Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grit, Moxie, Vulnerability

"The windows of my soul I throw
Wide open to the sun."
~John Greenleaf Whittier, My Psalm

Recently, I started talking to a life/business coach who's trained with Tony Robbins and Martha Beck. I'm lucky that my circle of influencers is filled with people who are well-connected, people who live on an elite level of accomplishment and consciousness. As such, the conversations I've had with Jesse are wonderful, to say the least. He does an incredible job of shifting my perspective, so that something automatically moves from being a challenge to becoming a blessing.

Like when I started talking about love, and how I've felt extremely challenged in meeting a healthy partner for me. 

"Do you feel you've ever been with someone who loves you unconditionally?" he asks.

"No," I say immediately. "Not at all." 

"Rather than seeing it as you sabotaging yourself or making these bad decisions," he encourages, "what if you understood that it's simply a lesson your soul is trying to learn, and that your soul loves you so much that it will continue seeking experiences and relationships that will help you grow until that lesson is learned?" 

"I like that way of looking at it so much more."

The moment Jesse and I chatted on the phone, I knew instantly in an energetic way that this man is the right person I'm meant to work with. His soft voice conveys so much unconditionally genuine care, which my previous business coach was the antithesis of.

Halfway through our first conversation, Jesse asks me to pause. 

"Can you reframe what you just said, but using 'I' instead of 'you' or 'people'?"

I'm confused, silent for a moment. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you'll notice that when people are proud of something they've done, when they feel good about it, they'll use 'I' in how they reference the situation. Yet, when it's something uncomfortable, they'll use 'you' or 'they' or 'people' as a way to create a bit of distance. I want you to own your experience and not give away your power, so can you reframe what you just said, using 'I' instead?"

I think about it for a second, then respond, "I feel like I get close to what I want, then I get cold feet and push away from it." 

Three-quarters of the way into the conversation, he reminds me about it again. "Can you reframe that to use 'I' instead of 'you'?" 

I don't even realize that I'm doing it as often as he's showing me I am. 

"I know, I've wrecked you," he says to me. "The first time that was pointed out to me, it shifted everything. Now, I notice it all the time." 

And, he's right. I do. 

If I were to put all of my experiences onto a sheet of paper, and divide it by a vertical line running down the middle, I could title the left side, "Shitty things that have happened to me," and then the right side could be, "What I've gained from my experiences." Because in the two conversations I've had with Jesse over the past couple of days, I've already started to see how I can look at everything in ways that serve me. 

"Y'know, everything is an illusion, right?" Jesse asks. "Like, we interpret all of our experiences in our way. How can we know they're really true? We can't. So, everything is a lie. But, most people tell themselves lies that don't serve them, they make themselves the victims of their stories. If we're living a lie anyway, why wouldn't we want to tell it in a way where we're the winners?"

I could see that my childhood, filled with abuse and rage and fear, was horrible. Or, I could choose to see that it's taught me compassion, tenacity, smart wits, and the ability to improvise immediately with whatever I have on hand. I could see that it's given me grit to persevere no matter what.

I could see that as the eldest child of two immigrant parents, I had to go at everything alone, working two jobs since I was 16 to pay my own way through every element of my life — including my most basic needs. Or, I could see that it's given me moxie, the independence to try anything and everything, especially to go after the things that many people are unwilling or too afraid to do. I'll face it. I'll do it.

And, I could see how needing to always be vigilant and "on" in order to find some semblance of safety has been exhausting all of my life. Or, I could see that it's given me the depths to be so vulnerable that I can relate to anyone and everyone for my willingness to be candid and open, which lends to unforgettable connections. 

Intuitively, I already knew that things were shifting to prime me for this upcoming journey ahead. I haven't officially made up my mind about whether or not Jesse and I will work together, but at the end of our conversation today, we both acknowledged that we're the kind of people who simply know. And when we know, we go with it. There's no need to question, no looking back, just divine timing. 

