On Boundaries


To protect my energy it's ok to change my mind. 
To protect my energy it's ok to cancel a commitment. 
To protect my energy it's okay to take a day off. 
To protect my energy it's okay to not answer that call. 
To protect my energy it's okay to not share myself. 
To protect my energy it's okay to do nothing. 
To protect my energy it's okay to be alone. 
To protect my energy it's okay to speak up. 
To protect my energy it's okay to move on. 
To protect my energy it's okay to let go. 
To protect my energy it's okay to change. 
To protect my energy it's okay to say no.

Boundaries have been my biggest work in the past year. People pleasing is in my blood. It's a mixture of my sweet parents who will do absolutely anything for anyone who needs it and being raised in the Midwest where politeness reigns above all. The word "no" was not a word that was in my vocabulary up until my thirties. For years, I often looked at my calendar only to find that it was packed with so many obligations and "get to know you" coffee dates that there was almost no space for ‘me’ on it.

I think in some ways my unconditional yes started as a survival mechanism as a kid. If I was always accommodating, always helpful, always available then people would like me... Right? Wanting too much or being too much myself might rub people the wrong way. (Spoiler alert: It does and it's amazing.) So I stopped doing that. I did what I was asked, showed up when I was needed and was who I thought people needed me to be. Screw my own needs and expectations.

In my mind saying no to things you didn't want to do was a revolutionary, rebellious act. And the idea of using ‘no’ was terrifying. Today, I use the word "no" quite a bit, mostly from a loving, confident space. It took time and baby steps and practice. And has been so worth it. As Danielle LaPorte says: Open, gentle heart. Big fucking fence.

This isn’t “wrong.” This is loving. For yourself, to others, for the world.


We of Rock Your Bliss are hosting an online Boundaries workshop on Wednesday, March 21. We will define our boundaries, implement a practice we can commit to and let go of any "people pleasing" guilt. Link to register: 


Right Now It's Like This


I haven't written for awhile because honestly it's hard to. Never in my life have I felt things so deeply and it feels imperative to simply put one foot in the front of the other. To pause and feel but then back to the shuffling of the feet.

It's been nine weeks since we met Baby A. Nine weeks since I started walking around with my heart outside of my body. Nine weeks since I meditated when I woke up. Nine weeks since I became a mama.

As I've said before a lot of our days are filled with normal mother things - watching him smile, doing four loads of laundry, Googling "Is this normal?", walking around the lake with him tethered to my chest. We were moving forward. We were continually getting good news. We were watching him thrive and witnessing our hearts growing six times the size.

We had a court hearing coming up but nothing had really occurred so we knew it would be more of the same. Then I got a phone call and that changed.

Though I'm not divulging the details here or in person, I talked to a social worker who said: If court goes this certain way, he could leave that evening.

I pretended to understand and whispered "Oh my God" after I thought I'd hung up. (I hadn't but she pretended not to hear.)

This phone call also happened to coincide with his first day, two hours really, of daycare so I was already feeling "normal" mama feelings and then this.

My husband was on a work call so I went and sat in the yoga room. I tried to feel my butt on the ground, to witness the tears streaming down my face, to keep breathing in and out. I knew this could happen, it's part of foster care, the nature of what we are doing. But just out of the blue? That I wasn't prepared for. (And now I'm not sure you can really prepare yourself for any of this.)

I calmed down as much as I could manage. I talked to Matt who wrapped me up in his arms and said "We will be okay" but his voice was shaky. I talked to my mom and Jacki. I called our FFA social worker. I made an altar. I prayed. I read about loss. I talked to foster moms. I ate the popcorn my friends brought me. 

I recalled what one of my friends who is a Buddhist meditation teacher would often say:
Right now it's like this.

This is the circumstance. These are the feelings. THIS right here is love. This is our reality and it only hurts more if we struggle and flail against it.

The day before court I picked up little man from daycare, a big smile plastered on his face. I wrapped him in the papoose and walked around Echo Park Lake with Rosy. I felt his little body against my heart and I thought, "If this is the last day I spend with you, I am so grateful for every single second."

And this past Thursday I sat on a hardbacked orange chair for eight hours, reading my Pema Chodron book and holding a crystal so tight in my palm I thought I might bleed. I reminded myself that I was here now, in this space, and this fear was normal. That no matter what happened in that court room, however painful, I would be okay. Baby A would be okay, even if my idea how his life could be was so different from reality. That Matt would be okay.

I took deep breath after deep breath and shuffled my feet to the cafeteria for lunch. Matt walked in right before the hearing began (you never know what time they will be so you have to be there all day) and we held hands as we sat in the back.

And for today, Baby A is home safe with us.


My husband and I sat on the couch that evening watching him sleep. He looked at me and said "I would do this a million times over to feel what I feel in my heart. We are alive."

It's so true. I've spent so many years trying to numb feelings and doubt and worries and a God-shaped hole but I am now truly the opposite of numb. So present, so alive, so on the line. Not at all sitting on the sidelines of my life but in the very middle of the arena.

