The truth is

The truth is, I hadn’t spoken to my mom much in the past four years before she died in early April this year. It’s been just over a month now.

I had come to the decision to distance myself from her after another round of a recurring argument we had.

In many ways, I grieved the lose of our relationship before she died. Although, in the back of my mind I always knew she was there and that maybe, just maybe, there was a chance of repairing or creating a better mother daughter relationship.

So, when my sister called me on Good Friday to tell me my mom had died suddenly from a massive heart attack after a routine procedure, I had trouble pinpointing what I was feeling, what I should be feeling.

Anger. When I was 15, my mom and I were in a car accident, she lived with chronic pain from that accident until she died, 20 years later. While the car accident definitely injured her, my mom wasn’t necessarily an active woman. I think that the years of inactivity and not moving around contributed to a weak back and made it harder for her to get better. She trusted doctors. She wanted a magic pill or injection to fix her, while I know from my own study and practice of Yoga Therapy, that we need to take ownership in our healing journeys. We can’t expect others to fix or save us. My mom was hopeful that the last injection she got would finally make all her pain go away.

Regret. Should I have been calling more? Should I have made more effort to spend time at her home when I visited? I had decided to distance myself for my own mental health, was it worth it? Will I ever really have answers to these questions?

Disappointment. I wanted to be a family who had big Christmas dinners. I started exploring new holiday recipes to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom never had anything good to say about these dishes. The apples should have been peeled and the corn in the casserole upset her stomach. I wanted my mom to see me as being as smart as my sister. Two masters degrees later and still I never felt seen, I never felt as good as my sister in my mom’s eyes.

Sadness. What’s the point of it all? Why do we argue and hurt each other when in the end we all return to the earth and leave our bodies? Why do we get stuck in these stories and narratives? How do we break them?

The truth is, I miss my mom.

She’s the only person who would know what to say right now. It doesn’t matter how many visits or phone calls you do or don’t make. When we lose a parent, maybe especially our moms, it feels like we lose a part of ourselves. Our connection to our own source of life. And it’s something we will all experience.

Death is complicated for those left behind. The emotions, the legal, the admin. What was once a life with many dimensions becomes a house of stuff and obligations to those left behind.

And for those unprocessed and unrealized emotions? The truth is, I don’t know. There are no real answers, it’s up to us to work out the storyline from here.

My mom always read this blog and always had something great to say about it, even when it didn’t paint our family in the best light. Because that’s what mom’s do, they love unconditionally, even when we can’t see it.

The truth is, I will always love you mom.

I’m Angry

My partner took the photo of me featured below a few weeks into our relationship. It was cute he took a secret photo of me, but this photo means even more to me now because I am angry.

I’ve been having some gut issues for over a year now. I’ve tried all the things to fix it and nothing has really worked 100%, though I am a lot better. I’m currently seeing a new healer who says that the problems I am having are related to suppressed anger. So, this is one of my therapeutic attempts to release what has been controlling my life for the past year.

I am angry.

I’m angry about the state of the environment and our complete lack of action around it. I’m angry that COVID has become a distraction from the state of our planet.

I’m angry that people spend all their time on social media curating a life that they barely take part in.

I’m angry at how much I use screens. I’m angry that you’re reading this on a screen!

I’m angry that my mother has never called me in the eight years I’ve lived abroad.

I’m angry when I drive. And I’m angry that everyone else is angry and that driving is how people are releasing this tension. It’s not safe.

I’m angry that people don’t value yoga enough.

I’m angry that I’ve had to leave multiple teaching jobs because the employers kept ‘forgetting’ to pay me.

I’m angry that when I have coffee, it makes me feel unwell.

I was really really really angry when I saw a woman using force on her Aussie Shepherd puppy because SHE didn’t know how to train him, I was so fucking angry that I walked over to her and started playing with her puppy and giving her my unsolicited advice on how to train him so that she doesn’t have to abuse him in public anymore. I did it with a smile on my face and patience in my voice, but my heart was beating and my hands were shaking.

And you know what?

It felt good!