"When I was in therapy," I tell Jesse, "my therapists would often tell me that they'd have to be on their toes with me. That my intelligence meant I did such a good job of making it sound like I was healing, that they'd have to catch themselves to see if I really was progressing or just telling them what they wanted to hear."

"I'm glad you brought that up," Jesse responds. "That's actually something I noticed and wanted to chat with you about. I'm not worried that I won't catch myself, but I do want you to feel okay being no matter however you are with me. You don't have to be 'on' around me."

Initially, Jesse asked himself what he could bring to the table, because on the outside looking in, it seems that I'm already moving in every direction I want to be. I'm self-aware, I'm a powerful manifester, I've got amazing opportunities unfolding every day. But what I need Jesse for, and what he can provide in abundance, are all the ways that I can't fill in the gaps. 

I need someone who will be my rock, someone who will be my champion and advocate, someone who I don't have to worry about pleasing or serving in any way. I need him to be all about me. I need him to help me feel safe, so that I can begin to cultivate this in every other relationship and interaction in my life. I need him to help me plant solid roots, to find my sense of hOMe, because only then, can I flourish in the ways I believe I am destined to. I need Jesse to catch me when I fall, to be kind and gentle with me, to let me cry and get angry and be worried. I need him to help me learn how to say 'no,' to teach me how to set healthy boundaries and clear agreements and even clearer conversations. I need him to show me what love is, so that I can finally experience it in a safe realm in order to recognize real love in every other instance in my life. 

As always, I've found non-traditional solutions on how to thrive in my life and they've served me well. I've defined my own rules for living and continue to soar higher and higher on my own truths. Jesse is not a conventional life or business coach, and for that, I am abundantly grateful.  

"I love serendipity more than anything else," he tells me at the end of our two-hour conversation today. Towards the end of our dialogue, we both recognize that the Universe is absolutely revealing Its support of us, and we acknowledge it with one another. 

Jesse asks me hone down what I really want to accomplish in the year commitment we'd form with one another, because my initial scope is large. "I know that once I start shifting things in one area of my life," I tell him, "it'll start to trickle to every other." 

Because in addition to writing my manuscript and living my dream of traveling around the world, speaking and teaching, I want to find good and lasting love, a partner for life. I want to find my home in the world. I want to be truly connected. 

"Would you be willing to do it, to risk it all, without knowing the outcome?" he asks. "What would you be willing to invest $100,000 in today, if you knew you'd get what you wanted in the end?"

I knew the answer.

"Do what you're brilliant at," he reminds me. "You're good at so many things, and that's awesome, except that it also makes it harder for you to choose. It'd be easier if you were only good at one thing. You have this energy that is so attractive that it's no wonder people want to partner with you, that they want to ask you for help. And, you're used to doing rather than being. But, choose the thing that you're brilliant at." 

"If you were to draw a line down a sheet of paper, and on the left is titled 'Me,' and on the right is titled, 'Service,' anytime you live on the right side of that sheet, life will be okay. I can't promise you that you'll make this amount of money or that your manuscript will be picked up by an editor and make the bestsellers list. But I can promise you that if you live in service of even yourself and others, that life will always turn out all right. Now, the question is, are you willing to take that risk, because you just feel you have to do it? Or, are you doing it because you want the results?"

"I have to do this," I tell him, emphatically. "I have to get this out." 

"Good," he says. "That's a good start."

Day 11 Letting LOose Challenge: Getting a tattoo.

"Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies."
~Frank Gillette Burgess

It's been awhile since I've updated this blog, mostly because it became abundantly clear that unplugging was essential! (Another Let LOose Challenge?)

When I graduated from my advanced 300-hour yoga teacher training program, I was given a Sanskrit name... Parvati. I didn't know much about her, until I did a bit of research and became absolutely wow'ed that the Director of the program felt this was the name that best suited me — wife of Shiva, mother of Ganesha, the essence of woman embodied. She is the Goddess of all Goddesses, including elements of Kwan Yin, a deity I've identified with since I was young.

