andthenibegan

tell 500 people…about the extraordinary, passionate, adventurous LOVE I am SEEKING.

Cup of coffee in hand, walking down the street, she says to me…

 

I decided I was going to tell 500 people about the authentic, extraordinary love, I wanted in my life.

 

So what did you do about that?

 

Well, I went on match, kinda. But mostly, I just told people. All sorts of people. I set out to tell 500 people, but I didn’t even make it 500 before I met him. I believed that this love was out there, and that’s part of it, believing in the love you want. Smiles. Says to me.

 

So now YOU go tell people! (punches me on the shoulder, she’s feisty, this one)

 

So…that’s what I’m doing. I’m telling you about the love I am seeking.

 

The love I am seeking and wont settle for less, is a love that is:

 

extraordinary|passionate|adventurous LOVE I am saying to you, and to everyone.

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The love I am seeking is exactly aligned by, the life I am leading, my core values, my history and lineage, my certainty to say: THIS, this is it. And I think, woah, if you wanted the same love TOO, then we’d be onto something. Then this big ol thing called the world, surely, we could take it on together.

 

And so, as clearly as I can, here’s what I see.

 

You are extraordinary, passionate, and adventurous ALREADY. You are these things as much at on a Tuesday in-line at the DMV, as you are on our surf trip to Costa Rica. Who you are, is not contingent on where you are, because me and you? We’re travelers.

 

You have laugh lines from a life well lived, and these lines, like back roads, on a map, tell stories of adventure, of sharing bottles of wine with the locals, of loving so so hard. You celebrate the back roads, you seek them, you keep a map in the glove box, of your old worn truck, it has coffee stains, and a phone number written on it. We don’t ever need it. We always find our way home.

 

Your morning routine involves a super duper sesh of making out (with me, duh), and sharing what kind of day we are going to have. We linger in bed, but not too long, morning is our favorite time, so lets get after it, shall we. You make the eggs, I’ll make the coffee, you cut the mango, and I’ll eat the mango : ) Because, geez you are super sexy, with all that technique you learned from that summer in Spain. And hey, by the way, lets go back to Spain.

 

You dip me on the way out the door, this is our thing. And it never fails to make each of smile and fall further into love. I’ll see you again at dinner. Meet me at 7pm, right out at the break. I got here an hour ago, and have been hanging with Moose, writing in my old worn moleskin. You run right by me, smiling your big old smile, and run right in the ocean with your board.

 

Our beautiful old home, is built with everything that reminds us of earth and foundation, and we agree, we’ll never cover up. Brick, wood, high ceilings and so many windows. So much light. We sit side by side for dinner and stare off into the view. You made this table one weekend while I was away at a workshop, you heard me say one day, on a weekend trip up north how much I loved this table. And so when I wasn’t looking, you took a picture, and knew that you could make that for me. Because you simply never doubt, that what we need, we can do for each other.

 

We don’t spend every moment together. We’re both extremely independent. You love this about me, and I love this about you. It’s what keeps us together. This sense of trust, that our adventurous passionate careers could take us anywhere in the world….but our big love, always, always has us finding our way home to each other.

 

Your friends know you by your giant-sized easy laugh, the first person to help move, towing not just a trailer, but ample beer and pizza’s to cover the basis. The friend who has a beautiful, small circle of brothers and sisters, the types of friends who are completely family, honorary aunts and uncles to our one-day babes. Your family knows you as the glue. The one that carves the turkey. That takes the road trip. That walks into the room, and everything and everyone just feels easy. You are family, no matter where you go, people always feel like they belong around you.

 

It goes without saying that you and Moose are total buddies. Hikes (low grade, he’s got short little legs), sandwich sharing, little old lady charming, you and Moose are a duo. You are so gentle and sweet with dogs, babies, and the 70 plus crowd, it comes easy to you, you don’t have to try. You are the life of the party, but you also want to make sure everyone around you shines. You’ll give up your mic during an epic karaoke moment if you think someone else is ready to bust it out.

 

We climb different mountains, me and you. But we are always always there at the summit for one another. You are not afraid, threatened, or envious of my success: you celebrate all the strong women in your life, and you celebrate me the loudest. You’ll pull me in close in public, and plant a big ol kiss on my lips, but if were in a crowded room, you’ll see me in a few hours. We’re never looking for each other. We just know we’ll always find our way back to each other.

 

You value success, but not things. Everything we own is high quality, but understated. Every once in a while, we’ll blow the bank and spend a weekend in robes, mud masks, and champagne….and we’ll laugh about that while making smores in hoodies at a little cabin up north with no cell reception.

 

You are sexy, kind, intelligent, AND hilarious. You make one hell of a breakfast. You have tattoos. And stories, of the places you’ve traveled in this world. You are as obsessed as me with taking a perfect photo, and you have a deep appreciation for art and expression. You love your Mom. You love the neighbor down the street. You love me. And I love you.

 

More than I ever thought I could.

 

Before I said out loud what it really is I am seeking.

 

And told 500 people (at least)

 

And felt the rally and wonder of the people that love me, want to see me love someone else.

 

The way I want that for everyone else.

 

And for a long long time, I didn’t want that for myself, because it just truly felt like I didn’t need it. But if I am truly going to set out to continue to set my world on fire, I know, what a bigger fire could be. With two flames.

 

A dream team.

 

A partner in crime.

 

The one I love the most.

 

So I am putting it out there, that this is what I’d love my world to look like, and RELEASING attachment of where that is, how that is, why that is.

 

Oh and what’s in it for you? My dowry includes: the best dog in the world, the ability to win any board-game against anyone else, um, a blog?, snorts when I laugh, a genetic makeup of being korean-german-and french (read: VERY exotic looking : ) no asian daters though, please, a well-stamped pass-port, the ability to get lost and not freak-out, one woman dance party, two person dance extravaganza, about 10K in student loans, and the ability to eat more burritos than you.

 

I am ready. And so? Do you know anyone?? Because I am UP for telling 500 people. Moose will need to screen them first, of course. But he says he’s ready too.

 

#tell500 …. it's a thing.

#tell500 …. it’s a thing.

Extraordinary||passionate||adventurous love.

I am ready for you.

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naked.

As I write to you this morning, I look out to my left, and I cannot even begin to see where anything ends…and, as a person, constantly searching for the end of things, I feel comfort in the big way the world shows me, I cannot know. I cannot know. I do not know.

But what if I love you, and you don’t love me back.

If I don’t get this job, what will I do?

And what if I say this, and you don’t understand what I’m trying to say.

And if I did this, tell me….would it look like you leaving…in the end.

And then I look out to the ocean, where there is no end. The lesson again and again, that I don’t need to know. 33-years of proof. Every time I’ve given up my need to know, to empty my pockets of control and doubt…I am more than okay. I am free. Where I am? Is where I was meant to be, far before, and far bigger than what keeps me up some nights. Cleaning my kitchen floors at 2am, against the background of hypotheticals, the million reasons to not love, to not try, to not say, or stay.

Leaving is easy.

Well maybe what’s to be said, is sleeping alone because I’ve asked you to leave, is an ending I feel I don’t know how to change. And I look at the space where you could have been, instead of my needing to know, that maybe you’d leave anyway.

And it’s human-sized in the place I let it take up, and I swear sometimes it talks aloud to me. and so I choose no other ending, because this one, the one that ends in.

Go.

Alone.

Leave.

I’m fine.

Is one I am quite familiar with, and very very comfortable with.

I’ve spent the weekend among sweet friends, bottles of wine, artichokes dipped in butter, and the complete and total absence of shoes or time. The types of friends, one can only find, when living in a way that honors and seeks…to be seen, heard, and loved….as-is.

It was a last minute trip, and those are the best kinds.

This morning. I woke up, in a beautiful home, alone. But not sad.

I woke up alone. And walked the 500 feet to the ocean.

I woke up alone, but did not feel the burden on the empty space next to me. And that. That is what happens when you believe a new end is possible, when you are inspired by, instead of haunted by, what you do not know.

I walked and walked and walked. Cup of coffee in hand. Soft gaze. Grateful.

I saw a few fisherman, and made eye contact. I wondered all about what would happen with the fish they caught. I wondered all about their lives, and how they ended up here, at the ocean.

I didn’t see anyone else.

My website is about to go live in 2-weeks. My commitment, to the truth. It wont be much different from this blog. Fancier. With widgets, and plug-ins, and a logo that feels really f-ing good. And as I round the corner of completing this process and have no idea how it will end.

I’m cool with that. Because I believe in what I’m doing.

And to take me through all the fear that is living openly and honestly, I keep hearing things to affirm. The truth needs a platform. And the end, you will never know.

This TED talk. http://www.ted.com/talks/clint_smith_the_danger_of_silence please watch it:

On silence:

We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don’t. Silence is the residue of fear. It is feeling your flaws gut-wrench guillotine your tongue. It is the air retreating from your chest because it doesn’t feel safe in your lungs. It is the sound after the noose is already tied. It is charring. It is chains. It is privilege. It is pain. There is no time to pick your battles when your battles have already picked you.

I looked out at the ocean this morning, and the comfort it gives me each time, in it’s vastness, in it’s relentless pursuit to reach the shore, in it’s rhythym, in it’s non-apology.

And I wanted to feel a part of.

I looked around, and looked around some more, and then just said,

oh, fuck it.

I took off all my clothes and ran into the ocean.

I let out an exhilarating cry of joy. I put my head under water. I tasted salt water on my lips. And wiped salt water from my eyes. I was completely naked, vulnerable, and possibly, doing something illegal ☺.

