Bonjour mes amis and welcome to my site and my story!

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I started building this site in February 2017 with the idea of creating a website and you tube channel to post weekly videos on yoga, healthy eating and mindfulness.

In the past six months, so much has changed and so I’ve had to change my website concept as well. I herniated several discs in my back, developed horrible nerve pain and had to stop doing yoga and pilates completely.

And, I moved to France for the summer.

I decided to leave the videos I’d already done on the site and hope that my back will heal soon so that I can start posting them again.

Instead of a website to share my passion for yoga and yummy food, I decided  I would write a Blog to share my passion for France and my summer here in Saint Tropez with you.

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I first fell in love with the Cote D’Azur in 1992 when I moved to Monaco to dance with a company there. After getting my BFA in dance from the University of Utah, I’d spent two years in New York City, pursuing my dreams and my dance career. Going from the busy streets and lifestyle of downtown Manhattan to the beauty, the stillness and the sea, I fell head over heels in love with the south of France. After Monaco, I lived in Paris for twelve years, dancing in a cabaret show on the Champs Elysees.  I returned stateside after my son Matisse was born and have raised him by myself for the past fifteen years.

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But something kept calling me back to France. A whisper in my ear, a dream, a longing to return to this special place in the world. And so I started to come back, to visit at first. Each visit became a bit longer and for the the past three years I’ve spent my summers here in Saint Tropez and my winters in Utah. My dream is to spend most of the year here once my son graduates from school next year.

home_twoEvery time I come back to the south of France, I feel more alive and grateful than I do anywhere else in the world. It’s a combination of the natural beauty here, being by the sea, the freedom and the difference in the culture, the language and the people. The food, the wine, the colors of blue, the sunsets and sunrises here are all a truly sensual experience and I find myself feeling more and thinking less. The lifestyle here is more about slowing down, taking the time to disconnect from “to do” lists and to re connect with people and experiences. It’s about balancing work with play and making time for play every day instead of waiting for the weekend or vacation. It’s about enjoying the moment and appreciating the little things, like drinking a glass of cold champagne a la piscine (with ice cubes) while sitting on the beach with friends listening to the rhythmic sound of the waves lap against the shore.

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Every day I am here, I’m inspired to step out of my comfort zone, to be willing and open to change and grow, to take risks, do things that seem impossible and to follow my heart and my dreams.

I hope to inspire you by sharing my journey and my experiences, introducing you to the people I meet, the places I visit and this different culture and way of life. I’ve learned that there is so much freedom in letting go of the need for people and things to be a certain way. Freedom in learning to trust your intuition, listen to your heart, step away from your daily routine that gives you a feeling of security and search for the things and the places that truly make you feel alive. Freedom to create the life you dream of and to do the things that seem impossible.

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Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my site. I hope you’ll grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and join me for the ride!

