friendship and other acts of subversion

I have decided that the core way for me to engage as a feminist is to be friends with other women. Yep. Just being friends. But like … doing it overtly. Intentionally. Sometimes even loudly.

I believe that supporting other women unconditionally is an act of delicious subversion.

I believe that being honest about my own struggles both professionally and personally frees me up to be true to myself and gives other women (and men) permission to do the same.

I love cheering for my friends’ successes.

I am thrilled when I can introduce two women to each other and see their friendship take off.

I believe there is enough love to go around, and if we all open up a little and share where we can, everyone benefits.

I have never, not even once, lost something by being happy for someone else.

Why am I telling you this today? Because my friend Ellie is amazing. She’s celebrating the first year of her business today by launching a rad new program on her site. She’s following her heart and doing the work she loves, and I am so fucking happy for her.

This is an accomplishment not just for her (although she did an awful lot of work to get where she is now) but for all of us young women in our 20s and 30s to see one of our own having this kind of success. It’s inspiring to see her radical bootstrapping ways. It’s heartening to see her work through challenges and come out stronger every time. And it’s an honor to be her friend.

So, here’s to chicks who are friends, creative ladies who share their inspiration, and girl geniuses banding together to change the world.

Here’s to you, Ellie. Thanks for being your brilliant self.



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Collective Dreaming: What C. G. Jung would’ve done if he had the internet.

Can I tell you about my dream project? Here’s this thing that I’m working on that I LOVE. I’ve mentioned it a couple times here, but I’m super excited, so I want to tell you aaalllll about it.

If C. G Jung had the internet during his life, he would’ve given people the chance to share their dream symbols and really discover what lies in the collective unconscious. That’s where I come in.

When I was about 17, I got really interested in dreams. I’d somehow stumbled across some reading on Freud and Jung. I also read Herman Hesse’s Demian around that time without realizing the connection between Hesse and Jung — apparently they were buddies — anyway, all of this lead to my wanting to learn about dream interpretation. So, I scrubbed the internet with all the might of my little dialup modem, bought a book on dream symbols, and went to work. I started keeping a dream journal with a detailed symbol index, which I described for Ellie in this guest post.

I quickly learned that my dreams could give me massive insights into what was happening in the rest of my life. I might feel anxious or stressed out without understanding why, and often my dreams would point to the source of my stress. I also began to notice that my dreams had their own sense of humor. Sometimes when things were rough, my dreams seemed to set out to brighten my day (or night, as it were) through colorful images and absurd stories. And of course, the unexpected combinations of ideas have often lead me to great creative insights.

In addition to analyzing my own dreams, I used to sometimes interpret dreams for close friends. Three of us shared a notebook that we would pass around, and sometimes we’d write our dreams in it. Typical of high school kids, my friends never took my advice!

As tends to happen when you grow up, life got busy, and I stopped taking the time to remember and write down my dreams. However, in the past few years as my life has fallen into a steadier rhythm, I’ve started recalling my dreams again, and I’m interested in sharing this little fascination of mine with other people.

Although I do believe that a person’s dream symbols are highly individualized, I still think there is some overlap in the themes of our dreams. With my new project, Collective Dreaming, I’ve created a space for people to share their dreams, symbols, themes and interpretations. My hope is that this will be a fun and useful resource for others who are interested in the role dreams play in our waking life.

If you’re fascinated by dreams, I hope to you’ll venture over to Collective Dreaming and help with this little experiment. As it’s a new project, I’m also open to your suggestions on how to improve the overall organization of the site. I hope to see you there soon!

 Art by Robert Couse-Baker (Woo! Creative Commons licensing!)

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the law of internet overconsumption

It’s time for a bit of digital detox. Spring has already got me chomping at the bit to spend more time outside, exercise more, eat healthier, and yes, CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. But one area of my life has been pretty stagnant for a little too long now, and that’s my digital life.

On our way to the dump with some things we've been motivated to get rid of lately.

