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.