new year, same me.

january: the time of vision and goals, resolutions and "clean slates." while I love all of those things, and often set big ol' goals for myself, I know that the intention behind my goals is what matters most. in 2017, I'll be entering uncharted territory in both my personal and professional life (planning a wedding! launching a non-profit! turning 30!) so I'm focusing on one word to ground my goals in for the year. 

CHOOSE:  to select freely and after consideration, to decide on a course of action.

here's to discernment, targeted action and staying in choice in 2017. if you choose (see what I did there?) a word of your own for the year, please share - I wanna know! 

p.s. seth godin a blog post about choice today, which made this word feel even more perfect. read what he wrote (pasted below) and if you aren't already, start reading his daily blog here


THE CHOICE

Attitude is the most important choice any of us will make. We made it yesterday and we get another choice to make it today. And then again tomorrow.

The choice to participate.

To be optimistic.

To intentionally bring out the best in other people.

We make the choice to inquire, to be curious, to challenge the status quo.

To give people the benefit of the doubt.

To find hope instead of fear in the face of uncertainty.

Of course these are attitudes. What else could they be?

And of course, they are a choice. No one does these things to us. We choose them and do the work (and find the benefits) that come with them.

#cometogetherATL

Quick & Dirty

My dear friend Jessica and I are hosting a community event to talk power, privilege and humanity titled Come Together. It's happening Sunday, November 13th and I'd love to see you there; expect honest conversation and a safe space. Tickets are available here

The Whole Shebang

A little over a month ago on September 21st, I was having a really rough day. I woke up feeling generally good about life until I drank a gnarly cocktail of internet/social media scrolling that sent me into a pretty dark mental space. Nothing in particular happened besides being acutely aware of they systems of oppression that sustain our world and feeling the pain, anger, and despair of all my brothers and sisters who are treated inhumanely simply because of their skin color, gender, or sexual preference. Just a normal Wednesday. 

I texted my friend Jessica and said, "I'm having a hard time. I don't know how to teach yoga today." She called me shortly after, and at some point during our conversation she said, "Let's do something." We really didn't know what to do, but we got into action. I reached out to an old friend, Chelsea Jackson, who gave me guidance. I called a new friend from my Path by Plywood experience, Iyabo, and she agreed to facilitate an event. 

Here we are, a little over 4 weeks later, and although it's been a few days since I've cried about the deep sadness I feel about the world, I am still heart broken. And I'm doing my absolute best to remember that things can change, I have a voice, and most importantly: community matters. This weekend, my teacher Hala reminded me that in order to create lasting change, we all must remember that our liberation is directly connected to everyone else we know, and even people we don't know. 

Here's where you come in.

I hope you will join Jessica and I on Sunday, November 13th from 1-3pm for an afternoon of community, connection and real talk at Come Together: Conversations about Power, Privilege, and Humanity. The event is part group experience, part storytelling, part individual exploration, full of hope for the future that we all most create together. 

To purchase tickets, click here. In order to keep an intimate conversation, there are spots for 50 people. Tickets are $7/single or $14/pair if you have a friend in mind that you'd like to invite to be a part of the conversation. 

Many thanks to Southface Energy and lululemon Ponce City Market and Howell Mill for providing resources to make this happen. 

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2016.

last night for NYE, my family and I went to a burning bowl ceremony where released what we wanted to let go of from 2015 and wrote a letter to our future selves. we followed it up with Chinese food and wine before we went our separate ways - my boyfriend and I retreated to the couch once we made it home. 

we turned on the tv to tune in to NYE festivities (earth, wind + fire y’all) and wait for the countdown. he was sweet enough to make me a tasty whiskey beverage before we settled in. I sat on the couch, jack rose in one hand and jo jos (trader joe’s gluten free version of an oreo) in the other. after a few comical musical performances, it wast time for the peach drop! the countdown clock appeared and as they started counting down the seconds, I laughed a little and said to him: “joke’s on them, time isn’t real.”