But isn’t that it, you guys?

Isn’t that IT.

We learn so early. Honey, don’t say that. Baby, don’t do that. Sweetie, wait till we get home. Running naked into the ocean, is not a ‘thing’ and home becomes somewhere we close the door, to feel safe enough to express ourselves.

So as I’m standing there, just 30 seconds prior, right on the heels of this beautiful weekend, right on the cusp of my website launch, right in the overwhelm and honesty of not knowing the ending…there was doubt and panic.

What if someone SEES me.

Here’s the truth guys. If this beach had been filled with people, I would not have stripped off all my clothes and ran, arms a flailing into the ocean.

But you gotta seize those moments, that call to you. To be so free. To be so seen. Even if you’re the only one seeing yourself.

And in this moment, I am a part of the non-ending. The not knowing. And these moments keep tipping me closer. To what I knew when I was 5-years old, running to the ocean totally naked.

I am free.

I am not these hypothetical endings.

I am at free-will always to make a different choice.

Seen.

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the sad side of funny.

I hesitated on the sharing my thoughts at all here, because I do not want to sensationalize. But, the thing about telling the truth, as I see it here, as the reason why I write and share…sometimes it just is about timeliness and attention.

 

When Mrs Doubtfire came out, I was 12 years old. It was one of the very few movies we ever went to go see as kids, and I remember stuffing handfuls of microwave popcorn (that my mom smuggled into her purse), taking swigs of store-brand Coca-Cola (that I smuggled in my jams), and laughing hysterically along-side my sister. I couldn’t WAIT to go home and put my face in a pie.

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When that VHS came out, I watched it again, and again, and again. This, Sister Act, my rollerblades, and anything athletic became my refuge. I’d close the door, sit on my little red bean bag, and forget how un-funny things were just on the other side of that door.

 

Some of the funniest people I know, are also the saddest. The life’s of the party, go home alone, get in the bath, light some candles, and turn off all the lights. The facilitators, the people with the microphone, the ones who can talk to anyone: go home, pour a glass of wine, and carefully replay the dynamics of the evening. Was anyone left out? Should I not have made that joke? Is Jen okay? She seemed a little sad tonight, withdrawn (makes note, send Jen a card).

 

The funny people are rarely thinking of their next joke, it just comes easily…but they are often 8 steps ahead, wondering, how can they keep the momentum of the room going, like the conductor of the orchestra, or the composer of a song…by the last note, or verse, people like this are wondering how to leave a room, with the spirited cry of ‘one more time!’ And then, when that second round is going, and people are swaying, cheers-ing, and having the time of their life…the person with the baton in their hand, or the perpetual random pieces of paper in their pockets with the first few lines of a song….has quietly snuck out the door. Walking down the driveway, or through the parking lot, with both a sense of satisfaction and sadness. The silhouettes of togetherness upon glancing back, but an overwhelming feeling of ‘I gotta get out of here.’ Even a roar of laughter, heard through the walls, as someone replays something the funny person said out loud, with extra crescendo and flair…is not enough for the funny person to turn around and go back inside. No no. It’s too much.

 

I totally get this. Because I am this.

 

There are many routes to ‘becoming funny’ just like anything. For me, the route came from a place to survive a life that was extremely un-funny.  For a long long time, and sometimes now, just beneath the surface of every joke, was an anger that feels most like fire, and a sadness that feeks most like water, in it’s big, immeasurable way it could overwhelm me.

I learned to be funny, early, as a skill to survive. Being funny was and is, my food and water. I can read any room, I can know exactly when, words and timing will move an entire group forward. I know this, because this was my whole life, I was the comedic relief at a tense dinner table. I was the one woman show, after a particulary loud fight. And, it brought me relief, because it brought us relief, in moments. And I’d do anything for those moments. I learned to pay attention, I became an expert at reading small changes in peoples affect, I became the conductor everwhere I went from the ball-field, to the classroom.

I felt responsible for environments vs. a contribution to environments, something I still work on distinguishing, so I don’t keep creating this beautiful life, that I ultimately feel I am not deserving of and therefore keep at arms length.

 

There are a few favorite life scenarios I have…and they are, people laughing together, and people dancing together, people laughing AND dancing together? Oh man. Oh and eating. A dinner party with no more than 7 of my favorite people, that ends up in a dance party is FOR SURE my favorite thing in the world. It’s so genuine now. The places I survived, and now the places I completely connect to…the places that fill my heart right up.

 

Sadness and anger, no longer drive my need to make other people smile or laugh. This is rare. But I am so aware that that’s where it began, and when I feel either of those emotions, which are totally normal emotions to feel, I panic. And I’ll do anything not to feel them. To me sadness and anger are to be escaped and defeated immediately, instead of just felt.

 

I’m working on it.

 

So what do you do when you are a so-called funny person and this has gotten you very far AND it’s very authentic to who you are, AND you’d rather die than not be laughing till you snort most days?

 

Well hopefully. You get called out on it from time to time, and you reflect.

 

I am in it right now in an interview process for a role I want with my whole heart. Like Christmas morning cabbage-patch-kids-just-came-out, whole-heart wanting. Like everything about this, feels like who you are as a person, and you cant believe it’s a job. Like how Oprah feels about being Oprah…I mean, you get what I mean. It FITS.

 

June was like a pony ride. I started interviewing. And the people in this particular department, are all the funniest people I have ever met. In my life. And so, one after the other, I was on a roll, interviewing, laughing, being serious and having great in-depth convos, repeat. After every interview, my heart would beat so loud, the rhythm of, this is it, this is it, this is it.

 

And then my pony ran out of steam. And ran off. And took the snacks. Like ‘thanks for the memories, I’m out’

 

In other words…it’s time to wait. And the deadline to know was pushed back.

 

That was not good news for me.

 

And my coping skills during this time, were to kick up the funny, which in turn, kicked up the general level of emotion, which, yep you guessed it, contributed to a certain level of crazy, which, the interview process was coming to an inevitable stop, with an ambiguous deadline, I was feeling emotionally attached to the outcome. When unfiltered, led to me crying on a professional phone call on a tuesday afternoon at 1pm.

 

Even writing those words makes me want to die.

 

But I did it. Just like my hair is brown. And I have a dog named Moose. Fact. I did not manage the experience, and I immediately met my old friend shame. Instead of just being with it, I let it do me, and managed the shame with a note of apology, you know, an EMAIL….with a joke in it. I should learn by now to sit on my hands when I’m not feeling grounded. I effect everyone around me, and it’s not fair.

 

That week, I got an email ‘hi, do you have a few minutes to chat?’ from my one-day-could-be boss. I immediately wanted to run out of the store, get in my car, and drive to Mexico. ‘sure’, I replied, super cool. ‘great, call me’, she responded.

 

I didn’t know what to expect. My call earlier that week, was not with her, but with the recruiter that’s been wonderful and supporting me the whole time (GUYS, THE RECRUITER) so duh, of course people talk about candidates, it’s literally their job.

 

Long story short, she says to me, in the simplest, most matter-of-fact, non-emotional-way… ‘communicating like you did, wont work’ she went on to share, about coming to every single call, grounded, clear, ready. She didn’t give a crap, what I needed to do, to make that happen, but held the expectation that this was a must, especially for this particular role, which is completely built on communication.

 

And your emails…she says.

 

Oh god. Oh no. Mexico. (these are my thoughts)

 

Lyndsey. You’re hysterical. Like legitely hysterical.

 

Yes, I know.

 

But there’s a time and a place.

 

 

Like not in professional emails.

 

 

I mean, still be yourself, but you gotta find a way to completely present who you are. You cant hide behind being funny. You cant.

 

Oh lord. She just called me out.

 

She went on to say, that if I am always leading and leaning on humor, then it will have people wondering, what else is there. That, after our first interview, she was blown away with my level of skill, drive and passion that I was able to articulate over the phone, because it’s overshadowed by my 2-drink minimum that I had established in our email exchange leading up to our interviews.

 

Communication is everything.

 

I met her feedback to me with open arms. With her delivery which was a blend of compassion and no bullshit, I just HEARD what was being given to me with no emotion. My thoughts about driving to mexico subsided. And I was left with what was. She made it clear again and again, that none of this was about me losing who I am, what makes me special, but rather, adapting.

 

I had represented myself in a certain way, and now, it was on me to either move that forward or not.

 

How it felt you guys, was ‘the jig is up’ I want to know who you really, truly are.

If I wasn’t so afraid to be sad, then I wouldn’t do things, like cry on a professional phone call. Which is very very rare, (let me just note), but not adaptive at the age of 33. It just shows me where I’m coming up short, and where I need to work harder, differently.
I am an emotional human being. I feel EVERYTHING. Your emotions? Yep, I feel them. Person on the street? I feel you. Anyone and everyone? Oh yes, let me just go ahead and feel it all. I read things about pivotal leaders like steve jobs, and other creative types, who are notoriously emotional, charismatic, and unpredictable. I feel better knowing there are other people like me out there. But until I have founded the next apple…I have some refining to do.

This feedback around being funny has really stuck with me too. I wont ever stop being funny, or wanting to be around funny people, NOT EVER. But, it was a moment to stop and think about why. Why do I feel the need to crack a joke almost always. Only the people closest to me (and now, a few thousand readers : ) know, I do have a level of sadness that’s just always with me too. It doesn’t run me anymore, but it does motivate me to laugh everyday. But of the thousands of people I interact with…only a few know I am the first to leave the party. That I’m a little bit sad. That I run the bath and turn off the lights. To go over every interaction in great detail. Meanwhile, back at the party, people are reenacting things I’ve said, and asking ‘where’s Lyndsey?’

