Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to Not Communicate Like a D*ck

Just because you don’t want to talk about it doesn’t mean that the “it” goes away.

Telling someone “it’ll be okay,” without working through their emotions with them doesn’t make them FEEL like it’s going to be okay. It feels like a dismissal.

Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make the other person’s feelings any less valid. Just because you don’t believe it doesn’t mean it isn’t true for them. By belittling their truth, you create a fissure when you have the opportunity to create a connection. You create disconnection, when you could be building trust.

Silencing yourself doesn’t make the inner chatter any less loud. This is where resentment comes to fester. Don't be a festering pool. Gross.

Life isn't always about what you want. People's emotions aren't always going to align with yours. Stop being a baby. Find a better way of cooperating.

Just fucking listen. If you don’t understand it’s probably because you aren’t hearing.

Communication is work. It takes accessibility and practice. It doesn’t happen magically. Stop acting inconvenienced by this being a fact. It’s a fact. Do work.

Disengaging is only helpful when; the other person is hurting you, you have a wretched sore throat, or you need time to process & articulate your feelings. All other times; dick move. If you need time, TELL THE PERSON YOU NEED TIME.

You're not always right. I know, it's a jagged little pill to swallow, Alanis said it first.

Try, with ALL YOUR MIGHT to keep your ego out of the picture. When someone is arguing with you it’s likely because they want to be heard, seen, and understood.  Above all, they’re fighting for something they care about- likely, that something is you. At the very least it’s something you both care deeply about, or there wouldn’t be an argument. Start there. Common ground is where you build from.

Communication has to be “solution based,” if you’re talking in circles you’re being a narcissist. Identify the issue and come up with solutions. If you’re not ready to solve it, stop talking about it.

You’re not perfect. Take responsibility. It takes two stones rubbing together to create friction. You’re a stone.

Consider the conversation ratio. How much have I been talking about myself and how much do I know about the person in front of me? If you feel like you just had a therapy session, you probably need to work on meeting in the middle.

For when you're already in the ring, essential Rules for Boxing: No hitting below the belt. Give time for the other person to get back on their feet when you make a jab. Make it a fair fight. "You cannot spit out your mouthpiece on purpose to get a rest." In other words; you don't get to bow out cause "you're tired." When you're in it, you're in it. Win. Lose. Truce. Go home.

Raising your voice isn’t necessary. But fuck, it happens and it usually happens when you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall. Whether you’re the Wall, or the Scream NOTICE your contribution to that reaction. Every action has a reaction, screaming is often one of those.

Suppressing emotion is like drinking poison. If you can’t tell someone how you feel, you probably need to find someone who you can.

...on the flip side, if you aren’t allowing someone to feel how they feel, where is your block coming from? Sticking your head in the sand, ignoring reality, or clamming up are detrimental to your health, happiness and overall emotional growth and intelligence.

SHOW EMOTION. Stoicism isn't always the remedy. Undeniably in life there are times when you have to bite your lip, power-through, and put your head to the wind....but in many cases stoicism is the opposite of strength.

Digest your anger before verbalizing it. Sweat it out, let is simmer, scream in the car... do not direct it towards a human. We are not made to be verbal punching bags. Once the anger has cooled THEN talk about where/why/how/solution.

Name the thing. Communicating shouldn’t be a sneak attack. If there’s something that needs to be laid out, call a time, find a table, lay it out. No side-swiping or shanking. Have the courage to deal with it head on.

Apologizing is gold. It is brave and it is golden. It doesn't make you foolish or weak for admitting your mistakes.

Covering everything with a  positive affirmation isn’t sure-fire alchemy. Validating the wound, the ache, the struggle is a part of the transformation towards goodness.

You can’t ignore the root truth with a cover-up. It always comes out. Cover-ups make people feel like you think they’re an asshole. Just get to it, be transparent, don’t play people for a fool.

Do everything with kindness in your heart. With pure love. With hope for a positive outcome. Where there’s aggression, or aversion the chances to find a peaceful solution is slim. Want for the best, for the happiness and wholeness of both parties, communicate with a pure heart, drama-free intent, and willingness to take responsibility. You will feel so. much. better.

