Wednesday, January 21, 2015

committing. #sydneytoNYC

i haven't been getting excited. i've been freaking out. and mish got super pissed at me on my last full day in sydney because of that. she said SPRING! SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR STUPID APARTMENT! WHO CARES? YOU'RE GOING TO NEW YORK!!!

and i tried to get excited. i really did. but i had so much anxiety about the move (which i felt, in my stomach, every single day) that it was hard.

i was in a yoga class mid-move: those few days in LA between sydney and NYC were much needed down time. the teacher told us about how her six-year-old did the splits on the escalator that day. her advice to her daughter: "you have to commit; you can't be in two places at once!"

and that's when i realized what i needed to do: commit to NYC. sure. i did all the things. allll the things to get myself moved. but i didn't actually commit to NYC. so, right there in the yoga class, i decided to do it. i told NYC: i'm yours. totally yours. i breathed through each pose and smiled from the inside out. i repeated in my head over and over: "i commit to NYC."

by the end of the class i felt strong. happy. centered. ready.

there's a real lesson there: as soon as i committed, the anxiety disappeared. i filled my heart with love and it squashed the fear. it edged it right out.

and i'm going. RIGHT NOW. i'm in the air mid-way from LA to NYC: the last part of the move. i'm not even scared.

the only way i could have gotten to this place was through those friends that went so beyond the call of duty that i can't even begin to think of how i can thank them.

(hayden: thank you for helping with the boxes and computer. bal and chuck: thank you for stealing my stuff. matt: thank you for alllll the shit. and to all my besties who have supported me through millions of texts, chats, and company: thank you.)

so what's next? well, i run into anthony's arms at JFK. and then? who knows. anything can happen.

anything happens all the time.

i'm a New Yorker.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


saturday morning i went to a yoga class at the yoga loft in newcastle. the teacher taught a theme of impermanence. i thought "why is this resonating SO FREAKING MUCH?!" hmmm.

organising this move has been hard: each step forward takes quite a bit of emotional effort. i've struggled with a lot of it: questioning my choices about what to take, worrying about the amount of items and furniture going; anxiety over choosing the best moving company, not understanding what services are included; trying to figure out where all the funds come from for all the shipping and airline tickets; et cetera and et cetera.

last week i realised this stuff was so hard because i was operating from this baseline level of self-doubt: i wasn't thinking that i could actually manage this transition. meanwhile, "moving" keeps autocorrecting to "loving" and "movers" to "lovers" in my texts. i think these were messages from the universe: i had to shake some of this doubt so that i could start really accomplishing some of the items on the list.

so i went to see patty to cleanse some of this out of my system. she helped me realise that: 1) yeah, i like my stuff, and that's ok. i'm not a bad person because i'm moving more shoes than imelda marcos ever owned. 2) i need to do what's right for me at each stage of this move. i don't need to answer to someone else's idea of how i should finance things before i receive reimbursements. 3) if i shift some of this doubt, i can start to actually get excited about this.

i had started a lot of the moving checklist items, but after this session with patty last week, i knocked some of these items out for real. i told anthony exactly how long i'd be staying with him (ahem). i packed up my office (with help from louise and hayden), got people to come pick up the items (thanks hayden!), and cleared out personal items. i called the movers that had given me quotes, got re-quotes, got more evidence, and finally scheduled a mover. i found and scheduled someone to pick up remaining items and donate them to an aboriginal help centre. i organised which day i'm actually flying out.

i thought: i'm doing well; i'm really going to move. i'm getting excited! ...and then the endings began.

--i had my last day in the office. (richard gave me flowers, we did speeches, i cried, hayden and mandy made me pose for photos, mandy states "it's the end of an era!")

--i had my last art therapy session with the woman i've been seeing here for six years. (we review hundreds of artworks, i relive my entire life journey in sydney, i cry.)

