On Letting Go: Part 1 + 2

Part I: 

I lost my right wedge sandal on my first night of college after three too many Solo cups full of cheap beer. I lost the phone number of my dreadlocked, heart-full-of-gold roommate almost immediately after our summer in London and have never found him again. I lost my contacts in the Caribbean Sea. I lost my grandmother, her hats, her books of rocks and birds and the smell of Carmex. I lost my wedding ring but then I found it.

I let go of hundreds of coulda, woulda, shouldas. I let go of the idea that there are things I must do. No need to stand awkwardly at a party when you'd rather go home and read. I let go of relationships & friendships that always feel like swimming upstream. Exhausting. I let go of the idea that my body is anything but perfect. After years and years of fighting it's shape and curves, I shed some tears, ate a grilled cheese and never ever looked back. I let go, and continue to, of the people who vex my spirit and make me feel tired. I let go of doubt. I embrace trusting, laughing and drinking wine with people who feel right. I let go of "I'll be happy when ____". I let go of the idea that I'm going to be a runner. Or a surfer. It's simply not happening, as much as I try. I let go of feeling bad because I'm just not letting go enough.

I once tried to build a two-story lemonade stand on wheels and another time I attempted to knit a circus net that would catch me after I flew around the house several times impressing the neighbor kids. I was seven and convinced that I held as much magic as the world around me, skinned knees and all. I knew I could fly. I ended up on crutches most of that summer, unable to participate in games of tag and hide and seek. I sat on the porch swing, the very swing I launched myself from convinced I'd be lifted right into the bright blue sky, and called the neighbor kids names. That was the summer I first became aware that I could lose, and that there was a lot of "letting go" in life, that didn't include leaping from the swing.

We lose and it hurts and we want it to stop. We learn to let go a little slower, with more grace. We stop building two-story lemonade stands, but if we're lucky, a couple decades later we might pick it up again. We hold hands tightly, we sometimes hear last breaths, we sometimes dance til midnight.

We lose. We let go. We become lighter. We learn to unfurl our wings, at first a bit matted and clumsy. We keep moving toward the light til' we do what we are born to. Fly.

"Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go." - Anais Nin

"But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned
against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine."
- Billy Collins, from the poem "On Turning Ten"
 


Part II:

I remember writing Part I at my husband's desk a few years ago. I had a glass of Chardonnay in my hand and tears streamed down my cheeks as something unlocked in me. Through words, through chemistry. I was always seeking that feeling of unlocking, or quieting, or calming but not enough to sit with myself for a little while. 

It was true then.
It's true now.

My process has changed. I've changed.

I've spent the last two years peeling open my tightly clasped fists that were holding so tightly onto this idea of "self' with barely any recognition of that big, juicy Self with capital S.

This letting go is an unlearning, I think. And fuck, is it a slow process. Unlearning fear or judgement may well take me the rest of my days but I think it's worth it. It's a gradual peeling back of these protective layers I've accumulated only to be reacquainted with my dorkiest eleven-year-old self.

That self didn't get it yet. She was beautiful then and she's beautiful now.
And still very much here.

Sage and Pray

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This week. Oh man, where to even begin?

I've spent a lot of time sage-ing my house and myself. Praying. Crying, definitely crying. Scrolling CNN and Vice looking for answers that just aren't there. 

I watched as my friends cancelled plans one after the other, especially odd for a good bit of them. What's happening? Collective exhaustion, I think.

Mother Earth and the devastation of the the hurricanes. The absolutely heartbreaking and terrifying mass shooting in Vegas. And the constant shit show that is President Trump. Honestly, I'm at a loss. I turned to Instagram and said this:

I am mining my heart and these books and others for the “answer.” I do know that kindness and understanding are needed more than ever but am feeling depleted and sad in a way I’ve never experienced. Leaning on my practice like never before and listening for the wisdom of who to be and how to help. What is helping you? Resources, words, phone numbers to call. Please share.

These were some of the responses and honestly they have all helped. I thought I'd share.

