Friday, February 21, 2014

3 years later......

At eleven years old, this "thing" that settled inside of me without invitation was ugly. If I could describe it's characteristics, it had long, gnashing, yellow teeth and a face so hideous, nobody would want to come within miles of it. It's darkness rotted my insides and made a home and a name for itself inside of me every damn day. It was a nightmare I could never wake up from and it waited at my bedroom door each day to join me as a constant companion, that I loathed. I still remember this day like it was yesterday. I was wearing denim blue gap shorts, tweety bird keds and an embroidered white tank top. I walked into Dr. Winners office at 11 years old, after I had lost to my best friend in my 6th grade spelling bee. I sat nervously on a small couch next to his desk with a view of the Wasatch mountains outside of his window. "I think I might be gay." I being excruciatingly shy with blonde hair, green eyes and the "adorable" mormon girl identity, was terrified of what just came out of my mouth. I was scared that if the Dr could diagnose me to be "gay" then I must be gay. He was a stranger, but his "Dr" status made me believe that if I told him I could be gay, that the words "You are not gay" would come out of his mouth and I would somehow be "fixed" Doctors fix things, they write prescriptions for diseases and make them go away. I was willing to expose this deep secret with the chance he would make it better. This was my mindset at 11 years old. So, I told him, I spilled my deepest secret. Dr Winner told me that day, that I was not gay. He told me that everything would be okay and that is exactly what I wanted to hear, even though I already knew the truth deep down inside. He proceeded to diagnose me with OCD and prescribed me on the famous green and white pill, prozac. He did write me a prescription, and it did not cure the "disease" it just bought me time, which in some sense, I am very thankful for that green and white pill. This pill would be put on the counter next to my lunch money every morning; as I would depart to school for the next 6 years. It was the medicine that would somehow mend me on the inside and take away this monster. I was a good girl growing up, I pleased my parents and got good grades. I was on many athletic teams and had a wonderful peer group. As a member of the church, you are taught that if you live your life "Worthy" of blessings, that you will be saved. So, I made the decision within myself that I would be perfect. This would save me, being perfect would save my life. I would be saved from my "sin" of being gay. If I was perfect, then I could go to heaven and be with my family. If I was gay, then I was not perfect and I wouldn't be able to live with my family throughout eternity. A lot of pressure right! I adopted the identity of being the "yes" man, the people pleasure, the giver, etc. I wanted to be a saint, so that I could be saved from my hidden secrets. At 17 years old I developed an eating disorder and began to isolate myself. I always had many jobs and kept myself busy. I did as much as I could at that age to distract myself from my worries. After I graduated from high school, once team sports were completed, I fell in love with running. Not only did I fall in love with running, but it became an addiction. I could control this part of my life. If I vowed to go running every day, then I would be perfect. I went running every day, rain or shine and even on family vacations. I didn't miss. I had an obsession with the mirror, checking in with my tummy to make sure that I had not gained any weight. If I felt like I had gained weight, I would either run longer the next day or eat next to nothing. I constantly thought of food, I always wanted it, but had extreme guilt if I pleasured myself in eating what I loved. It was a constant battle that I kept losing. Growing up I remember a few vivid memories where I was in so much pain, that I didn't want to live anymore. There was a time when my family went to Florida to visit Disney World. It was our favorite family vacation spot; because it's the happiest place on earth, right? I remember my experience of posing for family photos next to Mickey and friends or after we took wild rides; I knew exactly what thoughts were going on in my mind. "I am so scared, because I am probably gay." These thoughts rep laid habitually over and over and over again like a broken record. I was unhappy standing on the biggest playground in the world. I would come home from school and sleep on our favorite sofa with my dog. I loved that dog, his name was Bernie and he would cuddle right up to me, sensing that I wanted to escape reality. I desperately wanted to go into dream world where no pain was felt. I dreamed of Narnia, it was my favorite fantasy world. I would put on the coat and act out the scenes and go to this world often. Here, I wouldn't have to return anytime soon. I could eat turkish delight and fall in the snow and rest. I loved to pretend that I had a wardrobe and I could walk through and end up in a place like Narnia. Bernie protected me and he understood me. When he passed away, that was one of the hardest things I went through growing up. I did plan in my mind at how I would choose to leave this life and who might come to say there goodbyes. I didn't feel like I had any value to this planet. I know now today, that even immersed into the darkest times, I would have ever chosen to end my life. I did have awareness of something special inside of me and ultimately that I would do special things with this pain in my life. I listened, even to the most subtleties of the voice so deep but so pure. It was the little smothered voice that said "keep on going". One day, it will all be worth it. In my athletic pursuits; I ran 8 marathons (including Boston and NYC) and biked Lotoja, a 206 mile bike race, 4 times. I was moving in the direction of being one of the top woman cyclists in the state. These events, community, and the discipline that I put into my training all these years, saved my life. It distracted me from my problems and ultimately numbed me. I could function enough to even be without medications. I was a well respected athlete and fitness instructor and took pride in my gifts. It was my identity, because that was the part of me that was fully accepted. My story, I knew would be one of the reasons why I was put on this planet. The "aftermath" or wisdom that I have gained from my own pain, is here for me to share. It is something that I can share, to help others find courage within to be open in who they are, without apology.. If someone were to tell my little 11 year old self, that being a gay woman and that the struggles that would lie ahead for me, all of the pain, the intense isolation and loneliness, would have been my biggest gift....I would have not believed them. Now at 32 years old, after coming out of the closet 3 years ago, can say, this is my biggest gift and treasure in my life. I am so happy to be who I am and the person that I want to be is happening, because I accept myself completely. This is for you, this is for the person whom feels alone. This is for the person who fights within themselves to get out of bed or afraid to walk alone. It is for the person whom has fear of not "fitting" in. You fit in here and what you have to offer is a gift, it is a bigger gift than you can imagine for yourself. This is for the gay person, afraid to come out and tell family, friends, religious leaders, teachers, etc. You are not alone. This is for the person being bullied for not being pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, rich enough; the list can go on and on. We live in a society where every day there is pressure to rise to a certain level, have a certain degree, or be more beautiful than another, or to be accepted. The need to "fit" in has become a serious epidemic. This is to the person whom wants to end their life, because they are afraid of being authentic in fear of what may happen. Yes, that was me. Now, I thank life for saving me and for leading me to the right people and extending many angels among my path. I was the little girl who was shy and pushed away touch and love because I didn't think I deserved it. I sent myself the message that I was broken and there was no possible way I could be fixed. I had to hide myself, numb myself and run far away from myself, so that I would never have to face myself. Let me tell you, you are not just your face, you are your heart, your soul, your bones, your entire being. I ask you to honor yourself and cultivate a deep rooted respect for yourself. You are not a victim to this day, your past or your future. You have every right to be who you are, whole heartedly. My biggest fear is that I will be rejected and left. I have found, the rejection comes within. If you reject who you are, your soul gets angry. Your soul cries and your soul becomes diminished. If you are courageous enough to be who you are and establish relationship with yourself, you will never be alone. You will never be left behind. In the commitment to being me; I have the right support and people around me now. These close friendships, community, my family can acknowledge my real self and my soul celebrates within this discovery.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

