Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Creativity, Sexuality and Play

There are three primary topics on my to-do list these days: Creativity, sexuality and play.
As fun as all of this sounds, believe it or not, they are often the first areas of life that we shelve. Making money, taking care of children, being of service, health, relationships all seem to come to the forefront as adulthood responsibilities call. I have flung myself into the realm of juiciness and joy with fervor as a get my last gasps of middle aged life before (gulp) the third act!

1. Creativity is the life force itself. Creating is the song of my heart. Everything I am today is a creation of my own making. The culmination of creative energy has brought much to fruition: books, DVD, workshops, talks, and years worth of classes (my disposable art) under my belt. Even my former acting career has flowered and flourished bountifully. I am reminded each time I receive a $100. residual from Cheers, which I did thirty years ago, that my creativity lives on. However, what more is beneath the surface? It's been so long since I have painted for fun, written a poem or made a model city out of clay. I am craving the act of creativity just for the sake of creating! So I have begun. Each day, I take some time to write, draw or make a cake.

2. Sexuality. Oooh. Aaah. Yes. Feeling my body. Being present. Breathing. Feeling sensation. Sensing. Noticing where I am magnetically drawn and what repels me. The very same energy that is creative is sexual. We are all created from sexual energy. The dance of opposites and that play in its ultimate form is you and me. I've been making it a priority these days, mostly to be present in my body. Nothing to accomplish. Everything to experience and explore. When channeled, this energy can create an entire being, so the more I am connected and feeling alive~the more I am able to create.

3. Play. Yes! Play is the most important element in my life. In my work it has been paramount. I must enjoy and feel childlike in my dance with life. It is this feeling of exchange, of heart motivated movement that I come alive and truly become myself. My real self, the me that I have been since I was 6 years old has not changed. She needs fun. She needs to mix it up. She needs to approach life and feel its impact in this way. Just like a child. Just like a pet. Dance, cartwheel, make jokes with the barista at the coffee shop. Say something surprising. Give a hug. Skip across the street. Make popsicles. This life is a beauty to enjoy!

This homework is optional. This assignment is extra credit. I'd love to have some company. Wont you join me?


Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Summer Vacation

 As the sun shines upon me like a bright spot light on the center stage of my Summer, I find myself on an adventure in Morocco. I am steeped in a foreign culture and new customs, languages I do not speak, music I don't understand and I am soaking it all in. Life is just like a drama; a play. Be willing to play your role with gusto and remember that these moments in time are fleeting. One thing I can say for age is that this concept feels more real...so many moments of my life, now gone, were half lived. Today I remain open, present and grateful, for I only have today. 
Our collective environment around the first leg of Summer has been eye-opening, nerve-wracking and down-right disturbing. What role are you playing during these turbulent and exciting times? Change is occurring; that is certain. It's time to speak up, take a stand and be yourself. I have been examining my own views, fears and position on so many topics. It feels most important to go within to check with my heart before I express that outwardly. How can I take more responsibility, and where can I be more open as I move through this rumbling and tumbling world? I find it particularly interesting that I am visiting a primarily Muslim culture amidst our xenophobic American attitudes. I can tell you that from where I sit, the people are good, lovely and simply living their lives in as wholesome a way as possible. I have adjusted completely to burkas, donkeys and no helmets on cyclists. I have even seen two accidents that were dealt with calmly. Ive seen goats up close and men pausing for prayer on the regular. 
My inner strength comes from the pauses that I find in my thinking. I can admit that I had fears traveling at this time and into an Islamic culture, but fears did not hold me back. Now that I am here, I wonder what I was so worried about. How many other adventures and experiences have I cut myself off from due to my unwarranted fears and ideas that I have been fed. Of course, I am human. I must use my tools to detach myself from the national conditioning that I have been insidiously programmed with. Centering myself through stillness, emptying myself through writing, and surrendering with intention as the day unfolds helps me get calm and relaxed before I step onto the stage of my life with openness and spontaneity. When I am in this state, I am always lead to the next right action. I have been so fortunate to play with you in person during my Yogalosophy for Inner Strength book tour. Thank you for attending and sharing the experience with me.

