Ways to Take Up Space

1. Say what you feel the moment you feel it. Tell the grocer he made a mistake in a very kind way. Tell your friend they are making you feel pressured, marginalized or hurt. Tell your lover that you love them and appreciate everything they do for you. Tell your parents thank you. 

2. If that makes you uncomfortable, write those feelings down and then say them later to the person. It still counts.

3. Sing loudly. In the car, in the shower, on stage, recorded or into your hairbrush. But sing with your whole body.

4. Hog the covers. If there is someone next to you at the time you attempt this, play-fight them for it. Roll around as much as possible while doing this. Wedgies are fair game. You know you are doing it right when the covers leave the bed and there are no winners. If you are single, make a fort just for you in the living room and invite in friends – or enjoy the solitude. 

5. Do some creative vandalism. Something impermanent that changes the landscape of how your space is defined. Arrange a few post-it’s so they make a smiley face on your wall. Put a ribbon on a statue. Make the outline of a heart in rocks on someone’s door. Attach a kite to the back of a garbage truck.

6. Think like an animal. Growl. Run. Chase. Fetch. Play. Find a field where you can run around and bring out your inner wolverine. Watch people be curious, and then not give a crap. Just don’t leave…traces. :-) 

7. Reserve It – Is there a place in the park you like to go, a library, a dance studio, a street you like to run? Give yourself space to be in those spaces and give yourself time to be happy in them. For me, that is the bathtub. Mine, mine mine. 

8. Be selfish – Take care of buisiness, then do what you want. You have the right to be where you are and have that be exactly where you want to be. You get there by expressing the need from your true self, and then letting that true self take action. Take what you need, because then you acknowledge the plenty you have. 

9. Do something completely out of character – Ask someone out. Take a class you always wanted to. Travel. Eat something you are curious about. Make space for yourself to explore something new, and you will feel new space inside of you grow. 

10. Love – Love makes you big. Love makes you so big that all the issues you have to deal with become small. Love yourself so much that nothing will disturb your peace of mind, that you feel big in a land where you are taught to play small. Love your limits and go through them. Love everyone around you so the size of your love can carry you. 

May you take all the space you need, and give all the space away. May you vibrate time and space so that all may serve you.

Sat Nam

Emotional Resonance and Relationships

Every once in awhile, if you are very lucky or very unfortunate, something resonates at such a deep level with you that your vibration changes. 

Now I’m not talking about romantic love, or finding that perfect person with the use of vibration or mantra…that is an element of spiritual practice I feel has been exploited lately – the use of using your higher consciousness because you want a boyfriend. I see it all the time, take this webinar, bring the miracle man of your dreams towards you, relationships are the highest yoga.

I’m not trying to seem undermining of any of these pursuits, finding a partner is important to those who have authenticity in their lives through partnership. But what seems to be missing is what people are REALLY searching for : someone who vibrates on the same emotional resonance. 

It doesn’t matter if that is a romantic relationship, family relationship, friend, work associate, teacher, or any other role that is constructed by humans. We aren’t responsible for those with emotional resonance that come into our lives, nor are we expected to define it? 

Did Harper Lee and Truman Capote feel the need to define their friendship? Do Bill and Hillary choose their sexual relationship over their empire, and if they didn’t how less powerful would they be together? Did Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan’s teacher-student relationship end just because Helen learned to READ?

If you are lucky in this life, you might find a romantic partner or several. If you are prosperous on top of fortune itself you find love that doesn’t expect anything in return. If you have won the lottery, you find someone whose very heart beats with yours and shares your every victory and defeat.

If this person or these people have an emotional resonance that echoes at the very core of your true identity? Don’t settle for a title. Don’t settle for having it be anything but what it is. The more you try to own it the more it will elude you. Let it land on your shoulder exactly as it is and don’t feel scared if it leaves. If you have felt it from the source of the soul, it will never leave you.

May you find the emotional resonance within yourself so that your frequencies heal. May you call upon the person or tribe that shakes you up, makes you happy and does not lie. May you clear the pathway towards your heart so that you call upon the highest emotional frequencies. May you feel guided, loved and protected by those who share your light. May your frequency be a universal sound of love. 

Sat Nam

29

I turned 29 today. Technically? One of those “not a big deal before the big deal birthdays” emotionally? Crucial considering there have been multiple milestones crossed. 