--i taught my last yoga class--and specifically, at a place where i've had that same time slot since it opened three years ago. (my class comes even though class was officially cancelled for the holidays--unbeknownst to me--and we have a beautiful class. i see my students putting their all into the theme and their practice. i see every student get into crow, even the student who asked for it because she was certain she could never do it. i cry. i promise to come back.)

woah, guys. this is all big stuff. *impermanence-slap-in-the-face*

impermanence. oh. yeah. that's my life right now. of course that theme would fucking resonate with me. i don't know where i'm going to be living soon, i won't have a routine, i won't know many people... and right now it's much the same: i'm living in the state of limbo--not knowing exactly what i'm doing for the next few weeks as i try to see all of my closest friends here those last few times.

chuck and bal keep saying "this is the last time we'll walk down this road on a saturday morning," or "this is the last time we will eat at this restaurant on a thursday evening," which are most likely true statements. but i BEG them to stop it each time they make those declarations. *impermanence-slap-in-the-face*

what's funny is that everything is impermanent. we just don't always see it. but when i looked back through the art i had created over the past several years in art therapy, i could physically see it: i saw myself move through numerous relationships and stages of friendships; i saw worries and stresses appear and disappear; i saw a marriage dissolve; i saw new opportunities emerge. it was all there in black and white. and color. and 2D and 3D.

everything is impermanent. and it is just as beautiful as those artworks.

if we allow it to be.

so, as i fill out the forms to organise the movers, and i look around at this apartment roxie and i have made a home, i feel a little sad.

but knowing that this sadness won't stay, and that there is so much excitement to come, helps me be a little more present in this space of impermanence i'm occupying right now.

because, after all, it's really where we all live.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

intentions #illridewithyou

i love the hashtag that's emerged today about providing support to minorities that may feel oppressed in sydney. when i said something about it to SP, he said something like "actions speak louder than hashtags." which is true. but the hashtag does bring more attention and most likely more action.

and the reason i think it works is because it has intention.

intention has power. the energy we put behind our thoughts and actions is so much stronger than we realize. i can say the sweetest thing to mish while she makes my coffee, but be swiping some photo on my phone at the same time: mish won't even reply. you can feel the lack that sentiments have when there isn't full attention and intention behind them.

this is true in every area of our lives: on the mat and off. tonight while teaching yoga i used the example of being in a deep twist. there's this classic yoga teacher cue "don't rest your belly on your thigh!" instead, we are supposed to use our legs; use our core; twist a little deeper. but, umm, that's hard. and you know what? often, the teacher can't tell whether you're leaning on your thigh or not. i remember HUNDREDS of classes where i've thought, "F THAT! i'm tired. i'm leaning on my f-ing leg!"

yeah, that's right, ms. yoga teacher just confessed to cheating through yoga. but what's the second half of that example? that i always feel shitty about it. i wonder "does the teacher know?" and "why am i even doing this?" and "i know i'll feel better if i just do the freaking pose!" and yet, there are days i don't. i invited the class to put their full heart and intention into each asana--just experimenting with how much better it could feel when you had some of that power behind the pose instead of being concerned about just making the shape.

our whole class was themed about shaking out dust, wringing out our selves, finding the shiny parts inside, and reflecting back out what we thought our local and international communities really needed today. and we went back to that intention over and over. and at the end of class? i could feel it. i could tangibly feel the glowing energy through the room. i felt supported and loved.

and then i wondered how far our energy could reach.

a few minutes later i was on the train and saw the hashtag. i thought, yeah, there is some amazing intention in our city right now. and i think intention does translate to action.

so i'll send out all my hashtag intentions, and i invite you to as well. #givelove #livepeace #illridewithyou (hint: see what's linked in the hashtags!)

and to my love BP: your sensitive soul is inspiring. now come to yoga with me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

no regrets

before i move to NYC i have to find a moving company to make this whole thing happen. and before i choose a moving company, i have to get three in-person quotes. that all seemed straightforward enough a month ago when i started this process. now i realize that it isn't. and today, i also realized that the moving company needs to be able to handle more than just my packing.

the first quote was monday. the woman was polite, lovely, helpful, composed; i managed to hold my tears until after she left. the second quote was early this morning, and luckily i wasn't really awake yet when this woman arrived; i just nodded at what she said. the third was this afternoon, and i just straight up lost it while the moving company representatives were here. they went through the same topics and covered the same points that the last companies had. and, trust me, it's already started to sink in. but BAM. it hit today. (again.) the moving reps said "this is a great apartment!" they said "this is a great location!" they said "you have a lot to do before you leave!"

i gave them a bit of an evil eye. i felt the tears well up. i cried. i told them "if you are the company i choose to go with, you will get to see a lot of tears." they laughed. i cried a little more: i don't want to leave.