My friends, everything is in flux, everything will change. But I'll tell you what, I look at this little boy with the biggest, wonder-filled eyes every single day. That walk around the park is how I want to live out all of my days. As though it's our last and so fucking grateful when it isn't.

I believe with my whole heart in what we are doing and I know that sense of purpose will buoy us forward. Hand in hand. Because no one can do this alone.


“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
- Pema Chodron

The Gift of "I Don't Know"

The moment I wake up, I pad down the stairs and stand in the nursery. Light floods in through the window over the crib. I glance at the Ganesha statues and elephants I’ve nestled in every possible corner in hopes of removing some of the unseen obstacles that no doubt lay before us.

I will become a mom in the coming weeks. Like most new mothers, I’m nesting and excited and scared. Though unlike most new moms, this baby is not with me now. I haven’t had headphones on my growing belly, sending early good vibes from Van Morrison. I haven’t felt any kicks. I haven’t seen any sure signs of there you are.

That’s because my husband, Matt, and I will be brand-new foster parents, and we’re currently waiting for the call. Every time the phone rings, my hand goes instinctively to my heart. This could be it. While all new parents have no idea who they will meet until their little being arrives, we are preparing to foster children who’ll come into our home for a week, a few months, a year, and hopefully even longer, eventually adopting a child—or children—who will become part of our family. And now, after holding more anticipation than I could’ve ever imagined, all we can do is wait.

Matt and I started the journey to becoming parents last year. When we didn’t conceive, we saw a fertility specialist who recommended intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). That appointment was immediately followed by another with a financial advisor, who threw a lot of (big) numbers at us. Because so much was still unknown—we hadn’t spent that much time trying to conceive, and I hadn’t seen any of the alternative practitioners my friends had recommended—the paths being presented to us didn’t feel quite right. So we left, got an ice cream cone, and tabled the baby conversation.

A few days later, Matt and I were on a walk when I asked him, “What do you think about adoption?”

He looked at me with big eyes and said, “I think it’s beautiful.”

“Yeah, me too,” I replied with a big smile. “Really beautiful.”

Fast forward a few weeks and we’d sought the advice of a student of mine, named Taylor, who is a foster-adoption lawyer. She’d been coming to my classes for years, always setting up her mat front and center. Life is like that, not letting you miss the important people who will change everything. After talking to Taylor, Matt and I met with a foster-adoption agency and made the big, scary, beautiful decision to become foster parents. With more than 34,000 children receiving services in Los Angeles, where we live, we thought surely a few of these kiddos were looking for us as much as we were looking for them.

In addition to the unknowns all parents face, we’re staring down a few more. We’re not sure how old our baby will be, and we won’t know the gender, race, or even what kind of prenatal care this baby’s birth mama received. We may foster a baby who is ultimately reunited with his or her birth parents; we hope to foster a child who we’ll ultimately adopt. We will ask questions and get some answers, and amid all of the uncertainty, what we know for sure is that this will be an education in trust. Trust that no matter what happens, we will be united with this child who we thought my body would carry and who our hearts have always wanted to hold.

Back in the nursery that morning, as I looked into the crib and wondered about the baby who’d soon lie in it, I silently repeated my new mantra—I don’t know—a phrase that’s offered me more hope and comfort than I’d ever imagined it could.

When we met with a social worker to talk about the foster system, she warned us, “You’ll fall in love, and you might get hurt.” Scary, to be sure, but isn’t this true of so many things in life? After all, so much of what’s worth doing is a messy path for the heart.

I’ve spent most of my life bracing myself for the impacts of those messes. These days, I’m choosing to dance with uncertainty.

Becoming a foster parent feels a bit like a free fall, and of course one part of me wants to engage with the countless worries and what-ifs. Yet more of me is tapping some well of wisdom I didn’t even know I had, and one day at a time—even one hour at a time—I’m simply putting one foot in front of the other, trying to make the next right choice. And with my eyes and heart wide open, I’m reveling in the I don’t know. 

This originally appeared in the March 2018 print edition of Yoga Journal.


In Gratitude


Having my parents here to help me rock this very dynamic mama life.
Chillier weather so I can bundle up with baby boy.
London Fog lattes. Earl grey and a little vanilla in steamed almond or coconut milk.
Laugh crying to my best friend a few times a week. Our beautiful lives have a lot of poop in them.
Alicia Keys.
Rocking that wild curly hair.
And makeup free skin.
Those nights where I sleep next to baby boy and rock the bottle feeding.
And those nights when I sleep upstairs all by lonesome.
Making Rock Your Bliss playlists on Spotify.
Taking a notebook to Echo Park Lake to scribble thoughts and ideas and definitely worries.
The view of the mountains in the background when I'm driving around LA.
Being okay with messiness.
Being okay with being imperfect.
Being okay with just being okay some days and on top of the world the next.


Part 3: On True Love + Uncertainty


I've had the honor of being a mother to Baby A for the past five weeks. These weeks have been the most sleep deprived, deeply in love moments of my entire life.

A lot of our day is filled with normal baby and mama stuff. Filling bottles. Singing to him. Getting pooped on. Walking around the neighborhood trying to get him to fall asleep. Staring at him in wonder.

