So much gratitude for my “birthday moon” tonight, as a friend called it – the most beautiful, bright, full moon – to close out my 30th year and welcome in a new one. I am back in Wyoming, where the solace of wide open space speaks most clearly to my heart right now, and I …
I can’t seem to keep my nose out of any of Brené Brown’s books lately (or her TED talk, or her two episodes on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday), and I recently came across this in her book, Daring Greatly: “Joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we …
One thing I will always know for sure: Hawaii is SO good for the soul, and a big ol’ piece of my heart still lives there. I returned last week from a rejuvenating visit to the islands and feel like I’m still floating from my experience at the four day Wanderlust Festival on Oahu’s North …
“Life is unfolding as it should.” One of my high school English teachers, Mrs. Hargreaves, said that in class one day and I never forgot it. I remember writing it in the margin of my notebook and I still find much comfort in it to this day. I’m currently obsessed with Ben Howard’s album, Every …
Today, in a little coffee shop in East Vancouver, I was inspired. My cousin’s partner Jeff is an extremely gifted and accomplished composer. He has written music for over 75 dance, theater and film productions in Canada and abroad, and is an integral member of the Vancouver theater community. Being, of course, that his work …
So much gratitude for my “birthday moon” tonight, as a friend called it – the most beautiful, bright, full moon – to close out my 30th year and welcome in a new one. I am back in Wyoming, where the solace of wide open space speaks most clearly to my heart right now, and I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
Grateful, as always, for the journey, and the reminders from nature that there is never a better “there” than “right here, right now.” Breathe it in! Let go of the stuff that isn’t serving you. Keep moving forward.
“In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest.” A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”
~ Eat, Pray, Love
“This looks like possibility,” said my friend Sheila.
I can’t seem to keep my nose out of any of Brené Brown’s books lately (or her TED talk, or her two episodes on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday), and I recently came across this in her book, Daring Greatly:
“Joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. Scarcity culture may keep us afraid of living small, ordinary lives, but when you talk to people who have survived great losses, it is clear that joy is not a constant. Without exception, all the participants who spoke to me about their losses, and what they missed the most, spoke about ordinary moments. “If I could come downstairs and see my husband sitting at the table and cursing the newspaper…” ”If I could hear my son giggling in the backyard…” “My mom sent me the craziest texts – she never knew how to work her phone. I’d give anything to get one of those texts right now.” ”
In the world of Facebook, social media, and celebrity obsessed culture, it’s easy to get the feeling that our lives don’t compare, that we’re missing out on exciting things, that we’re not traveling enough, or doing enough, or living BIG enough.
But the truth is, the living BIG is usually found in the SMALL.
Those ordinary moments might not even be obvious to us, because they are so much a part of our everyday routines. How your husband leaves you notes on the fridge……the way your girlfriend never puts the cap back on the toothpaste….the sound of your neighbor’s laugh……or your kids playing……grandma’s phone calls…..walks with your mom…….your coworker’s corny jokes……the cat scratching at the door…..nestling into that cozy pocket of the couch for your favorite program.
They are little, ordinary, everyday things. Things we probably don’t even know we’ll miss until they’re gone.
But let’s try. Let’s allow ourselves to see those ordinary moments of joy now. Let’s lean in harder to them. Let’s let them make us laugh and cry and be overwhelmed with beautiful gratitude.
One thing I will always know for sure: Hawaii is SO good for the soul, and a big ol’ piece of my heart still lives there.
I returned last week from a rejuvenating visit to the islands and feel like I’m still floating from my experience at the four day Wanderlust Festival on Oahu’s North Shore. I’ve been wanting to attend Wanderlust since it began, so when I heard the festival was going to Oahu, I knew I had to get there. Yoga, sunshine, ocean, music, beach, surf, nature, dancing, good people – all at Turtle Bay Resort, a place that has become so special to me in the last few years – I couldn’t miss this one for the world! And seriously, mama needed her tan back anyway Thanks to cheap airfare, my wonderful, hospitable friends in Hawaii, and a volunteer gig with the festival, I was able to make it all happen and I am so grateful that I did!
