No Zen Master Here. #notperfect

Just for the record, I am not perfect. My life is not perfect…

..and what does that mean anyway?!

This social media world definitely makes it easier to perceive peoples lives to be “perfect” because we share mostly the prettiest pictures with positive vibes, but I just want to set the record straight: My life & I are not perfect.

Just in case any of you were wondering.

For instance, a couple mornings ago I was crouched in a fetal position in my kitchen, crying (sobbing), hiding from my twins while my husband did the morning routine. I even stayed in that position to drink some coffee because

I just needed a f-ing break.

Or how about the nights when I flop face first onto my bed with sheer exhaustion the moment my kids go to sleep at 7pm!? Even though I still have things to do. Or mornings, like today, when I get up at 4am to console a crying baby & then try to go back to sleep but I can’t because I’m totally overwhelmed with anxiety, so I just get up!?

See, not perfect.

Sometimes I regret my life choices & think waaaaay too much about what life would be like if I had done things differently. Sometimes I feel like I will never fulfill my potential. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner. Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in, the city of angels…wait, that’s Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lyrics.

Anyway, you get the point.

Even though I post pretty pictures, positive mantras & share my successes, don’t be fooled. I struggle too. We all do. Life can be messy at times but that’s just life, right?!

 

 

Is your life messy? Comment below!

My Birth Story

As my twins approach a year an a half, I decided to return to BIRTHFIT and their Postpartum program to build strength and community. On day 1, coach Embo gave us the assignment to write our birth story, which I had always wanted to do, but never got done. I had shared the story verbally on the BIRTHFIT podcast, but I hadn’t taken the time to write it. So I was grateful for the assignment and here it is…

 

** TRIGGER WARNING**

My Birth Story

I was very intentional when I was picking my options for a wedding day. I chose weekends that were during a waxing moon (between the new and full moon) and no where close to my menstrual cycle. We eventually landed on August 22, 2015.

It was a beautiful morning wedding outdoors overlooking the ocean with a jazz brunch and dance party that followed. The next day we left for our Hawaiian honeymoon where we spent 10 days resting, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

After arriving home, we were in bliss. We both went back to work and things seemed relatively normal except my period never came. We were pregnant. Like, whoa. I had joked to friends that I wanted to get preggers on my honeymoon but I couldn’t believe that it actually happened.

Just like that.

It was two weeks before we saw the doctor and when we went in for our first ultrasound, she asked: “Do you see that?” as she pointed to two ovals on the screen and held up two fingers, like a peace symbol.

“SHUT UP!” I blurted.

“There’s two,” she said. “You’re having twins.”

I was in shock.

Twins!?

I’m not exactly sure what happened next. I just remember my husband Antonio talking about getting a minivan.

Long story short, the pregnancy had it’s ups and downs.

We were encouraged not to tell anyone because there’s always a chance that you might miscarry one or both of your twins. The concept felt counter intuitive but I only told my mom and my friend Corti.

To everyone else, it felt like we were keeping a very big secret and I hated it.

I started to isolate myself. I didn’t want to see friends because I didn’t want to lie. So I just immersed myself in work which eventually took it’s toll on me.

I was working full time for Yoga Journal Magazine & Events while teaching 6am and 6pm classes at YogaWorks. Plus I was teaching weekend yoga classes at the Viceroy Hotel and juggling a handful of private clients.

I was tired. Eventually sharing the pregnancy was a great relief.

On the day of our 30 week check up, Antonio and I were not getting along and I had an anxiety attack. We went to the doctors office and I could hardly hold myself together.

I was told that everything looked “perfect” but before I left, I mentioned to the doctor that I couldn’t feel the babies kicking as much as I was used to. She suggested that we go across the street to the hospital for fetal monitoring and 20 minutes later I was listening to the heart beats of my children.

Little did I know, I was having contractions every five minutes. I just thought it was gas. Hah. I was immediately admitted into the maternity floor for preterm labor and began a series of tests. Results indicated that I was going into labor.

It was a new moon.

Needless to say, delivering at 30 weeks is not ideal. I was put on bed rest (something I was previously against) and given a cocktail of steroids and medicine to stop the contractions and protect the babies. I was still in the hospital a week later when all my friends gathered for my baby shower, without me.

I was able to go home, on bed rest, for another week before my water broke in the middle of the night. I didn’t want to believe it. But I woke up Antonio and we called the hospital for advice. They told us to come in.

It was 2am and a full moon.

My doctor had just delivered a baby so she checked in on us. After sunrise the contractions started swelling. My doctor was not available and I wasn’t allowed to move. I just laid there and let the painful waves of labor wash over me. The nurses kept calling my doctor but she was telling the nurses to wait. When I started to feel the urge to push, a nurse lifted my bed sheet to check me and could tell that our daughter was crowning. Her head was at my cervix.

From there it was a whirlwind. The nurses were scared and the anesthesiologist was downright frenetic. They began to argue with each other in front of me. The nurse kept repeating that the doctor wanted us to wait and the anesthesiologist kept repeating, loudly, “I overrule. I overrule! We need to take her to the O.R. (operating room) NOW!”

