Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The times they are a changin'

Loving 2011: Time

How did you spend your precious time in 2011 and how will you spend it in 2012?

Hmmmmm...Taking stock of how you spend your time can be a sobering experience. If I am being honest with myself I have to take note of all the time I've spent on the computer. While computer doesn't have to = wasted time, I would like to somehow limit the time I spend on facebook. I also notice that I get very distracted when surfing the web. I will open my computer for one reason and then 45 minutes later I find myself reading a blog or playing on pintrest, having totally forgot why I opened my laptop in the first place.
I would like to reduce time spent on the computer by a bit. Any suggestions for how to do this would be greatly appreciated!

One thing I've learned about myself is that I am very much affected by my physical surroundings. I am sensitive to the space around me.While in some situations there is not much I can do about it, I would like to spend more time taking responsibility for the surroundings that I can control, my home and my car. Spending a few minutes tidying up can do wonders to lift my mood and get energy flowing!

In 2011 I have spent a lot of time daydreaming about projects that I would like to try rather than doing them. I would like to devote more time to creative pursuits, including this blog.

In 2011 I spent a lot of time on going to school and working on assignments. I say this every year but I truly want to manage my time better by not procrastinating.

I would also like to commit to spending even more time outdoors with my dogs and moving my body with yoga. I want to develop a more consistent meditation practice and more time communing with my angels and guides.

I will spend less time dwelling on what I do not want and worrying, and more time noticing and expressing appreciation for the good. Less time fretting and tensing my muscles and more time flowing, basking, smiling, and oozing love.


Monday, December 26, 2011


Loving 2011 Day 9: What inspired you this year?

I like to think that I am inspired by something everyday. For the sake of this post I will narrow it down.

During my yoga teacher training in 2009 I learned a lot about the implications of what we put into our bodies for fuel. I decided to slowly eliminate flesh from my diet. I chose this for many reasons but the biggie was that I could no longer ignore the atrocities of our agricultural industry while calling myself an animal lover. By late summer of 2010 I had completely cut out meat. This year my decision to do so was re-confirmed. I don't love the idea of referring to myself as vegetarian, but often for simplicity's sake, I do. For one, I think it can turn people off or cause my meat eating friends feel judged. For two, I think it is important to listen to your body, and every once in a while I will get a hankering for some sort of non-vegetarian food item and allow myself to indulge. I would estimate this happens once every few months and half the time I end up talking myself out of it after recalling some piece of information that convinced me vegetarianism was more in line with my values to begin with. More and more often I am learning things that confirm that being a vegetarian at this point in my life is what is right for me. This year I was particularly inspired by the work of Melanie Joy PhD, author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.

Another inspiring ray of sunshine regarding this has been Kris Carr. Kris is so relatable and her energy is magnetic. I have found her book Crazy, Sexy, Diet to be a wonderful resource on living a holistic lifestyle. Her website (particularly the blog) is an equally valuable resource and has awesome guest contributors such as SARK, John Robbins, Danielle LaPorte, Sharon Salzberg, Elena Brower, and tons more.

There have also been some award winning documentaries focused on the food industry which have come out over the past few years which I really feel everyone should see, notably Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives.  The thing is, this issue isn't just about food, but involves so much including supporting community (small local farmers as opposed to mega-corporations), our health care system (including big Pharma), the environment, and animal welfare to name a few. There is a food revolution going down in America and I hope to help fuel it's fire even if it is only by the personal food choices I make each day.

P.S. I hope this doesn't sound too self-righteous because I don't mean it to : )

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 8: Blocks

Where were your blocks this year and how did you release them?

Oh where do I begin? Blocks are a HUGE issue in my life...so much so that on pontificating my 2012 word I am seriously considering FLOW. Stagnation is a challenge for me, physically, creatively and otherwise. One of the other participants in Loving 2011 (sorry, I don't yet know your name!) mentioned how she is a perfectionist and sometimes, rather than doing something "wrong" or "badly" she just doesn't do it all. This is also the case with me. A lot of times I will see inspiration for an art project and because I don't know "how" to do it, or for fear that my end result will be sub-par I just abandon the possibility. Occasionally I will allow myself to play with paint and be unattached to the outcome...I would like to do more of this.

