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Posts Tagged ‘Musings’


Five years ago today I came to San Francisco for a 1-month sublet, my kitties in tow. I was on the tail end of the darkest depression of my life and my life was stagnating in Los Angeles. I knew I needed to make a change, but I had no idea where it would lead or what I would find in San Francisco. But in the face of fear and doubt, I blindly took the first step. Five days later a job offer had fallen in my lap. Overnight I had to find someone to take over my lease in Los Angeles, find a permanent apartment here in San Francisco, pack up my apartment, and drive the Uhaul, by myself, the six lonely hours up the I-5. I’ll never forget the experience of driving out of Los Angeles. It was 2009 and we were experiencing some of the worst fires in LA history, and they were extremely close to the city. As I drove through Hollywood and up the 101, I could see smoke, ash, and flames on both sides of the freeway. I felt like I was literally driving out of the mouths of Hell. Little did I know, I was actually the Phoenix about to rise from the ashes.

TriangleI started my new life in San Francisco, disillusioned by the weather and really missing my Hollywood Hills and my Mediterranean lifestyle. I found myself in a stressful start-up job, with an environment that gradually became more and more toxic. What was I doing? Where was I going? I had no idea. I came to my mat. I sought out solace in my yoga community. I knew nobody. But I kept coming to my mat. And little by little, month after month, I began to make new friends and build a new community. That job eventually fired me and I stood in one of the most important and pivotal moments of my life. Somewhat accidentally, at this same time, I found myself in the unexpected seat of the writer. I wrote my story of healing through yoga. A floodgate opened. The next thing I knew I had a blog with thousands of followers around the globe. Life was surprising me at every turn. I began writing for several different blogs and making new connections, collaborating with other creative beings all over the world. I was taking major risks. Around the same time I enrolled in a 7-month intensive yoga immersion. My yoga practice deepened to levels I never could have imagined and a community of friends formed around me. The most beloved, devoted friends of my life began to step forward, sharing in the journey and supporting me all along the way.

San Francisco has changed me in ways I never dared dream. It has brought magic, synchronicity, and connection – truly unbelievable experiences that continue to inspire and amaze me day in and day out. And then there was a book. For the past three years, I have rejected society’s norms. I have walked to the beat of my own drum, I have followed my heart and I have lived without fear. I have rejected the notion that I have to do anything that is dictated by others. During that time a book formed- a passion project which set out to share the countless inspirational stories of transformation through yoga that I continued to hear left and right. And with it, a mission. My mission: to share the power of the practice; to bring greater peace, love, and healing to the world; to empower people to overcome their darkness and step into the light.

On this five year anniversary of beginning my life in San Francisco, it seems perfectly poignant that I stand at the precipice of publishing The Yoga Diaries. And I look back in absolute astonishment at this incredibly rich, surprising, powerful journey that has unfolded before me – A journey that I created.

There is no amount of gratitude that I could express that would do justice to how thankful I feel; thankful for this magnificent, breathtaking city that has taken me to new heights; thankful for all of the beautiful beings that have crossed my path, become my brothers and sisters, and supported my dreams and my personal growth; a life so rich and full of Grace and love. I am the Phoenix and I have risen.

Phoenix Rising

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Over recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with several different friends from out of town, all friends who came from different cities and from previous lives of mine. Not only was it wonderful to catch up with these old friends and reminisce about times gone by, but it was a compelling opportunity to look back on my journey, to see all of the dots that have connected, and to reflect on all of the wonderful souls who have touched and shaped my path along this winding road of life.

Boston, MA

The first of these friends, Simone, was visiting from my home city of Boston. We began working together when I was a mere 23 years old, fairly fresh out of college and wet behind the ears. Looking back on that young age, now 14 years later, it is hard to even recognize the person that I once was. I was just barely beginning my journey into adulthood and I had so much to learn, and so many tough lessons that were still ahead of me. In my wildest imagination (or nightmares!), I could not have conceived of what was yet to come. I was, however, fortunate enough to land the job of a lifetime. For several years we organized student tours abroad and got to reap the benefit of traveling to exciting, foreign lands. This was a professional life filled with wonderful friends, laughter, hilarious travel stories and adventures and simply joyful and rewarding times. These were the days of our lives.

