Saturday, October 29, 2011

letting go of: sanity

"Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees dawn before the rest of the world." -Oscar Wilde

I must admit my 24 Things: Autumn Surrender did not go as well as planned. My goal in the beginning was to get rid of all the clutter in my apartment. The amount of things I have literally drives me insane some day. But instead any chance I saw to be a chance to give, whether it was lending an ear, helping a stranger, lending a few dollars, or giving clothes to charity, I took it. My schedule has been hectic lately, between new work hours as a waitress, my last college classes on monday, wednesdays and fridays and a new spanish class on saturday mornings, the last thing I could think about was getting rid of stuff in my apartment. Now, being the virgo that I am, typically if I set a goal for myself and do not fulfill it I become even more stressed and really hard on myself. I begin to blame myself for not trying hard enough or wasting time relaxing or just not being organized. I have been totally lost these last few weeks (maybe months..but who knows at this point) and did not realize what it felt like to be actually physically lost until I found myself wandering downtown Miami with all the homeless people at 830am. At this point I began to cry hysterically to the point of almost having an anxiety attack due to stress and fear. I found my way back to my car, cried some more, got home cried some more. And then talked to a friend. Talking to her made me realize we all have these times, these days, where we can not take it anymore. Where we just need an answer, some sign that everything will be okay. But we don't need a sign. We already know that everything is going to be okay! It always is. Sometimes we need those moments where we get physically lost to see that it all works out in the end. Getting lost this morning was not the end of my world, it taught me I need to give myself more time and plan better. That's all. Nothing bad came out of it. So if this last month has taught me anything it is to let go of all my emotional baggage, let go of trying to be superwoman and get everything done, let go of being so hard on myself, allow myself a good cry every now and then and be the person I know I am.. whether that be sane or insane.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fairchild Botanical Garden

Here are some pictures from one of my favorite places in Florida. Recently I learned it is one of the most important tropical gardens in the world. I agree. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I recently just watched the documentary on OWN called MissRepresentation. This documentary is based on how women are viewed in our present day society and how they are viewed this way all because of the media. This documentary was shocking. The statistics are appalling. And the true stories are extremely sad. They show clips of girls as young as 13, who are self conscience about their bodies or young girls who feel like they are not going to be as high up in their jobs as men. The documentary shows how men run the country, the media, and outlooks of other people. They show clips of politicians making demeaning comments about Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin and mocking any women who stand up for themselves. Although, they can not argue women have made extreme strides in the last few decades, the media is still an ongoing problem. A while back, I watched a clip on "What is a Feminist." This clip alone shows how the media has made feminists seem like crazy, extremists, who hate men, when that isn't the case at all. Males can be feminists and woman can be feminists they are solely people who want equal rights for men and women. It seems whenever a woman holds any power that they are automatically looked at like they are going too fast, or they have too much power, basically they receive any criticize the people can think of. Whats even more upsetting is that women also view other women in this way. Women are less likely to vote for other women. This study was proven in a high school political debate where the majority of people voting were girls and the two people running were a male and a female. The male won by a handful. It is hard for me to relate with these girls because I have never felt less because of my gender. I have never looked at the media and felt fat or starved myself because of these women. Thankfully, I was raised in a household that taught me just to be healthy and do what I love, gender was never an issue. I have always been a powerful female with a strong voice. Sadly, I watch my little sister suffer with the pressures of body image and my friends demean themselves to men. It never occurred to me how the littlest things can warp a females mind sets. I watch my friends sit and watch shows such as Jersey Housewives. The housewives is one of the most demeaning show to present day women. This show represents handfuls of women who only have money because of men and only maintain their looks through an immense amount of plastic surgery. This is not real life, women should want to strive to look natural and beautiful the way they are and make their own money through a successful meaningful career. Being an avid Ashtanga yoga practitioner, and working for Miami Life Center, I see how people even view women yogis. Women who are trying to find peace and practice a spiritual practice they strongly believe in. Almost automatically, if yoga is mentioned to men they think of sex and how flexible that female is. I see articles constantly criticizing Kino MacGregor because her yoga clothes are "too revealing". Kino is one of the most intelligent woman I have ever met and she is extremely talented, the fact people even go out of their way to critique her clothing is beyond belief to me. She has a fantastic, healthy body, which she has worked hard for and rather than critiquing her, women should view her as a healthy, natural, intelligent, role model for young women around the world. I hope one day, young women will become more informed and educated on what true beauty is. I hope the media one day will stop demeaning women and putting out unrealistic images. I hope one day, I will be a successful woman and put a positive image out there for younger females.  And I hope one day, we will finally see a female President.
 The documentary ends with, "we need to live our own vision of what a woman can be."
"Be the change you want to see in the world."-Ghandi 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The beauty in letting go

