Diary Day 2 - I'm Not A Trainwreck I'm Just Poor AF

Diary Day 2 - I'm Not A Trainwreck I'm Just Poor AF

Hi, meet me! I'm not saying I'm the poorest person you know, but I'm probably close. Maybe I AM the poorest person you know that isn't just someone you pass on the street corner on your way to work, isn't your elderly relative living on a fixed income, or your distant cousin who's strung out on opioids. This is not to say I'm the poorest person on Earth. Its just to show you what its like to be really really poor in case you aren't. And to show you how I can't stop being poor no matter how hard I try.

Samskara - {Sacred} Writing Prompt #2

November's {Sacred} Thread teaching and writing theme is here! Samskara.


“In all of my universe I have seen no law of nature, unchanging and inexorable. This universe presents only changing relationships which are sometimes seen as laws by short-lived awareness. These fleshy sensoria which we call self are ephemera withering in the blaze of infinity, fleetingly aware of temporary conditions which confine our activities and change as our activities change. If you must label the absolute, use its proper name: Temporary.” 
― Frank HerbertGod Emperor of Dune
“For what do you hunger, Lord?” Moneo ventured.
“For a humankind which can make truly long-term decisions. Do you know the key to that ability, Moneo?”
“You have said it many times, Lord. It is the ability to change your mind.” 
― Frank HerbertGod Emperor of Dune


The entirety of the Dune Chronicles as told by both Herbert and his son are nothing short of masterful story-telling that allows the reader to transcend galaxies and millenia. Observing humanity and approaching philosophy from that perspective has allowed me to compare and contrast the behavior of my conditioned, patterned egoic self to what I ultimately strive to be - a more universally aware, open-minded human being capable of long-term decision-making that is good for the whole of society. The two quotes above are reflections of a character in the series that has lived for thousands of years and has the ability to see into the future to a large degree. This character has assumed responsibility for ensuring the survival of the human race.

As a human of only 30 years, its not hard to lose sight of long-term thinking as the goal while moving from day to day, striving to make enough money to pay the bills and feed myself. When I challenge myself to set that as a foundation for my actions, however, I am subsequently challenged to look inward and reflect upon my behavioral conditioning. Which of my behaviors serve to maintain and ease my ego? What patterns reinforce my small-minded version of comfortable and stability and what is holding me back from acting in a way that is for the greater good? How does one even begin to discern between the two?

Ultimately, a person must go through each pattern of body, mind, emotion and examine what facilitates or inhibits his or her own True Nature. I think the key to that lies within the first quote - we are somewhat confined and limited by the mere physicalness of our experience as a human. Yoga is good for analyzing physical patterns and noticing was does or does not work. The practitioner can then spin off in any direction from there. That's where I see the second quote becoming important and tying into the first. Even as we establish new, good behavior in some future moment that, too, is likely to become obsolete or need to be evolved. The greatest tool we have to break out of patterns that do not serve us is to change our minds. In Christianity this is referred to as metanoiaIn yoga we examine our behavioral patterns and strive to constantly shape and reshape them over time to best serve our True Nature - Samskara.

Ahimsa - A {Sacred} Thread Writing Prompt

Briefly, its been really fun to get to know the yoga community here in Atlanta. I'm lucky to teach at some truly wonderful studios that help me to connect with their students. Every studio does it a little different. At {Sacred} Thread one of the ways we get to interact is through a common teaching theme each month. I love it. We teach on it during class and submit our thoughts on it in writing as well. When it comes down to it I love to write but am undisciplined and work best from prompts.

Thoughts ON ahimsa:

Have you ever failed at being the bigger person? Have you ever lost your temper, slammed a door, raised your voice or wished ill upon someone? If not, please take me under your wing and teach me your ways. If so, what if anything are you intentionally doing to lessen or eliminate such behaviors? How often have you been on the receiving end of such lapses in kindness? 

When you step inside of a yoga studio designated as a quiet space for meditation, set aside for a moment the need to speak words and externalize your experience to the people around you, and start breathing and focusing on the internal state of your mind and emotions what do you notice?

