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Caught Up!

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People are really caught up in the appearances of it all. 

Just the other day, my friend that I’ve known, more than half my life,  made a comment that threw me for a loop!

We had just walked past  Owen Wilson in a coffee shop–I made eye contact and he said hello (this is about the 3rd time I’ve seen him and he has seen me out and about in Malibu).  My friend and I  had these fantasies that he was actually interested in chatting with us further and that perhaps he kept his eye on us as we left.  Ha!OceanOwen

Anyway, as we approached my car (my 14-year-old car with peeling paint), she stopped short and said, “wait, I can’t let him see me.”  I wasn’t sure what she meant and it took me a minute to figure it out–she was embarrassed to get in my car!

Wow, gosh, golly and gee–I thought I knew this friend!

I don’t know, who wants to be with someone, anyone, who judges us by the car we drive?  It just seems so foreign to me these days.  BUT, sadly, it is truly the norm.

Yes, it might be nice to get into my brand new chocolate-brown Tesla, but I can assure you, it won’t change who I am.  If someone chooses not to associate with me because I drive a 14-year-old car,  I wouldn’t want them in my life anyway.

What a thrill I had when I read this quote by Owen Wilson:

“I don’t like caring what other people think, but I do. There’s a freedom when you meet someone who doesn’t care, who is just themselves in all situations.  To just be yourself, and not try to sell anything, or make a good impression, that’s something worth striving towards.”

I will continue to strive.

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Santa Monica Serendipity

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Santa Monica was once the Mecca of Bodybuilding–or wait, maybe it was Venice.  These days, Santa Monica is the Mecca of Yoga Studios.

There are literally 6 studios within 5 blocks of each other.

As I wrote in a previous post, I was once a yoga whore.

Yoga whore,  meaning I never seemed to stay with one teacher, I jumped from class to class every week with no desire to be true to one teacher.

After many years, I found a teacher I practiced with every week and shared the time with a friend.  We loved our time together until our schedules changed and we were off on another  quest to find a place to fit in.

There are a some great teachers in Santa Monica–actually some of the best teachers in the Country make Santa Monica their home.  While they may be great teachers, most of them don’t have the quality of connecting with all their students.

It’s hard with a room FULL of students I’m sure, but as a student, it feels good to be seen and touched and known.

Just the other day, I was at a special event workshop.  I was in the restroom and I saw a face I recognized but wasn’t sure who or how I knew her.  I told her she looked familiar and asked her name, she then told me her name.

She was a “famous” teacher.  

Most people when asked their name would reciprocate with, “what’s your name?”  No, not this teacher–she is more of a “celebrity” yoga instructor.

She had no desire to know my name. 

She has grown comfortable in her status of the Santa Monica yoga scene!  To me, that’s so sad.

Finding a teacher that is warm and inviting is not always an easy task here in Santa Monica.  My friend and I couldn’t make it to our regular teacher’s class because of time constraints so we went to a new studio (at the time it was new, it’s a year old now), Yogaco.

That’s when, serendipitously,  we met the second teacher that made her way into our hearts, Jennifer Pastiloff.

We wanted to give the new yoga studio our business and we arrived and waited and waited and waited.  I wanted my friend to meet Aras and experience his class but we found out later he had been in the hospital with food poisoning.    The person at the desk told us, “Jennifer’s class is starting at 9 and her class is really cool.”

We had been wanting to find our female favorite but hadn’t had much luck.  What a pleasant surprise she was.

Jennifer is the kind of teacher I would be if I were teaching in a public setting.

She is approachable, warm, inspiring, real, playful, authentic, and she cares about who YOU are and what your name is! 

I could go on but I will just say,  she is easy to be with.  Her spirit is so loving and giving and supportive.  Everyone who knows Jennifer absolutely adores her.  Her mother says, “that’s the way it has been her whole life, everybody loves her.”

When the time that she teaches works in my schedule, I’m in her class.

When I’m there, I know I can just BE.

There is no serious vibe going on…she encourages everyone to sing out if they feel the music and need to express it.  When I am there, in some bizarre way, the music she plays is perfect–just what I need that day.  Synchronicity!

There is so much about being in her class that appeals to me…I can let my inhibitions go and just BE.    Sometimes the music moves me so much,  I am teary eyed with joy and wonder.  Sometimes,  I am encouraged to go for a pose I had been too intimidated to try.  There is something so magical about getting past a block–the feeling is amazing and she is there to walk you through it.

The words she speaks are inspiring.  One of her greatest influences in life has been the teachings of Dr. Wayne Dyer.  We are like-minded in that regard,  if you haven’t heard any of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s teachings on the Public Television channel, get some of his CD’s–he is amazing!  Jennifer and I were fortunate enough to hear Dr. Dyer speak in Santa Monica last month.

