Before First Session
During Second Session
Late last week, I "attended" my first online conference, Alt For Everyone
. The event was put on by the amazing people behind the most well-known business conference for bloggers, Alt Summit
; If you're a blogger and you haven't looked into Alt or don't read their blog
, I highly recommend it. Life-changing.
Anyhoopers, I spent last Thursday and Friday holed up in my apartment, yellow legal pad in my lap, taking classes via live video presentations on my laptop, and I loved every minute of it. In my breaks between classes I would emerge out into the sunlight, like a little blogging mole, and try to clear my head in the fresh air before jumping right back in for the next session.
During this process, I learned SO much. Too much for my newbie bloggie mind to absorb. In fact, I'm slightly overloaded/overwhelmed by all that I took in, but in the best of ways that makes you want to either curl up in a ball and quit, or hit the ground running (so start running I will!). After using the weekend to synthesize my notes and organize them into one coherent to-do list (would you expect anything else?), I'm itching to get started on all of my new projects, revamps, and ideas. But, in the meantime, I wanted to share some of the things that I learned that apply to everyone, not just bloggers, and some of the fun things that will be coming to Starr Struck soon...Basic points from the Alt Keynote Address, "The Art of Being a Goal Getter," by Joy Cho of Oh Joy!
- YOU CANNOT WAIT AROUND FOR IT: The only person who will make your goals come true is you. Although I know this sounds obvious and somewhat cliche, I love this point. It was such a great reminder for me; I need to go out there and make things happen, not just sit back and wait for things to happen to me. So simple, yet genius.
- YOU HAVE TO WANT IT: Tell me what you want. What you really, really want. (It’s ok if it sounds ridiculous.) Joy's point here was one about having goals that seem far-fetched. She explained that no goal is too big or too crazy, and if you want it, you can make it happen (but not overnight).
- DO YOUR RESEARCH: Who or what will be the best fit to accomplish your goals? Don't be afraid to go after what you want, but be sure you're prepared before doing it. Research, prep, and be ready to put in the hours it takes to actually achieve your goals. Know your field or what you're asking for/going after.
- PUT TOGETHER A PRESENTATION THAT SHINES: How will you show your ideas & convince someone of them? When you go after what you want, you need to blow people away. Explain the how, the why, the when, the where of your idea. Why is it relevant? What can you do that is different from others? This can apply to many different outlets/goals.
- “NO” IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD: You won’t always get what you want, but it will pave the way for something else. (Maybe, even, something better.) Joy had a fabulous story here about NOT getting her "dream job" designing for Anthropologie. Because she didn't get that job, she eventually started her own design business, and now Anthro carries her products. Amazing.
As you can tell, I found Joy's talk to be extremely powerful becaus
e she is living the dream, and has created an empire out of her hard work and her ability to achieve her goals. She told a story to back-up each of these points, which really hit home for me. She went out and got what she wanted, despite failure, being told no, and coming up against obstacles. She is one. Inspiring. Lady. Check her out!
Super fab creative resources for bloggers, creatives, and beyond:Things to get excited about--coming soon to Starr Struck:
- Yoga videos (You've been asking, and I promise, they're on their way!)
- How-to videos
- Monthly newsletter
- Blog style board
- Clearer goals, a vision statement, and a blog mission: businesses have one, so I should, too!
- Downloadable media (on Etsy)
I hope you're looking forward to these changes as much as I am! I cannot wait until I have more space in my schedule next month.
Have I said that yet?
Impostor Syndrome: The psychological experience of believing that one’s accomplishments came about not through genuine ability, but as a result of having been lucky, having worked harder than others, or having manipulated other people’s impressions.
I have a private client who is one of the two “foremost experts in [her] field” in the DC region. She’s smart, beautiful, successful, interesting and is a mother to three young children. She juggles difficult family situations and an important, high-stress job while still managing to smile, laugh at life, and find a work-life balance that allows her to spend time with her kids. Basically, she’s the epitome of the modern woman who is “doing it all," and I think she's amazing (obviously).
A few weeks ago, as we were chatting about her work, she mentioned that she was worried that a colleague would “find out that I don’t know as much as I should about [this topic],” as if she were lacking in her knowledge of this subject in which she is considered an expert. As we continued to discuss this feeling of not being prepared, or of not knowing enough, I was struck by her lack of confidence--she is considered an expert in her field (!)
, yet she still doesn't think she's 100% worthy. I was surprised, but could completely relate to her feelings of inadequacy; throughout my life I have often been afraid that I'll be "found out," that my lack of knowledge or intelligence will be discovered, or that eventually, my "good luck" will end. It seems to me that no matter what their status, many other women feel the same way.
When I first heard of Impostor Syndrome about 10 years ago, I was relieved to finally have a term to describe the way that I—and many women around me—often feel. I have since spoken to a number of successful, powerful, inspiring individuals who feel the same way that I do (and that my student does); "I’m not good enough," "I’m not smart enough," "I’m a fraud and I don’t deserve all that I have (or have achieved)", "I got here from sheer luck and/or hard work."
