Monday, April 30, 2012

Magical MOndays: Paddle Board, Orange Mani/Pedi's and LOTS OF LOVE!

My perspective on Magical Monday’s will not change, even though today my body feels as though I have been hit by a bus, I still feel magical!

I went paddle boarding yesterday for the first time. We did standup paddleboard practice for two hours on a pond in Nickerson State Park. It was a blast, and I knew it was a workout while I was doing it, but didn’t realize quite how much it would hurt in the morning! Fortunately, with my schedule changes and summer looming around the corner; this morning I get to TAKE a class – which make all these muscles soften and my breath return to where it is supposed to be!
A few updates for Journey to Hope before we move onto the more personal adventures! First, we attended a health fair at Wellfleet Elementary School on Friday and had a wonderful time meeting parents and students. It was great exposure and I am blessed to have my intern, Cindy, looking out for us and these fun events.

We also raised an unexpected $200 this week, which is more than enough to pay the digital design artist, and pay for a portion of the OMEGA conference, if we don’t get the scholarship I applied for! We also booked a few more benefit classes, as well as a henna & wine party!! Check out details here, and please feel free to join us at any of our events.

We also received our first set of questions from the lawyers on our pending status, and will hopefully we finalizing all of our paperwork this week or next!
This past week was full of many adventure! My parents came down to visit and we went to the Sandwich Glass Blowing Museum (amazing, and only $6!). We also went to the JFK memorial and let Apollo run around the beach, as well as eat some fabulous casserole my mom made, while playing Jepordy in the living room. It was such a blast, and I was glad they could both make it. It was nice because the hubby & I worked in the morning and rearranged schedules so we could have 80% of our day off!

This week was also full of little things: the national seashore, sea glass hunts, hysterical doggy daycare pick-ups (apparently Apollo is a stud), cuddling, the first boat of the season, seeing my friends from Boston, standup paddle boards, swimming in April, chocolate hazelnut butter, TARGET!!!, church (I am LOVING my new church and this week, hubby came with me), paddle boarding, my hubby, orange mani/pedis, ice cream breaks, shopping & much more!

The little things are almost always what get you through the week, but this week was so full of life and love that it was a collective whole of magical adventures.
I am looking forward to a week full of productivity, promises of attending more yoga classes to make my body feel complete again, getting my mala beads back soon (!), finally meeting a colleague after weeks of busy-ness, another boat, beach walks, horoscopes, cuddling, traders joes trips, brainstorming with friends and much more!

I hope you are all having a wonderfully magical Monday! Get out there, in your own world, and make some fun happen. Even if it is a mani/pedi, a walk on the beach or in downtown Boston or finding a $2 winning scratch ticket on the ground – look for and find the magical in each day. We all have blessings and love surrounding us. The universe will provide, we just need to SEE it. As I’ve said before, sometimes we need to believe it in order to see it!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle,

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Inspiring Beauty of Breath

I am constantly telling my students that their biggest resource is their breath. We hold poses in yoga, not breath. Breathing is what keeps us going – what keeps us alive & present. The harder you breathe, the quieter and softer your thoughts become.

But what happens the day you come back to yoga after your uncle’s funeral, or the night after your beloved pet has been put down? What happens at your very first yoga class? Your fresh return to yoga after a surgery, or injury that has kept you away for weeks, maybe even months? Chances are, you aren’t breathing. Every breath feels like a knot in your chest – you feel suffocated, helpless and weak.

This is one of life’s biggest lessons! Just as Dory in “Finding Nemo” says: “just keep swimming,” these are the days we need to “just keep breathing.” It may not be easy, but as long as you connect consciousness with breath, you will make it through your practice.

The hardest part of yoga is simply arriving on your mat. Carving time out of your day to take care of your mind, body and spirit. Once you arrive, the ease comes. Easing in and out of poses, flowing and moving your body to the sound of your own breath.
Our breath also helps the class as a whole. By breathing loudly and truly arriving on your mat, you are able to inspire each other. If you breathe loudly and hold tree, or vikrasana, you neighbor might hold onto their pose just a little bit longer.

Although yoga is a truly individual practice, it is so important to integrate classes at yoga studios into your schedule. Your commitment to your practice, your breath and your energy is shared as a collective whole. I believe there is nothing better than watching someone get into a handstand for the first time and having a whole class of students cheer them on or clap! Or after a beginners' first month, having someone lean over and say “you did a great job in class today!”

