As Brene Brown rights in Daring Greatly (the latest book I've tackled), "Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." Beautiful. And so very true. Preach, Brene. Preach.Read More
Wanderlust: a yoga and music festival - but also so, so much more.
Dancing. Meditation. Local and sustainable eats. Trail runs. Bungee jumping. Horseback riding. Hiking. Happy hours. Surfing. Speakeasies. The list goes on...
When I signed up for my first Wanderlust festival in Aspen-Snowmass, these were the types of things that drew me in - that and the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones (not to mention all of the awesome Instagram material to follow...) When I went to sign up for my second festival in Great Lake Taupo, New Zealand, it was for all of the same reasons. There's something irresistible about the experience of being surrounded by like-minded people for a long weekend of mindfulness, moving and grooving.
So picture this: after a fun, playful, soul-filled class led by Jason Te Patu and Duncan Peak, a class of 100+ yogis gathered around in a huge heap of sweaty goodness - myself included. With our hands placed on the backs of our neighbor's hearts, we found ourselves intertwined in a web of pure light and love (not that we aren't always all connected, but you know what I mean). There's something so deeply profound about feeling the heartbeat and breath of another human being - I've never felt so alive, so vulnerable. We sat there on the floor chanting our mantra, eyes closed, but souls wide open. And once the chanting came to an end, we sat in silence for a moment - oh, what a sacred moment. No one was looking at me, but I felt seen. No one was speaking, but I felt heard. Even though I was thousands of miles away from my family, it felt like home. It was such a gift to feel a part of something bigger than myself - bigger than all of us, really. I practically floated out of the room after that transcendent experience.
When I sat down to journal about my second Wanderlust experience, this was the first thing that came to mind when my pen hit paper. I got out of my head and into my heart, and the words started flowing. When I finished and went to reread, I realized that everything I had taken away from this four-day extravaganza had to do with people - the sense of community and the way-past-the-surface-level-connections, the big bear hugs and even bigger belly laughs, the eye contact and the highest of vibrations.
So, when the time rolls around for me to sign up for a third time, it won't be because of the farm-to-table dinners or the stand-up paddle boarding yoga classes - those are more just like an added bonus moving forward. I'll keep coming back time and time again to cultivate deep-rooted connections and to feel the gratitude, joy, and pleasure in being apart of such an extraordinary experience.
A wise woman (Jacki Carr) once said to me, "Your yes is only as powerful as your no." At this exact moment, the figurative light bulb floating above my head flickered on with so much force that it nearly shattered into a million tiny pieces. This was a total game changer for me, you guys. Since that fateful moment, I've been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on the subject of yes and no.
Stemming from my "real" post on how I'm a people pleaser, I've started to notice that yes gets a thrown around a lot, many times willy nilly if you know what I mean. Yes to this, yes to that, yes to everything. This gif sums up my relationship with yes:
You get a yes! And you get a yes! And you get a yes! Everyone gets a yes!
And then I find myself stretched thin, committing to things I have no desire to do or that I want to do I just plain don't have the time for. And then come the maybes. And then come the cancellations. And inevitably then comes guilt following up the pack and inspiring shame and insecurity to step up to the plate as well. It's a nasty little cycle - a hamster wheel I've been stuck on for far too long. And then, worst of all, my yes becomes untrustworthy and pretty much useless. This is no bueno, man. No bueno at all.
It's not because I'm a flake, at least not intentionally. It's either because a.) I want to and I want to connect with you, or b.) I don't want to but I want to connect with you. Does that make sense? It has become a second nature for me to spit out a yes, rather than standing behind what I truly want and need - which might be next week rather than this week, yoga instead of pilates (pilates? oh hell no, I thought you said PIE and LATTES!) or an extra hour of sleep rather than an early AM coffee date.
For me, what this comes down to is twofold: my willingness to say yes when I really mean no is first and foremost me not being able to unapologetically step into who I am, what I want, and what I need; it's also about balance - which is something I've always struggled to create for myself. I've always believed that If I'm not running from one thing to the next, perpetually exhausted and hustling, then I'm not doing it right. Well, that's a whole other story to be discussed, but let's just leave it at no, it doesn't have to be like that.
So, I've been experimenting with saying no. I'm trying it on here and there, and I'm surprisingly starting to like it. I still throw out a yes or a maybe every now and then when I shouldn't, but I'm only human.
I'm starting to fall in love with the fact that there are little to no residual feelings leftover after a hearty no like there are after an uncertain yes or an half-hearted maybe. There's clarity's and satisfaction in knowing my no is helping to create space for "fuck yes" - which as you know I am all about as of late.
With that being said, try not to take it personally next time you get a hard no from me. It's not you, it's all me baby. Know that next time you get a yes it means I'm all in and ready to rock.
Humor me, will you? Take a moment right now to do a little inventory of that file cabinet in up in the attic (and by that I mean your noggin.) Dust off those manila file folders packed full of all those memories that for some reason have stood the test of time. Now, try and remember the last time that you truly, wholeheartedly, with-every-being-in-your-body believed and lived in possibility. It was your manifesto because you didn’t know what you didn’t know, or because you refused to have it any other way. Do you remember? Think real hard.
The point is, you probably don’t remember. I don’t really. Or it was so long ago that we’re talking unicorns are real, the Tooth Fairy so generously takes teeth for hard cash, Santa Claus somehow manages to shimmy down the chimney on the eve of December 24th every year kind of possibility – but unfortunately, we all grew up and eventually realized that it’s all a big hoax (or is it?)
It’s such a beautiful part of the human experience that we enter this world only knowing possibility.
But society has worn us down. The innocence bubbles we once floated around the world in have been popped, and we’ve since been conditioned to drag our feet around the dirt and dust while being incessantly bombarded with messages that tell us nasty lies like we’re not worthy, we don’t have enough time and we can’t have it all. But where the hell is the fun in that?!