As I listened to Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk
late last week, it got me thinking about the common incidence of Impostor Syndrome among women. Although she doesn’t mention this syndrome by name in this speech, she does speak about the difference between men and women when it comes to success, and what she's learned from speaking with a number of women in high-power roles.
When female leaders are asked how they got to where they are today, they often attribute their success to a great team, luck, support from their friends and families, and/or hard work. When men are asked the same thing, they often credit themselves or a belief that they deserve it due to their intelligence or abilities. The majority of women tend to shy away from asking for promotions or applying to senior level positions early-on in their careers, as they feel that they need to learn more or get more experience before doing so, while men tend to jump at any chance to climb the ladder, regardless of their years of experience or job readiness.
In my own life, I’ve struggled with similar issues (although not in the same corporate leadership sense). As an artist, I’ve always felt inferior; I feel I was not born with a gift (I know artists who are, and am very aware of the differences between those gifted artists and myself!), but instead, feel that I was born with a love of art and an urge to create. So, I’ve taught myself to be a better artist, I have learned as much as I can, and have worked really hard to achieve and set myself apart despite my inadequacies.
Similarly, as a yoga teacher, I constantly worry that I’ll be asked a question that I can’t answer (even though it actually happens all the time and is totally fine!). I worry that my huge lack of knowledge when it comes to yogic philosophy or anatomy--despite my many hours spent in training on these subjects--will become apparent soon enough, and that eventually, I’ll lose all credibility. Both of these examples from my own life come from a deep-seated worry that is rooted in many years of low self-esteem and feeling like an impostor in many different areas of knowledge, and I believe it will take many more years of svadhyaya
(self-study) to get to the bottom of it.
Whether you, too, struggle with Impostor Syndrome or not, I’m willing to bet that you can relate to this feeling in some way--that you’ve experienced feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and/or moments of wondering whether or not you're equipped to handle all of the responsibility that you've been given in your life. I'm also willing to bet that you've had moments where you feel that you're not worthy, or where you discredit your intelligence, skill, or good life choices for the achievements in your life, and instead attribute them to forces outside of yourself.
So, here’s what I’m wondering; why do women, in particular, struggle with Impostor Syndrome so much? When are we going to give ourselves credit for what we’ve done, what we've achieved, what we've learned? When will we be able to accept that we’ll never know everything we think we "should" know, but that that's okay, because life is a constant learning and growing process? Intellectually and realistically, we know we're not impostors, so why do we feel like an impostor so often?
This week I’m working on taking ownership of my abilities and taking credit for all of my hard work. I'm focusing on believing in myself and in my gifts, and learning to find the beauty in who I am, as I am--and not in my ability to get sh*t done--which is definitely a skill I've mastered ;)
I hope that you'll join me in this pursuit to kick Impostor Syndrome to the curb!
"You can Google for an answer, you can Google for a mate or for a career, but you can't Google to find out what's in your own heart — the passion that lifts you upward. You have to listen to what is inside yourself and discover your own fire. Not only do you need your own fire, but so does the whole world."-Sister Peggy O'Neill's Commencement Address at Furman University
I spent this past weekend in South Carolina, celebrating my little brother's graduation from college. I experienced all of the usual emotions that this type of event brings out--great pride in my brother, lots of love, excitement, a sense of how quickly time passes, slight stress from trying to herd 10 family members around a rainy campus--but I also had a different sort of reaction than I've had at graduations in the past, and it's one that I think is worth noting.
This time around, I was struck by the commencement address, the student speaker, and the entire idea of commencement in a new way. It wasn't because these speakers were much better than those that I've heard at other graduations, but it had to do with where I am in my own life, the feedback that I receive from many of you, and what my husband, Ben, is going through right now.
As we've all probably heard in many a graduation speech, commencement means "a beginning; start." There's a hopeful, excited energy at graduations, as everyone urges the graduates to "go out and make a change," "live your dreams," "make a difference," "live a life worth living--one that you are proud of and one that makes you excited to get up in the morning," and there's a sense that this life is really possible; that it's out there for the taking.
And then, many of the graduates enter the working world, find their first job, and often, lose that sense of excitement. They get into a routine, begin to make money, spend their days sitting, stressed out, tired, and often, settle, because it's easier than actually doing something fulfilling or something that makes them excited to get up in the morning. This isn't always the case, but it's what happened to me after I first graduated, and I know many others who have had the same experience.If we're fortunate, we'll eventually snap out of it and make changes that allow us to follow our passions or dreams--many people do--but some don't, and that's what I find so heartbreaking. After commencement, we think anything is possible, and then quickly, our dreams are lost to our daily lives and our culture's emphasis on achieving, having, and should-ing.
