One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Posts tagged ‘love’

February Food Foundations

Eating in

Eating in

Good news : February is almost past

Bad news: I am afraid of loosing all that I have gained from this last months resolution.

We chose “No Eating Out” for the second month of the year primarily because we wanted to be healthier and it only had 28 days in it so we wouldn’t to deprive ourselves of restaurant food for very long. It also seemed like such a daunting task since I probably average 1 meal out a day. Our lives are busy ones … along with everyone else … and grabbing a sandwich here and a burrito there just seemed easier then carrying around a bunch of food with me all day long. The benefits of this all, however, have expressed beyond those initial intentions as all of our resolutions do.

First, I noticed a drastic change of energy. I felt more awake and stronger after my first week of preparing all of my meals by my own hands and with fresh ingredients. Many “Well Duh!” ‘s may follow that last comment but it really took doing it myself for an extended period of time to realize the importance of making our own food.

Second, I am saving hundreds of dollars! For some, another “Duh!” moment. For me, I expected to save some money but I truly had no idea it would be this much. I am terrible with money. I never really know how much I have, how much I owe, or where and how it gets spent. I have always been completely hopeless and happily delusional and this has been a surprising wake-up call as well as new-found motivation into being better with where my money goes.

Third, our relationship has improved. Along with the “eating in” resolution we also decided to eat every meal at the kitchen table instead of the usual Netflix 1-2 hour dinner watch-a-thon. Now, I will be honest. On those nights when I got home late from work and wanted desperately to never sit in a chair again, we did end up cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, zoned out and unconsciously shoveling food into our mouths. But the majority of the time we ate at the table and would stay there talking well beyond our plates had been emptied and cleared. My partner even started helping out with meals (Despite our “I cook, you clean” arrangement) which I really appreciated on those nights when I would usually vote for take out sushi.

Now as we munch our way into March this coming week I want to stay connected with the foundations that we have cultivated. New habits of making lunches, brining snacks, and creative cooking are always available and in a city where it is incredibly easy to forget these things I think its important that we keep ourselves reminded on all that we have gained from this months experience. And as always, even though I have always known this was the better way, it took actually doing it to make the difference. Practice makes for more practice. Horay!

Happy Eating In !


xo Carly

Its a Resolutionful Life

After a year of a different resolution every month it seems completely bonkers not to continue doing it. It is also easy to be inspired when I hear that friends and family members are also taking on our challenge along with us. (If you didn’t see our resolutions for 2013 check out “December Giveaway” for a re-cap)

As we roll into the New Year of 2014 my motivations for resolutions are less about “fixing” myself and more about enhancing my experiences. Despite my intention of guilt-free resolutions, there still was a lot of guilt attached to my goals and it took a whole year of trying new things and various challenges to see the resolutions that really made me grow and those that just made me feel bad. There is always going to be a bit of give and take for any new intention and I believe I can enter into any new goal with a bit more understanding an love knowing that more deeply.

So what is January 2014’s Resolution you ask?!

January is “Take a Picture Everyday” month.

My partner and I have a pretty lovely little life together. Lots of trips, lots of laughs, and lots of love. We also live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Surrounded my sky and sea and in the 2 years that I have lived here I don’t have much documentation of the beauty in our day to day as well as the spectacular.

Secret look-out beyond English Bay

Secret look-out beyond English Bay

We are constantly making new memories but so rarely have evidence of those memories afterwards. “Hey remember that time we went to that place? It was May and it was hot out. Where was that?” Even looking back in old journals are lacking in my actual life events and instead I only tend to write when I am feeling bad or lonely.

I am all about living in the moment which is why I am in this position in the first place but hopefully a month of documenting our life a wee bit better can help me get more into the habit of doing it in the future.


I always love to hear about other’s experiences and ideas on the topic of resolutions. Please feel free to share yours.

Sharing the Fire


We may not know it at the time but deep awakening is possible around every corner and on every new road that is traveled. When it came to my first Burn I knew about the journey and the benefits of positive surroundings. I was aware of the other possobilities as well. Those being fun, acceptance, and happiness. I was very much prepared for the beauty that was the desert and to share the experience that I already had as well as what I was about to learn. One thing that I was not prepared for, however, was the complete cleansing that took place in my soul. I was not prepared for the unstoppable tears that fell for hours on the night the man burned. I most definitely was not prepared for the sudden awareness of the pain that I was holding on to.

The day of the burn was a lovely day. Hot, dusty, and terribly fun; as most days at Burning Man are. Our fantastic camp (The Space Gnomes) gathered, we put on our matching space hats, grabbed our space ray guns, and hit the playa as one. The walk over was full of excitement and anticipation. I had no idea what to expect and was ready to cheer and dance and run around the desert in celebration of our new freedom. I was in awe of the fire performers and reveled in the fire works. But as soon as the first explosion of true flames erupted the tears began. Without warning they fell with such force that I could barely cheer when the man finally fell from his Spaceship throne.

I am incredibly content in my life, but I still cry. Most often in happy moments, at the end of yoga class, during a good song, or watching a commercial about how awesome the world is ( ). So it was disconcerning to be crying out of discomfort, pain, hate, and fear. I experienced all those emotions as they left my body. It was like the Playa dust filled every single nook and cranny. It was in every inch of my being, inbetween my breaths and my thoughts, surrounding my hopes and my dreams, and there was no room left for pain. No space for expectation. And when the last bit of microscopic volume in my cells was filled with dust there was no capasity remaining for fear.