I could never describe why, but I've always felt that placing my hands at my heart in prayer pose was one of the most reassuring things I could ever do. Recently, during a craniosacral session, my dear practitioner Gary told me that it's bringing the past in one hand to meet the future of the other into the present, with all fingers pointed up towards the Heavens and the thumbs straight towards the heart. 

I've spent my life at odds with myself, because the others around me could not handle my light. Again and again, I'm reminded that I am the only person who will ever stand in my way. So, after a lot of consideration, and a bit of impulsiveness as part of this endeavor to move away from perfection towards release and surrender, I decided to go ahead and do it. I got a tattoo the Sanskrit for Parvati to remind myself of the divinity that exists within me, of how people see me NOW and not simply how I'd like to be seen one day. 

What's more, my desire to get a tattoo was partly to remind myself that my body is a costume, that it's a home for my soul, but that it is not the be all and end all of everything about me. Having endured so much self-abuse through bulimia and body dysmorphia, I felt a strong need to shift my focus away from  often loathing perceived physical imperfections to celebrating the scars and the parts about myself that are beyond beautiful, because I define them as such.

I am more brilliant than I ever have believed myself to be, and moment-by-moment, I am living that into existence. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 10 Letting LOose Challenge: Saying "hello" to everyone.

"A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg
even if you are half-cracked."
~Author Unknown

I'm generally a friendly person and it's bode well for me for the connections that I serendipitously make.  Yet, growing up in a traditional Chinese household, my tendency is still to keep to myself when walking down the street. Today, I decided to just smile and say "hello" to everyone!

Part of what happened was that while walking with a friend on the cliffs by the beach, there was a somewhat questionable character who seemed to be sauntering back and forth in a way that seemed he started following us. Alarmed, I walked up to a man walking his giant Akita towards us, made conversation and played with the dog, then began to change direction, so that we could go along with where he was going. From there, my friend and I split off and went back home.

While that was a perhaps slightly alarming experience, this was balanced out by my experience at the dentist's office. As I was lying back in the chair, looking through the glass windows towards the sidewalk above our lowered location, a young teenage girl walked by, peered in, then waved "hello" without my prompting. I smiled, waved back, and slightly embarrassed she ran to catch up with her friends. It was such a curious little moment, as though she were timid and shy, but wanted to be outgoing as well. 

It used to be that when I was walking down the street, I'd have random strangers comment, "Smile! Why do you look so mad?" I had no idea I looked so furious, but my face reveals everything about my emotional state, and looking standoffish was my chosen protective mechanism. 

In ways big and small, I find that smiling leads to many more worthwhile experiences. Including getting asked out on dates and inspiring students in my yoga class to remember to have fun throughout their practice. 

I call it smile-asana.

Day 7, 8, 9 Letting LOose Challenge: A weekend of freewheeling!

"Necessity may be the mother of invention,
but play is certainly the father."
~Roger von Oech

Oy! I've been a lil' behind in updating my 21-Day Let LOose Challenge, because I've been traveling for work. Just returned from the Sat Nam Fest, where I took a wonderful kundalini yoga class with Gurmukh and met plenty of musical peeps, including hugging Snatam Kaur and having breakfast with GuruGanesha

But, I've still been letting loose and having fun! Like on Saturday, practicing yoga in a big ol' tent in Joshua Tree with the winds blowing like crazy all around us. The part where I let loose? After savasana, Gurmukh told us to get up and start dancing to Bhanghan beats. Then, she had us running around the whole tent, pausing to create little pods of new friends to groove with, then doing it again and again. 

As I was driving to JTree, I started singing pop songs and conscious chanting at the top of my lungs! Srikala is an amazing artist for this — I interviewed him recently and this young soul blends hip hop, reggae, and mantra into phenomenal songs. At first, I was shy about someone else seeing me grooving in the driver's seat. Then, I thought, "Who cares? They don't know me! I'm not living for them — I'm living for me!" and just kept right on dancing with my foot on the gas.