It's never too late to celebrate a personal commencement. No matter how old you are, how long you've been doing what you're doing, or how many years it's been since you actually graduated, you can still create a new beginning in your own life. Yes, it's scary, but so is graduating from college and entering the "real world" for the first time, and so is doing your first headstand, or giving your first public speech, or teaching your first yoga class, or taking the plunge and moving across the country, and many of us did these things and survived. It's very possible.
My little brother is entering the Peace Corps this fall, and I couldn't be more excited to see what the future holds for him. I have a feeling that no matter where this journey takes him, he'll be given many chances to explore his passions and live "a life worth living," and I hope that he jumps at these opportunities and finds his purpose along the way.My wish for YOU is that you're able to do the same, no matter where you are along your life path, no matter how long it's been since your last commencement. It's never too late to start again!
I'll leave you with one more quote from Furman's commencement speech
:Get a life where you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure. It is hard work. Every time you look at your diploma, remember you are still a student learning to treasure your connections to others. So pick up the phone, kiss your Mom, hug your Dad, write a letter, learn the richness of pregnant silence when you are with a lover. Get a life in which you are generous. Give yourself away.
The image above is a close-up of a gorgeous card that I received from my Teacher Training mentees this past weekend. Inside of the card it says, "Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it." Isn't that beautiful? It perfectly captures what I've been trying to say all along--that our life's work is not to sit at a computer* and dream about what we could be doing, but to actually get out there and do it (not that "doing it" won't also involve a lot of sitting in front of a computer...). But doesn't that sound nice? So, today, as promised, I want to share a follow-up to yesterday's post on Career & Life Makeovers, this time focusing on some of the things that I've learned from my experiences. Obviously, everyone's situation is different and everyone's personality is different, so not all of these tips may apply to your situation or life, but by sharing the things that have been helpful to me, I hope to save you at least a little bit of the growing pains that I've gone through...10 Tips for Making a BIG Career/Life Transition1. Go part-time first: One of the biggest pieces of advice that I give everyone who is thinking of quitting his or her full-time job to pursue a personal passion is this--try to go part-time first. Why? Because it's way scarier to quit everything and suddenly have to rely fully on your own devices; Often, this leaves people looking at an entirely open day or week and feeling completely lost when having to manage all of that time. You know the saying, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person"? Same applies here, in a way. If you have a good relationship with your current job, you may be able to go part-time there--you never know until you ask. You may be surprised by what sort of answer you get, and might even find a way to reduce your hours enough to devote way more time and energy to your "goal job " while working, so that you can then nurture it until you're ready to quit. If your current job won't let you go part-time, look for a new part-time job. Even if it's just working a couple of hours per week at the front desk of a yoga studio or in a coffee shop, this is a great way to supplement your income and take some pressure off of yourself and your "goal job" while you make the transition.2. Jump right in--start your new biz before quitting your old biz: If you dream of being a blogger, or photographer, or yoga teacher, don't quit your current job until you've started your new one and know you love it and/or feel that you can make it in that field. As I mentioned yesterday, this may cause you to experience a couple of crazy months, but you'll eventually reach a breaking point and by then it will be a lot less scary to say buh-bye to the day job. Trust me on this. Don't put it off until someday, start it NOW and then figure out the logistics as you get further along ;)3. Create a rule of thumb for learning how to say "yes" and "no:"
This is different for everyone, but I think it's important to set up boundaries for yourself when first deciding to do it all (work and start your "new" job or biz on the side). I actually have two rules that I've tried to live by when making scheduling/life decisions on my own (easier said than done, but possible):
- Rule #1: If an activity, job, or class zaps more energy than it gives me (meaning I leave feeling run-down instead of inspired), I give it up. This isn't always possible right away, but over time, it can be done. A great example of this is teaching yoga classes. When I first started teaching, I taught all over town--in a number of gyms, corporate environments, private settings, and studios. Some classes I looked forward to, I left feeling uplifted, excited, like I was making a difference. Some classes (or commutes) I dreaded, I hoped they'd be canceled so I'd have a little more time in my life, I felt like I was having to "wind myself up" to teach them (you know that commercial?). Over time, I was able to weed out the classes that took more than they gave, and make more time for the classes that gave me energy and inspiration.
4. Find a mentor:
- Rule #2: If one activity or job starts to inhibit my ability to create, I have to scale back or give it up. This one is very simple in theory, but a little more difficult in practice (but so important!!).