It’s been a slow time at the office, and I’ve found myself whiling away the time by checking Facebook and Twitter compulsively throughout the days. Although at first these digital pass times seem like a great way to, well, pass the time, after a while they make the days seem infinitely longer. After checking Twitter for the bazillionth time and seeing the same updates by the same people, the whole process becomes not only boring but embittering. I find myself thinking unkind things about people’s attempts at humor, proselytism and self-promotion. Internally, I become kindof a bitch.

A lot of people are noticing this trend … can we even call it a trend without appearing to be the type of people who also call ourselves “social media experts?” Yuck. Anyway, it’s not so much a trend as a revelation of the natural laws of the internet, like Newton’s laws: If you consume too much information on the internet, you will eventually feel a powerful revulsion toward the same. (I had to fight the urge to say, “If you spend all day on Facebook, you’re gonna have a bad time,” which is part of how I know I spend too much time on the internet.)

I’m not one of those Luddites who say arrogant things about “kids these days.” I am kids these days (for a little while longer at least). I enjoy being able to keep in touch with friends who live across the country or across the world. I like when my best friend from elementary school posts photos of her kid on Facebook. I like exchanging information and ideas with relative strangers on Twitter and occasionally becoming friends with some of them as we notice just how much we have in common.

When I'm not digitally gorging myself, going outside for no reason in particular is one of my favorite pass times.

What I don’t like is that feeling of emptiness when I hit refresh yet again. I don’t like that feeling I get when I realize no one is going to “like” my status update. And I don’t like going home at the end of the day thinking, “God, that was a boring day at work … I should’ve read a book written a blog post or knit a blanket or at least taken a lunch … but instead, I was on Facebook.”

So, while I don’t intend to quit social media, I definitely need to reel in my use of it. For the next week, I’m going to cut down to only checking Twitter and Facebook before and after work. That means that I’ll have to spend my time at the office actually working, or on slow days perhaps reading a book, writing, or planning a yoga class. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’d love to have your company in this, too. Maybe we could write each other good old fashioned emails!

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Stuff I like

While I don’t typically like to do roundup style link posts, I LOVE to read them on other people’s sites. Also, I occasionally find a handful of things that seem really amazing and important to share. So, here are some things I’ve really enjoyed lately that I hope you’ll like, too.

Famous Historical Figures Who Self-Published is a short and sweet article about the great American tradition of self-publishing. I love it, and it’s so true! We don’t like to wait for the approval of others in this country.

I’ve finally been able to put my blog addiction to good use by working on a new blog for Golden Heart Yoga. Go check out what we’ve got happening over there. I’ll be adding teacher profiles and more articles in the coming days and weeks.

YOU NEED TO READ this article by Ashley Judd. Whether you’re male or female, stop and take a serious look at how you think about women, women’s bodies, and women’s sexuality.

Rabbit White is one of the women who inspire me, and one reason I love her is that she can make me pause and give serious thought to things that most people will never even acknowledge, and she manages to balance a great sense of humor with openness and intellectual curiosity. I want to give her such huge congratulations on her new gig writing for Jezebel, and I hope a lot more people will check out what she’s got going on.

A study has shown that yoga practice improves the mental state of teenagers … more so than regular PE class — go figure! I knew this was true from my own experience because I discovered yoga when I was 16 and in desperate need of an attitude adjustment, but I’m so glad to see the idea catching on.

Ellie Di has started her Inside Outside spring cleaning series, and I love it! She’s got an amazing bunch of people lined up, and I’m honored to be part of it. You can look for my guest post later this month, and the associated e-course will begin on May 3. If you like what Ellie is doing on her blog, you will love working with her for this course.

Bikch, please!” Bikram says women should only open their legs in an emergency? LAWL! Lemme give you a few emergencies, ok?

P.S. YogaDork is completely rocking my world these days. Did you see their response to Yoga Journal’s talent search? If there’s one thing to learn from this gallery, it’s that yoga is not about “talent.” It’s about being who you are RIGHT THIS SECOND, and these yogis and yognins are doing it right!