Of course, we were able to manifest a photo with him!

Jennifer has hosted many workshops and retreats.  Recently I attended her Yoga and Manifestation Workshop.

It was a deeply profound experience full of epiphanies and breakthroughs. 

She lives what she teaches and is more than happy to spend as much time as needed to help you “get it”.

Jennifer is someone you want to know.  She will go out of her way to support you in whatever you’re up to.

Her heart is as gold as it gets.  Go visit her class.  Be in her space, and introduce yourself, she cares who you are!

 

***Check out more of her artistry at http://themanifeststation.net/2014/05/08/soul-tattoo/

 

Puma Power

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As I began my hike at I the start of  Will Rogers State Park, a young woman came running out of the woods, “Oh My God, there’s a mountain lion in there!”  She had turned around after seeing the mountain lion in her first 5 minutes on the trail.samendofthehike

I eased her fear a bit and said that if she wanted to join me on the hike, she could hike with me and I would protect her.

I have come face to face with a Mountain Lion before (I was on my mountain bike) and the Puma was afraid but not too afraid.

He was ahead of me on the trail and ran into the bushes.  As I approached that spot I had marked with my eyes in the bushes, I looked in and his big green eyes were peering out at me–actually I think she is a female.

As we made eye contact, she shrunk back a bit.  I began talking to her… “I see you.  I’m not afraid of you.  You’re fine.”

The fact is, I wasn’t afraid.  I was absolutely thrilled to be in the presence of such a wild animal.

So, on this day as Samantha and I made our way toward our destination 2.5 miles ahead, I explained what you should do if you come upon a mountain lion–it isn’t what I did in my face to face encounter but this is what YOU should do.

The first rule is, DON’T RUN!

Puma’s are a bit like men, they love the chase.

If you run, they chase–that’s just their instinct.  The second rule is, talk loud and sound mean and stand as tall as you can possibly stand.  They are afraid of you if you carry yourself with a confidence and a knowing that All is Well.

In Sam’s case, the Puma ran first, at which point Sam ran the other way.  Luckily, the Puma was scared first.

As we entered the woods, it felt like we were on the Avatar set itself.  Everything was lush and green with vines and ivy all around.Image

Even though I felt like being calm and quiet because of the serene environment, I was TALKING VERY LOUDLY for the sake of the potential Puma lurking in the bushes!  It was necessary to put Sam and I at ease and make sure that I followed my own advice.

The hike turned into one of the most magical days for both of us.

We talked about everything–moving to L A, love,  law of attraction, life’s purpose, goals, dreams, relationships…

I was happy to have her company because I am a Trail Guide by nature and I love to interact with the people I hike with.  I had a hike scheduled that day but the client cancelled.

I had intended on driving all the way to Malibu, but something in me said, “turn” as I approached Will Rogers Historic State Park off Sunset Blvd.

And so, I turned!

Perhaps, no not perhaps, I’m sure I was supposed to meet Sam today.

We were able to enhance each other in various ways and it made for a measurable, magical morning.  I am grateful.  I’ve heard it said at The Agape International Spiritual Center, “I am an answered prayer.”

Perhaps I was the answered prayer for Sam today, otherwise, she would have abandoned the hike within the first 5 minutes.  Sam was there for me so that I could share my beloved trails with somebody who had a strong desire to be there.mountainlionwarning

The Mountain Lion was there to bring Sam a message. 

As Ted Andrews, the author of  “Animal Speak” says in his book,  when we are out in the wild,  the animals we encounter are there to bring us a message… “when Cougar (Puma/Mountain Lion) shows up as a totem for you, it is a message to come into your own power.  People may not like your asserting and may want to keep you in the category they have always kept you in.   The Cougar teaches you how to take charge of your life and your circumstances most effectively.”

So many lessons are out on the trails of our lives, we just have to be willing.

As Dr. Wayne Dyer says:

“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.”

So many magical moments on that 3 hour hike…  Synchronicity is the one word I will use to describe it.  I will leave it at that and urge you out into the wild.  You never know what, or who,  you’ll encounter out there, but you have to be willing to get yourself out in it and be open to learn the lessons as they appear!  There are so many lessons in NATURE!IMG_0508

Yoga Twists and Turns

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I’ve been practicing yoga in Santa Monica for 15 years.

I’ve considered myself a yoga whore for most of those years.