Said another way, my mentor says to me, ‘you know, what is so captivating about you, what takes you so far, has everyone getting on your bus, is also your biggest downfall’.  Typing that, scares the shit out of me, because it’s exactly right.

Well, so I’m right here. And it’s what I am working on. Just being here. Not hiding behind anything. Seeking out the laughter and the dance parties…but being okay, that life is not just that.

 

I’m asking for help more where I need it.

 

And everyday. I try a little harder. To be all of me, and not leave the party early. But also, to not be the party, not always.

 

To everyone I know who leans on funny…it’s okay to be sad or angry…let yourself, it’s part of being human.

That summer 8 years ago. The key under the rock. The ways that we healed.

The Fall I decided I did not want to spend a life proving things…I was not welcomed home.

 

When I called my parents, to tell them that I would no longer be continuing on as a PhD student at Penn State, my mom shared this. ‘well you’re not coming back here. you gave up’ She hung up, before I could. I remember sitting down in my apartment, looking around, wondering what had I done.

 

It wasn’t too late. Nothing was in writing. I could have gone back to my advisor. Apologized for my behavior, excused it based on any number of things, I would have been excused, we all would have moved on. Maybe I would have sat in the back the first few weeks of the semester, instead of the front, like I always did, kept my head down, done my work, and done it well. I wouldn’t ask questions like usual, I would give up understanding, I would have kept my mouth shut. I’d accept that behavior is predictable, and I’d measure against variables. I’d be the first one in the lab, and the last one out. I’d prove my results. I could have done all the things, you do when shame is the driver. For me, the expression is to say nothing, to shut up. I’d show you. I’d run 5 miles in the morning. 10 miles on the weekends. I’d do it all perfectly. I promise you, I’d show you.

 

But if I could have done that. I would have. I was totally done proving things.

 

Instead. My sweet friend Juan came to get me. Everything I owned fit into a 2001 dodge caravan. Everything. Somehow, through my connections, I found a place to live back in Rochester. For $350 dollars a month, my friend knew a friend, who’s husband was working on a special project down at Hopkins. He’d be gone for the summer. Their dog Cleveland, he was sick, and Gail needed help, someone else in the house. She’s a writer, a professor, she needed someone else in the house, she’d be gone a lot this summer…to write.

 

It was in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Rochester. A beautiful colonial home in the heart of the city. A front porch with a porch swing. Old wood floors and crown molding. 232 Barrinton Street. I fell in love with that home, as the summer went on.

 

The key is under the painted blue rock in the backyard…is what I knew.

 

My things were unloaded by the door. ‘Did I want help’? Was the question. ‘Oh no, no. I can do it I said. I can do this’.

 

I’d be there by myself for the weekend…directions were left for Cleveland. A note was left on the kitchen table. Cant wait to meet you. Heart. Gail.

 

Cleveland shuffled over to me when he heard me come through the door. The shuffle of an old man. The movement of a full full life, and zero commitment to hurry. He looked at me. Cataracts. And certainly nothing to prove. I reached down to pet him, and he shuffled away.

 

These old homes from the early 1900’s they had maid quarters…and yep, that’s where I lived. The kitchen would be shared. And my entrance was up the stairs, 3 flights, to the attic.

 

I walked up the final flight, the heat of an upstate NY summer, thick air, and a sky that from May to September, is always ready to shed and rain. 3 rooms. My bedroom with a queen sized mattress on the floor. A bathroom, with a claw foot tub and a small window. A 2nd room that had a small desk. My office I guess…for the things I was no longer learning.

 

A few trips up and down the stairs, and that was it. Everything I owned, in these 2 rooms. My things barely filled one corner.

 

What I can tell you about that summer 8 years ago…is this summer changed the direction of my whole life. There are a handful of moments that have saved me…and this, the one that began with the key under the rock. Is one.

 

As it is always….always, there are no coincidences or accidents. No, you see, life is far too brilliant for that. Gail and I were put together that summer, in a sisterhood, in a bond of two women, failing, healing, on our knees in desperation, in total separate parts of the house…but slowly the weeks went by, and Gail and I became inseparable. Together, most nights on the front porch, she in the adoriandack chair, and me, swinging gently on the swing.

 

hours and hours spent here...

hours and hours spent here….

Countless bottles of red wine. Preparing dinner in the kitchen together as NPR played. The measure and rhythm of 2 women who needed each other like air. When I couldn’t breathe…she was there. When she couldn’t breathe…I did. For her. Loud, so she could remember what it was like to breathe as a right and privilege, and sometimes…survival. We would laugh. Hard. We’d catch our breath somewhere between the kitchen hallway and the front porch, and I remember t We would celebrate the new beginnings we would each have that summer, a fire that is built from a woman’s hands, to burn down the bullshit, the pain of having given up…the realization, that no. Nothing can be proven.

 

What I did not know when I walked in the side door that first day, is that Gail’s world was coming undone. The conditions I had understood her husband to be gone, were not so. The fact was, he was indeed gone, out-of-state, and in this time, he fell in love with another woman. He would not be returning home. The house would have to be sold eventually. But for now…Gail and I were left to find our way to the porch, night after night.

 

It’s not that anyone was trying to keep the truth from me. It’s just that no one could say it out loud yet. And so, I found my way to that room in the attic, and I did not know. That this summer we would save each other.

 

Summer would move forward, and there’d be berries in the backyard to place in a small bowl with vanilla bean ice cream. July would move into August and Cleveland would pass away. We’d toast to him on the front porch, and were not at all concerned about the dog hair, that found it’s way into the history of the floor. Gail went away one weekend on a writer’s retreat. He was coming back to get a few things that weekend, in a truck. She looks me in the eye, and says this:

 

‘Lyndsey, whatever you do. Do NOT let him take the kitchen table’

 

I didn’t ask questions. I just knew that I would not let anyone remove the table out of the home so help me god.

 

It was a Sunday morning when I heard the truck pull up. I flew out of bed, the mattress on the ground. It felt urgent. I peeked outside, I could tell it was him. I stood at the top of the stairs for a while, hesitating. I didn’t know if he knew who I was. I heard footsteps, I heard the door opening and closing again and again. I heard then, footsteps in the kitchen, and I made my move.

 

I went down 3-flights of stairs, clumsy and loud, and saw him, crouched down by the pots and pans. He didn’t see me. I walked over to the table, and literally, I laid half my body on it. It was very weird, but I didn’t know what else to do.

 

He looks up.

 

‘Oh, you must be Lyndsey’.

 

Me. Short reply. ‘Yes’. Half smile. A mild giggle. Bed-head.

 

Both of us. Acting very strange and staring at each other.

 

He. Picks up a few pots, puts them in a box…walks in my direction. I grasp the sides of the table.

 

‘You cant take the table’, I said. Flat. And stared at him. Studying his face. His beard. His glasses. His shoes. Pissed at him. Knowing he was the cause of when I could hear Gail cry or, mornings when she wouldn’t wake up till morning was late.

 

He stared at me, curious. Amused maybe…

 

‘I wasn’t going to’, he said.

 

‘Oh GOOD’. I said. ‘Because it belongs to Gail’.

 

I mean who the hell knows WHO that table belonged too…but I saw it my only job to protect that table. An old butcher block from so so many years ago, I knew her sons had been around this table, I knew it from the family photos in the living room, I knew it the way there were indents where hands were placed, the burn marks where soup simmered, as dinner was served, and wine was poured, as kisses were snuck across, and above the middle…family.

 

He left shortly after, and I loosened by grip on the table. I went to make some coffee in the French press just like gail taught me…grind the beans, boil the water, stir it with a wooden spoon, not a metal spoon, to be patient and wait.

 

When she came home that night. I proudly stood by the table, like one of barkers beauties in the showcase showdown for the price as right, I gave the ta-da!!!! hands, and she smiled. And hugged me. ‘Good work’, she said. And we went to the porch.

 

Gail never had any daughters. And I had a very strained relationship with my mother at the time. I was so ashamed I had given up on something that meant so much to her, but not much to me. Gail helped me see that summer, that my mom, was doing the very best she could.

 

‘But she wouldn’t let me come home’, I’d say, and sometimes I’d cry.

 

‘Yes, but look at what happened, we would have never ended up together, and Lyndsey, I needed you here. You are home’.

 

When I walked in the door for the first time. When Cleveland was still alive. When Gail was a friend of a friend, a writer, who’s husband was out of town. When I had about 600 dollars in my bank account, and countless stories of how I failed. Before either of us told each other the truth…I said I’d be there for 3 months. Tops.

 

I was there for 9.

 

I was there when Gail began to date again, and we’d pick out the perfect outfit.

 

I was there to tell her about my hilarious dates. And we’d laugh and laugh.

 

I was there when I got my first job in pharmaceuticals, and could afford far more than a room in an attic…but we just weren’t ready yet, to leave each other.

 

I was there to meet all her beautiful, glorious women friends. All creative artists. Writers, painters, poets. And these women would come onto the porch, and I’d sit in wonder, and these beautiful women, with their long hair and stories of travel, adventure, love and lust. I’d hurry up to get another bottle of wine from the kitchen because I didn’t want to miss a moment. And when I would go to bed before them, I’d keep my window open, so I could fall asleep to the conversation and comfort of summer, of creative woman, breaking open the world with their ideas and words, waves of laughter, some tears, but heartbreak was not a shameful thing on this porch or this house. Heartbreak was the inspiration for art.