Fast forward five years and I would find myself a new resident of the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, and a newly enrolled graduate student. Having left behind a broken heart and dark clouds in Boston, I was starting over in a new life, preparing to embark on a career of international diplomacy and peace-keeping. However, a semester of confusion, dissatisfaction and feeling like a fish out of water, would eventually lead to my leaving graduate school and landing serendipitously in a job working for an International Human Rights organization. This is where I would meet Lauren, the second visitor to San Francisco in recent weeks.

Washington, DC

Lauren and I would become part of what I coined the “The Sex and the City” foursome of ladies who would get together regularly for dinner and girl talk. These friends were the rocks that kept me grounded during my four years in Washington. Lauren would witness me evolve into my first management role in the .com world, she would see me grapple with the stresses of a high-pressure, long-hour career, and she would see me struggle through a confusing yet painfully beautiful long-distance “relationship,” a relationship which would eventually leave me completely shattered, turned inside out and gasping for air. About to embark on what would turn out to be my “dark night of the soul,” Lauren would be part of the good group of friends that would send me off on my forever-destined journey to the west coast, leaving behind my east coast life and friends, leaving behind a part of myself.

The journey west would take me to Los Angeles, a city that would unwittingly become home to the deepest depression, the most gripping pain and the most intense struggle of my life. But simultaneously, and somewhat ironically, it would become the most bewitching and magical place I have ever lived, deeply connecting with the fibers of my spirit. Filling me up with her bittersweet nectar, Los Angeles would eventually become the gateway to a profound spiritual awakening, a complete transformation and a brand new Jeannie, alchemized by the fire of life.

Magical Los Angeles

Enter Garrett. A childhood friend of the family, Garrett had known me since I was a young girl and he had seen me grow into a woman. He had known me through various lives and several different versions of myself. Upon my arrival in Los Angeles, he was one of the only people I knew and was often the only shoulder to cry on during a very dark time. Garrett was witness to the darkest years of my life, the most profound turmoil through which I have walked, and for this I am grateful.

I am grateful because today when I met Garrett and his girlfriend for coffee in downtown San Francisco, while they were visiting from Los Angeles, I was able to shine brightly and tell Garrett how happy I am, how much joy, wonder and magic I experience on a daily basis. Had Garrett not been there to witness my lowest point, I’m not sure anyone would truly know how extraordinary and powerful my transformation has been, and how grateful I am for all of the trials and tribulations that have led me to this place.

As I look back on these friends, and the many others who have laughed with me, cried with me, fought with me and walked alongside me, I am deeply touched by the indelible marks that each one has left on my soul. It is often said that we should not look back to the past, but I profoundly disagree. There is so much grace and beauty in putting the pieces together and making sense of how the journey unfolded. Some of the most important lessons, and even revelations, of our lives come from time reflecting back on our previous journeys. It is all a beautiful, and necessary, part of our evolution.

It is true that however we might plan and plot, in large part we have no idea where are journeys will take us next, or where each path will lead; but what I am sure of is that there will be beautiful souls along the way, souls who will come into our lives to help us along our journey. There will be souls who help us, souls who hurt us, and there will be souls who crack us wide open, but each one of these souls has a purpose and a powerful lesson to teach us. And as we walk along our path, however much it twists and turns, and however dark, scary and painful it may become at times… we should embrace the journey.

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As we prepare to head into the New Year, it is of course common tradition that we reflect back on the year that is coming to a close. We see all of the “Best of” lists of 2011, we revisit the most prominent news stories, both good and bad, and we think about all that we have accomplished and that which we did not get a chance to do. With that knowledge, we then prepare to set our intentions for the coming year ahead. As I look back on 2011 and prepare to head into 2012, the one word that comes to mind is… UNCERTAINTY.