I’m not saying I’ve been a Belieber, I mean believer, all this time (had to), but I’ve somehow always come back to possibility. I may have strayed in the direction of doubt and despair many a time, but you can be damn sure that I always make my way back to possibility. Pardon me for sounding like a broken record - you’ll understand if you’ve read my previous posts – but like most other things I choose to write about it’s a choice, and not only is it a choice but also a practice. It's also not the easy way, either. It's actually pretty difficult - it's choosing to believe despite what you've seen, experienced or been told time and time again. It's much easier to live inside the box comfort of your box - the familiar, the tried and true, the cozy know-your-limits kind of space.
Each and every day, we can wake up and live in possibility – we can believe it, we can breathe it, we can be it – or we can choose to be confined and defined by constraints and can’ts. Now, I’m not saying that by choosing to live in possibility that all your hopes and dreams will come true. Come on, now. I’m a realist – I really am. That’s completely silly. When we choose to live our possibility, we also have to choose to be OK when something doesn’t quite work out – we have to practice resilience as well. We have to trust that even though one door closed, there’s most likely a reason (i.e. you’re not ready) and that another door is sure to swing open, because one always does. We cannot let the not-right-nows and try-this-one-insteads break our spirit – we have to keep forging on with open minds and most importantly open hearts.
For me, always keeping a space in my heart and head for possibility – even in the seemingly darkest of times – keeps me alive. It keeps me curious. It keeps me chasing down all of the dreams that so many people have told me were just that, dreams, but I knew better than to believe it. It leads me right into the lap of opportunities I never imagined for myself before. And most importantly, it creates space for fun and imagination, because how dreadfully boring does life sound without those two? Absolutely unbearable, really.
I guess what I’m saying is believe in unicorns, you guys.
Yesterday at work (as most of you know I am currently at lululemon athletica ) I struck up conversation with another guest that was looking at pants. I had all these stories in my head of how it could be - I always prepare myself for worst case scenario so I'm not thrown off and move into reaction, rather than responding. I guess you could say it's my little resilience ritual. I don't want to say that I was surprised when I was met with a pleasant response, because that would give off the idea that I have lost faith in humanity and assume the worst in everyone I meet, which is not the case at all, but I was caught slightly off guard. Anyhoo...
It started as a typical conversation. I asked him what he was looking for, and I helped him track down what he needed. And then we got started talking about hockey, and it turned into what seemed like a 20 minute conversation. Not to take away the importance of the words that were exchanged, but I've already forgotten the specifics of what was said. That's not what I'll remember, it's the feeling I was left with. It's that he made eye contact with me, he listened to what I was saying, he treated me like an equal - he saw me as another human being, not just as the random Asian girl at the yoga pants store who rang him up. I felt respected, I felt valued.
And as he left he said, "Happy Holidays!" which is seemingly insignificant, but put a huge smile on my face and easily was the highlight of my day. He didn't have to say it - we had said our goodbyes and he was nearly out the door, but he did. How just plain kind and lovely.
This got me thinking. How many times have I not seen the person standing in front of me - the barista, the server, the person bagging my groceries, the person sitting next to me at the coffee shop? So many times, unfortunately. We talked about this in yoga teacher training, the fact that we tend to reduce people to these labels that help us to categorize people, to make sense of them. But I've come to realize that in doing so we dehumanize them - we don't see them for who and what they truly are: another human being - with feelings, needs, desires, hopes, dreams, insecurities and so on and so forth. And it's not personal - actually, it's exactly the opposite, it's about as impersonal as it gets. I'm not saying this is necessarily good or bad, it's just something that deserves awareness.
Although I may not always be aware when I'm doing this myself, I certainly can pick up on when it's happening to me. And as anyone who has experienced it knows, it does not feel good. No, not at all. And I don't ever want to be the reason someone's good day turns sour, or questions their own worth, or has a bade taste in their mouth or a pit in their stomach (this is very I am/you are, but that's a whole other topic.) I want to be the person who leaves everyone that walks into my presence feeling a little lighter and happier than when they left.
Of course, this isn't a switch that I can just flip on or off. It's a practice. It's a conscious choice to choose empathy, compassion and above all else kindness - which for me, is not always my gut reaction. It's taking the time to respond rather than react. It's a shift from attitude to gratitude. It's the courageous decision to say, "I see you and I hear you." It's saying hell yes to connection. And these aren't always gut reactions for me, but they're choices that I am wholeheartedly ready, willing and committed to making.
Happy holidays, you guys. Namaste!
Since I wrote my first post about ego a few months back, I've had a lot of time to let it marinate. Get to know my ego, if you will. And oh man, is she a bitch! She's seriously judgmental, cynical, reactive, insecure and power hungry (we're talking major power OVER people, not power from within) - among other less than lovely qualities. If she comes out to play, you better run and hide you guys. S-c-a-t-t-e-r. It's not pretty.
For the past few weeks, I've had this huge internal struggle going on in my head regarding my ego vs. my authentic self. Who's who? Is that me in there wanting to flip the bird to everyone driving at or below the speed limit (drive like you stole it) or is that my ego taking the wheel (quite literally)? I just don't always know how to tell. I'd like to think that I'm not my ego, but then again ego and true self cohabitate up in the noodle. The lines seem very blurred to me.
I mean, I'll be settling down into my space during yoga, and look over at the lovely human (who is of course, minding their own business) and size them up. "Oh, I bet she's super flexible. But so am I! Ha!" and, "Why is she warming up like we're about to suit up and take on the Green Bay Packers? This is Y-O-G-A my friend, not Superbowl Sunday. Get it together sister." Then, I catch myself. I take a moment to pause, breath deeply and give myself a nice mental slap across the face. And I remind myself everyone is doing the best that they can (myself included!) And then I start to soften. And then I remind myself once you get past the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the language we speak, the way we go about our lives, we are all more the same than we are different. And then I melt back into my humanity, heart cracked wide open, feeling guilty and like the most terrible human there ever was. This process happens anywhere from 28-57 times a day, on average.