The Summer I Met God

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This earth is my alter.
The clouds, the trees and the rocks are my gods.
Against a backdrop of purple blue sky and setting sun, I pray with the sound of my breath and the steady echo of my falling footsteps as I walk freely through the fields.
And as I listen closely to the whisper of the breeze and the sudden silence of the birds I realize that I already have all of the answers deep inside.
This is the summer I’ve met god.
This is the summer I’ve seen myself.
I’ve given in to beautiful imperfection. I’ve decided there is no time to pretend or to try to to want to be anything more than who I am.
Who am I not to follow my dreams? To listen to my heart? To fall in love with this one precious life I have?
Who am I not to dance and laugh and love every day?
When did I stop believing in magic and angels and think that life was about doing instead of just being?
There is such freedom in choosing to accept instead of fight. Such freedom in feeling instead of thinking.
This is the summer I met god. I had to slow down. I had to listen. I had to make the decision to accept myself and love myself just like god does. When I did this, I realized that god, the universe and my guardian angel have always loved me unconditionally, even when I hated myself. I saw that they had always been there walking with me through life and that I could give up control and simply trust in the three of them to lad me forward. I learned that I could let everything else, but what is, simply fall away from me and step into my new skin.
Since we’ve met, god comes to me every day and we talk and spend time together in silence.
My god is as vast as the universe, as solid as the ground beneath my feet and she lovingly wraps her guardian angel wings around me.
She says, fly sweet girl, fly. This is your time.
And so I do. Finding signs of her existence everywhere I look.
I find beautiful feathers at my feet and rocks shaped like hearts as I walk in the vineyards each morning. Signs for me to keep moving forward, to keep believing and to keep working on staying connected.
Each time I look up and I see a bird flying overhead, I’m reminded. Each time I take a deep breath in, I feel my ribcage spreading open like wings on my back, I know.
I’ve started looking at life from the inside out and in doing that, I’ve finally met myself.
And in meeting myself, I’ve met God.
Sometimes I think this is a sign that something is going to happen soon. Some sort of ending.
Because life is so utterly perfect right now.
How is it possible to wake up every morning only to fall in love with life over and over again? And to fall asleep at night feeling so complete?
After so many years of struggle, of feeling like I didn’t belong, of feeling like an outsider looking in, I suddenly see everything from the inside out. Each moment falling more deeply into myself. All of my senses are heightened and I feel a connection to everything that’s always been here.
What is it that has changed I ask over and over again?
I realize it’s simply me. And I realize that it’s not so much a change that has occurred but simply a letting go.
Of deciding to accept, to open up, to listen and to let everything else but what is, simply fall away.
I’ve starting looking at life from the inside out.
The summer I met god happened when I finally began to accept myself and to love myself and believe in my goodness. I truly knew that I was good and lovable deep down in my very core, no matter what and that this is my constant.
I saw that the universe, that god and my guardian angel loved me and accepted me exactly as I am and knew that to find peace with myself, I need to do the same.
I also realized that it had always been this way. That they had always been there by my side, walking with me through life and that I could finally give up control and trust in the three of them. In loving and accepting myself right now, I was also able to give up the need to be different from who I am and to celebrate my uniqueness and my life.

Why walking Away From Responsibility Can Be A Choice You’ll Never Regret

The day I decided to walk away from my job, my son, my house and all of my everyday responsibilities for three and a half months was a decision I will never regret.

Originally, I had planned on going to the south of France to stay with a friend for two weeks this summer. I started looking at tickets and called my friend, Barbara in France. Out of the blue she said, “you should really come live here for the entire summer”. At that moment, I didn’t even consider it. It seemed absolutely impossible and un do-able. Little did I realize that the small seed was planted and it was already too late. It started to sprout, at first in passing thoughts, then dreams at night, then full on daily fantasies. I imagined spending the entire summer, living near the sea with my best friend in the south of France. I spent two weeks thinking about all of the reasons that I could not be done, that it was absolutely impossible for me to leave for that long.

What would the law firm I work for say? Surely I’d lose my job…..
Who would take care of my seventeen and a half year old son? Yes, he’s very mature and has had to spend time alone since I’ve raised him by myself and always worked. But seriously, he still leaves a trail of dirty socks and power bar wrappers around the house and forgets about all sorts of things I ask him to do. I thought, he totally needs me to stay here and take care of him. And what about my house? I rent out the basement on airbnb and live upstairs with my son. Who would make sure that everything was okay and take care the lawn?
And my cat, how would he manage to stay alive without me? And then of course, there was plenty of worry about money. Could I find a job in France? Should I take the money out of my retirement account? Would I be able to continue to pay the bills in Utah if I left for the summer?

I was stuck. Stuck in fear in uncertainty and paralyzed by the what-if’s. I was letting my thoughts rule my mood and felt anxious and stressed. I was not taking the time to do my daily soul work, my meditation and to connect with the universe, with god and with myself. I knew that if I took the time to slow down in silence and listen, my heart would tell me what to do. But I didn’t. I just kept listening to the voice in my head telling me over and over again that walking away from my job, my son, my house and all of my everyday responsibilities was completely insane and absolutely impossible.

So often we forget that the answers are always there for us if we look within. We KNOW what is best for us, what our hearts long for in life if we can just take the time to pay attention and listen to our intuition and trust in it. For a long time, the trusting part was very difficult for me. I didn’t trust myself to know what was right for me. When I look at those words, I think how ridiculous! No one knows me better than myself. Though people, family, friends and society try hard to tell us what kind of life to live and what is best for us, they really have no idea and are simply basing their opinions on their own fears, values, stories and past experiences.