This is a picture of my friend's little girl Olivia who I nanny several days a week. I pulled out the paint one day and the picture above is the result. We both had SO much fun!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Loving 2011 Day 7

How did you honor your body in 2011?

I wish I could think of an amazing example of how I honored my body this year, and while I do have ways in which I honor my body, I don't do it as much as I would like. I have a tendency to become stagnant physically, emotionally, and otherwise in my life. I think this stems from fear and overwhelm of decision making...anywho... it is a challenge for me-most of the time- to make myself do the things that I KNOW make me feel better in my body and spirit. This is something I am continuously working on. The things that make me feel as though I am honoring my body are: yoga, meditation, rest, and eating well. By eating well I mean fresh, raw (when possible), vegetarian (or vegan if I am being particularly conscientious).

One way that I did honor my body this year was by reading Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet. This is an amazing book and I feel that the word "diet" within the title can be a little misleading. I am not a believer in diets so to speak. This is more of a prescription or plan for a holistic lifestyle and it's awesome, I highly recommend it. Maybe I will write more about the book later but for now it is way past my bed time! Night, night.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Loving 2011

Last year bloggers Gwen Bell, Kaileen Elise, and Cali Harris created a passion project they dubbed Reverb 2010. It was an online community initiative with daily prompts for the entire month of December. I didn't find out about it until mid-month and for whatever reason that kept me from joining in. I guess I felt like I was already too far behind. I enjoyed reading other people's responses to the prompts on their blogs and thought "oh, I'll do it next year." Not my finest example of seizing the day- carpe diem!

I had forgotten about it until I saw an article on Elephant Journal today which reminded me. I became a bit frustrated after doing a little digging online today to start my first Reverb response. Then I found out that for whatever reason the original creators are not hosting the project this year. They did however encourage former Reverbers to host their own version of it. That's when I realized that that must be what one of my favorite bloggers Lori Lynn Hurley must've had in mind with her Loving 2011 project. LL has described her version as "a project of remembrance." I have also seen it described as "reflecting on 2011 and manifesting for 2012". I LOVE the idea and will not be content to sit on the sidelines this year. I will do my absolute best to answer each prompt-though I am already 6 days late so I am not promising to finish on time! 

Loving 2011 prompt for December 6th, 2011: Share an image that you created this year.

This photo was taken in Golden Gate park in August of this year. My boyfriend and I had dreamed of driving the Pacific Coast Highway so we decided to do it for our 10 yr. anniversary. We knew we would have to stick to a very tight budget and with me being back in school I was not able to contribute as much financially as I would've liked. There were several times before we left (but after flights had already been purchased) that I honestly didn't know if that trip was gonna happen. I just couldn't see how we would be able to come up with the money we would need to travel from L.A. to San Francisco over the course of 11 days. But my amazing honey, in his easy breezy way, assured me that there was no way we were not going, and all would be well. 

Sure enough he was right and we (mainly he) was able to amass the amount of money that we thought would allow us a fun, yet frugal adventure. In the spirit of adventure, or procrastination, we only made reservations for our first two nights in L.A. and that was it. We were craving a sense of freedom and wanted to pace our trip based on heart and intuition rather than the fact that we had reservations somewhere on a particular day and had to be there. We planned on camping in state parks all along the coast and from what we had researched we found that campsites were typically available as long as you checked in to your desired campground by 9:00 a.m. Needless to say, this wasn't necessarily the case and many of our days were spent racing other campers to desirable campgrounds only to be told there was no room at the inn-so to speak. I would work myself into a panic each day worried that we wouldn't find a vacancy at a campground and would have to sleep in the car in some dangerous roadside situation. So here I was driving one of the most beautiful stretches of road in America, with the love of my life, and I am sitting in the passenger seat consumed with the scary stories my mind was telling me instead of allowing myself to surrender fear and drink in the moment. 