There are so many definitions of yoga. One is “union with breath” and I believe that another should also be “collective union.” The uniting of a few souls with a common goal. The louder we breathe, the more we inspire each other!

Get out there – breathe even louder – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Magical Mondays: We are "famous"

This Monday is so magical, that the post is a little bit later than usual!

Our benefit class this past Friday @ Glow Studios raised almost $200!!! We are well on our way to our 501(c)3 status because of the last and final payment we made to the lawyers – as well as on our way to t-shirts for Journey to Hope (and our design logo). Thank you all so much. Your support means so much to me as we are growing. Everything helps!!

Also, we were in the newspaper this week! I will attach the permanent link to our testimonials section, but here it is to view now: click here!

This past week was a ton of fun. Hubby proposed exactly a year ago last week, so we went to Inaho to celebrate – and ate WAY TOO MUCH sushi & Japanese food. It was delicious!! We discovered a new market, found out Apollo weighs 21 lbs. (big boy!), and made plenty of time to walk on the beach.

I have been rearranging my schedule for the summertime and will be so excited to have all of you join me in our for, and non-profit classes coming up soon! Journey to Hope will be expanding after June 2nd, so if you know anyone who is interested in volunteering, let them know about our training!!

The little thing this week: finding two new markets, chocolate PB locally (not almond, but still delicious), Apollo’s vet visit, our benefit class, Donna De Lory’s music, trying out TRAPEZE, imax theaters with our whole family, ice cream, homemade spicy chicken, cuddling, wrath of the titans, muppets, flowers from hubby that lasted ALL week, Lush products, healthy eating, taking a break from healthy eating, Indian Food & family!

I hope you had a wonderful week as well. Remember to always count your blessings!
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Makes Us So Special?

My husband asked me tonight, what is it that makes Journey to Hope so special? Why should folks be so inclined to donate to your organization as opposed to someone who is more well known?

I thought about it for a moment and realized that in some senses, we are not different at all. In some senses, we are meant to be among the crowd – to fit in with all the misfits and “normal” people. Journey to Hope is an organization that is all about community. We embody the gathering of resources, sharing, community, love & light. We spread our yoga to better our community and our world.

But the hubby is right: what makes us special?

We are special because we believe in not only healing ourselves and those around us, but also in invigorating each other. As I was creating a video for a kickstarter project this evening (to be revealed shortly!), I mentioned that the Champ House is not just a homeless shelter, but a place folks go who are without a home and need to be reinvigorated. The Champ House lets people live with them, but ONLY is you decide to participate in your own life.
Journey to Hope has the exact same vigor. I want each of you to feel inspired and energized after class. In a way, I am helping to heal ailments, heartbreak, illness, fatigue, loneliness and much more. But I am also there to provide a laugh, a stretch, a smile and a meditation. Trauma is a way of life – it is something that is inevitable. But as the zen yoga saying goes: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice.” I try not to ever choose suffering - I always, always choose laughter & love.

Myself and my volunteers, each have that vigor to not only help heal whatever temporary trauma you have going on within your body, but also to help uplift those spirits and reinvigorate you to want to help yourself.

Patty, Terry & I do not force you to arrive on your mat. You each show up on your yoga mat of your own free will – and there must be a reason. In the beginning it could be your lingering lower back issue, or your recent financial woes. But hopefully you keep coming back to your mat because you realize that the practice of fully arriving in your present body, mind & spirit is awakening something inside of you. Maybe it is something you always held within, or perhaps it is something you just found – but whatever it is, you are there to find it.

When we arrive on our mats, many teachers tell you to connect to the mind, body & spirit. You tap into your ujjai breathing, deepen your connection to yourself and begin to truly listen. I do not heal you. Terry & Patty do not heal you. Journey to Hope does not heal you. YOGA does not heal you. YOU HEAL YOU! You heal yourself by making the commitment to truly arrive. Arrive on your mat, in your life and continuously in each present moment.

I believe what makes Journey to Hope so different is our community. Our individual residents in the shelters & each member of the community who arrives on their mat or donates a few gently worn yoga clothes, mats & blocks. The yogini’s I see in the super market who give me big hugs after class, the simple emails we receive and the daily commitment I see from each of my students who simply arrive.

Journey to Hope is different because of each of you, we exist because of each of you.