After two weeks of feeling anxious and unsure, I decided I would go for two weeks as I’d originally planned. I was using frequent flyer miles for ticket and had exactly 93,000 miles to use. I found the dates I wanted to go in July and the ticket was 114,000 miles. Going for two weeks in August was the same. Suddenly, I was in panic mode. I only had 93,000 miles. What if I couldn’t go at all? I looked up how many miles it would take to leave from May through September just to reassure myself, thinking it would be much more. And then the number came up – 93,000 miles.

Seriously, really and truly and in that moment I knew what I had to do. I’m a big believer in signs and coincidences and I knew that this was the universe telling me to let go. To let go of my worries, my what if’s, to trust in life, to take a risk and to go spend three months in France. I’m also a big believer in buying plane tickets first and then making the plans and preparations after. I’ve always felt that if you put off buying the plane ticket until you’re ready, you’ll never be ready.

The Delta window sat open on my desktop at work all afternoon. I must have refreshed it thirty times. Oh, the mental pain of indecision and imagining that we have any sort of control over the future. My heart beat the word yes, over and over again. My soul whispered, do it, the only thing holding you back is fear of the unknown.

At 5pm, before leaving the office to head home, I clicked on the “complete purchase” button. My shoulders dropped, my jaw softened and I felt lighter, almost giddy. It was that easy. Instead of staying stuck in indecision of the unknown, I listened to my heart, took action and right away stepped through a door that was opened to me for a reason. I stepped into uncertainty, adventure, not knowing and it felt wonderful and light and free.

With only a month before leaving, it was not much of a surprise that everything started to fall into place. The universe was there for me as was my guardian angel and god. And by letting go and trusting them all, I was in a different energy space. An energy of moving forward. And so I did.

The law firm gave me a leave of absence. I rented out the basement apartment to long term renters and hired someone to take care of the lawn. I put all of my bills on auto pay and took the money I would need out of my retirement account. The hardest part was leaving my son alone. But he was my biggest supporter. He was the one that told me, “mom, you have to go. You love it there, your friends are there and you’re always happy when you go to France. I’ll be fine mom. You can trust me. Besides, I love being alone at home.” And with his words, I had to believe him and trust him and know that this was his truth, his choice. “Won’t you be lonely I asked? I don’t want you to feel like I’m abandoning you”. He rolled his eyes and said, “mom, just go”. I ended up buying a ticket for him to come stay with me for a month. That way he would be spending the month of June and August alone and the month of July in France with me.

I put together five different resumes in english and french. Anything I had some sort of experience in, from bartending to teaching yoga to travel writing to working as a tour guide. I packed my bag, took the cat to my parents house and the morning my son drove me to the airport, we played his rap music so loud and laughed so hard I cried. We were both so excited for this time of freedom for both of us.

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I’ve been here for six weeks already and guess what? My house hasn’t burned down, my cat is getting spoiled by my parents, the renters in my basement apartment are great and my son did just fine at home by himself for a month. He got himself to work every day and had the time of his life with his friends. He arrived here in France last week.

In the six weeks I’ve been here, I’ve bartended a bit, taught some private yoga classes and done a lot of travel writing, interviewing the most wonderful people and making new connections and working on my website. But most of all, I’ve slowed down. I allow myself to luxuriate in stillness each morning, to adore my time alone, to meditate and walk outdoors every single day. I swim in the sea for hours and float on my back, staring up at the blue sky until a wave crashes over me and I get saltwater up my nose and in my eyes. I feel like a little girl again. I’m learning to play. I spend more time feeling and less time thinking and doing. I do my soul work every day and live in such a space of gratitude. For this opportunity, for my life, for the sun, the sea, the trees and for my steady beating heart and my calming breath. I’m learning that listening to and following your intuition are the most important things that we can do to find meaning in our lives. I know that there is an entire world inside myself to explore and nourish teach day and that this inner world is much more important than the outside world. It’s all we really have and no one can take it away from us. The type of inner world we choose to build is entirely up to each of us.

I’m learning that’s it’s okay to simply walk away from responsibility for a short or a long period of time. It’s okay and it’s good to simply take a break from the things that weigh us down. It’s our personal responsibility to walk away from what the world tells us we should be doing and to embrace what our soul, our heart and our intuition is calling us towards.