"We wake up with the notion that enough is not enough without more."-Ani DiFranco

A friend recently sent me this quote with an e-mail explaining she was sick of feeling helpless and needed to do something with her life. There had been many times that she up and left a location, sold all her things, and went to another country to help people. When she came back to Miami she easily fell into the trap that most of us are guilty of. Buy, buy, buy, more, more, more. She lived in a beautiful, brand new apartment, with all brand new appliances. She loved the place and had a very hard time letting it go when she realized this was just not right for her. She currently lives in a much smaller, older, apartment, in a not so good neighborhood. But she couldn't be happier. She is finally regaining her sense of self because she rid all the unnecessary possessions she was consuming. This relates a lot to the "24 Things Autumn Surrender" challenge (mentioned in my past blog). I could not agree more that letting go of material items really lifts a burden off your shoulders. Recently, for the Autumn Surrender I donated three bags of clothes that have been taking up way too much space in my life. I knew for a long time I needed to get rid of them, but the actual act of doing seemed too complicated and too time consuming. I just happened to have them in my car, hoping I would run into a Goodwill drop off box, when I ran into a large donation truck that donates their proceeds to saving the environment! I could not be happier to get these clothes off my hands and go to a charity that I actually believed in. Of course there was a piece of me that debated if there were some good clothes in there that I would possibly "reuse" one day, but then I realized that these clothes are not who I am. They are going to a better cause and to people who actually do need them. As Americans, and probably many other places in the world, we feel that our possessions identify who we are. If I drive a nice car, and wear really fancy jewelry then that must mean I am rich, and beautiful, and I am  better than the next person. When in reality, you are living from pay check to pay check and stressed because you can't afford your own lifestyle. To rid yourself of all these material ties, you must get rid of things you don't need. The comment "less is more" could not sum up life any better. This past week, I thought I lost a ring that I bought in Costa Rica. The ring was $8 but it held sentimental value. I had a slight anxiety attack for a moment and then had to laugh at myself for getting so upset over a ring. I told myself that one day I will lose this ring. Whether I give it to someone, I actually lose it, it breaks or I die. Regardless, that ring is going to be gone one day. So why not let go of it now? Material possessions stress people out more than they realize. My whole life I thought if I just had more clothes, a nice car, a nice apartment, then everything would be okay and all my stress would be gone. But it is the complete opposite of that. All of those things come with stress. It was only after Costa Rica, where I saw people living in bathing suits with not one piece of jewelry except for maybe a handmade shell earring (which they actually used to smoke marijuana out of...very clever) that I realized that everything is copasetic for them because they have nothing to worry about except for their health and having a great time. We should all learn from them, and give our possessions that we do not need to people who really do, or even people who may appreciate them a little more than we do. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011