Thank you, as always, for being my inspiration to do what I do!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle
(Especially FRIDAY 6pm, our next benefit class!)

p.s. If you could describe Journey to Hope in one sentence, what would it be?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Magical Mondays

I sit here writing to you as I am playing fetch with my dog in the living room...puts a new perspective into no throwing balls in the house, eh? :)

Magical Mondays, as always are very magical. I have a schedule change this morning, which is keeping things fresh, a vet appointment to see if Apollo is getting bigger & a date with a friend. Lovely day ahead of us – plus it’s beach weather! I will be teaching in a new green tank, so come and play with me on your mat if you live in the Cape.

This past week I took three yoga classes, went to the gym, and made some delicious dishes for the hubby and I. One was an Indian/Mexican twist on curry...I’ll post the recipe soon if you’d like! Very spicy & delicious!

Little things which make me smile:

Going to the mall with hubby, learning to play video games, playing with Apollo, cuddling with Digger, the flowers & organic soup hubby bought me while I was sick yesterday (!), tarot card readings, taking care of myself, taking care of hubby, attempts at juice fasting, my ESL students and their dreams, new Grey’s episodes, my mom & grandma, Apollo’s 1st day @ doggy day care, shopping, relaxing & generally creating an amazing life.

The week ahead is full of subbing classes, taking care of myself (and hubby taking care of me last night by getting me flowers & cuddling while I felt run down and sniffly!), lunch dates, powerful brainstroming, rearranging of schedules and surprises!
What is YOUR week full of? How did you surprise yourself last week? Start thinking of all the magical things that happen in your life, and begin to count your blessings. It makes life so much more fun & special.

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Appreciation, Love & Meltdowns

We need all of these things, and possess all of these things: appreciation, love & meltdowns. Life wouldn’t be complete without them.

I try to be as honest as I can be in this blog, showing the amazing & wonderful growth, as well as some of our harder times. I want everyone to know both sides of what goes into starting a non-profit. I knew when I started this organization that it wouldn’t be easy, but it would be worth it. And it is worth every second, every minute, every hour.

Non-profit work, just as with life, presents all kinds of highs & lows. It is the most thrilling rollercoaster ride I have ever been on. I expressed last week that things were a bit low, I needed a little bit more love, because I was falling apart by the seems. Fortunately, as I had expressed myself and let the world know of my meltdown, I was blessed with the most amazing high.

We were having financial troubles and not raising enough money to pay off the lawyer. We received a generous donation from the founders of the Champ House, one of our facilities, and were then put back on our feet! It is amazing the gifts you receive from the universe. I truly believe that once you let others know what you need, once you tell them how they might be able to help you, the universe begins to listen.

I’m not necessarily saying that you should go around and ask everyone you know for money, or to listen to you complain all day long about your job, but perhaps if you asked for a hug – you would also get a date with the man of your dreams. Or if you told a friend of your dream to quit your job and travel to Paris, you would be one step closer to the Eiffel Tower. Let the universe know your dreams by planting your seeds everywhere you go.
In the past year, I have planted many seeds and watched each of them as they either grew or decided not to germinate. Each of us has a plan. A plan that we say out loud or write down, and a plan from the universe or God. Our plans change from day to day and year to year – but if we put our plans into action and say them out loud, we are always one step closer to our success.

I am so full of love and appreciation this week, from not only our clients but also our community. With our outreach and networking, I have been able to reach the hearts of many and received so many gifts in return from working with these wonderful people. Not just amazing material gifts (a briefcase, lovely photos & cards), but also gifts of love. I am truly grateful to each and every person who has given time, love or donations to Journey to Hope these past few months.

A special thank you to Youth in Progress for donating a gift certificate for us to print our very first t-shirts. Thank you to Carolyn & Paul at the Champ House for keeping us on our feet. Thank you to each of my volunteers to donate their time each week to spend with our amazing residents!! Thank you to my family for allowing me to grow in this way. It has been the most amazing journey, and I am looking forward to watching us continue to grow.

I asked myself the other day: how many times does one have to have an epiphany about the same thing for it to finally sink in? THIS is my reality. This is my dream. And it is here & now – in this moment. I am so very blessed (even for my caterpillar like meltdowns)!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happiness should be your next life job!

”Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”           -Harold Whitman

What makes you come alive? Do you go home and bake after a stressful day? Take yoga class? Paint, write, sing?