I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.
~Anais Niin

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Screw Skinny, I’m Embracing My Little Love Pillow

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I try to go on a walk every morning. It gives me time to wake up my body, my breath and let thoughts flow in and out of consciousness without placing too much emphasis or focus on any one thing that comes to mind as I move my body through the morning air.
I take the time to notice the heat of the sun or the chill of the morning, the slight breeze as it touches my skin and I tune into the sounds of nature.
This morning, for some reason, my thoughts kept circling back to how I’m feeling about my body these days. I tried to ignore it at first but since the thought kept coming back in, I decided to examine it. What was I feeling that I needed to deal with to bring myself back into the present moment?
At first I thought about how much more comfortable I am with my body here in the south of France than I am in America, and how much more loving I am towards it, even through I’ve put on five pounds since I arrived seven weeks ago.
I thought about how differently I dress here. Each morning, I slip on a pair of bikini bottoms and a loose dress. No leggings cutting into my waist, no bra straps pressing down on my shoulders, no tight shirt showing off my extra curves. Since I am wearing less clothing, I can feel the elements of nature more – the breeze caressing my skin and blowing my hair in different directions, since I’ve given up on pulling it back into a constricting ponytail every day as well. I adorn my fingers and wrists with rings and bracelets in colors that shine and glitter in the sun. I don’t have to worry about them getting in the way all day like they do in the winter when I spend eight hours a day typing on my computer at the law firm I work for. I’ve given up on blow drying my hair, letting it dry a tangled mess in the sun. And the only makeup I wear is a light golden sunscreen on my face and a lightly perfumed oil on my body. If I wear shoes, its a pair of glittery flip flops or pretty flat sandals.
This style feels right, it feels good and it feels less constricted. It’s so different from how I dress back in Utah which is where I spend my winters.

I’ve let my skin get golden brown from spending days in the sun and swimming in the sea and this suntan almost feels like a second skin on my body. I don’t use 50+ sunscreen, I don’t wear a hat and usually I’ll just cover my eyes with a pair of sunglasses. After covering up for so many years, I almost feel like I’m living dangerously. I’m sure my Vitamin D levels are off the charts! I throw on a long beaded necklace that hangs down to my waist and I’m ready to go from early morning until the time I go to bed.
But as I continued to think about why I feel better about myself here in France, I realized that it’s not just dressing differently. It’s a lot of other things as well.

At first, I wasn’t very happy about putting on an extra five pounds. I struggled to be okay with it. I feel a bit rounder, a bit softer but I am slowly getting used to it and even getting to like it.
One of my favorite expressions here is “petit cousin d’amour” which translates into “little love pillow”. It’s used to explain a few extra pounds of cushioning on your stomach in a loving way. It means your belly has a softness for your boyfriend or child to rest their head on. I hear so many French women use this phrase every single day. Instead of saying, “oh, I’m fat” or “I’ve put extra weight on my tummy”, they simply say, “mais oui, j’ai un petit cousin d’amour maitenent”. (well yes, I have a little love pillow now)

It’s incredible the impact that words can have upon us and how important it is to be conscious of our inner voices. In the beginning, I’d touch my tummy and say, “ugh, gross, I’ve put on five pounds. I need to stop eating all of the amazing cheese and bread and wine here so that my tummy is flat again”. But the reality is, while I am here is France for the summer, I do want to eat all of the wonderful French cheese and drink the gorgeous wine. So I decided to take charge and start talking to myself differently. To begin thinking about myself in a more loving and forgiving way.

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It was difficult at first, but now, I find myself touching my tummy and thinking, well yes, it’s just my little love pillow. I’ve made an effort to do this many times a day, every day for the past few weeks. Each time a negative body image thought comes up, I replace it with a positive one. And so much more accepting of myself and my body and my extra five pounds.
Our self talk is a very powerful thing. And we have the power to stop and notice how we are talking to ourselves and to make sure it is in a loving, gentle, forgiving, accepting and positive way.
We are not supposed to be perfect. Not our bodies, our minds, our souls, our relationships, our lives or our tummies. We are not supposed to stay the same size and shape throughout our lives as we grow older.

