to heal the churning in my stomach. I still have bruised knees and a bruised ego when I fail. I still feel sincerely apologetic when I can't follow through with plans. And I can't help it- but I still care if people like me, or at the very least think that I'm kind.
Everyone's asking, "who gives a fuck?" and I hear myself whisper, "I do."
I give So. Many. Fucks.
Don't get me wrong- I see the appeal. I'm willing to bet those carefree and unapologetic mindsets toss and turn way less at night. But for me? That mindset just creates a giant, uncomfortable, disconnect between my head and my heart. Because my heart isn't lukewarm. My heart cares. My heart cares if my actions were out of character. My heart has already planned its whole speech before it comes out my mouth. My heart wakes up with the best of intentions, and it breaks when it falls short.
Maybe this is you. Maybe you've tried to navigate a more casual course, but you just wound up feeling even more lost. Maybe it's just who we are, and maybe we have to accept that it's OK. Maybe we can't afford to give zero fucks when we're already too invested in giving a damn.
Grace. I don't show myself much of it. I'm hard on myself in my work, my relationships, my craft. You name it, and I've already beaten myself up over it. If I'm really honest with myself, I think my lack of grace toward self has a lot to do with my resistance to rest. I'm pretty terrified of the feeling that "I should have done more" or "I could have done better."
I noticed today, as I moved slowly and patiently on my yoga mat, that my practice is the one place where grace abounds. I sink sweetly into childs pose whenever I please. In my day, I tend to replay and analyze confrontations, but on the mat I exhale and release knowing that I'm doing the best that I can. On my mat I am so incredibly human... and in creeps grace.
We call it our practice because we have to keep returning to it. It's about showing up and finding the pieces of yourself that you are missing out there in the world. As I dive deeper into cherishing the practice this month, I'm realizing how important it is going to be to keep grace front and center. Maybe rest will follow?
Looking forward to practicing with you.
Are you comfortable with devotion? Can you show up to your mat during life's hard moments and endure the stillness? Can you overcome ego? Can you sit with your breath and celebrate rest? Does yoga have to be an event? The practice... how close are you to it?
I've spent the last few months really thinking about the art of practicing. I've been noticing my relationship with yoga, my art, my passions, and my responsibilities. It's a theme that will be creeping more and more into my classes and the studio. I'm excited to share more, write more, and sink into the discipline with an even deeper awareness. I hope you'll be joining me.
I built something steady
A body's a home.
My blood paints the walls,
the foundation my bones.
If I'm not the thread,
then I must be the needle.
For I do not unravel
at the start of being alone.
We're coming up on the Full Moon in Leo! Be cautious of built up anger and fears of missed opportunities. Don't harshly critique the life you've created. Instead, be passionate and creative.
You might be picking up on some Scorpio feels (aka jealousy) during the full moon, but just add that to your creative flow so that you stay in a good headspace. Envy can help show you your passions if you harness it right.
A full moon centered around owning our creative process is one I can certainly get down with. So I'll be in the studio all weekend taking full advantage of it!
If vulnerable is a shadow,
then how brave she must be
in that morning light.