New York City

Stick yourself in the middle of New York City by yourself for nine days, and you are bound to grow. I have learned a lot about myself the last two weeks of my life. I traveled to New York City to engage in a nine day, very intense teacher training with the world renown yogi and "guru" Ana Forrest. I expected to learn something about myself while I embarked on this adventure, but what I actually did take home with me, was a completely differen't lesson. As I arrived, tangled hair (as always) off of a red eye flight, I was exhausted. I sat in the taxi on this early New York morning, my driver was sweet enough to ask me questions to strike up a conversation. He must have sensed my nerves; what the fuck am I doing here, energy. I looked out the window and noticed young kids walking across the crosswalk to school, almost as if they were adults themselves, they owned their city. My taxi dropped me at The Marrakech hotel, 103rd and Broadway. It would be my NYC home, while I get to be here. I walked up the stairs and was immediatly greeted by a friendly bellman, whom by the end of each day, I would look forward to his welcome. I was given access to my room, suitcase in hand, I dragged myself up the four flights of stairs, no elevator. My room presented itself to me as tiny, dirty, and unwelcoming. It definitely wasn't "The Plaza hotel". I don't usually mind, I can ruff it. This time, it felt important to me. I didn't have the energy to deal, this would have to work. I took a deep sigh of exhaustion and without taking my coat off, tossed myself on top of the bed, I had a desperate need for sleep. I woke up a few hours later with a lingering headache, already not sure what I was doing here. I was experiencing my first lesson about myself, I am not comfortable transitioning out of my comfort zone. New York City is this BIG, powerful, energetic, diverse, artistic, captivating, busy, dirty, sad, happy, joyful, city, and it was waiting for me to go out and explore. It was time to experience more growth. I had no idea what kind of growth, but I felt it surfacing. It was time to go out there and begin my adventure. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I had the desire to create a bigger, relationship with my heart, body, mind, bones, and everything else that made me, ME. I asked for a new room; it was perfectly clean and comfortable. I felt thankful. I felt reluctant to ask for what I wanted, but discovered once again; If I ask for what I want, that it is okay to recieve it. I took a walk down Broadway and Amsterdam avenue, I couldn't help but look up at the big sky scrapers. In between those tall buildings, the big blue sky poked it's head out to me, revealing to me, that this is a big sky and world. This is a BIG world, full of so much mystery and incredible opportunity, and I am just a speckle on this earth. I'd like to think that I am a BIG speckle, but yes, a speckle. The choice to move into this NYC life for the next days, I would be reminded just how small of a speckle I am. This is a very humbling experience. I walk into the first cafe that I see, I order pizza (comfort food), green salad, and pellegrino (comfort drink) and I feel calm. In this city, nobody knows your name. Everyone is moving about you, shoving you, rushing, because of their great desire to get to where they need to be. I had no choice but to blend in and act as though I knew what fuck I was doing; I too am a part of the movement within this fast paced city. New York City does not wait up for you, you must be ready to go along for the ride, or you will get left behind. The subway will close it's doors, even if you are one foot off and one foot on; jump on or your out of luck. My experience of the subway was very profound. I found the subway to mostly be a quiet, calm spot. It felt as though everyone, once they were on the train, finally took their first breaths of the day. Once your spot was secured, whether you were standing, sitting, or smashed up against an odor filled jacket or body (reaked of city life), there is a brief moment in time, where you can rest from the outside chaos. Sometimes the train felt sad; faces were worn, and full with exhaustion. I noticed that most people had their eyes closed, or ear phones stuck in their ears, drowning out their own thoughts. I saw the stories in people, I not only sensed it, I also experienced it. There is an ability we all have to experience it, if you listen and look carefully. I have a gift of being able to percieve others without effort. I feel as though this gift of empathy can at times be difficult; but I feel it is a gift of discernment that I consider rare and special for me. The subway became a good friend to me while I was there; it was full of life, stories, and in-depth conversations without words expressed. The short subway ride from uptown 103rd to downtown 77th, was one of my favorite places to hang out each day. Pure West Yoga, upper west side studio. This is where I would spend my days in New York City. Ana Forrest Advanced training was one of the hardest events that I have mentally, physically, and emotionally done in my life. The first morning that I arrived, my eyes immediatly where locked on Ana Forrest. I had previously learned so many things about her, as well read her book, I already had an impression created inside of me. Her long gray braid swooped down alongside her head, black gloves on, and leather belt around her waist. The description that I already knew of her, was completely accurate. She sat in the room, waiting as we all arrived. I noticed her eyes right off the bat; very soft, but a powerful intensity that revealed to you that she had experienced life. I immediately sensed that she had control of this space, and her demand for respect was easy to feel. I suddenly felt the demand for respect that I wanted Ana to have for me as a powerful human being. Most of my life I have been told how high to jump, how far to run, and whose opinion other than my own I should believe. At 28 years old, this did not work for me anymore and I suddenly had my own opinion. These last 3 years and mainly last year of my life, I have been focused on my own personal growth. I especially have an allowance to be who I am, without apology. I felt no apology from Ana Forrest about who she was, she owned herself entirely. I developed respect for Ana in this ownership. I, most importantly, saw her as a human, unlike what I sensed from others in the room. I separated from labeling her as a "Guru" I wanted to be my own guru. I didn't have a desire to be one of her disciples. Although, I did have a great desire to learn some important things from this woman, and what she had to offer. Obviously she has helped a lot of people, and she has an intention to heal others. I also respect that she sought out what she wanted, and created a yoga program that has brought people back to themselves. Given all the information, I was ready to jump into this with both feet and find out for myself what is the hype of "Forrest" yoga. Each day looked the same; morning meditation, breath, followed by 3 1/2 hours of intense asana practice. First cues from Ana, "Abbey, keep your chest open, FOREVER!" Well, okay then! This was a demand, not a question. The series of postures mainly included: core, inversions (too many fancy ones to name), core, inversions, core, inversions, deep stretches, and savasana. We had a two hour lunch break, that felt like two minutes; before we had to be back for the afternoon four hour session. The last part of the day included: discussion, practicum, and partner work. This usually would include at least another 90 minutes more of movement. As you can imagine, by the time 530pm rolled around, everyone was ready to get their shit and get out! The last part of my day would be about connecting with others at home, sending my "I love you's" and then off to find a place to eat, before bed. The next day was only a short few hours away, and it would start all over again. Day four I started to feel the effects the physical practice had on my body. It felt similar to the repetitive motions I used to put my body through as an endurance athelete. I had already made the decision for myself, that I wouldn't do that anymore. I felt by the end of day five, my body was giving me the big fat middle finger. We were practicing advanced postures, but to me the word "advanced" meant nothing to me. I didn't have the mindset of, the fancier the pose, the better (fancier) person I will be. I had aches in my back and my body was depleted of energy. Exhaustion had now settled in and made itself at home in my mind/body. Mentally, this training was beginning to lose me. Ana had asked me at the end of day five, how I was doing. I had a feeling that she was very aware of my presence in this training. I had been experiencing one on one time with her in the previous days. I know she was mindful of my frustrations and had clued in on my internal dialogue (fuck this already), and wanted to faciliate some type of deep healing process within myself. I think she liked me, and felt my resistance to these practices. I expressed my frustrations and I told her that I felt I wasn't giving my body what it really needed. Ana asked if I would work with one of her assistants. I agreed to this option, because I had already invested so much to this day of training. This woman who worked with me, asked me to go deep. I expressed to her I wasn't at this training to cry, or have tantrums, etc on my mat. I told her that I was happy and joyful in my life, and wanted to celebrate this side of my life. I have spent the last year