Hello World. I Am Here.

Body and Tribe.

2015 was a year of connecting with my body through a yoga practice. The outward form, the expression of yoga postures, came easily to me and after a lifetime of low self-esteem, this helped to build my confidence in myself. I started to see how capable and strong I was. It was the year that I had a profound moment of knowing that yoga was the path I was to walk. It was the year that I began to attract the people in my life that would help me heal and transform. My tribe. 

Not Enough

The story. The script. The line. The lie.

The one that whispers so sweetly that I've always let it in. The one that waits just at the edge of my mind, jumping in at every chance. Clawing its way over me, bearing down, until I shrink and retreat. The one that's disguised itself so flawlessly that it's taken years to finally recognize and unmask. The one that says "you are not enough."

I have let this line, this lie, operate my life. “You are not enough.” Not tall enough. Not thin enough. Not smart enough. Not making enough. Not sacrificing enough. Not doing enough. Not being enough. Not good enough. Not enough.

There are two sides to this story.

One side is how it’s held me back. How I spent years battling with my body image, feeling like there was something wrong with me because from early memories, I was told I was too short, too dark skinned, and too skinny, then suddenly too heavy, and all sorts of other “flaws” that I had no control over. How I didn't see my talent and value in my work. How I’ve felt unlovable, like no one would love me if they knew the real me, if they knew the shameful parts of my past, and I didn’t deserve better. There are so many stories that I could fill an entire book’s worth.

The flip side is how it’s propelled me forward. How I ranked in the top 10% of my high school graduating class despite all the hardships at home. How I've designed for some of the biggest companies in Chicago and the country. How I’ve managed to be a designer, photographer, and yoga teacher. How I continue to challenge myself and be the best version of myself. How I continue to dream big to make a positive impact in this world.

I swing between extremes.

I felt like I wasn’t enough so I over compensated. I felt the need to prove myself and be the best at every single thing I did, becoming a perfectionist. Other times, I didn’t try at all because, why bother, it wouldn't be perfect anyways, right? I felt unworthy and sought external validation to tell me otherwise. I judged everyone. I silently tore down other people so that I could feel better about myself. If anyone else succeeded at what I wanted, I pretended that I didn’t want it that badly.

Recently, I was examining how jealousy shows up for me and I traced it back to the feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. I've realized underneath jealousy, underneath perfectionism, underneath staying in a toxic relationship, is that seed of "not enough."

Goodbye “Not enough.” Goodbye Unworthiness.

I am inherently worthy of joy, love, freedom and so much more.

The only validation I need is from myself.

I don’t have to be the best at anything.

I act from a place of love. From the heart.

My talents and experiences allow me to offer a simultaneously unique and relatable perspective to life.

It does not make me better or worse than anyone else.

I am enough. Just as I am. 

You are enough. Just as you are.

We are perfectly imperfect.


Escape Vs. Enrich

Last August, I started a new job and on my first day, I drew a tropical scene on my new whiteboard. A giant palm tree on the beach and a little boat leading to a structure in the distant water with a straw thatched roof. It was a reminder of where I actually wanted to be instead of in a cubicle in Chicago. Little did I know that 8 months later, I would get to see it in person. 

Be Still

I sat alone at my dining table that is technically an ikea desk, facing the third floor view of rooftops and treetops, and ate dinner in silence. It sounds like a sad scene but it's one of the most profound moments I've had recently. Initially, there was silence. Then...

Quit it with the fix it energy.

This week alone, two friends posted about it and I read it in a book. This “fix it” energy. Trying to fix other people’s problems without an invitation for advice. It’s my go-to action. Or is that a knee jerk re-action? Is anyone else guilty of this? 

I’m learning how to sit back and truly listen without barreling full steam ahead with my toolbox. I noticed it last week when a friend told me about his computer problems and I immediately started troubleshooting it. It took a while before I stopped and it hit me, like a cartoon character running headfirst into a stop sign. Bam! Dramatic fall! Ouch. He didn’t ask for help. He was just telling me about his day. 

It’s even more prevalent and more ambiguous when it comes to emotions. When someone else is sad, I try and fix it, try and find the source of it and make it all better. Is it because of my own inability to sit with my sadness? 

Yesterday, I was on this high-energy buzz of gratitude. The weather was perfect, one of my amazing coworkers gave me a cheer up self-care package full of lush products, I booked plane tickets to go to Seattle to teach yoga at a workshop (SAY WHAT?!?! More about this later!), and amazing things were happening to amazing people in my life from entrepreneurship awards to job offers. 

When I woke up this morning, I felt sad. I’ve been waking up in tears in the middle of every night this week, missing my dog (don’t fix this for me, it’s mine to own). I immediately went on Facebook, hoping for something to spark the feel good rush from yesterday. It didn’t work. The hamster wheel in my mind started turning, racing, as I tried to find the source of my sadness. The gloomy weather? Unanswered text? Not yet Saturday? Missing my dog? This break up? I suddenly stopped myself in this frantic search and realized, what does it matter? Am I just trying to find the source of the emotion so that I can change it? So that I can avoid it? I just let myself be sad, without trying to figure out why, without trying to change it. It’s okay to feel the way I feel. 

I rolled out my mat. The clouds outside literally parted and the sun came out.

Living Authentically

How many times have you thought you were living honestly, authentically, truthfully, and it turns out, you’ve been trying to live someone else’s values and truth, and it’s made you literally sick to not be your own shining self?

Best Year Yet

I just hit “send” on an an application to be a photographer on Yoga Journal’s Live Be Yoga Tour. What an amazing end to 2016.

The Struggle to Love My Body

I’ve noticed lots of self deprecating humor lately from people about their body image. Where does it border on disdain and self hate? The things I’ve read are not things that they would say to someone else. 

Happiness is Not A Place

It is cultivated each and every day through our thoughts, emotions and actions.

What Yoga Taught Me About Self-Love

My journey towards deeper self-love has taken years of making tiny changes, lots of mistakes, and many shifts in mindset shifts. When I made yoga a part of my daily life two years ago, it cultivated my loving body awareness.