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You Can’t Force Flowers to Bloom

I’ve never been the most skilled gardener. I’ve often over- or under- watered plants, picked veggies too soon, and forgotten to pull up weeds. So when my friend at work gave me an orchid for my birthday, I was pleasantly surprised, yet nervous.

Each time the flowers bloom then fall off, I find myself watching the new buds intently and wondering when they’ll open up.  I keep a little spray bottle on the counter next to it, and I spray the roots pretty well a couple times a week. I’m always a little bit afraid that the next flower to open up will be the last.

Recently, it fell off the counter, the pot shattered, and the plant had to be relocated to a little coffee mug. Right now, it has two blossoms, but it doesn’t have any new buds on the stems yet. I’m a little worried about it, but I can’t force it to grow. I just keep checking on it and watering it. I’m walking a fine line between doing too little and too much.

So, here we are on a cold, overcast Saturday afternoon — the last day of March. It seems like just yesterday I was making big plans for 2012, and now we’re getting ready to start April. My goals for the year are a lot like that orchid. On one hand, I feel like ALL THE THINGS are about to happen, yet I have to have patience. I can’t force anything to happen. I have to wait.

I’m choosing to meditate my way through it, to be mindful, to focus on my intentions and to act in alignment with them.

Life is a lot like a yoga pose. We think we know what the pose is supposed to look like, yet our bodies don’t automatically go to that place. Instead, we work toward our ideal pose, and many times we make the mistake of thinking that until we get to that perfect pose, we’re not doing yoga. We’re doing … something ugly and awkward, right? But yoga isn’t the perfect pose. Yoga is working toward it, being where we are right now, breathing into it and allowing ourselves to bloom.

Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed lately that I just wanted to share. Have a great weekend!

Bloom is an amazing art installation by Anna Schuleit, which my friend Sara showed me this week. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, I found this installation particularly haunting and yet hopeful.

Reading in Skirts has become one of my favorite blogs lately. It is, in fact, one of the only fashion blogs I like at all. Why? Because the two bloggers involved (Mia and Tia) are AWESOME. They’re totally adorable and smart. They’re apparently best friends who live far away from each other and blog together to stay in touch. They’re also not your typical super model looking bloggers, so a person like me looks at their outfits and goes, “ZOMG you’re so adorable. I should try that!” because it turns out the rest of us get to enjoy our clothes, too.

Dave Romanelli posted this great video about learning to be present in the moment in order to really enjoy life and be more sane.

I have kinda mixed feelings about James Altucher and the advice he gives. He seems to intentionally take controversial stances on things in order to stir up interest, yet he manages to do it in a way that doesn’t make me want to puke. So, he gets props for that. Also for making me think.

Oh, hey: You can vote for Golden Heart Yoga as the best yoga studio in Annapolis. I would love it if you did that. GHY is my yoga home these days, and I absolutely love it there. One day soon, I’ll write a little more about the studio and why I love it.

Circle of 6 is an app designed to help prevent sexual assault. If you’ve ever desperately wished a friend would call you with an excuse to get out of a sticky social situation, this app is for you. It even includes an option to send out a GPS marker of your location so friends can help you get home safely if you’ve had too much to drink or if your date is being a jerk.

I’m becoming quite a fan of Danielle Laporte. Her post How to Be Classy When It Doesn’t Work Out the Way You Expected is sincerely touching. And no, it’s not about romance. Also, the talk she gave for the World Changing Writers Workshop is stellar, and you can download it for free!

That’s it for me for today. I need to go practice the yoga class I’m teaching tomorrow. If you’re in the Annapolis area, I’d love to see you in class some time. Tomorrow’s 9:30 a.m. vinyasa practice will include some sun salutations, some strength building, and a meditation on my favorite topic — Gratitude! Details about the studio, class schedule and fees are HERE.

Ooh, one last thing! I started this newsletter so I can keep y’all posted on my book projects, teaching schedule, and other special events. You can sign up here. <3

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