Home

California Dreams–Letting Go!

Leave a comment


I remember my second visit to California, I was 18 years old and loving this place!  Near the end of my trip, I read some graffiti on a freeway overpass, “Tourists GO HOME”! 

I remember feeling really bad when I read it, almost like I had been personally attacked.

I couldn’t understand how someone would want me to go home.  I thought to myself, “gosh if I lived here, I would want to meet all the people that came from all over the world to visit”.  That’s just how I am, I love finding out about people.MeetupPhoto

I’m still the same way all these years later, if I meet somebody new I want to know all about them.  I’ve lived in this state for 23 years now.  I wasn’t born here, but I did live here when I was a baby and I feel as if California is in my bones.  I love this place, it is so magnificent!

Where else can you go to the beach then take a 2 to 5 hour drive and be in the mountains with snow?  Everywhere I go here, I feel at home.

California!  I’ve been up and down the coast and everywhere I go is total bliss.  It really is no wonder that people want to visit here, let alone move here.  If you knew what we had to endure in Michigan, you would have a heart and be okay with us being here.  While it is true, there are lots of people and cars, how can you blame them all?  This a a gorgeous place!

I remember one of the women at the gym complaining about all the cars flooding from the valley to go to the beach.  She said, “vals, go home, we don’t want you here”. 

It’s funny, I thought to myself, she moved here from Ontario Canada–who is she to talk?  Vals are the people who live in the San Fernando Valley.  It is a good 15-25 degrees hotter than on the beach.  Gosh, they deserve to enjoy the beach.  I can see it from both sides, though.  When I spend most of my time up and down the coast because I work in Malibu and live in Brentwood, there can be a huge amount of traffic in the summer months because of everyone flooding to the beach.  It’s all good though, we’re just enjoying where we get to live and play!IMG_0920

I enjoy where I live and play every day.  Today, as I drove the stretch of PCH that takes me to my long time place of work, The Malibu Gym, I marveled at the beauty of Point Dume’ in the distance.

Honestly, I don’t think there has been one day in the 23 years I’ve been driving that coast that I haven’t been in awe of the sight of it when I see it. IMG_0785

I do wonder, how is it possible to love a place so much?

The month of June, 2014 marks 23 years of living in California.  From the age of 10, I spent 20 years dreaming of living in California.onewiththetrailtara

Some might say it became everything I focused upon.

The DJ in the college cafeteria only had to see me and know that it was time to play my song, “California Dreamin”.  Class after class of teaching, I always ended in the relaxed visualizing mode and saw myself here, happy and vibrant!  Then, after years of postponing my move either because of school or a job or a boyfriend,  I made it happen.  I had dreamed and visualized and listened and dreamed some more and then I moved to California.

I had no car, no job, no place to live–I just had to be here once and for all.

So many dreams came true for me.  I live the lifestyle I lived when I lived in Michigan.  I lived it in my own little world there because my environment didn’t really support it.

Today, I am surrounded by health food stores, healthy restaurants,  nature abounding everywhere I turn, near perfect weather, people I adore and so much more!

I love the life I’ve created.  I ride my bike, I hike the trails, practice yoga at my choice of a plethora of studios.  I live in a neighborhood that simply must be one of the prettiest in the country. fuscia flowersAbundance surrounds me in every direction I turn.  I am worthy of it all because I brought it to life with my visions and my strong desire.

Now, after 23 years of fully embracing and loving this place, I had the thought of letting it go.

Let it go and move onto something different.  I am open to that.  Montana seems to be pulsing in my radar these days.  Colorado is another place calling to me although the thought of the Winter months don’t really appeal to me.   Hawaii could work for me.  Wyoming is a mystery to me still. Or, I could stay here and just keep living it in the blissful fashion I’ve carved out for myself.

The feeling I had, though, when I let go of the need to be here and the need to stay here was so freeing.  pacific palisades hike

By letting go, we simply surrender to either something better or keeping that which we have.  It was obvious I had been clinging to being here.  I could feel such a total sense of freedom when I just let go.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? “I am open to everything and attached to nothing”.  That sounds like a good plan.  I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say it many years ago and until you experience it in one area of life, you won’t really know how good it feels.

I am feeling this way in several areas of life and it feels like a dream–as  good as the California dream I had all those years ago!purple passion point dume

Advertisements

Yoga–ya gotta begin to win

3 Comments


I’ve been meeting many people who really want to develop a yoga practice.  Their first couple of experiences, though, have been challenging.

When I hear this, I always ask them, “how bad do you want to practice yoga, what are you willing to go through, are you up for being annoyed, how about feeling frustrated?”

  In yoga, like many things in life, you have to be willing to be  “not so good” for awhile before you can be good.

I was assuring a potential new student today that the journey to having her very own yoga practice would not be easy.  She was describing one of her first classes–feeling tight,  awkward, annoyed and not doing the poses correctly.  “Get used to feeling that way for at least a little while”, I said.