The entire planet is gripped with a high degree of uncertainty at the moment. We’ve seen governments collapse all over the Middle East as a result of the Arab Spring, and now we wait with bated breath to see what will happen next, which will be the next country to collapse, and if the ones that have will manage to form any kind of cohesive, effectual governments. We’ve seen economic systems crumble, and take down intrinsically linked economies with them. We watch on pins and needles hoping to avoid a domino effect across the globe. As the year draws to a close we wait with nervous trepidation to see what will come of the recent news in North Korea and Iran. The world is filled with anxiety and fear at the level of uncertainty that exists.

While we see this uncertainty on a macro level, I’m also seeing it all around me on a micro level, in the daily lives of friends and family all around me. 2011 has been a year of massive shifting and transition. So many people have lost their jobs (myself included!), others have gone through divorces, others have ended long-term relationships or begun new ones, and still others have made monumental shifts in their lifestyles: changes of career, changes of location, even changes of purpose. Many have also been shifting on an esoteric level, accessing new levels of consciousness not before experienced.

I have so many friends that are presently living through intense periods of uncertainty, not having any idea what the future will hold or which way to go next. And with that comes the expected confusion, anxiety and even panic. After all, we are human. It is in our nature to fear the unknown. In my own life, so many questions remain: When will I again have an income? How will I pay my next rent check? Will I ever find love? Will I end up alone? These questions are very real for me. But am I filled with the inevitable dread and angst that would typically accompany such uncertainty? The answer is “no.” And here is why: While it is our human nature to fear the unknown, that which we cannot see, know or understand, I have realized that this is one of our many human frailties. The truth is that uncertainty is simply a disguise, albeit a sometimes scary one, for OPPORTUNITY.

When I look back on my own life, I am able to see that every period of uncertainty through which I lived, inevitably led to a much greater opportunity than I could have possibly imagined. The first period that comes to mind was 1997-1998, my first year out of college. I was living in Boston and was working at my first “real” job. I hated it. I was miserable. I counted the days…literally. But I had no idea what to do or where to go next. I was applying for jobs everywhere, but as is often the case with recent college grads, I lacked the experience to get my foot in the door at most places. And frankly I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I did all I knew how to do… I followed my bliss.

I had studied abroad in Spain and was passionate about foreign cultural exchange as an incredible opportunity for growth and empowerment. So I began pursuing any job related to foreign exchange programs, international educational travel, etc. Then one day, after a year of searching, BOOM, it happened. I landed the dream job. I spent the next five years organizing student educational travel to Spain and Latin America and traveled to both places frequently. I had landed exactly where I was meant to be.

Fast forward to the year 2004. I had moved to Washington, DC to pursue a graduate degree in international affairs. Though it was certainly not what I had planned, almost as soon as I arrived I knew I was in the wrong place. It did not take me long to realize I was not a bureaucrat, so I shifted gears and dropped out of graduate school. Here I was having left the job I loved in Boston, but I knew I couldn’t go back. That life was over. I could only go forward. But where to? I had no idea. Once again, I began a long and arduous job search, really having no idea what I was looking for, but simply trying to apply for any job that fit the skills I had gained in my previous position. But I had some pressure on me. I knew that I would run out of money by that August, so I would have to find a job before then. And what if I didn’t? I had no idea what would happen then. I was in the tight grip of uncertainty….Until, low and behold I found a job on August 23rd, my first job in the dot-com world and the job that put me on the path towards a successful management career. Once again, a period of deep uncertainty had led to nothing but incredible opportunity.