as an avid lover of new year’s eve/day/clean slates/new beginnings, I was a little surprised to hear this come out of my mouth. sidenote: the action of surprising myself was a little weird, considering most things I say pass through many filters of thought. anyhow, what I realized is this: what I perceived to be cynicism/a statement contrary to my beliefs was actually a statement of truth. the notion that time isn’t real (read: linear) affirms that transformation and change is possible at any moment, at any time. and while it’s sweet to celebrate these things on a proclaimed day, shifts are possible whenever I make space for them. 

so as we enter this "new year" I hope that you join me in the practice of reflection by writing, moving, breathing, sitting - whatever it is that helps you tune in to you. beyond thoughts and judgements into the intelligence of your body. allow it to reveal what’s next, make space for the shift. 

AND

know that you can do that whenever you want. you can do it today and then again tomorrow. or wait until your birthday. or the solstice. or make time on a random tuesday morning because it feels good and you’re ready for something new.

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self vs. ego

One way to know you are experiencing the ego and not the Self is that the ego always experiences itself in comparison to others. The ego never feels fully equal to others: it sees others as higher or lower, as better or worse. The Self sees everything and everyone as equal to itself.

The ego bears the same relationship to the Self as does a light-bulb to the electrical current coursing through it. The bulb looks as if it gives light independently, but in fact it doesn't. It is just a container. The true source of illumination is the electrical current that runs through the bulb.
In the same way, it is Self that gives energy to the ego and enables the ego to perform its function of making you think that the boundaries it sets are the real you. The ego is a useful instrument. For one thing, if it weren't for the ego, we would have no feeling of being an individual self. The ego tells us who we are in the limited, worldly sense; where the body comes from, how old it is, what we 'like' and 'don't like'. So, the ego is not always a bad thing or an enemy to exiripate. It is simply limited - and limiting. 

To become fully in the Self, we penetrate beyond the ego's confining messages. Once as you let go of identifying with the body, mind, and emotions, then you naturally experience yourself as vastness, as pure being, as joy, as Awareness, as light. The Self has three main qualities: (1) sat - permanently real, (2) chit - aware of itself and everything else, and (3) Ananda - joyful. 

-the lovely Sally Kempton. 

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goals: think of the small as large.

A little over 3 years ago, for the first time ever, I was asked to set goals and write a vision of my life 10 years in the future. Needless to say, it was a little intense. I could think of tons of grandiose, big ideas that would be great to experience in my lifetime, but nothing felt real or honest. Luckily for me, my job at the time placed great value in this work and I had lots of time to explore. 

My exploration became a path of turning inward, I discovered connection to the work of vision + goals by staying grounded in self inquiry. Since then, I've spent many minutes asking myself (and lots of other folks) questions like this: What do I value most? How do I want to spend my days? In what ways will I create, contribute + be of service? And how do I want to feel while I’m doing it? 

The coolest thing about it all? We just need to be curious. Curiosity helps me stay present and pay attention to what I'm experiencing right now. I have found that creating super dreamy visions for my future life happens when I can ease into what feels right, right now. 

This is what we do go together in Yoga, Vision + Goals workshops. We let yoga do what it does best: make space (I've found that making space in my body gives my mind a little more room to run free). I ask you the same questions I ask myself, without any pressure to have all of the right answers (again, it's about making space). I like to call this process Investigative Illumination because that's usually how it goes: a burst of light in a moment of self inquiry can change how  we see situations, relationships + opportunities, which shifts how we get into action about.

And although exiting Dreamland (where I love to be) can be hard, we get into action. These days, I am practicing doing one small thing to bring me into alignment with my big goals every day. These days, it's writing every day for 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes, and if there's more time then that's another story. The habits we build are the foundation for living our goals and ultimately, building trust in ourselves. These "small" habits and "tiny" rituals build a bridge from the work of today to the vision of our dreams. Day by day, practice by practice - the small is just as important as the large.

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

 -St. Francis of Assisi

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