Mirror Mirror

I had an interesting experience the other day. A friend invited me to her yoga class at the YMCA so I could get a feel for the environment that I’d potentially be working in. As with most Y’s it was noisy, smelled like chlorine (one of my favorite smells), and was muggy. I walked into the multipurpose room and immediately started searching for a spot to place my shoes and bag. It was like a flashback to taking classes at the wellness center at USD. After finding a little corner to store everything I scanned the room looking for a place to set my mat down. The room was rectangle shaped with ballet barres lining the walls on 3 sides and equipment stacked high on the fourth wall. There was room for about 2-3 lines of staggered yoga practitioners. I decided on a spot close to Kelly, the teacher, as the class was starting to fill up and it just seemed natural to go towards the front. I set my mat down and started to take a seat. Then I saw it. How I missed it when I first walked in I still don’t know; but now there it was staring obnoxiously straight back at me- my reflection. I could feel my heart sink into my gut; this is REALLY a lot like the wellness center.

The last time I practiced in a public space surrounded by mirrors was my last semester of college. Ever since then I have subconsciously purposefully avoided them. What I mean here is that I never made the decision to NEVER practice in a space with mirrors. I have just always, without too much though, opted for a choice without them. I don’t mind seeing others moving in the mirror or seeing multiple images through multiple mirrors throughout a room. These things don’t tend to bother me and it’s easy for me to blur them out. But seeing myself- that’s a whole different ballgame. When I practice on my own it’s a very internal practice. I just move and go and flow with whatever my body needs, decides to do, or wants. When I practice in a public space I’ve learned to focus more on the alignment and the dance between breath, muscle, bone, and joint. The one thing I have been fairly good at avoiding in both practices is seeing myself on that superficial level.

However; when you’re literally faced with yourself it becomes rather difficult to not focus on how you look and I don’t mean in an alignment or posture way. I’m talking shallow. You start to ask yourself all of these judgmental questions. How many zits have decided to grace my face today? How long have those circles been under my eyes? Is that really what my hair looks like right now? Why did I decide to wear this shirt- you can see every roll I have. Are my arms really that gross looking in Warrior 2?

It becomes tough to concentrate on you when you’re too fixated on the superficial you. It adds a whole new level to the practice- one that I didn’t think I was truly ready to focus on. The true level of fullness and wholeness. I’m about to get pretty raw here-so bear with me.

Since high school I’ve had a lot of insecurities when it came to the way I looked. It led to some not so great and not so smart choices and life decisions. Slowly over the past couple of years I’ve tried my best not to focus on those insecurities. I’ve learned to thank people for compliments even if I don’t believe them and to ignore the inner monologue going on whenever I’m getting ready for something. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough anymore. This mirror class was more than likely a much needed wake up call to this false reflection I was trying to portray but couldn’t fully buy into.

I made it through the class- even nailed a pose I hadn’t been able to do before. My focus shifted a lot during the class as I desperately wanted to look anywhere but at myself. But as I began to let go of what I was seeing on such a surface level I was able to start breaking apart another wall that was built so long ago. I’m not sure if I’ll be practicing in front of a mirror again any time soon without having a set intention or focus- but this lesson has definitely been heard and acknowledged and will be one I start to focus more and more on. It’s time to truly work on this particular thought process and this little yoga lesson has proved to me that I am ready to.

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Not a 9-5er

I’m not a 9-5er. I’ll never enjoy having a social hour around a water cooler, relaying the latest office gossip. I don’t enjoy the office setting; but I find a comfort in structure and routine. I don’t do well with spontaneity; yet some of my best decisions have come from “fuck it” moments. I hate waking up to an alarm clock. I love waking up to my internal clock. Sometimes this makes me a dawn to dusker- or a dawn to dawn person. Some nights I don’t sleep at all. I enjoy heels; but not nearly as much as I enjoy walking around barefoot. On occasion I love to dress up, do my hair, my make-up. I am, what some people would call, a girly girl. I also love getting dirty, off-roading, and every other word I think is usually inappropriate or sarcastic. To some, that makes me a tomboy. I’m artsy, stubborn, tattooed, and love puppies.  I’m the last thing most people think of when you say the word sorority girl. But, for 4.5 years I proudly wore my letters as an active member, and served in several positions. I live for the sounds of the city, the hustle and busyness, and the excitement of exploring new areas. But I crave salt water air blanketed by the gentle warmth of the sand. I enjoy a good glass of wine or a cosmo. I also love a good shot of whiskey. I hate cooking; but when I really concentrate at it I’m actually a pretty fucking awesome cook. I have an anxiety disorder; it makes life incredibly difficult, trying, amazing, and interesting.