When I first started practicing Ashtanga Yoga, I wanted to be able to do all the best poses right then and there. I did not care about the learning process in getting to them, I just wanted to be able to do a handstand with my legs crossed in lotus and then swing my legs through my arms. Seems like a pretty reasonable goal to reach in just a couple months huh? I grew easily frustrated as my body only became more and more sore over time and I could not understand why everything was only getting harder? I spoke to Kino MacGregor and told her I thought something was wrong with me because everything that was easy when I started was killing my body! Kino explained to me that this was the point, this was my turning point where I am building strength and the practice will only get harder but not to give up! If this came from anyone else I probably would've given up right there. What do you mean it's only going to get harder?! Shouldn't my body get used to this?! Yoga was supposed to be easy, why was I going through so much pain? But considering it was coming from the wise Kino MacGregor, I had no other option but to listen and keep on going. Everyday was difficult. I continued going to intro classes and still just wanted to be the best of the best and do everything Kino could do. As time went on I slowly moved up to half primary guided classes then moved on to full primary, then eventually Mysore. In half primary I thought I was doing amazing. I felt strong and saw I could do some things others couldn't. Then when I faced full primary, it was a lot harder but it was fun so why not? Lastly, I approached Mysore, which is a very deep and intense practice. My first Mysore class was at 6am with Julia Loftsford. I wanted to die. The whole practice I kept thinking "what the helllllll did I get myself into!?" I was way in over my head. People in the class were doing a second and third series practice while I was not even on half! The biggest problem that arose with me was headstand. Something that seemed so easy to everyone else was the scariest thing in the world to me. I thought about it before every practice and feared it before I even got close to it. I started attending 6pm Mysore classes with Patrick Nolan which seemed to fit me much better. Patrick was laid back and very helpful. 6pm was also much better than 6am. Most of the people in the class were on full primary rather than second series which wasn't as intimidating. But still every class I would look around and wish I could do what they could do. I was first stopped in Mysore at Marichyasana D. (In Mysore you practice up to the asana you can do on your own then once you get stuck you continue to practice up to that pose until that is also accomplished, then you move on). Marichyasana D made me feel like my lung was going to pop! I saw people in full primary still struggling with it and lost all hope that I would ever move on. I continued to go everyday and my spine became more and more flexible and sooner or later all I needed was on little pull from Patrick and I was in Marichyasana D! Finally, I was able to move on! The worse part, I was leaving for Costa Rica for a month the following week. I thought I was going to lose everything I learned. So I told myself to make sure I practiced all the time in Costa. Which I did. I would wake up at 5am somedays and practice, just me and the silence of the rainforest. It was beautiful. It also taught me that I was taking my practice WAY too seriously. I should practice what I know and just go with it, just like the great Guruji said, "practice and all is coming". So I followed his words of advice and practiced at my best. It was once I got back to Miami from Costa that I no longer wanted to practice. A few issues had arose in my head and I was feeling brainwashed by everyone. I no longer believed in Ashtanga Yoga and thought everything they did was too rough and not good for the body. I laid around and did nothing but work and go to school for almost a month. Then one day it hit me, I was being foolish and I had to get the hell back on my mat! I had forgotten how great yoga made me feel. So slowly I started going back to guided classes and then finally back to Mysore. Still, my number one problem was a headstand. I read an article written by Kino one day that she explained it took her 8 months to do a headstand! Kino MacGregor, struggled to do a headstand! Seems impossible. But it gave me faith that everyone has their own personal struggle in their practice and just like Guruji said, all is coming. I continued going to Mysore and received 3 more poses. But every time I came to my finishing asanas I wanted to cry! Patrick had to help me everyday get into a headstand. I still felt in over my head and was wondering when I will ever be able to do it. It had almost been 8 months for me and I was losing hope. Finally, one day, I stopped thinking about my practice. I stopped looking at everyone else in the class and how advanced they were. I just wanted my body to feel good and to just breathe and relax (really what the whole Ashtanga practice is about!) It is easy to say these things, but for once I was actually doing it. And imagine that, by letting all my fear and personal issues go, I popped myself right up into a headstand! And I stayed up for the whole 15 breaths. I almost fell because I was ecstatic and was smiling from ear to ear. It felt so good! It still feels good today when I look back on it. I will never forget that day. This struggle has taught me a lot. It has taught me the importance of patience. Everyone always says you need to have patience in life but who ever really listens? We're Americans. We want everything right now, today, at this second! But that isn't how life works. It isn't how the Ashtanga practice works. Everything takes time. The reason we are having so many problems in our world today is because no one has patience anymore and it is such an important virtue. This goes for all aspects of my life. Everyday I struggle as an almost college grad with the question of what next? But in my heart I know I am strong and determined and I am smart. I need to have patience that with my hard work, opportunities will arise and everything will be okay. Just like my Ashtanga practice, all is coming. With the recent passing of Steve Jobs I only find it appropriate to end this piece with a wonderful and inspiring quote from one of my favorite speeches, his Stanford Commencement speech. 
"Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference" (Steve Jobs).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011


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24 Things: The Autumn Surrender.

The 24 Things Clearing Challenge.  Create your inspired future.
Join us on Saturday October 1, 2011 for the second installment of 24 Things. You don’t even have to leave home.
Letting go can be a challenge. We sometimes feel that we are defined by our possessions or are the sum of our experiences.
When you let go and create freedom, whether it be in the home, mind or body, you create a sacred space. Here you can develop the faith that you will be provided for and cherished without the aid of material things.

Make room for your best life.
The Challenge:
Every day, let go of one thing in your home and give it to charity, a friend or the trash can. You can start anywhere you like. You can tend to things in need or repair, clean out one drawer, or en entire basement. Wherever you decide to start, you will be amazed what you uncover about yourself in the process.
How to begin:
Day one: focus on what you want to call into your life, write it down in a journal or post it to a dream wall.
Try to keep it positive. Instead of writing “I want to lose 20 pounds” you might say, “I want a healthier, lighter body that allows me to live with more freedom.
The 24 Things experience allows us to call in what serves our highest potential as the clutter in our lives, hearts and minds falls away.
The Rules:
1: No purchases for the next 24 days. You can only buy necessities. If you see something you want, start a list. If, at the end of the 24 days, you still desire it, then go on and splurge. Chances are you wont even remember what it was you wanted.
2: ONE THING each day. Focus on letting go of one item or group of items each day. A daily practice retrains the mind, redirects the your subtle energy, and establishes a new way of thinking.
Resist the urge to pick 24 items and dump them in the first week.
3: Every day you will either nourish something that serves your highest good or let go of something that hinders it.
3: Share. Log onto The 24 Things and share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.
4: Namaste