The entire time I was driving, I kept thinking about possibly getting a tattoo of the Sanskrit name I was offered upon graduating from my intensive yoga teacher training program. All I need is to find if there are different font styles, but having Parvati on my wrist will remind me not only of who I would like to become, but who I already am, as others currently see me. I'm so hard on myself all the time, that when people tell me how they perceive my strengths and light, it's a good reminder of embracing my wonder rather than getting lost in my perceived personal flaws. Most importantly, she is WOMAN. She is passion and unconditional love, she is the darkness of Kali and the warrior of Durga. She is the mother of Ganesha and the wife of Shiva. She is... amazing. So, I booked an appointment! 

I think it's going to be good for me to remember not to take my body so seriously. To remember that it is a costume, that it's on loan in this way for a little while before it eventually returns to the earth. And, perhaps if I can appreciate it wholly and enjoy a healthy relationship with it rather than feel at extreme odds with it, especially by having a tattoo on it, then it would lend to even greater healing of my psyche. A friend told me that the process, the act of being tattooed, is transformative. (And, that it's addictive.)

This past weekend, I saw a woman who was in her late 40s and embodies the energy that I hope to have at that age. She was relaxed in her skin, naturally attractive, and exuded a sexiness that was undeniably alluring. She seemed to be absolutely comfortable with who she was, where she wasn't working against herself, but flowing right along with it.  And, it was lovely.

On to more adventures! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gratuitous cute photo of the day.

This is JackAttack, the Wonderdog.

Happy Sunday! 

More of the Let LOose Challenge to come... just been in Joshua Tree for the Sat Nam Festival, so catching up now. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day 6 Letting LOose Challenge: Midnight frolicking.

"O wild and wondrous midnight,
There is a might in thee
To make the charmed body
Almost like spirit be,
And give it some faint glimpses
Of immortality."
~James Russell Lowell, Midnight

This one is on the cusp of two days together, but after offering Reiki to a client, I decided to stay in the space and do a little energy healing on myself. By the time I was driving home, it was almost midnight. I passed by the ocean waves, the empty streets, the lonely stoplights. And, even though I was preparing to turn right towards my house, I decided to make a U-turn, go back, park the car, get out, and walk along the shores.

In the darkness of night, birds were clustered en masse before me, chirping in soliloquies and dialogues. A sole egret bathed in the shallow sea. My body felt like it wanted to move in the cool air, so I began to leap over grains of moist sand. Once my heart started beating and with no one else around to see me, I took running starts into cartwheels, over and over again until I became dizzy. It felt like lift off. 

'This must be a hint of what whirling dervishes feel in their sacred dance,' I thought. 

I wanted to fly and on this evening, I felt like I came close. A bit nearer towards liberation, spinning all of the excess worries and anxieties and burdens off of me, so that by the time I walked back to my car, I was a bit more crystalline clear in the truth of my being.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 5 Letting LOose Challenge: Screaming at the top of my lungs in the car.

"Get mad, then get over it."
~Colin Powell

I used to not have a very good time expressing anger. And still, I'm working on learning how to do this in an effective and healthy manner. But sometimes, you gotta just let loose! There's a place here in San Diego I heard about on the radio a long time ago, where you can rent time in a room filled with plates and other things to smash, break, and just let anger out on. 

Today, I felt the need to release and did so in one of the places I love to "get therapy" in — my car. With the windows rolled up, the music blaring, and the body busy with a mundane task, it lets my spirit and brain be free in a moving meditation. I decided it was time for some screaming. 

And, that's exactly what I did. I yelled at the top of my lungs, I shouted, I screamed, I let loose by using my voice and expelling what no longer serves me.

It felt... congruent. By the end of the drive, I was able to enjoy the music, heart lighter, head freer, and body looser. I'm sure this won't be the last time I Let LOose in this way as I learn how to express my upset in the moment rather than letting things get pent up to the point that exploding expletives at a full decibel are the only the way to go!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 4 Letting LOose Challenge: Dancing & singing to Jackson 5 in yoga.