It really, really helps to have someone (or a couple of people) to bounce your ideas off of. This can be a virtual mentor or a real-life mentor, but it should be someone who has experience in the industry that you're pursuing, or someone who has made a similar life change. Find one ASAP and connect with them!5. If you decide to do it, really do it:
Often people get excited about something new, and then let it fizzle out when things get busy. I credit almost every change that I've been able to make to really committing to the change and giving myself to the endeavor 100%. For instance, when I decided I was going to teach yoga full-time, I started teaching as much as possible, anywhere and everywhere. I wasn't picky at first, and this allowed me to gain a wide variety of experiences right away, which ultimately, made me a better teacher and allowed me to be picky later on. Similarly, when I started a blog, I decided that if I was going to do it, I needed to post almost every day. I committed, and I did this, and that allowed the blog to grow to a point where I could skip a day or two (the weekends), and not lose all my readers. You have to commit at the beginning in order to make space later on. 6. Understand that most likely, you will make less money than you did before: No one teaches yoga, sells crafts on Etsy, blogs, or paints because it's a lucrative line of work. Teaching yoga only makes a very select number of people rich (and many of them, in turn, donate that money to those who need it more!), and the same goes for many creative endeavors and small businesses. In order to pursue your dreams, you'll most likely have to take a pay cut (especially at the beginning), and that's just a part of it. If you're quitting for the right reasons, this won't matter to you at all in the long run--but make sure you're ready to give up your daily Starbucks habit or your seasonal shopping sprees in order to pursue your dreams. It can definitely be difficult at first.7. Do a little svadhyaya (self-study):
One of my life mantras is "Wherever you go, there you are" (Jon Kabat-Zinn). If you don't deal with some of your personal issues now, they'll follow you wherever you go. For instance, I'm an overcommitter. I did this in my old life, and I do it (did it) even more in my new one--especially now that I rely on myself for my income. Until I learn how to stop overcommitting, this issue won't be resolved, no matter what passion I'm pursuing. Start to deal with your old patterns now, so that they don't continue to inhibit you when you work for yourself. I've learned this the hard way ;)8. Find a support system or a community:
Get your people involved in your transition. Tell your family, closest friends, partner, and/or colleagues what you're doing. See a therapist or life coach. Join a group of like-minded people. Make sure you have some sort of team who is supporting you so that when you feel like you're all alone out there, you'll have someone to reach out to and someone to encourage you. This is super
important. 9. Make sure you sleep:
You probably know how I feel about sleep by now, but if you don't, know this: I LOVE it. You cannot be energized, organized, excited, inspired, or creative when you are sleep deprived, and you definitely can't pursue your dreams when you're sleep walking through life. Get 8 hours of sleep per night, no matter what. Make it happen. 10. Set attainable goals:
I know this sounds like every other piece of advice you've ever been given, but I promise, it's slightly different. I think that many times when people decide to start something on their own, they expect immediate results. When it comes to making big life changes, patience is everything. Set goals for yourself so that you have something to work towards, and so that you can keep your expectations in check. For instance, if you decide to pursue teaching yoga full-time, set a goal for the number of classes that you need to be teaching per week to quit your job. Or set a goal for the number of classes per week that you need to be teaching to make a decent salary. Give yourself at least 3-4 months to get there, knowing that you'll work as hard as you can in those few months. Once you reach your deadline, check in and re-evaluate. Know what you're working towards but don't expect it to happen right away.
Have you gone through a similar life transition? If so, do you have any advice to add? If so, please share!
I hope this is helpful. You can do it!
*PS. All of this talk about quitting and pursuing your dreams is in NO WAY a criticism of anyone who doesn't have urges to do this or who likes their day job. If you're happy where you are, congrats! Yay! You're already living a life that feels meaningful and fulfilling, and that's what we're all trying to do here :) This advice is in response to the many requests that I've gotten for more info about "taking the leap," as lots of my readers seem to have an urge to do so. xoxo
Recently, I've had a lot of readers reach out to me wanting to know more about my story--how I went from being a normal office worker to being "self-employed" through yoga, art, and blogging--or, as one reader put it, "how you made the transition from working in NYC to teaching yoga, managing and writing a blog, painting, and building a life you love (at least that is how it looks from this side of the screen!)." As I was thinking about writing this post, I looked back at how long it had been since I made this transition, and saw that yesterday marked exactly 3 years since I taught my first real yoga class (!). This realization confirmed the fact that today is the perfect day to tell my story, in honor of my 3 year anniversary and in honor of all of you who are thinking about taking a similar plunge. Since I have a lot to say around this subject, this will be a two-part post. I'll share my story today, and my advice for anyone wanting to make a similar transition tomorrow. Stay tuned!My Life Transition Story
In 2009, Ben and I moved to DC. I had been working at a small startup marketing company in NYC for the past 2 years or so, and although I enjoyed my time working there, I knew that I wanted to do more. I had urges to make a difference, interact with people, get up and move away from the computer screen, do something of true value. Because of these urges, I decided that I would try a different type of job in a different industry when moving to DC, and that I would also pursue a yoga teacher training once we had settled.
So, when we moved, I took a social work-type position with a DC Government Contractor that worked with a DC Court Program. My job was to help fathers who had been incarcerated get jobs, pay their child support, and learn how to be a part of their children's lives. I thought this would be the answer--that working with people and helping them get back on their feet would be fulfilling enough to make office life worth it--but again, although I enjoyed many aspects of the work, I was spending my days in front of a computer, in an office with no windows, counting down the minutes until I could leave and go practice yoga.
