Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Self: Three years in Los Angeles and a whole lot of learning

I've read some great (and inspiring) articles about flying solo this week, their links are listed below.

As I've been one half of another person for the past two years, the thought of being solo sometimes puts my nerves on edge.

Yes, Please. Party of One.  by Andrew O'Hagan

Solo Bike Adventure  by Joy The Baker

In his article, Mr. Hagan's writes, "People who depend on other people are often in hiding from themselves." This truly struck a cord with me.

I've spent a lot of time these last few years in a sort of witness protection from myself. I've been hiding behind family and friends, their joys and deep sorrows, and also within my relationship,where the waters are warm and things just have a way of working out right; even if outside those arms the weather is raging.

I've never really liked being alone, but I've never really enjoyed my own company that much either. I think this is part of the reason that Los Angeles and I don't get along most days. LA is quite an alienating place, even with all of these other people around. It took me a while to find my footing and even after three long years here, I still feel like LA and I are in a bit of an tenuous relationship. We scream and yell (mostly obscene profanities) but when we calm down, I see the beauty that lies in small things here.

This city has been a bit discordant with my practice as well. It takes considerable effort to find peace and quiet amongst the crowded streets and clogged travel ways. I finally built a small oasis of candles, props, and a little corner with just enough wall space to do a handstand.

The idea of being alone with myself is something I truly hope to be able to enjoy someday. Life, for me at least, has always been about the needs of others over my own. I figured that I would be happy if everyone around me was happy. It's been a hard lesson, but I am learning that I can't make anyone else happy without first being happy myself. It seems selfish to take a moment of solace in yourself each day. Whether it's a cup of tea, a few gorgeous pages of that novel you love, a hot bath, or laying on the floor with your eyes closed while listening to that song you've been dying to play uninterrupted. These are moments I find hard to create. But sometimes we just need reminding that we need to take care of ourselves better. It doesn't mean we don't have to make time for the people we love, but we NEED to be SELFISH. We need those little moments, to bring us back to ourselves. Sometimes we need to abandon the safe shores of home and wade out into the unknown by ourselves. We will never regret that we did.

Take a moment to think about SELF. It's a big scary word for some of us, but that's when we need it the most. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Transformation: In places you didn't even think about

On an ordinary Wednesday, one of my favorite yoga brands, Manduka, posted about this lovely duo. 

Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link. Ben and Tori's four minute video was so inspiring to me, I felt I had to share it with you. The video is below. 

After a very long day, when I thought I had nothing left to give, I decided to try out their class, available as a link on their website at I don't think I've ever been so aware of my breathing. While playing live acoustic guitar, Ben creates a feedback loop of his breath, long inhales and exhales, which plays alongside Tori's instruction. This breath radiates the space, bringing an awareness to the breath that I've never experienced before. Hearing this steady breath echoed in the room, I was able to match my own, taking longer inhales and exhales, and at the same time getting lost in the beat of the music. This was so exciting for me and my practice and I can't wait to see what else these two do!

Breath is the most challenging part of yoga. It's the easiest thing to let go of when you're moving through a pose, but it's the most valuable part of the practice as well. If you're not breathing, you're not doing yoga.

Find some time to get on your mat, taking time to show up there, it can bring us so many moments to transform our days and ourselves into something we haven't even thought of yet.

Give their website some love.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Joy: It's right where you left it

"When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows." 
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

I've been thinking a lot lately about the quest for JOY: the search for that elusive and sometimes maddening three letter word.  That unadulterated happiness that sometimes seems so far out of reach, but should come as naturally as breathing.

Becoming an adult is a minefield for joy. Learning how to stand on your own, pay your bills, find a job that pays those bills, faltering, getting comfortable with failure, and relentless change; leaves little space for moments of pure joy. I find the hardest thing about growing up is how easily joy slips through my fingers and is replaced with anxiety and fear; of not having enough and of not being enough.

But, becoming an adult, should leave space for finding joy in the most unlikely of places; amongst the difficulties and growing pains and new set of worries and struggles, we should be able to appreciate the small moments that bring us a release and are fully within our control to cultivate. 

For me, this weekend was a mediation on joy. I tried to take notice of the small things in my life that bring me the most happiness: watching our friends' little girl climb up the stairs at her first birthday, bar hopping around Hollywood with a few other friends, a warm breeze, a blanket wrapped around you while you watch a movie under the stars, the pink sky as the sun falls away, or a warm blueberry muffin right out of the oven. These are the places that JOY lives.  

You have to continuously make space for them. You have to stop, and choose to be aware of these unassuming moments, and I promise joy will fill the space. One breathe at a time.

I hope your week is filled with JOY.

 Lululemon in Studio City and Free Vinyasa Yoga (breathing) 
New Farmer's Market find!
How can you not find happiness here? 
Beautiful boutique off the market in Studio City, gorgeous gems and little wonders. 
Some of my favorites from HIDE AND SEEK. Card by Rifle Paper Co. and
 candles by Mine Design (the Rhubarb was devine)   
courtesy of the amazing Joy The Baker
Ending the night on a high note: Pop Up Outdoor Screening with a Mystery Movie

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Welcome. It's Nice to Meet You.

"Today we practice CURIOSITY- curiosity is the cure for stagnation. When we feel frozen, let's be curious. Interest, talent, a strong point of view - they all start with curiosity  When we allow ourselves to go deeper into the tiny moments all around us; the tiny moments get a lot more interesting."

I would love for this blog to be about a few things. 

First, to talk about things we often take for granted, overlook, and forget about. Often we don't take the time out of our busy lives to share a story, or read that book, or breathe and stop to notice all the wonder. I want this blog to help me do that, and hopefully, some of you can connect with me. 

Second, to explore my practice. Yoga has been a huge part of my life for a very long time and this summer I am embarking on the journey to begin teaching. It's a scary and exciting new phase of my life and I'm a little giddy about it. I want to use this space to share that with you. 

Third, to explore cooking. This summer I want to make use of the farmer's market and get comfortable with all those crazy vegetables that make me nervous when I walk down those beautiful isles. I want to branch out and eat better and I want this blog to help me get there.

Mostly, I want this blog to be about us, you and me, dear readers. I want to get out of my comfort zone and get down and dirty exploring this big and abundant world we live in.