Now luckily, I became aware of this irony within the first day or so. I thought to myself, "hmmm, isn't this a golden nugget of wisdom just presenting itself on a silver platter." And it was. It was a total lesson in several ways. The first thing was, surrender. Sometimes we just don't have control over certain situations and sometimes we should just roll with it knowing that we are safe. The next thing, and maybe the more obvious, was to remain in the present moment, however challenging that may be, and not let those voices in your head scare you. The third is faith, blind faith. Things don't always look the way you think they will or should (nasty little word, that should), but in the end, every little thing is gonna be alright, in the wise words of one Bob Marley. While I knew early on that a huge lesson was making itself known to me on that trip (as with all travel and one of many reasons I love it so) that didn't mean that I relinquished all worry and completely chilled out from there on out. But I am grateful that I at least recognized it for what it was as it was happening. 

The photo above was chosen too, in honor of my boyfriend. My anchor, and safe harbor. There were times during that trip when I thought to myself, "we should have just rented a beach house with friends in Florida, that would have been so much easier!" Not that there is anything wrong with beach houses in Florida, but looking back I am so so so grateful for our PCH adventure. And there is no one I would have rather experienced it with than him. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy (almost) Halloween

As an only child growing up the first several years of my life I didn't celebrate Halloween. It wasn't my choice but my mom was someone who spent several years living on what I call a "hippy commune" but in reality it was kind of a cultish religious community. So...she felt that Halloween was a "devilish holiday that glorified evil." I was finally able to talk her into allowing me to dress up by the time I was 4 or 5 and she eventually lightened up.

Recently I've really been intrigued with the Day of the Dead celebrations. The holiday is a Mexican holiday that honors friends and family who have passed. "Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skullsmarigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl" (Wikipedia).

 I think it is so cool the way people express themselves through the makeup and costumes. I was perusing the amazing blog Oracle Fox and came across these images. Mandy, the author of the blog apparently got the images from a photo shoot for Planet Blue. Planet Blue also provides a tutorial for the Day of the Dead makeup, awesome. I'm definitely gonna have to give it a go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Healing with Horses

Sometime in the mid 1970's a wild hearted, dreamy eyed girl moved to Kentucky to be a horse trainer. This girl, much to her dismay, ended up becoming a lawyer, marrying my father, and giving birth to me; not necessarily in that order. 

Horses remained a big part of my mama's life, and when I was old enough she brought me along with her to the stables to ride. I have so many early memories of those times on the farm with mama-most of them idyllic, warm, and wonderful. Except for the time I got bucked off a horse at about age six. Mama insisted I get back back up as soon as I was finished feeling sorry for myself. I did as much, and was proud of myself for doing so.

Life happened and my parent's marriage ended. Mama ended up having two more kids from a second marriage and I became a teenager. There was no time for the two of us to be in LaLa land at the stables anymore. I know I have looked back on those times with great nostalgia but I had never been so aware of how much I missed it all until recently. 

When I saw that my program at my University was offering an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) class I jumped all over it. For anyone that is unfamiliar with EAP, it is not therapy for horses but rather a type of experiential therapy using horses as a teacher or a tool and/ or a catalyst for healing. Sessions are conducted on a farm (or similar horse facility) and include hands-on activities with horses which help facilitate learning about oneself.

From the beginning of my class on EAP I had an emotional connection to it. But as I got further along in the class I found myself falling head over heals for this type of therapy. I started to write how amazed I was by how powerful EAP is but the truth is,  I knew instinctively all along that I was onto something special when I signed up for the class.

There are numerous reasons beyond my own personal emotional connection to horses as to why I believe EAP to be so powerful. In many cases clients see positive results and breakthroughs so much faster than in traditional talk therapy. There is no BSing the horses. They pick up on a person's energy and mirror it back to them. This seems to happen without fail and is an incredible thing to witness. Being in nature and sharing space with these magnificent creatures is cathartic in and of itself. For some, horses can be intimidating so when a client feels they have been successful in an activity with a horse it can do wonders for confidence building. 

There are so many reasons why this therapy is so amazing and research is just now beginning on this form of healing. Below I have posted the trailer for a documentary about a family who's son was diagnosed with Autism and the journey they began which led them to Mongolia and Equine Assisted Therapy. It is a beautiful, awe-inspiring journey that I feel could help many and I am honored to share.

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