My eyesight was fading from staring at a screen all day (literally, my eye doctor told me that the computer was the cause of my sudden need for glasses!), my back was sore all the time, and no matter what position I sat in at my desk, my hips would ache. I was constantly stressed, bored, or uninspired, and I found myself yearning more than ever to find a way to make a change in my life.
Meanwhile, I had also enrolled in Teacher Training at Tranquil Space
shortly after moving (I actually visited Tranquil Space 2 days after moving!) and immediately knew that I had
to teach upon graduating. My weekends in TT were life-changing and I realized that I simply must find a way to begin spending my days doing more that inspired me and less that didn't. My passion for teaching and for yoga made it easy to see how little passion I had had for my various day jobs over the years, so I decided that I would suck it up and rip off the band-aid.
But first, I did it all at once. For 3 months, I worked full-time, taught yoga on the weekends and in the evenings, blogged in the morning before work, and painted when I wasn't teaching (in my "free-time"). I still remember waking up early in our studio apartment and blogging in the dark before work, while Ben slept about 15 feet away. I would then head to work, practicing my yoga sequences on the metro, teach or take class right after work, spend my evenings planning for the next day, and when I lay down in bed at night, I would sleep like a rock. But at the time, I knew that I had to start my new life while continuing my old one, so that the eventual transition would be less abrupt and less scary.
Because I had been told by many people that teaching yoga full-time is extremely hard, I decided to look for a part-time job to supplement my teaching income once I quit working. I found one, and believe it or not, it was a "5-10 hour position" helping to manage the new Tranquil Space location. I figured this would be perfect, put in my two weeks, and immediately took on as many yoga classes as possible, as well.
At first, my life was insane. I was teaching around 18-20 yoga classes per week at my high point (to put this in perspective, I now teach about 9 per week and am close to my max!) , and as you may have seen firsthand if you're a part of the Tranquil Space community, my "5-10 hour per week" job quickly turned into a 15-20 hour per week job, and then to a 20-30 hour per week job as the studio grew. Similarly, as the studio expanded, I grew with it, going from a "Tranquility Concierge," to Studio Manager, to Studio Director, to Studio Director & Teacher Director. As my role at Tranquil Space grew, I adjusted my teaching schedule to make my life more manageable, but it was (and continues to be) a constant struggle to stay balanced.
While I pursued teaching and studio management, both of which I have ADORED, I also made sure to block out time for my creative endeavors, namely blogging and painting. Thus, Thursdays are my painting days, and I blog every morning, M-F, right upon waking (after stretching and making a cup of tea, of course). I've worked hard over the past 3 years to build a life in which daily creativity, working with people, practicing yoga, and teaching have become non-negotiables, and I feel so grateful, lucky, and honored to have built this life, along with the support of the amazing people around me (my family, friends, husband, yoga community, and everyone I work with at the studio).
But, I want you to know that within this framework, I've still struggled with my same old issues (as you've probably seen if you're a regular reader). Just because I now love *almost* everything that I do on a daily basis, doesn't mean that I don't still get stressed out, or freak out because I have too much to do, or get overwhelmed when I have big deadlines or too many things scheduled in one day. That's always a part of life, but my new life has helped me to keep everything in perspective and has given me a chance to really work on making changes in order to be happier and healthier.
One of the biggest parts of this process is having to constantly re-evaluate my schedule and step away from things I love. I've given up dozens of classes and private clients--many of whom I was very attached to--because I knew that I needed more unscheduled time. I've said no to new opportunities and left many emails unanswered (sigh), in order to create more space and downtime, and again, it's a constant
Thus, this is a good chance to announce another big change in my life. I've recently re-evaluated my schedule (yet again) and decided that after 2.5 years, I'm going to give up my role as Studio Director at Tranquil Space Arlington. I've decided that I can no longer give the studio the time, energy, and around-the-clock management attention that it needs, and that someone else (who we've already hired internally and who is fabulous!) will be able to give it much more heart than I can at this time. Plus, this chance to step back will allow me more time and energy to focus on my art, my teaching, my blogging & writing, the Teacher Director role (which I'll be keeping!), and my other creative endeavors. I'm ready and am very excited for this extra space in my life.
Although it's heart-breaking to give up this role that has defined me, guided me, and ultimately, been my life (and baby!) over the past few years, I am working to practice what I preach here on the blog. Yet again, I have realized that for my own sanity and creative energy, I have to say goodbye to something that I enjoy. These are the tough decisions that I always talk about, but these are also the kind of decisions that we have to make in order to ultimately realize our dreams. My Director role will officially end at the end of May, so come June, get ready for some fun new projects and additions to the blog.