"Please send me your last pair of shoes, 
worn out with dancing as you mentioned in your letter, 
so that I might have something press against my heart."
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When I first began attending classes at the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, there was a teacher so vibrantly filled with life that it was no wonder her classes were packed to the brim. You never knew what to expect with Summer — she could have you moving through poses or singing songs or dancing with students on the mats beside you. Whatever you ended up doing, it was enjoyable beyond belief and students always walked away with smiles on their faces and hearts. Throughout all of this, Summer was battling a third recurrence of cancer and eventually succumbed to the disease. Since that time, I've never met another teacher quite like her.

After a couple years of teaching now, I've finally begun to embrace my own voice and style. There are plenty of people I'm influenced by, Summer being one of them, but in the end, I aim to let myself be a unique way that the Universe expresses itself. Mostly, I like to encourage everyone to have fun, to challenge oneself a bit while honoring oneself at the same time, and the feedback I receive is that all students want when they come to class is whatever unexpected "Judy special" I have to bring forth.

Music is essential to my classes and I often share my playlists on Spotify. There are plenty of fun, upbeat songs that I'd like to use, but that I've been too shy to incorporate, because I feel I need to be bold in order to encourage my students to feel comfortable moving their bodies on the mat, especially when others can see them doing so! 

Today, I played the Jackson 5 "I Want You Back" in yoga. It was organic and it fit and it was after a series of exercises where I asked people to move in ways that expressed the emotions they were feeling, to actually become aware of where in the body these feelings resided. It led to a few minutes of joyous dancing, leaping, bursting forward from the heart, and singing, too! 

Afterwards, everyone in class was laughing, having pumped fresh new oxygen through their blood and breaking through any expectations or boundaries of what a yoga class "should" be. If yoga is a practice to help us better understand ourselves in the moment in all ways and to connect with the bliss body that exists within every one of us, what better way to do that than through song and dance? 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 3 Letting LOose Challenge: Smooching a puppy

"Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet."

While my family raised two German Shepherds and schools of fish growing up, they were never really our "pets." The German Shepherds were chosen to be guard dogs for my father's construction sites and all we did with the fish was to scoop them out of the tank whenever they started floating at the top, (which happened often, since one of the businesses my parents owned was an aquarium store that we were required to help out with). Chinese people have this feeling that pets are dirty, so there's not much hugging and loving up on them as I'd seen many of my American friends do with their pets. Growing up between two cultures, I was torn between wanting to wrap my arms around these cuddly creatures to needing to immediately wash my hands and/or my body if they came close. 

The thing is, I love dogs. Right now, I have the happy privilege of sharing a home with a friend's Golden Retriever, Jack. My friend is often out of town, so I'm the second mom in charge. Jack is absolutely loving and comes to sit next to you as frequently as possible, raises a paw to remind you that he'd like to be pet, and when I'm trying to do a home yoga practice, will want to participate in the fun. 

However, as much as I love him, I've always watched questioningly when dog owners kiss their pets, whether letting them get their licks lipped or planting smooches on their pups. It just wasn't something I grew up with, yet it was something that I felt was an unabashed way to give and receive love (kind of how I've always envied Latin and African-American cultures for their wonderfully loud ways of loving one another as compared to the Asian ways of quiet interaction). 

Today, as part of my Let LOose Challenge, I looked at Jack, knelt down and planted a big kiss on the top of his head. Then, I followed it with several more. Not only was Jack over the moon happy with tail wagging left and right in a flurry of fur, I felt like it was another way in which I was learning to embrace the person I am now, rather than the person I was taught to be, one who will joyfully frolic on the floor with a four-legged friend. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 2 Letting LOose Challenge: Going around au naturale.