Yoga whore, meaning I just jump from one teacher to the next and never really stay with one teacher on a weekly basis. Except for a few months practicing with Scott and learning the Ashtanga 1st series,  I haven’t really connected with too many teachers.  Scott moved away and I was back to my old ways.

The teachers that I return to all have something to offer me while I’m in class, but I never feel the desire to practice with 1 teacher on a week to week basis…until I met Travis Eliot.

Travis has a way with words and an amazing voice that seems to touch me on a soul level. 

He has figured out the perfect balance between the physical and spiritual elements of yoga.  It really works for me.

There is poetry in motion when practicing with Travis.

His words blend and glide along effortlessly and it tends to rub off on his students.  At the end of class, people seem rung out like a dish towel–in a good way.  We just let it go and let it flow.

Yes, it’s challenging, but when you’ve made it through, the day seems to start anew.

Over a year ago, I shared my Travis experience with my friend Brigitte.  She was similar to me in the exact opposite way–she never went and tried new teachers.  When I invited her to come and check out Travis’ class,  I guess I  swayed her to step out of that box. 

She loved it and we made it a weekly event.  Sometimes we were able to go twice a week.

Going to yoga with someone else opened my world up in so many ways.  I started to feel like I belonged in that space and Travis started looking forward to seeing us.  We brightened his morning and he was the centerpiece of our days together.  After class, we’d usually walk a block or two in the heart of Santa Monica and get a healthy smoothy or a gorgeous green drink.

Truly, these were blissful days!

Month after month this was our routine…until it wasn’t.  You know, life gets in the way and schedules change and that’s what happened to being able to go to yoga with a friend.  We couldn’t coordinate going to that class so we were on our own.

I went back to my old ways and bounced around from studio to studio.

This last Thursday we were able to go to Travis’ class after not being there for months.  As we entered the studio, we lit up when we saw his face.  And yes, his face lit up when he saw us enter!

I have noticed that change is inevitable and things can’t always stay the same.

It’s a bit of a challenge when something good comes to an end because we long for it and remember how good it once was.

The thrill is to be able to get it back–if only for a day here and there.  A memory is fine but being there again was Divine!  Thank you Travis,  thank you Brigitte, having you both there made my dreams complete!

Stay tuned for the next yoga story… while jumping in and out of classes that matched our schedules, we found the female version of Travis–someone we wanted to go back to over and over again.  It was a different time slot, of course, and it will be a story that stands alone–next time!

You Live You Learn

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I spend lots of time with  amazing women.

Most of them are younger than me and some of my best friends are as much as 20 years younger than me.

Lately, I’ve caught myself thinking, “gosh, she is so aware and enlightened for her age”.  Sometimes I feel like they are so far ahead of me than I was at their age.

As I’ve thought more about this, I realize that I was on that track when I was their age.  The only difference there is between us is life experience.

That’s what I love about getting older, I am getting more and more with every passing day.  The more life I get to live, the more life I get to live.

Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come and how great we were, even all those years ago.  I was fabulous then and I am fabulous NOW.

I remember when I was a bit younger than these women, I read the book, “You Can Have It All” by Arnold Patent.  It had such an affect on me and I will always remember some of the quotes that I couldn’t help but memorize…

“Our bodies are extraordinary instruments with literally unlimited potential, whatever we believe they are capable of doing, they can do.  We limit them with our limited thoughts about their capabilities”.

And the other thought changing quote that stands out for me,

“We create our lives with our thoughts and since there’s no limit to what we can think, there’s no limit to what our life experiences can be”.

Another great book that I read nearer the beginning of my path was, “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy.  The stories of power moved me more than I can express.

Then there was “Psycho Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz.

Let’s not forget “Love, Medicine, and Miracles” by Bernie Siegel.  It was a powerful introduction into the world of Psychoneuroimmunology.

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how our thoughts can affect our healing.  These books inspired me to study Sports Psychology and earn my Masters Degree.

Sports Psychology is using mental techniques to enhance performance.  The good news has always been, this is not limited to sports, it can be used daily in our lives to alter our life experiences.

One of the best speakers I’ve ever heard is Donald Trump.  I know, some people have a hard time with Donald Trump, he is controversial.  I have had the pleasure, though, of hearing him speak on a couple different occasions.

He is amazing because of his life experience.  He tells some great stories because he has lived life.

There is something so comforting about this…he has lived life.  He has failed and succeeded and failed some more.  I’m sure he was alert and aware at 28 and now he is still alert and aware– he just has more experience that adds to the richness of life and to the wonder of his storytelling.

Dr. Wayne Dyer is another great storyteller.  I’ve seen him evolve throughout my own years of growth.  He is living and experiencing life and he just keeps expanding in his life and in his teachings.