Phew! For those who have asked about my story, that's part of it, but know that it is still unfolding. It's a work in progress, and I'm okay with that. In order to "live a life that you love" I think that you need to constantly redefine yourself, make changes, re-evaluate your schedule, your goals, your energy, and continue to grow [every day!].
If you're playing with the idea of making a similar transition in your own life, check back in tomorrow, as I'll be posting some helpful tips from what I've learned over the past few years of change. Thanks for being a part of my journey! I'm honored to be a part of yours :)
PS. I think this is the longest blog post I've ever written!? If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking with me ;) xoxo
Now that we're back to life, back to reality (remember that song?
), I thought I'd share a few final thoughts about our fantabulous trip to San Diego last week. As promised, all of my recommendations from the trip are below, but first, the 10 Things I learned in Southern California (in no particular order):1. At restaurants in SoCal, they have no problem making substitutions, additions, or sutractions. Everything is "totally fine, man" and there's nothing to worry about if you don't like mushrooms, want extra salsa, or want to add an extra scone to your breakfast (not that I did this...).
2. Cacti = totally normal plant to have covering your front yard as a part of your landscaping. Weird. 3. When every day is perfect, you just can't get that mad at people. It's really, really hard to be in a bad mood when it's 73 degrees outside, sunny, and slightly breezy. We didn't experience any road rage, shoves or bumps on the streets, or people cutting in line at the grocery store. Again, weird. 4.
Workout clothes are a thing of the past in SoCal. You can wear whatever you want when working out--skirt, swimsuit, going-out top, hair down, stylish sunglasses, bare feet, and at the nude beach, no pants but a hat, tennis shoes, and a backpack. Exercise seems to be a way of life there, and it doesn't really matter what you wear to do it. 5. Real
margaritas are actually really good. Real margaritas = no sweet and sour, but fresh-squeezed lemons and lime, instead. YUM.6.
Convertibles aren't just for looks. And all music sounds better in a convertible. And everyone looks cooler and more attractive (and feels cooler and more attractive) in a convertible. Obviously, I enjoyed our convertible for the week ;)7.
If you're a modest person, nude beaches are really kind of awkward. Especially if the person you're at the nude beach with decides to go nude, and you don't...(hint, hint). 8.
Harbor seals are the cutest animals in the world. As Ben said, "I wish I could just cuddle up and spoon one of them when I go to sleep at night." Yep, that cute. If you haven't already seen my video of one scooting along on the sand, check it out
Going without a to-do list for an entire week is LIFE-CHANGING. Seriously. Everyone should go without a to-do list for at least 1 week per year. 10.
If I could get 11 hours of sleep every night and wake up without an alarm clock every morning, I'd be a better person. But then again, wouldn't we all?
Now for all the deets about where we stayed, dined, and went while in San Diego (we stayed in La Jolla for the week). I highly recommend all businesses/locations listed below!STAY:
- Redwood Hollow Guest Cottages in La Jolla, CA: As you've probably seen from my pics, these little beach cabins were amazing. Super affordable (we were shocked!), extremely comfy and homey, rustic (but had everything we would need), 1 block from the beach and a 10-min walk to all of the shops and restaurants in La Jolla, this place was perfect. They have all different sized cabins and I think it would be the perfect place to go with a group, as well (everyone could rent separate little cottages and share the common areas = perfect!).
- Torrey Pines State Reserve: Just a short drive from where we stayed, this is where most of my gorgeous hiking pics came from. Amazing vistas, trails, and beaches, it makes for a perfect active day outside. Loved it.
- Coronado Island: We took the ferry, rented bikes, and explored the island. We had lunch on the deck at the Hotel del Coronado (historical and beautiful) and then rode back. One of our favorite parts of the trip.
- Sail San Diego: We took a 3-hour afternoon sail and it was really fun. 6 people total on the boat, unlimited food and drinks (including wine and beer!), a great way to see San Diego.
- Black's Beach: Yes, this is where we went to the nude beach, but you don't have to go there (we just did it because we'd never been to one!)--there's also a regular beach to the left. This is a very hidden, very secluded local beach that requires a tough hike down, but is totally worth it. A very fun adventure that leads to a gorgeous view and gorgeous beaches.
Although we planned on trying a number of different recommended restaurants all over San Diego, we ended up eating most of our meals in La Jolla, as we liked being able to take a casual stroll down to our dinner spots. Every meal we had was amazing, but our 3 favorite places are below (must-haves if you visit La Jolla):
- Georges at the Cove: Where we dined at the rooftop restaurant and bar, overlooking the coastline (and where we had the fabulous Margaritas). Perfect.
- The Cottage La Jolla: We went here twice for brunch, and probably would have gone every day if we'd found it sooner! Delicious homemade granola, world famous scones, and wonderful everything else, as well. Packed, but worth the wait.
- Don Carlos Taco Shop: Authentic mexican tacos. Cheap and really tasty.