When I thought about releasing my anger, I thought I’d have to be mean to people. I thought maybe I should take up kickboxing again, but it turns out that yoga has taught me more than a few things … and this time it showed up in how I delivered my anger.

I believe that my gut issues might be related to suppressed anger, but also possibly not…however I do believe that we hold emotions in our body and when we don’t express them they show up as illness and disease.

How have you been feeling lately? Is there an emotion you haven’t dealt with that’s coming up?

If so, get yourself to a yoga class! A great way to start moving emotions out of the body is by actually moving the body. Or you could always contact me for a free Yoga Therapy session (selfless plus here), either one is sure to help you find release.

In the mean time, stay safe and stay angry. Anger is passion and creativity with a mask on, pull it off and see what’s underneath!

The Last Frontier

When I was younger my family always told me that I was too angry. That my anger would get me into trouble.

As an adult, or someone trying to be an adult most days, I would argue that I wasn’t actually angry all of the times I waslabeled that way.

What I was, was shocked, outraged and incredibly disappointed.

And why was that?

I like to think that I have a gift, it’s the ability to see through bullshit. I developed it from overexposure to difficult people at a young age.

I was having a conversation today and realized I was ranting, the other person seemed put off. Lately, I’ve been trying to reign in this part of my personality, but I’ve decided that since the whole world has gone PC, I’d like to continue on as the last rebellious one.

We were talking about some of the current political hot topics and all I could think is ‘this is a distraction!’ Everything happenING right now is taking us away from THE most important social and political and environmental topic in the world, climate change.

We hate talking about it.

It won’t effect us in our lifetimes.

It’s too hard to change.

It’s too inconvenient to change.

So we keep having children (hopefully they can figure out this mess) and we order some take out, while we catch up on Netflix.

I can be guilty of these things as well, no one is perfect, but the world I see around me is one so self absorbed and blinded by their own desire for comfort, that change does not seem possible.

I think one of the best ways to overcome race issues, political issues, all our issues – is to stop dividing into sides and to unite on a topic that actually brings us all together – climate change.

What does it matter if we have another rally, if Trump ends up getting re-elected, it means more damage and suffering to our global planet. Who cares about the latest drama in your office, in ten to fifteen years, your office might not exists if your landmass is under water or our global economy has melted down as a result of climate change and mass poverty and devastation has impacted all our lives.

I was told this morning that I’m over-simplifying it.

Yes, I am. Because it IS simple.

We can have all the debates we want and buy as many energy efficient light bulbs as we want, but nothing will change until we each take ownership and responsibility for the planet we live on.

Individual responsibility, means it starts with you.

Each choice you make when you wake up – from what you put in and on your body – to your choice of career – matters.

The way you live you life matters.

It’s easy to be lazy and comfortable. It’s courageous to choose discomfort and make harder choices. Maybe that choice is spending more on organic food and spending less on something else you care about. Maybe the choice is to change your diet and create the least amount of harm for our planet. It could be even bigger, maybe you choose not to have children because what our planet needs least right now, is more people.

Some of these might be confronting.

They’re hard truths.

If you don’t like hearing them, or don’t like me after hearing them, that’s ok.

Not making these choices doesn’t make us bad or make one person better than another. But what choice will you make?

If you want to eat meat and have children? How else can you choose to be climate positive? What changes can you make? How can you use your political voice.

In a world that is currently isolated and full of conflict, what would it be like if we could come together to rescue the one thing we all have left in common?

Social Media is a Public Health Crisis

Has the world collectively fallen into a deep slumber? After being locked away in our COVID isolation, have we retreated away from reality?

I’m American, but currently live in Australia. All I have heard about recently, is not the current COVID pandemic, we seem to have forgotten it, but rather the current protests and outrage in the US.

Despite being on the other side of the world, I feel like I’m kept completely up to date, regardless of the fact that I don’t have social media or watch the news.

Normal people, like you and me, are now the new news anchors. We walk around like talking sound bites. Sharing whatever misinformation our devices have fed us that morning.