Whatever it is, do it! Whether or not you do it for a job is something else entirely, but if it makes you happy, make sure you implement happiness in your life. In my personal opinion, there is no life without laughter and love. In each of my yoga classes, I am always laughing or trying to crack a tiny joke about smiling inner voices. Yoga is taken so seriously sometimes. We try to get into these challenging poses, we hold our breath, and we struggle! We forget that the point of yoga is to breathe, relax and have fun.

Too often, American’s put so much pressure into yoga. We (as a society) put pressure into everything. Why can’t life be more fun? Yes, we all have bills to pay, houses to buy, wrinkles to obtain – but why can’t those wrinkles be obtained through laughter as opposed to frowns?

Next time you’re in class, try smiling. It might feel weird at first, to curl your lips up and put your best face forward – but trust me, it’s worth it! It may even make you laugh, which could be the best.
In yoga, just as in life, we need to have more fun. Work is essential to living; we all need money to survive. But work should also have an element of fun to it – put glitter on a few of your pens, wear your hair a new way, put a beautiful photograph on your desk or desktop. Have fun! It never hurt anyone – and if you’re not allowed to have fun, maybe you should think about trying something new.

Our jobs in life should be happiness. As John Lenon said: "When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."

You life job doesn’t have to be your career. Your job has to be something you get paid for. Your career or your life job doesn’t require payment. It requires living your best life – giving life everything you have. Putting your passion into quilting, scuba diving, video games or your puppy is a way of life – it’s a life job. A responsibility to have fun! Try it out today.

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Magical Mondays: NYC Lights

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to grow up & not pack your guilt!

When one thing changes, feel free to rethink everything!

I am skipping Easter for the first time in 26 years. Hubby’s very good friend is visiting from India and happens to be in NYC for the weekend. I am so excited to travel down to the city and meet this friend I have heard so much about, and yet so guilty to be without my family on Easter Sunday. But here’s the weird part: no one is upset. I have all this guilt and nowhere to bring it. No one is blaming me because I am now a married woman. Weird.

What do I do with this emotion? This sense of undeserved freedom?

Moving away from home is often presented to 18 year olds full of freedom and exploration. Oh, No! Not hubby & I! We both moved out and then went straight back. With the economy in shambles, many people now live at home for much longer than they used to – but this, in a sense, delays adulthood. You have a job, & bills, but you are still living in a room covered in ripped baseball wallpaper under your parents roof, with their rules. Out of respect, you tell them when you’re coming home, just as you would a roommate... but is it respect of their home, your family, your mom or your inner 16 year old guilt?

When I was living at home with my parents, it was so easy to be living in the past. I now get to live each moment in the present – I get to be here, now! While living at home, I didn’t want to put down too many roots because I knew I wasn’t staying there long. So I made just enough friends to keep sane, only to not-so secretly spend time going on coffee dates or watching General Hospital with my mom. Slowly, we became best friends. Ten years ago, I hated her and never wanted to be like her or with her (as with most teenagers), and now here I was apologizing for past behavior and asking her to dinner.

The hardest part for both of us (hubby is a mama’s boy!), is what to do with this sense of freedom after we reconnected with our parents on this new level. How often do we visit and drive from Cape Cod to Boston? Do we plan in advance or show up somewhat last minute and unannounced? It’s different for each person and each culture, and as our cultures are so different it is definitely a learning experience!
The other factor of moving out, is friends. Since living at home my friends have spread across the country: New Jersey, Baltimore, Vermont, Michigan and much more! I had few friends to begin with, and then they began to move all about the country creating their own, new lives. We are all still very close, but it is a much different relationship when someone is not living next door anymore.

I needed to start the painful process of reaching out again, building relationships, and meeting new people... and it has been anything but! I am so blessed to have met so many amazing and wonderful people on Cape Cod that I now call friends. I am truly digging my feet in the sand and making a claim here. Although we haven’t bought property (yet) we are slowly but surely becoming true Cape Codders.

I miss my mom, and she’ll always be my best friend. But now I am finally able to branch out on my own (with hubby & our two furry babies right by my side), to find out what it means to be a real adult. I love Cape Cod so much and am blessed to finally have friends and a place I can call MY home!

As for this weekend, I think I won’t be packing the guilt in my suitcase. I will pack plenty of cameras, fun and a new outfit! I might even sneak in some yoga in the park – and will have many adventures while I am there visiting some of our favorite people! ...and I promise MM will have many pictures when I return on Monday!!!

Get out there – do yoga, have an adventure & make life sparkle!