So, I guess my question for anyone who may hold the answer is this: how do I know when my ego is talking vs. my true self? How do I differentiate the two? Can I completely dissect the two, labeling each part as belonging to one side or the other? Or is it messier than that - are there certain qualities of my ego that are inextricably woven into my true self and vice-versa?
I may never know for sure, but I have a feeling I'm off to a solid start with the unraveling my ego: I can recognize what I think is ego chatter, stop it, let it go and choose another thought. I'm starting to learn that it's a constant, life-long practice. That's for sure.
Namaste, you guys. xx
I cannot tell you how many conversations I've had that have gone along the lines of:
"Are you a yogi?"
"Well, I practice yoga, but I wouldn't consider myself a yogi."
Let's talk about that, shall we?
I used to do yoga for the physical benefits - that's why I started coming to my mat back in 2010. I wanted to get Madonna-esque arms, the coveted rock-hard-yoga-booty and sweat profusely. And for a while - years, actually - that's what I got out of my practice - the physical benefits (Madonna arms are still in the works.) If I know anything to be true about yoga, it's that you get exactly what you are willing to put into it, and willing to receive from it.
I never considered myself to be a yogi until I had what seemed like a sufficient amount of challenging postures under my belt, and I had a consistent practice. I reached a point where I felt I had put in enough hard work, sweat and falling on my face to be deemed worthy of the yogi title. I was hustling for the worthiness of yogi status because I didn't realize that I already had yoga inside of me - and I became a yogi the moment I first stepped onto my mat.
In a society obsessed with perfection, physical fitness and beauty - the physical asanas (postures) have in a way become Queen of yoga. I don't want to take away from the physical benefits, beauty and grace, or countless hours of hard work and dedication it takes to cultivate a seemingly "perfect" posture. No, not at all. But let's not forget that there are other components at play here - the mind and the spirit.
Yoga is not a goal - it's a journey. There's no finish line, there's nothing to reach. There's not a right of passage, no ladder you have to climb. Like I said before - yoga is inside of me, inside all of us. We just have to choose it. Yoga is many things to many different people, and that's the beauty of it. We can all fit under this overarching body of yoga, but just because yoga means something entirely different to one person than another doesn't make anyone right or wrong. To me, it is the realization that we are all connected. It's choosing kindness. It's practicing unconditional love for ourselves, our practice and the people around us. It's mindfulness. It's living with intention. It's reflection. It's clarity. It's a conscious choice to put in the work it takes to show up as my absolute best self each and every day. It's also so, so, so much more. I've asked before, but what does yoga mean to you? I'm curious.
So, next time someone asks you if you're a yogi, practice unconditional love for yourself and say a big fat juicy "hell yes!" Own it. Believe it, because it's true. Stop hustling for the worthiness of the yogi status - you are already worthy of it. And you always have been. And you always will be.
Namaste, friends. xx
As I've started to draw my attention inward and focus on myself, my wants, my needs, I realized that I'm not always showing up as my true self. The me that shows up to work is often a slightly different version than the me that sits on the couch watching TV with my sister, or the me that is meeting someone for the first time or the me that's spending time with my friends. I'm not saying I'm an entirely different person in every part of my life - I'm just not always truly, wholly, me. I tone it back or turn it up based on who I'm surrounded by, or where I am.
In all honestly, this is partly is because I'm in insecure and I have an issue accepting myself for who I am, of being worthy of my own love and acceptance, let alone another person's. Another part of this is because I'm a people pleaser - which has turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing - I aim for "nice" instead of real (how boring, right?) I'd rather take the easy way out - by avoiding everyone's toes - than ask for what I want or tell it like it is. Sometimes not having an opinion means avoiding conflict - but let's be real, I always have an opinion. So if you hear me say, "I don't know" or "I don't care" - call me out, yo! I'm lying to you. I don't mean to, it's just a nasty habit I've picked up and haven't been holding myself accountable to shake.
A couple of days ago one the most inspiring, grounded, seriously rad humans I've met shared that she was to host Igolu level 1 training, something that's been on my to-do list for years. It was an instant fuck yes ('scuse my language) to go along with my overarching theme of saying YES in my life. Igolu is a communication and leadership movement, and level 1 training is all about personal legacy - the one I am living RIGHT now. And I can't create a personal legacy without getting clear on who I am and what I want to create in my life. How perfect?
Well just to add to the queue, as I was sweating my ass off in yoga the other day, the theme was truth and authenticity. Coincidence? Ha! Not a chance. I specifically take classes from Justyn because I love what she has to say, and that day she was so spot on with what I'm working on in my practice and off my mat that it completely blew my mind. Truth bombs were flying around left and right, you guys. You know what she told us in class? That trying to be someone you're not is a waste of your energy - you don't need energy to be yourself, that's your gift. LIGHT BULB. Sometimes you just need the right person to say it the right way, and it all starts to make sense. You know what I mean? Justyn also said that by sinking into who you really are in the moment, you are practicing presence - you're meeting yourself where you're at. And, after all, living in the moment may just be the meaning of life, yeah?
So, I commit to the work of meeting myself in every moment and showing up wholly myself - no matter what. That means speaking up about what I think or feel, trusting my gut and making decisions based on my core values - creation, connection, choice, curiosity and gratitude. I already love where this is taking me.
In yoga teacher training (which is going wonderfully, by the way) we're learning about the yamas and niyamas - the first two steps in the eight limbs of yoga - and in an effort to live a more intentional, mindful life I'm in the practice of bringing what I'm learning off of my mat into my every day.
After rocking out a goal session with Jacki Carr while I was in Denver this past weekend, I decided to get really clear about what I want to accomplish while I'm home for the next few months. What I decided on was: thrive, ground and last but not least, simplify, which is what I want to talk about right meow.