How DO YOU communicate best?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

On habit breaking, tough love, and hard sh*t that looks like easy sh*t.

Breaking habits is scary.

I say scary, because; difficult, hard, challenging, aren’t the words. They are layers below the word, but the word itself that defines habit-breaking is SCARY. Think four-headed, hissing, oozing, spitting monster. The kind that towers above you, chases you down and then multiplies itself in dark alleyways, giving you no way out and running at you with a hatchet. Because that kind of monster would use a hatchet, it’s clunky and brutal and totally gratuitous. It’s that kind of scary. That kind of scary is how it feels to willfully, I choose “willfully,” because it takes serious WILL, a purposeful desire and intent; the sweaty, gritty, pushing through the discomfort kind of will, to take everything you know to be true and question it. The way you drive to work, your 6pm cocktail, your social circle, throwing on your trash reality show (hi, guilty, all the time- only sometimes sorry) when you have downtime because that’s just what you do and then to say, “Actually Self, you don’t do that anymore.” Self is like, but why I like that…

Self always has one million reasons why the habit/pattern they’re trying to break doesn’t want to be broken. Self says, but that’s how I relax. Then it goes on with a tirade, “I like that ::thing:: it upholds all of the other “things” I know about myself. It’s an essential part of the supporting cast in my story. That thing is what I do on Wednesday’s! What would Wednesday BE WITHOUT THAT THING?! Or, (personal favorite) that “thing” doesn’t go with this other “thing” that I really love, so I just cannottttt with that new “thing” you’re trying to push on me, mmkay? Put it away.

For example, I did this with the green juice movement a couple years ago. I was like get your juice and your blender and your Kale out of my face. It brought up a real charge in me, which through self-diagnosis, likely sprouted from roots of disordered eating and food obsession from my own past. It scared me to consider walking down a path of healthy juicing, out of fear of my own fragile issues surrounding food resurfacing. Resistance usually wields great wisdom and is most often, a spot that needs healing. Don’t run away from it and don’t keep pushing. Examine it. Find where your edges are, smooth if necessary...or, simply just know where you’re sharp so you don’t hurt yourself.

After dealing with the root of my judgement, “go fuck your kale,”  I recognized, hey, I like juice. Throw Kale into my smoothie any damn day and I’m into it.  How “extreme,” I take that into my life is up to me. In other words, drinking the juice doesn’t mean I can’t have a milkshake from In-N-Out, ya feel me? It doesn’t shake the core of other things I love, it just assists in my wellbeing and happiness.

Self has excuses galore on hand when it’s questioned. It is a well rehearsed monologue. The truth is, Self has already considered what would happen if it was stripped of its “truths,” and what would be left at the core. Self knows it uses “Things” 1-5 as pillars to support a way of being that is currently comfortable. Comfortable, unfortunately doesn’t always win you the gold medal you’re striving for. Comfortable doesn’t always feel good at first until it’s in your body. What may seem uncomfortable now, will be your favorite worn in pair of jeans three or four months from now.

Like. I’m not a morning person. I struggle to wake up before 9am. Yet, I am wildly ambitious and adore juicing the shit out of my day. I say I’m not a morning person….but am I not a morning person? I don’t fucking know. I just SAY that because I’ve formed a habit of being a night person. The habit didn’t come out of nowhere, it came out of working in the entertainment industry and enjoying night life; late shows, late calls, long days and so on. A habit or pattern absolutely develops from someplace and to stay up until 3am isn’t an insane reality, to me. Except, when I DO wake up by 6am… I really like the way I feel.

I enjoy feeling like I have more time than I even know what to do with.  To someone who, “juices the shit out of life,” that’s a pretty exhilarating new reality.