I made a list of things I wanted to do today, to really set myself up for the year -

1. Something Giving – Donated 10 dollars to a food bank because I have recently become vegan and wanted to give others a nourishing plate. Discovering food as an ally has been empowering for me ever since I have given up the cow in the new year. Giving that back meant something to me. I heard a story about Yogi Bhajan, that he used to make people bring cookies on their birthday. Even if it was a new student, who raised their hand in class saying “It’s my birthday” He would tell that person to bring cookies for the class, and they all would wait. He thought it was so crucial that you started your year off gifting that he was willing to wait for you to come around.

2. Something Creative – This is my true self. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been trying to tell silly stories and make people laugh. I have fallen in with groups of people who are making things – whether that is a community, a book, a piece of art, a kid, a costume for comic-con, a song? Everything that you create and share makes you radiant and I wanted to explore that radiance within myself. I started work on a screenplay that has been stuck in my head and causing anxiety because I don’t have the words for it yet. Here we go.

3. Something with Yoga – My BOTTOM line!! Yoga has become like my religion – when times are hard I lean harder on my practice and find the strength to get through the pain. I went to a class tonight that was later than the others, but I knew was a good fit for me. I am a Kundalini Yogi but have been taking more posture based classes to learn the correct alignment in other forms. I get there, and sure enough I’m proud of my decision.

First, the teacher was older than myself. I love older yoga teachers because they have recognized the power inside them at any age goes beyond physical posture but still challenge your entire self on the mat. Gurmukh, the master teacher who taught me Kundalini Yoga? Was making me sweat in her 70′s and still makes people sweat today.

Second, the teacher reminded me what I knew was important while teaching me new things : when you take a yoga class it is never about how you bend or what you are physically capable of. It is how you handle yourself in the world when you leave class that makes you a yogi, how you interact with your friends, community, and those who need you that is your yoga. She showed me a posture that I needed to align my neck during shoulder stand, and she made me think about how I want to share intention and blessing with others. 

Third, the teacher gave me a hug at the end of class when I told her it was my birthday. Hugs are always awesome. 

4. Something involving a Friend – I spoke to a very dear friend of mine who has gone out of her way to make my day special, and shared some nice love on the phone. Then I did what I do every year : write 3 pages in my Google Drive entitled “29″ and write every bit of magical thinking inside of me.That was when another friend appeared. She hadn’t been described to me in that way since I had been in therapy, but this friend became truth as soon as I wrote her. Our duality inside us is such that we have the critic and the friend – the critic saves us from making bad choices but can cut us off if we let him take over. The friend is constantly there for others but sometimes can forget to be there for himself. The friend is expansion, compassion. This year, I did something with the friend inside me : Treated her like she was a precious jewel. That God and me, me and God are one together. Friends, forever. 

May all of your birthdays be creative, prosperous, kind, generous, filled with divinity, light and love. May you have many birthdays that are better than the last, and may you be happier with each coming milestone. May you bring life and adventure as you take advantage of the gift of being human. May your light shine through your years as you do : with every intention towards truth and your inner destiny. May you be of spirit, always. 

Sat Nam

Fear is a Brave Stone

Start, and the pressure will be off. Maybe not right away, maybe you aren’t even aware of the changes that are happening. But you’ll feel much better under pressure in the right direction than stuck in an old one. 

You know how the saying goes, a rolling stone gathers no moss. Something moving has no time to atrophy. But what I’m curious about is how that stone started to roll? Was he pushed off a hill? Did he get dislocated from a spot that was formerly secure? Did he grow from a small grain of sand which over time snowballed into a bigger, stronger stone?

Any of these can happen. But here’s how life works, according to a rolling stone:

1. The first three seconds of falling are going to be the most terrifying part of your trajectory. You are going to gather unfamiliar momentum and it’s going to scare you shitless.

2. After that, you are going to keep going and it won’t be as hard. But you still won’t know what’s at the end of your race. So keep racing.

3. If parts of you break off during the fall, you are going to have to leave them behind. True story.

4. You are falling as part of an organic landscape. Everything around you, the earth, the sky, gravity and all the elements in nature are supporting you, even though you don’t feel it. 

5. When you land, you are out of momentum until the next shift. But you have changed all the landscape around you by risking your fall, brave stone. Don’t take your new role for granted, because you may have to change it just as quickly.

6. You have fallen into a better place. Actually? I can’t say this for sure. But you have fallen and you are still here. So that’s something. Be grateful. 
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“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!”