Aparigraha (the final yama, or constraint) is the idea of non-grasping or non-hoarding, which just happens to fall perfectly under the umbrella of simplify. Saucha (the first niyama, or observance) refers to cleanliness in all aspects of one's life. Combining these two yogic concepts in my life translates to cleaning house, AKA getting rid of all my shit. For those of you who have ever seen my closet, you know all too well that this is no small feat. Not even kind of.
Ohhh boy. At first, this was not easy for me. As I was forced to pick and choose until my once prodigious amount of clothing was slowly whittled down to, well, a normal amount of clothing, some interesting things came up for me. I found I had an emotional attachment to a concerning amount of things. An EMOTIONAL attachment to CLOTHES - I know, I know. #retailproblems
Had my mom not been with me forcing me to choose a select few things to keep, I would have kept every damn thing. I mean, I argued with her about letting go of things that I had never worn before, hadn't worn in the last 12+ months or never even liked in the first place. Talk about letting your possessions possess you, am I right? I don't believe I'm a materialistic person - at least in the traditional sense of the word. I don't look at my material possessions as a sign of status, but rather as a part of how I express myself, as an extension of who I am. My personal style has been a huge part of my identity for nearly a decade. In a way, each time I was forced to let something go, I felt that I was letting a part of who I am slip through my fingers. Does anyone know what I'm talking about, or am I just bat shit crazy?
Well, as you could have guessed, all said and done I feel pretty dang good about it all. Actually, I feel fantastic. I quite literally feel like I'm lighter - there's just one less thing (heap of clothing) holding me down. I mean, why do you need 51 pairs of the same stretchy pants? YOU DON'T. But you also don't need three flavors of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer at the same time, but that didn't stop me...
This was a huge step in my quest for simplifying, no doubt. It turned out to be a huge lesson in letting go. But there is still a lot of work to be done. Now, I'm ready to dive inwards and work on cleaning out my mental and spiritual spaces. I'm curious, what are some things you guys have done in a quest to clear your own space, be it physically, mentally or spiritually? I'm all ears. Feel free to comment here, PM me or shoot me an email! I'd love to hear.
Namaste, bitches. xx
Today, I found myself sitting in traffic - 45 minutes of traffic, to be exact - the longest it has ever taken me to get home from work. Oy. I realize that this may be very middle of the road depending on geography, but when it takes me roughly 14 minutes and 38 seconds (I may or may not have timed it...more than once) without traffic. That's enough of a difference to make me blow a freaking gasket.
Normally, you'd pull up next to me in bumper to bumper traffic and I'm that chick who's flipping everybody and their mothers' off and swearing up a storm. I have serious road rage people, this is not a joke. I'm entirely serious.
But no, that was not me today. Today, I was that chick who had the volume on full blast, sun roof open (Minnesota fall-time, I love you) and was belting it out to some tunes. I was having a blast and I didn't care who knew - admittedly, I was banging some T Swift. No shame here.
After one week of yoga teacher training under my belt I've already started to feel a huge shift in the decisions I'm making in all aspects of my life. Some of these are small shifts made subconsciously that I barely notice, and others - like my decision not to flip out over traffic - are more significant and made with intention and purpose. In order to lead a more mindful, holistic life I'm putting the lessons I've learned on my mat into practice each and every day.
Through teacher training, more time on my mat and meeting more yogis who share the same passion as me I've come to realize that it's true - we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And as one of my favorite yoga teachers, Justyn, said in class last week (I'm paraphrasing the best I can, she speaks to it much better than this), things don't happen to us. They simply happen. And we have a choice to either let them alter the mood we're in, to disrupt our flow, or we can acknowledge them and let them go. It's so simple and yet so profound. Obviously, at the time she was teaching to a room full of yogis twisted into all different shapes on their mats, but this is something - like most things I've learned in yoga class - is applicable to the everyday.
In another class led by the same teacher, she talked about how we should be present in, and fall madly in love with, each and every moment. We need to learn to love the suffering, because in the next moment it will be gone. Yes, so much yes!
Even though I wasn't like, "Oh heck yes, traffic! I love this shit!" I was determined to make the most out of the inevitable. I accepted, before I even made it to the highway, that I would be sitting in traffic and I would NOT let it alter my post-yoga bliss. Nuh-uh, honey. I was going to jam in my car and I was going to embrace, and love, every second of it - and that's exactly what I did.
Remember these two things:
1. You always have a choice.
2. Be present to, and fall deeply in love with, every. single. moment.
This week I started the journey of Power Yoga Teacher Training through CorePower Yoga. This is something that I have been waiting to do for years, and I finally said yes. For our first assignment, I was asked to write an essay on what yoga is to me and why I practice. In the spirit of vulnerability, something I'm constantly working on in my life, I wanted to share what I wrote with you guys. So, here it is.
“The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
When I first started practicing yoga back in 2010, it was merely for the physical aspects of the practice. I loved how it would stretch me out but at the same time make me feel strong. I felt graceful and fluid in C2s, and I took Sculpt to kick my butt. Ultimately, yoga was a great way to get in and stay in shape.
I still practice yoga for those same reasons, but my relationship, understanding and appreciation of all that is yoga has evolved quite a bit since. Now, yoga is many things to me – a teacher, a practice, a mindset, a way of life. It is a reminder to greet each day with a grateful heart and to appreciate the gift of every moment. It has reignited the student of life in me, and shown me that it is an endless journey that will never fail in revealing something new around every corner – there is no final destination. It is a safe, sacred place where my mind, body and soul come together to create the fullest, best, most alive expression of me. When I’ve found myself lingering within the bounds of my comfort zone a little too long, it catapults me right back out. When I’ve been tangoing with imbalance and stretch myself too thin, it reels me right back in. When my ego tries to take the wheel (which is like, all the time), yoga shoves it right back into the passenger seat where it belongs – sometimes even the trunk – and humbles me. It makes me feel strong, worthy, infinite and ultimately whole. This is what yoga means to me and why I practice. Why do you yoga?
