Yoga Doesn’t Care

Yoga doesn’t care.

Yoga doesn’t care how flexible you are, or are not.

Yoga doesn’t care what you look like.

Yoga wants you to look and feel good naked.

Yoga doesn’t care where you are starting from.

Yoga doesn’t care if you have a new mat or fancy clothes.

Yoga doesn’t care if you need a block for support in half moon,

If you take a rest in child’s pose.

Yoga doesn’t care how long you can handstand

Or if you can handstand.

Yoga doesn’t care about your age

Or your income.

Yoga doesn’t care how you got to class

Yoga is just glad that you showed up.

Yoga doesn’t care if you’re tired

If somehow today’s asanas flow with less ease than yesterday’s

Or tomorrow’s.

Yoga doesn’t care about time

The time is now.

Yoga doesn’t care about the stories you tell yourself about why something is the way it is

None of that matters on your mat.

Yoga transforms minds, bodies, and lives.

Yoga doesn’t care how smart you are

about your fancy degrees

about what you do for a living

about your ability to reason.

Yoga wants to know if you can shut off your mind in favor of your heart

and be with yourself.

Yoga is not the place for judgment or competition.

Yoga cares if you can practice self-acceptance

 and stick with that practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you can keep up with the instructor or your classmates.

Yoga begs you to listen to your body and understand we all have different starting places,

different end places,

different paths.

Yoga doesn’t care where you were before this or where you’re going after this is done.

Yoga is just glad you showed up

that you’re here

that you’re present

that you’re trying

that you’re engaged

Nothing else matters.

If you want to be a Writer

If you want to be a writer, get used to working in coffee shops.

If you want to be a writer, become comfortable with hearing “No”.

Become comfortable with rejection, from editors and from readers. Prepare for disagreements. A lot of writing is opinion that some people will furiously disagree with and a lot is fact that some people don’t want to hear. You may be tempted to engage with critics and negative comments, but you have to remember that your work is to put out ideas and facts and then to release control over how it is received and perceived.

If you want to be a writer, get comfortable with not having a steady paycheck.

If you want to be a writer, get used to working on a different schedule.

If you want to be a writer, expect people to not understand.

Those who do not have the same dream will attempt to talk you out of it. They will urge you to get a “stable job”. They will project their fears onto you. Deep down they will admire your courage.

If you want to be a writer, be open to new realms of freedom.

The things that scare me about being a writer are also the things excite me. Not being tied to a desk means that your desk is anywhere you can prop up your laptop. There is a freedom in knowing that your workspace is anywhere with an internet connection.

To be a writer is to be vulnerable. To be comfortable being uncomfortable.

If you want to be a writer, learn how to write.

Keep it up. Don’t stop writing or learning. There is always something new to learn. Anything that expands your awareness and helps you grow will only help your writing.

If you want to be a writer, learn how to love spending time with yourself.

You will be alone, a lot. Alone with your thoughts and your ideas, so learn how to make friends with them.

If you want to be a writer, find a mentor.

Find someone who is doing work that they are proud of and that you admire. Writing can be a lonely venture but that does not mean being completely alone and with no support. When doubt creeps in, you will be grateful for someone to reach out to who has been there and can offer valuable advice.

If you want to be a writer, you are in great company.

Happy New Year!

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As the new year rolls in, the inclination is to set resolutions to abide by. Out with the old and in with the new! Or so they say. Well, I agree that positive intent is crucial to making any sort of change.

This year, I made just one resolution. It is the basis for other changes I intend to make in my life, but the core is as follows. My 2015 new years resolution is: to do whatever the fuck I want.

Yep. That’s it! That old college friend who never talks to me anymore except to send me a Facebook invite to her birthday party? Normally, I would feel obligated to attend because of years of past friendship that after some analysis may not fall under the category of “friendship” at all. Well, this year, guess what? I’m not going! And I’m not going to feel guilty about it either. If I want to eat a cookie, I’m going to stop that negative thinking cycle right in its tracks when it tries to tell me that I will put on a few extra pounds. From one cookie?! Please! And even if I do, it’s what I want in this moment and I refuse to feel bad about it. That guy that I really like that I keep thinking about? Normally, I would listen to all of that advice women are given about waiting for him to call first, but if I want to talk to him, why can’t I reach out?

The way I see it, the only reason we don’t already do all of the things we want to do is out of fear. Fear of people’s reactions, what they will think, if they will judge us, fear of failure, of falling behind, of taking a step back. 2015 is the year I stop letting fear get the best of me, once and for all. So far I’m only 8 days in and already I feel great. I highly suggest to anyone who is looking to make a huge, major, lasting change to stop letting fear drive their lives.

Letting go of the fear of an outcome or what people are going to think of you is difficult but I promise you it is liberating. The key is in the not feeling bad about putting yourself first and going after the things that you truly want. After all, if you’re not happy, how can you expect to make other people happy? The examples I gave are small and fairly insignificant, but fear can slow us down or stop us from reaching for our lifelong and important dreams. I would hate to see that happen to myself or to anyone else. People who have given up on their dreams are sad, lost, confused, broken. We have dreams for a reason! And time is valuable. The time and energy we spend doing things we don’t want to do or worrying about things we have done only take away those resources we could be pouring into our passions and things that will better ourselves and ultimately everyone around us.