What bothers me the most about the current situation in the US, is how quickly we are to forget. It wasn’t too long ago that we all learned about the Russian influence on the US elections through social media. Where it was shown there was a specific focus on the black American population. They even created fake content using Black Lives Matters as a way to get more trump supporters.

It shocks me that since this information came out, people have continued to use social media. We’ve continued to like different pages, sharing insights into our brains, giving real terrorists using psychological warfare, the opportunity to control and manipulate us.

Just because you don’t think or feel like you’ve been manipulated or controlled by content fed to you by your social media account, doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.
Our society is being shaped by our likes and dislikes on a number platforms that to me, represent the matrix.

Watching people walk around like zombies, gazing into their screens, scares me. People have become completely detached from the real reality, not the Khardashian reality, where plastic surgery and the color of your nails is more important than health and taking care of our planet.

Everything that is happening right now is a distraction. From our silly office jobs that keep us updating spreadsheets so we can make money to buy more things, to our time wasted on different social platforms that isolate us more than make us social; we are being distracted from what really matters . . . taking care of the only inhabitable planet.

We are wasting our time and energy on fighting fights that have been manipulated into existence by terrorists (I’m not suggesting racism doesn’t exist, but just that it doesn’t exist to the extent we are being programmed to believe). We are wasting our time saving and scrimping to buy and sell stuff, while our planet crumbles and heats up with the weight of our indulgence. From the size of our bodies, to the size of our storage spaces, we are overwhelming the one home we have.

Sam Harris says that social media has been a ‘psychological experiment we’ve all been enrolled in without giving consent.’

It’s true, every day that you log on, is a day that you are giving information away that can be used to later manipulate you and other humans. I’m not a conspiracist theorist. I’m talking about what has actually been proven. Russians have already done this, advertising and businesses do this all the time. Who knows who else has access or uses this information. The problem is bigger than you or me, it’s the size of the planet.

What were the chances of the Earth being formed and developing life? You’ll find that they weren’t that high. And now, our species is getting ready to wipe it out. As we pull fossil fuels from the center and they fester within our atmosphere, we are heating up, melting and getting ready to explode.
If something doesn’t change soon, there won’t be anything left.

We need to stop allowing ourselves to be distracted. Living our lives based on projecting an image of ourselves…our egos…for social media. Getting wrapped up in civil unrest that puts us against each other, instead of joining forces for the most important injustice in the world – and that is what’s happening to the Earth.

We all were lucky enough, no matter our circumstances, to be born here. This is our one chance to do something, to make a difference, to enjoy life. How are we doing that? How are we going to protect all lives when the sea levels get higher and the air quality poorer?

Social media is a public health crisis. It’s a tool for manipulating, selling and dividing us.

You are not the exception to this rule, break out of your virtual cage and let your mind be free from the noise of distraction.

The body keeps the score

When I look around, it’s hard for me not to notice the pain and discomfort so many people are living with.

Women starving and restricting themselves.

Men jacked up and unable to move their bodies in a natural way.

People struggling and forcing their fitness, pounding and brutalizing their bodies.

People who are so large their unable to move their bodies in any way.

These descriptions probably call to mind images you know well. Maybe one of those images is you. I know some of them have been me before.

I grew up learning that our bodies are shameful. No adults I knew respected or cared for their bodies. Everyone was looking for a quick fix. A diet that would magically remove the extra weight they clung to. Exercise was never an option.

I started restricting my eating probably around the age of ten. I was told that I was pretty, but to stay pretty, you needed to be thin. The messaging was clear. It was time for my body to start suffering.

And suffer it did.

23 years later and my relationship with food is still complicated.

Food was the enemy and my body was at risk of being destroyed by it.

Fast forward to the present and this relationship is a lot different.

Now I love eating, probably more than some people because I missed out on enjoying it for years! I know that to fuel my body and brain, I need food … and not just any food … good food! Food that is fibrous and nutritious.

I can remember the lowest weight I ever reached…and I can imagine what I looked like at that weight too …

Anxious, scared, weak, unhealthy.