 

On the second floor, in the spare bedroom, these women would stay. Never more than one, and never more than a few days. I’d hope they’d have coffee with me in the morning. They were always so gracious with me. And I did not see yet, that I was one of them. A creative woman, with a story to tell. A passionate woman with fire, stories about how I would travel the world. A writer. What I didn’t know then, is these woman were showing me, who I could be.

 

As you know, this past month. Creatively, I have felt completely ignited. I have been up since 5am today, generating all the things I want to share. Having conversations with people, filled with passion and truth.

 

I am so aware…that 8 summers later…the lesson has repeated itself. I am SURROUNDED by absolutely beautiful, powerful, creative, nurturing, inspiring, making-shit-happen, WOMEN.

 

 

I am constantly being put in touch with this person, connection that trail blazer, to that game changer, having a conversations, that leave me in the wake of passion and desire….to go further, push harder, no force though…but a relentless pursuit to this big ol world.

 

I am not afraid of powerful woman.

 

I am drawn to them, to learn from, and to grow with.

 

I want every woman and man on this planet to be as big as they possible can…to make as much change, in this short time through, we call a lifetime.

 

I am frankly. Fucking pumped about what I see around me. Which is the urgency in which people are CREATING. Expressing. Telling the truth.

 

Everything I need to learn is put right in front of me. 8 years ago that summer, I learned what it means to be powerful and to lift each other up. To protect the kitchen tables of the people we love the most.

 

That there really is nothing to prove.

 

After all.

this is my dear friend Gail.

this is my dear friend Gail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

all good things are wild and free

Oh hey July, lets make-out.

 

I cant quite get my hands around the magic that has been this month…and I don’t want to. I don’t want to understand it. I don’t want to overthink it. I don’t want this to be the month that I measure everything else against…because what would be left then, is comparison. What would be left would be always trying to create something that already was. Right now I’m sitting next to a full French press of coffee, Moose is snuggled up on my left side, and I’m writing to you, to tell the truth.

 

I cruised into this month, fresh off advanced landmark training. For 3-days, 12 plus hours each day, I sat in a chair in a group full of people, and we worked together, and alone, we pushed up against each others stories and history’s, and we saw each other in triumph and breakdown, I showed you my shadows, and you showed me yours. And in this, we all got a little more honest. And we even began to practice saying the truth outloud, and we listened for the way the truth sounds, the way the truth sounds…the way the truth sounds.

 

Do you know the way the truth sounds? How else will you know…say it outloud.

 

The night I was about to turn 33, I sat around the table with people I adore. A dinner, to celebrate, candles to blow out, wishes to be made, declarations to say out loud. For the first time ever, when I blew out my candles, I didn’t wish for anything in the future, I didn’t wish to un-do what I had already done, I didn’t even wish….I asked instead for the courage to always live a life that feels just like this.

 

I love cake

I love cake

Surrounded by people I love.

Having conversations that move me and move us all forward.

Seeing, and being seen.

 

Do you know what it feels like to be seen? Do you know that if you look in someone’s eyes, you will see yourself reflected back? Not in just an om, om, kinda way. In a physical way, in a way that no excuse could ever be bigger than. If I were to blow out candles for the whole world, if I were given that opportunity…my wish would be for each of us to be fully expressed and seen.

 

If I were to blow out candles for the whole wide world…I would.

 

And so on this evening, sitting around a table with people I love so much. I let myself be completely loved, and cared for, I ate an amazing meal that was prepared to honor me, I opened gifts, I laughed, I cried. And damn, it felt so good. One of the few moments of my life where I was completely open to receive.

 

A few days later, I hopped on an airplane to NY. Home. I wrote to you, to tell you about why and what this meant…but going home will do something for sure if you let it. It will break your heart with it’s history, it will have you slowing down on roads and remembering…the time when, the moment that, the places where…

 

It will break your heart with it’s history, and take you to your knees, and if you let it, it will wash you again and again with gratitude. I promise you it will. Because there is something unrepeatable about a place that knows all about you. About a front porch that knows your first kiss. About the creek that you believed, if you walked far enough, you would get to the ocean. You told everyone else too, in a way where we all believed, if we went far enough, we’d get there. And though you never quite made it to the ocean, you made it till it got dark. You came home. To a mom and a dad and a sister, to the first family you ever knew, the complex history of 4 people put together to learn and grow, to heal where we are all a bit broken. In matters of the heart, and you’d give anything to go back in those doors at dusk. To hear the TV playing downstairs. Mom on the phone talking loud and animated in a language you could not understand, but learned to listen for inflection. A sister who shared a wall, and secrets, and the fear that the secrets in this house would be bigger than our desire and ache to live differently than this.

 

But it’s our secrets that made us who we are.

 

And do you know…every house has it’s secrets. And you can come free if you can say them out loud. Because then they are not of you, they are a part of your history. And one day you’ll give anything to walk back in at dusk, to a place that knows all about you…did you dream as a child that you could walk to the ocean? What did you dream about?

 

I spent the week basking, that’s the perfect word for it, in the history and the change of my hometown. New babies, from momma’s and papas I love, admire, and respect. Change, so much change. I spent the week with no apologies to my time, or what I needed most. I spent quite bit of time alone. Which felt, frankly, so fucking good. Everyday it rained, and most days it thundered.

 

Most days it thundered.

 

And shook me right awake.

 

as it was pouring rain, I stood in it, to capture just how beautiful this whole scene is. rain and upstate NY.

as it was pouring rain, I stood in it, to capture just how beautiful this whole scene is. rain and upstate NY.

an amazing sunday dinner to end my NY trip

an amazing sunday dinner to end my NY trip

Traveling back, things got a little hairy. The thunder had me overnight in Chicago instead of back home in california, and with zero panic, had me finding my way to a sweet friends kitchen, standing at midnight, staying awake on connection, and the comfort of friendship that has lasted years, miles, and continents. This beautiful friend, one of the very first people on the planet who saw the darkest sides of my truth and loved me more because of it. An affirmation to keep telling the truth. A turning point. A friendship in which nothing else is ever the same. My dear friend Angie, I love you.

 

A morning with an absolute light of a human being. Coffee and eggs. Big giant smiles, and explosions of inspiration. Sitting across the table from a beautiful person, who had, without ever meeting me until this moment…put herself out there for me. For my goals. For my big life. On trust and faith only. The kind of connection where even though you are meeting in real life for the first time…there’s a deep sense of familiar. We’ve been here before, is what must be the truth. Connection is that way.

 

Nina. you are one of a freaking kind.

Nina. you are one of a freaking kind.

Do you know, that connection is the place from which everything is built.

 

I was home for a day. I didn’t unpack my bags. I snuggled up on Moose, and we went for a long long walk so I could feel the past weeks move through me, as I moved across our favorite park. My two feet, his four, and the countless mornings, and hours, we’ve spent, just like this.

 

This park I’ve been so sad in. So happy in. So indifferent in. So in love in, remembering Sunday mornings with Paul, where I stretched out on my belly reading the NY times in the sun, and he lay, with his head on my low back eyes closed and smiling, Moose by his side. If you had given me candles in that moment, I would have wished for that moment to repeat itself 100 times again…but that was our whole breakdown. I wished for moments to repeat themselves, instead of believing we would just keep creating. I got scared and wished for the past, and for moments. I wondered how many times would we be in the park just like this, connected. And in this, I was completely disconnected. I’ll know now, the next time I am in the park with the person I love, to let that be enough. To wish for nothing.

 

Do you know that wishing for nothing just might be the way…if you are in love. Be in love.

 

The next morning, I left for Lake Tahoe. Wanderlust. An amazing festival of yoga, and music. How else to say this…

 

Without question, one of the best weeks of my whole entire life.

 

There was a team of us working for lululemon…an amazing, dynamic, beautiful, hilarious, dedicated, compassionate, group of 20-women, who I will forever regard as family, the kind of family you build in experiences.

 

if these walls could talk  : )

if these walls could talk : )

Man, some highlights. Let me just say, after landmark, birthday, NY, etc. driving up to Tahoe, I made a commitment to be free…I was on a role with this whole freedom thing. So duh. Of COURSE I attracted that in, and on weds night, I’m going to sum it up in one sentence, and put a period on it, and just leave it there. I HAD THE BEST MAKEOUT SESH EVER. Okay, 3 more sentences. It was way hot. It was with a totally gorgeous stranger. My heart’s beating fast just thinking about it, god bless connection, passion, AND festival life (it brings out the best in people ya’ll)

 

Oaaaaakay, so moving forward from there. Though I didn’t makeout with anyone else : ) the whole entire week was one giant, beautiful week of connection. I met A TON of amazing people. I was in a beautiful and abundant balance of giving and receiving. I took some amazing yoga classes. I cried my eyes out watching 2 of my favorite people on the planet do what they do best. Oh, and I danced. EVERY NIGHT. For hours and hours and hours. And that group of 20-beautiful woman I was telling you about. They did too. Without any set plans of who was meeting where, some how, we just all ended up together each night, on the dance floor, arms up in the air, I mean, just GOIN’ for it. I haven’t danced like that in so so long…and certainly not 4-nights in a row.

 

The power of dance. ITS FREAKING REAL YA’LL!