There are so many boxes that we try to place ourselves in. But we never truly fit into just one box and I am very tired of trying. At what point do we set aside this cookie cutter illusion we’ve built up and just wing it? At what point is just winging it not enough? It seems as though for some people this method works and for some it doesn’t. Is there something that makes this happen or is it just a roll of the dice? Either way it’s pretty ironic. The main question at the end is…do you take the risk?

Through the Looking Glass: Lessons and Growth

It is officially that time of year where everyone looks back on 2015 and tells you what they did, what went wrong, what went right, what they’re looking forward to, what they’re going to do differently, what new resolutions they are going to try out for about 2 weeks, and so on. After sitting here and really looking back on my year I realized that this particular method doesn’t really serve me. I could sit here and tell you about all of the shitty things that made up the first 8 months of the year and about the amazing things that made up the last 4 months but I’ve already done that (see every blog post from this year!) So instead of a month to month recap why not say fuck it and change it up a bit?!

My birthday is right around the corner and I’ve got a fair amount of earth-time under my belt at this point- along with some battle scars and stories in the shape of eight tattoos. A while back I did a 25 things learned at 25 post. This post is going to be kind of a mix of that and of a recap. I’m not limiting myself to 27 lessons from the last 26 (going on 27) years. I am literally just going for it- but the lessons I chose to write about are ones that have all hit me like a semi in the past 12 months. So, here it goes!

Writing clearly about the chaos brings clarity.

I over-think. I feel too deeply. Sometimes I’m too passionate about something. And sometimes I feel like I have no emotion at all. It’s a recipe for a full head and a confused heart most of the time. But then I start to write. No filter. I obtain lucidity and find healing when I just let myself go for it. So, write the letter you wish you could send to that one person you never got the chance to say good bye or hello or I’m sorry to. Start the sentence you don’t know how to finish. Write what you’re thinking-even if the sentences don’t make sense and the page is blurry from tears, write.

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them” -Einstein

Adulting is hard sometimes.

There will be days you have no idea how to adult. Like- why is health insurance so confusing? What does half of the wording even mean? It’s like they took the English language and decided to combine it with Greek, Mandarin, Italian, and cave drawings. WHAT ARE ALL THESE ACRONYMS? I’m super glad I went through almost 2 decades of schooling to learn absolutely nothing about how to adult. But hey-at least I know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell because that’s going to be SUPER helpful when I’m filing my taxes as self-employed for the first time.

Seriously though, when you’re a kid, and you do something “wrong”, your parents punish you by putting you in the “naughty corner”. When you’re an adult, there is no naughty corner and the definition of wrong becomes a bit more grey mattered. You get to make decisions for yourself. You get to decide what’s wrong and you have to bear the consequences for yourself. Sometimes we just have to make mistakes and get messy.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” -Karen Kaiser Clark

 Living with your significant other will either make you stronger or tear you apart.

This was a hard one for me. Living with my ex definitely changed the game. You learn things about that other person you never wished to learn and you learn things about yourself .Some of those are things you wish you could unlearn too. For some, like myself, the relationship may end. Do me a favor-don’t solely blame yourself. If it ends know that you tried and that it was worth the experience.

Breakups are NEVER easy

I had an EXTREMELY messy break up earlier this year and it shattered me. By the end of it I was so torn to pieces, my heart had been shattered, run over, taped slightly back together, and then crumpled into a ball. It hurt to breathe, think, move, plan, dream, and hope. And after all that immense pain settled I became numb, almost catatonic. Then the emotions would hit again and the process would repeat. It was a cruel process. The first few weeks I held myself together and focused on whatever was going on at the time. First it was a trip to Israel, then a presentation for work, then finding roommates. I pushed my attention on to anything that wasn’t going to hurt so much.