What I found so special about Wanderlust was simply being surrounded by other yogis – other sweet souls who find strength, solace, and connection on the mat, who appreciate the journey, savor simple moments, and aren’t afraid to get vulnerable and look inward. People who love to play and appreciate nature, and who know that while we’re all at unique stages in our journeys in yoga and in life, that we are all very much in this together. It is a beautiful community, an awesome gathering and also just one heck of a kickass party! I like to surround myself with that kind of energy because it fires me up. It keeps me dreaming and motivated to conquer my big goals in life. I feel alive, inspired and present. And isn’t that the point of this whole life thing? “Do what feels good for you.” Something you hear a lot in yoga classes. Actually I am reminded of this quote and I think it sums up nicely why many of us are drawn to Wanderlust.
The spirit of Wanderlust is powerful! And there we were, our feet literally on the ground, outside on the grass at Kuilima Point, surrounded by the ocean and swaying palms, breathing in the sweet Hawaiian breeze (or gale force winds, whatevah!) and practicing yoga in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
I could go on and on about Wanderlust Oahu but here are a few of my personal highlights:
Taking a class with Wanderlust co-creater Schuyler Grant, hopping in the ocean for a swim, and then taking another class with the amazing Blissologist Eoin Finn. Holy endorphins Batman.
Groovin’ to DJ Drez and live music in every class. So awesome.
Grabbing a seat at the pool bar at sunset for a pint of my favorite Blue Moon and making fast friends with Noelle, a yoga teacher from New Jersey who taught me I can actually throw my yoga mat in the washing machine to give it an extra thorough cleaning every now and then. Who knew! (I tried it, works like a charm).
Reuniting on the beach with my girl Taylor from NYC that I haven’t seen in six years, who teaches yoga now and rocks acro like nobody’s business.
Kickin’ it backstage with Zach Gill and the guys of ALO, some of the nicest guys on the planet. Not gonna lie, my volunteer assignment was pretty sweet!
Dancing to Michael Franti‘s ‘Sound of Sunshine” and “Life is Better with You” under the stars.
Savoring the MAGIC that was Zoe Pappas’ Open Heart class. Favorite class of the whole festival. Amazing!
Beginning the day sipping tea by the ocean with the beautiful soul that is Leslie Schipper
Meeting Carlin from Ohio beside me in one class and then randomly finding ourselves next to each other in another class the next day. A class of like 300 people! Crazy universe.
Taking classes with a couple hundred people! I’ve never experienced breathing and flowing with that many people in one space. It is the biggest, most beautiful dance. Major goosebumps.
Waking up every morning with a sweet soreness and reminder that I am ALIVE!
Gettin’ down on the dance floor at Surfer Bar with life force Jacki Carr, warrior Ironwoman Steph Corker and the Lululemon tribe from LA.
Enjoying the entire festival with my best girl Kelsey B., from start to finish – thai partner yoga massage class, Kuhuku lunches and all.
Getting to know some of the talented and fun Wanderlust staff that work so hard to make this festival what it is.
Ending the weekend with the most relaxing restorative Yin class with surfer/yogi extraordinaire Gerry Lopez.
Capturing this beautiful moment in time from Kuilima point:
So much gratitude for an AMAZING weekend full of yoga love, connection and sweet aloha in the islands. This one’s going out to you Zoe Pappas!
“Life is unfolding as it should.” One of my high school English teachers, Mrs. Hargreaves, said that in class one day and I never forgot it. I remember writing it in the margin of my notebook and I still find much comfort in it to this day.
I’m currently obsessed with Ben Howard’s album, Every Kingdom, and the funny thing is that I’ve been falling in love with Howard’s sweet voice for some time, and didn’t really put the pieces together until now. I posted this video on my blog in May, 2011, which is his song, ‘Old Pine,’ but I guess at the time, I never bothered to look up any of his other music.
This past November I was at the Starbucks in Honolulu airport, on my way home and heard a song playing with the lyrics, “Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.” I remember feeling like such a dork fumbling with my bags and my tea to get my phone out so I could Shazam it before it ended. I needed to know whose voice that was and who wrote those lyrics! I hit the button in time to see it was a musician named Ben Howard. I made a mental note to look him up later, but never did.
A couple of weeks ago my cousin Kate posted a song, ‘Only Love,’ on Facebook by a musician she’s digging named Ben Howard. Still didn’t compute, but I loved the song and wanted to hear more. I looked up Ben Howard. I found ‘Old Pine,’ recognized it and went archiving in my blog. Suddenly it all clicked. I immediately downloaded the album on Itunes and then discovered ’Keep your Head up.’ I checked my Shazam history, and it all made me smile. Oh, sweet universe.