 

There are relationships from this festival that I will have forever, including a new relationship to myself, I have never felt this free. I know that every month of my life, logistically cant involve spending half of it just hanging out in NY, and half of it, being totally wild and free at a festival….BUT this week, I once again was given the chance to declare my core values. And here’s what I’m living by.

 

A life that is driven by:

 

Love

Adventure &

PASSION.

these two, constant inspiration with the values in which I guide my life

these two, constant inspiration with the values in which I guide my life

boob tattoos #festivallife

boob tattoos #festivallife

arm wrestling

arm wrestling

twerking lessons. #norcaleast

twerking lessons. #norcaleast

 

I know it’s possible, because I’m living it. This month has been what is has been for me, because it’s what I declared I was seeking, and what I believed I could receive.

 

This month, and this life for that matter, has never come by accident. The heartbreak, the history, the depth, the connections, the east coast, the west coast…all of it.

 

All of it.

 

If I were given candles on a cake…I’d let the canldes burn out to the end, I’d want to stay in the light a little longer.

 

Life’s too short to wish about it.

 

 

home is…

I am home in NY for the week.

 

I almost didn’t take this trip…and I cant even tell you exactly why yet…because the truth is hard to declare.

 

Home is sitting around the table with my best friend of 15-years, and dear friends, over homemade sauce and meatballs, perfectly cooked pasta that only an Italian husband can perfect, having 8 conversations at once, eating with both hands, bottles of red, and more bottles of red, laughter and depth. History and comfort. With the newest addition to the table: little baby addie, who my best friend, her momma, calls peach or munch (short for munchkin). Having your heart burst wide open seeing your best friend be a momma. The kinda table there’s never a wait list for, never a dress code, never a sense that you cant be who you are…because after all this table of people has seen you at your highest and lowest, and this table has always been a place to celebrate, to cry, to wonder, to regret, to tell the truth…no matter what. Home.

 

my favorite place: the tempio dinner table.

my favorite place: the tempio dinner table.

Home is walking down the familiar streets, with sweet friends, noticing that nothing and everything has changed. The type of friendships where within 5 minutes you can catch up on an entire year…and then you just keep walking, like it hasn’t been that long. Because home is feeling like you just saw each other last week, no matter how much time has passed.

 

Home is being handed the keys to a home and a car, fresh magnolias on the night stand that send you to sleep so easily…creating the types of dreams you have when your eyes are open, remembering when someone cared so much about you, that they left magnolias where you sleep, so you would know how loved you are. Fresh coffee in the morning, ‘sweetie, there’s dinner in the fridge if you’re hungry’ at night, and ‘hey were out of basil…would you mind getting some on your way out.’ Because you, are a part of something big called a family, even if you weren’t born into this family, you chose them and they chose you.

 

Home is being let into the vulnerable space of a strong beautiful woman, a friend of many years, who had a baby girl 2-weeks ago. A baby boy upstairs sleeping. An art studio for a living room, giant dinosaurs next to potted plants. The trust of letting a new little baby, brand new to the big world, rest on my chest, as she makes sweet little noises like a puppy. Watching her tiny lips work their way into a smile, blinking her beautiful blue eyes open for a moment…so I can see, she’s so magnificent, just like her momma. From this view, staring fondly into the living room, remembering nights from many many years ago, sitting around the kitchen table at 1am, smoking pot out of a coconut and laughing hysterically, planning surf trips to the coast. Their wedding on the lake, stealing the microphone from the DJ, the drum sticks from the drummer, and the sweat and sweet sweet bliss of 4 hours of dancing with all that love around. Home is kitchen dance parties, bbq’s in the backyard, finger paintings hanging on the fire place, the evolution of love, from 2 people to 4 people, family.

 

jacks art studio (age 2.5)

jacks art studio (age 2.5)

 

Home is walking into the yoga studio that you’ve taught hundreds of classes in. The place where you grew up, and began to heal. The space in which you taught and were a student with very little distinction between the two. The space you went when your heart was broken, when he didn’t love you, when you didn’t get the job, when you didn’t love him, when you moved to buffalo, when you moved to Kenya, when you moved to California, when you were afraid, when you got moose and brought him in on the very first day he was yours. The space in which you found your voice, lost your voice, lost your way, found it again and again by reaching high and folding forward, by breathing in, and breathing out. The one million om’s. the breakdowns and breakthroughs. You had never told the truth in this way…not until you realized your life depended on it. And here, in that realization, you began to truly live. 7 years ago you started…and today you walk in, and you are given the space to teach after all these years, the honor to know there’s still truth to be told, there always will be, to celebrate how far we have all come together.

 

I wouldnt be who I am without this place the Weis's created. Breathe Yoga, Rochester NY.

I wouldnt be who I am without this place the Weis’s created. Breathe Yoga, Rochester NY.

And so these days, home is California. The beginnings of all the things above. And oh so sweet, and I feel safe and cared for here. Does home take time? Yes. Can home be anywhere. Yes. Do I know though where…where will my family expand. Where will I fall so in love, and begin to build, with our 4-hands a life together. What will it look like around us. The ocean? Open land? A city, a town? Will the people around us be familiar, or will they be new. When will I be more than just me. And yes, just me is beautiful but I know, it’s not enough, not for what I want to create in this lifetime. And so I didn’t want to come here, home to NY, because I don’t know the answer to any of that, and on a fear level, it stops me and my lights, they get low, and I cant see. The answers. The how. The when. And then I tell the truth…and I remember, it’s not about the answers. It’s about the wonder and engagement of life.

 

That home is all these things. And things I cant even begin to imagine, yet. Having lived now in many different places I know now, that a light cannot be taken away, no thing, no one, can. And so I breathe in and breathe out, and I do not know…but it doesn’t mean, I am not home.

 

Anywhere. Everywhere. And there’s a big ol life to discover, and there’s no time to be afraid of what I might see. Truth is, home is still a place, I don’t know yet.

 

 

peaches feet. my feet.

peaches feet. my feet.

I’ve always been…a little bit gay.

I played rugby in college. I drive a jeep. I don’t wear makeup. And I have multiple flannels.

 

Yep. I’ve always been…a little bit gay.

 

image copy

Picture: fredonia beaver club. #supergay

 

So I’m on a run this morning, pumping my arms, singing out-loud, it’s 7am, and it’s already hot out. I’m sweating, and feeling free, and as usual…this perfect balance of sweat and inspiration is often where I get inspired to write.

 

This ones interesting…this ones been brewing for a while, but even me, as outspoken as I am, is wondering what will you think? What this is not is some coming of age post, where I am come busting outta the closet. Nor is it meant for gay rights advocacy, or to start a parade. The risk I run is judgment of others, conclusions you may draw, and not being able to un-do this. But to me the risk of not sharing, is higher.

 

This is, and always is, the reason I write: to give voice where I feel it’s important to give voice.

 

My first legitimate crush was on a boy named Matt Opperman in the 4th grade. He came to NY from Michigan which of course made him exotic and practically a tourist. He gelled his hair straight back, and it didn’t even move when we would play passionate games of dodge-ball. I’d wind back and throw that ball as hard as I could at his pretty little face, while the other girls stood huddled up on the corner (again, I’ve always been a little bit gay), to profess my love through athletics. It worked, and we’d have lunch side by side often, which pretty much meant we were boyfriend/girlfriend.

 

I think his year book message proved it. ‘Lyndsey, math class was SO fun, stay cool this summer’ – Matt. You guys, we were totally in love. Math class? So hot.

 

The first real lesbian I ever met, or realized I was meeting, was my guidance counselor in 9th grade, Ms. Evans. A giant heart. A giant mullet. Kind eyes. And a girlfriend. I remember wanting to ask her one million questions about this woman who stared back at me from the frame Ms. E kept on her desk of the two of them smiling back from the top of a mountain, decked out in hiking gear. But I didn’t…even then, I felt ashamed for her? For me? I don’t know.

 

I remember concluding simply…that I was definitely not a lesbian…because I did not have a mullet.

 

Through high school and college, I only dated men. Really handsome men, I must say. Captains of things, presidents, athletes, elite. I dated rich republicans with side parts and boats, I dated business owners with firm handshakes and blackberrys at the dinner table, I dated only men with educations, jaw-lines, and high salaries.

 

Through all this, I’ve never ever dated an asshole. Ever. If you’re even a little bit mean, I wont date you. Forget to tip the waitress? I’m out. Complain? So not sexy. Don’t have friends? RED flag. Respond to this question ‘what do you want to do tonight?’ with ‘I don’t know…what do you want to do?’ UGH. I cant. Be decisive. Be bold. Be generous.

 

Whatever you do…don’t ask me in bed ‘what are you thinking right now’ and stare over at me with some dreamy look. I hate that.

 

Yes, so that about sums up college and my early 20’s. I had a ton of fun. Met a ton of hot guys. And made out…a lot. Some may call this trampy…and that’s pretty accurate. Before yoga, I just did not know what the heck to do with all this physicality. Ps making out is a nice way of saying, I slept with a lot of people. Did not have healthy boundaries or the ability to say who I was. My voice…was just beginning to surface.

 

My first job out of college…I met her. And I found myself thinking about her all the time. And going out of my way to pass by her. And when I was in front of her, saying things, that made ZERO sense.

 

‘yes I made breakfast, oh it was good, mmmhmmm, yep, oh my gosh, it’s Tuesday, can you believe it TUESDAY, I have reports to write, nice shoes! Does anyone have a pen?’

 

You know. The kind of sense you don’t make…when you have a crush.