my life here is amazing. sometimes it even feels a bit charmed. gorgeous outdoor music festivals with friends that love to dance their little butts off? christmas parties at the opera house overlooking the harbour bridge? yeah. i know.

i told a few friends about the moving quotes experience. i got a few different responses. but my favorite was sam's: "they're just jealous," she told me, "everyone's jealous of you moving to NYC!" i don't think that's true. but i also told her that i was going to adapt my thinking toward that view. because if i envision this as a super exciting thing that's happening right now, then, well, maybe i won't be so teary over it.

there's two types of regrets: regret over something in your past, and anticipated regret about a decision or situation you're going through.

some people dwell on the past; agonizing over what decisions they've made. i'm not one of those--i'm super good at letting go of the past. i know that all of those past experiences have made me what i am today: i couldn't envision myself another way. but those anticipated regrets? eeeek. i get stuck in those. what if this? what if that? i constantly try to ensure the shiniest future for myself and those i love.

but i'm able to see that living with anticipated regret is just as bad as the other: living constantly in the future is still not living in the present.

ok. yoga time. being here. now.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I was scared of...

is the starting line of one of my fav songs. I love the lyrics of "riptide." it's all about this woman who is NOT the one coming unstuck, and the man falling in love with her. it moves my little heart. most of all I love how she's not the scared one, though--she's doing what she wants. favorite line: "there's this movie that I think you'll like; this guy decides to quit his job and head to New York City." IKR?! anyway, enough on that... but it's related. 

I'm in New Zealand. by myself. yeah that's right: it's like I grew up overnight, huh? I've never been on vacation by myself. ever. sure, conferences, yoga retreats, or even trips with people I just met. but... alone? never. 

I have friends that vacay by themselves regularly. (lisa--you're the champ here!!) I've always wondered how people did it: how they had enough self-efficacy to do that.  (and I also have friends who have drastically failed at the attempt; scary!) but I'm confident; I'm fairly street-smart; I love travelling. but... by myself? I've never even considered it.

until I had this opportunity fall in my lap. and I thought, I'll find someone to go with, and started making plans. well I didn't. let me clarify, I found someone amazing for the second half of the six days. but that still left me exploring a new country on my own for three days. and I thought, yeah, no worries, mate; I got this.

ok. the planning (or lack thereof) was scary. the day of the flight was scary. the taxi to the airport was scary. but once me and all of my liquids made it through security, I was fine. plane? cool. Christchurch earthquake arrival? cool. figuring out what the hell I'm doing the first few days? cool. (after a run and a local yoga class!)

but I'm still pretty amazed.

I still remember the first time I ate at a restaurant alone: June 2006. tamar, liz, sunam and I were studying abroad in germany for the summer. we did weekend trips together but occasionally would explore the cities we went to separately. we were in berlin, and I ate lunch in a cafe. alone. I remember being panicked at telling them "one;" thinking they would judge me.

of course no one did; of course it was fine: I had a lovely bowl of soup while writing in my journal (I didn't have a blog yet!). and I've eaten alone in restaurants at least a hundred times since.

seeing a movie alone for the first time? just after billy left: October 2012. laurel said I just HAD to see "wreck-it ralph," so I went. I felt ridiculous going to a movie aimed at kids as a single adult. but I did it.

and I LOVED it. I probably haven't seen too many more movies alone, but that's just because I don't see movies much.

I think that this super slow evolution of being able to travel alone is indicative of my perception of my self-worth: I probably didn't like myself enough to spend this much time alone in the past.

but it turns out that I'm actually pretty good company.

so. what have I learned thus far? sometimes trusting that everything will work out is a good "plan," I'm always stronger than I expect, I have amazing friends that support me while trying to get out of town (hal, chuck, bal, mish, andrew--that's you), I have super cool friends that will join me for a few days at a moment's notice (SAM!!!!), I can make friends ANYwhere (thanks for the training ground, USAF!), and, um, I kinda like travelling alone.

granted, I'm still in this. but, like I said, I got it. what was I scared of?