And really, it’s some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. I’m listening to it as I write this.
My point here, is that it took a good long while for this album to find its way into my life in its entirety. I heard bits and pieces and I was obviously drawn to it, but for whatever reason it all didn’t come together until now.
Life is unfolding as it should, said Mrs. Hargreaves.
In many ways, this past year has involved me reminding myself to “Keep my head up, keep my heart strong” every single day. My love story came to an abrupt end and I was left questioning everything. How do I keep my heart strong when it’s broken? How do I move on? How do I ever trust again? What did I do wrong? And why, oh why, is life unfolding like this?
I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. But I am trying to live the crap outta the questions over here, Rilke.
It’s been a heart wrenching year full of uncertainty. I had tough, anger filled moments and days. I physically couldn’t do heart opening poses in my yoga classes without an overwhelming feeling that I was going to pass out every time. I cried on my mat more times than I’d like to admit. I felt betrayed by my own heart and my own gut for leading me to what felt like a dead end. I scornfully dismissed certainty and wrote things like this.
I wanted a Shazam button for my life.
WHY? *push button*
But you carry on. You do your best. You keep your head up. You try to be kind and gentle with yourself. You breathe. You find a home in yoga. You let yourself feel. You lean where you need to. You keep going. You pack your bags for a ranch in Wyoming because you know you need the wilderness and wide open space.
Like finding a song here and a song there, you take the bits and pieces of the journey as they come, as the universe presents them to you. And you know, as Rilke says, that you will live your way into the answers one day, when you’re ready. Then you will smile and again say, Oh, sweet universe.
Until then, you know that the greatest love story of all, is really the one entirely made up of you, so you put your whole heart into writing that one.
I love LOVE. Whether your heart is broken, healing, or swooning this Valentine’s Day, THIS grateful, beating heart of mine over here is sending yours some big love and a sweet reminder that it’s all unfolding as it should.
Today, in a little coffee shop in East Vancouver, I was inspired.
My cousin’s partner Jeff is an extremely gifted and accomplished composer. He has written music for over 75 dance, theater and film productions in Canada and abroad, and is an integral member of the Vancouver theater community.
Being, of course, that his work is largely done behind the scenes, it has been over 20 years since Jeff has actually performed for an audience. So when a friend who was opening a coffee shop in his neighborhood asked if he would play the piano at their grand opening, Jeff was hesitant. But he agreed.
So as the rain poured down today, a small crowd of people gathered in this little coffee shop - some there for the music, and some just lucky enough to have chosen this spot for their afternoon coffee or tea. Jeff fumbled over his notes and equipment, did a little nervous rambling, and humbly revealed that he was quite anxious to be playing in front of people again.
I was so inspired in that moment by his courage to get up there and do something that challenged him, that made him sweat, that probably made his heart beat a little harder, a little faster in his chest.
Of course, his passion for music is so obvious and once he got playing, he was in another world, and he took us all there too.
I am grateful for the reminder of how good performance art is for the soul. How important it is to turn the electronics off, leave the smart phone at home for an afternoon and go see a play, go to the ballet, listen to live music, go to a museum or an art gallery, or a poetry slam (Those are fun!).
And I am grateful for Jeff and his reminder to do the things that make our palms sweat and our hearts thump a little louder.
It’s Saturday night at my parent’s house and we’re having a pulled pork Packers party, cheering for our beloved team in the playoffs. I plop down right next to my sister on the couch. “Owwww!” she cries grabbing her arm and glaring at me, “That hurt, your jeans scratched me!” She swats me. It’s my turn, “Ow!” How old are we? Some things never change. We turn our attention to football and stay happily squished together in the corner of the couch. We cheer, we laugh, we eat pulled pork, we drink wine. Fighting one minute, two happy squished little sister bugs the next. Our team loses, but it’s ok. I roll onto the family room floor and whine to Nicole about how sore I am from our first run of the year the other night. With that, she joins me on the floor and begins to stretch and massage my legs. My sister is in school for massage therapy, and let me tell you, this girl is going to be one kickass RMT. I listen to her intricately explain about the muscles and tendons and all the science as she works on me. Frankly, it sounds like gibberish and I wish I understood half of it. Her knowledge is astounding, and in that moment, I am so freakin’ proud of my little sister. I love how she lights up when she talks about all things massage therapy, health and naturopathy. She has found her gig. She is rockin’ it out in a very intense program because she loves it, and is working her butt off.