Namaste, bitches. xx
It's happening. It's really, truly, seriously happening. I'm about to embark on my dream (in a couple months), my personal legend for those Alchemist fans out there, and aside from a heart bursting with gratitude I am ripe with excitement, anticipation and pure joy. Wow. Deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Full disclosure, though? I'm also terrified. Nervous. Uncertain. Come January, I'll be hopping on a plane that will drop me off half way across the globe. I mean, there's an 18 hour time difference for ya. NBD.
On a moment by moment basis I'm constantly going back and forth between "hell yes!" and "hello no!" I’m giving myself whiplash, man. Big time.
The past few days, months really, I’ve had one question lingering at the back of my mind: why am I doing this? The first thing that popped into my mind is duh, because I love to travel. I want to see the world. While yes, that’s true, I wasn’t satisfied with that answer. It wasn’t…whole enough. It just didn’t fit. There’s more to it than that, but what?
I just didn’t know. I sat down to noodle it and work it out in writing, and I ended up staring at a blank Word doc for what seemed like hours (but was probably five minutes, tops.) So, as I usually do when I come to a block in my writing, I take to Instagram for a scroll or twenty - I know, I know - and I stumbled upon this:
I want to live a fuck yes life (don't you?).
Find adventure around every corner.
Explore new cities.
Meet fascinating people.
Pursue what sets my soul on fire.
Yes. That’s exactly what I want, and this exactly why I've chosen to take time to travel - to live my fuck yes life. I like to think of this next endeavor as connecting another dot in the long, zig-zagged path that will eventually connect somewhere down the road. As Brene Brown talks about in Rising Strong, I’m choosing courage over comfort.
Cheers to saying fuck yes, you guys.
(And sorry for all the F bombs!)
Ohhh, transition. Is it just me or can it be really, really gnarly? I mean regardless of it being a choice (in my case) and lateral move from one great place to another (there's no place like home) it's not all fun and games. Oh, definitely not. On the other hand, transition can be quite an amazing thing. It's an opportunity to reflect, collect and discard. To carry over all of the things that will allow you to prosper in your next destination, and leave behind anything that does not serve you.
With the exception of being fully unpacked, I'm all settled in back home. For now, that is. Naturally, everyone has been asking me 1. why I moved home and 2. what's next. So, I thought I'd give ya'll the 411 - not that I'm sick of chatting about it with you guys, but just so I can be a little more thorough, I guess.
I made the decision to come home several months ago, as most of you know. It's strange, because the "present me" has to live with a decision that my "past me" made; I have grown so much both spiritually and emotionally in those months between deciding and actually moving. But, all said and done, no regrets. Not one. I digress, I'm home for family and to save some money, for those of you who I haven't spoken with.
With that said, I started my visa application process for a Holiday Working Visa in New Zealand. It's all happening, yo. Crazy! (Fiji plans are still in the mix, I'm just waiting to figure out a time that works best.) If and when I get my visa for NZ, I will have 12 months to do my thang down under. My plan? To have no plan. Except I absolutely will be visiting Hobbiton and taking all of the LOTR movie tours, of course. And I will complete a yoga teacher training at some point during my travels, destination TBD (suggestions strongly encouraged). I could be in New Zealand for three months, a year or who knows, maybe more. After I spend some quality time 'sploring NZ, I plan on making my way through Southeast Asia, and after that? Only time will tell.
So, that's a very vague, rough outline of what's to come. My BHAG of a by-when is January 1, but in reality it will most likely be sometime later that month. Tag-a-longs for any leg of my adventure are highly encouraged, FYI.
I really, truly do not believe in coincidences, and I’d like to believe that everything happens for a reason – and for the most part, I do – but what I know for sure is that we don’t meet anyone by acciHdent. We are meant to cross paths with exactly everyone we do – no ifs, ands or buts. Every person that I have met – that I have truly gotten to know beyond the small talk - has contributed to who I am in this very moment in some way, shape or form.
Reflecting on all of the people I’ve gotten to know the past year, and throughout my entire life, I can pick out something very specific each person has taught me, whether they know it or not. Some of these things are simple and seemingly small, like how to be a good roommate - I’ve learned A LOT about that this past year – or how to plunge a toilet (which is something I am admittedly a newbie to. I know…) Other things are more significant, like how to love someone else – or yourself, for that matter. There will be people who inspire you to be a better person, and sometimes there will be people who show you exactly how not to be. There are individuals who will make such a small impact on your life you don’t even realize it, and then there are people who will shake. your. shit. up. They may radically change the way you see yourself, or they may shift how you go about things. They could alter the future you’ve always envisioned for yourself, or they could transform the way you fit into this world. Or, they could do all of the aforementioned. A quote by one of my favorite writers, R.M. Drake, perfectly sums it up:
“You are going to come across people in your life who will inspire you, love you and change you, and that is a rare thing, but every once in awhile you will come across someone who will completely rob you from your sleep and those are the people who are just too beautiful to put into words.”
Yes. So much yes.
So, here’s to the people who have inspired me, loved me and changed me. And here’s to being fortunate enough to have had a few of those rare people who have robbed me of my sleep. Cheers.
