IMG_9584

ASK

It’s been quiet on this front. I know.

This time, it’s not because I was in a dark spot. It’s not because I was so tired and sick. Or so overwhelmed. Or so confused. I was all of those things, for a little bit, again, but that isn’t why I’ve been silent so many days.  

2015 was such a big year for me. Actually, 2013-2015 were HUGE. Epically, life altering, never-gonna-be-the-same kind of years. So much YES, so much change, so much love, so much joy, so much trial, so much failure, so many restarts. After that kind of action, it makes sense that a cycle of stillness and settling would follow.

It was like the part of meditation where your brain is finally quiet enough that you can stop and look around and see what’s floating around in there with you. When the noise is off, when the dust has settled, when the pause comes, then you can step back and examine the picture you’ve been so busily crafting. Continue reading

shit-sandwich-150x150

EAT SHIT?

I keep reading and seeing and all but running into quotes about the shit sandwich. Kristen and Rachel wrote about it today. Elizabeth Gilbert talks shit eating in Big Magic, and she got the idea from Mark Manson. The premise is simple — there is no pleasure without struggle. No free rides. No success with effort. You don’t get to the finish line by simply staring at it, you have to be willing to do the work.

And I super get that. And agree with it. And believe it.

And, I’ve been holding onto this premise that there is some magical exception to the rule, and maybe I could be it. I suppose I believed that if I tried enough varieties of shit, put my time into testing them out and paid my dues, then I’d get to live the rest of my life basically shit free.  

As in, I could just write, and teach yoga, and live simply with my adorable family on a beach somewhere and it would all be champagne and cake from there.   Continue reading

distraction1

DISTRACTION

Last night in my yoga class I lost my feet.

I got through integration, through Sun Salutation A’s and stepped into my first Warrior One before I even noticed where I was or what I was doing.

Did we even do Sun A? What about chair pose? Did he [the instructor] forget something?

That’s a good 20 to 25 minutes of instruction and movement that I had essentially no memory of. Like, none, which is about as scary as arriving at a destination in your car, as the driver, and wondering who got you there. It’s also as scary as being a part of a society that you realize you’ve been privileged to exist in without ever being required to notice who was, and was not, in it with you.

My body was physically in the room, yes. My feet were technically on the mat, sure. But my mind and soul elected an alternative activity.

That’s how I’ve felt the last week and a half. Distracted. Detached. Cerebral.

Continue reading

friction1

THE RUB

I’ve always been a little bit outside “the norm.”  Not average. Challenging. Bold. Big in body, mind, and presence. Strong-willed, determined, and overly verbal about it. A storyteller by nature. I’m a dreamer who likes to make lists. A “YES” who likes to map it.

I rarely choose to do things the easy way. I like puzzles, and problem solving. I crave adventure. I need variety like I need air. I don’t like the word or the state of “normal.” I don’t like to hold still. Conventions make me nauseated. I like to learn the rules so I can bend and twist and break them when it’s time.   

I rarely play it safe. I’m uncomfortable playing small. There are never enough ideas or things for me to learn.  If you say we can go ten miles I want to go one hundred. My quench for growth is insatiable.

I love the way change calls me out of my comfort zone and into a terrifyingly fresh new space.

This, makes me . . . well. Me. It makes me, me. And I’m not sorry for that, anymore. It’s who I am. I’m good with it. Great, actually. Continue reading

lovewins3

I LOVE, YOU LOVE

A week ago my city celebrated Pride week with a parade and festival. My husband and kids and I joined the California Endowment in the parade costumed with massive monarch butterfly wings and bright pink shirts bearing the ¡vota!slogan. The kids were welcomed by the parade’s Grand Marshall, Mr. Stuart Milk, and given the honor to sit in his car. They waved and smiled and celebrated throughout the entire ten block procession. They were excited, and proud, and grateful.

We attended the festival, talked to people at booths, won prizes, hugged friends, and as my husband so perfectly articulated to the kids,  we celebrated kindness, for everyone.

No matter the status of documentation, the orientation, the race, the skin color, the ethnicity, the cultural background, the gender identification, the religious belief or lack thereof, the tax bracket, the political party identification, not even how they like their damn eggs cooked — Kindness.For.Every.One. Continue reading

lightoftheworld

THE THING

When I was 16, this girl at a leadership camp we both attended said at the end of our week about me “There’s just something about Michelle. You can tell just by being around her that she’s going to do something really great.

Every day since that day, I’ve been wondering— BUT WHAT?  