Reaching toward friends to discuss the big feels, local community gatherings, nourishing food, emptying my pockets for those without homes and security (literally, whatever is in my wallet with no expectation or judgement about how it will be spent::thank you @lisapalmerart), deep rest, prayer altars, tree preaching.
- @pixielighthorse

Warm smiles to literally EVERY human I see. And they've been smiling back, they get it.
- @meghmccoy

Breath, genuine + open hearted connection with strangers, time alone, reminding myself of the broader arc of history and that (I believe/have faith in the idea that) we are ultimately headed in the right direction even if we are going through some growing pains in the moment 💗
- @helloashleyberry

Hang with the friends that make you laugh .. like .. really laugh. Love you.
- @donovanyoga

I adore Anne Lamott. I’ve been listening to a lot of @gungormusic lately. Their faithfulness and encompassing spirituality is reassuring and calming to me. If you want a book that is lovely and beautiful and redemptive in its pain, you ought to read Pax, by Sara Pennypacker. It is YA fiction about a little boy who runs away from home to find the pet fox his dad made him release when he had to join the armed forces. The chapters are told from the alternating points of view of the fox and the boy and it is gorgeous and full of truths.
- @family.rewritten

Brene's book really helped me, she has some pretty relevant advice for what's currently going on, but also just allowing myself to be oh so very sad about all of this. It isn't OK, it doesn't seem like it's going to change and it feels so heavy. Being sad is not fun at all and I think we jump to wanting to fix it, but grief is so necessary and appropriate.
- @angieeatpeace

Remember Your mantra of 'I protect my energy' ~ this allows you to be you and shining and healing and uplifting and exemplifying as You do! Your energy, your work, your teaching/gifting the world ~ is what you are here to do ...what we all are here to do (differently, but genuinely) and honestly, is there more? I do practice sitting with others in their pain, because that is also needed, and I have sat with mine, and it is key to lifting the energy.
- @omatlife

Connection to my community has been great for me. Laughing with friends. And reading fiction stories to have some time to escape to another world for just a bit 🙏🏼✨ Sending you love. 💜
- @beautifullyawakening

Loving into those around me, making eye contact, giving the dollar in my wallet to the one on the street that needs it the most, giving hugs, and getting hugs. Your heart is so big MB, you are helping more than you know. Can't wait to hug you in person soon. Let me know how I can hold space for you and all that feels big right now.
- @jennylynnnewell

Us

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I passed this mural in Silver Lake a few days ago and it stopped me in my tracks for a lot of reasons. I have felt scared lately. And even more so now. I’ve also had been busy pointing a lot of fingers.

This past weekend was spent with 25 women for our Rock Your Bliss Colorado retreat, most of who I did not know until we got there. I can’t tell you their politics or their spouse’s name. I’m not even sure what most of them do for an occupation. But I can tell you what makes their hearts beat wildly and what scared them and what makes them say “Me too.” If I met them the other way around there’s a chance we would find a reason to be separate, a reason we were too different to love one another.

I feel unbelievably sad and extremely scared by what’s happening in our world. I think that’s the point. My instinct is to protect myself and the ones I love by shutting down, by judging, by becoming hollow, but instead I’m going to try on loving.

I am sending my love to you today. Feel what needs to be felt. Bear hug those you love. And then pick up your phone, call your representative and say: No More Guns.

Take action and keep your heart open.

In Gratitude

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For morning walks with coffee in hand.
Time on my yoga mat and my meditation cushion.
Creating space in my home and in my heart.
Waking up next to my man and Rosy.
The slightest bit of fall vibes.
My new Saint Clair necklaces.
Unlearning.
And learning new ways of being.
For major movie dates on the couch.
Mushroom coffee and homemade matcha lattes.
The most honest conversations with my girlfriends.
An upcoming retreat to Colorado.
And an eight day trip to the east coast.
For what I have.
 

Coming Home

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Just about ten years ago I entered my first yoga teacher training. I was young, wide-eyed and everything about yoga was so very brand new, innocent and sweet. Juicy, too. I remember the smell of the space - Nag Champa meets a whole lot of essential oils. And the way the light hit the curtains or the windowsill and spilled onto my yoga mat. I remember the way a teacher's wording or creative sequencing would effect me for days. God, it gives me chills to think about.