The next day when I awoke… I was completely cleared of any of those emotions and was whole again with love, acceptance, peace, contentment, and dust… of course. I took a deep breath as I sat out on the deep Playa Sunday watching the sunrise and remembering the night before. It was amazing to feel that whole of a human for the first time in my life. Weightless, yet steady. Excited and calm. Loving myself and the man next to me who supported me the whole way to our home the night before. I realized then what a powerful and nessesary experience it was that I had and how lucky I was to have that experience along with 67 000 other souls. That everyone, not just my partner, supported me through that challenge of release. And I know that my energy helped sustain someone else’s journey as well.

I am incredibly grateful for this this moment in time. An unexpected release and the chance to return to the world with a new perspective and the inspiration to share and encourage others to take the 10 Principles of Burning Man into their hearts.

Life is full of spectacular moments, but we cannot plan for them. All we can do is wake up. Go outside and smile.

Dropping the Ball, Picking up the Goggles

August is quickly coming to an end and my resolution for the month is also quickly fading away. What started out as good intentions to speak to more strangers and ready myself for the openness of Burning Man ended with my complete consuption with new resonsibilities at work and getting physically ready for the iconic gathering. I have even attempted writing this post more than once and more than once I have been pulled away by other things that appeared more important.

At first, I gave up on my resolution blogging for this month. Other things were happening and I had felt such success with July that I offered myself a break. Wes and I had decided to talk to more strangers for August and I figured I would still do it, but not have to write about it right away. Very quickly my resolution was forgotten in Wes and my minds and the space made for bridging the gap and creating connected began to fill with negativity, judgment, and stress.

This was foolish I have come to realize, and that the physical preparations (food, water, money,etc) are only a small part of nessessary readiness. As much as costumes and Emergen-C play a significant role, cultivating the right intention is going to make the all the difference in my experience. Not to mention the experience of my amazing partner in all of this. Clearly, this realization is not only about Burning Man but life.

Life is a glorious adventure and instead of getting caught up in the things I “Should” be doing I intent to put passion, purity, and dedication into the things I am doing in the moment. This means writing more about my human experience and not giving into uninspired apathy. I have discovered more about myself and life within the letters on paper or screen than I ever have trying to get ahead at work or being mad at someone for saying “I can fold them” in the wrong way. The enjoyment of writing is a gift as is the ability for everyone to have the chance to share.


So what is the August Resolution at the end of all this reflection? Continue to speak to new people and surrender to the shared experience that we are cultivating.


a;ex grey


How did this beauty

Come so swiftly my way

When hope had been lost

My heart decayed

He spoke “why do you do this

Let them take your power

You are a Goddess of love

The queen of the hours”

My reply was weak

and completely unknowing

Already given in

To the loneliness growing

Then with a voice

As strong as the tides

He thrust “You are beautiful

You are divine”

As the stranger left

A new sensation arrived

I was worth more than that

I was worth love in this life

Let go of the sadness

and the role that I spoke

To fix all the men

That appeared to be broke

It was my turn to feel

Without pain or doubt

My turn to learn

What this love was all about

And than there you were

Right out of the blue

With your zest of life

Brightly shining through

There was no guessing

and only trust

And soon we went

From you and I to us

Now you are mine

and I am yours

My spirit awakened

Discarding the unsure

Our unbending hearts

stay strong, stay true

There is no replacement

for the wonder that is you

The Woods

The Woods

by Carly Russell


                It had been another long day at the office. Phones ringing, fluorescent lights glaring, and greedy co-workers making her feel small and insignificant. There is a reason that people feel as though the weight of the world is on their shoulders, she thought. She felt guilty that she this sad and depleted when she only had herself to take care of. No husband or children to mind. No big bills piling up or illness to bring her down. She had every reason for happiness and yet there was none.

She glanced out her buildings window. The path leading from her small office on the edge of the city, along the forest wall seemed like the perfect place to shed away the day. The evening was clear so she to ventured without a coat. The long sleeved loose shirt and light bootcut jeans fit just right and she already feet better at the thought of moving her body outside.

Soon she had made it to the clearing and away from the office. She felt elated by the openness of the field and wondered why she didn’t always come out here to eat her lunch or walk instead of remaining inside the stale space where she spent close to 10 hours a day. She even felt as though she was breathing deeper for the first time in months; taking in all the fresh new air that surrounded her.


“Annabel, you are so lucky. You have a good man, a good steady job, and satisfied life here. How could you even consider leaving?” It was her grandmother readily spewing all the reasons why not to leave her boyfriend, her partner really, of 5 years to travel for 6 months. “All that money you would spend wasting your time sightseeing could be spent on a house or savings for your wedding; which you most definitely won’t have if you leave.”

“I don’t know. It’s just an idea.” She answered. Anna had never really traveled alone before. She had taken quick trips here and there but always in the company of her boyfriend or parents. Foolishly she had brought up the fleeting thought at lunch and was now paying dearly for ever imaging she could do something so silly.

“Judy you seem awfully quiet for a mother who’s only child is about to run off to wherever. Probably get raped and killed in the first week.” Anna’s grandmother was always a little mellow-dramatic.