While I was living in a body deprived of respect and health, my mental health reflected this state. I was insecure, lonely and so obsessed with the number on the scale that I didn’t have time to think about anything else like my future plans or goals.

I look around and I see bodies, unhealthy bodies, plagued by the minds controlling them. We are so caught up in how we look externally that out internal lives are ignored.

Bodies that are tight and tied-up in anxieties and worries, preoccupied with the calories on the plate and not the lives lost to get the food there or the social injustices faced along the way.

Consumerism feeds in to this need to tweak and pull and prod our bodies. Whether we are lasering off every hair and imperfection or living paycheck to paycheck to keep up with the latest fashions to cover our bodies, our lives are run by our bodies.

I look around and my heart aches for all the bodies. Starved, over-fed and heavy, struggling to keep us going.

So much disease, so much dis-ease.

One of the main tools I have used to help heal my mind and body is yoga.

Learning to be in my body has changed the way I live in my body.

Asana, pranayama and meditation are all incredible ways of learning to be in the body.

I’ve also used the tools I learned from yoga philosophy for my own self-inquiry. I’ve found my limiting beliefs and analyzed them, using different ways to heal and deal with them all.

I’m not trying to shame anyone for being over or under weight, and I’m not heralding myself as being perfect and completely healed. What I am saying is that we can all benefit from learning to be in our bodies. If we spent more time in them, learned to care for them, we might start to feel a little better. As we feel a little better physically, we might see a slight mental shift. Once we start to shift mentally, maybe we start to question things a bit more…from how we treat ourselves and spend our money to what we want the world to look like and how we want to play a role in that.

Spending more time in our bodies we can learn what’s happening in our minds.

All the self doubt and tension and stress and anxiety we experience throughout the day… it all goes somewhere … and that somewhere is our bodies.

Our bodies are keeping the score of all the wonderful and terrible things that have happened in our lives.
It’s up to us to start to unravel these stories by learning to be in our bodies.

What stories are hiding in your body and what does it want you to know?

Welcome to the Matrix…

When my yoga teacher Sharon Gannon referenced the Matrix in my 2017 Jivamukti YTT, I thought it was silly. I hadn’t seen the Matrix at that point and thought it was just some cult action flick.


Fast forward for present day and everything is starting to click.


We are actually entering the Matrix.


Welcome.


When people started talking about social distancing, I was confused…hadn’t we started this already with the birth of social media?


You can’t walk down the street without seeing someone with their chin toward their chest, eyes focused on a screen, life pulled towards a complete virtual reality.
It’s difficult to have conversations, even with good friends, without notifications flashing on phones and people’s eyes darting around. Our focus has completely gone and we’ve given up on our minds. Surrendering them to the Matrix.


We started self isolating years ago, as we abandoned our lives for our online personas…


Now it’s gone a step further.


Each one of us can unknowingly be carrying the germs that could kill us, an elderly loved one or someone we know who is immune compromised.


Every. Single. Person. Is. A. Threat.


But are they really?


I have a Master’s in International Public Health, so I do understand the thought process behind what is happening, regardless of whether or not I agree.


However, I think the way this has all panned out is a symptom of our social media and fear mongering culture.
The messaging started as being confused and exclamatory…then it moved to being restrictive and telling us to calm down…now it’s telling us to isolate and fear contact with most other humans.


I’ve had multiple friends deny plans to avoid interaction, which I have to say, I think is extreme.


This virus will spread, and we can and should postpone that spread to protect as many people as possible, but we also need to keep interacting while implementing necessary health standards.


Human connection is so important and what I see happening around me scares me.


We are seeing other people as potential contagions.


We aren’t seeing others as connected to us.


The practice of yoga is about union and seeing the connection between ourselves and others…as well as ourselves and the planet and all it has to offer.


I’m scared that social distancing is going to be something that lasts longer than it should and possibly never leaves us.


We’ve become so detached from one another – communicating through devices and apps and sites – that social distancing seems to have slotted right in. I think it’s great we’ve all found ways to stay in touch with one another, but without physical contact and close interaction, I wonder if we aren’t all preparing for an even more screen focused world?


