Things I’m Learning On The Road

  • I haven’t had a mirror in the bus for 4 months. I broke the last one and we’ve just been too lazy to replace it. I wake up every morning, I brush my teeth and wash my face and I even manage to guess where my eyelid is as I apply eyeliner. I don’t usually get to a mirror until sometime after lunch. Turns out the world still turns and my face doesn’t change that much when I’m not checking on it every 20 seconds. Who knew?!?
  • We’ve been living in Yogaville for the last month or so and they should stop telling people that Verizon works here because that is a damn lie. The bus is a total dead zone and my cell really only works in the areas where talking on them isn’t allowed. I spent the first week running around like a crazed hamster looking for just ONE bar so that I could chat and gossip my free time away and then alas…. Ashram life won. Aside from work, I’ve done no gossiping and very little chatting and I have to say it’s been AMAZING! Half the time I don’t even know where my phone is. I’ve spent the last few years attached to it, waiting on a mama to go into labor so that I could jump into action as her Doula. The years before that I was attached to it waiting on news about my mother or father as they died. My nervous system welcomes the shift and I’m kinda dreading returning to four bar status 🙂
  • Builder burnout and crappy weather have given me the time to A) actually finish a book! Read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. It’s perfect. B) It’s allowed me hours of classes with new teachers here and my upcoming workshops are better for it. C) A vegan diet means my tits have said “sayonara” (for NOW) BUT it helped me figure out what foods were making me sick and itchy and I feel healthier than I have in a decade. D) It also meant that when my world was turned upside with news of a new brother, I had the space to process it and manage it. I waited a bit… he didn’t deserve the anger that I was holding. He didn’t need to be hit with alllll of the family nonsense at once. But eventually I called. He sounds just like my or I guess our father… (not sure how to say that yet) He laughs like him and he called me his little sister and even as I write this I cry because well damn it’s a lot… I told him about all of the good things… we talked about how he liked to make eggs and play chess and how he sang like Luther and spent his Sundays dunking on dudes on the court in Harlem. We laughed about the ugly sneakers he wore and the good way he hugged and we danced around the lies he told because maybe that’s best for another time but damn. I have a brother and our talk forced me to talk about the pros of life with my father which I haven’t thought about in years. I’m not sure who needed the conversation more but it felt good and I’m looking forward to our next one…

I knew that slow living would mean a lot of things. I anticipated becoming less vain. No one needs a face full of makeup living in the woods. I could have guessed that I would freak out about access to Internet and that eventually I would realize it was a first world problem and calm the fuck down. What I didn’t see coming was how perfectly it would “feed” my Yoga practice. We don’t practice being peaceful so that we can walk around levitating. We “practice” peace so that peace becomes an automatic response when life hits us with otherwise. Slow living gives me the time and space to dedicate to my practice which helps me respond better to my life. It’s not always easy on the road but I’ve found that my life has always expanded when I figured out how to peacefully manage what was hard….

Welp! It’s raining again… and I have a new book! Healing Herbal Infusions to get into. I hope you take some time to do a little slow living yourself this week. Cut something out to make space for something better. Feed what helps you cope. You deserve it.

Namaste Y’all

My New Brother

I’m not sure where to begin, with Grief Camp or with finding out that my dead father gave up a son in 1978 and my family knew?! I’m not sure why I haven’t made my life into a book by now, or at the very least a pamphlet, because you can’t make this shit up!

On October 26th I watched as people, in their 20’s and 30’s, flew in from as far as Dubai and as near as Chicago. I was there because I work as a Community Manager for The Dinner Party. But I was also there because I lost both of my parents a few years apart to different forms of Cancer.

Before camp, TDP staff got together for a night of preparing and pizza and talking about our own goals as grievers for the weekend. I wanted to leave having let go of anger towards my father. The morning camp started I made a list of the 4 biggest things I’ve been carrying around.