“I know she won’t go,” Anna’s mother turned to her “Your grandmother’s right sweetie. You have it made here. Michael loves you but he’s not going to stick around while you dilly dally across the world. It’s time to get married and settle down.” There it was. It was the dreaded phrase that was constantly being uttered at family gatherings and other weddings. Time to get married and settle down. It had been five years of dating and playing house. Who were they kidding? In everyone’s opinion, even Michael’s, it was high time they got they took the next step.


The clear sky that was once inviting was now beginning to cloud over. Within seconds, it seemed, the sunshine was gone and a loud cracking sound shook the little piece of land she was walking along. Instantly it began to pour. The girl was too far away from the office to make it back without getting soaked. She looked to the line of trees beside the clearings trail. Hesitating for a moment, she then stepped off the path and into the woods for shelter from the unexpected storm.

It took a moment to adjust her eyes to the trees. She had barely stepped off the path but she was now completely sheltered from the falling rain. For a moment it even appeared to have stopped so she stepped back out again.”Ahhh,” she cried as big wet drops of rain hit here head and hopped back under the canopy of the trees. The rain was still tumbling heavily down from the sky. She walked a little further in. Not too far, she thought to herself. You don’t want to go and get yourself lost.

Getting lost was not entirely absurd. Beyond the field, the tree line went as far as the eye could see. The depths of the forest also went all the way to the base of the large mountain range where habitation was unattainable for most that weren’t born and bred within it. It was not like the area had not been explored by others but there were many tales as she was growing up of souls getting lost amongst the trees.


Legends of the forest: A few years back there were a few high school kids that decided to have a party out in the forest. They knew they shouldn’t be drinking, staying out late on a school night, or even going out into the woods but they were defiant and did it anyway. So the 2 girls and 3 guys packed up their truck with all the things they needed. Stolen liquor from their parents cabinet, blankets to cuddle up in and flashlights to guide their way through the tangle of overgrown forest. The teenagers had heard rumors that there was a beautiful waterfall and lake within the depths of the woods; a secret place that only a few had returned to tell about.

The group set out late on a Thursday night after their parents had drifted off into a peaceful sleep, unknown to them where their children were going. It was not until morning that it was discovered that the 5 teens were not in their beds and it was not until the next day that there was any sign of hope. That hope crawled out from the abundance of the forest and collapsed at the edge. “Where have you been?” the worried people of the city cried. ‘Where are the others?” All the teenager could muster was that the beast had taken them.


As her eyes once more adjusted to the light she realized that despite the heavy covering of branches it appeared to be brighter in the forest than it had been in the field. Almost as if the sun that was previously shining had some how gotten trapped in between the limbs. The girl took it all in; seeing the forest with a new perspective that didn’t include horror stories. She decided to go a little farther in. For a brief moment she gazed back towards the park and even spotted the office building off in the distance, surprising herself on how far she’d walked. The moment of hesitation had now passed and she purposefully moved one foot in front of the other through the space, dancing into the density.


“I can’t believe your not going to come anymore,” said Ruth. Ruth, Anna’s oldest and dearest friend had invited her to visit her in across the ocean where she had been living for almost a year. It was the invite that had sprung the whole idea for 6 months of exploring through unknown lands (unknown to Anna at least). What had started as a simple invitation had turned into a big and beautiful adventure. Anna would first fly to spend a month with Ruth and use the rest of her time exploring on her own with Ruth’s encouragement and keen travel guides. “What happened? You, actually WE, were so excited a week ago. If its money, we can figure it out. Hell, I bet I could even get you some work at the bar.” Ruth, who was just finishing up her first school term there also worked a couple nights a week and the bar below her flat.

“Its not that. I just… I dunno… don’t feel like its the right time for me to be doing something like this.”

“Something like what? Visiting your best friend, having an adventure. Its just going to get harder to do something like this as we get older. The time is now!”

“It’s just that I know Michael won’t like it and my mom said…

“Your MOM!” Ruth interrupted, “Your mom said what?”

“I don’t know. She just made some good points. Like if I sell my car to afford it then I won’t have a car when I get back. I won’t have a job. Maybe I won’t have Michael.”

“What about having experiences? What about adventure and romance? Remember all those things you said you were missing in your life. And someone sure forgot fast how unhappy she was in her relationship a week ago. Unhappy enough to even cheat.” It was true. Anna had been unfaithful to Michael not only once, but a few times. It was quite a stupid thing to do but Anna had had every intention of breaking up with Michael. Not for the other guy. Just for herself since she realized how unhappy she was in their relationship.

“My mom is right, Ruth. Who am I kidding? I love the life I have. I love our apartment, I love my friends, and one day Michael will have a good paying job and we will be able to travel wherever we want then. I won’t even have to work. Can just stay home and take care of our kids.” Anna wasn’t lying was she said this. At least she thought that’s what she wanted. It’s what she is supposed to want.

“Oh Jesus, babe. That sounds tragic.”

“Maybe to you it does. You’re good at this stuff, Ruth. Being independent comes easy to you. Not me.” It was clear even on the phone that Anna was beginning to get upset.