of my life, really working on my personal growth (I've cried a lot). The Forrest training, wasn't the place for this kind of growth within myself. I clearly needed to learn the lesson in self care. I did mention to her that I didn't feel sexy in my body, because of the fact I wasn't able to move gracefully, and with fluidity on my mat. I had the desire to feel sexy in my body. She asked me to breathe into my sexy body. I had a hard time feeling that, even to say, "I am sexy" felt wrong, because it was the last thing that I felt. Something was felt in that experience with her that afternoon, only because I saw her respect for me and my desire to stay grounded in myself. There was a lot of energy in the room at this time, and it was very easy to pick up on it. She respected that maybe what I needed was to just acknowledge this feeling and help me breathe into my body again. I did feel sexy and more powerful as I left this practice. I decided to make a choice and not return for the following mornining practice, my body was giving me all signs to "No" and for the first time in my life, I wanted to stop this nonsence and listen to my body. I could not worry what Ana thought of me, if I didn't return until the next afternoon. So, I took myself on a sexy date that evening to the SOHO district, out for a drink (the best caffe mocha vodka ever!) and a taxi ride away from my homebase of NYC. The next morning, I slept in and took a walk through Central Park and had bacon and eggs at my favorite restaurant, Westside Restaurant. I returned to the afternoon session and I felt replenished and whole again in my body. The choice that I made to take care of myself first, was a turning point for me. We all had to teach in front of Ana and her assistants in this session. I asked Ana if I could teach first, because I felt sound in my body. Teaching this afternoon was one of the best experiences I had in this training. As I taught, I felt like I was in integrity in my body. I took command of the room and felt as though the students found their bodies. I left feeling good, and decided to return to and participate fully in day seven. My body was pushed again to my limits this day and I knew again, that I ignored my body and it's need to rest. The question presented itself over and over again, are you just being a wimp Abbey? I knew how strong I was, I wasn't there to prove my strength, or anything for that matter. I connected to the message my body was sending to me, that I was not in integrity, and something had to change. I finished day seven and I was more exhausted than I had been up to this point. I made the difficult decision to take the morning of day eight off, then return to the next afternoon on into finish the end of the training on day nine. This would be my final decision. Although this was my choice, I felt the guilt had already settled in nicely. (old stuff, starting to surface) I knew this decision wouldn't mesh well this time with the crew. I was absolutely right. The next morning, morning of day eight, I received an early wake up call from Ana's main assistant. She informed me that Ana asked where I was, told me to get back to the training, or else I would not be invited back to finish this training. DO or DIE, right? That is the pressure I felt. Anxiety overload, my entire body trembeled. Many thoughts surfaced, (more old stories, and habitual thought patterns) especially on how this could be a let down for my community, family, friends, students, Ana Forrest herself, if I did not return. I had a choice to make, and this choice was going to cleary direct the rest of my time in NYC. The anxiety I felt at this point wanted to be soothed. As I sat in the bathroom, debating on what I would do, with the constant story flowing through my mind, what would others think of me? I feel lucky for this moment, because I had complete support from my home, and love. But, I decided to immediately sooth my anxiety and put my yoga pants on, I was going to go back and finish. The guilt would be too intense, I will just finish the training, despite how much my body needed me to listen to it. I am used to pushing through the pain, I have crossed many finish lines....then something happened (In all of this, I had been reminded that I don't need to learn a lesson in completion). I stopped mid sentence in my brain story, a voice so subtle, so real, called out to me, and I FINALLY listened. With my yoga pants half way up my legs, I then proceeded to take them back off again. I was making the choice to withdrawl myself from the program. Yes, I was done. Day eight of nine, I was choosing to call it quits. It would have been easier to go back, it was the last two days. My body, mind and soul celebrated in this choice. Instead of choosing the anxiety, ANA, or anyone else, I chose myself. As I walked out of the hotel room, decision was made, I laughed....outloud. I felt good. In the meantime, there was a huge storm coming into NYC. It would arrive Friday evening, the same time my flight home would take off. The weather indicated that this was supposed to be one of the biggest storms NYC had seen in 10 years. I had the feeling to try and re-schedule my flight for Thursday night. I called a dear friend in Utah who works for the airline, and asked if I could get on this flight. I didn't want to get stuck in NYC, exhausted with no more money. NO LUCK, she indicated it was impossible, even to re-route me elsewhere. We tried everything. I had come to the conclusion within myself, that I would go home Friday, and take my chances that I would get out of there safe and sound. As I was perparing to head off to the museum, THE MOMA (never been to a museum) I received a random call back from my friend, her voice cheery, "you want to go home tonight?" I shocked said, "What, how?" She told me that she had come home from a meeting and felt the need to log on to her computer one more time and check the Thursday flight. As she logged on to this flight, ONE seat lit up on this sold out flight. Miracle! She booked it! I ran to the museum, one of the best experiences I have had, so glad I did not miss this art. 4 hours later I rushed to JFK to catch my flight home. I got home Thursday night safe and sound. The next morning, I decided to check my initial flight from JFK, big red letters, CANCLELLED! I would have been stuck afterall. Devine intervention! I was in disbelief. The storm brought a half a million people without power and three feet of snow to New York City. If I chose to stay, I would have had to sleep in the airport, for who knows how long. I learned a lot from this experience, so much that it changed my life. The way that I navigate through anxiety, and the way I want to live my life from now on. I don't live my life for others, based off what they think of me. I live my life in integrity for me, and when you can find the courage to do that, FREEDOM. It is the greatest feeling of liberation when you choose you. It was a victory for me, and I felt as though I learned a great lesson. I learned to take care of me and that is what will create a better human and teacher. Nobody can tell you what is best for you, you are the only person that can decide for yourself what is best. It doesn't matter how many degrees or letters this person has behind their name, or if they have the "guru" label. You are the only one that can know what is true. I am grateful for Ana Forrest, she gave me a gift, after all. Ana presented me with a choice, I had to choose what was best for me. I was able to take from this training what I felt was true and beneficial for my growth, and discard the rest. You don't have to buy into the entire product, just because someone else believes it as the only way. There is confidence that resides in your body when you can make your own decisions and have your own brain. It reveals that you are a distinct individual with integrity. I feel like I can trust myself. Always follow your heart and gut, trust in those two things as your life compass. My growth in New York looked like this--- It was about the bellman that welcomed me each day to my hotel. It was about the friendly man that sold me pizza at Broadway 2609. It was about the stories on those faces in the subway each day. It was about the smells of the city, and energy of being pushed about and around. It was about my requests for dinner for one each day and night. It was about the struggling musicians on the subway. It was about the singing waiter in my favorite restaurant. It was about the experience of witnessing a large rat run across the subway deck. It was about staring at the art work, monet, etc, at the Moma (a profound, yogic experience of presence) It was about the longing for those I loved at home. It was about the subtle moments in training, where I went "Aha!" It was about experiencing LIFE all alone in this city, where I found myself. It is always about experiencing life in every moment, no matter how uncomfortable I felt. It is not about a yoga a pose, or a guru, etc. It's not about being the pleaser or the yes man. It's about being whole, within you. It is ultimately about integrity within, and always moving in that direction, no matter how much anxiety you feel. I received a wake up call and navigated myself to my center. I was supported in my decision, and that is how I made it home safely with the biggest gift I could have from this trip. It was worth every penny. Thank you New York. I'll be back again someday! Thank you Ana Forrest, thank you for offering me a gift, so I could make my own choice. AHO!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In the name of Fear.