So while we start this new era or period of humanity I invite you to question.


Question everything.


Educate yourselves. Talk to as many people as possible (even if it is just virtually) and decide for yourselves.


What is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19? Learn enough so that you know.


If nothing else this period in history is giving us some extra time…so use it wisely.

I’m Back

In February 2019, I decided to leave social media behind and cut out all the background noise in my life. I decided to pause my blog at that same time since my main outlet for sharing it was in fact on social media.

Now, one year later, with my website up and running and an infant yoga business to build, I’ve decided to bring it back.

I love writing. I love it because whether or not anyone reads it, I feel more connected, not necessarily just connected to other people, but more connected with myself. I have more inner awareness when I’m writing and contemplating the feelings and experiences I’m having.

Writing is how I think best. I’ve figured out and dealt with most of my problems over the past ten years by writing. I could go off and journal, and I do, but blogging helps me solidify my thoughts and opinions.

After a year without social media all I have to say is . . .

. . . I wish I had done it sooner.

My life is no longer littered with other people’s negative ranting, obligatory photos and relationships that revolve around a like or dislike button.

I don’t know when people’s parties are, unless they message me directly. Do I miss out?

Nope.

The people I care about remember to message me and the parties I don’t get invites to because the person forgot to send me a text? Well, I wouldn’t know, because I can’t see the photos posted the next week of the event. I don’t know I’m missing out and I definitely don’t feel like I am.

Instead I live in blissful ignorance. Filling my life with people and events that I love wholeheartedly.

My attention span has improved and I’m more aware of how most people can longer maintain eye contact during a conversion (chronic scroller’s eye). In fact watching people react to notifications popping up on their phones, makes me think of Pavlov’s dog, but scarier.

We are living in a world that begins and ends on a screen, held a few inches from our face.

We like to think we’re different and use it only for the right reasons, curating the best content on the sites we use – mainly puppies and kittens – but I would argue – why do you need those puppies and kittens?

Someone might say, well they make me happy.

To which I would ask why do you need them to make you happy?

Life is more than this pursuit of happiness. Anyone who has struggled to achieve something will know that.

And what did we do for happiness before the cute animals on the internet?

These fuzzy balls of joy are distracting us. Why not go out and volunteer at an animal shelter to get a dose of cute? Or adopt an animal who needs a home? This will give you actual joy, whereas looking at these images is just giving you a dose of dopamine or quick fix.

Living in a world that’s online means that we are not living in the physical world. The one that supports our life, creates the food that nourishes us and gives us air to breath.

We walk around like zombies, ignoring the most pressing issue that will impact us all soon enough: climate change.

So as we curate the perfect set of images to view and try to keep up to date on all the events we might want to go to, but never actually make it to . . . we have to ask ourselves: how much is this going to matter when the bush fires or forest fires start to burn at all times of the year, how much will this matter when smaller countries like the Maldives are finally completely covered in water, in twenty years time how will I have wished I spent my time…looking at puppies and kittens or doing something that matters?

These aren’t problems of tomorrow, they’re problems now.

Life is more than what’s on screen.

Let’s start to wake up.

 

 

When it’s time to say goodbye . . .

Sometimes saying goodbye is hard…other times, it’s not.

This week I am saying farewell to social media for the foreseeable future.

I have talked and written about the negative impact it can have for long enough. I am attempting to leave a world I don’t want to be part of.

A world where people walk with their heads down in their virtual world, ignorant of the impact they are having and who they are walking in to.

The excuses I have made for keeping platforms like Facebook and Instagram are negligent. We don’t need Facebook to keep in touch with our friends, we need to prioritize those relationships to keep in touch, which is why I will post this blog on Facebook to connect one last time with any friends or family members I don’t speak to regularly and make my exit to a (hopefully) quieter world.

We are losing our ability to have meaningful relationships because we rely on apps to remind us that our friends exist.