And then there was the “dark night of the soul,” from the years 2007-2009. Not only were these the darkest, most painful years of my life, they were by far the most uncertain. I had left my stable management job in DC to move across the country, in part to fight for love. Well as we all know, life does not always go as we plan. Instead I found myself rejected, abandoned, jobless and friendless and about to enter a protracted period of unemployment and instability in correlation with the recession that was about to hit. During this period I went from being unemployed, to working at a minimum wage job, to finally landing a stable job, to in the end being laid off and unemployed AGAIN. Nothing had gone right. My life was completely stagnant and uncertain. I had no idea what to do or which way to go. I was lost…and I was terrified. The future looked anything but bright.

But as many of you know from reading my previous stories, those intense years of uncertainty would eventually give birth to opportunities and adventures I never could possibly have imagined. That job that laid me off eventually led me to another dot-com management job in San Francisco, and it was the dramatic unraveling of that job that surprisingly and unimaginably led me to the unexpected life that I am living now: the life of a writer.

So what is the lesson in this? Well, I have learned that although on the surface uncertainty is very scary, in reality, at its core it is anything but. Uncertainty is an opportunity. It is the freedom to try new things, it is a blank palette on which to paint anything you want, it is a chance to think outside the box and dare to try things that your previous limitations would never have allowed you to try. But beyond that, if we can not only sit with and accept uncertainly, but if we can take it one step further and truly embrace uncertainty, that is when the true expansion happens and the possibilities become endless. When we can surrender and allow ourselves to sink into the uncertainty, to become one with it and trust in its purpose; and when we allow ourselves to be not only excited, but ecstatic about the possibilities that exist in the unknown, that is when the Universe will respond and bring magic into our lives.

So yes, there are many questions that still remain in my life, and I do not know what the future will hold. But I can tell you I am nothing but excited and elated about what will come. And I know that this period of uncertainty, like all of the others that have come before it, will lead to nothing but incredible circumstances and surprises ahead. I know that the possibilities are endless. And as I look at all of the friends around me who are living through tough periods of uncertainty, and as I think about all of you readers out there who I know are living through the same, I have one message for you: Congratulations. You are the lucky ones!

As you prepare to head into 2012, look not at the limitations in your life. But instead look at the possibilities. Do not fear uncertainty, instead embrace it. And as you set your New Year’s Resolutions, don’t limit yourself to the hopes and dreams you have now. Open yourself up to the ones you haven’t yet dared to imagine.

This post is dedicated to Diana C., Adriana Z. and Kristina L. May you dare to dream…

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I love Joseph Campbell. I think his writings and his philosophies were and continue to be brilliant and thought-provoking, and when I read his works it is clear to me that he was tapping into a deeper, ancient fountain of wisdom. “Follow Your Bliss” is one of his most famous statements. We all know what that means: follow what it is that brings you true joy, and you will find true happiness at the other end. While I agree with that in part, the problem is that we humans tend to take it too literally. What do I mean by that? Well, here’s the thing: if you are living a full life, there will be dozens if not tens of dozens of things (hobbies, activities, careers, etc) that bring you Bliss. So how do you know if you are following the right one? 

When I was a kid, like many little girls I dreamed of being a dancer. If I had followed that Bliss, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have turned out very fruitful for me. But would it be because I didn’t try hard enough or that I didn’t set a strong enough intention and stick with it? Nope. Not at all. It would in fact be because I don’t believe I was good enough. I loved to dance, but truthfully I was only an average dancer. And as I watched the top students go on to be stars in the Nutcracker, I knew they had something that I didn’t. They were born with a talent that I knew I did not possess. Was I being too hard on myself and giving up too easily? Nope. Even as a child I had enough wisdom to know that not all dreams are meant for all people. Since moving to San Francisco, I’ve met a woman who is one of the soloist ballerinas for the San Francisco Ballet. When I watch this woman move, it is clear to me that she was born with a true gift: she was born with this special talent, but she was also born with the perfect stature and grace to be a ballerina. I was not. I believe this was her Calling. And I know that it was not mine.