So, you don’t know what to do with the next 4 hours? Time to do one of the multitude of things you say you want to do but never have time for, ya bish. You have a whole goddamn Pinterest board of shit to bake! You have movies to make! You have friends to see. You have places to visit. You have workshops to attend, self-expansion, shiny new experiences and bonds to build.  You can watch your 11th episode of that one Bravo show, or you can get to bed a little earlier, have one less glass of wine and watch the sunrise, because that’s pretty fucking beautiful.

When you recognize places where habit-changing gives you more than you were getting with an old habit, it’s hard not to, with your best judgement at hand, consider other options. That doesn’t mean these changes are easy to make. It just means that there are options.  The Universe is a your personal buffet, take as much as you’d like and come back for more. You are not wedded to your habits, your circumstance or your rhythms.

Life, with consistent subtle alterations, shows you major transformation is an option. Again, to each their own, optional if desired.

It’s easy to get rid of or identify external toxicity and much harder to claim, own and purge internal toxicity. Breaking patterns, revising and editing. This is painful work, it takes claiming responsibility, being really fucking honest with yourself and slowly but surely shifting your steps.

For me; I want to feel more energized, have a consistent willingness to work on crazy inversions that look impossible, but I know would make me feel strong. I want to know what the morning sounds like before my brain starts demanding things of me. I want to consistently create great work and challenge myself to cross of those "Big Goals," by making mini-goals accessible. I want to actively nurture the new versions of myself that I’ve desired but didn’t know how to facilitate in the past; the one who is empowered, spiritually tuned in, master of her home, bad ass in the kitchen, solid hostess…. fulfilled adventuress. Vulnerable artist, willing to share work with the world, because she’s put the time and heart into making it. Consistently brave. Listening inwardly before validating herself outwardly. 

These things take change, new patterns, new realities. If you want something; to be seen a certain way, to be acknowledged for a specific type of work, or attribute… do it. make it. be it. If you aren’t there yet, as my dear friend Nicole said, “Are your habits supporting your goals?”

Take credit for the life that you’ve shaped and if you’re not comfortable signing your name on it, do some reshaping.

I love you, babes. I’m in your corner. I hope you’ll be in mine.



**If you haven't seen my newest project, here it is

Friday, December 6, 2013

On just being f*cking nice.

“They’re doing the best they can….” I said.

“Are they? Are the really doing the best that they can?.....” She said.

A question that clearly had answered itself in her mind, as she silently criticized atop her invisible pedestal. The response struck me. The way that a sudden side ache does, sharp, deep and unexpected. We watched as the line of people ahead of us sort of lethargically crossed off less than desirable items on their to-do list, mid-workday. Clearly crunched for time, while certain obligations trumped lunch breaks. One juggled a baby on her hip, feeding him convenience store snacks, begging the clerk to just “work with her” on a payment plan….while another languishly paced, looking down at the ground as if his presence was an apology, his jeans hanging one size too heavy, just like his heart.

I couldn’t see it any other way, they were doing the best they could. I reached back through my index of “this is the best I’ve fucking got,” moments and the mere memory of some made me cringe, considering outsiders were likely scrutinizing when all I needed was a little, nudge and a wink to remind me that this isn’t all of it. This is just a blink. When someone says, “You’re going to get through it,” or at the very least, “we’re going to make the best of it,” you start considering that maybe they’re telling you the truth. Just as when someone fears for you, you think, “well maybe they know something I don’t.” Because, truly, even at the pit of despair, something in us and outside of us wants to believe that it gets better. That finding joy and levity is accessible, not mutually exclusive.

They were doing the best they could. There's a sort of meanness sweeping beneath the surface of our interactions, that we forget from being do disconnected with a screen in front of us how to treat human beings when we’re face to face. When we compare our BEST with the best of others, we’ve already missed the assignment.

Doing the best you can sometimes means getting from point A to point B in one piece. Or remembering to brush your damn hair. Sometimes the best you've got is simply showing up. When you're thriving and firing on all cylinders, flawlessly juggling and feeling like you've finally figured something out...is the time to be even more humble, even more gracious and empathetic. We can all do better, be better, work harder, or do the internal work to get there...but in doing all of that and thinking we are better than anyone else negates all of the above.