So I went into teaching. Because I loved kids, and I loved working in a place where my work made a difference in real time and in the future. I went to college, and got all the degrees, and all the credentials and all the labels that said “Teacher.”

Being a teacher seemed like it was going to be a really great thing. Probably THE Thing. Except it wasn’t. Not then, for me, anyway.

I put in a solid and commendable effort too. Eleven years in Elementary Education including a three year stint in School Administration, and then five semesters as a College Professor. And I was a good teacher. I made a difference. I know I did great work.

But instead of lighting me on fire, it was burning me out.

Continue reading

wandereer

WANDER

They say when you find the right one you just know. They say things will just match up, that your heart and your head and your gut will all be saying the same thing. They say you won’t doubt it, or yourself.

They say that when you find the one, you’ll suddenly realize why all those that came before it didn’t work out. They say because when you find the right fit, it just, works, no forcing, no compromising, no negotiation. Existence without resistance.

That’s true for love anyway, in my experience. That’s exactly how it worked for me. But what if “it” is a job? What if “it” is a purpose? What if “it” is the thing that you make your life’s work?

Right. About that. . .

Here I am 35, three or ten career changes past the one I picked when I was six years old, and I still don’t know what the fuck I want to be when I grow up. I mean I do, kinda, but I’m totally not doing it, yet. Continue reading

awakeningwoman

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

I want to talk to you about this time I felt stuck. Really stuck. Really down. Really not myself.

Depressed. I would actually classify this thing that happened, that I’m coming out of, as depressed. And that is scary as fuck.

I have lots of reasons why it might have happened. Significant health issues, insomnia, injuries and work limiting access my practice, financial hell, not teaching anymore, not sharing yoga the way I love to share it. The things that I identify myself with, the things that help make me, be me, were not secure.

And even though I am wrapped in love. And even though I have so many things to be grateful for, and even though I am never, ever, ever standing anywhere, at anytime, alone, I felt removed. Not having all my things in place all ultimately resulted in me not showing up powerfully for myself, or for anyone else.

Outside of the things that I do — who am I?

I spent three years in inquiry, three years exploring, three years doing the work and building heat by throwing every available stick in the fire, and then suddenly, I just sat down and stared at the flames. What did I build? Why did I build it? Who is it for? How do I keep it going?

What the fuck do I do now?

Continue reading

woman_shadow315

Dark Side Of The Moon

Last week I wrote about hitting the Wall. Or rather, hitting walls, plural. About what it looks like when my body draws a #Nope card.

But there’s a wall I didn’t talk about. It’s a wall I don’t want to acknowledge. A wall that, quite frankly, isn’t supposed to be there.

It’s a wall I unintentionally built myself.

I have a charmed life. My husband is amazing. My kids are thriving. I’m getting along with my ex-husband, and his wife. I live in a cool city, I get to go do epic shit with kickass people. My friends are supportive ,and funny, and kind, and all the things I could want my friends to be.  I have more events to attend and opportunities for culture and learning and fun than time to do them all.

I am surrounded by love and laughter and play and light.

And yet, there are still shadows. Big ones. The kind that wake me up at night in a cold sweat, the kind that start arguments where arguments weren’t expected. The kind that attract mistakes. The kind that undercut my self esteem, that prevent me from showing up, and the kind that invite me to spend a Saturday in bed, under the covers, sleeping my reality away. Continue reading

wall

THE WALL

When I ran my first marathon I was 21. I had trained for five months, I had eaten the right foods, put in the work, prepared my body well, and was mentally ready for 26.2. It was beautiful and I was happy to be there, until I wasn’t. At mile 20 as I reached the final turnaround, I felt like I’d been slammed into The Wall. Frozen. Heavy. My feet wouldn’t move. My eyes stared up the road in agony, defeat in my toes and pain in my soul.

I started negotiating quitting. I considered napping right there on the pavement. I threw up five times just a mile short of the finish line, and then two more times as soon as I crossed it.

So much resistance.

I started my first career that year too, at 21. I had graduated from college at 20, got my first set of credentials and a job, had a Master’s Degree and another credential by 24. I was prepared as prepared could be. I was ready, dammit. 

I worked at a school down the street from my house. It was the cutest thing ever, until it wasn’t. Until I had up to 35 five and six year olds in a classroom alone for 7.5 hours a day. Until I was crying in my car before class and was so tired after that I waited until the last possible minute to pick my own kids up from childcare. Until The Wall showed up bigger and stronger and meaner than the first one.  Continue reading