Honestly, I could sit for hours unending listening to the stories he weaves in with his teaching!

Age is not something that freaks me out or brings me down, it just IS.  It doesn’t define me or limit me in any way.  If anything, it has served me with valuable lessons that lift me to the next level as my time here in this realm evolves.

I surround myself with people who see me for me and they don’t judge me by my chronological age.  They embrace me and accept me as an individual who just keeps growing right along with the whole of life.  Experience is living and the more years I’m able to live and learn, the better.

I am just so impressed with the women in my life– I love watching them grow, learn and evolve.  They teach me and inspire me on the path they’re on.

Age means nothing because our lives are shaped by our willingness to learn, expand, and ultimately transcend time. 

I’m not a number that is limited,  I am an infinite expression of life…and so are YOU.  

Be Open

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One of my favorite affirmations these days is, “I AM OPEN TO EVERYTHING AND ATTACHED TO NOTHING”.

When I live with this intention, some of the most amazing things happen.

Last weekend, a series of events occurred that reinforce my belief in staying tapped in, tuned in, and turned on to the positive flow of energy all around us.

I had the opportunity to attend my high school reunion.  At first, I didn’t think I was going to go.

All the names of the people who RSVP’d were people that I didn’t hang out with in high school. They were all the jocks and I knew them but I didn’t have a strong bond with them. Then,  I thought I should put my name on the RSVP list so that I might attract some of the people I did hang out with.

When I arrived at the reunion, I studied the list of people who were inside the room already and not one of them stood out as someone I wanted to reconnect with.

This was not a good attitude and I decided to change it immediately.

I decided to go in and find out about people instead of go in and feel like I had no connection.  That is exactly what I did. I love finding out about people in general and I went into my interview mode. I loved it.

I had so much fun and started to feel a connection brewing.

Then, I noticed NOBODY was dancing. I grabbed a couple of women (who I did not know) and began dancing. We managed to recruit a guy out there with us who recruited another guy.

By the end of the night, as the song “Last Dance” by Donna Summer played (1978), almost everyone in the room was out there on the floor. I was glowing with joy.

Even though I didn’t really know these people in high school, I knew them now and created a connection out on that floor.

Later in the evening as I talked to one of the guys who had organized the event, I found out that his mother still kept in touch with his brothers widow. My very best friend from the age of 3 married his brother (his brother has since passed on). I haven’t spoken to her in a VERY long time. At the age of 16, she got caught up in a downward spiral of drugs and sex and I don’t know what else. We ended our friendship. We had been friends from the age of 3 until 16.

The long and the short of all of this is…I believe the reason I went to that reunion was not to dance the night away with a bunch of people I didn’t really know, but it was to get the number of my childhood soul mate. We were so close, we were so connected, we knew everything about each other and vowed to always be friends so it was extra devastating to have that end.  I always felt a deep empty space in my heart where Annette once lived.

I called my friend the next night (Johnnies mom gave me her phone number).

She has been clean and sober for 12 years now.

We exchanged our small talk and then really started to share ourselves with each other. We had so much in common, we were both on a clear spiritual path and we both cared about our health and well being.  It’s as if our life path’s reconnected at the perfect place.

She told me she had had a dream about me a few weeks earlier. She woke up from the dream feeling really good. Clear.

I asked her where she worked and when she told me the name of the restaurant–wow,  my mom and I had been in there about a month ago. It was a little out of the ordinary since it wasn’t a place near where we live. Then, she told me her first memory of me. The crazy thing is, I had been thinking about that incident it a–wondering if it really happened or.

We were 3 and 4 years old, throwing rocks to each other and she threw a rock at me and I have the scar to prove it on my forehead. I was never sure if that was how I got the scar….she confirmed that the memory was very vivid in her mind.

The 13 years we were friends growing up felt like a lifetime and the over 25 years we haven’t spoken didn’t even feel as long as the time we spent living life to the fullest in our childhood. We are friends again and we will always be friends now. My Thanksgiving couldn’t have been more perfect.

The moral of the story is…be OPEN TO EVERYTHING AND ATTACHED TO NOTHING. I wasn’t going to let the fact that I knew no one at my high school reunion stop me from attending. Had I been attached to the outcome of the reunion (a friend of mine thought I might meet the next love of my life), I would not have been open to the events that followed.

Imagine what I would have missed had I not gotten interested in others–I would have never found out about my long lost friend from her brother-in-law, Johnnie!

I have the first friend I’ve ever known in my life back in my life.annetteandtarayellowflowers

I AM AMAZED AT HOW THE UNIVERSE LINES THINGS UP FOR ME. I AM GRATEFUL! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!