Later on in life, in my late 20’s I found myself writing an extensive thesis to President Bush about all that was wrong with our foreign policy. Even as I wrote it, I found myself wondering “Wow, where is THIS coming from?” I was passionate about foreign affairs. So following that Bliss, I quit my job in Boston and moved to Washington, DC where I enrolled in a Master’s program in International Affairs at George Washington University. I was going to solve the Middle East Crisis, that was my goal. I was following my passion, my Bliss, so surely I was on the correct track. Right? Wrong. It didn’t take me more than one semester in Washington, DC to realize that I was NOT a bureaucrat, that the life of a government employee would not in fact bring me Bliss, that it would instead bring me soul-numbing frustration. So I left graduate school and gave up on that dream and went on to another. One could read that and tell me that I had simply quit, that I had given up. But here’s where they’d be wrong: one major mistake that we make as stubborn human beings is not knowing WHEN to give up, when to change gears. I did not quit. I simply was aware of the sign posts, and when the sign said “turn here” I paid attention and turned instead of wasting more time on what I knew was the wrong path. I had followed Bliss, but it was the wrong Bliss.

That experience of dropping out of graduate school was a perfect example of trial and error and this is what I think is so important with helping us to truly find the Bliss that we are meant to find. Many of the things that we LOVE to do, that truly bring us Bliss, are not in fact our true Calling and would actually be better simply as hobbies. This is what I realized about foreign affairs. I realized that I could simply read The Economist weekly and engage in intellectual debates with my like-minded friends. But it didn’t have to be my career, my livelihood. It could instead simply be a hobby. Years prior when I had been a Zoology major and was determined to fulfill my childhood dream of going to Africa to save all of the endangered species, I was disappointed to find myself earning C’s and D’s in the challenging science classes: chemistry, physics, etc. This brought me the same realization. I could love animals, and I could volunteer my time and donate money to animal charities (which I do), but it did not need to be my career. I knew that that path was met with too much challenge for it to be my true Bliss.

As we are such a stubborn race, so many of us foolishly cling to false ideas of what we think is our Bliss, and instead we lose the opportunity to be open to something that we never might have imagined. Several days ago someone told me that they had followed their Bliss to be a musician, but that it had only led to a life of pain. I would then argue that that was the wrong Bliss, and not the one that was truly that person’s Calling. When you’ve found your true Calling, it is true that the Universe conspires to help you: doors that were previously shut tight suddenly blow open for you, the right people show up into your life to help you at exactly the right moment, and magic happens. I know this because this has happened to me since I started writing. And here’s the beauty in this statement: I never in my life wanted to be a writer. Looking back, it would never have been my Bliss. So how can I then say that I support the idea, even somewhat of “Follow Your Bliss“. Because writing actually IS my Bliss, I just hadn’t yet discovered it. There was a whole path out there that I never would have considered for myself, one that I never would have imagined would bring me Bliss. So how could I have found it? I couldn’t have. I had to be OPEN to IT finding me. And once it did, that’s when I knew this was a Bliss I could follow. And just as with the trial and error that I had tried previously, I tried this path. And that’s when the doors started blowing wide open.

Peter Tileston, my high school band director

Life is not meant to be difficult, and so often we waste so much time swimming upstream, and we fail to recognize that the fact that we are being met with nothing but obstacle, challenge and uphill battles is actually the Universe trying to hit us over the head and tell us that we are on the WRONG path. And if we would just let go, and let the current take us downstream, we would find that life can be so much easier, and beauty that we never would have imagined will come to us. So many of us are clinging to ideas that we THINK are right, but we are too afraid to let go and surrender to the idea that there may be something entirely different meant for us. What about that person who had followed their Bliss into a life of pain as a musician? Perhaps, their TRUE Bliss would have been not in being a performing musician, but rather as a teacher, bringing the magic of music to others? I was blessed with an incredible music teacher and band director in high school. This man had gone to school for music and I’m sure at one time or another thought that his Bliss was to be a professional musician. But I can tell you that from the 1,000s of students lives he has impacted, and the beautiful and life-changing lessons that he instilled in all of us, that this man had found his Calling as a teacher.