I think of all of the years I worked as a personal trainer, pilates and yoga instructor, training clients from the ages of fifteen to seventy five and none of them were happy with the shape of their bodies. All of them wanted something different. A flatter stomach, leaner legs, sculpted biceps and of course, they all wanted to be thinner. It’s the American ideal is it not?
And I saw the pain, the damage, the self abuse, the frustration and the self loathing that it caused them. I think of how many years I tried to make my body “perfect”. Dancing all of my life and then modeling , there was always so much pressure on my weight, on being really thin. But the reality is, I’m not dancing or modeling anymore and I’m past midlife, past the age of 45, so why would I still strive for a hard, lean, sculpted body?
Looking back, I think of all of the hours I wasted in the gym exercising with the intention to burn calories and stay thin. I could have been working on more important things like relationships and experiences with loved ones or spending more time out in nature.
In the end, I feel like it’s just another distraction to focus on, trying to control our weight, what we eat, how many calories we burn and how much we weigh. Just another distraction to avoid looking at the feelings that underly our body issues. The feelings of not being enough. The feelings of wanting to be loved. The feelings from the past that we have not dealt with.
A perfect body does not exist and a perfect body does not bring happiness or connection or love into our lives. Not lasting anyway.

Why do we spend so much time criticizing ourselves? Why do we place so much emphasis on our bodies? In all reality, we are not our bodies and it does so much damage to our self esteem, our mood and the way we feel about ourselves to be constantly striving for unattainable perfection.

I started to think of the word skinny. What a loaded and horrible word. Why does our American culture place so much importance on being skinny? Screw skinny.
What has skinny ever gotten me really? Maybe during my career, it helped me get hired for certain jobs where that was the requirement. But if I look at the word now, I’ve decided it needs to be completely deleted from my vocabulary. Will skinny make me happier? No. Will skinny make me feel better about myself? Actually, no. Skinny doesn’t solve my problems or pay my bills or help me raise my son or make me feel anything but worse about myself, perpetuating the myth that I am not enough.
I am absolutely and completely enough. And so are you.

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America wants me to be skinny and busy and working and tired. France wants me to relax and eat and drink and enjoy life, to do more things that feel like play and to have a little more flesh on my body, to have a little love pillow on my tummy and to feel good about it.
I will try my hardest to never again pinch the skin on my stomach and say gross, fat, yuck. I will try every day to lovingly rub my belly, like rubbing the belly of a buddha to bring good luck and repeat the words, my little love pillow.

So, with each day that passes as I spend this summer in France, I peel off the layers of unrealistic expectations of American culture and I find that my life is simpler here and that there is more authenticity in the way I live each day with this comes the ability to begin to love myself exactly as I am. I see all this as nourishment instead of starvation. Nourishment for my body, my spirit and my soul. These days I work on my soul while taking care of my body.
I don’t go to the gym anymore. I don’t worry about doing cardio or lifting weights or burning calories. I simply go on a walk outside in nature each morning for an hour or two. But, my intention is not to make this daily exercise. It’s simply my time to breathe, to connect to the world and myself, to simply let my thoughts and ideas flow in and out of consciousness.

This new way of thinking feels right to me. It feels kinder, better, more loving. I trust my feelings and I am defining my own opinions about what beauty is in my own shape and form.
How have the voices I’ve listened to for so many years chanting to me endlessly about striving for perfection helped with my happiness? How have they made me feel whole and loved and beautiful? They haven’t and so I’m done with them. Screw skinny. Screw perfection.
I don’t want to reach the end of my life and look back on all of the hours I spent working, organizing, doing and achieving.
I want to look back and remember the feeling of the sun, the taste of the sea, the smell of the morning air, the long morning walks, the time spent with friends and family, the taste of fresh french bread and cheese and wine, the new softness of myself and my life here this summer.
I want to spend the rest of my life loving myself and loving others, loving life and loving this world. And holding onto this new feeling of being loved. By myself. Completely. As I am today. I’m just beginning to taste this for the first time. And this means accepting all of my flaws, my imperfections, my messiness. But this is where the real beauty lies. Each of us will always be a mess in one way or another. Perfection is a painful myth. I’m learning to love myself unconditionally and wholly. Without judgement there is only acceptance. Without striving for an unrealistic goal there is only being and experiencing what is.

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good
~ Jon Steinbeck

Why Does Connection Seem So Far Away Sometimes?