 

May you be continually falling into better landscapes. May you trust the first three seconds of your fall are making the rest of your run easier. May you be truthful to your path, even when you feel pushed by it. May you fall with grace. May you land with ease. May you live with passion.

Sat Nam

Going Pro at Being Stupid

Try this : fake a laugh for 3 -7 minutes. Guaranteed? Within the first 5 minutes you will eventually have one or more organic laughs, because the idea of faking something for that long puts the body in an autonomic response.  Isn’t that amazing? If you get over your fear of looking stupid long enough, eventually you become yourself and do what feels good anyway. 

Today, I went for a run. After doing my laundry, inevitably I’m left with two mismatched dress socks and nothing else in the immediate vicinity that vaguely resembled a match. 

ImageWith every decision there are drawbacks and payoffs. To me, the day outside where I get the chance to be limitless far went below the risk of looking like a crazy vagrant who does hand dances when she runs. The fact that I had no pants on as well, probably didn’t help – (just kidding, but totally thought about it) and of course? My white shirt with a burrito stain on the front, making this an effortless, classy yet completely stupid look.

Then I went and sat at Starbucks, as usual, looking through the classified postings and nagging people who have never met me to take a look at my resume. I saw someone who shares the last name of a friend of mine, working for a production company. I was willing to be stupid enough to take his picture in public, although was completely discreet. 

But then I had an amazing thought : I’ve got my resume, why not walk up to him and ask if he needed anyone like me? If he’s in production, what’s the worst that could happen? He would say no, maybe. I would definitely not do this in Los Angeles, CA…but what is overbearing about this in Los Altos, CA? Smaller pool, he probably doesn’t get the chance to meet someone like me that often, even if he is annoyed, all I do is be quick and judge the situation as it is…what if-

And then he walked out the door. Granted, it was at the exact same time I was scheduled to have a phone interview, but it would have taken me 3 minutes tops to make an elevator pitch about my skills. 

Dammit, do you mean I wasted this day being stupid like an AMETEUR, and then I get the chance to do something PROFESIONALLY stupid, for something I cared about and I let it WALK OUT THE DOOR? 

This week, don’t make the same mistake I did. I hope you look stupid for the things you really want and can laugh at yourself about the absurdity in small things. I hope you become professionally stupid. I hope you fall stupid in love for things that make you happy. I hope you are stupid enough to follow them. 

Sat Nam. 

 

"UUUUUUGGGHHHHHHH"

Mars and the Marshmallow Test

Temptation is a bitch. Building, releasing in such small increments, no reward on the horizon. But then I learned a valuable phrase this week “Thank you, but I am waiting to hear back from other opportunities that may be a better fit”.

The new moon is in Aries this month, and the inner warrior is giving prime opportunity to let things happen that is never before thought possible. Spending time meditating on the warrior, the person you are becoming and a life you never thought possible for yourself? Prime time to do so.

Which brings me to an experiment that I keep bringing up when trying to build a future. A study done at Stanford looked at the effect of delayed gratification in children, what is famously known as the Marshmallow Experiment.

In this study, they offered children a choice : one marshmallow now or the treat of your choice later. A hard choice for any of us to make, especially for children. Only one third of the children studied even dared to wait for the second marshmallow. Knowing what I do of myself at that age? I’m not sure I would have had the patience then, either.

But here’s what they found in a continued study of these subjects : those who waited for the second marshmallow had better SAT scores, more advanced education and a lower Body Mass Index. Those who have the mental capacity to wait have the mobility to transform.

This month, our Mars warrior inside of us needs to advance forward. More than ever, he has the opportunity to overcome massive obstacles and grow in success. But we have to look at what kind of warrior we want to be : the kind who plows through the unknown with panic and fear, or the one who patiently waits for his destiny to land on his shoulder.

I know what I want in a future, because I know what I want at present. I know who I am and I know why I came to this planet. But I am willing to sit at Starbucks, answering emails, filling out applications, and seeking the spiritual and creative community I was born to serve. And yes, I am also willing to listen to the 3rd playing of “Shiny Happy People”, that is on the Starbucks soundtrack of the month.

Onward and In Place to Victory.

May you find your center so all things may come to you. May your Mars Warrior move forward by finding the silent place inside. May your destiny be so clear that you are willing to go through fire to fight for it. May all bits of your life’s information come to serve you, as you learn to serve others. May you be prosperous, victorious and strong.

