hello and goodbye


oh man oh man, this spring weather is so intoxicating and wonderful. it makes me want to stand perfectly still so i can feel the breeze across my cheeks and it makes me want to clean the dust bunnies out of corners and the cobwebs out of my brain and it makes me remember that life can always begin again--in fact nature demands it.

it's been a transition over these past few weeks. the first part of my 2012 has been dedicated to finishing my teacher training and then at the end of april i finished it! it was a beautiful, kinda intense process that is still trickling down in my teaching and my life. i'm a big believer that we can't sign up for big, awesome commitments without them changing us in some way. at the end, i feel more confident in my strengths, more self-accepting of the places where i am working and more in awe of what a beautiful teacher yoga really is. also, i got to do the training with a group of fabulous teachers who all taught me something special.

i hadn't finished that for a full day when i drove off to national harbor, md to photograph this amazing and huge conference on women's shelters around the world. 1600 people from over 100 countries gathered to talk about the importance of keeping women and children safe around the world. there were many powerful, inspiring, and heart-breaking stories and so many strong voices for the future of this movement. although i was just there to document it (and it's many celebrities in attendance--i'll do a post on this soon), i couldn't help but be affected.

when i left for nyc the morning after the conference ending, i was still carrying all this with me. it wasn't until i was sitting with don diego--an amazing peruvian, vedic shaman--during ceremony that i was able to process all i had seen and done. he sang his songs and i closed my eyes and saw all the faces of the women that i've known. i remembered the stories. i remembered the domestic abuse i witnessed in peru. i remembered my own abuse. i saw that all of these women, me included, have such huge hearts that they think they can save everything with their love and so they stay with hard situations. what i've learned though--what yoga has taught me--is that self-care has to start with us. it starts with us saying "no" to what doesn't serve us so we can allow what is beautiful. it's in taking care and standing up for ourselves that we truly become of service in this world. it's about making our love so big that encompasses our hearts and all that truth that exists within.

i left nyc calm, with a harmonium (!!!) in hand, and i felt ready to let go over these next few weeks. i'm so grateful for everything i've done in these past months and also grateful that everything comes to an end when it's ready. i like being able to recognize that.

goodbye nyc

hello harmonium!

shawn read this poem in her class last night and it reminded me of all those strong women i've met all over the world who have sustained such hard times and continue to love fiercely and how that love can transform us. thank you for your inspiration and reminding me that love means everything.


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.