"Our hearts are drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see."
~George W. Russell

In my quest for perfection, I hardly ever leave the house without making sure I look as good as I feel comfortable with that day. I've never been one to wear tons of make-up, but have occasionally spent a bit of time to make everything look just right on my face and my body. In junior high, I used to spend an eternity hair-spraying my bangs so that they'd roll up away from my forehead in a perfect wave formation, but these days, I just try to make sure that I'm pretty put together.

So, today, I decide I'm heading out of the house sans makeup and not putting in much more effort than  flip-flops, a hoodie and a smile. Going au naturale is my way of being a bit more exposed, practicing this idea that I can be accepted just as I am, and realizing that the judgments I believe people are placing upon me are actually mini-fictional write-ups I've created in my head.

While working with one of my private clients, I told her about what I'm doing, about how I'm aiming to shift my ways of being through this 21-Day Let LOose Challenge. "I think," she imparted, "that by the end of this, you may realize that with make-up or without it, you're still amazingly beautiful."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 1 Letting LOose Challenge: Lying Down in the Dirt

"Shoot for the moon. 
Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
~Les Brown

Why am I doing this? Why am I doing a "21-Day Letting Loose Challenge?" 

Well, the first part of it is because it's been shown that it takes about 21 days to cultivate a new habit, and because so much of what we do stems from habitual behaviors, I'd like to create new neural pathways in my brain to explore ways of being that actually serve the woman I am now rather than supports the lies of the girl I was then. 

We are not our behaviors. Our patterns and thoughts and feelings don't identify us, they're just means of information. I believe in the power of choice and that we can choose in this moment (just this moment) to think differently. A spiritual leader once said, "You're not responsible for your first thought, but you are responsible for your next one." This challenge is about choosing a better next thought.

And, the "Letting LOose" part (written accidentally and purposefully in that way to underscore the goal of this experiment, is because I take E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G so seriously! It's shocking how many times I catch myself being very hard on me. I'm lighthearted in nature, but I learned growing up that it was so important to get things right, so the playfulness — the lila in life — all but disappeared. I never got to be a kid, my childhood was replaced by mediating my parents' marriage and helping them raise my three younger siblings, so there's a bit of living I haven't yet explored. This challenge is about playing, being curious, and letting things organically flow. It's about letting loose to bring forth even greater creativity and simply embracing the joy of being alive.

So, Day One: Lying Down in the Dirt. 

When I was little, we didn't get much time to be messy in any way. We were taught to be quiet, to be obedient, to be perfect. Any time we teetered outside the boundaries set forth by my parents, we were immediately reprimanded and sometimes, in very harsh ways. I never climbed trees, I hardly went anywhere barefoot, I didn't sing any ditties, and at all costs, I did my best to avoid making (or being) a mess. 

I'm lucky that I get to live near the beach. Truly absolutely blessed. San Diego offers the most gorgeous sunsets I've ever seen and I've been around the world to witness them. Every time I see the ocean, it always takes my breath away. I walked along the cliffs overlooking the waves at sunset, and the funny thing about the coast here is that the moment the sun goes down, everyone at the shore leaves the premises. I get to enjoy whole stretches of beach where no one else is around! I've gotten used to being barefoot these days, as both a yoga teacher and someone who likes to sink my toes in the sand, but getting dirt all over myself and not caring? That hadn't happened... yet. 

I decided at some point during my walk that this is my "Let Loose" challenge for the day. Today, I let myself get messy! I simply plopped down on a patch of dirt in my clothes and lay on my belly on the edge of a cliff as the sky drew a curtain and opened them up again for the stars to come out. I placed my chin on the backs of my criss-crossed forearms and bent my knees, letting my legs windshield wiper side-to-side. Bits of grass sheltered me, as the ocean played a symphony of waves before my gaze and open ears. The longer I lay there, the more I began to melt into the moment and feel connected to Mother Nature (my first experience of spirituality was through the awe of her majesty).