Sat Nam

The List of Things We’ve Done

I went to a memorial yesterday. When you step into a church that was built in the 1960′s, the first thing that hits you is the smell. A dusty paper smell that invades your nostrils and manifests silence as you make your way into a solitary pew in the third row. People are crying, sharing stories and then there is the list. 

Mrs. Jane So and So was born on So and So a date and went to Junior United School. She enjoyed horseback riding, and driving her car way too fast down the road. She had a puppy named mittens and every summer would go fishing at Wintercrest Lake. She worked at such and such a place so she could provide for her two lovely children. 

It’s a list of the things we’ve done. We all will have them at the end of this ride. And that scares me. The places I’ve worked are many. The people I’ve known are many. But what I have to give and what I have to share? How often does that list feel like I’ve come up short? 

Everything that I have done is nothing compared to how I want to help, and there I feel that I’m short on what really matters. Every creative thought of a project I have started or not finished, every community opportunity I haven’t taken, every dinner I haven’t shared with someone I love.

They then opened up the conversation to the crowd. Anyone welcome to share a memory, a story, a happy thought. This is where things grew more dimensions. There was talk of a whole person with dimensions – someone who was always there for her neighbors, someone who loved her family very much, and someone who gave all she was to make sure that the kids in her neighborhood had fun and felt safe. 

People forget the list of things you’ve done. They never forget the way you made them feel. All the days of my life I hope to make everyone around me feel loved, respected and cherished. I hope to skip the list and go straight to the generosities, the details, the times when it came down to how unity mattered over difference of opinion. I hope that we have the chance to make the things we’ve done matter less than the people we’ve healed. I hope that everyone has the chance to let go of what they were expected to do before life got in the way, and reconnect with those who matter most and those who need most urgently. 

Sat Nam

The Mind, The Student, The Power of Habit

Imagine your thoughts as a community college student. They go to school, and the majority of their life is spent growing pathways of knowledge into growth. The mind has been given an opportunity to expand itself, gain social mobility and become a contributing member of the larger world.

But like most community college students? The mind has hobbies. Distractions from what is really important. Some extracurricular activities that don’t really serve the larger goal of whole life education.

So you take your pot-smoking, netflix-watching, class-ditching, binge drinking thoughts and what do you do?

Replace old attentions with new ones. Find the mechanism for each old thought and welcome a new way of thinking. 

One of my favorite books of the last few years has been The Power of Habit : Why We Do What We Do in Life and Buisiness. In this book, Charles Duhig outlines our mind’s underlying connection to our habits and breaks it down in three steps.

From "The Power of Habit", The Habit Feedback Loop

From “The Power of Habit”, The Habit Feedback Loop

Say our college student is going into finals week. He has to be out late studying. Since he doesn’t study, his mind goes to the exact same thought pattern the last time he crammed for finals. Red Bull. He has drank so much Red Bull in the past during finals week that it is ingrained as symbiotic with studying.  That would be his visual cue. Finals + Late Night Studying =Red Bull. Not only that, but he also has a cue of the kiosk next to the library, which is the same place he bought a Red Bull the last time he forgot to study.

Then we enter routine. Drink Red Bull. Study several hours. He moves through his routine and pattern and doesn’t even think about how he came to this choice. It’s no coincidence that most habit-forming addictions come from places called “convenience stores”. The mind is lazy. When making decisions, it will choose routine every time out of convenience as a way to expend less energy.

Finally, we have the reward phase. Sugar high. Seven hours of energy. An overnighter spent cramming semesters worth of knowledge into one evening.

The one thing I find absolutely crucial in this book, and something that I consider every time I focus my attention on habits is this : this cue and reward system cannot be changed, it can only be replaced with alternate cues and rewards.

Say our college student has made it to the last semester. He no longer has school, but now he is working at Save Mart to pay off student loans while he finds a job. Does he go to the Red Bull whenever there is an early morning job, or has he learned from the constant shaking and does he switch to juice or tea?

This week, I am trying to change one pathway involving my yoga practice. For the past months, I have been trying to get up at 5:30 every morning to do my daily Sadhana. It’s been a struggle. So what do I do, when faced with a pathway that doesn’t have a cue in place yet? Change the cue.

When I wake up, the first thing I do will be my practice. Before I answer any email, look on Facebook or eat breakfast, I am going to hit the mat this week.

Have I been successful? Not entirely. Am I giving up? Hell no.

May you commit to change one small pathway in your practice of life this week. May all of your unconscious habits benefit a life that is healthy, happy and whole. May you look at your habits with love, and look to change the ones that don’t serve your love. May you move forward, even in the dark.