Our bodies are incredible. We get to actually live in our bodies, reside in this space and experience so many feelings. Feelings of being alive. Feelings come in so many differn't vehicles. Feelings of love, fear, sexual ecstasy, anger, hatred, depression, anxiety, intimacy, compassion, passion--you get the point right? The list can go on and on. We get to use these bodies to experience our lives feeling everything. This is all good! When is it ever wrong to experience what you are feeling? We have been taught in our lives at some point, that it is wrong to feel the bad feelings such as: anger, hatred, etc. It's the resistance to the feeling, that allows the feeling that isn't good for our bodies, to grow like cancer, rotting. JUST FEEL. I have spoken of my own story many times about how I closed myself down. It is now my past, but it will always be a part of me. It tells the story of why I chose to go back home to my body. There always comes a time when we choose to go away, and explore. If we are conscious enough, we will find in this exploration that we want to come home to what is real. Although; I learned through the closing down of my skin; once it was closed completely, the only direction I had to take was to open it. That takes alot of courage. This has been a captivating chapter in my life, lets call this chapter, 2012. Yes, that is what happened to me this year. I opened, after a long time of choosing to stay closed. We can all say we are open, but until you experience that opening, you will never know the depth you can take yourself. I believe in the contiunious journey deeper, in diving to deeper depths, is where I have learned about the most important, intimate parts of myself. I taught myself throughout my life growing up, that it wasn't safe to open up. If you open up, you are exposed. Exposure to to life, was too much to feel. The first time I realized that I was empathic, by the way---we all are. The first time I found in myself that I was extra sensitive, was as a young child, preschool age. I had a hard time separating from home, being away from my mom, and going out in the big world. Yes, I was four, but it felt big to me. I felt too much. Growing up, I only became more sensitive. I felt my body was a place I couldn't stand to lie, sit, or stand in anymore. So, eventually I sprinted away from living and owning my own skin. We all have our own stories of finding ourselves, owning who we are, that is what makes us all unique. This past year, moving out of 2011 and ringing in the new 2012--I stood in a room with my community, dancing in my coral dress, I felt pretty. I could say for the first time, I felt stunning! It was almost like my body knew, I was about to take the journey back home again. I was ready. Oh, how I had no idea what was in front of me. The opening of my life, my body, and experince being alive in a completely differen't way. I have put a lot of trust in this process, telling myself, that when I want to close up, stay open. That is profound. That is how we actually heal our most intimate wounds. I am reading a book called, "Fierce medicine" by Ana Forrest, the creator of Forrest Yoga. In this book, she teaches you how to face your fear, but not only face it, allow it to become your allie. Fear, your allie? Yes! I was always taught to run from fear and become numb of it. I can challenge myself now to befriend it. Yes! New challenge, I am up for it! In this book there is a quote that goes like this, "In order to heal, you must feel." Brilliant. A light bulb turned on in me. I think I always knew this concept, but to actually consciously put it into practice, that is a whole differen't ball game. When you commit to being honest, you must learn that when you feel anxiety, or discomfort, you must choose to stay honest, versus soothing your anxiety and choosing to be dishonest. It's simple, it is a choice we all have to consciouly make to stay REAL. You will attract the most meaninful experiences and humans into your life. It is the perfect way to get to know yourself, and allow for fear to be your allie. I know it's hard, but it is the wisest way to live your life. It is the only way that I want to live my life. I love life. I feel lucky to have the gift of perception, intuition, and how I am very empathetic. I feel a lot! I have cursed this gift from time to time, and in fact it created for a very intense adolesence for me. I didn't understand what it meant to be empathic. Now, I am grateful for these senses, that I get to use every day for the good, especially in my job as a yoga teacher. Feelings are good. I have the ability to sense what pure love feels like in a moment, if my body is open to it. I have heard what love sounds like. It's like this, if everyone were to stand still in one moment. If everything was quiet on this earth, at one time--there you will hear the raw sound of pure love. Our highest power speaks. I also have had the experience of feeling darkness to it's core, the snake bite, the feeling of venom running through your bones, and you are helpless! But wait, are you? In that moment, are you helpless? Last night, I walked into a bar to listen to some live music. I was already feeling like my feet were floating above the earth, and I needed to ground myself. Instead, I choose to drink a vodka soda, I was a happy. I was in a perfect atomosphere for a drink, and I was with my most favorite human beings in the world. As I finished my drink, my body took on an energy, that wasn't familiar; or atleast it was, but I hadn't felt it in a long time. I panicked, I desperately tried to push it away, because I was scared of it. I didn't want anyone to know I was having this experience. I choose to go to the ladies room a few times and get myself together. I wanted to have a fun night out! Things weren't changing, and I was a container for this yucky energy. After all was said and done, I exited the bar, feeling terrible and confused at why I had this sudden shift of energy. I was too captivated by its story and I felt terrible in my own skin. Helpless. I had allowed myself to hold onto it, and I didn't know how to release it. My body ached, I wasn't myself. I woke up today, groggy, not well, and ready to pull my covers over my head for the day. I thought back on what I have been reading in this book. Fear is your allie. Choose to find out in you where this fear hangs out. What triggers this fear to come up, and why do you have this experience. is it even yours?! Which in my case, it usually isn't mine. This morning I choose a differen't experience, and it didn't take long. I was reminded while on the phone with this very important person, LOVE. I am reminded that I am a capable grown woman. I started to shift. I knew I could choose something else. I felt myself slowely easy my way back to my body, my life. I have learned, that I can inhabit my space any time, and I don't need to be affected. Energy has an effect on us, we have energy running through our bodies constantly. We have 7 energy systems of the body that speak to us every day, communicating to us constantly. Choose to feel it, and then you can let it go. Most the time, it isn't even yours to dwell on. Our feelings are fascinating story tellers! I love to feel, well the good stuff. The love. I love to feel everything, because it means to me, that I love to feel life. When I chose to understand that these feelings weren't mine, they were foreign, and I chose my body and a differen't experience. There is an undeniable surge of light, that moves through your body, healing you. I like to hear the sound of music, guitar, the music that is inside of music. It is like the sound of love, you have to be still in that moment, to hear what I am talking about. I like to write my words out on a blog, that is healing for me. I like conversation. I love to receive a text message from my love, and to know that there is open arms in this world, that crave me. I like to paint lately, creating something from my own view, it is cool to watch what comes out through the brush. My hands are definitely an extension of my heart, I love my hands. I love to create and speak with my hands, it soothes me. I did that today. Fear is your invitation to have courage. To be who you are, in the name of fear, be you. Don't allow fear to navigate you to a place that feels un-authentic. Another word, un-attractive. It takes you away from residing in your skin. I have chosen to inhabit myself, so I can love with all of me. Why would I want to love with half of me. I want to be all in, when I am around those I love. So they get the benefit of me to my fullest. Fear is your allie. Look at it! Conquer it! Ride the wave of fear, back into your life.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Feeling alive.