“Okay, I’m sorry. I’m just disappointed, that’s all. If this is what you really want I’m not going to push you. I just want you to be happy,” Ruth continued after a short pause, “All I ever what is to see you happy.” Ruth was sincere. Long friendships allow for swift forgiveness.

“Yeah, yeah. So tell me about that new guy you’re seeing…”


As the girl made her way deeper into the brush she felt a twinge of excitement. It was rare that she was ever alone and the freedom of solidarity now was very present. How strange it was, she thought, that I am never alone. Maybe briefly while in the toilet but otherwise always (in some way or another) with other people. She suddenly felt very nervous with the realization that she didn’t know how to be alone. She had never been to a movie or out for dinner. She didn’t even like to eat lunch alone at work. Always waiting for someone else to join her whether she liked their company or not.

Within her thoughts she still moved through the trees and shrubs. Not really paying much mind to how far she had ventured in. Her new found independence only seemed to bring her farther away from the present moment and focused on her past. A tiny seed of regret began to root itself within her heart.

Before the girl was able to focus too much on the root of regret she stumbled on a log that had fallen across the path that she was creating amongst the trees. She instantly felt foolish and wished that had been watching where she was going instead of daydreaming. A trait her grandmother often scolded her for. The women in our family don’t daydream, the girl reminded herself. “I don’t day dream,” she said aloud. It felt odd to hear her voice after not speaking for a while. Even odder hearing without it being part of a conversation or greeting. “Hmmmm,” she continued, “Hellllooooooooo.” There was no echo to say hello back to her. The sounds just drifting off into the distance. In a flash she became aware of how far she had walked. Stepping over roots and around thick ancient trees. “Oh, what am I doing wandering around the forest like some crazy person? Time to go home.”


“When are you coming home?” Anna asked Michael on the phone.

“I don’t know, babe. The boys are out in full force tonight.” She could tell Michael had had a couple. So had she. “Come join us.” Oh now he asks me, she thinks.

“Where are you?” Anna can hear laughing and music in the distance.

“Umm, just some bar. You know the one with the weird lights.” Anna knew the place.

“Yeah, I remember the one.”

“I’m sure we’ll be here for a bit. Come. I’ll buy you a beer.”

“Oh, my hero.” Anna hung up the phone. She didn’t need to do much to prepare as she just gotten home from work dinner party. A party that Michael had been too busy to accompany her to.

As she stepped out of their shared apartment Anna was already dialing a mesmerized number. It only took a couple rings before being answered. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?” her mother often bypassed simple greetings in order to get right to business. It was also right at this moment that Anna realized how drunk she was.

“Hi, mother. Nothing. Nothing’s wrong. I was just calling to say hello,” Anna replied.

“Oh, well your father and I are in the middle of a movie. Isn’t it a little late?”

“It’s not that late. Say hi to dad for me.”

“That’s it? Okay, goodnight.” Her mother hung up. Anna felt a mixture of relief and hurt at the abrupt ending. It was good since she didn’t think she could handle a conversation with her mother when she was this intoxicated. She pulled out her cigarettes and lit one. Ahhh, thats better, she thought, as the inhale instantly calmed and rejuvenated at the same time.  She had arrived at the bar. She put out her cigarette on the ground, leaving the butt, and fished into her wallet for her I.D. At 25 and petit it would still be awhile before Anna wouldn’t get asked to show it.

“You know we close in 30 minutes?” The bouncer, a predictably bulky guy, asked suspiciously. “Last call is about to happen.”

“That’s fine. I am just here to meet my boyfriend. Thanks.” He handed her I.D back and let her pass. Michael was not wrong in describing the bar at ‘that place with the lights’ since the lights were the first thing you tended to noticed when you walked in. Dark reds, purples, and blues filtered through various fixtures creating a seedy, yet inviting feel.

The place was pretty much empty except for a few stragglers hanging out by the one solitary pool table. No one appeared to be playing, just chatting amongst each other in between gulps of their beers. There were a couple familiar faces among the group but none that were Michael’s. She walked towards them. “Hey, Anna!” rang out from the center of the group.

“Hey Trev,” she replied to one of Michael’s acquaintances. He was tall and lean with a dirty blonde hair. The kind of hair that had always tempted Anna to run her fingers through. “Where’s Michael?”

“Oh, umm, I dunno. I think they left. But uh, you’re welcome to hang out with us.” Trevor gestures to the remaining 4 members of the group. Anna looks to the group. They were an unappealing drunken bunch that she really had no desire to spend her remaining nightlife moments with. “Or… I could walk you home. Just to make sure you get there safely.” Anna pauses for what can only be described as a millisecond.

“Yeah, that would be nice.”


With the decision to go home firm within her mind the girl began to turn around. As she was turning a dark figure appeared to dart behind a tree. She jumped and breathed in. What the hell was that, she thought. She continued to hold her breath until realizing that she needed to exhale. She looked all around her, body tensed. She circled from where she came to where she had been going now frozen on one spot of forest floor. After a few minutes of being on the edge of fear she concluded that it must have been nothing. “Yeah, it was nothing. Relax,” she confirmed to herself aloud. “Just relaaaax.”