I often ask myself why some days I can feel so connected to myself, to this world and to others
and why other days it seems so elusive?
I know that feeling connected to life, starts by feeling connected to myself and to do that, I need to be in a place where I’m able to accept and love myself. To believe in my wholeness and my goodness.
Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a solid eight hours of sleep and not drinking too much wine the night before so that I wake up feeling energized and positive. Other times, it’s quieting the chatter in my head about how I’m not enough – not good enough, not smart enough, not capable enough, just not enough of anything.
When I find myself stuck in that space in my head where I’m beating myself up with my thoughts, I’m in a state of negative energy and it’s much more difficult for me to listen to my heart, to breathe deeply and let go the things that are causing me worry and stress.
I once read a wonderful analogy that we are like oil and vinegar, like a bottle of Italian salad dressing with the bitter red vinegar resting on top and the smooth, golden molten oil resting at the bottom. Before we can pray or meditate, we need to pour out the vinegar until all that is left is the oil. For me, this means sitting in a place of stillness, closing my eyes and taking a few moments to be still and breathe. Allowing the vinegar to evaporate as I exhale out fear and uncertainty and breathe in love and acceptance, until all that is left is buttery smoothness. Then, in this place, I can connect with god, with the universe and with my guardian angel, which I think of as my triple deity, and feeling that I am utterly and completely loved and accepted exactly as I am, by all three, I can then love and accept myself wholly. The feeling of separation seeps away and I find my feeling strong and connected again. I know that I am good, that I am lovable and that I am perfect exactly as I am in this very moment.
As I focus on all of the simple things that I have to be grateful for, as I focus on all of the people that I love so much, my protective outer shell and my hard edges begin to soften and I am able to anchor myself back into love, stepping away from fear and melting into this moment, knowing that everything is okay. I remind myself that all I ever have is this moment and that everything will always be okay.
Feeling like I am not enough, like my life is not enough takes me out of the space of gratitude and by finding stillness and presence, by noticing my thoughts without judgement, I can change the tape the is unconsciously playing in my head and consciously choose new thoughts. It’s something that I need to do over and over again each day and it’s a powerful tool to bring myself continually back into presence and living in this moment. I slide back into living from my heart instead of my head. I bring my focus back into simply being, instead of doing.

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I don’t know if everyone struggles with this inner battle of connection and disconnection or if it’s just me. For many years, especially during adolescence, I felt like I didn’t belong. I grew up in a very conservative environment where religion played a large role in being liked, popular and accepted. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in and this was often a lonely place to be. I felt different, I knew there was something about me that was different on the inside, and so I started to do everything I could to show that I was different on the outside. I went through my punk rock stage, dying my hair bright purple, wearing a silver studded leather jacket and combat boots. smoking filterless clove cigarettes, drinking alcohol and listening to angry
music. I found my place in a group of peers and friends for a while but still I often felt on the outside. A year later, I tried out a grateful dead hippie stage for a few years. I let my hair grow down to my waist, wore tie dyed t-shirts and smoked pot with my new peer group and friends. I kept looking for a way to belong from the outside in, instead of starting from the inside out. My teenage years were not easy as I continued to search for a place where I felt like I belonged and where I felt connected to myself and others.
I’d started dancing when I was four years old and continued until I turned fourteen. Friends became more of a priority than dancing and so I stopped going to dance classes and started going to parties. The years in between fourteen and eighteen were tumultuous as I searched for something, some group to belong to, to make me feel whole and accepted and connected. When I went to college and decided to major in dance, everything fell back into place again for me for a while. I was a dancer. I ate, slept, breathed and dreamed of dancing every second of
the day. I had an identity and a group pf friends I felt connected with and I spent my days in dance classes, moving my body, being inside my body and out of my head, feeling instead of thinking and living from the inside out. My passion and connection to dance carried me through college, to New York and then to Paris. Something about living in France clicked with me and I felt a limitless sense of freedom and connection in this country. This feeling stayed with me for the twelve years I lived in Paris and danced professionally there. My son Matisse was born in 1999 and I left both dancing and Paris a year later, returning to the city I grew up in. Leaving the two things that I was most passionate about had a profound effect on me and everything came to a grinding halt.
I felt completely lost. Disconnected, uncertain and scared. The only feeling of connection I had was with this beautiful precious baby boy of mine.
I found myself back in the hometown I’d worked so hard to get away from, surrounded by painful memories, living in my parent’s basement raising my one year old son all alone. Every day was a struggle and the only thing that kept me going and ultimately saved me was my son. He was the reason I had to keep going. He was my one glimmer of light in all of the darkness. He was my hope, my dreams, my heart, my soul and my love all wrapped up into
one tiny two fisted package. His smile lit up my heart and I spent every moment of my days and nights with him in my arms. He brought love into my life like nothing ever had before.
Somehow I got my own apartment, somehow, I re created myself and began a new career and a new life. And somehow, I raised him and supported the two of us all by myself for sixteen years. Somehow I’m still alive to even tell this. I always knew that I had a guardian angel but I never knew that god was right there by my side as well.
During these sixteen years, being back in the city I’d been born and grown up in, I felt just as disconnected as I had as a teenager. Once again, I found myself feeling like I was the outsider looking in. Knowing I was different. Trying to find my place, my tribe and once again looking for connection from the outside in.
I couldn’t find it. I searched everywhere. Everywhere but inside of myself that is. Which is where it lay dormant, waiting for me to be ready again. I stayed busy and achieved and accomplished and built a thriving career and did everything by myself. I refused to ask for help. I rejected the idea of god, even scoffed at it in disdain. I didn’t allow myself to slow down. I didn’t allow myself to face my silence, my loneliness and my pain.
I was in a horrible relationship for six years and it was when I ended it three years ago that I knew my life had to change. I was back on a familiar path of self destruction and self hate and it was all because I felt so very empty inside. So very disconnected from my life and myself. I felt like I’d lost myself in this relationship and forgotten who I was and what were the things that made me feel alive. The things that keep saving me over and over again were my son, my perseverance and inner strength.