People respond to kindness. We’re craving it. We want to share and like and comment when we see something that makes our hearts swell. We just don’t always know how to take our craving for tenderness into the 3D realm. It’s too vulnerable, it’s too, for lack of a better term fragile. To express your desire for basic humanity and sympathy requires a certain level of exposure and sincerity….in a digital time when everything can be manipulated before sharing, exposure and sincerity without a fourth wall feels entirely too powerless for most. So, the cycle perpetuates itself.

Disclaimer: Now, don't think that by being kind means being a doormat either, my friends. Respond with fierceness where necessary. Being kind is not to be confused with being naive, or powerless. ( Unkind people, take note.)

We’ve all done it, more unconsciously than not, when you go out into public and place judgement as a defense mechanism, or as a way to connect on the lowest frequency. Jokes at the expense of others. Misery looking for company to drag down and snuggle up to. Posture for the sake of making people believe we actually have our shit together, more than they do of course. Separation is the simple most unaccountable stance we can take to avoid action, responsibility and empathy.

It's so easy to unknowingly react with judgment on a daily basis and it's these individual interactions, on a singular level that either make people feel good or keep people down.

Be gentle, look people in the eye. Consider that perhaps they’re just going through something and they’ve been somewhere, just like we have. Acknowledge; I feel you, I get it, I SEE YOU, I hear what you’re saying….I understand, you’ll be okay. You don’t have to throw yourself into a tornado of drama, or try to individually mend everyones problems- you don’t have to get involved, period. We figure out our shit when we we’re ready to. Just be supportive, just be kind. Reserve your judgement and consider it a signal that there may be some part of you that could use some softening or healing, too.

I think we could all handle just a little more love this holiday season. Kiss, kiss.

What kindness have you witnessed lately?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

YOGA: Centering, Sobbing and Balancing on Your Eyelashes. Or something like it.

Photo: Noelle Beaugureau 

“There’s no value in digging shallow wells in a hundred places. Decide on one place and dig deep. Even if you encounter a rock, use dynamite and keep going down. If you leave that to dig another well, all the first effort is wasted and there is no proof you won’t hit rock again. ” 

As a sort of unconscious rule to myself, I've refrained from professing my absolute enchantment and love affair with yoga on this blog. Bear with me. I've sprinkled it in here and there, then I consider readers and think, "if I didn't practice yoga, why would I give a fuck?" I mean, right? I don't read running blogs, because I don't run. I don't read food blogs, because I don't cook. You get what I'm saying. The reason that I decided to share what I would generally save as a draft, a morning page, or personal declaration is because, after actually READING a bevy of running blogs and perusing a handful of food blogs, I realize that it isn't about the actual act of running or cooking. It isn't about the ACT of the physical postures or activity, it's about the transformations that occur to the individual experiencing them. It isn't the stride, it's the determination, it isn't the ingredient, it's the creation, the patience.... the growth and nourishment of a thing. As the Sutra above says, it's in the digging, the staying in once place and going deeper, and deeper and deeper, the acceptance of endless growth. Whichever way you may come to it. 

For me, yoga is the soil, from which all creative and emotional vegetation can flourish in abundance. Without the soil the representation of who I am as an individual would be stunted. The branches of my life; my music, writing, acting, adventures...wouldn't grow out as fully with buds to abundant and flowering so vibrant. There's no separation between my practice and the contents of my life, the two are wildly synchronized.

I say wild because, reason number two I've kept my cosmic little love affair hushed is there's a sort of stigma, if you will, attached to one claiming to be a yogi; Do yogis get angry? Do they think they're 'better than'? Do yogis ever get DOWN? Do yogis have a true grasp on reality or are they just climbing a tree somewhere talking to butterflies and bathing their crystals in sunlight? Well. Yes. I do talk to butterflies. And crystals are fucking awesome....however, I recognize that yoga is very much a balancing act, a reminder of the interconnectedness of all emotional shades.