“Okay everyone, now just relax.” Anna was lying on the floor of a dark room. She was breathing heavily and could feel the beads of sweat that had formed upon her brow. “As we make our way into our final rest allow the mind to clear. Imagine it as a completely empty space where there is no need for thought.” How on earth does this guy think I am going to clear my mind. He is mad. After a strenuous 50 minutes of her first yoga class Anna was exhausted and figured it would probably be also be her last yoga class. He continued to speak but Anna wasn’t listening anymore. Just as she hadn’t listened throughout class. I can’t twist my body into all these different shapes and be able to relax at the same time, she thought. He had made her hate the word relax, the other girls in the class had made her hate their bodies, and the mirror made her hate herself. If only Anna had listened to the teacher she would have found peace with the word. If she had listened she maybe would have kept her eyes in her own space instead of looking at others. If she had listened Anna could have learned to let go of judgments and appreciate the person in the mirror looking back at her. Alas, she did not hear any of those things.


In the whirl of circling in fear the girl had now completely turned herself around. She darted looks from one way to another. Front and back did not exist anymore. Every direction looked the same. She had no clue which way she had come from or which way she had intended on going. Fuck, she thought, this is just what I need. Oh, yeah just go and get yourself lost in the haunted woods. ‘Your mother would love that’, she said aloud this time.

The girl pulled her shoulders back and looked around with a new dose of determination. She realized that the tree she had thought someone had jumped behind was in view. Okay, that’s a start. She started to walk but stopped suddenly. She then looked down to the forest floor to see what she could collect to mark the direction that she had come. All she had on her were the clothes she was wearing and her house keys. There were pine cones scattered around as well as small branches and twigs. She bent down to gather enough to carry a short distance. The girl felt she had only walked a short ways. As she reached her hand to the ground she touched the earth for the first time since before she could remember. She lets her fingers press further into the mossy earth. She felt a vibration through the soil and into her fingers. For that moment in time she was completely still, at peace even with the simplicity of playing in dirt.


“Don’t touch that! Judy don’t let her touch that.” Anna’s Grandmother May was sitting in a lawn chair. The way she sat, however, one would think that cheap lawn chair was a throne.   Anna’s mother, who was in the middle of making herself another drink, looked casually over to where Anna was playing in the garden. “Anna! Get out of there. Judy, she’s going to get sick. Who knows what diseases are running rampant in that dirt.”

“Alright mother, calm down,” Judy responds as she leaves her drink and walks towards her 3 year old daughter. “Okay, enough playing in the dirt, Anna. You will get sick if you put your hands in the mud.” Anna looked up at her mother, confused.

“Sick, mommy?” She asked.

“Yes,” Judy leans over to pick up her daughter. “Playing with dirt and mud will make you sick according to your crazy Grandmother.”

“Sick with a slew of unknown diseases,” Grandmother May adds paying no mind to the second part. Anna, not understanding all the words in between, holds on to the ones she does. Dirt, sick.

The girl was now sitting with both hands in the earth, eyes closed and breathing calmly. She opens her eyes and is aware of how long she’s been there. What had started as a few fingers grazing the ground had turn into sitting on the forest floor with both hands pressing into the moss and shifting around the pine cones and twigs that she was meant to be picking up. The girl starts to feel foolish again for what she is doing, imagining familiar faces laughing at her. She starts gathering bits and pieces. “SNAP” sounds out through the trees. First the girl thinks she has stepped on a branch beneath her, but then another “SNAP” reverberates from a few feet away. She jolts her head up. Her calm breath traded for quick panicked puffs of air. “Who’s there?” The girl utters; again startled by the sound of her own voice. All that echos back to her is the sound of the wind moving through the leaves. “This isn’t funny.” She can feel the panic within her beginning to transition into anger. Watching herself on the cusp of transformation she stands tall. She begins to walk with purpose towards the sound. At least where she believes the sound is coming from.

The trees slightly part and in between them is a large rock that fits nicely into the side of a small rise in the round. The boulder almost appears to have been placed there and as the girl get closer she sees there is a small opening. She slows her pace almost to a tip toe and crept closer in.


Anna crept towards her apartment door. Michael was most likely passed out in their bed but she didn’t want to take the chance of having to have the conversation of where she’s been all night. It would be easier tomorrow. Everything would be sorted out tomorrow.

She gently put the key in the lock and turned it, so familiar with the workings of her door that she was able to be as quiet as possible. The bolt clicked into the unlocked position. She opened the door and waited. Waited to hear a hello, foot steps or snores. But snoring was what floated to her ears and Anna felt momentarily relieved. She closed the door and took of her coat and boots with a little less care knowing that Michael was safely passed out. She made her way to the bathroom and turned on the light. The person looking back at her a was more vivid version of her former self. Hair tasseled and rosy cheeks. There was even a hint of a glow on her skin. Anna shrugged her new appearance as evidence of her late night wanderings. She turned off the bathroom light as not to stir any guilt.

She went into the living room, grabbed the cordless phone off the couch, her cigarettes, and went out to the balcony. When they had first moved into the apartment Anna had been disappointed that their bedroom didn’t open out onto the patio. She had envisioned waking up early in the morning and stepping directly outside to greet the day. Now she was happy it didn’t. It became her sanctuary for private phone calls and daydreams.

With the cigarette in hand and lit she dialed Ruth’s number. It rang only once before she answered. “Beautiful, Anna. To what do I owe the pleasure? Ohh geez, what time is there? Must be super early.”