 

The first time we kissed. I almost passed out, it seriously took my breathe away. I think it was the anticipation, and our undeniable connection. I could feel the pull between us, and I was so freaking afraid of it, and so afraid that I was gay. Seriously. Those were my thoughts, ‘ I cannot have these feelings, this is so so wrong, being a lesbian is definitely wrong…and wait, I still don’t have a mullet, somethings wrong’

 

Somethings wrong here.

Somethings wrong here.

I am wrong here.

 

I was not ready to move forward in any type of relationship…and continued to date hot guys with BMW’s.

 

I moved out of that phase and dated a few absolutely amazing men in my 20’s. I fell in love twice. One with a man with a Honda civic and a beard, who made me laugh till I felt like I couldn’t breathe, every. single. day. One with a man who hailed from a small town in England, with a baby face, and style for daaaays, who could have red the dictionary aloud to me for all I cared.

 

Accents are so freaking hot.

 

I would think about her…from work…and we had tension for sure. That undescribable, like scene out of a movie when someone throws everything off a desk, and you make out like bandits. Like pausing only to stare intensnely at eachother, holding eachothers faces, breathing all dramatically. We worked in a non profit. So if we tried to do that, the 1983 desk probably would have broke, and we’d set off the sprinkler or something…because things are never as glamourous in the movies as they are in non-profits : )

 

So in the past say…6 years…there’s been an evolution of sorts.

 

I’ve dated women. One whom I cared about deeply, until she went a little bit bonkers, and I think, tried to ruin my life (I’m not joking). I just didn’t feel like this was it, like hey world! Here I am! A leeeeeesbian! (cue celebratory hands like on a chorus line). And I know I frustrated her, because I wouldn’t let her love me completely, but then if you lined up ALL the people I’ve ever dated, they could have a support group together about this.

 

Dating a woman is different for very obvious reasons : ) but what I found was just an entirely different connection. We’d stay up through the night and talk, and make coffee in the morning with messy hair, and sleepy smiles. Women are soft, and have curves, and emotional, feeling creatures. Men are too of course, but it’s just…it’s just different. She was thoughtful towards me in a way I had never experienced, intuitive and kind. She probably would have president of the support group…

 

‘oh, she kicked you out of bed at 7am? Yeah me too’

‘she never talked about her family either? And would take solo road trips on holidays? So weird right?’

‘isnt it weird? I feel like she asks me tons of questions, but I don’t know anything about her’

 

Yep. Anyway, she for sure wanted to be the next Portia and Ellen. And she was HOT. Blonde hair, green eyes, abs, 5 inch heels on the reg….and a subaru (not kidding).

 

One day I went over to her apartment, and she started playing the guitar for me. Honestly guys, it was just too gay. Here she is, strumming along, singing her heart out, doing that eyes closed, head to the side thing, and all I’m thinking about as I’m swigging a beer….is I cant do this. This feels so wrong. This is too much.

 

So I left. Not right away. (that woulda been so mean…she opens her eyes and I’m gone) but shortly after. Explained to her that I just couldn’t do it. I mean…I still didn’t have a mullet. I started dating the adorable guy with the beard shortly after…the one that made me laugh. And one night, she marched up to him, and revealed our big giant lesbian affair.

 

He comes home that night, and is all ‘I need to talk to you about something’ and I’m all ‘cool, what’s up’ and he says ‘well, I met J’ and immediately, I was like, ohhhh lawd, here we go.

 

And before I could explain anything, or go into all the ways it was wrong, or any of that.

 

He just looks at me, and takes my hand, cause he can see the look of guilt on my face and says. ‘I don’t care Lyndsey. One of the things I love so much about you is how open you are, and how you just see people. I don’t care…your with me and I’m with you…I don’t care’

 

I. Broke. DOWN. I had been quite ashamed of my relationship with her. And so frustrated and annoyed that I couldnt just pick one side of the fence to be on, I felt like a fraud. Very few people knew about her. And here is this sweet man across from me, who loves me, who I sleep next to, and love…and he says, he doesn’t care, that he loves that I’m open.

 

AND. He didn’t even try to leverage this new fact into a threesome : ) what a guy. I get nervous every time the guy I’m dating finds out that I’ve dated women…is gonna be all…we should go out to the bar. GROSS. The trampy ship has sailed people.

 

In the past 5 years or so, I’ve just gotten so much more honest about it all. And now? No shame. How did this happen? This happened because I just kept saying outloud, and expressing a part of myself that felt wrong and bad, with more and more people, and you know what happens 100% of the time. Seriously, 100.

 

My friends look back at me (take a sip of beer, wine, coffee, whatever)

 

‘Oh, I’m not surprised’ (as though I just said I was out of cheese and needed to go to the grocery store)

 

Me. Honest reaction ‘you’re NOT?!!?!?!’

 

‘No. duh. Lyndsey you just move through the world and you want to see and experience it all…you see people’

 

I’m so convinced that the people who love you most in this world, they’re just going to LOVE YOU. period. So stop hiding.

 

And then it’s like…we move on. They laugh, and ask me if I have any actual news. I have wonderful people in my life. Every man I’ve dated knows this about me, and again, no one is ever surprised…this feels good. This feels like I am finally reaching a place in my life in the past few years where I am totally and completely done hiding from myself.

 

It’s become light and something I talk about, much more openly…my friend Katie and I, we have a running joke about gay percentage points, and depending on the outfit/activity/etc…you might be running anywhere from a 2% (not gay at all) to an 87% (pretty gay).

 

And yet, I’m still afraid in a way to hit publish…because for some of the people in my life…you’d rather now know this. Maybe you’ll love me less…maybe you’ll judge me…okay. Well, okay. That’s okay. I reached out to my dear buddy, fellow writer, and one of my very favorite human beings today, let her know, I might write a blog about this, her response was just what I needed, my sweet friend to tell me I am her favorite beaver : )

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A few years ago, I’d despair over WHAT DOES THIS ALLLLLL mean! And oh believe me, I still have my moments. I’m dating again since Paul and I broke up… dating men, for you nosy people. Going on dates, here and there, nothing too serious. I know I want a family, I for sure know I want babies, and I’m looking to find the place that feels good, move into a home, with the person I love the most, make a baby, work in an environment where I am passionate and creative, and end every single night, wrapped in the arms of my partner in crime, slow dancing in the kitchen, barefoot, heads back, laughing. Moose running around. Friends that are family, so close by.

 

So here’s what I know. Most of you reading this aren’t going to be compelled to now announce ‘OH MY GOD, I’M A LITTLE GAY TOOOOOOO!’ that very well could not be, the thing you are not saying.

 

But what is that thing you are not saying?

 

That part of who you are that you are afraid/ashamed/resistant to acknowledge?

 

Its so freeing to sit at a table with the people you love, and tell them the truth. You tell the truth…and other people tell the truth…there are no exceptions to that. That is EXACTLY how truth happens.

 

So again, this is not a coming out of the closet essay, this is not a gay rights pledge…it’s just a part of who I am, that I felt so ashamed about, and hid.

 

And one disclaimer, I just don’t want it to get weird with anyone who is wondering if I’m hitting on you now that I am a free agent. I am flirtatious and passionate, and I will full-body hug a stranger if it feels right. But if I was hitting on you, you’d know. I’d for sure try to make-out with you.

 

If you see me bust out my chap-stick. I’m coming for ya. Chapstick. My only form of makeup. How gay.

 

do you know why you give?

When I walk Moose on Sunday mornings, it’s almost always about 7am, it’s my favorite time because no one is awake yet, and it’s always cool. I pour a cup of coffee, and we walk down to the park that’s just about a mile away.

 

I pass this woman on my way. We always seem to cross paths. She older, I bet 65 or so. She carries a large shoulder bag, the weight of which always has her leaning slightly towards the left. Every parking meter she passes, she always, always puts her hand in the bottom and she checks for coins. I take the most roundabout routes so I can pass by her and give her a big smile, she always gives me one back. I don’t know how much she finds in those parking meters, but I know she never misses a Sunday.

 

My Mom grew up extremely poor, in rural Korea, for the very little she does share about her life growing up, I am often angry, wondering why someone didn’t do a better job at taking care of her. I felt protective of her at a very young age, and assumed the position of standing by her hip, defending her at the CVS when the young cashier would ask her to repeat what she wanted, when I knew damn well her English was just fine. One day, with a twinkle in her eye, she told me about how she and her brother would steal potatoes from the farm down the road, and that’s what they’d have for dinner.

 

I saw the twinkle flash across her often sad eyes, and I understood, that for her and her brother, this was the same type of game that I would play with my neighbors growing up. ‘I’ll race you to the fence’ ‘lets see how many june bugs we can catch’ ‘red rover…red rover…’

 

But then. I have never been hungry because there was nothing to eat.

 

My mother warned us to never be greedy. To never ever ask for too much. She’d stock the cupboards downstairs with these three things 1) canned soup 2) spaghetti sauce 3) irish spring bar soap. Right on the edge of being lower middle class and being poor, growing up, my Mom was going to be sure we were never hungry, and dammit, her children were going to always be clean. To this day, I shower like 3 times a day, and I’m sure there’s a connection there.

 

No matter how much we didn’t have…there was always, always enough to give to others. I remember coming home from hours on the ball-field as a teenager, driving home my piece of crap car that would let out a giant sigh once I finally parked it under the basketball hoop, and I’d walk inside, throw my bat bag and cleats down, and there’d be two nuns, or like an entire family at the table. Not strange at all.