I comfortably embrace the human experience and emotions of anger or ego, confusion and missteps. It's just that with yoga I can come back to something that reminds me of the truth when I've temporarily forgotten. Or rage out.

Ephemeral and everlasting. Totally messy, sobbing in Pigeon or fiercely dancing in Natarajasana atop a Demon, (demon: illusion, ignorance, ego) conquering it with an open heart and balance. The entirety of yoga embraces the paradoxes of life and as yogis, I can accept that we are all parts dark and light.

When I practice I remember, the way we store stories in our hips, is the way we store history in our hips. Our love song to our matriarchs. The same curves the women who birthed us did....Our hips are a tribute to our tribe, to our lineage and the place where we came from, a year ago and a century ago. Whether narrow, or wide, open or closed, they store our present emotional landscape and our ancestral chronicles. Hips are made for dancing, swinging, resting, beguiling...they're the most neglected and the most primary aspect of our practice and our hearts.

When I practice I remember, that there are centers in our bodies with all the answers. The gut. The heart. The third eye. That anything we've needed to know, or are calling upon for guidance is never external....the answers are in our very tissue, bones, blood. The fibers and layers that move us through this experience, beyond the physical. With practice I find that the answer is just below the surface of this shell.

When I practice I remember, there is no better indicator to the strength of your mind than to ask it to do something physically challenging. The stronger your practice becomes, the stronger your mind. The more I doubt my ability to do something, the more necessary I know it is to overcome that doubt.... the physical practice is a microcosm of what is possible in the other areas of my life. Manifesting my fortitude through discomfort physically, allows me to endure with grace whatever happens beyond my control outside of the studio.

When I practice I remember, that everything can be basic, or we can make it complex. That one posture has a million layers. And sometimes, the fundamentals of a posture are enough for the day. The vanilla is good. The raw form, superb. The simplicity, ideal. Not every day calls for the extra push, the inversion or twist....some days need to be simplified. Some "life moments" need only to be organic and pure. The layers never go away.... MORE is always an option, however, it's a better option if you already have a healthy relationship with "simple."

When I practice I remember, that to be in Tree Pose, we all root down the same way, with the same four corners; the expression in which our branches take is individual to us.

When I practice I remember that breath is the antidote to resistance.

You are the Goddess of your flow, the High Priestess of your intention, the Warrior in your story, the only. single. thing there is. Your gaze, or "Drishti," keeps your eyes on your own mat, no different than in life. The instant you're concerned with someone else's "dancer" is the instant you sabotage your own. You only falter, only waiver, only lose your center when you go outside of yourself to find it. 

When I practice I remember that we churn, twist and bend. That there is an innate animalistic sensuality and fierceness in all of us that sometimes just needs a little opening. That BREATHING feels good, that staying when you want to flee is gratifying after the fact, and that our body is built to experience pleasure. 

To every action there is a reaction, to every open there is a close. To every inward turn there is an outward motion. That everything we do is circular, entirely interconnected and ONE.

When I'm uncomfortable I remember, that certain struggles exist for a reason....it's not the struggle itself, or the resistance, because the physicality of discomfort dissipates and changes. It's in our perception of the discomfort that we're able to find the growth and ease. By looking at the struggle that is innate when putting your body, or our spirit, through a series of foreign movements through the lens of acceptance, resolve and courage we're able to see the tension as a powerful gift and transcend it.

Most importantly, I remember that everything should begin and end with a prayer and that that prayer is right in the very center of your being. Your heart. Nowhere else. Wherever you go it's right there with you.

Whether it's yoga, running....painting, dancing.... however you find your CENTER is perfect, as long as you're intent on finding and nurturing it. Centered and spicy as always, nama-fucking-ste.


Monday, October 7, 2013

The Anatomy of F*cking Up and What Happens Thereafter.....

“I tell you this

to break your heart,

by which I mean only

that it break open and never close again

to the rest of the world.”

Mary Oliver

Oh hey, Humans….never underestimate your ability to fuck up. September was my self titled Month of Purging. Peeling back layers, cleaning “emotional house,” and throwing out spiritual junk that had built up, as a result of my actions and the reactions following them. In other words, thank God it’s October. Fall is always rich grounds for letting things die so newness can flourish in its place.