What about the person who is clinging to the idea that they are meant to be an artist, they are trying to follow their Bliss, but instead it has led to a life of struggle and destitution? That is not true Bliss. Perhaps if this person opened themselves up to other ideas, they might find their true magic in doing art therapy with disabled children. Perhaps the person who is certain that they are supposed to be a famous, published author, is actually instead meant to be the one-of-a-kind, special teacher who nurtures and mentors the NEXT Nobel Laureate. Or perhaps it’s something entirely different than what we want and imagine for ourselves. Perhaps the person who insists that their Bliss is to be a filmmaker is actually meant to be an internationally-renowned Yoga teacher? This one is actually a real-life example of which I just learned. When I was living in Los Angeles, one of my earliest yoga teachers who inspired me onto the path of yoga was this fabulous teacher named Tara Judelle. She is an internationally-renowned Anusara yoga teacher who travels the world leading workshops and now lives in Bali teaching yoga in paradise. I did not know this about Tara, but just the other day she posted this message: “9/11 marks the 10 year anniversary of my decision to stop making films and start making change as a yoga facilitator- be the change.” I was shocked because I had never known that she had previously been a filmmaker. All I knew of her was that she made magic on the mat as a yoga teacher. It is clear to me now that by releasing her career as a filmmaker, she was able to find what I believe is her true Bliss, her true Calling: to be a soulful, beautifully impactful yoga teacher who spreads light, and Bliss, all around the world.

Tara Judelle

So how do you find YOUR Bliss? Trial and error. Try lots of different things, explore all of the different activities and adventures that bring you Bliss. BE OPEN: Be open to the idea that any one of those examples of Bliss may in fact be better meant as a hobby and not actually as your Calling. BE ATTENTIVE: If life is too difficult and wrought with challenge, and is not simply flowing, the Universe is trying to tell you something. Listen. BE FLEXIBLE: When you get these blaring sign-posts from the Universe be willing to change gears, be willing to give up what you are doing and turn to the right and try something else. Be like the water and go with the flow. BE BRAVE: Be willing to try something completely new, something you never would have imagined. You just never know what Calling may find YOU.

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They say that during your toughest times, you find out who your true friends are. I am learning that this is also true during your best times.

In recent months I have begun to see positive movement forward in my writing career and while most of the people in my life have truly been avid cheerleaders, and for that support I am eternally grateful, others have been noticeably silent. They have made no acknowledgment of my successes, have offered no kind words of encouragement, and frankly have offered no words at all. Some are very simply jealous, envious of the success I am seeing, others disapprove of what I am doing or how I am doing it, while still others think I have simply gone off the “new-age deep-end”. At this premise I simply have to laugh because for one, what mainstream society unwittingly calls “new-age” philosophy is actually based on ancient wisdom, wisdom as old as the stars. But secondly, even if inadequately named, to this notion I would have to respond, “Yes, proudly. ; )” But I digress..

When I was younger and I would express to my Grandmother my distress about friends who were being unsupportive, she would simply say to me, “Oh nevermind.” I now realize how much wisdom was held within that simple statement. For I have realized that it doesn’t matter what any of those detractors think of what I am doing. If they choose to be unsupportive or disapproving, I have realized that that is their problem, not mine. And it is not worth a moment of my precious energy trying to please them.