Today my little sister turns 26 years old. Seems like just yesterday she was learning how to walk on the trampoline (true story). This girl can make me laugh harder than anyone I know and she rocks a mullet like nobody’s business. She is intelligent, wacky, creative, and has one of the biggest, most generous, sensitive hearts I’ve ever known. You might hear her freestyle rap if you’re lucky. She is on board for the messy, thrilling journey and knows the ups and downs are what make it full and rich with color. She finds joy in the little things and knows how to laugh at herself. She is a true lover of life, and really just one of my favorite people in the whole world.
Happy Birthday Nicoley-Bowley, I am grateful for beautiful YOU and I love you so much!
I just returned from three glorious weeks of work and fun on the ranch, and needless to say, Brush Creek covered under a blanket of snow is magical. Here are some of my favorite shots. My Instagram photos can also be viewed here. Hope everyone had a beautiful holiday. xo
Tonight I pulled out an article I wrote for the local newspaper when I was sixteen. I was on a high school internship and my assignment was to write a “News Views” piece. I chose to write about the mass shooting at Columbine high school that had happened days before. In the article, I grappled with the obvious questions of WHY and HOW.
Tonight, now 30 years old, I sit in front of my computer grappling with the exact same questions after the heartbreaking murder of 20 innocent children and six adults today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In the thirteen years since Columbine, there have been over 40 school shootings in the United States.
Over 40 times, someone has walked into a school with a gun and murdered innocent people.
I was consumed with this devastating tragedy today. My heart bled for the parents and families and children I saw on the news coverage. The unimaginable thought of those parents dropping their little ones off at school today, where they would build gingerbread houses, and then never seeing those little faces and bright eyes again. Twenty tiny, innocent angels that won’t get to have Christmas with their families this year, that won’t get to play, and grow up, and go on adventures, and fall in love, and have children of their own. Their beautiful lives were stolen from them.
It is too much to comprehend.
It is heart wrenching.
It isn’t fair.
I watched my Twitter and Facebook feed as people reacted. Words of shock and sadness, words of condolence, words of anger, words encouraging silence and reverence for lives lost, heated words of argument over politics and gun control laws.
We are all heartbroken and we are all reacting, but I know none of us want any more innocent lives lost to tragic events like this. There is not one answer to the WHY’S and the HOW’s. These are muddy waters. Yes, I believe restricting access to firearms will help, but this also goes SO much deeper than that. Mental health issues, bullying; we need to get to the root of these people’s pain before they decide to deal with it themselves by (easily) buying a weapon and committing a mass murder. In my opinion, not allowing these guns to be readily available to these unstable and vulnerable people is number one on the agenda right now.
Of all the words I read today, I think Mayor Bloomberg’s are important to share:
With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it’s still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.”
We MUST act. We must BE a part of the change we wish to see in the world. Don’t be silent. Don’t leave it up to everyone else to get it sorted out. Let’s DO something to help. And let’s be kind to one another, because that is where it all starts.
As said in a Washington Post article: So don’t just pray, don’t just hug, don’t just post on social media how sad it all is, don’t just watch the news and say “what can you do, these things happen.” Take a stand, write a letter, donate to an anti-gun lobby, start a petition do something do anything to say enough is enough and we will not tolerate one more dead child, one more lost life and any more excuses for inaction.
Tonight my heart is with those that lost their lives today, and their families and loved ones. May you rest in peace little angels.
One of the best things about the Christmas season, in my opinion, is that there is a lot more board game and card playing. Some favorites in my family are Apples to Apples, Scrabble, Gin Rummy, Cribbage, Mexican Train Dominos, and Monopoly. We’re particularly serious about our gin rummy, holding full scale tournaments at family reunions.