And then parts of our day are very different.

We see social workers. We receive court documents. We take him to get assessed. We fill out paperwork. We see more social workers.

I was in a store a few weeks ago and a few of the women asked me about my son. He was so small and I was so upright and slightly together. "Did you just give birth?" As we talked more I started to explain that my husband and I were foster parents and would someday adopt. Maybe Baby A, maybe not.

One of the women looked at me and asked "Should you get so attached?"

I was taken aback. The answer is an absolute yes. This is a tiny little boy with nowhere to go. I'm a thirty four-year-old woman with every ounce of support in the world. Family. Enough money. A job. Sobriety. White privilege. A yoga practice. A relationship with God.

Every day when I wake up I tell Baby A I'm going to do my best. And my best, surprisingly enough, has him sleeping soundly, relaxing in my arms, gaining lots of pudgy rolls around his belly and chin. My best is just what he needs and I'm so attached to him I'd give him anything he asked for.

A woman came by the other day to "assess him." She asked what my goal for Baby A was. 
What do you mean?, I asked.
Anything. Anytime. What's your goal for him?

My eyes filled up with tears. I want him to feel beyond safe, empowered, kind and know that he could do anything he wanted to with his life. I want him to help others.

God, I want that so much that my heart explodes when I picture it. 

But here's the kicker, my friends - Nothing is certain. We don't know if Baby A will be with us forever. We won’t know for some time. This is the nature of foster adoption. We have tidbits of information that we honor and take in but then go back to the job of loving him with all we have.

He is our family, for life. Whether or not I get to watch him take his first steps or sing in a school play or go to his first dance or receive his diploma. He is in our hearts forever.

There are souls that are meant for us and they make their way to us exactly as they are supposed to. This path chose us. It was written. I know that I sat in that fertility office and heard that news so that I would go home and make a call that would change me forever. There was a little soul that needed to make his way to us and that's Baby A. And I know there will be more souls that are coming our way. We are so fortunate to receive them.

We meet the people who will change us. Our partner, our best friend, someone who wrongs us and teaches us how to grow. And then there's these angels. Whether they make their way to us through the birth canal or a phone call or an adoption pairing. They are meant for us because they will change us. It doesn't matter how they get here. What matters is that we know them and through loving them we are forever transformed.

Nothing is guaranteed. It’s all impermanent. And that's so scary. Our mind doesn’t like that so we grasp and hold so tight and try to control. My future is uncertain and so is yours. I'm just living with it in front of my face every single day.

Little man, I have never ever known a love like this. You've given me a purpose as deep as the sea and as vast as the sky. I am cherishing every breath because of you.

Now all we can do is love and trust and lean into the present.


“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You're able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.”

Pema Chodron

Part 2: Falling in Love

It's a few days before Christmas. Last Christmas Matt and I celebrated here in Los Angeles alone. We opened presents then went to see "Lion" at the AMC. The movie, about adoption, shook me to my core and I left the theater to splash water on my face. Twice.

Now here we are here. This little man, who had nowhere to go, will be home in our house. He's a beginner in this world and I'm a beginner in this role. I take my giant pinky around his tiny one and pinky swear him that I will do my best. My absolute best.

After demonstrating to the nurses that we could change a diaper, swaddle and load babe into a car seat we are given the green light to head home. With a seven day old baby. As we walked out of the hospital the nurse took our family photo and said she’d keep us in her prayers. I sit in the backseat next to Baby A’s car seat and begin doing what I’ll do for the next ten days.

I just stare at him.

His perfect gossamer eyelids and pouty pink lips and hairy forehead (yes, forehead) and tiny fingers and toes. I stare in wonder. 

What I'd pictured and imagined was a hodgepodge of other people's foster stories, other people's children. He is nothing like those stories or those photographs. He's right here, right on time. So many strings attached, nothing guaranteed. I'm all in.

My dad called a couple of days before he arrived. He told me he went to Catholic mass in Omaha to pray for us. And when the priest asked for who to pray for, he spoke up. For us. It's never been easy for us to speak in front of groups and when he told me he did, his voice shook. 
"I knew I needed to, MB."
So he did.

This child is so wanted, so loved, so celebrated.
From a stranger to a son within moments.
We are all connected.

In Gratitude


For this moment in the park right before our journey to meet Baby A began.
Pema Chodron.
Matcha. Shreebs Coffee. Coconut black tea. All the caffeine, my friends. I need it.
Sade and Pandora.
Being such a beginner at this mama thing.
Meditation music and Nag Champa.
Messes. They aren't all bad.
Onesies. Both for Baby A and I.
Folk Rebellion's The Dispatch.
Chosen family. You know who you are and you've truly been there for us these past few weeks.


Trust + Surrender

My husband leaned over at midnight and kissed me. I was asleep on the couch next to Baby A. Delirious with love and exhaustion.

These words came to me this morning as I woke up. I've been meditating on this poem for years and it feels absolutely perfect as we roll into 2018. Trust and surrender. The hardest and most rewarding work there ever was.

"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy."

An excerpt from "Desiderata," by Max Ehrmann