  • When I was 10 my father’s mistress called our house, on Thanksgiving, and told me details about their relationship. I didn’t see my father again for 4 years. He lived 20 minutes away.
  • I called my father once from outside my mother’s hospital room and begged him to help me. He told me she deserved it and hung up. He then showed up at her funeral, late, sat in the front row and 2 days later asked me to borrow money. Which I gave to him. I wouldn’t hear from him again.
  • A year or so later, I was walking to Union Square to meet a friend for drinks at Blue Water Grill. I see my father, and a woman walking towards me. And as the Universe would have it we are the ONLY people on the street. I stopped and waited for him to stop. She was blissfully chatting away and he mouthed for me not to say anything, shook his head and walked past me.
  • The next time I saw him, he was in a coma. The same woman was sitting bedside. And still. I stayed. And held his hand. And told him I loved him. The weeks and months to follow until his death uncovered more lies and more secrets from the lives he had invented with so many different people. But he was my father. And my first love and so I stayed.

After he died, I did what I do. I wrote. I cried. I meditated. I traveled and drank too much. I burned candles and sage and I came out years later feeling like I was GOOD! And then I had a Reiki session. I was fresh off of casually dating a man I knew damn well I shouldn’t have and laid on this woman’s table at The Turnberry Resort in Miami, FL. After the 1 hour silent session, and my being STUNNED by her mastery of the skills, she turned to me and said “You need to heal your relationship with your father or you’ll always have difficult relationships with men.” Ummmm. “You got all that from waiving your hands above my liver?!? ” But I never forgot what she said.

Well now it’s 2019 and I’ve realized months before camp that I was still fucking pissed. Falling in love will do that to you. I pride myself in being able to recognize my own shit. No one deserves your pain. After I threw the 2nd fan in his direction I realized it was time to take a step back lol

So AGAIN I did the work. I realized that half the time, I wasn’t arguing with John. John had simply triggered a memory and my response was to that emotion that was never healed. John is the only man, I’ve ever really loved, and the little girl who wasn’t loved right is a wee bit bananas when she gets mad. And here’s the thing. Other dudes might have deserved my crazy. He doesn’t.

So I made that list. And I burned it at camp. And I cried and hugged and did all the things. I also watched as all of these other beautiful people moved through their own pain and I was reminded that my pain was not specific to me. There were people sitting in that room who I wouldn’t trade my story with. There is always someone who is dealing with more than you. I left feeling lighter and I came back to John feeling proud of what I had released.

And then this shit. I’ve always known my father had had children before I was born. Unfortunately, we didn’t grow up together. I’ve never known the full story but from what I gathered, he had “chosen” to be a dad to only 1 of us and I’ve spent most of my life avoiding them because I’ve felt guilty. We’re in contact on social media but that’s about it and after my dad died I think it almost got weirder for me to begin a relationship. They are older and more mature than I, and have never stopped reaching out. One of them reached out this morning to tell me we have a brother. Thanks to ancestry.com he took a DNA test and found her. He had been given up in a closed adoption in 1978. I was born in 1980. He’s lived in NJ. I grew up in NY. I don’t know the chain of events yet, but my uncle has known. At least 1 aunt has known and so had my grandmother.

My world has been rocked before. And when it has I call on everything my mother and Yoga have taught me. As a teacher myself, I know and believe that there is a lesson here. I think about what I would tell my students and I remind myself to BREATHE. I am good at stepping back and trying to determine what future me needs, because present me is down the rabbit hole. And so I tell myself that there is a blessing here and to not be guided by anger.

But. I’m also a 39 year old woman who deserved the truth. I also don’t believe that family secrets should prevent you from having a moral compass. I am steadfast in knowing that I could have used a brother when I found myself with no one at 31. And that toxic is toxic. Family or not. When I think about what future me needs? I think about a healthy marriage. She needs to be in a loving partnership. She no longer passes down what has been YEARSSS of generational disfunction. She trusts whose around her and love is poured honestly at the table where she sits.

So, I AM pissed. But I’m also done doing the work for now. Sometimes anger aint so bad. I’m deciding, (for my own health) “not my circus, not my monkeys.” sometimes family are the people you choose rather than your blood. I’ve got some AMAZING blood ones (that sounds gross lol) and they know who they are but my chosen ones deserve only the best of me. And sometimes walking away is the best “work” you can ever do.