Do you hear a calm, confident encouragement about the yoga that's about to happen, a loud clamoring about the things on your to do list that are not being done while you're in class, a rehashing of the missed opportunity to connect with someone, a barrage of how you have to do better on your next job interview? There are limitless possibilities as individual as the emotions and situations we experience from moment to moment each day. The consistent factor each time you or anyone else practices is that in those 60-90 minutes of silence and moving you have the opportunity to observe your relationship with yourself. Reviewing those times that you have had the opportunity to observe your inner dialog, are you communicating compassionately or with animosity? 

Yoga is multifaceted with the physical practice (Asana) being but one of many angles by which one might undertake to "do yoga." In fact, it is a more traditional approach that the student spends time and tutelage under a guru to demonstrate a mature self-understanding and an ability to externalize moral behavior in interactions with the rest of the living world. Those particular two facets of yoga are the Yamas and Niyamas - ten things to not do or do along your path of practicing yoga. At the top of the list of Yamas, the actions to refrain from doing, is to commit violence. In the West we talk about having compassion, being peaceful and non-violent and in the East this same concept is termed Ahimsa. Whatever you want to call it - ahimsa or compassion - this ethical construct is viewed as a foundational aspect of moral behavior cross-culturally. 

So often it is demonstrated that in order to get anyone to make a change we much lead by example. So often we find ourselves multi-tasking and underperforming. As far as kindness and compassion go the trend follows - its natural to want other people to demonstrate kindness to us yet we in turn fail miserably all of the time at being examples of said kindness. Yoga anticipates, predicts and provides a solution for all of this. When you step inside of the yoga studio and are allowed a consistent quiet space to go in and observe your relationship with yourself do you find that it is perhaps not unlike your other relationships? Do you perfectly execute kindness and compassion on your self or do you allow there to be some level of harsh critique...violence? 

Yoga is there to give you that time and space to practice compassion on yourself. Sometimes the teacher is there to push you to your very physical limits so you can see how your relationship with yourself is under stress (while getting a nice workout), sometimes the teacher is there to give you practice that will allow you to relax into a pose with as little work as possible so you can almost entirely focus on accepting exactly where you are. Each day is different, you are different each day but the yoga is there consistently in whatever iteration you need to begin to grow your practice of Ahmisa, your capacity for compassion on yourself. 

Being kind and compassionate to others is a much a skill as any sport or artistic talent. To become a master at painting one must attain the necessary dexterity of hand by holding different bushes and practicing different strokes. Chances are you learned to ride a bike by practicing with training wheels or on a tricycle. Doing anything that requires skill takes practice, consistently, emphasizing foundations but also increasing the difficulty again and again and again. Yoga, undertaken with intention is the perfect method for practicing compassion on yourself. The differences it might have initially in your relationships might be subtle but as you stand a little taller, compose your face through hardship, and remember to balance your breathing, external stressors seem more like tough poses - challenging, yes, but ultimately just one more step along the path of yoga.  


"Ahimsa calls for the strength and courage to suffer without retaliation, to receive blows without returning any."  M. K. Gandhi 

Once and Again, a Pregnant Yogi...

August 20, 2015: 9wks1day - Baby has a heartbeat and the urge to dance apparently.

August 20, 2015: 9wks1day - Baby has a heartbeat and the urge to dance apparently.

Giving My First Pregnancy a Second Try:

I've never been gushy about babies. I'm seldom gushy and emotional about anything, publicly. At home I run the full spectrum of emotions, no doubt, but I'm a resting bitchface kinda gal and its something I've come to terms with. I love to smile, hug and love on people but I want to feel that those actions are more than surface-level before I unleash them upon a relationship because I love deeply and am fiercely loyal. So, yeah, along those lines babies are people, too.

But in the past two years, I've found myself oddly sympathetic of and drawn to pregnant women - especially yoginis. All of a sudden I was broadsided by awe and wonder at the strength of women to carry the spark of a life inside for nine months while going about "business as usual." This feeling is very different to the aversion I used to feel toward pregnancy and babies. I am very thankful that I was so put off by pregnancy in my young and reckless days. I was not mature enough or physically ready to carry a child in my late-teens and early-to-mid twenties. However, for the past few years, I have been as ready as I'll ever be. My body has known and has been speaking to me along those lines as has my heart and soul. Matt and I planned to wait. We wanted to move away from Lynchburg, Va and to somewhere we felt a sense of tribe/community. If that plan had stuck we were looking at 2016 at the earliest to begin to try to have a baby. 