Everyone kept asking me how I was handling it so well and if I had cried yet. Truth is-it took me 4 months before I finally broke down and cried. And I mean CRIED. I was moving a dresser from the old guest room so my new roommate could start moving stuff in and as I was trying to move this massive piece of furniture I just kept thinking about how alone I was now and how the last 5 years was for nothing. And the next thing I know- I’m curled up on the guest bed bawling my eyes out, cradling myself in the fetal position. I bawled for a good 20 minutes and then sat there in a state of numbness for another 2 hours. Finally I told myself to just breathe as I got up and texted my neighbor to see if she could help me move the damn dresser.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” ~ Lao Tzu

Time heals.

It may not heal as fast as you would like, but it heals. Someone you let your guard down for and gave your heart to will treat you like shit and hurt you. It’s not right, but it does happen and heartbreak; well it breaks and it hurts and it sucks royally. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you won’t always feel THIS broken. Stay strong. Don’t let this destroy your self-confidence. As I mentioned above- I just went through this about 8 months ago now. It still hurts when I look back on everything and I still can’t call him by his name. Right now he is called douche-face (original, I know). But, I’m getting there. Whenever, someone brings him up or it up I don’t cringe as much now and my heart (or what is starting to be pieced back together of my heart) no longer drops into my stomach. Just remember that as time passes you start to heal and these people who break your heart and make you feel worthless- they aren’t worth your time. It really is their loss, and karma really is a huge bitch. You’ll laugh about it later-even if later is 5 years away.

Take the selfie. Ignore the haters. 

I don’t get why people are so against selfies. What’s wrong with thinking you are undeniably worth being looked at and unquestionably worth being seen? Let’s inspire a culture where we’re encouraged to be happy with ourselves. If a girl feels pretty, fucking let her feel pretty!

Everyone is born with a clean, beautiful soul but as we grow it becomes tainted, warped, and we no longer see ourselves in this pure, beautiful way. We’ve all been through some shit and fought our own battles and we should be proud of who we are. Be proud of every freckle, wrinkle, and scar. They’re a part of your story. Don’t let other people’s ideas and views of the “normal” and “beautiful” define you because you’re so much better than that.

“We are all Warriors. Embrace your badassness”- Jennilee Toner

At no age will you ever have your shit together.

I kept wondering when people figure out life and how the heck they did it because I sure as hell can’t figure this thing out. But when we step outside of our comfort zone things seem to always be put into perspective. For me this moment happened when I was sitting on the bus on my way to my yoga teacher training. Someone was talking about how they had to quit their job to come and then we took a poll to see how many people quit their jobs, made an extreme career change, and/or had no idea where they were going/what they were doing after the training. Almost every single person in a group aged from 21 to 40/50 something had their hand raised at some point or another during the poll.

Yes- at my age- everyone seems to be moving on to that next stage in life i.e. getting married or popping out a tiny human. But, there are plenty of others still figuring out who they are, who they want to be, or what color underwear to wear today. So, stop worrying on if you are “doing it right”. You are.

Work hard, stay humble.

Keep working hard. Keep failing. Every failure has made me stronger, smarter, and more focused. So fail, fall, and falter. Then get back up and try until you’ve reached your goals. Once you get there don’t rub it into others’ faces. Instead help others achieve their goals.

 The power of positivity is a real thing.

If you truly believe that something good will happen, it will. Because your good vibes are like gold, and they attract other good things.

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations”- Colleen Saidman Yee

Some friendships aren’t forever.

And even accepting that won’t stop it from stinging when their name comes up. The reality is that forever friends are rare. So, cherish time with friends while you have them as some people are only meant to be part of a few chapters of your story. If you’re lucky enough to find those forever friends- make sure they know how much you love them. And always remember that sometimes those friends that leave come back- even if just for a short while again.

 You don’t need a “Yes Man” friend

It’s great when we have friends who tell us how beautiful and talented we are, but that can’t be the only thing they bring to the table. True friends will call you on your shit, challenge you, inspire you, and won’t allow you to coast personally, professionally, or anything in between. If they just give you a thumbs up all the time, they honestly aren’t real friends.

Say NO to shitty wine.

Life is too short for that shit.