At one point, I rolled onto my back and stared up at the grey, blue, and black of the night. I let my head fall over to the right, then over to the left, knees bent, and made subtle dirt angels. Eventually, I flipped back over and breathed in deeply.  

I didn't care about where I needed to be or what I needed to do. All I thought was that this moment was the best moment of my life. Simply because I chose for it to be.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I won't be any better if I were famous.

"Things may come to those who wait,
but only the things left by those who hustle."
~Abraham Lincoln

There are adages about hard work and then those about the importance of relaxing into life. When you're a Type A personality at heart, how do you live between the two? 

Recently, I've been told a few things by various people in my life, which have me pondering their meaning. In summation: 
  1. It's great that you're trying new things, but what about just accepting that you're exactly who you are — someone who thinks a lot, worries about things, tries really hard?
  2. It's great that you're working hard on your book and would really like to help a lot of people with it, but even if you do become famous, it doesn't validate you anymore. You're awesome, just as you are right now.
  3. Perfection doesn't exist. 
  4. You look outward to too many people for advice. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Try listening to yourself. 
  5. You are still so hard on yourself! Take it easy! Relax!
Over the past month and a half, I seem to have fallen into a funnel of internal hurricanes and everywhere the tip lands, it just wreaks more havoc in my life. On the surface, everything's great albeit in transition. Seen one way, they're opportunities. Seen another, they're big moments of adjusting into a new way of living:
  1. I've moved out of a living situation that wasn't the best fit into a generous space with a sweet friend and an awesome puppy to boot. (Or... moving is one of the most stressful experiences anyone can encounter, ranking right up there with dealing with death, and this is a temporary situation, which means that I'll still be looking for a place to settle my heart and call home, which is something I haven't been able to do in I-don't-even-know-how-long.)
  2. I've been hired as the Managing Editor of an amazing little start-up company that combines all of the areas in my life I'm passionate about, including yoga and music and interviewing and writing. (Or... there's so much I'd like to do with the company and not enough resources at the moment to enable a full dedication of my energies, so how do I balance everything to ensure that I'm energetically balanced, because my gung ho attitude just wants to invest more? And, how do I really ask the Universe to not only always earn what I'm worth, but to also bring great prosperity and abundance in all of my endeavors?)
  3. I've asked that a potential romantic relationship transition back to a friendship, and I'm open although not searching for the right person to come along. (Or... how do I really open up to the right person to come into my life?)
Essentially, there's a whole lot of "what the fuck am I doing" happening right now, because even though on the outside looking in, everything's hunky dory, on the inside experiencing out, I'm a hot mess. I've reached out to my mind-body mentor for a check-in, because I feel like I don't want to plummet any deeper and the levels of anxiety, confusion, self-loathing, and worry are reaching new levels. When I was driving away from a meeting today, I began to recall the depression I suffered from in college and how much I did not want to go back to that time, but that these moments lately have begun to feel like teetering on the ledge of an unknown abyss.

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts and they're always sharing a message I need to hear in that moment. How the mistakes and the questioning are what bring you closer to God. On the drive to the meeting, my thoughts were around the fact that I still don't believe the Universe is not a punishing, that I don't have to constantly be one-upping my own game to get love, success, insert-any-positive-synonym-here. My shoulders lately have felt so tight, it's as though I'm curled up into a perpetual ball with the upper half of my body and it seems no amount of body work from outside sources or even myself is helping. 

Tonight, I caught a glimpse of the show The Bible that's been on the History Channel lately. I'm not at all religious, and aim to be spiritual, but there was one moment on screen that got to me. Jesus was talking to someone I believe was his disciple, and I thought how amazing that would be to see whatever you believe your spirituality to be appear right in front of you as validation that a higher force exists. It'd be proof that all the things unknown are unfolding precisely for your greatest evolution. It'd be proof that there is a love greater than anything you can find on this planet. It'd just fucking blow your mind, I'm sure. But that's what I've been seeking. I know miracles happen in every moment of every day, I get that. I know my place in life is better than the majority of the world and that I am lucky and blessed in infinite ways. Yet, I also know that since I was young, I believed I was placed on this planet for a greater purpose. And, even though my soul senses that I'm already carrying it out, that brain part of me just doesn't quite feel it yet, especially when I compare myself to those more "successful" than I am at the moment.