Home

Blogging on Sunday nights is working out well for me huh? lol

I’m sitting in one of the classrooms, here at Yogaville, writing this post. This room is beautifully lit, carpeted, and has an altar at the front. I can hear the birds outside, people blissfully walking from Meditation to Sivananda Hall for breakfast…I can smell incense and the smoke from candles nearby. It’s a peaceful morning and quite the difference from the Planet Fitness I posted from last Monday.

Yogaville brings up a lot for me. My mother had been a Kitchen Mother when the ashram was in Connecticut in the 70’s. At the time, she was on the path to becoming a Swami. When her mother was diagnosed with ALS, she left and went home to NYC to take care of her as she died. She met my father not long before she passed and soon after I was born. Imagine… if my grandmother hadn’t gotten sick, my mother would have been a Swami and I would never have been born!

I’ve spent my entire life traveling here. Living here for brief stints as a child, running here when life became too much as an adult. Grieving here when my mother died and then my father. I’ve spent most of each year, since then, trying to make it back here. Because here is home. The only place I’ve ever called home. I love New York but it was hard and it was hard on my family.

Yogaville is where my mother was happiest. It’s the place where all of my best memories live and the “why” behind the life and career I’ve created. Yogaville taught me everything. And now, Eula Mae is parked outside my friend’s dad’s house. Ana- Mae is playing on the fields where I went to Summer Camp, and John and I took a walk down to the lake I never learned how to swim in as a child lol My worlds are colliding in the best ways… My memories and my future running along side of each other in the Virginia sun.

If you’re anything like me, then you spend a lot of time second guessing yourself. It’s hard not to question your choices in life. But then there are moments, like this one, where you know without a doubt that you’ve made the best decision for yourself.

Next week I’ll tell you the story about the drive here because HOLY HELL it wasn’t exactly seamless. Today I just want to walk outside and eat good food. I want to laugh and nap and watch my family play where I once played. I want to hear stories about my mother and just feel really fucking grateful that we did it!

Till next week y’all. Take care of yourselves. You deserve it all.

Stop and Breathe

I’m writing this post from a massage chair at Planet Fitness, because I fell asleep yesterday at 7:30pm watching that episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler leave the baby on a bus. 🙂 Oooooppsss! Your girl is exhausted. (and that show never gets old)

There are SO many things to do in Eula Mae! Everywhere I look there’s something that needs to be painted or nailed down or sanded. But how many fucks do I give on this Monday morning?!? ZERO

Our Solar panels get delivered tomorrow from Go Power!, and on Friday we head to Yogaville for 3 weeks. I refuse to stress out any more. We did as much as we can do and we’ll finish in VA after a few days of vegan eating, temple dwelling and some REST.

This project has taught me a lot. Or at the very least, it reminds me of what I teach my students:

  • Stop and breathe. You’re just frustrated, put it in perspective.
  • With each decision, is this bringing ME joy or am I trying to impress someone else?
  • This isn’t a race. Am I taking care of myself in the meantime?

My answer to that last question is why I’m going to spend this week slowly getting road ready, having my hair washed and FINALLY getting a manicure and pedicure. I’m taking myself out to lunch and I’m going to take time to say goodbye to the sweet people in this town that made the last 6 months more seamless and laughter- filled than I could have imagined. John and I are going to drive to the beach and eat too many donuts and MAYBE I’ll paint something but maybe I’ll just put it in our “garage” and take the dog to the park.

They say you teach what you need to learn right? This isn’t a race. The build, the trip, life… none of it. We aren’t here to check boxes and be unhappy. We are here to ENJOY. To live abundantly and happily and to do what makes our soul scream with JOY. We’re here to love and to be loved and to find the adventure in every day.

The build will wait. We ARE leaving this week! But the adventure is NOW and John and I have an ocean to visit with 🙂 Happy Monday y’all. Fuck checking the boxes. Make your soul scream this week.