We think we know what’s going on with someone’s life because they post lots of photos with their partners or traveling, smiling in their ‘signature’ smile. But we don’t know. Research shows that people posting often on social media report low rates of happiness and fulfillment. Other research has shown that couples that post less on social media are happier than those who post a lot together and about their relationship.

How often have you been out or on holiday, needing the perfect picture to encapsulate how amazing your life is? We’re living for external validation and I’m not comfortable with that being the trajectory of my life.

The thing about social media, it’s easy. We are so used to being comfortable now, we rely on the instant gratification of scrolling through our feeds to get us through the day. I prefer to get my gratification after reading a long book, running or practicing yoga. I want long term gratification. Better yet, I want to be fulfilled…and nothing about social media is going to fulfill me. Chances are it’s not fulfilling you either.

While we are scrolling, our data is being collected and used to advertise stuff to us.

Stuff.

Things that we ‘need’ that force us to work more hours so we can afford them. We are keeping ourselves in a cycle of lack. Of not having enough. We are consciously OR unconsciously comparing and judging each person we scroll past.

We all want to be ethical and do the right thing, but how can we possibly have time for activism, volunteering and generally helping others, when we spend hours on social media or plopped in front of a television trying to escape our lives, looking for meaning, but in all the wrong places.

Life is short. Nothing is guaranteed. Death, the great equalizer, will take us all in the end. Depressing? Doesn’t have to be, not if you are living a life you’re proud of.

I don’t want my epitaph to consist of emojis and my top performing Facebook picture of the year. I want to continue to create a life where there is more to be said about me than I looked like I had fun on holiday.

Right now in my life, every weekend feels like a holiday. It’s time it was truly enjoyed and savored. My life is full of love and I am so incredibly grateful for it, there’s no more room for distraction.

It’s time to say goodbye and be present in the life I’ve been projecting out on Facebook for years, I hope you will too.

Why you should reconsider becoming a yoga teacher

This is controversial to say, especially for a community that prides itself on being open and welcoming – and perhaps I’m the wrong person to write this because I’m a newer teacher, but it’s been on my mind for awhile.

1.It takes commitment.

Most people want to teach yoga because they like doing it. . . and that’s just not enough.

This can be a great motivator to begin a journey of self-development that might eventually lead to a yoga teacher training (YTT), but it doesn’t necessarily equate to having the skills to be a teacher.

Being a teacher, of any kind, is hard.

You always have to know, at a bare minimum, 10% more than your most advanced students. What this means is that you need to commit a lot of time and energy to studying what you’re teaching. This is more than just being able to do the poses you’re teaching – which is a whole other conversation really. You need to understand the anatomy of the pose, variations for people of varying abilities, the way to sequence the poses so that people won’t injure themselves, verbal cues that also help people avoid injury, while also taking them deeper in to a pose.

And then depending on what type of yoga teacher you want to be, you also need to under the philosophy, chanting, playing a harmonium, Sanskrit, be able to curate an enjoyable playlist and oh, ya public speaking!

2.Do you know why you’re doing the things you’re doing?

Most people go through life not questioning things.

“I eat meat, because someone told me it was food.”

“I’m saving for a house, because I should have property.”

I’ve started questioning more things in life now and that applies to my yoga practice as well.

If you aren’t questioning why you’re feet are hip distance apart for one pose and not another – how will you explain that question when a student asks it one day (trust me I’ve had that question!).

You need to commit so much time to becoming a teacher, I can’t emphasize this enough.

One of my co-workers once commented that the reason I wasn’t in a relationship at the time was because I was dating my yoga practice. She was correct.

Before I even went to training I was practicing twice a day, most days. I was reading anatomy books and philosophy books. I was typing out sequences and memorizing them and then practicing on friends so I could become comfortable with the words.

And THEN I went to a 300hr training.

And THEN I had the most incredible mentor and did an additional 500hrs of training.

I don’t think that everyone needs to do all this, I think to be a great teacher, you need to do all this AND more.

I’m only starting out and I know there are thousands of hours of training I will continue to take part in throughout my career, thousands of pages of books to read, and so much more.

3.Being ‘good’ at yoga doesn’t mean you should teach it.

