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27 Years of Living and Learning in Los Angeles !

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June marks 27 years living in California.

Here are 27 things I have learned about living in Los Angeles after  27 years of living here:

1)  I really don’t have to fit in with the crowd here–NOR do I want to!

2)  In time, everyone talks like a “Californian.”  We say things like, “yeah, traffic was so great today–I took the 405 to the 101 then down Kanan to PCH into Malibu, then back up Malibu Canyon to the 101 to the 405 and home–I flew the whole time!” We actually don’t say this very often, it’s usually, “the 405 sucked today!”  I feel sorry for anyone who has to get on it every day. 

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3)  There  are so many natural places to play, it’s not just a cement jungle!  There are the San Gabriel’s, the Santa Susana’s and my stomping grounds, the Santa Monica Mountains.  Hike, Bike, PLAY! 

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4)  When I go to Beverly Hills, I feel like a fish out of water!  There are oversized lips and boobs and the gaudiest cars and stores and everyone WANTS you to see them.  It just feels odd.

5)  My environment caters to my healthy lifestyle–everywhere I go! Health food stores, restaurants, markets, healthy pharmacies, juice bars, and yoga studios abound!
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6)  Meetup.com inspires me in more ways than just meeting people.  Meeting people is easy because there are a lot of people and there are a lot of people wanting to meet people! 

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7)  Riding my bike along the 22 mile ocean bike path from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes has been a dream of mine since I was 10- pure joy and exhilarating beauty!
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8)  Yes, you CAN find lots of places to ride horses and yes your childhood dreams can come true and yes you could live on a private horse ranch and learn more than you could ever imagine about horses–I did!
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9)  Yes, you can go to the beach in the morning and be on the ski slopes by afternoon!  Road trips up North are my favorite–the whole of this state thrills me!  The hike/climb up to Half Dome in Yosemite is a major highlight!

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10)  Rainy days are embraced and cherished, they provide a much-needed break from all the sunshine!

11)  Malibu really does feel like a small town.  It is as beautiful as you might imagine.  Malibu is where my soul resides, it is my Shangri-La! 
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12)  I love the endless choice of yoga studios in Santa Monica–The Mecca of Yoga.  I’ve learned from many teachers and they’ve all been in Santa Monica.  I know how fortunate I am to live HERE.   I can’t imagine my life without my yoga practice!

13)  People who live in affluence are not as you imagine–most I have met, anyway, are the real deal– lovely and generous and some of the nicest people in my sphere.  To judge anyone for any reason is the most limiting activity there is!

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Classy Cat!

14)  Even though this is a big city with lots of people, sometimes a person can feel very alone.  Other times, it is so small and I run into people I know all over the place!

15)  Driving in traffic can be beautiful, honestly!  I see massive amounts of beauty from high atop the freeway overpasses.  And no, traffic doesn’t only happen in Los Angeles, traffic happens in every city!  I love my electric car,  it actually gains miles on the battery while in traffic instead of sucking up gas!
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16) I love being by the beach and feeling the cool of the ocean air.  Just as much, I love being over the hill in the Valley at night, the breeze is warm and balmy and there is no need for sweaters or jackets!

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17)  Not driving my car and riding my bike to work is freedom!

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18)  Yes, you can enjoy going to museums–my favorite is  just across the canyon–The J. Paul Getty museum off the busiest freeway–the 405!  I have a confession to make though, once I took a friend there and we didn’t even go inside and look at the art.  We stayed outside looking at the gardens and the views of the city!  The art IS amazing though, so hard to comprehend the precision and talent that exists in all of us.

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19)  I have made more friends here than anywhere I’ve ever lived. 

20)  The free concerts on the Santa Monica Pier in the summertime FEEL really good.  To be out in the night-time ocean air listening to music and meeting new people is my kind of night!

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21)   There are farmers markets everyday of the week all year round in my town and surrounding towns.  That is such a gift!

22)  In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve not taken one day for granted.  I love where I live and have lived and I’m so glad I made the bold move out here those 27 years ago.

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23)  Again, I say, “fitting in”  is not an option for me here.  Authenticity does exist and only we can choose it for ourselves.  The alternative is working really hard to look good to all the people around you.  Ugh,  as Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide!”

24) Take time to play, it is the secret to perpetual youth!
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25) Maintain a high energetic vibration and if for some reason it feels weak and vulnerable, get the negative people out of your life.  Your vibration needs to be the dominant one.

26)  When life beats you up a bit, remember, you are growing and expanding because of it!
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27)  Cutting people OUT of our lives is a necessity.  You don’t have to be NICE to everyone, make your boundaries strong!

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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!