Something I love about writing this blog is that it forces me to meditate, as I find it difficult to write decently without taking a few minutes to pause and breathe beforehand. So let's all do that now, yeah?

Close your eyes (or soften your gaze) and count out 5 slow, full breaths. Don't rush them. That's all!

Better?? Okay, now we can continue. I've had a fantastic week, and I hope you have too! I've made a concerted effort to reach out and catch up with some friends I haven't seen in a while. It can be really easy to never see people you consider "friends" in NYC. Everybody is very nose-to-the-grindstone and neighborhoods feel really far apart when you have to take a train to get to them, no matter how much you're "used to it" and programmed to think that's normal. But a huge pet peeve of mine is people who always say "omigod, we need to hang out!" with no follow up. So when I catch myself being one of those people, I nail down some dates.

And I'm quickly reminded how everything comes down to human connection. That's what we're here for, that's what fills us up. Thank you, friends, for sharing your time!

After catching up with a couple different people you begin to hear your own story. You realize if you're stuck on the same topic, with the same "problem," and the same excuses for why it's that way. You realize what you're pumped about and where your energy has been going.

I have been hyper-focused on retreats lately, as I'm working on some new things I'm super excited about (updates soon!). For a while I thought I was so into retreats because I like the planning and spreadsheets and cool venues and sense of community. And I do- love all that. But it recently occurred to me that my retreat-roots go even deeper; my life changed at a retreat. I always feel super dramatic saying it that way, but I'd be downplaying to say anything less.

It's easy for me to forget that perspective, because retreats have become such a normal part of my life and my vernacular in the yoga world in general. But when I sought my first one ever, I remember thinking: that's a thing people do, right? I went because I wanted a break, I wanted to be fed good food, I wanted to unpack my backpack for more than a few days. I wasn't super into yoga but was feeling frustrated and hopeless, and that's usually when big turning points swoop in out of nowhere.

I went on this retreat thinking I had it all figured out and didn't need anything but a place to chill for a few days. I often think it's the people that think they know themselves that really don't, but the people who know they have more digging to do, are further than they realize. It's that chosen ignorance, the ego we talked about last week, the "no thank you I got this" attitude, the one who thinks this "woo-woo" shit isn't for them. It's the people who define themselves by their job, or their roles, but can't tell you who they really are. That's the one who needs it. And that's who I was, sitting in a hotel in Spain, cluelessly searching yoga retreats on my laptop.

When I think about what it was that made that retreat so transformational for me, my immediate thought is: freedom. Being far from home, anonymous, held and supported allowed me to be vulnerable and do the work. As a friend and I talked about today, it's all about doing the work. People are looking for a silver bullet or magic pill or big secret that somebody is keeping (!?) for how to feel better, happier, healthier, richer, etc... and don't you think that we would have that by now if it existed? Like, somebody would have leaked it.

But again, that's who I was back then. I didn't think that I had to change, but that maybe something outside of me did?


To me, the work started with being still. Learning new things, and taking care of my physical body. It was asking the right questions, and teasing out the answers. It was both resting, and pushing myself hard. But mostly, it was beginning to let go of my own definitions of things, for the way things were "supposed to be." It was fresh perspectives and being in a space that felt safe to explore new ideas.

That can all feel well and good in a contained environment; then came the learning to be uncomfortable. Going with your gut even if it "doesn't make sense." Taking responsibility for your reactions, even when it's hard. Using every experience as an opportunity to show up how you want to show up. To be your best self, to stand up for yourself when needed, to take great care of yourself, to be present and participate in your life.

We're good at postponing a lot of that. And that's who I was back then.

I don't know that my retreats have been quite so transformational (yet!) but that's part of what I'm excited about - going deeper. Being able to create a space for folks whether they need to just rest, or to leave their comfort zone. To expose them to one (or 10!) new idea(s) that they can take home and implement. To give them space to be themselves and consider new ways of looking at things in their lives. To let them know that their life, is up to them.

A year after my first visit, I returned to the retreat as an employee. Again I didn't realize it at the time, but I was getting invaluable experience that would come back into my life in ways I couldn't have imagined then. On my last day there I sat down with the owners, whom I had grown quite close to, and talked about my future plans. They told me it would take a while, but that everything would come together and make sense one day.

Nearly five years later, I'm starting to see what they meant. #longgame