“More like super late,” replied Anna. The time difference usually made it difficult for the two friends to talk so Anna was relieved to get her best friend on the phone. She needed someone to talk to. “I did it again.”

“Did what again? Oh. That. When? Who with?” Ruth had a non-judgmental way of communicating

“This guy, Trevor, who hangs out with the group sometimes. I was drunk and Michael had left me and Trev offered to walk me home.”

“Well what happened, exactly?” Ruth quizzed.

“Not that. Almost. The closest I have ever been with anyone other than Michael.” Anna and Michael had been together since their first year of university. He had been her first for a lot of things, most notably losing her virginity. But also all the other landmarks in young sexual exploration. Before Michael she had only kissed a few other boys. On more than one occasion when girlfriends were comparing notes of their exploits Anna always felt left out. Getting bored of her own stories being told in her head over and over. “I wanted to and I wasn’t doing anything to stop it from going there. But than he starting asking about Michael. Like if we were broken up, breaking up, or if I was just cheating. That kind of killed the mood. I just got home from his place a few minutes ago,” she continued, “I don’t think I want to stay here, with Michael I mean. Tonight felt so good. Just kind of freeing.” Anna smiled. She felt almost giddy.

“Wow. Well I hate to say ‘I told you so’ but this definitely has been a long time coming. You obviously haven’t been satisfied in your relationship in a long time.”

“Years,” Anna adds.

“Yeah, years. Like years of your life. You have to make up for those now.” Ruth didn’t like that her friend was a cheater. She didn’t respect her in way because of that. Always acting as if being in a relationship was better than Ruth’s choice for short term flings. If you need to cheat to stay happy in your relationship, Ruth thought, I just feel sorry for you. Ruth felt sorry for Anna for a lot of other reasons but most of all because of the fear she could see her living with. She wanted to help her. “What are you going to do now?”

“Move out I guess. This is Michael’s place. I don’t even pay rent.” Anna felt her first twinge of fear at the sound of the words leaving her mouth. Rent. Something she had never paid for since she just went from living with her parents to living with her boyfriend. Anna put it in the back of her mind. “I just need to get out of here. Quickly. I know if I hang around too long I’ll talk myself out of it.”

“Oh, well I have the perfect excuse.”

“Whats that?”

“Come visit me. Now is the perfect time.” Ruth’s voice went up a pitch with the excitement she was feeling. “I won’t have classes for a few weeks and we could just hang out and take it easy.”

“That sounds amazing. I would want to be gone longer than a few weeks though. Long enough to let things cool, ya know. Too bad you don’t have longer off. We could just go wandering for 6 months.”

“Ya too bad I can’t, but you still can.”

“What, alone?”

“Yeah, why not? You don’t need me. In the month that you are with me I will prepare you for solo travel so good that you’ll be itchin’ to get away from me.” Ruth was a seasoned traveler and proud of it. She was never short of tips to pass onto friends or fellow wanderers. Anna felt if anyone could teach her how to be alone it was Ruth.

“I have some money saved and I could sell my car for more.” Anna was getting excited. Imaging herself in a new place. Free of her mother, her grandmother, and Michael. Completely free, she thought.


The girls feet moved softly through the leaves towards the cave-like entrance. As she got closer her eyes began to make out a shape lying in the opening of the earth. The girls first thought was that it was a bear. She stopped, now guarded by fear. The continual seesaw from determination to fearful self-doubt was beginning to wear on her. She moved closer. Each step she remained watchful of movement or even breath but their was none. Finally she was standing right over the animal. She slowly reached down to touch it. The fur was soft, yet dense. The feel of it beneath her fingers was soothing and warm. She reach further and let her open palm rest on the dark brown hair. Suddenly she felt movement under her hand. The gentle rise and fall of breath is ever present. Before she could move away the mound of fur stood sending the girl flying backwards. She lay, stunned, on the ground. She looked up in awe as a giant furry animal stood before her. The Beast, she thought in terror. They were right.


“I know what happened with Trev.” Michael was sitting in their living room in the dark when she returned home from lunch with her mother and grandmother. Already defeated, she did not have the strength to try to lie.

“How did you find out?” She responded solemnly.

“A couple of the guys saw you leaving together around 2:00 am or something and it wasn’t till 5:00 am that I heard you come home. I’m not stupid, Anna.” Anna wanted to lash out. Attack him, just as he was attacking her. But when she looked into his eyes all she saw was pain. Pain she had caused.

“I’m sorry.”

“Why? Is this because I forgot you were coming there? Payback for my drunken forgetfulness,” he added.

“I don’t know. I just wanted to … to … feel something.” The more Anna looked into his eyes, the more guilt she felt weighing down on her. All her plans of flight vanishing. All she wanted was to stop the pain of the man that she once loved. “It was a stupid mistake. I love you. Only you. Please forgive me.” As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted it. Even the sight of Michael’s eyes brightening didn’t bring relief from the heaviness she had placed upon her heart again.

“I forgive you.”