All of my life I have cared way too much about what other people think of me. I don’t know where this personality trait comes from, but even from a young age I have always been a people-pleaser. Whether I was trying to please my parents by getting the best grades, or trying to please my teachers by being the model student, if I wasn’t doing perfectly and making people proud of me, I was not content. As an adult I carried this into my professional life by always striving to be the top employee and climb the corporate ladder. But I have realized that over the years I have acted this out to a fault: I have spent years walking on eggshells, agonizing over my choice of words, and ensuring that I did or said the right things in order to not offend or upset the people around me. And while that was always from a place of good intention, and there are certainly moments when being a diplomat is the right course of action, as a whole I have realized that trying to please everyone else is a futile effort and frankly a waste of my valuable time. Simply put, it does not matter how well-intentioned I may be, or how hard I strive to act from a place of highest good, there will always be people who are unhappy with me. Being a writer has forced me to face this reality, and for this I am grateful. I know that no matter what I write, no matter how sincere or heartfelt, that there will be people who hate it, people who are enraged by my words. And so I realize, yet again, that that is their problem, not mine.

Oprah Winfrey spoke on her final show about the idea that everyone on this Earth has a calling:

“Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing. We saw it in the volunteers who rocked abandoned babies in Atlanta. We saw it with those lovely pie ladies from Cape Cod making those delicious potpies. … We saw it every time Tina Turner, Celine, Bocelli or Lady Gaga lit up the stage with their passion. Because that is what a calling is. It lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you and hope that you will take from this show. To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”

As I watched Oprah beautifully express her final soliloquy, her words came out of the television screen and enveloped me. I was moved to tears and goosebumps ran up and down my spine. As she described what it means to have found your calling, I knew that I had found mine. This message further reverberated with me only a few weeks later when one of my yoga teachers was talking about the first time she stepped onto the mat, and how she knew immediately that it was her calling to be a yoga teacher. As I sat on my own mat, legs folded in a seated meditation position, I resonated with everything my teacher was saying, and I felt exactly what she must have felt that day she realized her own calling. I too realized that I had found my calling.

This life has the possibility of presenting us with profound spiritual experiences, experiences that allow us to expand our consciousness and to access our deep, inner truth. By living through one of these experiences, and going deep into the recesses of your spirit and your higher consciousness, you are able to access ancient wisdom. And if you are open enough to “see”and brave enough to trust what lays within, you may be fortunate enough to find your calling. This is exactly what happened to me. The type of life experiences that can lead to such a powerful opening and awaking of consciousness are often experiences of the most painful and tragic kind. Traveling to such profound levels of grief can allow you to blow wide open. This is exactly what happened to me when I lived through my “dark night of the soul“.

I went into my “dark night” having been a manager in the .com world. To my surprise I emerged a writer. As I listened to Oprah Winfrey’s experience, it struck me that often times we have no idea of what our calling will be. We may think that we are supposed to be a doctor because society says that is the best career, or a lawyer because we come from a long line of lawyers, but the truth is that what we think we are supposed to be doing, may in fact be the farthest thing from the truth; it may have nothing to do with our calling. Never in my life did I want to be a writer. It was never remotely a thought in my head. I was not the kid in English class dreaming of being a literary master (and believe me I know plenty who were!). I hated writing. Hell, I even avoided certain college classes because there were too many required research papers for my taste. But when life happened to me, and I suddenly found myself placed on the path of the writer, without having any idea of how I had gotten there, that’s when I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be.

This brings me back to those people who are being less than enthusiastic about my new-found path and reminds me of another story. Earlier this week my yoga community was celebrating the 14th Birthday of Anusara Yoga. The same teacher I mentioned above was giving a tribute to Anusara founder, John Friend, and she was telling us that when John Friend first started what was a brand new branch of yoga and a new lineage of teaching, while he was blessed with the support of many, he also had a number of detractors and was met with some criticism. Of course he was, he was doing something different from the mainstream. He was taking bold actions to develop a brand new style of yoga and this was threatening to the “old guard.” But as my teacher reminded us, John had already found his inner truth and he knew that he was on his true path, that he had found his calling. Despite the criticism, he knew he had to stand in his truth. Now, 14 years later, Anusara Yoga is one of the fastest-growing yoga movements on the planet, and John’s teachings have profoundly and beautifully impacted and transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people (I am one of those!). John Friend was right to trust his inner guidance and to stand in his truth.