You may have heard the saying, “We are all ‘should’-ing on ourselves and we need to stop.” I couldn’t agree more. Thoughts like, “I should go to the gym” “I should go to that” “I shouldn’t eat that” “I should read that” – they don’t help us at all! They only draw attention to things that we don’t want to be doing. So I am only going to do the things I really want to do in 2015. From now on, I either want to do things, or I don’t do them at all. Is that selfish? I don’t believe so. I think that making yourself happy is the most important thing because we are here to make ourselves happy and not to be “people-pleasers”. The irony is that the only way for others to be truly happy and comfortable is for you yourself to be genuinely happy and comfortable with yourself. Another thing I have found is that the happier I make myself, the more social I feel, the more I feel like taking good care of myself, and I actually WANT to do those things I would normally avoid!

If you only make one resolution for 2015, I highly suggest this one: Do whatever the fuck you want*!!

XOXO

This article is relevant: http://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck

*Hopefully this disclaimer is common sense, but I’ll add it anyway. When I say “Do what you want” I mean as long as it’s not harmful to others or to yourself. Hopefully you don’t want to do anything that would hurt another human (or animal) but if you do, you may want to dig deeper and find out why. I think you’ll find that fear is at the core of the issue, and I promise there is a solution that doesn’t involve endangering yourself or another person.

Frances

I have been feeling emotions that I have not been able to get out in words yet. My grandmother passed away a week ago today. All at once I was fine because she was in her mid-90s and it was somewhat expected and not fine because it was still a shock. Although we have not been so close these last few years, many of my childhood memories are times I spent with my grandmother in our younger years. She was the first person whose phone number I memorized at the age of three. I woke up before everyone else on that birthday. We were living in California and I remembered that my grandmother was three hours ahead so I called her. She would always tell me I was her favorite. “Numero Uno!” she would call me enthusiastically. I was her first granddaughter of two, though she had many more ‘adopted’ grandchildren. My sister and I would go to Florida to visit her and my grandfather every summer when we were kids. They took us to Disneyworld once, but mostly we just played around the house and in their yard. And it was fun. I loved going to my grandmother’s house. She had mango trees in her yard and would make us mango bread, mango pie, mango pudding, mango everything. She sent me to the day camp where I rode my first horse. They had a beach house we would visit during the day near the water where I swam in my first ocean.

My sister and I were there the summer that hurricane Andrew ripped through the state – I was six and my sister four. We knew it was coming, we had seen the news. I remember my grandfather diligently hammering up shutters around the windows the week before. And just how calm my grandmother was throughout the whole process. When it hit, the winds blew throughout the night, the attic door whirled and rattled and you could hear loud thuds hitting the outside of the walls of the house. My sister and I held onto each other in the hallway, but we knew we were safe. We were all right. Our grandmother sat with us and we fell asleep there. When we woke up, the storm had passed. We walked outside to assess the damage. The motorhome that had taken us to Disneyworld and back the previous summer was turned over on its top in the backyard. Trees were uprooted and shingles from the neighboring houses’ roofs were everywhere. The scene was barely recognizable. But we were all fine and so everything was all right.

My grandmother had a great way of putting people at ease, but also making them uncomfortable. She would say exactly what was on her mind, whether you wanted to hear it or not. Sometimes completely inappropriate, but you couldn’t say she didn’t have an opinion. She had a great laugh and a good sense of humor. She talked a lot. She encouraged me to travel and date and ride horses and swim in the ocean. Mostly she encouraged me to be me. And I could feel that she loved me. My summers and my childhood and my life would have been different without her and I feel grateful for the love and the experiences that she gave and shared with me.

This loss is bringing up memories I had almost forgotten about and feelings that I did not expect and don’t quite know what to do with. For now, I just want to remember her as the calm in that middle of that storm in the hallway. And we are all right.

Curried Autumn Vegetables!

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What you’ll need:

  • Coconut cream and/or coconut milk. I use this creamed coconut product by Let’s Do Organic.
  • Curry spices. I use Trader Joe’s Curry Powder, a blend of coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, chile pepper, mustard, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and saffron.
  • 2 cups organic cauliflower florets
  • 1 organic red bell pepper (or orange or green or yellow) cut julienne
  • 1 small organic yam or sweet potato
  • 1/4 organic red onion
  • 1 or 2 organic garlic cloves
  • 1 cup organic baby leaf spinach

What to do with it:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees to bake your yam (or sweet potato!). Rinse it in cold water and dry it off before poking holes throughout with a fork/knife (be careful). Place yam on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, before flipping over and baking it for another 10 minutes. (You can cook it more if you like a softer potato, but for the purposes of holding up in the curry, it’s better that it isn’t baked to the point of being mushy).

Melt half of package of creamed coconut into a saucepan on medium heat with 1 part water for every 2 parts coconut, stirring frequently. As mixture reaches boiling, turn down heat slightly and add the spices. Continue to stir occasionally as everything blends and thickens.

Add your garlic, cauliflower and any other “hard” vegetables you may choose to include, like eggplant, carrots, or pumpkin.. all make great additions! Then, add the other veggies – your bell pepper, onion, spinach, and your yam once fully baked to softness and cut up into little cubes.

Stir once or twice as your delicious mixture begins to cook the veggies and thicken. If you like thinner curry (almost like a soup), keep on a higher heat and stir frequently. However, if you’re like me and you like a thicker curry, keep your boiler on a med-low setting and stir infrequently. I usually taste-test the harder veggies like the cauliflower or eggplant to see if they are done all the way through to decide when it’s ready.

Serve over rice, or another mild grain of your choice.

Yum, yum! One of my favorite things to make, and it is so easy. You can pretty much make a curry out of anything. Add meat if you’re into that, or keep it vegan or vegetarian. ENJOY!