                The girl remained frozen on the earth awaiting the death that she was sure would come. She had no fight left in her. Failure had made its way in between her muscles, joints, and bones. Already numb from the life she was living, death was the welcoming next step. The Beast approached her on its four limbs. Bigger than any bear she’d ever seen in books or movies. Its hair wild and claws long brought the girl solace, imaging death would be swift. The Beast stood tall on its hind legs. The girl cringed. But as it moved closer it began to transform. Each movement shed away a layer of fur. Each inch closer to the girl, the beast became more and more beautiful. Pieces of fur falling onto the forest floor leaving behind ivory skin and long delicate limbs. The only wild hair that remained was on the newly transformed woman’s head. The hair of the Beast tumbled over her soft shoulders and her feminine form.


                The women stood tall and strong yet still had the essence of pure peace. Complete knowing. “Anna,” she began, “I am so happy that you have come.”

“How do you know my name? Who are you?” Anna’s words came out in a surprised panic. The woman smiled and turned. She moved around the rock and deeper into the woods. Anna was in shock.

The mysterious creature stopped momentarily, glancing sideways towards Anna, beckoning her to follow. Although Anna felt fear hinting at her, the power of curiosity was too strong. She scrambled up off the ground and followed.

Anna knew the woman was not leading her back to the pathway of the city because as they ventured farther inward it grew noticeably darker. Anna watched in awe at her movements. So precise yet also so delicate. Almost as if she was simply floating through the trees and over displaced roots. Anna’s movements were just the opposite. Stumbling over and getting caught on branches as she clawed her way behind the woman.

After a few minutes of walking through the brush, it had grown even darker from the density of the trees. It began to get harder to move through without getting caught on something and Anna was sure she wouldn’t be able to find her way back out again. Anna’s fears began to overpower her curiosity of the woman since her transformation. She hesitated, looking behind her. Without a glance the woman spoke, “There is nothing for you that way anymore. Come. You are almost there,” and continued gliding. Anna looked behind her again and saw something moving. It was the Beast. How could that be, Anna thought. She watched it follow at a safe distance while she clumsily trailed behind the woman.

Then, out of nowhere, there was a break in the trees spilling light into the darkness. The woman passed through leaving only her elegant right arm to gesture Anna to follow. She looked behind. The Beast had reappeared and stopped, waiting in the darkness. Anna could only make it out from the steady movement of its breath. Not wanting to allow the Beast the chance to move closer she passed through the break in the forest. When she emerged, Anna found herself on the edge of a high cliff. Directly across the break of space in the rock was a waterfall. The light of the sun danced upon the falling water reflecting sparkles over the entire clearing below. Anna’s eyes followed the waterfalls path to the pool between the rock. Clear, perfect water made its home in the reservoir before moving along down a gentle river that the sun also shone on.

“Jump,” said the woman.

“What, are you crazy? I can’t jump down into that. I don’t even know how deep it is.” Anna was startled by the woman’s request. How could someone so perfect expect something so foolish? Anna could feel herself getting angry at the woman for misleading her.

“The waterfall and what lies beyond it is your freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from anger, freedom from hate,” the woman answered.

“I don’t want to jump.” The thought of jumping into that unknown pool sent Anna’s heart racing.

“If you don’t jump the only way back is the way we came.” Anna looked towards the trees, the Beast was there waiting for her. “You can either live with fear and all the things that spring from it like ignorance and pain. Or you can jump beyond it to happiness and peace.” Then without warning the woman jumped disappearing as she did. Anna held her breath, afraid.

She looked to the woods. Even if she made it past the Beast how long could she really run from it? She stepped back towards the density and released the air she had been holding in and took another circle of breath, feeling the serenity that accompanied the flow of oxygen. She closed her eyes and in that moment felt peace. She felt her fears beginning to drift away. She let go of hate, and abandoned ignorance. Anna turned back to the glowing waterfall and jumped.

May Goddess, Part 2


Wow, what an eye-opener this month has been.

If you weren’t here for the beginning of May, my resolution for this month is to appreciate my fellow Goddess’ more instead of participating in gossip, shaming, jealousies, and other women against women behavior. My issues with other women and my relationships with them runs deeper than I imagined. First off, having this awareness made it suddenly so obvious how often I do these things and that it actually (however temporary) feels good in the moment. I have grown up where its been taught that this is “bad” form but everyone does it and that’s that. End of lesson. I have habitual thought patterns when it comes to the way I think about women. I have also come to realize that I have a very specific requirements in a female that I take on as a friend. After a few toxic female friendships I seem to have made the decision to limit even my interactions with women and only attempting friendships when I am sure that the particular individual is going to appreciate my effort.

So after, basically, my whole life of worshiping some women while ripping apart others I am attempting to adapt my thought pattern to appreciate and love every girl and women and her own inner Goddess.

SOooo how the heck do I do this?



1. Cultivating new friendships free of expectations – one of the main reasons I think I have ended up on the bitter side of friendship is because of my own high expectations within them. I abandoned expectations in my romantic relationship and it has resulted in the most spectacular love and appreciation for one another. So my friendships have followed suit. It seems so simple but giving up control in any relationship can be challenging.


2. Smiling – Women are not going to all get along all the time. We have different personalities and interests but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate and respect one another. Just because an individual doesn’t share my view on life or acts a particular way doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of my love. So as a  simple gesture I have decided to give every women I come into contact with a smile. A real one! A nice side-effect is that this practice has also filtered outward to everyone … men, dogs, cats, and trees. Smiles for everyone!