Well, at the end of the teacher training we did a meditation with Deb. We laid down on the floor in the yoga space and she had us deepen our breath. With her words she led us through a series of scenes until we were deep in meditation. By far the deepest I'd ever been at that point.

And she led us to a door where we met our future selves. I was so different yet so me. Long, flowy dress. Calm. Barefoot. Content. Lots of jewelry. A space filled with light and fresh flowers. She gave me advice that I have scribbled in a notebook: Be patient. It's all coming.

I knew I wanted to leave DC and was always, always, always trying to figure out where I was going. At this point I'd never entertained the idea of living in California but that was definitely where my vision took place.
I was in a tough relationship.
I was drinking way too much.
I was miserable at my job.

But this door that she led me to opened and there I was. I wanted to be anything but patient. I want to live there! I want to be her right now! And then a few years passed and I kind of forgot about this.

But I recalled it last night when I looked in the mirror.
In fact, it all came rushing back.
I recognized myself.
The smile lines.
The messy hair.
The dress.
The layers of jewelry.
The calmness.
The contentedness.

And exactly where I'm supposed to be. It wasn't a straight line or a clear cut path to get here. There were a lot of tears, bruises and scrapes but there was also more joy and transfromation than I could have ever imagined.

Life thank you for leading me home and little MB, thank you allowing yourself to be led.

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Manifesto of Style

1. Communicate who you are in all you do.
2. Style is multidimensional.
3. Style matters.
4. Authenticity is energizing, economical, and efficient.
5. Accentuate the positive.
6. People are like snowflakes—uniquely beautiful because of the details.
7. Pay attention to what attracts you.
8. Working from the outside in can create deep transformation.
9. Feel free to change.
10. True style is not dependent on wealth, and wealth does not necessarily create taste.
11. Cheap is expensive in the long run.
12. Use your best every day.
13. Choose from your heart, and your life will fill up with things you love.
14. Beauty transforms.
15. It’s always a good time to be yourself.
16. Only love is free—everything else costs.
17. Creativity + restraint = beauty.
18.Contrast makes things interesting.
19. Living is sensual.
20. Make more choices—moment to moment, day to day.

- from Style Statement, by Danielle LaPorte + Carrie McCarthy

 

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Stopped in My Tracks

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I can always feel it coming.

I'm on top of my game - checking things off my to-do list, making every social engagement, hitting every workout at the gym - and I'm in major need of a pause.

Despite a regular meditation and yoga practice, sometimes I need to be stopped in my tracks. These past couple of days have been exactly that. I've napped on the couch, watched six episodes of "Intervention," read an entire book and napped again. 

I've felt a bit of guilt creep up. The "shoulds," if you will. But as I get older I'm learning to respect my own natural rhythms. Much less hustle, much more flow. Even if that flow means I'm stuck on the couch for a couple of days.

Onto the next book.

The Reward of Work

On a call the other day with my coach, she asked how my relationship was. Answering truthfully I said, "This week it feels really hard."

I felt ashamed saying that and she could hear it in my voice.

She responded: "Why is hard a bad thing?"

Such a simple question with a profound impact.

She followed up with, "How do you feel after a really hard yoga class?"

I pondered it: sweaty, free, content, inspired.

"And getting there takes some work right?"

Oh yes. I always have the comfort of knowing that a big, juicy shifts occurs after some sacred time on mat.

Do I always wanna go? Absolutely not.

Do I make it there? Yeah, the majority of the time.

Am I 100 percent present the whole class? Oh, hell no but I am certainly a lot more present then how I walked in.

Why then do I have this notion that for something to be "right" it must be easy? as I get older I truly look forward to "the work" in all areas of my life. Every conversation, every argument, every adventure, every dilemma presents me with endless opportunity to get to know myself better, to become more fully me in the best of ways.

My generation is pretty spoiled. We don't like to be uncomfortable so we squirm and move and we don't stay still to learn. Sticking it out is when the work gets done. Hate our job this week? quit. Our partner annoys the shit out of us? Leave. This town is boring? Let's move to Bali. Sure, there's times when we should do just that but when a "grass is greener" mentality shows up everywhere maybe it's not everybody else that's the problem.

My new chosen thought: hard work equals freedom.

It feels so much better.