A poem for the New Year. Surrender.


“A Necessary Autumn Inside Each”

You and I have spoken all these words, but as for the way
we have to go, words are no preparation.  
There is no getting ready, other than grace. 
My faults have stayed hidden.  One might call that a preparation!
I have one small drop of knowing in my soul.  Let it dissolve in your ocean.
There are so many threats to it. Inside each of us, there’s continual autumn.  
Our leaves fall and are blown out over the water. 
A crow sits in the blackened limbs and talks about what’s gone.  
Then your generosity returns: spring, moisture, intelligence, 
the scent of hyacinth and rose and cypress.  
Joseph is back!  And if you don’t feel in yourself the freshness of Joseph, be Jacob!  
Weep and then smile.  Don’t pretend to know something you haven’t experienced.
There’s a necessary dying, and then Jesus is breathing again.
Very little grows on jagged rock.  Be ground.  
Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.  
You’ve been stony for too many years.  
Try something different.  

(Rumi, Mathnawi I: 1878-1912)

How to Deal: 3 Healthy Coping Strategies

As a yoga teacher, you’re taught to show up for class no matter what happens in your personal life and hold the space – sacred and safe – for your students. There are days where this is much harder than others. Today is a tough one. Really tough.

Like many of you out there, I am shocked, disappointed and admittedly a little scared of what the future holds for this amazing country I call home. While I am devastated on many levels, I am proud of that Nasty Woman I admire for handling the outcome with such grace, humility and strength. In light of her calm and peaceful processing of this momentous and painful turn of events, I too am inspired to cope with the fallout in the best way I know how. Time to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps (or shoelaces)!


Here are my 3 Healthy Coping Strategies for Shock, Disappointment and Fear:


1. Move your body. Not surprising this is my number one, but exercising is a powerful way to redirect your energy in a positive way, increase dopamine (feel good hormone) in the brain, and do something immediately good for yourself. It can be as simple as a brisk walk or run (no equipment required!), or your favorite yoga, HIIT or spin class. Get your mind off it for a while and come back to your reality with a more level-headed and peaceful disposition.



2. Read something that inspires you. Now is not the time to watch CNN, Fox News or whatever media outlet you prefer running 24/7 post-election coverage at nauseam. We have to move forward, one foot in front of the other, and must try to do so with an eye toward the change we can affect and the gratitude we can experience. My sweet mama reminded me of two such readings – one a quote, one a poem – that helped me immensely as I woke up to the news this morning:

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
~Desmond Tutu


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks


Remember to remain open, loving, accepting and hopeful. We cannot control what others do – though we can certainly do our part to try and influence them for the better – so we must turn the focus onto our individual roles in affecting a greater good.


3. Do something of service. Whether that be putting together a basket of food for a thanksgiving meal drive; offering to watch your friend’s dog or babysit their children so they can have some time for self-care; volunteering for an organization like Girls on the Run; or any other compassionate act you can dedicate to someone in your community, near and/or far.


We all have something to give – time, money, talents – so put yourself out there. As Gandhi once said, we can make the world a better place one small, kind act at a time, and those small acts combine to radiate waves of love and acceptance far and wide.

Sea Change in Spring

The first days of spring are upon us–though you wouldn’t know it living here in fickle weather Washington, DC. Be that as it may, spring conjures up the promise of renewal, growth and optimism. For me, the winter-to-spring transition is almost always accompanied by a perceptible upswing in mood, outlook and, most important of all, energy. 2013 is no different. In fact, I’d venture to say that this spring brings with it more than just a modest internal shift but instead a genuine sea-change in my life and future.

Big statement.

The term sea-change refers to a gradual transformation through which the form is retained but the substance is replaced. For all my Shakespeare nerds out there, the expression is taken from a song in The Tempest: “Nothing of him that doth fade, but doth suffer a sea-change, into something rich and strange.” From the outside I look very similar to how I did 8 months ago, save for the rhomboids I never knew I had and a greater dedication to getting pedicures. However, in the same period of time I have undergone a mighty profound metamorphosis.

In August 2012, I set out on an 8-month path to becoming a certified yoga teacher. This past Sunday, I was handed the most important piece of paper in my life: my RYT-200 hour level Power Vinyasa Yoga teaching certificate. Now there’s a mouthful. I can literally hear my parents wincing all the way from Massachusetts as they read that my yoga certification has surpassed my GWU degree in International Development Studies, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Fulbright in terms of lifetime significance. Mom, Dad: I love you and I’m sorry. Thank goodness they’re genetically programmed to love me unconditionally.

Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand, Split Leg Variation with wall)

I have gotten to do many amazing things in my life. From living in France and Senegal to tackling the icy slopes of Cotopaxi in Ecuador and 14,000+ foot peaks in Colorado, I have ventured far and high in my first 26 years. These experiences were life-changing and pretty darn cool to boot, but they’ve got nothing on this journey I’m on.

All of the support I’ve received throughout the course of this training from my yogi peers, teachers and mentors, as well as my friends and family has been so crucial. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. This path has been one of the most challenging in all my life but it is also this path that has equipped me with the tools needed to ride the waves of life with grace–both the glorious crests and the hidden undertows.

The first steps of this journey (and man oh man is this just the start!) have left me strong, resilient, and more mindful than I was before. I still have my work cut out in terms of navigating the baggage the practice of self-awareness inevitably unearths, but I know that process will only make me a better teacher and healer for my students–and lighter!

What comes next is the unknown. Beautiful opportunity and frightening instability all rolled up in one. Gaze fixed forward, I’m surrendering with enthusiasm, embracing the invisible path ahead.

On the note of surrender, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite Rumi poems. Though intended for the summer-to-fall transition, his final words in “A Necessary Autumn Inside Each” are ones I intend to carry with me into the nascent days of spring as I embark on my untold destiny:

Very little grows on jagged

rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up
where you are. You’ve been

stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.


Rumi on Patience & Surrender

I’m hard at work generating nutrition and fitness content that I hope you will enjoy. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of Rumi’s wise words that have been reverberating in my head of late:

Very little grows on jagged rock,

Be ground, be crumbled

So wildflowers will come up where you are.

You’ve been stoney for too many years

Try something different


I am surrendering to my passion for yoga and fear of failure because if I don’t make the leap I’ll never succeed. How will you choose to surrender?