Sometimes things are as bad as they seem.

I’ve noticed that when I’m going through something rough, one of the least helpful things I commonly hear is “nothing is as bad as it seems.” Well, sometimes it is. Sometimes things are the honest to goodness pits. But that’s okay. It’s okay to be incredibly sad or frustrated or overwhelmed. Denying those feelings will accomplish nothing.

 It’s OK not to be OK.

We are all human; we all have emotions, we all have our ups and downs and sometimes, life just gets to us. It’s okay to need a time out. It’s absolutely, 100% okay to surrender to your feelings and have a good old ugly face, snot dripping cry. No one will think any less of you and if they do you don’t need them in your life anyways.

“The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it. “- BKS Iyengar.

 Meditation helps.

Seriously.

 Travel.

Go anywhere, go everywhere. It’s good for the soul and for the heart. Do it before life gets in the way, or do it precisely because life got in the way… not having a reason is reason enough to travel. Travelling is one thing you can literally spend money on and become richer in life experiences.

 Someday, you’ll be glad you were poor.

We all wish we had more money so we could buy more stuff. Or that we had enough money to pay our obnoxiously overpriced rent bills or car payments. But someday you’ll look back at these 20-somethings days where you lived week by week off of the money you made babysitting and realize that these moments were some of your happiest ones. These were the moments where you truly developed your goals and finally found a path that suits you and your interests. It may seem unconventional and many people will look at you like you’re crazy. Truth is- you probably are- but it’s ok, because all the best people are! (I can say this because I’m one of em) But none of that will matter because in that time you were doing you, living in the moment, and building a sense of gratitude. I can’t wait for it to be someday…

Songs describe exactly where we are throughout the stages of life.

Learn yours, embrace it, shout the lyrics- even if you mess them up or sound like a bad night at karaoke, and have a dance party. Everything is better when you have a dance party. For me, right now, it’s “Live young, die free” by Fletcher.

 Embrace the situation you’re in.

Embrace the good and the bad. It’s okay to feel scared and understandable to feel sorry for yourself sometimes. In the midst of tribulation, negativity and depression can be alluring. Gratitude is a potent tool for snapping yourself out of fear and self-pity. In the moment, it’s empowering to realize that you can handle a challenge. This is a chance to morph, evolve, and adapt. It can be difficult and painful at first, but it means you’re on the path of growth.

“Resist the urge to fidget. Be with yourself as you are without having to change anything.” – Julie Mellk 

Life is fragile, sudden, and shorter than it often seems.

There may not be a tomorrow – not for everyone. Right now, someone on Earth is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today. This is sad but true. So spend your time wisely today and pause long enough to appreciate it. Every moment you get is a gift. Don’t waste time by dwelling on unhappy things. Spend it on things that move you in the direction you want to go.

Your future is spotless.

Regardless of how filthy your past has been, your future is still spotless. Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. One of the very best ways to get beyond past troubles is to concentrate all of your attention and effort on doing something that your future self will thank you for.

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. “-Rumi

 The right people come into your life at the right times; the wrong people come into your life at the right times.

I know, I know- this doesn’t make any sense at first glance. But it’s so true! The wrong people will always come into your life when you need to learn or grow. We may not like it- but they came in for a reason. The right people will always find a way to you when you truly need them- and half the time we don’t know who those people are until it becomes blatantly obvious to us why they were there in the first place.

“Be patient. Everything comes to you in the right moment.” – Buddha

Be grateful for every moment

Be grateful for every smile, every tear, every fight, every kiss. Be grateful for every dance party, every late night and early morning, and especially for every puppy cuddle and kiss. Be grateful for everything because each moment- no matter how hard or trying; no matter how simple or silly; each moment made you the incredibly beautiful, crazy, complex person that you are. If you need help remembering this- start a gratitude journal. I challenge you to write 5 things you are grateful for every day for a month. I promise you’ll start to see a change in your attitude and in your life.