Sometimes being good at something naturally – actually means you will be crap at teaching it.

I see it in myself sometimes. If you can easily do a pose – what are the chances you will be able to give the most beginner of beginners a variation in class?

You will have so many different kinds of people in a class. From people who can’t touch their toes to someone who can balance upside down on one finger…

You need to be able to teach them all.

4.What do you have to offer?

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and being honest about them are important in any career. What will you bring to the table as a teacher?

I started teaching because I wanted to be able, ultimately, to help people. Yoga helped me a lot during difficult times in my life and if I can I make it accessible to more people – I’ll feel like I have accomplished something.

5.Not all yoga teacher trainings are created equal.

Aka people are trying to make money off you.

And they should! Sharing wisdom and knowledge and skill is something that should be paid for, however most studios are finding it difficult to survive on just classes so they’ve tapped in to the training market.

Ultimately, this is putting the consumer, that’s you, at a disadvantage. You really need to do your research and understand what you’re getting in exchange.

I’m sure that super convenient 200hr training every other weekend sounds really enticing and fits comfortably in to your schedule, but who are the facilitators…have you practiced with them…what do you stand to learn? Or is it just a short course so you can have a piece of paper that gives you a longed for title? If you can’t commit to a longer more intense training, can you commit to really learning how to teach?

6.If you don’t have the passion, don’t make it your profession.

But passion alone isn’t always enough.

Yoga teachers are also valued on what they look like and what image they project (whether we like to admit it or not!).

How awesome is your Instagram account? How many arm balance variations can you do? How deep is that backbend?

If you didn’t post it on social media – are you really a yoga teacher?

And a bonus #7. . .This is just one part-time teachers views….but if you do find yourself in front of 30 people shouting Sanskrit words over some atmospheric music…know that I am applauding you, no really I am! It’s a difficult job. The people who make their careers out of it work incredibly hard and I find myself looking up to them all. So, take the time to congratulate yourself, not everyone has the courage to pursue their dreams – just make sure it’s the right dream for you and not just a label you want.

I have arrived, I am home

My partner told me the other day that when he looks at photos of me from before we met, that I don’t look like me. Even in the pictures where I’m laughing and smiling, it’s not the same as the way he sees me now and what I look like in pictures now.

He said that now I look at peace.

I’ve noticed this myself, especially when I look at images from my early twenties versus recently. Even when I look happy, on perfect beaches, traveling the world…there is something being held back, something is missing and it’s as though within the image I have tried to compensate for it.

The way we dye our hair, the outfits we pick, the poses we choose – they all give away subtle cues to what’s happening behind and within our pearly white smiles.

Even down to the filters we use to make ourselves look better, tell a story of uncertainty and not enoughness.

There are definitely things I’m still struggling with, I feel the effects of anxiety often and my body image, no matter how much reassurance my partner gives, isn’t the best.

Having a partner hasn’t solved all my ‘problems’ in fact it’s actually solved none of them.

What being in a relationship has done, is shown me two of life’s greatest gifts – two things we all always have access to. That is love and gratitude.

Before I met my partner, I struggled with these two things. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to feel so deeply connected to someone and I had trouble seeing all the positives in my life.

Now that I have this new relationship, I am so grateful for the experience and everything it has brought to my life (while not removing all the bad like most people secretly hope it will) that I find myself overwhelmed.

I’m reading a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, and he writes about mindfulness – and being in the present moment. In order to bring ourselves in to the present moment he says we should repeat a poem to ourselves. The first line is ‘I have arrived, I am home.’

This is exactly how I feel. I am at peace. I am home.

Sharing my life intimately with someone has opened up a new range of complications and pain points, but it’s given me so much more. It’s given me access to a part of myself I hadn’t been able to uncover on my own. The space within me where beneath all the anxiety and fear, there is peace.

For that I am forever grateful.

As my coworker said today. There is no magic button that makes everything ok.

But if we decide to make love and gratitude our barometers of whether or not we are successful or happy, then we have the power and control every day to find that elusive magic button no matter what our experience has been.