I was lit up as my teacher told this story. As seems to happen more often than not, I felt that her message was magically directed straight at me. I knew immediately that I am no different than John Friend. I have accessed an inner truth that has given me 100% certainty that I have found my calling and that I am on my truth path on this Earth. My journey is to write inspirational stories from the heart, stories of hurt and healing, of betrayal and triumph; to help others with their own healing, by writing about mine. And as I move forward and I am inevitably met with additional criticism, I will always remember the wise words of my Grandmother, “Oh Nevermind.” And I will stop trying to please everyone around me, and instead I will STAND IN MY TRUTH because I know that as long as I am on my true path the rest will follow…

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All of my life I knew that I wanted children. It was just something that I had never questioned. I often felt badly for the friends who were confused and unsure, but I could never understand how they could not know. I was so sure. Like my own family, I hoped to have 2 boys and a girl.

They say that women have a biological clock and that one day it will start ticking. Well, I learned that for myself when I was 27 years old. Several of my colleagues began having children and bringing them into the office and I just couldn’t get enough of them. Of course I was recently broken up from a long-term relationship, so I knew it wasn’t coming for me anytime soon. But I was still young, I wasn’t worried.

The years passed and I found myself living in a different city, a grad-school drop-out and still no children. Instead I was busy working in the start-up world. I was distracted and life was taking me in a different direction for now. I still wasn’t worried. I knew that I had time.

When I was in my early 30’s, the man that I loved said to me “You will be so adorable pregnant.” I felt certain that it would be with him, and I would daydream about our lives together as parents with our children. But the Universe had other ideas.

When my nieces and then my nephew were born, also in my early 30’s, I was overwhelmed with love for these little beings. In awe of the fact that they shared my DNA, I loved them like they were my own. As my brothers can attest, I showered them with love and affection at every possible opportunity. I loved being an auntie, and I knew from my experience with them that I would make a great Mom…but this further fueled the fire of own maternal yearnings. I was overflowing with love, but I wanted my own children on whom to shower that love.

But then I was 34. And then 35. Then 2 cities later and still single… and without any prospects on the horizon. Although everyone kept telling me I had time and that I was sure to meet someone, I knew in my heart that it may not happen. I had to prepare myself for the possibility that I had missed my opportunity, that I may never have children. Now I know that if I really wanted to I could get a sperm donor and have a child on my own, but that has never felt like the right choice for me. For one I can’t afford it, but secondly with the number of hungry mouths already on this Earth, it just never felt right to me to bring another child into this world under those circumstances. Instead, I have always had the backup plan that if I were still single at 40, I would simply adopt.

Now I am 36. And each year that passes, the reality that I may not have children becomes more and more real to me. And I have cried, believe me I have cried. Furious tears. I have been angry and bitter, envious of the friends who have children, pissed at a cruel Universe for taking my dream away from me, and broken by and resentful of the men who left me single. Why was this happening to me? It had been my dream to have children. How could I possibly find myself in this situation?

Well, time changes all things. Although at one time heart-breaking, I have had to come to grips with the idea that I may not have children in my future. And while I have wrestled that idea to the ground over and over again, in the end we have called a truce. I can no longer go on fighting. And as I sit here with the most adoring kitty on my lap, purring up at me, and with a second lovable kitty on the couch behind me, paw on my shoulder, I have to laugh. I always wanted children. I guess I just didn’t specify to the Universe that I did not mean the furry kind.

So where am I at now in my thinking? I am perfectly content with where I am. Through an unexpected twist of fate, life appears to be taking me in a different direction. And I can honestly say that I have completely let go of the need and the desire to have children…I have released the dream. And more importantly I have surrendered myself to the higher plans of the Universe. While I know that there is still a possibility that I could have my own children, and certainly that I can adopt, I am no longer concerned with either. I know that the Universe has a plan for me, and whether that plan includes children or not, no longer matters. Whatever the plan will be, I am filled with nothing but excitement and anticipation to watch it unfold.

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