Imitate the traits of those you admire and respect.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery- but it’s also a way for you to develop the skills and traits you may feel or think need to be worked on. It goes along the lines of the whole fake it til you make it ideology. I’ve had three teachers in the span of 2 months tell me this. If you want to be more confident- think of someone who exudes confidence and delve into why you feel they portray this so well. Then turn around and put it to action! Every time I go on an interview I imitate my best friend because she is the most confident person I have ever known- and most of the time I get a 2nd interview or an offer! Every time I teach a yoga class I imitate 2 women that I respect and admire because they portray the confidence, gracefulness, intellect, calmness, and positivity I want to be able to embody and provide to my students.

Get a dog.

Tell them every secret, every fear, every wish, and every goal. They will be the only being in your life that will never judge you and the only one to undeniably love you (and the cheese you have in the fridge).

Don’t ever settle.

At some point we all reason with our instincts and rationalize desires. Stop it! Stop fighting against the chaos inside your bloodstream that tells you to always seek more. Use this to be more than was ever expected of you for you. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. I stayed in a job that made me miserable for almost 4 years because I started to settle. I knew exactly what I wanted and what type of person I was-but I pushed it all aside because the job I had was safe. When I finally realized how miserable I was making myself I had to take a good long look in the mirror and tell myself to snap the fuck out of it. I had to dig down fairly deep to find myself again and I realized that I was in a place where I could turn life around and stop settling. So- I did.

“Her messy hair is a visible attribute of her stubborn spirit. As she shakes it free, she smiles knowing wild is her favorite color”- J. Iron Word. 

Love is not a one dimensional glass slipper.

As children we’re hypnotized into thinking of love and how to love in such a specific way. But for some of us we love in wild, untamed ways. We do not want the dependency that comes with traditional love or the fairy-tale story that everyone else seems to want. This does not mean you’re incapable of love. You do not have to tone yourself down to a smaller, frailer, more helpless version of yourself in order to love or be loved. Love wild. Love freely. Love untamed.

BREATHE

As humans this should be such a natural thing- but for some reason we constantly forget this. We’re always on the go and never take a moment to catch our breath. I work 2 jobs, teach yoga (for free right now), and am in the process of looking for a 3rd job. My days are crazy and sometimes I think I’m losing my mind. The only thing that keeps me grounded is my yoga practice. I start every morning off with meditation, pranayama, and an asana practice. Sometimes I want an intense, nonstop flow for 15 minutes and other times I want a slow juicy flow to the music practice and sometimes I just do the first two and then go to a class because I just don’t want to have to think that day. Either way the one thing all of these methods have in common is the fact that I take the time to breathe. If you can’t do, don’t do, or don’t want to do any of these then just remember to take 5 minutes to yourself in your day and take several deep breaths.

“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens”- Mandy Hale

You Are Enough.

Fun story here. When I was at my yoga teacher training we did a Yoga Nidra meditation. During this meditation we were lead to a chest that held a piece of paper with a message on it for us. I kept my message a secret- only telling one person what I got. Two days after I returned home I received an anonymous gift in the mail. It was a bracelet with the saying- You Are Enough. It took me several days to find out who sent me this bracelet. It was a friend in South Dakota. She said that the same day I did the Yoga Nidra meditation she had a strong urge to buy me this particular bracelet. Until today-only one other person knew what was in my chest. Today- I tell whoever is reading this. My message was: You Are Enough.

I have not taken the bracelet off since I got it as a reminder to myself. The day I take it off will be the day I, 100%, without question or wavering thought, can say that I know I am enough. Even if you can’t fully believe it-start telling yourself that you are enough…because you are.

Life has a funny way of slamming us with lessons and providing the right teachers when we need them. We just have to learn to trust and let go.

“Trust the process”- Jennifer Yarro

 With genuine love and gratitude,

A

Blissed Out

Ok- so I think it goes without saying that I am not the greatest blogger out there. However- when something amazing or crazy happens I usually have to write about it or at least attempt to formulate some type of something to explain it.

A little over a month ago I made this crazy decision to start living my life FOR me. Easy right? Wrong. Once I made this decision so much shift happened and so many doors appeared- some in my favor and some were placed to dissuade me. It took opening and closing several doors for me to finally arrive at this one golden door. I had the key in hand and I knew how to open the door- but something was so terrifying about opening it. I did everything possible to convince myself not to open the door and then one day at 9:30pm I put the key in the lock and turned it.