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Slowly, I started to find myself again by doing the things that I’d stopped doing. I started to travel again, to spend time with friends, to go out dancing and move my body. I started going back to France again every summer to visit and reconnect with the friends and the culture that had brought me so much joy for so many years. I also practiced, studied and completed numerous certifications and started to teach yoga.
Through yoga, I discovered meditation and prayer. Especially when I injured my back and couldn’t practice asana, which is the physical limb of the yoga wheel. The two things that brought me back into that place, that feeling of connection and belonging were being in an environment that I thrived in and taking time each day to sit in stillness, breathe deeply and get in touch with my soul. From the inside out.
I now know that this is what brings me connection and that the years, the months, the days and the hours that I felt disconnected in the past and the moments I find myself feeling disconnected in the present are simply because I am looking at life through my thoughts and not listening to my heart speak to me. And so on those days when I feel disconnected, I need only to start from the inside out, to find a space to sit in silence and let the vinegar evaporate, to sink softly into the oil and to bring my attention to everything I have, everything I am. I pray, I meditate, I focus on all of nature’s beauty and I see my own beauty. I bask in the goodness of all I have to be grateful for and I find the preciousness of my life within. I take care of my body but I work on my soul. And in this place I find wholeness in myself, have compassion for myself and connect to my true self. From there, it’s easy to feel connected to the world and to everyone around me.
We are not separate. We separate ourselves from others by feeling alone, by believing that we are not enough when truly we are all more than enough, perfect in our messy imperfection, exactly as we are, in this very moment.

Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
~Derek Walcott

Looking For The Invitations To Re Create Your Life?

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But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own.
~Mary Oliver

It’s never too late. This very moment, this very second, you can start all over again right now. You can re build your life and change the things that aren’t working. The invitations to re create your life come from every direction if you look for them.
The first step is getting in touch with what you really want, with your unique feelings that you were born with, held deeply in your heart, your secret garden, the feelings that bring you alive.
For some of us it’s freedom, for others its security. Maybe you love solitude and nature or maybe you thrive on being surrounded by people and love a life in the city.
How do we do this? How do we know or re discover or true desires and needs? Before re creating our lives, we need to get in touch with this truth. This is not to say that our desires never change. As we grow, mature, go through life and experience pain and joy, we get to know ourselves more deeply and yes, thank goodness, we do change. This is the one thing we can always count on. But I truly believe that there are certain essential needs that each of us are are born with, deeply embedded in our DNA that stay with us throughout our lives.
I remember all the way back to when I was just five years old. I loved to spin in circles until I was so dizzy I fell down. I loved to dance. I loved to run outside, climb tall trees, chase butterflies and then lay on my back in the soft grass for hours, staring up at the sky and the clouds while day dreaming. I loved being out in nature, in the sunshine, feeling free and finding beauty and connection there. I loved to play and to dream.
And that has not changed one bit.
As we build our lives and “grow up”, it’s easy to forget these essential truths that are woven into the inner fabric of our beings. We begin to focus more on what our society values, which tends to be accomplishments, staying busy, accumulating things, being seen as strong, successful and capable and we can lose touch with our inner voice and with what we truly value.