I hope these recommendations are helpful! If you want more info about any part of our trip, let me know
Thanks for being a part of my life journey and sharing these experiences with me :)
| || |
3 paintings I did in college.
| |By letting go, it all gets done. -Tao Te Ching
It's inevitable that at any corporate job interview, the interviewer will ask a question along the lines of, "What's your biggest weakness?" I've been asked this question many times, and the answer is always the same--as we've all been coached over the years, the "correct" answer to this question should be something that sounds like a negative but is actually a positive; "Sometimes I work too hard and don't take enough time for myself," "My attention to detail can often slow me down," "I'm a perfectionist." Somewhere along the line, many of us were taught that being a perfectionist, while sometimes disguised as a negative trait, is actually a very positive one--and we all bought into it.
I've been a perfectionist my entire life. As a child, I spent hours creating the "perfect" fairy house in our backyard, or creating elaborate drawings in which every line was just right. I used to think it was a good thing, as it ensured that I got good grades, was successful, worked hard, never quit, and wouldn't settle. But then, somewhere along the way, I realized it wasn't so good. I realized that my perfectionism was something that often held me back--that was, at times, debilitating--and not a positive trait at all.
In adolescence, my perfectionism caused me to obsess over my body and my appearance to the point where I became unhealthy. When working on projects, it caused me to go way overboard, staying up late, spending many hours more than necessary in order to make the "best" poster or create the "perfect" piece of art (as my dad would say, "You passed an A+ hours ago").
In college, I studied like a fiend, started papers weeks before the due date, beat myself up when I wasn't working hard enough, and partied too much, because it was one of the only ways that I could get out of my perfectionistic head (not that I didn't adore EVERY moment of college, because I did, but looking back, I know that I didn't always make the best decisions...).
Over the past couple of months, as I've been going to therapy again (a part of my decision to make some big changes in my life in order to learn how to relax
), I've started revisiting my perfectionistic tendencies. Why do I always need to re-read every quick, insignificant email to change the sentence structure so it sounds more grammatically correct? Why do I need to obsess over my paintings (or even start over) and put myself down in my head when they don't go as planned? Where do these perfectionistic tendencies come from? I'm still working on answering these questions for myself, as I think the answers are complicated and very individualized.
As I look at this topic in my own life, I've noticed something interesting. The one place where my perfectionism doesn't come into play (anymore) is in my yoga practice. My practice--and my teaching--is one of the few parts of my life where I feel completely okay with being imperfect, and it feels wonderful. I'm thinking that this is probably why I love it so much ;)
For those of you who are fellow perfectionists, think about it: What activity, passion, or hobby is your non-perfect interest? Where do you let yourself just be
? I think it's important to think about this, begin to unpack the whys
and the hows
, and then begin to make more space for this activity. The hope is that, overtime, it will teach you that the world keeps spinning when things aren't perfect--life goes on, and everything is still okay.
So join me, fellow perfectionists, in stopping the glorification of "perfect" and changing this conversation for us all.
I hope your Monday is beautifully imperfect :)
1. Worked through the weekend and hit the ground running--and I mean, RUNNING--on Monday (even when you love your job, this is exhausting!).2.
Got motion sickness on the metro on Monday and almost threw up [on the metro].3.
Roofers unexpectedly showed up at the studio to fix our roof and proceeded to hammer + bang through the majority of the classes that I took/taught on Tuesday and Wednesday (and they also yelled and/or cussed at me when I asked them to quiet down).4. Real phone conversation between my Mom and Ben on Tuesday:
-Mom: My neighbor called the police on me for cutting her thorn bushes and the police are here. Should I lie to them and tell them she gave me permission, or tell them the truth--that I did it without asking her?
-Ben: Don't lie.
Always tell the police the truth.
-Me: FML. Do you think my mom is going to go to jail today?5.
Studio toilet overflowed twice and our plunger was a dud. Stepped in the toilet water in my socks (yum!).6.
Started to come down with yet another cold or sinus infection.7.
Got scolded in my sleep by Ben--who was also asleep but was evidently still mad at me (cool, Ben!).8.
Had total drama with our building manager + cleaning people on Wednesday and kind of got yelled at. Not worth going into, but a total disaster, nonetheless (and a very, very spoiled #firstworldproblem
, I know...)
1. Started the day with a delicious 6:45 AM yoga class.
2. Picked up a Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks on the way home.
3. Headed to get a massage at 10am.
4. Schedule is free to paint all afternoon and I have two really fun commissions to work on.
5. Argo date with Ben tonight. Can't wait to see this movie!
6. We have Samoas AND Thin Mints AND Tagalongs in the cupboard (!!!).
I'd say things are looking up, wouldn't you? Annnnnd this is how to schedule your "off" days--especially on weeks that don't go as planned ;)
On Sunday, when walking back from an outside workout at the track (it was a gorgeous day and I was feeling really connected and happy!), I saw all of these high school kids playing touch football in a field, and I smiled at one of them. I kept watching as I walked by, not thinking much of it, and then it struck me--I'm not their age anymore.