Sat Nam

Knowing your Truth vs. Knowing Your Infinity

It’s impossible for me not to get excited about things that make me happy. If you told me that there is a 50/50 possibility that an adorable puppy CPA would do my taxes for me, lick my face AND get me a refund? Even if it’s a remote possibility I’d be wagging my own tail and thinking about how amazing my life would be post-puppy CPA…whom I am prematurely naming Agent Clive Barker. 

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Let’s talk about getting you a write-off for your stamps. But first? Scratch my BELLYYYYYYY.

Which is why there is a balance between knowing the truth about yourself, and knowing the truth about the impossible things that may happen for you when you are ready for them. 

I’ve had a crazy couple of days. Yesterday, I had an interview for a puppy-CPA of a job that I was SO convinced was mine. It had everything to make my dream of a living and a life – holistic atmosphere, flexible schedule, hours, benefits and a living wage. Not only that? I was extremely qualified for the position.

My heart was set on this being a decision made for me by the divine. This was a job being given to me by the universe for the 300+ resumes I had sent out during the month of March. After the interview, I went next door to a jewelry shop and the made friends with the lady at the counter, who after I described my qualifications? Told me she was SURE I had the job, and offered me a room for rent at her house in Pacifica if I wanted. 

Signs. Signs. Signs. 

Too bad it was April Fool’s day. 

After a mini- breakdown, I realized I had another interview the next day. I was dreading it. This was a possibility that I had only considered since I was on a hot streak with interviewing. Again, qualified for the position but scared of something that might not fit my lifestyle and long term goals. I have gotten to know the truth about what I was searching for lately, and it had discovered that money and freedom are two things that I really wanted to be partners in my newfound quest for happy. Is that a CPA Puppy? Maybe. But at this point, I was willing to hope that by knowing exactly what I wanted, it would show up for me when I least expected it.

So I show up to the second interview. A start up company. Very new office, expanding, developing kind of place. Something that made me nervous but not frightened by possibility. I sit down with the staffing agent. We talk about my qualifications. It went pretty well. Honesty in shortcomings, integrity in answer, but professional and capable answers. The first thought that entered my head after the interview, I swear to the Puppy CPA? If I ever thought I quit acting because I sucked at it? Not true. That was the most honest I’ve ever been within the format of someone I’ve never been before. 

 It is so hard to carry the spiritual weight and range of the truth of who we are and the infinity of who we are meant to become. Maybe we are meant to do one kind of work, maybe another. Perhaps we have talents we haven’t discovered yet because we haven’t spent the time exploring. Knowing how to stay true to the person you are while still looking for the universal and infinite self is the battle we wage every day.

When we are confronted with this, sometimes we run. I felt like bolting the morning of. Call it nerves, call it wanting to be true to my soul, call it whatever you want. But then this amazing thing happened. The second half of the interview involved the managing members of the secretarial staff having lunch with me.

It was a really fun conversation.

The Assistant to the CEO and I found out we shared a birthday. The meeting room was called the “Charlie Chaplin Room” with a big picture of him behind us. Charlie, my interviewer, and I, were all born on April 16. I talked about my work as a production manager, all the things I enjoy doing, both in life and in work. Everything overlapped. We talked yoga, travel, Mean Girls, community, and all different things that made it fun to be there. Not only that? I sold a version of myself I didn’t know I was capable of before. A part of myself I had never considered to be functional in. 

And I made them laugh. That felt pretty good. 

I don’t know if I’ll get the job or if my next few weeks will be filled with more ups and downs. But I feel more confident now that if I can balance the truth of my infinity and the truth of myself? All will just become known with more information. 

May you know the truth of yourself and the truth of your infinity as they merge into one. May all prosperity come to you when you sit and be present with your inner light. May you be confident in your totality as you move towards balance. May truth be your identity. May that puppy I hired to look at my W2′s be as qualified as he promised he was in the interview. And if he wasn’t, may he still live a happy life rolling in the grass. 

Sat Nam

Why the Sweedish Chef is My Favorite Muppet

Because he does what he loves, even though no one understands him. I want to be just like that.

May your bork be borkity bork bork. May your bork shine through the dimensions of derpity flerpity berk. May all power, love and prosperity be borkity bork derp dorp.

Happy April Fool’s day, readers!

Sat Nam (Translated from Gurmukhi : Bork)

sweedish chef