“Excuse me,” I finally said. “Can we all just take a deep breath and calm down?”

The room fell silent for a moment, somebody chuckled, and then the chaos ensued. I was wheeled to the operating room, told to roll over and curl into a fetal position, got a shot in my spine, had my sports bra cut off, and it was go time.

So in a room full of masked strangers, I started to push my daughter out into the world. They let me kiss her forehead for the briefest moment before whisking her away to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

I asked Antonio to please go with her.

The doctors started massaging my stomach trying to get our son, who was breached, to flip. But no luck. Alarms starting screeching and my doctor told me his heart rate was dropping so they had to take him out via c-section.

Next thing I knew I was being cut, feeling a hot searing sensation as if the pain medicine hadn’t quite kicked in, I was jerked a little from side to side, and then he was out. They started to take him until a nurse advocated for me and said, “let her see her son!” They held him up briefly at the doorway before leaving.

In a room full of people, I never felt so alone.

My doctor started sewing me up and began discussing her upcoming family vacation with the doctor next to her, as if I wasn’t even present. I remember thinking that I should say something clever but I passed out and woke up behind a curtain in a recovery room alone.

At some point, I was wheeled into the NICU while still in a hospital bed. I’m not sure where Antonio was. I was placed between the two incubators of my twins and I put one hand into each.

The twins each grabbed one of my index fingers, with their teeny tiny little hands, and the nurse named, Hwa, took a picture.

For me, there is something so sweet and so sad about that memory. I can’t help but cry.

In the end, my birth experience definitely was nothing like I had expected or hoped for, but it’s what happened. And I have to say, my children are the greatest gifts in the world. They are healthy, happy, and absolutely hilarious.

Nearly a year and a half later, I keep re-learning the same lesson:

Life is mostly out of my control but it’s my choice to show up with grace, faith, and a sense of humor.

Modern Sacred Circle Podcast, Season 1, Episode 1: Opportunity

As most of you know, I host women’s circles and train other women how to host circles of their own. The format that I’ve been using and teaching is lovingly referred to as the Modern Sacred Circle. It’s pretty simple but really specific. We gather, establish our agreements, define our conscious communication, intentionally open the circle and then one at a time, each woman answers three questions. Then we close the circle intentionally and go back out into the world feeling seen and supported.

As a way to share this Modern Sacred Circle format with more women, and to connect my online community with my in life community, I created a weekly podcast. Today, I am so excited to share the first episode of the Modern Sacred Circle podcast in an effort to provide listeners with the tools and resources to host a circle of their own.

Each week I invite two different guests to join me and together we consciously communicate about a topic of the week. For this first episode, I invited two of my close friends and collaborators, yoga teacher and surfer, Mary Haberski, and postpartum doula and early childhood specialist, Raffi Dobles, to discuss the topic of Opportunity.

Circle Questions:

  1. What is one thing you’re proud of?
  2. Spend 1 minute exploring Fear / 2 minutes exploring Opportunity
  3. What are 3 things you’re grateful for?

Please click here to listen. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, rate and review us on itunes, and please share it on facebook and instagram with the hashtag #ModernSacredCircle.

Special thanks to my guests Raffi and Mary. Join me again next week when I discuss the topic Nourishment with actress and activist, Johanna Watts, and healthy food chef blogger, Emma D’Alessandro.

Mantra Tuesday (!?)

I normally send out this post on a Monday with a Mantra, which was: I deserve time to myself.

So I took a Monday morning hike instead of heading directly to the studio office. I thought it would be a good way to start my week after hosting a three day women’s leadership training.

After reaching the peak of the hike, I was feeling really good. I was boosted with endorphins, wearing my Strong As A Mother t-shirt, and started to jog.

I know I’m feeling good when I start to jog on a trail.

I was peaking with physical and emotional confidence.

I slowed around a corner and saw two women. One of whom said, “Excuse me. Can you help us?”

Of course I said YES!

Long story short, one woman had broken her ankle and needed help down the last mile of the trail.

Feeling strong and confident, I introduced myself and kicked into my CPR training mode. I reverted back to my wilderness leadership experience in Australia when I was a teen. I thought of the time a man fainted at a waterfall in Honduras. I remembered my emergency training and…

I became the leader.

I put her on my back, her friend carried all the bags, and we slowly walked down the Santa Monica Mountains together as three strong women helping each other.

We were passed by young men, older men, other women, until finally one woman who was leading 10 kids asked if we were ok. Granted, we could have asked for help if we needed it, and…

Of all the people we passed, it was another woman (leading children) who asked if we needed help.

(Take a moment to breathe with that.)

We assured her we were ok because we were. We finally made it to the road. Granted, I used up a bit more time (and energy) than I had expected, and that’s ok. So I didn’t get to writing the Monday Mantra yesterday. But that’s ok too. I got my time to myself AND I was also able to help someone else.

I guess it’s just what I needed after all.