Nearly a year ago today, I moved to this little place called Aspen. (And no, I still have not seen Dumb and Dumber but it’s on my to-do list.) Despite the fact that I’ve decided to move on to my next adventure, it doesn’t take away from the love I have for the town that changed my life – that lit a fire in me. I never really knew the meaning of the phrase, “if you love something, let it go,” until I made a life for myself in Aspen. Now, I get it. The past year has been a roller coaster, and despite the speed bumps and detours, I have had a stupid amount of fun, met some of the most amazing humans in this world and feel like I’m finally becoming the person I was always meant to be. I know that I will always have a home here if I decide to come back – but there are so many more places left to explore before I settle down. Here are three of my biggest takeaways from my time in Aspen:
Nature is clarity,
like my dear friend Eliza Kane says, and Aspen is chock full of it. There’s nothing wrong with oceans or deserts but man, have you ever spent a day in the mountains? They’re magical. There is no lack of fresh air, blooming flowers or public parks in this mountain town oasis. Standing at 11, 212 feet at the top of Aspen Mountain is like standing on top of the world – you feel nothing less than infinite. Living among the mountains, breathing their air and basking in their beauty has bestowed more curiosity, creativity and inspiration in me than I ever thought possible. Whether I’ve reached a fork in the road or I can’t decide what to have for dinner, I can be sure that after a hike or a pit stop in the John Denver Sanctuary I’ll know what’s up – or at least have come closer to knowing my next move. The breathtaking beauty and sheer size of the mountains are enough to inspire humility and deflate the ego in anyone – even Kanye. Well, maybe not, but you get the idea. Once you’ve removed ego from the equation, add some humility and throw in a few summits, Aspen trees and wildflowers, you’ve got clarity. Boom, baby.
A fresh perspective.
Until I moved to Aspen, I had a very specific view of how my life would unfold. This can be attributed in equal parts to spending the first 22 years of my life in the Twin Cities surrounded by people of similar circumstance and life experience, and being a rigid, anxiety-ridden Type A kind of girl (I’ve since then become a lot less rigid.) Post-graduation plan: get a job, work my way up the ladder and make six figures, eventually. That’s all I wanted – to be married to my job and make the big bucks. A career was the only thing I dreamed of – well, that and seeing the world. It wasn’t necessarily because I was passionate about whatever I would be doing, it was more because that’s “what you do.” Or at least what is generally expected of people after they become adults. I don’t really know. I’ve definitely talked about this in previous blog posts, and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but I think all of this is worth repeating. After living in this town for nearly a year, I’ve met more rad people than I can count - people who work to live, not live to work. Most of the people I’ve met are in retail, hospitality or the service industry (sometimes all three at the same time!) and are spending every second of their free time pursuing their passions – traveling, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and dirt biking, to name a few. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have someone ask me, “What do you do?” and have them not mean work, but what makes me happy. People here are ALIVE. They love every second of their lives, and they make the most of their time by filling it with what they love, and what can get them more of what they love. I’ve learned that I don’t have to have the cookie-cutter-type-of-life; I can do it my own way.
The art of balance.
If there’s one thing that Aspenites are known for – and really, really good at – it’s working hard and playing harder. Talk about Aspen extreme, you guys. You get all ends of every spectrum out here. You have extreme athletes, extreme partiers and everyone in between. To be able to afford to live out here and finance all of the cool sh*t you want to do, you have to work your ass off. This means working two, three, four – or even more – jobs at a time during on-season. Dayumm. This also means every second that you’re not working, you’re making the most out of what precious time you have to do what puts a big, dopey grin on your face. Oh, and Aspen is a really, really great scene for nightlife and socializing. Like, so much fun.
I got caught up in all of it, naturally. I worked as much as I could fit in my schedule, I drank like I was still in college and whenever I did have free time, I was so exhausted from it all that I was too drained to do much of anything. I faked being happy for so long I almost started to believe I really was, but at the end of the day I wasn’t. I wasn’t making time for the things that light me up. It was a highly unsustainable way to live, to say the least. Eventually, I figured it out. I realized I could have it all and not have to sacrifice anything along the way. I could work hard to pay my bills, spend time with friends and have plenty of time for the stuff that feeds my soul. A lot of this was due to the fact that I learned how to say no. I stopped working when I wasn’t at work, I put a limit on how many nights I go out in a week, and I made time for ME. It’s really easy for me to let the things I love slip through the cracks when there are a million other “more important” things I could be doing. It’s also really easy to write off happiness as something that will come once I’ve checked off everything my list, but why wait? What’s hard – but a non-negotiable to being happy – is choosing it. Letting go of the “shoulds” for a while and doing something for the sole reason that I want to, because it brings me joy. Setting some sacred time each and every day for me.
So, that about sums it up.
I'm not saying everyone needs to pack up and move to a mountain town stat, but I'm saying if it's something you've always thought about then HELL YES. Do it. It will change your life and the way you look at the world, I promise. No regrets, right?
Thanks for all the mems, Aspen. It's been real.
I'm not exactly talking about the song by Beyonce, but I'm not exactly NOT talking about it either. But for real, let's talk ego.
Whoa there. Ego, you say? What ego? I've often labeled others as having "big" egos, but never really considered myself as an egotistical person. Honestly, I never really acknowledged the fact that I have one until recently - as in like, yesterday. We all have one whether we'd like to own it or not. Egos come in all different shapes, sizes and flavors if you know what I mean. I'm not sure where the disconnect has been all these years, but since I've made an effort to date myself (the irony of including this in a post about ego is not lost on me, but I swear it's NOT what it sounds like - I'll explain in another post) I've come to get to know my ego really, really well. I'm no narcissist, and I don't consider myself cocky, self-involved or anything else that is typically associated with egotism, but I have an ego nonetheless. I'm only human, after all.
We're about to get real here, people. Brace yourselves.
Sometimes I wonder why a guy would dare to date another girl over me. It's not uncommon for me to get a little envious when someone is better at something than I am. A lot of times I wonder why I don't have a butt load of likes on my Instagram pic. I ALWAYS wonder why I didn't get hired for the job and someone else did. I can get so broody over why someone should be choosing me, thinking about me, praising me, etc. that I forget about the world around me, that their are other people out there. I get a little obsessive - neurotic, if you will.
HELLO. There's real stuff going on out there and WAY more important things to be thinking about. C'mon girl. Get your shit together - this isn't The Jenna Show.
Yesterday when I was out for my morning hike, I reached the top of the trail and was faced with a stupidly beautiful view of Aspen Mountain. Ajax loomed over me like this magic, miraculous, all-powerful kind of force. Yeah, you could say some instant humbling went down. Ego, deflated. All of the sudden my problems, my insecurities, my worries didn't seem so big, so bad. I think as humans we tend to get so involved in ourselves, in each other, in our day-to-day lives that we forget we're not the only ones out there - that we're just a small piece of the puzzle that is the universe.
