Diversifying My Intake

When Mary Oliver passed, I remember just how much I loved her writing, which spoke to a deep place in me. The first of her offerings that really pulled my breath away and took me inside to a place of old memory was The Summer Day (of course)...

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down --
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Isn't that the first one to draw many of us in? But it took me immediately to summer at my childhood home, it felt warm and safe, but also full of charge for my life ahead.

It was When Death Comes though that brought me back with her passing to the wonder not just of her poetry, but poetry in general.

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world

This was the one that sent me scurrying to buy, not only one of her books (with the complete intention of marking it and dogearing it with abandon and no remorse), but also more books of poetry and stories of that form in general. But I wanted to be intentional here, I wanted to bring not just voices that felt familiar to my own, but ones that spoke of experiences I never had and cultures that aren't my own.

I ended up with an absolutely inspiring collection of amazing writings. Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and Junk by Tommy Pico.

Keep an eye out in the weeks ahead as I share more of my favorites. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do!


Growth and Changes

When I was a brand new yoga teacher, looking for my first gig, I started searching all over and stumbled on an opening with the city looking for instructors of all varieties. In September of 2016, four months after my teacher training ended, I auditioned with two fitness supervisors and was hired. I started subbing later that month, and in November of that year I added a regular class. It was supposed to be temporary. I was filling in for a teacher going on maternity leave, but she ended up not taking the class back and over two years later... well, time flies!

[Note: technically this wasn't my first hire, I did get hired on at a small space about 45 minutes away in August, but after a month they closed and it never became anything.]

January of 2017, I auditioned for and got my regular Sunday night Restorative class at my home studio, which was so wonderful. It felt good to teach at the place I learned to teach! In March of 2017, I added a second class with the city on Tuesday nights. It was a different rec center, a different style, and I was nervous! But if I've learned anything since becoming a teacher, its that you do the most growth when you push into the slightly scary spaces! 

In June of last year I added an Align 2-3 class at my home studio. In October, I started subbing at another studio that I practiced at regularly and love, and added twice a week classes while I covered for a friend on maternity leave. In November, I added a regular private class. With the addition this month of a third class at my home studio, I knew it was time to let go of my Tuesday night city class.

What a decision this was! Just under two years with that class. I loved it, the students (a number of which had been with me since day 1!), my supervisor... but the drive was long, the timing was hard (rush hour traffic), and it was another night away from my family. With the addition of new classes closer to home, it became time to transition away.

My last class was this past Tuesday night. It was sad to let go, sadder then I realized it would be (lets see how crazy next Tuesday night feels!), but I'm so excited for where these new classes will take me. I definitely feel like they have a lot to teach me and will help me grow as a teacher. Here's to growth and change, even when hard!


So Grateful

While I may not want to have any more of my own babies, there is absolutely nothing like holding a sweet newborn. There are so very many things I love about being a birth doula, but this is such a sweet reward at the end. 

And I just had to share this...

I may have cried happy tears!  💙  I am so so grateful for this life.


Dinner Dates

I went out on a dinner date Monday night with some girlfriends of mine. It was so nice to get out with just the girls, and have a night of fun. Also nice... eating some damn amazing food!

(We may have started with a sake flight...)

This place (Sushi Den) was amazing (definitely recommend it!!). They have fresh fish flown in from Japan every day! And you can tell.

We might have ordered wayyyy too much food. Beef carpaccio, salmon sushi, shrimp tempura roll, lobster tempura roll, smoked salmon and cream cheese roll, bincho roll, Maine Lobster tempura, and bowls of Ramen!

But it was all so amazing, and worth it.

And the best part of over ordering... leftovers for the next day!!

I'm so grateful for nights out with my girlfriends. 💙


Birth and Babies

I always say that labor and birth are the ultimate introduction to the craziness that is parenthood... to how very much these little beings change our lives, and how little control we have over it! Ha! Its a lesson into surrendering into the process, and rolling with what gets thrown at us.

Without giving away my client's story, there was an induction set for Monday at midnight, then changed to Monday at 8pm, only to have it be time Saturday at midnight. The best laid plans, right?! I made some phone calls, got some classes covered, and then played the waiting game until my client was ready for me to come in.

The on call part of the doula life is the hardest part for me, and definitely the most stressful. But once I get in there, once we're working through labor, and definitely once that baby comes... well it is so damn rewarding and inspiring.

Birth is so magical, and I'm blown away every time that I get to be a part of it. Mama was absolutely phenomenal, rolling with the punches and the uncertainty, and bringing their surprise baby boy into this world with some much power and grace.

I'm ending this post by including a picture of the placenta below (shared with permission). Yes, there's blood... but guys, this is just the most amazing organ, and its beautiful.

What a lucky doula I am!


Recharge and Reboot

Months ago, Trav had scheduled a weekend for him and Gwen to head up into the mountains together for two days of skiing. I love that they do this. Its a great Daddy-Daughter time for them, doing something they both love, plus it came at the perfect time for this Mama to recharge. Two days, all to myself!!