Onward to the next adventure!
Love,
Mandy
Moroccan sunset from my room.

The old city. Tanger.

Beach day in Tanger.


Beautiful city.
Rosy hue on Morocco.

Lotus

Hello goat. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Home is Where the Heart Is

Chicago, you gave me a warm welcome. I was reconnected with a radio show host that I quite like as a human. I met some true blue fans that felt like family.You gave me new friends who took me in, and gave me rides. You gave me a delicious breakfast.

New York City, you gave me a beautiful temporary apartment in a part of you where Ive never spent time: Gramercy Park. You gave me a local farm to table restaurant and my new favorite coffee joint. You gave me old friends, lots of visits to magazines, interviews and on-camera appearances. You gave me rainstorms, sunlight and an incredible rainbow. You gave me intimate conversations, martinis and long walks. You gave me a place to wait for a new phone.

Long Island, you gave me an early morning drive with a small dog in my lap and Hamilton the musical playing on the stereo. You gave me comfort, the ability to zone out completely, naps and laundry to fold. You gave me sticky heat and thick fog. You gave me space and support. You gave me the down time with a close friend that I can really relax with.

Toronto, you gave me a bedroom in an old students home where I was fed, welcomed to lay in the sun, watch movies on Netflix in between all-day interviews for radio and an appearance on a talk show that I haven't been on in years. You gave me a driver who needed my help. You gave me an adventure of being locked out of the place where I was staying....with my hosts. You gave me precocious children and floppy big dogs. You gave me a spinning bike in a basement and a glass of red wine. You gave me healthy, delicious greens. You gave me an Enneagram book in my guest room, that took me way back to memories of the '90's.

Rhinebeck, you gave me grounding. Oak trees, local organic foods that were cooked for me and served in the common cafeteria. You gave me willing women to practice with and to go deeper with during my long trip away from my home base of Los Angeles. You gave me bad reception, non-dairy chocolate, and a library filled with books on philosophy, religion, psychology, yoga, meridians, sexuality, health and mysticism. You gave me a sauna and nature.

New York, you gave me a second chance, and a few surprises. You gave me laughter and the opportunity to make a new friend. You gave me anticipation of passion, and long baths. You gave me activism and activity. You gave me friendly business meetings and make up artists. You gave me a short fuse and immediate opportunity to come clean.

D.C. You gave me play, an upgrade and a roof deck. You gave me great weather, the white house and the feeling that I was privileged. You gave me the Frank Sinatra Suite. You gave me a heatwave, #DCPride and willing participants. You gave me a fine host and a pair of cheap sunglasses. You gave me animal crackers and an organic manicure that lasted an entire week. You gave me two airports and a missed flight. You gave me a breakdown and a breakthrough.

Los Angeles, you gave me the chance to unpack, regroup, repack, revisit, revise and unwind just in time to leave you again.

Corte Madera, you gave me incredible weather, a surprise extra class, an athletic bunch to push, a bedroom with skylights, friendship, new friends for a pool side hang, walking into a strangers house by accident on fathers day, the last 5 minutes of game 7 and an historic moment in the NBA, a good nights sleep and organic cherries.

As I travel for this tour, I am finding love wherever I go. Truly living the meaning of "Home is where the heart is". Thank you thank you thank you. See the love wherever you land. Happy Summer Solstice.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Happy Accidents

I remember being in an art class in my mobile school for experiential learning. The first lesson was: "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents". This stuck with me, probably because I am such a natural born perfectionist. The idea that art transcends linear thinking, judgement and structure is a lesson I can (un)learn. I am perpetually faced with happy accidents, and challenged to remember this kind lesson in acceptance.

Just today, I woke up at 5am Eastern to make my Sunday early morning flight. As I arrived at the airport, groggily checking in just 90 minutes before take off (thinking: "I don't really need to be at the airport 2 hours in advance. I've cinched this."), it came to light that I WAS AT THE WRONG AIRPORT! Oh, how I wanted to blame someone, or force my way on to a flight from that spot...yet I knew better. I simply observed my frustration with myself grow and swell in my throat.