As I sit down yet again to create another blog, listening to my thoughts, "Abbey please write, you have so much to say!" I will not wrestle with my thoughts, I know what I want to say. So, I write. I write to this moment; this moment is all that I have, and I will do my best, to never take one more moment for granted. I have a outpouring feeling of gratitude for my life. I am here, at my favorite coffee shop in Salt Lake City, near my home on 9th/9th. This little part of town, is my home. It is my favorite place to expend my time. Since moving to my home, in this lively part of town, almost 1 year ago; I have experienced joy, that I never thought was possible for my life. I feel completely mortal, vital, cognizant, ALIVE! I actually exist, and it feels really fucking good! I am conscious, and this feeling of vitality, is moving through me; dancing, flowing, through every cell and vein in my body. I love it, because it is my life. It is my own paramount life. Right now, the word I choose that best desribes this feeling is, WOW! I sit here, and I think of that word, alive. What makes me feel so alive right now? It is an interesting question, because I would have not been able to accurately answer that question more than a year ago. Now, I have a clear understanding of what that word, "alive" means for my life. I am learning more about it that word each day, and it excites me! The more I feel alive, the better my life is in the moment. I have realized that there is so much joy available in every moment; we just need to available to acquire it. The more I put up my walls, and shut myself off to life, the more numb I feel to life. I choose to always be available to the sweet moments that life always grants me. Life is a gift. I had the incredible opportunity to teach yoga tonight. As I experienced, listened, adhered to the ebb and flow of my thoughts, I sensed, that not a lot of people truly feel alive in their own bodies. I gather that people may feel trapped, claustrophobic, and it has become a habitual belief that there is absolutely no way of moving out of that place. Almost like we are not allowed to FEEL; but to feel numb is common ground, and we become accustomed to feeling this way. I assumed this, only because I have experienced all of these feelings, and I suppose we are all connected. I have always known truth for myself, that I never want to lead an "ordinary," life. It's not how I am meant to live my life. I felt alive at such an early age, that I shut myself off to every feeling that would move through me. It was too much for my body to handle. So, when I allowed myself to feel again, it surprised me. It felt like the impossible, became possible for my life. I really did not know what it felt like to be alive, until I got my body back. What creates that feeling of vitality in my body? Well, I have concluded that it starts with my body, staying connected at all times. I have found it more convenient to leave from time to time. I have discovered that my body likes to move with grace, pliancy, dignity, and ease. It has an elegance that cultivates so much. It is such a profound thing for me to move my body, to express, and dance, and give my body life. I have noticed, that my body has been depleted of that lively feeling for a long time, and it thirsts for life. Now, my body thanks me every day, that I can be conscious of every feeling that runs through me. I can acknowledge, and I am grateful for everything I can feel now, even if it feels, uncomfortable to be ME at times. The human touch, makes me feel alive. I know what it feels like to be touched, and to desire that touch. I never used to. I never felt I deserved that type of gentle care. To be recognized, I never knew how it felt to be looked at in my eyes, so deeply, that you are SEEN, for who you are. I have caught an actual glimpse of myself, and I don't want to lose sight of it, for one more minute of my life. I like what I see now. I think I always have, I was just to afraid to look closely at my own essence, afraid I would discover that I am extraordinary. Simple things THIS week, I have noticed, that nourish my soul with that life, that has become an addiction for my body. Witnessing love. Deep conversation. Teaching yoga. Eye contact, if you look deep enough, you can see SOUL. Friends approaching. A hug that means something. Connection. Tears. A beautiful letter. Celebration. Good Food. Music. Long walks in the majestic mountain's with dear friends. Soul Mates. A cup of coffee at Coffee Garden. People. Gentleness. Laughter. Exhaustion, reminds me that I have worked hard. Sparkling water, Pellegrino. A text, that says, "I love you." Red Wine. Silence. The Sky. A rainy night. My Soul Friend. Realizing the miracle in the unknown. Being in the moment. Without expectation. The sun. Closeness. Safety. Centered City Yoga. Witnessing breath move through bodies, as I teach yoga. Art. Walking in my barefeet. My cat, Nala. Food on the table. An invite to be with friends. My big heart, that tells me how alive I am Discovering what I desire! Family. My walls tumbling down into a big pile, messy, lovely. Awareness. I exist in every moment, and I bring a profound beauty and brilliance to life and into the lives of others. I am okay with this now, I accept, I agree. You and I have a life to live. Come be alive with me! Marvel at the sky, when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. Smile at a stranger, when you cannot seem to find anything to smile about in that moment. Take care of yourself, so that you can bring that vivacity to someone else's life. YOU are their paradise in that very RARE moment that you have to spend with that special person. I have experienced a NEW life. I want to live. I have a passion for life, that give's me a reason to wake up every morning, and be excited to walk down the street to my favorite coffee shop, and have coffee with my favorite people. It is the simple things that matter. Stay alive. Don't leave, the world needs you, today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Look at the moon tonight before you go to sleep, discover something new about how it shines in the night sky. Watch the sun come up, and sit long enough to feel it on your skin. EAT, and TASTE your food. Look at someone long enough, to discover who they are, they are revealing something so perfect for you to see. Don't miss out on it. It's brilliant. Good night.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Story. My Truth. My Powerful Life. My Love.

Dear all who listen and read this blog..........This is probably the most terrifying post I have ever shared. My intuition is letting me know it is time. Here is my truth.

Where do I find words to even begin. Today is the day, to express myself in a way that I thought I would never have the courage to do in my life. Something today has called me to this place, and it has taken me almost 20 years to come out and talk about it. This is my story. I am writing this to all those who may need to hear these words. To all who may be going through this right now in their lives, and to maybe someone who wants to end their life for these very reasons. I hope that these words come across as a way to heal myself, others, and to share my truth. This is my story. Bare with me now as I tell it the best way I know how. I do not want to live my life in secret, I want to live my life showing my true colors and embracing who I am to the fullest. I love who I have become out of this process. I wouldn't take these experiences back for anything. I am so happy and peaceful.

When I was little I always felt weird, or differen't than my peers at school. Something was always just not right with me. I always felt shy, uncertain, and that I was experiencing life completely differen't than everyone else....and I thought something was terribly wrong. I told myself I was broken. Moving to Scotland at 6 years old with my family was difficult. Before we moved to Scotland, If anyone spoke to me or looked like they were going to speak to me, then I would hide. Hiding became a very natural thing for me, and was only the beginning of a very long journey to stay hidden for many years. I remember living in Scotland and loving that all the kids in our family slept upstairs on the same floor. I had that creepy dark blue room. I hated it. I hated that window. I would surround my bed at night with dolls to feel safe. I always knew that my brother Garrett was in the next room, and that he would save me. We would play colored eggs, and run around the pond in our back yard. I remember all of these times. I loved that game. Those were the times in Scotland I would never forget. I was happy when I was playing with my brother and my sisters.

When we moved home, things became difficult. School was hard, I still felt very uncertain of myself. I did have a little bit more confidence from living in Scotland. I was the blonde hair, green eyed, American girl, that everyone wanted to be friends with while we lived there. So, when I got home, it was good for me on some level. It was easier to interact with kids. I did become boy crazy in elementary school. I chased boys at recess, and did all the stuff NORMAL little girls would do. I remember every single boyfriend I had in elementary. Of course, there was the neighbor boy I fell in love with at an early age. He was that dream boy. The first love; the too good to be true happy ending. The prince charming that would come and sweep me off my feet and marry me one day. I already knew as early as 9 or 10 years old, that I wanted to marry him. The love that I had for him at an early age kept me alive in my life. Thank you to you.