Yoga, if you really want it, will be a journey.  The journey will be worth the gold but you will pay with many different emotions and many of them are not pleasant.

For me, I can still vividly recall the first class I went to–it was an Ashtanga Mysore class.  The class was advertised as “all levels welcome” (beginners/intermediate/advanced).

It was one of those rare 90 degree days in Santa Monica and I was sweating profusely.

I didn’t know any of the postures, it was literally my first class.  There wasn’t a teacher in front of the room leading the class because in that style of Ashtanga, the teacher walks around assisting each person in “their own” individual practices.  I had no practice so my eyes were wandering around looking to see what to do next.

What I saw was so intimidating…standing splits, legs around their heads, arms and legs wrapping around like pretzels, etc.  It was amazing.  I was definitely not in the right place!

It was one of the most frustrating experiences to look around the room at advanced practitioners and be so elementary as to not know any of the poses.  I made it through the 2 hour class and had a big decision to make.

Would I quit or would I start at the level 1 classes and learn everything I could?

I am so thankful that I chose to start from the beginning and progress.  I took my time, I learned the poses and I am still learning new poses 17 years later.

I can remember those beginning days of yoga, just getting to the class was a big deal.

I would get into the room before the class even started and feel thrilled that I was there.  At least I was there, now I just needed to endure all the growing pains it took to learn and develop as a practitioner.

Some of my male friends joke about wanting to take yoga simply to be in a class full of women– I always laugh silently to myself because I know it will take so much more than that to keep on getting themselves in that classroom.

Yoga is a path that will look different to each and every person, but one thing is identical for all–yoga is an inside job.  There will be a bit of a struggle inside while your body struggles with the outside poses.

You will feel so many different emotions–anxiety, frustration, and humiliation are a few of them. 

Then, your ego will find ways to celebrate how great you are.  Those don’t feel as bad, but still, that’s not part of the yogi’s path.  Your ego will be struggling every step of the way, whether it is chatter that makes you feel good or chatter that makes you feel bad.

Yoga, the best of it, is about letting your ego go and just being present with your breath.

Practicing yoga is all yours.  There will be times that you feel proud and accomplished and there will be times you feel deflated and disillusioned.  You will seriously consider quitting, but if you are committed, you will endure.

When you get to the other side of the uneasiness, you will have something so worthy and tangible.  You can depend on it like when you first learned how to ride a bike.  You can always hop on the bike and ride–the same is true with yoga.

You can take your yoga practice with you anywhere you go and it will always serve you.

I urge and encourage you–if you are wanting to develop a physical practice that will serve your mind and body year after year, practice yoga and keep practicing.  Don’t let your ego convince you to quit.

Yoga has been a miracle for many people and helped them heal physical ailments that seemed otherwise incurable.

I don’t have any miraculous stories, but it did make my knees stronger and I became a runner.  Yoga took me further and further away from the sometimes obsessive/compulsive chatter in my head and into the present moment.  I learned to let go and go with the flow.

I learned to just breath and know that I could get through anything.  Come to think of it, those are miraculous!

Oh what I have overcome.  As Michael Beckwith said this morning, “hear what my words cannot convey”.

The words I choose cannot convey the prize that awaits you.

Only you can find it within yourself to step into the unknown and cultivate a practice that will continue to unfold.  Take the first step and you just may find your prize!

Santa Monica Serendipity

8 Comments


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/

 

Yoga Twists and Turns

3 Comments


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!

Yoga–My Friday Night Friend!

4 Comments


It was Friday night.

I was walking alone through the Third Street Promenade, an area in Santa Monica where people hang out, go to restaurants, stores, and enjoy being out in the air with friends.

There I was, alone.  But with my yoga mat under my arm, it felt good to know I had somewhere to go.

Fresh out of a long term relationship, I had a limited number of friends and I was feeling  a strong sense of lonliness.  In one moment, I felt alone with nothing to do and no one to do it with, yet in the next moment I felt complete.

The fact that I was going to Yoga was such a comfort to me…for the first time, I thought of Yoga as my friend.

Yoga isn’t just something you do, it is a tangible effect that comes forth out of something one is committed to.

Yoga is literally a gift I’ve given myself—the cultivation of my yoga practice has given me something I can count on in times where I need to nurture ME.

Just like any other relationship, practicing Yoga hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

There have been frustrating and challenging times as well as euphoric and fulfilling times.

I could have given up on it a while ago and looked around for some other challenge to take on, but I stayed with it and just keep riding its waves of pleasure and pain.

Just like a friendship, Yoga is a practice and a process.

Anyone who has practiced yoga knows that it is a journey that takes courage and grace to navigate.

I had a friend on Friday night.  Yoga was the friend that showed up for me.  I am so thankful I have taken the last 21 years to invest in me—something I could count on being there when I need it most. 

I had a friend to hang out with on Friday night and that friend was me–on my mat!