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

healing ourselves

i taught one of the most fulfilling classes ever tonight. the class focus was on breathing through those hard times, those uncomfortable situations, those everyday frustrations: intentions of responding to these challenges with love.

after class a few people applauded... which happens occasionally, but still, it feels kinda weird. and then a student came up to me and asked to tell me something. something in her eyes made me divert all of my attention to her.

she told me about a heavy pain that's been her body, about her struggles with doctors to treat it, about the medications she's tried, and about her resulting depressed state at nothing succeeding in easing it. i cried as she talked, feeling her sadness and frustration through her words. she talked to me for half an hour.

and then came the kicker: she said that my class healed her; that the pain in her body had lifted, and that she felt happy.

it was a beautiful heartfelt sentiment. and it really touched me.

i'm still feeling the reverberations of her conversation, actually. partly because of her amazing sincerity. and partly because i know exactly how she feels.

if you know me even a little bit, you know that i love yoga and that i think everyone can benefit from it. it's almost like you're not a real friend of mine until you've been dragged to a yoga class or been forced to be a participant in a one-on-one with me. but there's good reason for that: i love you and want you to know what i love. and why.

i truly believe we can heal ourselves: the past hurts we carry with us, the emotions that are sometimes too hard to feel, the deep-seeded fears. we can learn to let go of these things and create brighter futures.

i'm sure there are other ways of doing these things, but, to me, it's yoga. it's breathing through all that shit that we try not to acknowledge that gives us courage to breathe through the next thing.

even my graffiti choices are yoga!
and that's why i teach. a couple of days ago a friend asked me about how i got into yoga and why i teach it. i went through the chronology of it. but for sure i would've quit it by now if it wasn't for the healing: both what i get and what i see in the lives of others. i've had a few friends tell me that they are thankful for the yoga i've brought into their lives.

i'm deeply humbled when i hear that. but really, like i told the woman in class tonight: you're doing the work. that work can be really hard. and the choice to continue to do it can be just as hard.

but the benefits?
way more worth it.
go heal yourself.

Friday, November 21, 2014

retreating to my mermaid cave

i do a lot. and then i do a lot more. i spend most evenings outside of my home; meeting friends, going to yoga classes, working out, having drinks, going to museums... anything that pops up and looks interesting. but it can also be super taxing emotionally and physically--and then i need time and space to recover.

and i think all of my best friends are a bit like that as well: i tend to be drawn to people who aren't afraid to try new things, and to do it at the drop of a pin... but i'm also attracted to sensitive people who actually need their own self-care time.

butttttt... i ignore that i need the down time. if someone says at 7pm, "hey; what're you doing? wanna have a quick drink?" i think, "umm, actually, no. i'm super tired; i need to get up at 6am." but what i say is, "yeah, sure! see you in... 20?"

wednesday night bal and i went to see the coffee ground reader. while he was reading my grounds, he said to me, "you're a mermaid. you need more mermaid time; you need to spend more time in your cave."

and bal started cracking. the fuck. UP. it's true. and most of my friends know it's true. i push myself a little too much sometimes. like last night. i had a friend last minute ask for a catch-up.

i thought, "i'm exhausted!"

i said "i'd love to!"

and then i got home, started to run a bath, and thought, "what. am. i. doing. right. now. this. is. in. sane." and texted a semi-cancellation: i asked to change plans slightly to something more low-key. ok, so i didn't fully get mermaid time, but it's a step in the right direction!

this morning in yoga SJ taught a theme of knowing when to step back. oh, synchronicity, how i love you.

there are so many areas of our lives where we need to know when to step back. but there are equally as many when we need to know when to jump off the cliff. i've been doing a lot of jumping lately. i feel nervous about most of the things happening in my life in the last month and the next two months. going to uluru with some girls i don't know? wearing my heart on my sleeve all the time instead of only very rarely? going to NZ with a lovely girl i met once? leading big team meetings with important researchers? risking comfort and security to move across the world (again)?

yeah. jumping.
and, luckily, mostly flying.

it's so hard to know when to keep leaping and when to pull back. but we all need that balance; we all need to continually search for that space where we are making decisions from our heart, and feeling at peace with ourselves and our choices.

so, in other words, if i text you a cancellation, beg for a re-schedule, or just don't make a plan with you right away, please forgive me; right now i'm needing my mermaid time.

but that doesn't mean i don't love you. just spending a little time loving myself up. {insert dirty joke here}