So, next time my ego tries to take the wheel, I'll remember the mountains. If I didn't hit this point home already, I don't think there's anything wrong with an ego. It's innate, it's something inherent to being human. I just think it's important to recognize when my ego is inflating a little too much and adjust accordingly. That's all. If you're with me when this happens and I fail to recognize or do something about it, call me out yo! Give my ego a solid smacking until I come back down to earth. Don't let me get away with that shit. I give you full permission, because you can be sure that I'll be doing the same for you.
Namaste, bitches. xx
A comfort zone is a beautiful thing. It feels like home. It’s the cozy, familiar cushion that we all cling to, to a certain degree. We all have one and we all need one. It’s a safe space we can come back to over and over again, to regroup, to recharge, to relax and whatever else we may need.
Having lived quite far outside the boundaries my own personal CZ for the past year, I’ve started to think of coming home as slipping back into the cushy and familiar – but it doesn’t have to be. At one point in my life – not that long ago to be honest – all I wanted was consistency. I craved routine and clung to it like it was the only thing that would keep my head above water. My daily routine typically consisted of: yoga, work, Netflix, sleep, repeat. And that’s kind of it. I know – SO boring.
Now, I’m doing everything I can to push myself farther and farther outside of the familiar each and every day. I fear anything even remotely habitual – the last thing I want to do is go through the motions, to feel like I’m on repeat. So, upon moving home at the end of this month (my god, when did August get here?) I’m going to actively challenge myself to not fall back into my old routines, to cling to the already-been-dones. Not to say I won’t spend time with old friends, eat at my favorite restaurants, peruse the usual bars, have my yoga-work-Netflix-sleep days – because let’s be real here – I’ll absolutely do all of those things, but I’m also going to mix it up. A lot.
I’ve always thought of adventure as synonymous with travel, but I’ve come to realize that there’s always adventure to be found if you’re open to looking for it. You don’t have to backpack in New Zealand for the better part of a year or move to a remote mountain town to fill your days with adventure (although I plan on the first aforementioned and have already checked the latter off of my bucket list.) True, I did spend 21ish years growing up in the great (and at times impossibly cold) state of Minnesota, but there are still so many nooks and crannies left to explore, so many rad people to get to know, so much room for ACTIVITIES (only avid Step Brothers/Will Ferrell fans will get that reference.) AH! I’m all excited just thinking about it.
I’ve been on a huge personal growth-spurt the past year, and I’d like to continue that. I also like to think that I’ve come to see the world through a different lens – with more gratitude, compassion, openness to possibility and diversity, humility (if you wanna talk humility, move to a place where you literally don’t know anyone,) and an all-around softer lens than before. Truth bomb: I used to be (and still can be) a little rough around the edges at times. I’m workin’ on it people. But seriously, I'm itching to get to know the city, the state, that will always be home for me in this new lens - and to get the absolute most out of this homecoming. I'm making a promise right MEOW to myself that I will make the most out of it, because who knows how long I'll be there. I've got big plans, yo.
I’m a perpetual student of life, and I never want to stop learning about what I have to offer the world or what the world has to offer me. Let's see what the next leg of the journey has in store for me. See you in a jiffy, my Minnesotans. I have missed you so!
Stay curious and never stop exploring, you guys. xx
Another year, another opportunity to reflect, ground myself and be grateful.
Hol-eeeeee-cow. 23. When do you start feeling your age? I'm curious - and I seriously would like an answer. I feel like each year I get older with the expectation of feeling wiser and well, older, but it never comes. It's always at bay. I still feel like my mind has miles to go to catch up with the magical number that seems to increase more and more rapidly as time goes on. Oy.
In honor of another trip around the sun, I've got a list of 23 important life lessons that my arguably short time on this earth has taught me:
- Hangovers get worse with age. Unfortunately...
- We don't meet anyone by accident and people come into our lives for a reason.
- Similarly, there's no such thing as coincidence.
- With everything, do it with passion or not at all.
- Creating a vision for your life is a must. It lays the groundwork to live intentionally.
- The small things are everything.
- Don't take yourself too seriously. I mean it.
- Life is short, always say yes to pizza.
- Regret nothing - learn from it and let it go with grace.
- Netflix is a gift from the gods.
- Never take the easy way out.
- Love with everything you have - a broken heart or bruised ego is better than playing it safe.
- Find good people and never let them go.
- Anything - and I mean anything - is possible.
- Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.
- Success has nothing to do with money.
- It's better to projectile word vomit than to not say anything at all.
- Just say no to passive aggression.
- Never turn down an opportunity for adventure.
- Failure is a must.
- Be kind. I cannot not stress this one enough.
- Drive like you stole it.
- There will never be anyone as fabulous, fierce, perfect or all-around amazing as Beyonce. Nope. Never.
Bring it on, 23. I'm ready for ya.
Whenever I've been asked to describe my ideal life - the vision I have for it - I always go for something along the lines of: two dogs, a sexy (and fast!) car, a hunky hubby, a baller job, a spacious pad, tons of travel, etc.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this. I think knowing exactly what you want is a huge thing - it's a sign that you've thought about the future, you've thought about what you need to do to get what you want and you (probably) have your sh*t together.
Bottom line, I've never been asked how I want to FEEL. And I've definitely never been advised to make my life decisions, choose that fork in road, step outside of my comfort zone, based on those feelings - until now. #gamechanger. Danielle LaPorte, ladies and gents. She is the reigning queen of truth bombs, let me tell ya. I've been digging into her book The Fire Starter Sessions and oh man, has she got my full attention.