Now today’s Tuesday Mantra is: I’m as strong as a Mother!

Cycles of Womanhood

I am always evolving. Always. Each day. Every moment. With every breath, I evolve.

Like the moon, I am full and fabulous at all times but sometimes I can only see a sliver of myself.

Sometimes I catch a glimmer of the woman I am becoming, other times I fully embody her.

I wax and I wane, and that’s ok. It’s part of being a woman.

Why I’ve decided to start wearing shorts!

I’ve decided to start wearing shorts again.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt confident with bare legs. I’ve been comfortable in skin tight yoga pants, but shorts!?

Not me. No.

I told myself that I didn’t have “nice legs.”

Somehow I believed that my legs didn’t deserve fresh air & sunshine because they have dimples, bruises, scars, hair, veins, etc.

Wait. Seriously!?

When on vacation, I wore nothing but a bathing suit all the time. I found the less I wore, the more comfortable I felt in my skin. I realized, how can I learn to love all of myself if I’m always hiding the things I’m insecure about?

Sooooo . . . Upon my return I’ve started wearing nuthin’ but my sports bra & shorts on the hiking trail.

The first time I felt myself get nervous & embarrassed when approaching other hikers.

After a couple weeks, I’m no longer ashamed. Same thighs. Different mentality.

Why?

Because. . .

1. This is my body and I want to love it (as it is).


2. Life is too short for excuses.


3. I want my children to learn to love/respect themselves & I plan to be a good role model.

WCW Coach Gwen Dittmar

My Woman Crush Wednesday is Gwen Dittmar who is a coach and healer who helps professional women find balance, purpose and peace while amplifying their edge, success and income.

Gwen’s clients have built thriving businesses, changed careers, added streams of income to existing businesses, doubled and tripled their income while paying off debt, bought homes, called in loving relationships, marriages and children, as well as revamped dead marriages, healed strained relations with loved ones, grieved the deaths of family and friends, forgave the unthinkable, accepted and fell in love with themselves for the first time in their lives, created breathing room, reclaimed their power and optimal energy, made time for self care, instituted boundaries and climbed mountains – literally Mount Kilimanjaro – in less than several months of training.

I’m also honored to host her Breath Work classes at my studio. Her next one is 8pm on Friday June 16th and I’ve been looking forward to it since I took her class last month. I think you’ll love her too!

What is your mission?

To heal, learn and grow as much as I can in this lifetime in order to serve others and uplift humanity.

How are you courageous?

Leaning into discomfort, discarding what no longer serves me and being disciplined to rise to the next level. Finding comfort in discomfort has allowed me to experience physical, emotional and spiritual break throughs beyond my wildest dreams.

Why do you teach Breath Work?

Breath Work is one of the most powerful tools I have discovered in the past 20 years of my spiritual journey. I have experienced my soul’s journey through many lifetimes, a deeper understanding of who I am and my purpose, and connected with a love beyond my conscious understanding.

How do you hope to serve your clients?

My intention for serving clients is for them to listen and honor their intuition and wisdom, to know, accept and love who they are, and to answer the question what is my purpose and how to experience it on a daily basis.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

What an awesome question! I see myself coaching, healing and teaching out of an office near the ocean, writing from my home oasis, and traveling and savoring this beautiful family that I’ve co-created with my husband, friends and extended family.
For more info about Gwen, visit her website: GwenDittmar.com

Mix & Match

I’ve loved to mix & match as along as I can remember.

A regular Halloween costume for me growing up was Pippi Longstocking.

We both had freckles and I loved her funky clothes. It was an easy pick.

With that said, growing up I’ve always loved textiles from different countries. I enjoy a crazy variety of music. I love a diversity of food.

Same with my yoga. I got hooked with Bikram but transition to Vinyasa. But then I was saved by Restorative and inspired by Tantra Kundalini. So again…mix & match.

My life is all about finding the beauty in diversity.

Why I’m Winning

Hell yeah, I’m winning.

Of course, real life is more challenging than my social media persona might revel. Yet in the grand scheme of things, I’m definitely winning.

So when Gwen Dittmar asked if she could feature me for her Wednesday Winning blog, I said: Absolutely.

I talked about how the main inspiration for my business is to live a good life filled with purpose. I have always been inspired to fulfill my dharma and continue to seek self-actualization. Plus how as a business woman and mom, I find myself making less commitments. This helps me find balance and be more present with work (when I’m at work) and family (when I’m with family).

I also get real about the daily sadness I feel for the world. It’s a practice to balance the sadness with the beauty and the purpose. If I can learn how to do that with grace and ease, I’m definitely winning!

Thanks, Gwen!


Click here to learn more about Gwen’s Breath Work classes at Gigi Yogini Studio.

Did I mention, Mantra Monday is BACK!!!

It’s time, my friends. Time to bring back my weekly email newsletter, Mantra Monday!

Now I’m also adding the video to increase the online conversation. I want to know which mantras resonate with you.

Sign up on the home page and you’ll receive a free meditation download for relaxation too!