 

I’d wash my hands and take a seat. My ability to work my way through any room and be the one carrying a conversation, came from early tests that are the beginning of many jokes….’so I walked into a room, and there’s a nun, a family from Zimbabwe, and a….’

 

I adore diversity.

 

For a long time…the place from which I gave was from a pretty fucked up place, it came from guilt, it came from growing up kinda poor, with this overwhelming sense of feeling guilty for wanting. It came from not asking for seconds to avoid the disapproving look in my mothers eye, and her stern command to ‘never be greedy’ we’d have all these people over for dinner, but my mom would then go on and on about it. ‘it’s important to help others’ ‘some people always have it worse than us’ she say, and sigh and shake her head. Like even she wasn’t believing it. I watched the light go out in my Mom so often, and she tried to fill it with giving to others…it worked, sometimes.

 

So that’s where I gave from. From a place of people NEED, people are NOT OKAY, people NEED HELP. I have too much, I better give it all away.

 

It did lay the foundation though, for a world in which I see contribution everywhere. Where I have a keen and genuine ability to give to others minus the martyr that my Mother taught me.

 

In 2008 I stood up in front of the group at my first Baptiste Level 1 training. It was one of the last nights of the 8 day training, and I stood up, and I shared how when I saw a homeless person, or a person ‘in need’ as I had determined, how I felt it in my whole body, and all I felt was pain. I felt injustice. And I felt the need to make it right. As I’m sharing my whole entire body feels that it is not me, that I am not even talking, but I am sharing because I am so hurt, and I am sharing because it is so misplaced and I know it…but I don’t have the words for it yet. I am crying, and I am shaking, and I am barely standing. I am so full of pain and I don’t want to live that way anymore.

 

Baron says. It seems likes this really hurts you, when you see a person in need. You cant go through life like this. You’ll never be able to live. You will always always be in pain.

 

He was right. Up to that point, I had lived taking on the pain of everyone around me, and the lifetime of pain for my Mom. She let me, she needed me to. She said to me always, even as a little kid ‘no one has ever loved me like you do’ and so, I saw it my mission to love her, even when her pain became mine. 2008 was the year it was called out to me again and again in so many forms, I could not continue living the pain of my mothers life, that it was not mine to take on.

 

In that very same training, Paige, founder of Africa yoga project who would come and still does continue to come into my life to effect waves of realization, says to me, so gently ‘you have to get so clear about where you are serving from, no one needs your help, no one, and you will never be able to truly change anything if what you are doing is trying to fix.’

 

That was 6 years ago, and I have dove head first into the work. And I am so proud to say where I serve from now. I serve and act from a place of ‘everyone is powerful’ ‘people are joyful’ ‘no one needs fixing’ and EVERYONE, everyone has got a story to tell. I don’t do it perfectly…but I’ve come so so far. I see you. I hear you.

 

The woman checking for change in the parking meters. The other woman, who seemed my age, she’d sleep in the door frame of the building down the street. I’d see her, and I’d bring her fruit, water, and chocolate. One day she was gone, and I saw the imprint of her dirty clothes, where she leaned into the corner to sleep. I wonder if anyone else knows why that part of the stucco wall is not white, I do.

 

I think about the dude outside of chipotle, who’s mood changes swiftly. I cant tell if he remembers me or not. I sit down with him once a week or so. On the days he’s being crabby ‘how ya doing?’ ‘oh TERRIBLE, it’s hot out , and I’m HUNGRY’ I sit down with him, and we practice better ways so that he can get what he wants.

 

Listen, I tell him, no ones going to help you out with an attitude like that. You gotta smile at people. You gotta tell them what you need. Ask. He always smiles and agrees. Tells me I remind him of his grandma who says you catch more honey with bees…or something like that…neither of us can ever get the old adage right. He like the grapefruit fuze’s because they are cold and fizzy, he doesn’t really love burritos, he needs dental work, and they hurt his teeth. But get him a fresh out the cooler grapefruit fizz, and he’ll give you his best smile.

 

In Sacramento there’s a huge homeless population. One of the biggest in the united states from what I have researched. It’s warm to hot all year round, and the city make a concerted effort to reach out to these folks and give them food and beds for the night.

 

There’s a photo journalism project I am commited to launching here in sacramento, around the homeless populations here. I’ll write more on this soon, when I am ready to launch the details. But it’s a project I have been thinking about for some time, that honors vulnerable populations by taking their picture and showing them how beautiful they are….and writing about them.

 

The project will be called Heart & Honor. And I know if there’s anything that I do well, it’s seeing and hearing people.

 

What sparked this whole blog post tonight, was a woman, who’s name I don’t know. Who goes up and down and up and down the streets in her cart, with a whole lotta bags, of what I see are nothing, but are certainly more than that. She wears a big hat, baggy clothes, and oversized mens nike sneakers.

 

Every time I see her, we make eye contact, whenever I have it, I give her what’s on me. When I do, she takes my hand in both her hands, and she smiles at me and says thank you thank you thank you. Like the chipotle guy, I have no idea if she knows who I am. There is never this sense in her eyes of ‘oh it’s you!’ but there’s always this sense of us feeling familiar to each other.

 

I saw her through the windows of yoga tonight. I saw her shuffling down the street, with her big sun hat on. I saw her stop and sit down on the steps of the house that I could see from my sun a’s and my chair pose. I saw a kind man stop and talk to her for a while. I saw her open a bag once he left, from her many bags, and begin to eat. Small bites. I saw her wipe the sweat from her brow, and as I moved my body, and reached up, and folded forwarded, and flowed on through, I glanced forward to her, 100 feet away, eating small bites from her small bag. And she looked happy and content.

 

She couldn’t see me of course, but I had an overwhelming sense to be near her. I cant help it, I still see my Mom in every person I feel ‘needs’ for something. And I have to pause on it, to get to the other side.

 

I use the next 10 minutes of my practice, and the glass wall that divides us to send her, and only her, all my love, and I took big big breathes, and moved my body. I decided that when I saw her again, I would make sure she had dinner.

 

The last time I saw her, she reached down to hug Moose. It was pretty much the cutest damn thing you could ever see. Moose, he just goes with it, like Moose GETS IT. She had just gotten done filling up one of her bags with beer bottles that had been in the sun. She got down on her knees and hugged moose in towards her, and kissed him again and again right on the top of his head, just like I do. I looked at Moose and he looked at me, we both knew he wasnt going anywhere. 

 

When she finally released him, Moose smelled like a kegger, and all of us were smiling. It was really f-ing awesome, and I was filled up with joy.

 

I was walking home tonight and I saw her again. Shuffle shuffle shuffle. I felt for the 11 bucks I had put in my pocket to grab dinner on the way home. And then boom, there she was. I was dreaming of burritos from about the halfway point to the end of class (this is very, very common for me) I walk over to her, and again, that same sense of we are familiar to each other.

 

I hand her over the dollar. We smile. And I walk away. As I am walking towards my freaking burrito. I remember. Remembered that I said, the next time I saw her, I’d buy her dinner.

 

So I walked back to her. For a second, ashamed, I hadn’t just given her everything in the first place. But that faded quickly, as she and I stared with kindness at one another as I handed her over the rest, the 10 bucks.

 

China she said.

 

Korea I responded.

 

Thank you thank you thank you thank you .

 

And I said back the same damn thing, In essence we were having the exact same conversation.

 

Where does she sleep tonight? Where does she go? Is someone kind to her? Will someone love her? When did she get a hug last? Is she okay.

 

But it’s that same twinkle in her eye that she gave me tonight, the one in my Moms eye when she told me a tale of stealing potatoes to eat…that I chose not to see, so that I could make it all wrong. Make the pain excusable. And make it mine to fix.

 

That little lady tonight, she’s doing alright. I do not know why people live the paths they do. Sometimes…I cant move past this. But then I remember, that someone elses life is simpy not mine. NOR is it mine to judge.

 

I saw the happiest damn people I have EVER and I mean EVERY met in Kenya. It’s not what you see on TV with kids with fly’s on their faces in rags…that’s part of the story, but it’s not what’s compelling.

 

It’s the joy. It’s that everyones got a story to tell. It’s that everyone craves to be seen, heard, and loved.

 

That some of us need more than others…in this lifetime anyway.

 

10 dollars. Pay it forward. Release any expectation of how it will be used. WHO CARES. Here’s what I know. There are hands are empty, and there are hands that are really full.

 

Are yours full?

 

Well then…what can you give. Watch for the twinkle. ITS EVERYWHERE.

 

You’ll stay in the flow that way, and when your hands are empty, someone will come fill them up. I know this, because I am this. And so are you…

 

Empty. Full. Who even knows. Get clear on why you give, then GIVE. 

 

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when things end…

I taught my last scheduled class today at the beautiful yoga shala this morning.

 

I’ve been up since 3am. I convinced myself that I woke up, and stayed up thinking about things work-related. I even made a few lists to prove it. But it had nothing to do with what I had ‘to do’ but rather, a full-body confession that I don’t know how to end things.

 

I taught my first yoga class back in 2008 at Breathe Yoga in Rochester NY. I was a brand new yoga student (7 months in), and I didn’t have time to overthink all the reasons why standing in front of a group of people talking about down-dogs, might be a bad idea. All my major decisions leading up to that point, grad school, jobs, where to live, etc. all came with multiple spread-sheets, cost/benefit analysis, and consulting all the experts…and then came yoga. And I just said yes.