I started off by sleeping in, eating a hardy breakfast and getting. shit. done.
Blog posts, yoga classes, travel planning, de-Christmasing, laundry... it doesn't sound like fun free time, but it got so much off my plate that had been sitting there, being shuffled around for ages. It felt amazing to get it taken care of, and it allowed me to relax into a night with two of my favorite people!

Seeing James's new place, drinking margs and eating guac, talking laughing and bitching. It was so fun to just be out with friends and not worry about anyone at home.

It was good timing too, since Saturday night/Sunday morning my doula client headed into the hospital! (More on that in another post.) I got all the sleep I could that night, then spend the Sunday I had reading, taking walks with Daisy, and resting.

That night my family returned, safe and sound. What would you do with two days all to yourself? 


Health and Wellness and What I Don't Want Next December

Last night I invited my students to really look at the voices in their head, and whether they’re speaking to themselves positively or negatively. As we move into the new year so many people make resolutions, which there’s nothing wrong with, but so often we come at them from a negative slant. So I encourage you to look at the parts of yourself that make you feel healthy, happy, confident, and competent, making resolutions based off of those things, because when we encourage the good things, the rest starts to fall into place. ✨ So instead of telling myself that I’m going to lose the weight that I put on in December, I’m going to encourage myself to keep building strength and health as I have been throughout 2018, heading to the gym and lifting weights in addition to my yoga practice. Instead of chastising myself and making a resolution to eat healthier, I’m going to remind myself that I’m a great cook, and encourage myself to continue to make delicious healthy meals for my family. Instead of focusing on any ground I might’ve lost in my back bending practice, I’m going to encourage myself to keep pushing to be the best damn yoga teacher I can be, creating classes for my students, that work us in all ways. Most of all, I’m going to resolve to love my life and myself as fully as possible. ✨ Be safe and have fun tonight, friends. Know that I love you just as you are. Happy New Years Eve. May 2018 finish with laughter and joy.
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I already shared with you all the amazing things that 2018 held, and some of the things that I'm looking forward to in 2019, but I didn't share any resolutions. That's because I don't necessarily have resolutions for 2019. But I do have things that I want to adjust. I know how I don't want 2019 to end.

Already told you about the headache I experienced around Christmas, but the final straw was when my old enemy showed up... the one I only see when I'm overly stressed and not caring for myself: a cold sore. Ugh. (Hashtag dirty little secret.) So here's what I want to emphasize and adjust, so that December is a lot easier and less stressful next year.

I want to... 
- get back to a weight that makes me feel healthy and comfortable. 
- lift heavier things. 
- regain the flexibility in my back. 
And most importantly: 
- maintain all these thing even when traveling, and during the holiday season next year.

Other then the physical things, I also want to figure out a way to meaningfully give back to my community. I was thinking about offering a certain number of free yoga lessons to under-served areas, but I need to hash out what that would look like. 

Also, job wise I want to have my own class at the new studio I’m subbing at, and I want to travel to teach somewhere - workshops or retreats.  (If you're interested in collaborating, or know a place that would like to host me, drop me a line!) 

More then resolutions, the past few years I've been emphasizing a word or phrase. Balance has been the word for multiple years running, but this year I'm going with three words:

Simplify. Balance. Grow.


House of Stacked Boxes

Sometimes my brain is a house full of stacked boxes. Cluttered and overwhelming, you feel like something is missing but can't be sure. I spent much of the month of December feeling that way, and its not the first December either. I walk around feeling pulled in a million directions, running out of time and patience.

Sometimes that stress can manifest... I ended up with a trip to the ER in December, post Christmas. The Sunday before the holiday I started having a stabbing pain in the back of my head (possibly Icepick Headache or Occipital Neuralgia). At its worst, the stabbing pain was occurring every 15-30 seconds. It was still there on Wednesday, and while lessened in frequency, definitely warranted a call to my doc. He didn't like it and wanted me to head to the ER and be evaluated for a possible aneurysm. Head CT was clear, and I was sent home with instructions for 48hrs with anti-inflammatories. Thankfully it resolved!

Gwen goes back to school Tuesday, and I'm both not ready and relieved. It can be harder to get things done without those school hours, teaching involves some juggling, but all of that also enforces a much needed slow down. The end of the year gets to be too much sometimes, so I'm ready for that pause button. Days of playing and reading, sleeping in and little walks.

I'm feeling more settled and organized, and while there are definitely things to accomplish in those non-parenting hours, I'm ready for it. It doesn't feel overwhelming anymore.

I'm aiming to simplify in 2019. I'm often aiming for this, but I plan to parse life and things, whittle it down to the most important. Get to the core of what makes me - me - and what brings my family and I the most joy.

Here's to less of those boxes when next December rolls around.


Semi-Wordless Wednesday {Happy New Year}

We were supposed to go out to a friend's house on New Years Eve, but when the night came, none of us were up for it. So we stayed home. Gwen and I lasted until midnight, and we woke the other two up in time to count down the final minute of 2018 with us. 

A sparkling apple juice toast, and we were all in bed by 12:20.

Happy 2019 guys!