Around the end of April my body was beginning to morph. My typically modest A-Cup was starting to look rather a bit more ample. I was nervous but suspected it was just my body really wanting to have a baby and not actually the real deal. May 15th I was two weeks past due for my period. So, I went to CVS and picked up a pregnancy test - the second one in fact. The prior I was starting to suspect and was getting really nervous so I bought a test but foolishly did it in the middle of the afternoon and got a negative. The second time I waited until the morning. Early Saturday May 16th, I took my usual trip to the bathroom, peed on the stick and got a positive. I have never experienced such a strong shock. My heart felt like it was going to rip out of my chest. Matt and I were poor, like hoping and praying for a break-through poor, still in Lynchburg and planning to move to Atlanta with no prospects at the time...and I was pregnant. I took the test back to bed and laid down next to Matt trying to keep myself from hyperventilating. He was concerned and had no clue why I was in that state until I slipped him the test...

May 19th: 4-5 weeks pregnant. 

May 19th: 4-5 weeks pregnant. 

If you're doing the math, you know that something is amiss. And what you probably didn't know is that my first first pregnancy ended shortly after it started. We waited about a week to tell our families. I think it was Saturday of Labor Day weekend. By late Sunday evening I was experiencing cramping and pain and by mid-Monday it was clear that things were going very wrong. It took less than a week for my body to go through a complete miscarriage. Just like that, no more baby. 

Matt and I share a love for each other that I thought might not actually exist outside of books and movies and the occasional high school sweet hearts. We are two people that have burned through firestorms of our own creation and risen time and again to be shiny and new and try again to be better. We fight to help each other to be better which sometimes means fighting the world and sometimes means fighting each other...but most often that means, that as individuals, we have learned the greatest fight is against our own egos. We wanted that baby. We were unprepared materially but mentally and emotionally we had come together and were ready to do what we needed to raise our child.

I've had some really low moments in my life but the day that I passed what I assumed was the embryo of my unborn baby the depth of misery I felt was so physically crushing I thought I might not get up to fight again. I'm a yogi, I'm resilient and healthy and I had no clue why my body betrayed the life inside of me. I was catatonic except for the yoga classes I had to teach. I let myself live in that for about a day while Matt grieved in his own way. Then something really magical happened. We came together, sitting across from one another we looked each other squarely in the eyes and recognized each other's pain. In that moment, we came to the conclusion that if either of us gave in to the despair that the other person would not be able to heal. I didn't want to hurt him any more than he was already hurting. I wanted to be strong so that we could bring this fire down to a smolder, brush off the ashes and rise again, together.

So yeah, that whole experience for those of you who paid attention is what this was about...

Briefly, I would like to send an internet hug to any woman/couple who has had to deal with the self-doubt and physical ramifications of miscarriage. Without Matt, two strong mothers helping me to cope and yoga, I know I would have had a lot harder time. If you ever need someone to chat to - find the contact page and hit me up. Compared to the stories people were sharing on the internet, I had a remarkably easy time with the physical recovery. My gut tells me it was because of yoga and diet.

Round two:

I was under the impression that it takes a couple of months to get pregnant after a miscarriage. I think that gestalt was based on the assumption that the woman is going to have some level of PTSD and still be emotionally distraught and is actually not based on biology...cuz here I am 9wks and 3 days into my first pregnancy round 2. 

Within the first few days of living in Atlanta my boobs started ballooning. Again, I was skeptical, thinking that my body was doing the false pregnancy thing. Then I was laid up in bed for two days with extreme nausea but I wrote it off as dehydration from pulling out a stump from the garden in 95 degree Georgia heat. Then one morning that oh-so distinct smell of pregnancy hormone wafted up from the toilet after my first pee of the day and I knew I was pregnant again. Miraculously, unplanned and with only marginally better material-world prospects Matt and I got a second chance.

Thank you for the extreme outpouring of support in the last couple of days. We are so happy to share this with our friends and family and so full of gratitude for this chance to pick up anew and love this baby. Several of you have asked for pictures of my "bump." Y'all, this is my first pregnancy and I have strong yogi-abs. So below are the pics...very underwhelming. If it wasn't for the ultrasound I would still be skeptical... 

This is my skeptical face

This is my skeptical face

I mean, kinda. Only because that's normally super flat...9wks+3days

I mean, kinda. Only because that's normally super flat...9wks+3days