When I was in sixth grade, 11 years old, I started to experience changes. I remember it was in Mrs McBeths class. I noticed that I didn't like the same things that all girls did at my age. I knew something was differen't. I can remember my thoughts still SO clearly at that age;because they were so differen't than what normal kids would think or feel. I was so young to be
dealing with these thoughts. Sixth grade, I only wanted to play baseball, run the bases at Draper park on a summer night, and play basketball with the neighbor kids. I didn't want to chase boys around anymore. I didn't have those same feelings, and immediatly that scared the crap out of me.

I have always been very sensitive, intuitive, since I was a little girl. As young as I was, I identified with every feeling that would move through me. It scared the shit out of me. One day we were in class and we were talking about spinal meningitus. I thought I suddenly had this virus. My sensitive body was going through so much change, and I felt like my body was taking on everything. I didn't know what was happening to me. I was so scared. Once this happened, I was immediately put on anti-depressants, and diagnosed with OCD. Then, on top of all of this, I was introduced to my first shrink. I was supposed to talk. I didn't know how to express how I felt to this stranger. So, many times I lied. I told him what I thought he was supposed to hear. I remember his office. The brown couch that was too soft, my little body was swallowed up in the couch cushions. Dr. Winner. Long brown hair, he must have had every color of Bill Cosby sweater's you could imagine. He wore them each time I saw him. The office was crowded with old furniture, messy, and cluttered. It did not feel like home. I was terrified.

One day, I came home from school, and my Mom was watching Oprah. The gay olympic diver (I have no idea his name) was talking on tv. He was talking about having HIV. He was expressing his disease, and that he was dying. Then I heard the word gay. I heard enough of that to know that suddenly I am gay too. I really believed it. Why? Because I wasn't boy crazy anymore. I had stopped loving the boys like I did when I was a few years younger. I immediately took that on. This is when all the self
hatred started. I obssessed over it. I became so depressed, it was all I could think about. I was gay. I was gay. I was gay. Imagine
hearing that in your head all day at 12 years old. Not knowing what the crap this meant, and who to talk to. I am a child of God right? If I am a child of God, then how can I be gay? So, this was the beginning of trying to talk myself ouf of this obsession. I tried everything. I remember going to Disneyworld with my family and taking pictures. I rememember in every picture exactly what was on my mind. I could not even function. I was so confused at why I had these feelings, and everyone was so happy. Afterall, we were at the happiest place on earth. I was a child, and I was miserable in this playground
of hopes and dreams. The only thing I could think about was, "If I am Gay, what will happen to me?" I wanted to disappear.

All of this lasted through highschool. I tried to supress it. So, of course I tried every medication known to man. Let me clarify, My Mom and Dad did everything they could at this time for me. I remember my mom saturating her pillow at night with her tears for me. She would check me out of school, knowing I was having a rough time, and take me to lunch. She didn't know what was going on with me. But she is my mom. Mom's are intuitive. She knew deep down inside. My parents have alway's been there for me. They have always wanted me to be safe and happy.

During these times, there was somewhere inside of me that still had hope. I was still in love with the neighbor boy. I loved him. If I could win his heart, I would be safe. I would make it to the "Celestial" Kingdom, and would live with my family forever. I tried every day in highschool to win his heart. I did everything. He was the only boy I ever loved, and wanted to marry. So, when he became more interested in me my Jr. year, I felt really good. I actually became more popular and I really came out of my shell. I thought I won him over. He kissed me on spring break the following year. So, of course still feeling good about life as I was preparing to finish highschool. Although, the question still festered in the back of my mind.....could I still be gay? It was like a little yappy bird on my shoulder that would never shut up. Despite all of this, I made it through graduation. I sent the neighbor boy I loved on his mission, we wrote the entire time. While he was gone, I did everything to prepare myself for when he came back. I wanted to be the skinniest, the most beautiful. I became obssessed with working out. I wanted to be perfect. Not realizing until much later in life, that I am already perfect the way I am. I was anorexic, bullemic, you name it. I ran my heart out. Garrett and I ran my first marathon together. But all this time, still miserable inside, because I didn't know how to deal with all these confused thoughts and feelings. Running became a way to numb me from the pain, and I suddenly became addicted to the runner's high.

Back up to when I was 16 years old. I got my patriartichal blessing, hoping it would tell me I would marry in
temple. So, of course!!!! Of course!!! It told me that I would be married in the temple. I slept with that blessing every night against my chest. I slid the blessing in my Book of Mormon, and held it tight until I fell asleep. This blessing gave me hope that one day I would be fixed. I wanted to believe it as truth. I wanted all my feelings to go away. While I was obsessing over the neighbor, there was ALWAYS this feeling I had deep down inside. I think I am gay.

The neighbor boy comes home from his mission. I had purchased the best outfit. I was so excited. His two sisters where out on their front steps waiting with everyone. I remember them asking me if I was excited to see him. I could barely contain myself. This was the moment I was waiting for since I was a little girl. Afterall, he had been writing me his ENTIRE mission. I thought, this is it! I am going to finally marry the man of my dreams. Standing in his front yard, waiting to see him, he gets out of the car, and gives EVERYONE a hug but me. I am standing there foolish. I felt so beautiful, and I was excited for him to see me. But he walked right past me as though I was invisible and gave his future wife the first hug. "REJECTION!" back to, "I am gay." Neighbor boy gets married. My life is over.

New chapter in my life. This is the beginning of my teaching. My first job at a local gym. 2003. One of the best years of my life. I had so much in me, that teaching became a very powerful way for me to heal. I wasn't in my thoughts teaching. I was there to help others. I was able to speak without speaking. I was able to express myself from the deepest part of my core. I could connect with others. I could speak my truth without actually coming right out and saying it. My classes were packed! Packed! I am a damn good teacher. I was going so deep to teach, to motivate, to heal. Something inside of me was coming out and connecting on deeper levels then I can even speak to. When I was not teaching, the gay thoughts, over and over and over again like a broken record. I fell in deep love with a woman. And I was trying to hide and run as far away from those feelings as possible. I made up as many excuses for myself to believe that I was not in love with this woman. I thought nobody knew. I was grapsing on to ANYTHING that would tell me I wasn't gay. ANYTHING. Teaching saved me. It fed me. It fed something in me that wasn't feeding me in my life. Teaching other people saved me from killing myself. I thought many times how I might do it for sure. Anything to ease the pain. This is when I found my bike. I loved my bike. Another way to numb. I could climb the highest of mountains on this bike, and by doing so, this would ease the pain. I kept searching. I kept running away. The only thing I could do was run and bike. It was what I did best. I ran. I ran like hell. I ran as many marathons, and biked as many LOTOJAS as I could. I was a damn good athlete! The athlete in me kept me alive. It showed me the drive that I have inside of me. The fight. It revealed to me in so many ways, that I don't give up on myself. That I don't give up on my life. That I climb the hills, and I make it to the top.