It got me reminiscing about playing Monopoly as a little girl with my grandpa in Wisconsin. My brother and I would set up the board in my grandparent’s cozy den and I would choose the dog as my playing piece every time. Ryan picked the race car (adrenalin junkie in the making) and Grandpa alternated between the battleship, horse and rider, and the top hat (Navy man, classic Western film lover, and stylish gentleman, naturally). I’m not sure what the dog says about me, but as a little girl, it was the cutest little guy of the bunch. For the record, my younger sister Nicole wasn’t around yet, but once she got in on the action, I seem to recall little trolls and outsiders sneaking onto the board (outside-the-box thinker that one is).
To this day, I laugh about playing Monopoly with my grandpa because he showed no mercy, not even to his cute little granddaughter. He is a wise and savvy businessman and he played fair, but tough, no matter whom his competition was. It was all good fun for me until he wiped me clean of my money and I found myself eliminated from the game. As I said, there were no exceptions to the rules for cute granddaughters. I would whine that it wasn’t fair and cry tears of envy because Ryan was still in the game. “That’s the game my dear,” Ralph would say, “Someone has to win and someone has to lose.” With that, they would go on playing and I would put my little dog back in the box and mope around until Grandpa inevitably won, with his empire of hotels across the board.
Of course I went on to improve over the years, beating Grandpa cool-handedly in various games, though I don’t think I ever actually beat him at Monopoly. He’s the king. And I still marvel at his knack for knowing what cards are in my hand in gin rummy.
I love you Grandpa. Thank you for teaching me the value of a dollar, how to lose gracefully, and to always respect my opponents.
I love you. I really do. Even in all your wintery, grey, sulky dreariness. Or at least I’m trying. I’m embracing this never ending rain to the best of my ability. I’m running in it. I’m splashing in the puddles in my rain boots every day on the walk to yoga. I’m sittin’ cozy by the fire watching it trickle down the windows. I’m enjoying the sound of it when I go to sleep…..aaaaaand when I wake up. It’s lovely. It really is……
Until it’s not.
Until I’m enveloped in thick grey soup for weeks on end, without a hint of sunshine, or a bright sky for that matter. A bright sky! A lighter shade of grey even! That’s all I ask.
I’m really trying not to be a pussy here Vancouver, but you’re testing me. I want to be a good Canadian – a good, tough Canadian in the Pacific Northwest rainforest. And I get it, this is you. I’ve known you my whole life. You’ve always been this moody, and you make us truly appreciate those sunny days when they come around. And your rain keeps everything beautiful and green. Trust me, I’m well aware of all the gloriousness of rain. We’re all dancing in it and all that shit. We’re doing everything in it actually.
Around this time last year, I wrote this blog, reviewing my top ten favorite movies of the year. I don’t think I’ve even seen ten films this year, let alone be able to pick favorites! That whole living in the middle of nowhere thing put me a little behind, and I have yet to ever download a movie to my computer. Anyway, I have a ton of films on my ‘to see’ list, and one of those was Silver Linings Playbook which I saw the other day. I find movie reviews/synopses to be a good and challenging writing exercise, (the key for me is not to read any other reviews or I’m screwed) so here are some words on this one.
Bradley Cooper stars as Pat Solitano, a teacher who spends some time in a mental institution following the breakdown of his marriage (she cheated, he went berserk, and discovers that he’s had a bipolar disorder his whole life). Upon his premature release from the hospital thanks to his mother’s efforts, Pat returns to his parents house with a new lease on life and a determined plan to get his ex-wife back, despite a restraining order. “If you stay positive,” he tells his therapist, “You have a shot at a silver lining.” Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver play Pat’s parents, quirky in their own right and doing their best to keep Pat reigned in. De Niro is endearing and funny as Pat’s father, a bookie, who is in denial about his own OCD, particular surrounding his gameday rituals for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Enter Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, in what will likely be an Oscar nominated performance), a neighbor that Pat gets set up with, who is recovering from her husband’s death and is as equally medicated and angry at the world as Pat. He resists the relationship at first, but comes around when Tiffany proposes a deal: she’ll pass on a letter from Pat to his ex-wife if he agrees to be her partner in a dance competition. What ensues is a hilarious climactic entanglement of football bets and a dancing competition that leaves you rooting for all involved. It’s an unconventional love story that reminds us that at the end of the day, we’re all a little bit crazy, and that’s ok.
While the buzz is surrounding Lawrence’s performance, I think Cooper is the underdog here and deserves a nod as well. It’s a challenging role and he carries the film well.