It was so weird, it hit me from out of nowhere, and I found myself honestly realizing (maybe for the first time?) that I'm really not a teenager, or a kid, or a young person anymore. Even though I still feel very much like my younger self inside ("I'm still me!"), I know that in the eyes of the kids I was walking past, I probably looked like what I am--an adult. I'm married now, I'm waaaay
closer to thirty than I am to twenty, I have a life in Arlington, VA, and this is my life.
Weird how we often forget these things, isn't it?
Looking at those kids, I thought about my high school self--so worried about my appearance, so concerned with relationships (watching rom-coms with my best friend and wondering if I would ever find "the one"), such a perfectionist, so self-conscious, so worried--and I wanted to tell her that it's all okay. I wanted to tell her that I'm no longer so concerned about what people think of me, that I'm married, I'm happy, that everything worked out (although not the way that she thought it would). Yes, I'm still struggling with many of the same issues that I struggled with back then (learning how to say "no," slowing down, taking care of myself, I know you all could recite them with me...), but I've also made a real life for myself, a life that I actually like (!), as an adult human being. And that feels crazy.
Have you ever had a moment like this? When, out of nowhere, you stop and think about who you are? You define yourself the way that an outsider might define you, and realize that it feels extremely
different than how you feel inside (but also know that you're just you, no matter what stage of life you're in or what you look like on the outside!?). It's very eye-opening.
Life is so filled with rushing from one moment to the next, that often, we forget to stop and realize that we've been through a lot to get where we are today. But, the high schoolers playing football outside on Sunday reminded me that the very fact that we've made it to this moment is in itself
So this week, and today, I'm working on holding onto this realization and paying closer attention to where I am and who I've become. I'm working on recognizing that this is my life, and I am living it--
and that I should try to actually notice what it feels like before it's gone in the blink of an eye.
I hope you'll join me in working on savoring the moment this week.
My skiing buddies (from left): my brother Peter, husband Ben, Dad, and brother Patrick. Yes, we took this pretentious robe pic on purpose (we know it's ridiculous and that's why we love it!)!
After an amazing 4 days in a snow-covered dream world, we finally returned home from Alta, Utah
last night. As a newbie skier, I had no idea what to expect when we embarked on this trip last week
, but I'm here to report back that I absolutely LOVE skiing. Love.
What I also loved, and had forgotten about, is the absolute joy and excitement found in the process of learning something completely
new. As adults who live busy lives, we often get very caught up in the day-to-day activities of living, working, and staying on top of things, and we forget about our need, as interested, curious human beings, to challenge ourselves and push our minds and bodies to try a new physical skill.
Because skiing was so new to me, it required all of my brain power. I had to be completely present and thinking about every movement, every moment, every turn of the run, every turn of my skis, or I would get out of control and fall. Learning something new requires us to live in the present moment--our minds cannot wander when we're learning a tough new physical skill, or we'll fail, fall, or worse, get hurt. It's a great way to practice living in the here a now, and it challenges us to let go of everything else that usually runs through our minds in a given moment.
Similarly, just as we find in our yoga practice, learning a new skill requires a combination of effort and ease. You must push yourself and try very hard, but you also need to relax, drop your shoulders, and breathe, in order to get into a rhythm and feel more comfortable with the new skill.
Another very basic yogic concept that came up for me time and time again over the past couple of days was the idea of "finding your edge." When skiing or learning a new physical skill, a lot of the joy and benefit comes from pushing to our edge--that place where we feel challenged and maybe even a little scared, but where we're also able to push it a bit to grow, learn, and branch out. Lucky for us, if we look for it, our edge is always changing and shifting, as we become more comfortable with a new skill or feeling.
For instance, when skiing, I was very scared of trying any new routes. After skiing a run called "Mambo" the first day and finding it extremely challenging, I built it up in my mind. I became scared of Mambo and didn't want to do it again. But by the third day, I finally felt confident enough to face my fears again, and went down Mambo without any issues; my edge had shifted. Mambo was no longer difficult, and I did it multiple times that day. By conquering that fear--by pushing past my edge--I gained a sense of confidence, comfort, and enjoyment that I had previously been unable to find.
The last point that I want to make about learning a new physical skill is this: it's VERY fun. There's nothing like mastering a new movement or conquering a fear. Some of my favorite moments from our ski trip happened when I was completely alone, coasting down a big hill after just weaving my way down a difficult slope. Wind in my hair, cold air hitting my face, I felt completely free and expansive. This feeling is why we try something new, whether it's a new yoga pose, dancing, running a marathon, hiking, gardening, surfing, or skiing.
What new skills have you learned lately? How can you challenge yourself to branch out and push your edge off of the yoga mat? Life is all about learning--so here's to infusing our days with new, exciting events!