 

It’s been a journey all-right. To stand in front of a group again and again and again to share what you are passionate about takes chops. It takes an unrelenting passion, and a huge sense of humility. I’ve been all things through the hundereds of classes I’ve taught across 8 different studios, in 2 states, and 2 countries. I’ve been humble, and I’ve been righteous. Ive been grateful, and I’ve been entitled. I’ve been honest, and I’ve been a liar, saying words and not believing any of them…to be like her instead, him instead, anyone but me. Because after all, what have I got to offer…

 

One of my major seismic shifts in life, was quitting my corporate sales job to come to lululemon and move from my hometown. That was back in 2011. The transition was rocky…not at all like I pictured it. I never anticipated what it would be like to be fully accountable to my life as my ‘job’ which is what lululemon asks of me. And so I wasn’t. I fought, and I blamed, and I didn’t want to be responsible for the mess I felt my life was, ‘life had dealt me a shitty hand’ and I just didn’t understand how I was responsible for that. Also, I had chosen a substantial pay-cut, and so certainly, someone owed me something….right?

 

Um yeah, we all know how that ends up.

 

I have tough news for you. You are owed nothing. And no matter what type of crap-show you grew up in, it doesn’t define you nor does it excuse you. This took me some time to really get. Like not just say. But GET. For me it took me a 10,000 mile trip to live and work in Kenya to realize you can drastically change your scenery, but it doesn’t change a damn thing in regards to what’s inside.

 

I’ve heard many times, that I am a free-bird, a flight-risk, that I leave others feeling that I could go at any moment. The funny thing is, I lived my whole life in Rochester NY. Until I was 29, my apartments changed, but my zip codes didn’t. And then…

 

Your way begins at the other side.

Break-through.

Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.

Do it now.

-rumi

 

NY to Kenya to NY to Cali, is what many of you know of me now. And you’re right. And those of you who only knew me, as ‘from rochester’ you’re right too. What moves me now, is not escape, but discovery (and okay, a little escape) but mostly because I am hungry to feel a world that is full of culture and language and tradition.

 

Growing up a daughter of an immigrant who spoke in single word sentences of her past with her head down…every word more vauge than the one before….you cannot help but to seek. And so I am. I want answers by living them, not reading about them. I want culture by experiencing it, tradition by doing it, language by trying it.

 

The one constant in my life since 2008, as most everything else has changed. Is I have never ever stopped teaching yoga. I spent 3 and a half years with my breathe family, and from there I’ve been handed keys to many other studios, all of which I have loved, all of which I have camp-fire stories of growth and failure. But what I would tell you most of all, what I would tell you always is how I find my family here.

 

Survival skill 101, when you do not grow up in a home that functions as a family, you must, must, change that. You cannot stay alone. You must seek and believe that you can create family anywhere…and I must say, I am really freaking good at this. Once I love you. Forget it. I love you for life. I will think about you, and the small thing I can do to make your day, much more than you could ever know. I will hug you, always, if somehow you sneak out of the door without a hug, cause you are a in a hurry, I’ll run after you and wrap my arms around you and tell you to slow down. When I do this…I am doing this just as much for me. Because it feels so damn good to connect, and because I lived so so long in disconnection.

 

This morning I gathered up so many hugs. Every person I knew by name, because calling one another by name is something I believe matters so much. You know that person who you’ve reached that awkward point where you don’t know there name….so you’re too afraid to ask them. Ask them. And then say ‘thank you so-in-so’ unless it’s been a few years…then well, find a new way : )

 

I was supported enough to understand last week, when I could not easily answer the question of ‘where am I holding my practice as priority’ — practice both on and off the mat, that it was an opportunity to pause.

 

You can keep on doing what you’re doing. For most of us. This ‘works.’ But you cannot pour your heart into something so ‘it works’ you gotta be more honest than that.

 

This past year teaching at the shala has been so wonderful to ground down. After 2 years of extensive travel, it was exactly perfect. I found family. I found grace. I found the ground. I found belly laughs, and big ol cleansing cries. I found the keys in my hands from 2 people who had just met me, but loved me anyway, and trusted me to stand in front of the family they had grown. I found gratitude. I found love.

 

As good old mick said….you cant always get what you want….but if you try sometimes, you just might find…you get what you need.

 

I’m feeling that my own practice is drawing back to that of power vinyasa, the heat, the sweat, the movement and flow. It’s where I began, and it’s where I feel I’m going back to. I don’t know what’s next, and for one of the first times ever, I am not even close to panicking. I am going to keep teaching for sure, because that is who I am. I’ll find my way, and I have trust in that.

 

I am sad of course. And also, when things end, I am often times overwhelmed with did I do enough? Was I enough? Do they know how grateful I am…

 

And so you can only show people. Really. It’s what matters most. Those questions above are noisy and powerless.

 

My yoga practices shows me who I am. My teaching shows me where I have healed. My teachers show me that who I am, is who I am.

 

How beautiful it is to know that we just keep beginning again.

 

For anyone that’s ever practiced with me, and for the sweet shala peeps who’ve practiced with me this past year. I humbly bow. To Tyler, Annie, and Josh. The whole rest of my life, I will be grateful for you, and what you’ve built.

 

I walked out today with gifts of donuts, and coffee, and flowers…you guys really get me. I love you even more than this donut from Maries…and man, do I love this donut.

 

Love

Lyndsey

 

sweet savasana

sweet savasana

I built a fire. and watched the tide come in.

I built a fire and watched the tide come in…

 

7am.

7am.

I slept 10 hours last night and woke up only once and looked over the door so I could remember where I was. I dreamt of all things, and nothings, and when I woke up I couldn’t remember one. I felt sad, I felt joy…but mostly, I just felt…and so I built a fire.

 

And watched the tide come in.

 

I walked over to the windows and placed my hands on the cool glass.

 

I zipped a loose hoodie up halfway, and walked outside. I remembered the only thing between me and the wall of glass, was me. And so I walked outside. I could see my breath, and the cool air felt so much warmer than the warm air I am used to, if that makes any sense. And so I zipped my hoodie completely off and lifted my arms up, my full expression, as lived, across 50 degrees of fresh air, the sweet roar of the ocean, and my two small feet on the cool wet grass.

 

And walked back inside.

 

Where the fire is.

 

girlscout skills in full effect

girlscout skills in full effect

I made coffee, and sliced a mango. Humbled at the views life has given me, proud of the views I have sought, sad at the views that are no longer, and so so hopeful and certain of the views that will be.

 

Having lived here for just a bit longer than a year here in California, it was this, a life anniversary of sorts, to come and remember.

 

That the tide comes in again and again.

 

And how uncertain the rest is. And thank god.

 

You can build a fire with your own two hands. If that’s what you choose to do.

 

I walked down to the ocean this morning, and a young man was pulling a wetsuit up over his torso, and stood on his tip-toes to lower a kayak down from the roof of his car. The way he moved you could tell this was not new, this was tradition.

 

He smiled over at me with kind eyes, and I asked him what he was doing.

 

He said that he was at work, and he pointed out past the fog. ‘Out there’ he said, ‘I’ll meet the other guys and we’ll be pulling up oysters’ he pointed to his net. ‘like that’ he said, and gestured what it would be like, which included a ‘pulling up oysters’ face, which looked a lot like my face when I’m doing cross-fit. His sweet nature and explanation had me believing hell, I could get in a kayak and go pull up some oysters. And I made a point to remember this for my own leadership. I walked back up to the bluff where I slept 10 sweet hours last night, to place more wood on the fire.

 

And watch the tide retreat.

 

I’ll do some yoga, maybe.

 

I’ll talk to some strangers, and look at their faces for signs of kindness and a life well lived.

 

I’ll try harder to make those smile who do not look as kind or have trouble looking me in the eye.

 

I’ll get a Cadbury egg from the small store down the street, and make bacon and eggs.

 

I’ll pray.

 

I’ll say very little today. Call my mom and dad. And that’s about it. Send a message to those I love so very much, because a moment like this, with a view like mine, with a prayer so loud…that everyone will know this.

 

Their own version of fire and the tide.

 

As everyone deserves that.

 

And if there is something I know I am good at, I know it’s celebrating what you love the most, and supporting you in getting there.

 

What is your fire?

 

What is your tide?

 

What humbles you to your knees and opens your hands for gratitude, to receive and give, and flow.

 

For me, it an unexpected, mostly unplanned, trip with a view. An uninhibited ‘book-it’ click because it just ‘feels right’ — the hope and knowing what it will feel like to grow these types of views with partnership, and babes, and more than one moose. And as I look out to this landscape that it’s about remembering what I do have, not what I don’t. It’s remembering who I am, not who I am not. That its searching for the kindness in everyone….that begins by believing everyone is kind.

 

And maybe it’s getting in the car and driving 6 hours up the coast, and letting go of explaining why I must.

 

I’ll leave that for the fire….and the tide. And the sweet relief in the moments of letting go needing to live a life I can explain, and instead leading the one I am in. With this view. And every view I have ever seen that leaves me in my full expression.

 

I still have fear of course, that I wont get it right. That a woman seeking a view, may be sacraficing one of home, but then I remember that that is limited. And that having it all is in getting so super clear on what ‘all’ looks like, and attracting that in.  And so I embrace the wild freedom of jumping into my car and heading north. Of getting on a plane, and traveling 8000 miles. Of all the beautiful people I meet along the way. And in this morning remembering and honoring this past year…and how it took me exactly here.

To this view.

the view just outside my door

the view just outside my door