So, I wrote down all the things I want to feel. This includes (but is certainly not limited to): playful, free, generous, thoughtful, creative, adventurous, loved, worthy, and the list goes on - for like 23 more words. And then, I stared at that piece of paper - for how long, I'm not sure. A good long while. And I started to see a different kind of future - one that is way more aligned with who I am at my core, my soul, than ever before. And DAMN it felt good. It was awesome and blissful and exciting all rolled into one.
In the book she has you go through a few steps to narrow it down and hone in on what you're really trying to feel, and which ones are most important to you. So, I whittled down my list of all the feels I want to feel each and every day: creative, confident, playful, connected and generous. Boom. I'm excited just thinking about the blissful combination these five feelings stir up inside of me.
Then, something happened. I fucked up - major. Like an ENORMOUS fuck up. (Sorry for all the F bombs, you guys - but I think it's completely necessary to hit my point home.) I felt horrible, embarrassed, guilty, and even physically sick - but instead of suppressing all of it, I owned it. I made it my bitch, and I came out the other side feeling like I could conquer the world - more empowered than ever. This mistake was my wake up call, my earth-shattering light bulb moment. By feeling the dead opposite of my ideal state of mind, a flip switched in my head. Just like that, I realized that I have the choice to never feel this way again - and that I also have the choice to feel all those juicy feelings I so crave. It was no coincidence that I had been reading this book by Danielle Laporte - not at all. I was meant to read it exactly when I did, I'm sure of it.
I've said this before, but I am ready to live in choice, to reach my full potential, to live and breathe my dream life each and every day - and I think this is exactly how I'm going to get there. I am 5000% up to the challenge of aligning my thoughts with my actions and being in complete integrity with all of it - including holding myself accountable despite speed bumps and roadblocks that are sure to pop up along the way. I will actively pursue how I want to feel and make decisions based on my fab five: playful, connected, generous, confident and creative. And if I come across something that isn't going to get me to my dream boat, something that feels all wrong, I'll know that it wasn't meant for me. I will let it go with grace and continue to seek out what's seeking me, if you know what I mean.
I mean, just sharing this blog post with you guys has gotten me all excited - I'm hitting all five in one fell swoop. Look at me, making progress 'n shiiiii.
(image via Jacki Carr & Britt Nemeth Photography)
The second they asked me to put my phone in the little blue berry basket my heart sunk a little. A million thoughts started racing through my mind: “How long am I going to be here? What if someone is trying to reach me? I won’t be able to take a picture. What if so”—STOP. Just stop. In that moment, before we even got started, I realized I have a problem. I’m addicted to my phone. Like, can’t-leave-the-house-without-it, checking-to-see-if-I-have-a-new-notification-every-47-seconds, carry-a-charger-with-me-at-all-times (God forbid it dies) kind of addicted. Hey, the first step is admitting you have a problem…right?
Even once the Bliss Rebellion started and my phone was out of reach, I thought about it. Incessantly. I had an itch that I couldn’t scratch because something that has admittedly become part of my being, in a sense, was (temporarily) gone. I mean, it was practically calling my name from across the room. I swear it. GROSS. I’m cringing just typing these words. All too often I get sucked into that tiny little screen and forget that there is life all around me. People. Nature. Places to see and things to do. Oy...
They dropped so many truth bombs in that hour – SO MANY. I was in sheer bliss as I laughed, listened and learned. As we dug deeper and deeper into our conversations about connection, disconnection and the unplug drug, I started to think about my phone a little less. And at the end of it all, it was the absolute last thing on my mind - I almost forgot to grab it on my way out. The wisdom these three ladies possess is awe-inspiring and their passion for sharing it is magical. If you haven’t heard about Rock Your Bliss, Folk Rebellion or the women behind the brands, Google it. Right now. Actually, I take that back. Do it the second you’re done reading this.
Anyways, they made me stare into the eyes of a complete stranger for one whole minute. Have you ever done this? It was longer than a microwave minute – hell, longer than a treadmill minute. I learned two things from this:
1. Eye contact makes me wildly uncomfortable.
2. I need a lot more of it in my life.
I was so uncomfortable with it at first that I was about to jump out of my own skin, but hey, nothing great ever comes out of a comfort zone. And, I’m alive. I’m here. I'm writing to you right now, so obviously I made it out of there in one piece. (Dramatic much?) All said and done, I’m glad I did it. It’s insane how something so simple can teach such a huge, impactful lesson. I mean, this is the root of all connection. Am I right? There is something so profound about making eye contact with someone – not just the fleeting, blink-of-an-eye and it’s over kind. I'm talkin' about the juicy, see-into-the-other-person's-soul kind of eye contact. Yeah, that. I think I made more eye contact in that one hour than I have in my entire life, and I had never felt more connected to a group of people I had only just met that day. And this all happened without my phone.
My phone is great. It allows me to keep in touch with all sorts of people I can’t see on a regular basis – and for that I love it. But it also has a way of distracting me and keeping me from being present when I AM around people, and for that I hate it. At the end of the day, though, I can’t place all the blame on my tiny little portable computer. I’m half of this equation too, and I have no problem owning it.
With that said, there need to be boundaries. I mean I’m on the phone with my parents - who I see way less than I would like to - and I’m trolling through my Instagram feed. Absolutely sick, I know. I even sleep with the damn thing about 5 inches from my head. No bueno.
So, it ends here. And no, I don’t mean I’m going to go completely analog and ditch my phone. But like I said, boundaries.
For one, when I am with people, my phone is away. Not sitting on my lap, or in my pocket, or wherever. It’s out of sight and out of mind. Non-negotiable. Feel free to slap me on the back of the head if you see me staring at a screen while I’m in good company.
Also, I will take (at least!) one hour a day to completely unplug – whether that’s yoga, hiking, reading, or anything and everything in between.
I will not use my phone, watch TV or anything else that involves a screen within an hour of my bedtime. Sorry late night Netflix marathons, we’re breaking up.
So, here's to diving into my REAL life and living less and less out of the one powered by LTE and Wi-Fi. Don't forget about lots and lots of eye contact. Yes, that too. Cheers!