Tears were flowing out of my eyes and dribbling onto my computer screen as I sat on the phone with my mom asking her “What if I fall? What if I fail? Am I crazy? Will you help me pick up the pieces?” This is one of the first times that my mother and I have fully agreed on a decision I’ve made in my life. And as she reassured me as much as she could I took a deep breathe and clicked submit.

I had just altered my entire life without realizing it. That submit button was for an intensive Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica and clicking that button meant I was officially done with my education job and was taking a step into the dark without a flashlight- hoping that someone would be in front of me-waiting with a light of some sort. Well- at 11pm that same night someone flipped on the switch and I was accepted into the training! The next few weeks were absolutely crazy! Prepping to leave my job, taking out a loan, saving as much as I possibly could, and packing…lots and lots of packing.

Fast forward to 8pm on October 9th where it all became a reality. I got out of my cab and walked into this hotel. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman sitting on a couch. I’m fairly good at reading energies and hers was beyond beautiful and calming among other things. My heart literally jumped as I  came to the realization that she was the teacher and was walking  towards me. Now- let’s remember that I was totally jet lagged and exhausted from travelling, beyond starving, and hadn’t had caffeine all day. Then you add in the nerves, the anxiety, and the shyness. Let’s just say it wasn’t my finest moment of speaking like a human. And yet-somehow she managed to reassure me that everything was fine. The next day consisted of a 5 hour long bus ride with a lot of us feeling motion sickness, a stop for lunch, and selfies on a selfie stick.

Around dinner time we finally arrived at the Goddess Garden. I wish I had words to describe this place-but the only thing that comes to mind is magical. I mean imagine a beautiful garden near a beach and several bungalows with some of the most intense energy and lizards then times it by 1000 and you might get close to what it felt like on the grounds here.

Going into the training I truly had no idea what to expect. Teacher’s that I’m close to told me that it would be amazing and that people would probably get emotional. But none of my teacher’s had ever done a 3 week intensive and couldn’t really provide too much more insight than that. I went through it and honestly I still can’t figure out how to describe those 3 weeks. I can tell you that it was amazing, emotional, healing, challenging, thought provoking, encouraging, esoteric, delicious, safe, intense, gut wrenching, and the best thing I’ve ever done.

I don’t think every training is like that and I really think it depends on your group and your teacher(s). I was extremely lucky in both. I had 2 phenomenal teachers and 2 amazing assistants. Literally these 4 were the perfect match! Each one complimented the others and each person brought amazing wisdom,beauty, and visions to the training and to anything you came to them with. I will be honest- I spent the first several days fully avoiding the main teacher for several reasons. One of which I won’t discuss as it’s not my place to say. But the other reason was because I was so in awe of her that I was afraid to shatter this vision that I had built based off of the energy read I had done and the few things she had spoken about thus far. After I came to my senses I finally chalked up the courage to peel back some of my layers and I was met with understanding, calmness, insight, and encouragement. There was also a familiar sense and before I knew it I was talking about things I had never said out loud before. The two main teacher’s were exactly what I needed in my life at that moment. Between them I was able to hold onto strength and intuition; fire and water. Taking classes from both of them was the most awe inspiring thing. The knowledge, passion, and spirit they had was beautiful and admirable. On top of it we had the two assistants that complimented not only each other but both of the teacher’s. Working with these 4 women truly molded and mended so many parts of me that I had long forgotten about.

And to top it all off my group was extraordinary- not one soul was negative or discouraging or gossipy. Everyone was more than willing to listen and try. Each person brought something unique and astonishing to the training.

Out of everything those 3 weeks provided to me the most important thing it gave me was my voice back. Which is ironic, because having a voice and projecting was one of my biggest struggles throughout. I’ve been so scared to actually speak out loud for several years now. I guess that’s what happens when you feel suppressed in life. On Instagram I posted a photo of the beautiful Goddess Tree that I have completely fallen in love with. This tree stands so tall and the roots are strong and visible. For the comment I simply stated “Because I just lived in the rainforest for 3 weeks…”. That statement alone covers this training for me. For the first time in who knows how long- I lived. I didn’t just survive the days. I took the moments and I truly lived and it was amazing.

