Getting Deeper

dancers pose

(Cat, I’m just waiting for your dirty joke with this title, I’m aware…)

As I stepped onto the mat today, I stepped on with my ego in the way. It suffered a bruising recently, and my guard immediately went up. I’m pretty sure I was shooting “don’t touch me” vibes towards the lovely instructor.

I wanted to show that I knew exactly what I was doing. I wanted my form to be so good that it was obvious that I had just finished a yoga teacher training. When I’m trying so hard to do something right…I never do, and my balance was all kinds of off because I was so focused on being a teacher’s pet and listening to her exact cues.

At some point, I realized I was doing this, and I let it go, reminding myself how anything ego-driven can be so counterproductive.

Plus, I practice yoga to be present, and that was the last thing I was doing. Once again, I was all up in my own head, losing sight of the fact that it was a blissfully uncrowded class in an uncharacteristically large studio (Yogaworks on the UWS, which, is sadly about to close).

And once I let go, I realized how much deeper I was able to go. Physically, I sunk deeper into the poses, and emotionally, I sunk into that time I needed to just absorb the teacher’s calm, even voice, the time I needed to feel grounded and centered in the energy of the other students around me.

Although I’m in a much better place than I have and had been, the truth is still that my mom is not here, and the holidays are coming. She received her diagnoses both times around this time of year, too. Though not as much as last year, this time of year is still heavy in my heart, and it probably will be for a long time. (And my heart goes out to anyone else reading who has tough holidays ahead of them.)

Yoga has done so much for me this year, and I can’t wait to start sharing it with more people (and continuing to deepen my own practice.) I’ll be taking on private clients in December—I’m practicing on friends now!

One Heart, Two Places

palm tre

It was the adventure of a lifetime, and one of the boldest things I’ve ever done. I picked up and moved, albeit temporarily (for now?) 2,808 miles away.

I came looking for answers.

I came looking for peace.

I found answers I didn’t know I was looking for.

I found a peace I didn’t know was possible, one beyond anything a lifelong east coast city dweller had ever experienced.

I expected I’d leave with a clear answer to: should I stay or should I go? (If I go, there will be trouble…)

What I didn’t expect was to feel so turned. Melissa says #heartinNYbodyinLA—my heart is in both places right now.

I love the energy of NYC. I love the peace of Santa Monica.

I love the ability to get in a car and drive 20 minutes to a gorgeous hike. I love the ability to walk almost anywhere in NYC.

I love my friends in NYC. I love my independence in LA.

I love the warm breezes of Santa Monica. I love…OK, I don’t love the weather in NYC save for those few magical weeks in spring and fall.

When I told my dear friend Leah I was going to spend some time out here and perhaps move here, she said words I’ll never forget: “whether you stay there or come back to NYC, I think you can’t lose—it will have been good for you to go.” She was so, so right—more than she could have known, more than I could have known, more than my psychiatrist (who was the most excited for me?) could have known.

I had the space from my regular life (replete with triggers) to do the deep work I needed to recover from my deep grief and depression. I confronted and stared down some deep, deep shit that had been bubbling under the surface long before losing my mom but promptly spilled out once I was in the throes of the deepest emotions I had ever felt. I thought I’d tried some wacky wellness trends to heal my grief, but I went deep on the hippie shit out here. (Truth be told, that’s one of the things I *love* about LA.) Hypnosis, cannabis meditation, seeing a psychic medium, oh why the fuck not? Is it individually about any one of those things? No, but it’s about being open to possibility, to let love and light back in. And I learned to love myself again, but even more than I ever have before. And yoga teacher training, of course, changed me the most—it really taught me how hold steady in a storm, to find that balance that is yoga.

Grief changes you and cracks you open, and while I’d prefer to have my mom back over this journey, thankyouverymuch, if I had to lose her, I’m grateful for how much confronting my lifelong fear taught me.

I believe that if I do decide to stay in NYC, I have the tools to better handle it emotionally now. I recognize that could be me being homesick after two months of living out of suitcases and the past three weeks without wi-fi or cable in my Airbnb. (I don’t want to talk about that last part.) I know it takes longer than two months to get adjusted to a new place.

I also know that when that plane lands at JFK, I’ll be full of emotion and that the coming weeks will bring clarity to my decision.

…but, um, also happy to take any advice on how you’ve made big decisions like this in the past. (And I 150% recognize how lucky I am to have the luxury of making this decision.)

My heart breaks for the wildfires in this beautiful state. I accidentally drove far too close the other day, and it was chilling and apocalyptic-looking. Here’s an excellent guide to how you can help. I’m personally donating to the Humane Society of Ventura County for their rescue efforts. One of my BFFs definitely didn’t have to hold me back from trying to rescue an alpaca…