After trying to date a few nice guys in college. I met a GREAT guy! He was really cute, my family adored him, BUT not a whole lot of attraction on my end. BUT, he didn't reject me. He actually liked my hard outer layer. He LIKED me. I think I was a challenge for him. So, of course I kept him around as long as I could. He bought me time. More time to prove I would be straight. The relationship was good for about ten minutes, and then I became very miserable. I was so sad, because he really was perfect. And he really loved me. I tried SO hard to talk myself into believing this is the right person. I put so much pressure on myself. I wanted to be fixed. One night I went to the bishop's office of my home ward. I asked him straight up, "should I marry this man?" "I am scared, because I don't feel anything." The bishop told me it was Satan creating this fear in my body. To not be scared, and that I should marry him. He told me that everything would be all better. That I should go to the temple once a week for six months, and that a worthy man would take me to the temple. Man did I eat that up. Anything to fix me. Six months passed. Temple once a week. Did not miss! When I dedicate myself, I really dedicate myself. It didn't work. I felt more
and more disconnected from my boyfriend, and more miserable. My Grandpa passed away. I remember his passing was right before I decided to end things with my boyfriend. I wasn't happy. I decided to listen to my intuition. I was going to give up on a great guy. We ended things, I listened, even when I didn't want to. I wanted to be happy. I wasn't. So, ANOTHER rejection in life. I was defeated. I was completely defeated.

Next Chapter. After the break up! Next big decision. Do I do register for Ironman St. George? Of course! Another way to ease the pain. Time to train. Time to rededicate myself to my masochistic and self violent behaviors. How much more could my body take. It felt tired. Self hatred, another way to hate myself yet again. Numbing myself was more important than listening to my body. I wanted to continue to prove I wasn't broken. I could continue to numb and self medicate, and run further from my truth. (all along, GAY) was still running like a broken record in my head. While training for the Ironman, I became so exhausted. It was a Friday afternoon in March 2010. It was a very windy day. It was the beginning of my training run. Mile 4 of 12. I still had to go swim before the day was over. I couldn't breath. The wind was stopping me in my tracks, but I KEPT ON PUSHING. Stopping was not an option. I became angry with myself. A school bus passed me. Kids pressing their faces out the window, people passing me with their kids in jogging strollers. I STOPPED! I cried. I couldn't do it anymore. Thoughts running through my mind. Disappointment. "I HATE YOU" "I HATE YOU ABBEY!" "YOU FUCKING FAILURE!!!!" "YOU FAIL." "YOU GAY FUCKER! YOU GAY FUCKER." (excuse my language.) I am being real. As real as I know to be. I walked, jogged, shuffled my way home. I couldn't call anyone to come pick me up. How could anyone know I quit... BUT I quit that day. This was the beginning of my healing....

My mom saw me when I got home. She saw the look of exhaustion and failure in my face. I didn't even have to say anything, and the first thing she said to me. "Abbey, it is okay to quit the Ironman" I didn't want to hear those words coming from her mouth. BUT something in me was telling me to just give. Just hold up the white flag. I was at the time enrolled in yoga teacher training at CCY. I walked into class later that night, same day as my horrible run. D' started talking about her life. She was an athlete, aerobics teacher, etc. The story of her life was resonating so deeply with mine. She talked about a marathon. San Francisco. Mile eighteen. She said that is when she discovered she was disconnected from herself, she had to quit. She was bored, and she knew she was disconnected from her body. That moment I knew I had to quit Ironman training, and I was only 2 months away from the race. Something in her story, the way she told it, gave me permission to quit. I quit. I canceled my Ironman plans. This time I didn't feel so bad about myself. This is an indication that I loved myself. Even if it was a little bit. I cared. I started to listen to my body, and my body liked it. Retiring the running shoes, selling my bike, living on my yoga mat, while listening to my body each day, my life started to crack open. I started to become more confident. I started to really live in my body. My obsessive thoughts. Suddenly, for what felt like the first time in my life, disappeard. Peace.

November, 11. 2011 The day that changed my life forever.
InBody Retreat. I was there to help. I was there to be at service. To make sure everything went smoothly. To assist in other's experience. To understand other's. The name of the retreat, "Be real." I am planning on expressing myself in a way that I never had before. I had been preparing my journal entries for the last month. I went back to my Jr year of highschool journal entries, and compiled everything that rang true for me to the present moment. I put ALL my writings together in a poetic way. I wanted to share myself. I wanted to express what was inside of me. My dear friend Barbara sat on a stool in the middle of the room. My black yoga mat in the middle of the room. 65 people staring at me. Dark in the room with just a spotlight over my mat. My body moved gracefully, in a way it had never moved in my life. Barbara read my words, and I moved like a dance on my mat. My body expressed. My body felt beautiful; I felt beautiful for the first time in my life. I felt understood. I felt powerful. I felt okay. In that moment, I stepped inside to a deeper part of myself, that I was never willing to even look at. I went there, that dark place, full of cobwebbs and dust. I was lead there by the grace of God. By the safe place of that retreat. I didn't know what happened. I felt completely empty. I could describe the feeling as emptiness inside. My body would echo in this emptiness. I was lying on my mat in tears. I freed mysef. Literally from all those fetters, suffering, and the pain. I finally knew that I was okay with me. That I was okay being in love with a woman. I fell in love. I fell in love with myself. I was given a gift, a gift from a woman that changed my life forever. The cool thing about this gift, I was able to receive it with my entire heart. After I moved my body to my words, I knew it. I felt my body relax around it, and I realized what I had known since I was 12 years old, to be truth my entire life. It couldn't be a lie. That I was okay. That I loved another soul deeply and it happened to be a woman, and I was okay with this discovery.

I returned home from retreat and I felt so light, and I moved with ease and grace. I felt butterflies for the FIRST time in my life. I felt all these feelings that I NEVER allowed myself to feel. I felt out of control at times. I was okay with feeling out of control; I had been in control of my life every single day up until this point. I see this as the greatest gift I have ever received in my life. I was finally worthy of my own love. I was truly in love with myself. To this person. Thank you. You know who you are, and you know how important you are to me.

LOVE. Wow. It is amazing. My body is expressing things to me I have never allowed myself to feel. I ran too damn far away from myself. It is exciting. I am feeling so happy. My home is beautiful, I adore my job. I get to teach at the best yoga studio on the planet. Everything is falling perfectly into place. I would rather be happy and in love with myself, and alone. Then unhappy and surrounded with people that don't encourage you to be your authentic self. It has taken me so much courage to leave everything I know behind. The church..... out of love.....I packed up my bags and I left.

Running. New relationship. I love it. I love running up mountains. The great outdoors is my gym membership. I can now go hiking, and I can just marvel at nature. I love that athlete in me. I honor her. She is there, reminding me every day how strong I am. How dedicated to my life I am. How dedicated to my own happiness I have been my entire life. I am not hurting myself anymore. When I go running, I am not running away anymore. I am running connected and engaged with my body and life.

I now have the freedom to express myself when I am in love with a soul. I have learned through all of this, that love has no boundaries. Love is love. That it is absolutely not about the label of being "gay". What does that mean anyway's! I refuse to put myself in a box. I refuse to label myself. I did that for my entire life. I fall in love with a soul. If it is a soul in a female body, then wonderful. If it is a soul in a male body, I accept. I am okay to shout my love from the rooftops! No more secrets, no more places to hide. I am simply honoring that God made me exactly the way I was supposed to be made. I left the church, because I had to. It taught me for so long that I could be fixed; when I was never broken. I had to stand up for myself. I had to take my power back. I took from myself for so many years.

