Monday, May 13, 2013

Labors of Love + Leaps of Faith

Hello, internets! I know I have been m.i.a. for the last couple of months, but it's not for a lack of appreciation of all of your loveliness. Life has been crazy. Crazy busy. Crazy good.

Ezra's toddlerhood is such a joy and with every passing day he becomes more communicative and loving and hilarious. He is becoming his own little person and it's beautiful. Sure there's days of meltdowns (mainly mine), but man, what an intense and beautiful journey this little thing called parenthood has become. I am so crazy in love with that little person and some days it's all I can do to not flip the Mommy Dearest switch on. As I know I have said before, parenthood is an exercise in extremes and I still very much believe this to be true, but the good end of this spectrum somehow continues to get more and more rewarding. 

In a recent trip to the aquarium Ezra wailed and generally pouted throughout the entire hour long walk-through, culminating in a full blown breakdown in front of the seahorses. The saddest part is that I know how much he adores seahorses and how sad he would be to have missed out on enjoying them, but we had crossed into a very delicate and intense place that all parents of toddlers are well-versed in. So there we were wailing, pouting, and finally rolling on the floor in all his toddler glory, and then with a banana and the cool breeze of the outdoors, cuddling and lots of excited yelling of nouns began. Fish! Blue fish! Crabs! Seahorses! Neigh! Neigh! (we're still trying to explain the difference) Water! Babies! Swim! Swim! You would have thought this child was the happiest child to experience the awe-inspiring exploration of the seas. With every facial expression and his absolute best and clearest pronunciation he relayed what an amazing time he had just had. We cuddled and laughed and genuinely enjoyed an experience that in all actuality was pretty rough. 

This is having a toddler...

So yes, much of my days are filled with the care and maintenance that a toddler demands, but also...I have made a pretty big career decision. I am opening my own yoga and wellness studio in downtown St. Joseph, MO. Huzzah labors of love and leaps of faith! The studio will offer varying styles of yoga, meditation, massage therapy, wellness education, and a small retail space of hand-made (by myself and a few close and talented friends) and organic home and personal care products. I am excited and overwhelmed and generally all a' flutter with the reality of making this happen, but I believe I'm off to a good start.

This past weekend St. Joseph hosted an event to support downtown growth and business development called Better Block. The idea is that abandoned or empty storefronts (which unfortunately our downtown has far too many) are filled with varied pop-up shops and vendors. The slogan being "a better block today, a better downtown tomorrow". This being the second year of the event I was pleasantly surprised with the organization and number of quality vendors involved. I was fortunate enough to be included and thrilled that I would be able to use the space that will actually be my studio in a few short months.


The weather was perfect at high 60's and sunny, the Felix Street Square (right next to my studio) was filled with local food vendors and talented musicians taking their turns on the stage, and people genuinely thrilled at the idea of a walkable, thriving downtown. This event was a great opportunity for me to expose people to the retail element of the upcoming studio and share with them the plans for the space. People were incredibly supportive and like-minded individuals with talents and skills that I would love to share with our community came out of the woodwork (as has been a common thread with this undertaking).





It felt like the first step in something potentially really quite amazing. Sharing a practice so dear to my heart, selling hand-made products that I really believe in, and allowing a venue and opportunity for people to share their own skills is such a dream come true. These past few weeks has been a lot of unsexy bureaucracy and  number crunching, but this weekend, with its first taste of real possibility, has made it all worth it. I am more excited and confident about this little dream of mine than ever before. I believe in my community's ability to support this business and I believe in my ability to bring it to fruition.

Of course an undertaking of this scale doesn't come without it's fair share of risks and fears. It has already brought to the surface so many personal insecurities and self-doubt, but it has also brought out the dormant leader in me and brought such lovely peers and advisors into my life. Yeah, it's totally terrifying and exposing, but I'm learning that most of the best things are...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Best Intentions

Hello, mid March. Wasn't it just New Year's? No. It's been months. Okay. Well I guess I should write the post I planned to write a good long while ago about intentions. Maybe it's better that it's way overdue. It's probably truer now that we've all completely forgotten about (and maybe begrudgingly pushed aside) the goals we made for ourselves those now many months ago.


So in the spirit of New Year's let's talk about intentions. I have posted about it before, but I think it's a really important topic that I know has helped change the way I look at The New Year and the whole concept of resolutions. Long story short, resolutions while in theory are awesome have the potential to lead to frustration, disappointment, and beating up the best friend you're ever going to have in the world, you. The idea of fresh starts and clean slates are so attractive to us (for good reason), but it's easy to set yourself up to fail and failing is a total bummer butthead. But here's the thing, it doesn't have to be that way at all. Have your cake and eat it too (metaphorically speaking, of course)! Flip that pattern of "failure" and self criticism! You are way too cool for that stuff anyway.

Intentions are where it's at for all that lightness and sense of renewal that comes from The New Year without the "oops I totally shit all over that resolution" hangover. Journal about how you want to feel in 2013, what plans you would like to see come into being, and practical ways you can make that happen. This isn't about a complete life switch overnight. It's about creating the space and mindfulness for real, lasting change to occur.

You are amazing and I believe that whatever you want you can create, but you have to set yourself up to be the best you in a real, tangible way. Flip the pattern of expectations, "failure", self-criticism on it's head! I know for me it has really helped to use a word or feeling to describe my intention. I meditate on that feeling. I let it inform my choices. I keep it close as a reminder of how I want my year, my life to proceed. A couple of years ago I chose gratitude and there are still several practices (that I will discuss in a later post) that I cultivated that year that I still use today. When you set an intention whether it be gratitude, love, health, mindfulness, forgiveness, philanthropy etc... there's no real way to fail. You are setting yourself up for greater self growth and that's really what this whole business is all about anyway, right?


Another method of "resolutions" that I have seen really work for people is trying certain changes on for size. Pick one or two points to focus on this month and if they really work for you and are feeding you emotionally you know you've got a keeper. Taking actions that don't resonate with you probably aren't going to stick and you're not going to feel good while doing them. No good! Take your resolutions out for a test drive and if you aren't totally diggin it trade it in for something that helps you shine!

All that being said remember to be gentle with yourself. You're human. Tripping and falling flat on our faces is just part of the gig, but how lucky are we that we get to learn from those falls! Thank goodness we aren't 100% perfect all of the time or else what perspective or compassion or blackmail photos would we have?


I love hearing about everyone's plans for the upcoming year (please feel free to share in the comments!) so in that spirit of community I'd love to share mine. Health has been my intention for this year. I have tried to cultivate health (physical, emotional, and mental) in all things in 2013. For me this has meant a combination of cutting out negative self talk, a stronger commitment to my yoga asana practice, making the time to meditate, more mindful consumption, etc... Basically, it was time to step up my game. I finally felt ready to face some things that I have been afraid or unable to commit to before. I was ready to not just be the absence of illness, but to truly be vibrant. I know that this has required work, but I feel really empowered by the groundwork that I have laid and the boundaries that I have made. I have faltered. I have definitely stayed up too late or not made time for my practice or let my negative self talk unleash on people that I care about. But...I'm trying. There really is no failing if I am patient and kind with myself. I wish for you that same patience and kindness with your own journey.

You are love and you can make the changes you want to see in your life. I believe in you. Let's rock the rest of 2013!



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Luck of the Hermit

Happy St. Patty's Day, friends!

We have been enjoying the absolutely (and surprisingly) lovely weather. Family bonfires, backyard exploring, and lots of walking have felt really reinvigorating. Even though it was only a tease and the weather dropped 40 degrees between Friday and Saturday, it was a perfect little reminder that warmth is just around the corner. Spring is coming and I am so very ready. Hello shorts and bountiful spring farmer's markets!

Having bartended at an Irish pub for years in my early 20's I feel I can say with confidence I have experienced good ol' St. Patty's Day to the fullest. It's fun and silly and a nice time to kick back and enjoy a couple (dozen) beers, but I'm just not really feeling it this year. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Irish Car Bomb, but I'm feeling much more inclined to stay warm and snuggle with my two favorite boys. We had planned on watching the parade, but with the shift back towards the chilly bundling up the little guy and coaxing him away from the road didn't really sound all that appealing.

So we will be kicking it very low-key today. No green beer or Irish food (although I LOVE a good tempeh reuben!), but I'm sure we can make room for some adorable green outfits and maybe a limerick or two.

If you will be out this evening celebrating please be safe, my lovelies. Wishing everyone a joyful St. Pat's!



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Portrait of a Morning

Little sleep was had by anyone in our home. Ezra moved into our bed after nightmares woke him around midnight. I adore sleeping with my theory. I love having him close, hearing him dream, and waking up slowly to that precious face smiling back at me. I do not love the neck kicks, back punches, and general crampedness that actually comes from sleeping with Ezra at this age. It's lovely and simultaneously a total pain in the ass.

So yes, no sleep last night. With a healthy amount of toddler battery doled out, Kellen and I woke up grumpy and tired. Nana! (banana) Juice! Nana! Fast! (breakfast) came a little too early and two inches from our ears.

Let's try to rest some more I pleaded.  

How about a snuggle? Kellen asked to no avail.

Go get a book and we'll read it in bed I suggested as a last ditch effort to parent with as little physical movement as possible.

Ezra leaps off the bed and immediately sets up his potty as a step-stool to reach our books (not the dozens of toddler friendly books that live on the bottom shelves in our bedroom). He comes back with a book on the life and art of Picasso. We start flipping through the pages, looking at the art, and describing what we see. Ezra likes the blue period. He is laughing as we turn each page. And then we turn to Portrait of Pedro Manach and he wails DADA! and we all just lose it with laughter. Lose it. It was so sweet and silly and perfect.


 Sometimes you're tired and grumpy and your child says the perfect thing and you all laugh and forget about the neck kicks and back punches.