When I got into the taxi to take me to the correct location, my driver kindly reminded me that I could maybe make my flight. Perhaps it was delayed. Then he said something that struck me: "Everybody makes mistakes. But you never know. Maybe it will get you somewhere 10 minutes later for a reason." I knew he was right, because I started to release my tears. I was trying to make it right. I was being very hard on myself internally, thinking that if I got my way I could correct this debacle. What a relief. Acknowledging and accepting.

I didn't make the flight. I am happily at the airport, organizing and enjoying my four extra hours here. I was reminded of yesterday at my class/book signing in D.C. There was a miscommunication, and so there were no books! It seemed tragic when I found out, but my publishing house came up with an even better solution: those who would order the book would receive a two for one and get my first book along with my second. Perhaps an even juicier deal! A very happy accident.

I'm taking deep breaths, reminding myself of that famous saying (was it John Lennon?) "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". How true. Let's experiment together, and allow the saying "everything happens for a reason" not to be an annoyance, but a guideline for staying present, fluid and adaptable. This way, we can enjoy the discovery process, and be gentle on ourselves and others at the same time.

May you make a beautiful mess today!
receive your happy accidents with joy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mind Your Words: Intention Setting

In the middle of my book tour,  I had an opportunity to spend a long weekend at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies with an inspiring group of women. As we gathered together for a "Love Your Body NOW" workshop that I was leading, which fell upon a Gemini new moon, we experienced the magic of group intention setting. 

The plan was to allow the plan to unfold. I am an over-preparer, so this decision was contrary action for me. As fate would have it, we were an all-women group. I did not specify that it would be women only, but this is what occurred. It so happened that one of the attendees had lost her mother just two days prior to the workshop, another had lost her mother one month prior, and one woman's mother-in-law had a heart attack on the first night of our workshop. 

The loving attention that the group energy provided amidst the healing that was underway was certainly beyond me. However, the trust in the support of the surroundings, our lush home base, the incredible staff, and my twenty years of holding space as an instructor was all we needed to allow nature to take its course. Naturally, we were unified in the exact correct configuration, with just the right amount of levity, understanding, activity and space. 

The steps I highlighted were: 1. Intention setting 2. Grounding the energy 3. Mind your Words 4.Feel the energy in motion 5. Create/re-create 6. Define healthy habits 7. Balance in all things 8. Transformation will occur 9. Journey 10. Goals that are met 11. Share with the community 
12. Let go

Through vision boarding, grounding into the body with meditation, reframing our thoughts, feeling through the physical practice and creating we emerged from our second day. By day three, our morning was spent discussing healthy habits and relating with one another. A transformation did occur. We spontaneously began a circle and a conversation about the pressure on body image and what defines us as women. How much of that is a set up, rather than our organic wild nature. What a juicy delight to allow this learning, sharing and growing together. 

We then emerged from our group stronger as we said our good-byes. 

Where will this path lead?
Welcome to Omega! 
How beautiful to behold and uphold one another in that special jewel of a moment. Here is what it looked like:

We gather together in a circle
Gratitude abounds! 
Humor in the Cafe


Ram Dass Library





Some sunning by the lake.

Inspiration from the Vision Board

Hard at play.

Nature walk.

Journeying the labyrinth.

We stand together in the power of nature.
 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

YogalosophyIS Book Launch

The hustle and bustle of this week began with the long-awaited launch of Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy, and with it came my own heart-opening and joy-filled book signing.

So many terrific people came to take my class at the beautiful flagship Ron Robinson store in Santa Monica. I was greeted by some of you, as well as many of my dear friends, and expert contributors to the book. Attendees included my supportive family, and even an old love who inspired the broken heart that drove me towards the healing that I shared.