3. Metta Meditation- The cultivation of loving-kindness (mettā bhāvanā). In the Buddhist tradition, this practice begins with the meditator cultivating loving-kindness towards themselves and/or sending it out to one’s loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally towards all beings. I have chosen to utilize this meditation on my own loving quest with women either  by visualizing a particular female friend, family member, co-worker, or sending out a blanket of loving-kindness to the women of the world. If you choose to practice this as well you can also recite loving words to send to yourself or others (example: ” I send loving-kindness to all beings” )


I am feeling hopeful and happy about these new outlooks and changes. Also very lucky to be surrounded by fearless females that inspire me to be better and love more. Gratitude!


xo carly

Goddess’ of May

Last month I resolved to write more. Everyday in fact. But did I? Actually, I came pretty close. Having my journal on me everyday was like carrying along an old friend. I missed writing about small moments and dreams of things to come. It was also nice being able to look back throughout the month and see the lessons that I have learned and how things have developed with a particular relationship or situation. For a long time my journal was my key to sanity and hope so I appreciated the opportunity to re-connect. I suppose I won’t write in my journal as much as this next month progresses but hopefully will be writing more often. Reigniting the power of words within me.

As always, now we move into the next month. Beautiful, hopeful, May. At first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to improve on or challenge myself with. Than  I went to an inspiring yoga workshop over the weekend and there it was. The essence of the workshop was celebrating your inner Goddess through meditation, song, writing, dance, and yoga. What I came away with that night, however, was a closeness to my fellow Goddess sisters that I have never felt before.

I have never had a lot of female friends. I have even fewer female friends that I have actually stayed in contact with as I have moved around. Always falling out of touch and than simply out of mind. I have continually wondered about this and early on envied the relationships that other women seemed to have with each other. Telling all their experiences and deep dark secrets. But eventually I decided that it just meant that I was better in some way. I was independent and didn’t need the crutch of a gaggle of girlfriends to complete me. “Girls night out” caused me to make a face of disgust and I rarely ever attended parties that only included women. It had nothing to do with wanting the attention of men, but I just felt out of place and self-conscious. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate. I respect, admire, and I have often have good experiences with women but there always seemed to be this sense of competition,  judgement, and disconnection.

But finally the other night at the workshop, for the very first time in this circle of women, I finally felt free of that. I was safe to speak my truth and our amazing guide allowed understanding for the light and the darkness within all of us. For the first time I wasn’t looking at anyone’s clothes, judging their choices, or feeling those same energies from someone else. We we completely bare and that just made us stronger. For some this probably isn’t a new idea or perhaps seems obvious. But for myself, its like a light-bulb went on and I can finally see the strength that is cultivated when groups of women unite free of society’s ideals for us and what we are “supposed” to be.

sister goddess

So with that in mind, my intention for May came forward. To make stronger connections with my sisters, help other women to see their Goddess within, and to let go of my judgements that I seem to carry.




Today, like everyday, I went outside. Today, just like each day the sun is shining, it was beautiful. There is something about that sunshine that ignites. Even when the wind still hold a chill the sunshine warms from the inside out. It is like my soul absorbs it and then reflects the rays back out into the world. I must not be the only one. People are kinder, smiling at one another saying “isn’t this nice.” I agree. It is lovely. I have never felt like moving to Vancouver was a bad decision for me. Complete opposite in fact where I generally am overwhelmed with gratitude that I did and that even I can quietly flourish here. Today I am also grateful that I woke up. I am awake in the most glorious of ways.

Be Kind

You cannot rely on the kindness of others, without yourself being kind.

In my variety of roles (yoga instructor, physio assistant, receptionist) I see a variety of people and so much of what I learn and write is from them. And in these various roles the thing that I learn the most is the importance of kindness. It is the backbone of costumer service and the thing that can mean the difference between a good day and a total shit day for the consumer or the person providing the service.  The most recent reminder was from a long-time patient at the clinic. She is 86, very arthritic, and completely reliant on the kindness of others. Her ego prevents her from getting an appropriate walking aid so she must cling on to any available body to get from place to place. She has volunteers do her grocery shopping and a cab driver that has agreed to take her anywhere she needs to go for next to nothing. When she comes in to our clinic about twice a week she is usually complaining about something. The weather, parking, the volunteers that help her, but always her driver. Most days he brings her up she is yelling at him about something he did and if he is even 2 minutes late picking her up she gets mad at him.  As an outsider it appears like (lets be honest I could be way off base) she treats him like her slave. About a week ago her cab driver told her that at the end of the month he doesn’t want to drive her anymore and he didn’t know anyone that would be able to take over for him. It may seem cruel but after years of taking her everywhere while being treated like a second class citizen I am not surprised he needs a break. Now she is continually distraught over the fact that she won’t have a driver come summer time but refuses to use any other service because they won’t do anything extra for her and still treats him badly.

*** An important thing to keep in mind is that for some people mental health issues such as dementia can be a factor (although in this situation I believe it to be more related to race and class) and the true lesson is that kindness and gratitude should always be put forward regardless of actions towards ourselves. ***  And own personal lesson in this situation is most definitely continual awareness. We can easily get distracted with cellphones and our own personal issues when dealing with people. Or if someone has been doing something for us for a long time we can forget to be appreciative or not realize the favor at all. Just like love, when you give kindness you get kindness.


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