See, I’ve always been the person that would say, “I would never do that.” I would never do. that. As if my actions, or opinions were never going to be influenced by circumstance. Or timing and lessons beyond “my” plan. Unfortunately, it isn’t always up to US how we grow, or what form a lesson comes in. For myself, I always took pride in my ability to say that things are either BLACK or WHITE and that any shade of “gray” was for the weak hearted. For me, having this sort of loyal-to-a-fault, immovable, hardheaded (if you will)...what-I-think-to-be-true-is-even-if-it-isn’t mentality worked. It worked for me for about 25 years, mostly. Until I looked a little bit closer and realized that the same mentality, while coming from the place of a desire to protect myself, or my family, my friends….also led me to pushing away people, emotions and experiences that could have potentially softened my heart and aided in my own personal growth and the growth in my relationships. Or my life.

For each time that I was incapable of putting myself in another persons shoes and for every time I threw stones at another person’s morality, life choices, way of being or doing, for every time that I said, “I could never….” or “What kind of person does that…” I pointed fingers while never considering that we are imperfect for REASONS…. and that perhaps, part of my journey somewhere down the line would lead me to doing, or being the exact things that I have judged in others. And that if we could all find a little forgiveness and truly scan the inner landscape of where and why we’re so intent on our convictions, that maybe, we would be able to realize that we are capable of (for lack of a better term, or a more honest one) fucking. UP. YES, YOU TOO.

When I chose not to like your boyfriend, at the expense of our friendship….pushing you away until you realized you deserved better….that wasn’t actually about YOU at all. What I should’ve been able to realize is, your journey is yours to have….my only job is to be your unconditional, supportive and emotionally present friend. It’s not my job to create detours, roadblocks, modifications or directions to your map. While I may be a part of that journey, I’m not traveling the full road with you.

Maybe you’re the best girlfriend, best friend, Mother, Father, Student….you name it, that there is. And guess what? You’re going to slip, you’re going to fall; you’ll forget someone’s birthday, turn an important document in late, find that you aren’t very present when your loved one is speaking, take someone for granted, realize you have feelings for someone a friend of yours dated, neglected your responsibilities…. yikes, right? Right. Fucking. Yikes. It happens.

When we’re learning the tools that make up a “good person,” we don’t consider that within that bag of tools is our ability to also learn resilience, atonement, THE ANATOMY OF APOLOGIZING; admitting, grieving and moving forward and most importantly granting yourself grace for your missteps. This part you have to do alone.

I promise you, when you hurt someone it will hurt you, even if it doesn’t immediately and eventually, you will lay at their feet paying penance. Upon which may or may not be received…..and that, the kneeling, the remorse and the accepting responsibility is just as important a lesson as the steps you take after. Whether you can repair what’s been broken or not, you know now how you broke it, how difficult it is to put back together and how precious the thing actually was. So that next time, you’ll handle it with just a little more caution and care.

Doing something “bad,” doesn’t make you bad. So when you find yourself brutalizing yourself for your past decisions; the times you talked too fucking much, couldn’t let it go, crossed a line, made a selfish or impulsive decision…..you made a mistake. What matters is how you go forward.  How you proceed, how you RELEASE and how you DO from here on…..

The one thing I’ve learned for certain is this; lying to protect someone essentially causes the exact wound you’re trying to shield them from. I’ve learned that forgiveness is the only thing that makes a heart light and that the hardest person to forgive will most always be yourself. I’ve learned that the things we most love about ourselves are also the things we most loathe and that there’s a fine line, you control, between where you focus and feed your energy to live in the goodness.

I’ve learned that looking behind us simply stops us from seeing what’s ahead. That moving forward has to be a conscious and active choice. That “I’m sorry,” is best received when looking into someones eyes, that true friendships always prevails….as does love and that in the end, everything works out just perfectly. So take a breath…. and carry on.