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If we don’t decide how we want to live, then circumstances will decide for us. It’s so easy to let our environment and the people we spend time with shape us into someone we’re not. To let someone else’s hopes and dreams shape our reality.
We start to listen and to believe in what others want for us, what others think is best for us until maybe one day, we find ourselves in a place, a relationship, a job, even an entire life that we’ve spent years building and we have a moment of clarity that says “this is not what I want and how in the hell did I get here?”
The world will tell you what kind of life to live if you let it. Don’t let it.
This is when it’s time to start asking ourselves some hard questions. I find that the only way I can do this is by spending time alone outside in nature. Going on long walks alone and letting thoughts come and go. Sitting in silence, listening from the inside out and opening up to my feelings. Nature and silence connect me to myself and to god and the universe. I feel grounded, safe, loved and present. Then I can re visit the fabric of my interior life and start to patch the pieces back together.
There are times in our lives when the only way to hear the answers we search for is to spend time alone. Without anyone’s help, without all the other voices telling us what to do and what is best for us. And in this silence, we can let the chaos begin to settle, inviting the silence in. I’m not saying that this is easy. Looking within and listening is much harder than staying busy and doing. But in this space of silence, we can begin to listen to our inner voice, our intuition and our heart. We can re discover our strength in our aloneness and in doing this step into more courage to evolve. We can listen deeply to our own desires.
I find it crazy how we can go for years without asking ourselves these essential questions and without even realizing the we are slowly losing ourselves. We fall into relationships, jobs and environments that tell us who to be and how to be and what to love. Over time we may realize the the things happening in our lives are not the things we want to happen. We can easily lose touch with the things that are important to us, the things that bring us alive. When this happens, we start to feel disconnected, depressed, unfulfilled. Everything may look fine on the
outside but on the inside, there is emptiness and sorrow. We can go for years trying to push away the whispers, the signs, the longings tugging at our hearts, the things we dream of doing, the life we dream of living. The real tragedy is when the whispers turn into loud voices, maybe into screams and if we continue to push them down, to ignore them, filling ourselves up with addictions and denial and things to do, if we continue to ignore them for long enough, they will eventually fall silent.
If we truly want to know what matters today, all we have to do is look at our mortality and ask ourselves, if I had twenty four hours left to live, how would I spend those hours, who would I be spending them with and where?

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And so again I repeat, it’s never too late. We get to decide how we want to live. And we can re invent ourselves over and over again. The most important thing my in life I’ve found is to connect to my deepest desires, my soul, and then begin to walk or run towards what I love. I have re made myself and re built my life so many times. Each time I fall down, I get back up and I grow, I learn, I discover how very capable I am.
We make our lives by forming them around what we love and what we fear. The limitations we create hold us back and keep us stuck. What does it take to let go of these limitations and have the courage to move forward into the unknown? I believe it’s allowing silence to be our guide and our anchor and asking questions without needing immediate answers and then trusting that we are not alone. That there is something much bigger than us holding,
supporting, sheltering and guiding us along each step of the path we are on.
Our lives are ours alone to mold, to choose, to shape, and to design. There are so many lives to live, so many options. We can live near the sea or in the city. We can eat kale or chocolate. We can go barefoot or wear heels. we can be single or in a relationship. We can make money or live simply. Everyone is different.
What do you desire? What is it that gives you chills, that fills you with joy, that brings you alive? In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks your life should look like, it is yours to decide. I’ve found that there is so much freedom in walking away from the things others want for us and stepping into our own light.
In the end, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.
Start slowly, find the silence, listen to your unique voice take small steps. Each step is a step moving forward towards your wholeness. Don’t be afraid to speak the words out loud, “this is who I am, this is what I want”. There is such beauty in the fact that we get to tell the truth about what we love, what we want and who we are. No apologies. Hide nothing. Bask in the beauty of your uniqueness. Love your quirkiness, your weirdness. Allow yourself to be seen. Take up space.
It’s never too late. This very moment, this very second, you can start all over again right now. The invitations to re create your life come from every direction when you decide to look for them.

What will you do with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver