Showing posts from September, 2011

Preface: Where Babies Come From

five days old, millions of years in the making. Our story, yours and mine, begins as so many stories do, with a girl and a boy. Not just one set of girl and boy, though, but with hundreds of couples who came together to make new life, reaching through time and space back to an ancient place, oh-so-long ago. We are the outcome of an infinite number of other people's choices and a whole lot of grace. Allow your mind to wander back through the generations, tracing your way through the delicate, intricate path that brought your being into the world, and then you try to tell me that the things that people do don't matter. Our decisions matter precious much, not just to those alive today, but to all those who are to come. The ripples we ripple reach farther than we can see. Never doubt your importance in the grand scheme of things. In love or indifference, in lust or intoxicated, in the traditional bed or the back of a car, our parents got down and we sprung into being. Our bodi

Your Body is Beautiful.

My mother bought me my first bra at 9 years old out of necessity. Unaccustomed to such accoutrements, I almost always forgot to wear it and would panic when I remembered my new, missing article of clothing. My breasts arrived amply and without warning, becoming the source of a good deal of embarrassment and shame. I got into the habit of wearing baggy, ill-fitting clothes to hide what I didn't realize were lovely curves, and began to identify as a "big girl." I have never really been overweight, but I didn't look like the models in Seventeen and YM, and to me that equated to being fat. So I hid my body under my big clothes and hoped that no one would notice me and my feared, resented breasts. Then I went to college and started taking ballet three mornings a week and practicing on my days off. This physical activity combined with shifting hormones led to loss of baby fat and my favorite high school teacher questioning my eating habits when I went to visit her over my


There is nothing that irritates the shit out of me more than being lied to. When I ask a question, especially a specific, direct one, I expect an honest answer. If I didn't want to know, I wouldn't ask. Believe me, I know that telling the truth can be really tricky. I have not always been perfectly honest. I've been known to exaggerate, bend the truth or omit things altogether. We've all been in situations where telling the truth seems absolutely unthinkable, the confrontation simply too much to bear. Confrontation used to terrify me- even small, silly things like calling the phone company. It's been one of my greatest learning curves, one that I still work on daily, to gracefully navigate confrontation and speak my truth. Practicing doing so and becoming more confident has not necessarily made it any less complicated, though. Yogi Bhajan said about communication: "Let your words be straight, simple and with a smile," but it can be awfully difficult to f

Anchors Within!

The tattoo spanning the upper middle part of my back is an anchor. Inscribed on said anchor is the first part of this Sanskrit quote: "As the Mind, so the Man./ Bondage or Liberation are in your own Mind." My life is grounded in this philosophy. It is the essence of Raja Yoga, the royal yoga of the mind, from which all yogic forms were derived. The second Yoga Sutra states that "the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga." Plainly spoken, the entire goal of yoga is to control the mind. If we have control over our mind we cannot be bound by anything outside of ourselves. It means becoming unfailingly neutral: being able to perceive the happenings of the world without allowing our experiences to create ripples in the pond or making decisions about how things are. It means approaching every moment with curiosity instead of judgement: "Oh hello! What is this? How interesting!" This is not meant to be an exposition on the Sutras, though. T

Mama Knows Best

Ben Folds has a song about a couple on the verge of breaking up that I hold in mind when I start to get self-righteous about someone I feel I've "helped." It's this particular part that humbles me every time: She said, "You've been pushing me like I was a sore tooth. You can't respect me 'cause I've done so much for you." He said, "Well I hate that it's come to this But baby I was doing fine. How do you think That I survived the other 25 before you?" Note the difference between this... On Monday night my cousin took me to a talk at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley, where we heard Kavita Ramdas speak about the value of investing in women and so-called "women's issues" that really concern the whole population (trivial things like education and health care, pfft). She challenged the very word "developing," asking us to consider what these countries were supposed to be devel

The Curse of Too Much, Not Enough

"Am I okay? Am I okay? Am I okay?" I am plagued by this question. Every moment of every day it rolls around in the depths of my subconscious, seeking an answer in everyone else's words and actions. When I look in your eyes, no matter what I ask aloud, I am really asking you if I am okay. "Am I okay?" The implication in asking is that I do not believe that I am okay. For reasons obvious and still opaque, I have come to this point in my life thinking that there is some terrible flaw in my very make up- something about me that makes me unworthy of respect and adoration. It is the curse of too much and not enough. I find myself privately, quietly lamenting how if only I was a little more and a little less then I would be "perfect" and "worthy" of love. If I was enough and not quite so much, then I could fix it. There is something wrong with me and it is ruining everything. This is not true. This is the ego speak of a little child who is sel

A Year in the After Burn

Image! A little while ago, Facebook began reminding me of my statuses from years past. Today, it reminded me that I came home from my first trip to Black Rock City exactly a year ago. The actual status was: "speechless. so tired. so happy! and grateful! i'm a rocketship, zoom...!" My experience of Burning Man was a refreshing reset button, helping me to move on from a relationship far past its usefulness and gain a stronger sense of myself as a powerful, whole, goddess of a woman. It is still my favorite vacation ever. It was what happened when I arrived home from the desert that made all the difference, though. The day I left for BRC, as I sat in the lobby of my building wearing a hula hoop and waiting for the lovely Sarah to collect me, I met the cute, young couple that was moving into the apartment next to mine. We exchanged casual conversation before I left and I promptly forgot all about them until the night I arrived home