"Comparison is the thief of joy," I posted a quote from Teddy Roosevelt today. It's true. But it's also a bad habit (among several I have) that I keep indulging in. 

When I was young, my life was shitty. There's no other way to go about it. I don't think that I told myself that I had a higher purpose so that I could talk myself out of drowning in the dysfunction around me. I knew it, from a deep karmic level I couldn't describe. Sure, maybe it was just a survival mechanism and it's gotten me to where I am today. But when I was young, I also loved praying in front of the Kwan Yin statue placed upon the small shrine created by my grandmother. Anytime my hands were brought together at my heart and I kowtowed down on the ground, I had such a reverence that went beyond my understanding at the time of what spirituality even was. Today, I am still humbled by a faith that was fostered long before I arrived on this planet. I think. 

I have a sense now that all of these things are happening to bring me to a tipping point that will enable me to finally ask for what I want and believe that I am worthy of receiving it. Because, I'm tired of living below my value on this planet, be it emotionally, financially, physically or any other -ly. When I get out of my head, I know I'm fucking awesome. I know I'm beautiful and I'm talented and I'm intelligent as the best of them and as creative as all hell breaks loose. I know that I'm powerful beyond measure, that I can manifest opportunities and experiences that cause jaws to drop. I know I am the queen bee. 

But those voices I grew up with challenge me to keep me small, and I'm SO. FUCKING. OVER. IT. I'm sexy and I'm strong and I've been through piles of manure to create fertile ground, which means I know of that which I speak and write from. This is why I'm a kick-ass teacher. This is why I'm inspirational. This is also why I'm gracious and compassionate and don't go with that eye-for-an-eye crap, because even though people have messed with me, if I really wanted to — poof — they'd be gone. And I'm not kidding.

I can think of several people right now, who I have bitten my tongue with and instead approached with love and light. Something within me knew they weren't worth it. I knew that my entire being outweighed their output. Because, if the opportunity and necessity came along, I would beat down on someone until they were pulverized. I've always said that people don't want to mess with me. I am a force to be reckoned with, pure intensity unleashed. My close friends have seen it in my face, they've felt the shift happen in my presence. If I am angry, you and the whole world will know it.

I've been through downright terrifying. I've seen people at their very worst. And while I have not fought back, it is only out of kindness, because if I wanted to retaliate, it would be motherfucking brutal. I can be mean. And by mean, I mean absolutely and undeniably cruel. Instead, I trust that the Universe will bring them the effects of their actions and if not in this lifetime than in the next ones they'll experience. 

This is the side of me the people have not seen. This is the side of the me that I feel I have to keep in check, because I have a propensity to attack if truly provoked or triggered. Instead, I've funneled that energy into my life in productive ways. I've used that drive to achieve my ambitions. I've used the energy I could've dedicated towards creating more anger in the world to swallow what i thought I could handle rather than having everyone else hold their own responsibilities. That's not my job anymore. I don't need to take care of anyone else anymore. I can care FOR them, I no longer need to take care OF them.

Right now, my job is me. If I want to scream at the top of my lungs, I will drive to a mountain top or dive into the sea to do so. Truth be told, I kind of like having this dark and stormy side. It keeps me real. It keeps me fired up. I just have to figure out how not to let the flames burn my heart and soul along the way of keeping it stoked. 

This is me, living Parvati, the name I was given upon graduating my advanced 300-Hour yoga teacher training program. She is the goddess from which all other goddesses come. She has the ferocity and darkness of Kali, the courage of warrior Durga, and the love, passion, and compassion of being Shiva's wife and Ganesha's mother. 

She is woman embodied. 

And so am I. 

Hear. Me. Roar.