The lessons I learned on and off my mat are ones that I will always carry with me. And the knowledge is something I can’t wait to share with whoever is willing to listen. I’m most definitely trying my best to live in this blissed out state in a world that is more focused on negativity and what’s written on a Starbuck’s cup. Sometimes being out of the yoga bubble bliss is difficult- but it’s still there-in my heart, mind, and my soul and in each individual that experienced it with me, before me, and even the ones who are lucky enough to still anticipate it.

It’s beautiful to find peace in a location but magical to take that peace in your heart and carry it with you always.

Namaste

y1 y2 y3 y4

Be Proud of How Far You’ve Come

I’ve had a rough year with a lot of downs and not a whole lot of ups. Last night-during one of my insomniatic episodes and anxiety attacks I decided to go through the past 8 years of my life (for me that is 18-26) and really reflect on them.

Today on FaceBook I posted the following status:

In the past 8 years I have moved 7 times, lived in 3 different states,started and finished college, became part of the best sorority, started yoga, got my job, got my license, bought my own car with my own money, photographed 5 weddings and jump started my photography business, was part of two film projects, adopted 2 adorable pups, met my idol-twice, left the states for the first time, travelled to 4 different countries, opened up about my Anxiety disorder and really started to understand it and not let it define me, and honestly so much more. This is what makes me a success- even through all the rough times,health issues,and heartbreak I’ve managed to push ahead. Your turn- what have you done in the last 8 years that you’re proud of?

I kept my post as positive as I could and tried not to list too many of the tough times I had. I wanted to focus on the positive outcomes over the last 8 years. I asked my friends to let me know what they are proud of. All of the responses I received were beautiful in their own way. My friends talked about the struggles they overcame and the positive changes that have happened to them due to some of this chaotic mess we call life.They discussed life events, life changes, and so much more.

I chose to omit the rough patches in my status- not because I didn’t learn or grow from them, not because they didnt change me, or cause me to become strong- but because I wanted people to see that at some point you’ll only remember the outcome and the effect all these crazy events and days provided and that more often than not- the outcome makes you into the most amazing and beautiful version of yourself.

Be proud of how far you’ve come because shit happens, but what you learn and take from it is all that truly matters.

So, what about you? What have you done in the last 8 years that you’re proud of?

Always Do The Thing That Scares You

It has been quite a while since I last wrote in here. Life kind of took a turn to crazy town for a while. Short summary- I was in a serious car accident in February, my father was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 after spending about a week or so in the hospital, I went to Israel, and I caught my boyfriend cheating on me. Like I said…crazy town.

I spent most of March and April recovering from the accident and focusing on getting to the point where I could go on my trip. In May I went to Israel for 2 weeks. It was the most amazing experience ever and I HIGHLY recommend it. At some point I’ll write an entry dedicated just to Israel.

However, the day before I left was a huge milestone day for me. I had been in a not so great relationship for a while. It didn’t start out that way though. When we first started dating,5 years ago, he was a breath of fresh air. Someone who seemed to care about my well being and so concerned that he sometimes was a bit too clingy. But sometime in August/September that all changed. I knew moving would be hard on both of us and that we would both need to adjust. I chalked the first several months and outbursts up to adjustments. But, I still kept evidence…just in case.

You see, I’ve been in abusive relationships before and without tangible proof it becomes nearly impossible to convince yourself to leave. So, I promised myself that if I ever was put in a situation where I felt any type of abuse; physical,emotional,or verbal ; I would document it for security and safety,

By November after a trip to the Dominican it became very clear that it was not just an adjustment he was going through. He was going through a complete transformation. All he ever did was eat,sleep,jerk off ,and homework. He never wanted to go anywhere and would lock himself away when friends came over. He was annoyed any time I asked if he wanted to do something and would start the silent treatment for no apparent reason. There was one time where he completely ignored me for an entire week. It took me texting him and asking if he needed anything from the grocery store to have him talk to me. And even then it was minimal. I felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells- like I couldn’t even breathe too loud without pissing him off.