I had a few wonderful surprises as well. The amazing Chelsea Handler showed her support along with dear old friends Ricki Lake, Joely Fisher and Melora Hardin. Best of all, my former co-star from the cult classic Teen Witch (yup. Top That. That's me.) Robyn Lively showed up for a reunion. I was truly blown away.  The guests were served Owl Tea cocktails, Beaming gluten, dairy free snacks, and yogurt parfaits by Tarte.

I wore CO+CO straight off the rack and was both sporty and spicy. 

The Gift Bags by Rachael were awesome, filled with goodies from Bombas Socks, Coobie seamless bras, Erno Lazlo, Essentia Water, Go Organic Candy, Hail Merry, Hello toothpaste, Larabar, Organic Living Superfoods, Philosophie, Pixi Beaity, Smarty Pants and Violet Love headbands.

Now I find myself on a plane to do my book tour. If you attend a class, you can get a free goody bag and you can enter to win a book for a friend. I'd love to see you in ChicagoNew York CityRhinebeck, D.C.Corte Madera, Portland or Vancouver. 

One of the greatest gifts I receive from teaching is connecting with people. In every way, this brings such meaning to my life. I wanted to thank you for loving me in this way. I can't wait to meet you and love you right back. 

As I mark the 20 year anniversary of being a teacher, I can say that everything I learned about loving, I have learned through teaching. 
Ta da! 

My book is my new baby.

Stretching ourselves on a Sunday morning.

Sharing wisdom and a zen moment at Ron Robinson

Wonderful friends Joely Fisher and Ricki Lake 

Mixing and mingling over Owl Tea-tinis, and snacks by Beaming and Tarte 

Goddess friends and book contributors Laura Amazzone and Andrea Bendewald

Signing books! 

Chelsea Handler showed up to support!


From my days as an actress, a long lost friend , Robyn Lively appeared...Teen Witch reunion!  The cherry on top.
Fantastic goodies for the guests courtesy of Gift Bags by Rachael.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

THE ABUNDANT PRESENT

It's the season to manifest. To reap what we have sown. The time of year that has us coming to our senses with all of earth's delights. The night blooming jasmine pulls my olfactory sense while I am taking my grounding neighborhood walk. The shores of the beach draw me in with the ocean’s roar. I get the feeling I am anchored deeply into the earth, mirrored by the palm trees that line my treasured Santa Monica bluffs. Even the sweet tanginess of ripe strawberries from the Farmer’s Market tastes more flavorful in Spring. I come alive when I get present to this moment. Just today I was cruising in my convertible and the Red Hot Chili Peppers came blasting on my radio and it felt as if I was hearing that song for the first time. A feeling of deep gratitude came washing over me, due to the grace of experiencing the present. It made me feel like my whole life up until this point has been a blessing.

I have an extra special month ahead. I am so excited to officially launch my book on May 10th! Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy is here. This book is about healing by coming to your senses to use physical actions in order to feel better, get present and find JOY during life’s transitions. So many are going through so much change. My last couple of years have been a time of letting go and shifting on a foundational level. The process of writing the book was filled with challenge and sometimes doubt, but showing up daily and returning to the present once again really paid off.

I feel so proud to be able to hold a copy of my book in my hands and feel its weight and texture. It's my baby. I own it. And I want you to own it too. It's available in stores and online.

I'm equally excited to get to come meet you in real time for class events and book signings in a city near you. Find a class near you here.  I will be in Chicago, New York, DC, Corte Madera, Portland and Vancouver!  I look forward to playing with you and hearing your stories. Click on your city to join an event and get your book signed.



Here are some ways you can come to your senses today and increase your joy:
·      TOUCH: Hug someone! A 10 second hug will increase your happiness hormones.

·      SMELL: During your neighborhood walk, take a moment to smell a flower.

·      HEARING: Listen to jazz or classical music. It will stimulate your brain.

·      TASTE: Nature provides. Taste your favorite fruit in its natural packaging.

·      SIGHT: Watch a sunrise or sunset.

Stay tuned for more news and a special event in the upcoming days!
 


Have a beautiful week. It’s a good life. Appreciate what you have. This life is a gift.