I feel safe in my own life, in my own body. I feel safe inside myself. I get to walk the floors of the studio and teach with ease and grace. I am ME. I was willing to walk away from it ALL to be me. I had too, I had to leave it all behind. My yoga mat saved my life. literally. It was where I freed myself. I will teach yoga for the rest of my life. I will have a book. I will tell my story. I will be exactly who I am. I will love with all my heart.

I have every right to be who I am. To not be silent. To not suffer. All those moments, I was afraid, and all those
tears shed..... So DAMN worth it. I am so happy. I am not perfect. Actually, maybe I am! I am perfectly perfect
with who I am now. You are perfect. Let us be perfect together. I accept you. Thanks for reading my blog.

I am here to LOVE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I must admit. I have had a really hard time the last couple of months. Pretending that this, whatever it is, I don't even have to know anymore; hasn't been happening in my own life. I have tried to "Hold it together" whatever that means, and somehow I have managed to do so in the right moments. But as I was teaching yoga tonight, I realized that the last couple of months have been a very vulnerable time for me, and I have never allowed this kind of vulnerability. No way would I have ever allowed it. But now vulnerability means strength for me. Normally, I would take off on my bike and climb the highest of mountains, and then everything would be "patched" up and I would "pretend" that nothing ever happened. I was running away from myself, my power, my life. As I was ending class and had a moment to just sit in that emptiness, I did feel that strength and that love I have for myself. I am a very powerful woman; because I have really allowed myself to feel vulnerable. I have allowed myself to feel the emptiness, the void. That there is something really amazing when you can do this. It has been the hardest, but also the very best experience to have gone through, and I am STILL going through it. I actually smiled at this chaos, and now I look at it as absolutely beautiful! I can love so much until it hurts, and that I can give EVERYTHING to myself. I love myself so much, and I am willing to stay open, and courageous, and absolutely brave. I am me, and there is nobody like me. I love you. Thank you for being brave and courageous. I share this because I fucking want too! I hope that someone may have needed to read these words tonight. There is something very powerful when you truly allow yourself to feel vulnerable, while staying open at the same time. There is something when you sit with yourself and feel ALL OF IT! To feel that dark, ugly, chaotic, gross, "STUFF", is really quite powerful. When you can throw it up, and then lie there in complete emptiness in your own vomit, is power. You in this emptiness, have nothing left but to trust something bigger than you...and when you do can become free. You save yourself, the only person that you can save. That is everything. Goodnight.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Speaking my truth

I have erased this blog a few times already. Everytime I write down what I am trying to express, doesn't seem right. I can't even begin to tell you how much I want to speak. I want to speak. I want to speak so much that I don't even know what words to choose. I want to be honest in my approach. I want to be real. This whole process of finding my OWN voice, has been really damn difficult. Would anyone really want to listen to what I have to say. But tonight. Its just differen't. For a very long time I have not spoken. I have hidden behind a wall that kept me in fear, because I just didn't think what I had to say was important enough. Whether it is intelligent, or has any substance at all, it doesn't matter to me. Because it is MY voice. Nobdy elses. And I want to speak. Finally. For what feels like the first time. Will I offend anyone? Maybe. I always worry about that. I just cannot tonight. How do I say it? I surrender to the fact that I don't have to know exactly what I am going to say. I am just going to write and see what happens. A friend told me that I needed to speak. Speak about something that has been really hard for me. I have often wondered what others might think if I come out and talk about it. I am going through what I would call a grieving process. A grieving process of walking away almost a year and a half ago, from a belief that I thought was truth my entire life. Since I walked away, I walked away into a life that has been there all along, waiting for me to grasp on too.

I just turned 30. I look back at my childhood, my teens, and twenties, and I have to say.......Thank you God for what I went through. Thank you for every challenge I went through. Every heartache, bruise, beating of the ego, etc that I experienced. Thank you for not answering my prayers in the way that I would have liked you to at the time. Thank you for the refining moments that I did not think I would push through. Thank you for putting me through challenges that have created the woman that I am today. The strong, brilliant, loving, creative, funny, and beautiful woman that I AM. The woman that loves her life so much, that its almost annoying. I have to stop here before I move forward with my point... and say thank you for my family. For my incredible parents. Thank you for supporting me. Supporting me when I had no way to dig myself out of the trenches. Thank you for reminding me that I am special. That there is nobody else like me. My Mom has these qualities that I am in awe of. She is the purest form of love. When I want to define love, I describe the essence of my mother. She is safe ground. She is that warm blanket you crave at the end of a long day. I thank you Mom for who you are and what you continue to teach me through example. Dad, you and I we are a lot alike. We bunt heads at times. But I know how much you love me. You love me so much that it hurts you. You are so proud of me. I know you still picture me as a 15 year old, your little blondie that loved sports and would beg you to take to the Jazz game. I will never forget game six NBA finals. Me, you and Michael Jordan. :) I know it is hard for you to see your little patcha doll grow up. Because you still cannot help but call me, "Patcha" from time to time. Now I am a woman, a woman that has grown into herself and is proud to say that you are my Dad. I want you to know that I still need you. I still need my Dad. In this past year, I don't think I have ever grown at such a rapid pace. Thanks for being there. Phone calls, texts to tell me you love me. Knowing I can go home and find you there with mom, making sure everything was protected and safe for our family. I love you Dad, and I want to thank you for passing on your strength to me.

I am the wealthiest woman in the world. I have blessings that I cannot begin to express my gratitude for. Today I give my thanks.

I left the church. Yes, I left the church after 28 1/2 years of my life. No, I am not bitter. In fact, I have been thinking about what I might say to this so that it comes out of love and respect. I will never forget the moment when I knew I had to leave. Scariest moment of my life. Because I didn't quite know how I was going to do it. But I knew I had to leave, that is why I know I can't ever go back. That knowing is now instilled inside of me. It is a knowing that I cannot really even describe, but it is there and I cannot turn away from what I know to be true. Otherwise, I would be lying to myself. I choose to not live my life in that way. The church gave me that knowledge of God. My love of Christ. The church created in me my strong moral compass. I will always hold dear to what the church brought to my life. But in this grieving process, I am now able to stand on my own two feet without having to fear what choices that others may think are wrong or right. I go inside for the answers. Its inside me. And inside is where I am able to find God. That peace, stillness, that feeling that everything is okay. That life is to be experienced, and not to be feared. To learn to let go, and to understand that I am. I am enough. That my imperfections are perfect. That it is impossible to be perfect. Being perfect is boring. To celebrate my life. Every part of me. Every part of me, that I didn't feel would be accepted. I am free to be real. The woman that I have always known I was, but was hiding behind for two many fucking years. (excuse my language) I feel liberated. What does freedom mean to me? It means choosing to live my life experience in my way. Choosing to be exactly who I know I am. Not feeling guilty of my choices. Living in my truth is freedom. Following my soul purpose. Going by the beat of my own drum. Living in service, pure love, inclusion, and gratitude for everything I have. Even all the mistakes I have made in my life. Taking one day at a time, and learning as much as I can, so that I can be the woman that I know I have always been. So that I can change others lives by being real and living in my own truth.

I understand if this was hard for some of you to read. But speaking my truth is part of my voice. I am happy. I am in love with where I am in my life. The experiences and opportunities that I have every single day. Life is to be lived. Remember. Speak up! Be you. Love who you are. And live in your truth. Respect others and their beliefs. Be kind. Just go out in this world and make a difference. Find out what that is for you. Go do it! Be that person. Live the dream. It is possible.

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