Then, one day, in late March/ early April something changed again. He started acting like his old goofy self. He wanted to go out to dinner, he wanted to hang out, he would order pizzas, and we would have tickle fights. I started feeling comfortable in the relationship again. But, deep down…I knew something was off. You don’t just change over night. I had this awful gut feeling and began to check on certain things. My fears were completely solidified when two friends texted me stating he had popped up on their Tinder accounts. At first, I wanted to brush it off and told myself he only had it because it was funny and entertaining. But then my friend Jenna brought me back to reality and we devised a plan. Jenna is a friend from the gym and since my ex never wanted to go with me he had never met her.This gave us the perfect opportunity.

So, Jenna and I set out to find out why he really had a Tinder. We asked him several questions and the responses just made me SICK. He lied his way through every question and, of course, conveniently forgot to mention the fact that he had a girlfriend. We screen shot everything to be on the safe side. Finally, it came time to confront him. Jenna had set up a date, but neither of us wanted to go. I couldn’t ask her to do something so intense- we were friends, but not that close.The ball was in my court on how this would be handled. So much of me waned to run and hide and pretend this wasn’t happening. Literally the night before my ex and I had talked about renewing our lease and now here I was-left with the decision on how to end things.

The day of the date arrived and I finally came to my decision.

Like the title states- Always do the thing that scares you. In this case the thing that scared me was solidifying that the person that I loved,through all of his flaws and even the abuse, was actually cheating on me after promising me for years that he would never stoop that low.There was no way I could do this alone, so my mother came up for the weekend.This also provided a witness should anything bad have happened and a mediator for later. We got to the coffee house about an hour early so I could have some tea to calm my nerves. As the minutes ticked by I was hoping and praying that he wouldn’t show up; that he actually had a biology study group meeting in Raritan. Unfortunately, 2 minutes past the designated meet time he walked in (late as usual). The waitress, not knowing what was going to happen, ended up seating him at the table right next to ours.

It took every fiber in me to not get up and slap him and cause on of the big movie drama scenes. It took every ounce of restraint for me to not cuss him out or yell right then and there. And most of all…it took all my strength and energy to keep from bursting into tears at the heartbreak as the reality set in. As he walked over I could see the shock and the quick dash of fear in his eyes and stamina. I got up, told him I’d see him at home, and left.

Once he finally came home  I had to drag him out of hiding and the real test started. Every question I asked him he answered with a lie or a snide comment. He had absolutely no remorse and even took it upon himself to call me worthless and nothing. Somehow, I had become the bad guy. After about 20 minutes of very forced conversation an agreement was reached and I thought I’d finally be able to breathe again.

Unfortunately, once I got back from my trip and started discussing the issue and that day in therapy I came to the even harder realization that he was extremely manipulative and abusive. It took all of the evidence I had gathered over 9 months and a professional to help drill that into my head. When I opened up to others about this (as that is part of the healing process) many met me with strong support and love. Sadly, a select few decided hate, anger, and cyber bullying were better tactics. I was called a liar, and a vapid loser who was upset because I had lost my meal ticket. I was told there was a special place in hell for me and that I was seeking attention. This struck me odd since I wasn’t the one lying and it’s hard to lose your meal ticket when you were the ones buying the groceries. For a while these comments definitely got to me and they just fueled my anger. I mean, seriously…why poke a bear with a stick?

At first I thought this relationship had cost me 4 friendships…but in reality, if someone is going to support an abuser and belittle you for being brave enough to speak your mind-they were never your friend to begin with. In total this relationship cost me 1 friendship- my ex’s. But that is one I am glad to be rid of.Toxic friendships and toxic relationships are something no one should ever have to deal with.

The past few months have been extremely difficult for me. I’ve had days of enraged anger and days of extreme sadness. I’ve lost hope for brief moments and on occasion have fallen into the idea of hating men. Trust is going to take a long time for me at this point. But, you have to do the thing that scares you.

I’m not ready to start dating again and have no plans to ever talk or befriend my ex again. I will NEVER forget what he did to me and what he put me through. But…I think I’m finally at the point where I can start to forgive him. It’s a scary thought because I know my heart is broken and it’s going to take a lot of time to heal. I know I’m not going to be better over night and that the anger and the tears aren’t going to stop anytime soon. But, I know deep down that somewhere inside that man is the person he used to be and that’s the person I can forgive.Forgiveness is just the first step in my own battle back to a mended heart. But…

Always Do The Thing That Scares You.