Joy · Kajal · Soul

I’m O.K., you’re O.K.


Lately, when I’m feeling anxious, I check in with my heart. Sounds super-cheesy. I literally focus in on my heart and send my thoughts and energy there to kickstart that good feeling. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one you get when you get a diamond tiara, win a million dollars or get a promotion. LOL. The only one of those three things I’ve ever actually received is the last one, the promotion, which is indeed a wonderful feeling. Being recognized for your hard work and increasing your earning power is fabulous. But a promotion doesn’t happen every day. The problem with all of these things, other then being highly unlikely and rare is they are external, fleeting triggers of joy. They don’t come from within.

The best place to start and capture that feeling is from within. Kickstarting your joy with good, positive, loving thoughts and feelings puts the right energy in your heart. And that feeling is priceless. It let’s you know, “I’m ok, and because I’m ok, you’re ok, everything’s ok.”



Building a Platform (for what?)


In the writing world, I feel this constant pressure to get to one place first, and then from that perch, I’ll be able to get somewhere else (i.e., the place I really want to be). I think a lot of this has to do with the word “platform.” Before you can expect an agent or publisher to be interested in your submission, you need to build a platform. To build a platform, you have to do something that appeals to many people. Often something that fits neatly in that category—the category: appeals to many people—has to be simple, readily identifiable, marketable, visually-interesting, formulaic, predictable. In other words, not new. Something that lends itself to a 20-second elevator pitch.

Maybe advice for busy new moms. Maybe 10 ways to slow down. Maybe gardening tips. Maybe a nice before/after picture of a newly-simplified living space. Maybe something funny the kids did. A beautiful latte with a heart in the foam. These are a few possibilities. There are many more. And they can have value, potentially. Even if it’s just a picture of the cat in the sun that makes someone smile, someone who has seen (and taken) a million pictures of cats in the sun.

And you could accept that broad category, whichever one draws you the most. You could say, I will start by curating or recording or musing about something with mass appeal. And even then, who knows how many followers you will attract? Maybe you’ll take in lots of tips about “successful” blogging and boosting your online presence, and you’ll apply them well and have some natural talent for publicity and self-promotion and you’ll get somewhere.

And then maybe you’ll have a platform. Enough followers, enough likes, enough friends, enough fans, enough, enough, enough! so that the guardian of some cultural access point whose approval you’re seeking (the editor or agent) will finally approve. At last you have enough—enough people who will pay money for something they will help you sell.

This platform pressure drains me.

Isn’t it highly possibly that you could invent yourself, reinvent yourself,  be that person that people want to follow, that person with a platform, that you could climb up high and see far and wide, then be granted the opportunity to speak to the crowd through some establishment channel like book publishing, and quite possibility the speech you’d want to give, or book you’d want to write would have nothing to do with that persona at all? That was the persona you used to claw your way to that platform. Do you jettison it? Would you be allowed to? Could you throw off your pink wig, trade your platform heels for running shoes?




“…Very well, then I contradict myself…”



How lucky this feels to me today to have a writing/yoga blog, about which I’d so often dreamed for past year. To have a space to enter. Writing. Yoga. Fitness. To see the posts from Kajal. Some really make me laugh! To know that Sharyn is now teaching Yoga at Bowery Yoga (and somehow credits her arrival there to me, for connecting her with our neighborhood garden for our Mindfulness in the Garden workshop). The Mindful Gardener is reprinting. I gave a copy to my aunt this past weekend. She is about to move from her big, beautiful house on the beach where we just realized this weekend as I said goodbye that we should have hosted a women’s wellness retreat to a small condo near the woods in the next town over. In her “new life” she is excited to start her own little garden. She flipped through the pages of the journal to the question about who taught you to garden. It was her mother Eleanor (my grandmother), she said, proceeding to tell me about the glorious roses out front of her childhood home.

Today I said I will come here, that is, pull up this WordPress page, and give it my full attention.

We try to fight distraction. We’ve rid ourselves of multi-tasking. But instead of focusing on what I don’t want to do (get distracted, wander to another page, another task, an article, a chore, an email) I am telling myself that instead I should focus on the act of attention, its potential for power, grace, and joy. Here is Marjoleine de Vos:

“Nothing is better than fully opening up to what you are doing, whether it’s gardening, reading, listening, or bird-watching. Instead of doing a little of many things at the same time, doing them one at a time is more efficient and more enjoyable.”

When I started this project with Kajal, my partner Alex posted on Facebook a link to the blog with the description that it was “not very rock & roll” of me. It is not. It is a different aspect and I sometimes feel like a bit of an imposter in this yoga world. I wonder if I have the “right” to write about mindfulness. If I am allowed to participate in a discussion about a realm that is not only new to me but also at odds, possibly, with other realms, other roles. I wonder what is at the root of that fear. Why one can’t write rock songs and also write about attempts at meditation. The fear extends to other areas. At Fordham in my Master’s program I often felt on the margins because I was a mother. I felt discredited because, along with my nonprofit work, I write books for a living that are mainly just for fun (commercial, gift books, often silly, often illustrated, not serious, the furthers thing from scholarly). Part of me thinks that I can’t help but think in terms of a personal brand, given that our social media feeds, more than anything, have seemingly come to define us in our larger networks. And knowing that my “brand”—if I have one, as a freelancer, I partly rely on having one—is rather incoherent gives me pause. Genre-bending, disobedient.

Is writing about yoga, practicing yoga with the mind of a writer, a departure from who I’ve been? Will it take me further away from something essential? Or help me return? I don’t have answers, but I have felt something stirring and I’ve started to listen to recordings from my band Dimestore Scenario. I posted a few here. Part of me wants to write all new material. A new EP, a new album, maybe a compilation. And part of me thinks, no. You need to exercise restraint. Go back and finish something you started. Remember Bruce Lee, practicing the same kick, 10,000 times.


Kajal · Soul

How should it be?


Instead of thinking how something shouldn’t be or how f*cked up things are, I’m trying to think how things should be and what the upside is. A lovely way of thinking.

Plus, Rachel just told me how to access free pictures in WordPress. So, I’m posting a pretty picture. Each stone stacked on top of the other in perfect balance. Another way to visualize how things should be.



One Thing


Focus on doing one thing.

How often do we hear that advice?

Yet how difficult it is to heed it.

Even when it comes to this blog, this moment. I want to sit here for a few moments breathing in and out listening to Snatam Kaur and writing, yet my mind is racing ahead to all that needs to be done in the next 40 minutes, the next several hours, several days. I hear Wally chattering in the background nervously, working last, last minute on a project he had all vacation to do. I did that many times, I remind myself, and when I was far older than him. One thing. Today I returned to a (tiny) morning routine. So simple. Light a candle, start the quiet music, breathe in, and begin. Yet how many mornings go by without it?

I read somewhere recently to start and finish your meditation practice with something that frames it. Lighting a candle and blowing it out can be one way. A chime or incense. One of those bowls—what are they called? Clearly I am new at this. I like that idea though. That commitment. For the length of this song, or while this candle is burning, I will (attempt to) focus on this one thing. I remind myself of that word “attempt” again and again. During meditation our minds may wander. As we’re working on a piece of writing we may keep thinking of a million other things we need to do. As we’re practicing yoga we may need to keep reminding ourselves to focus on the breath—to breathe at all. All we can really control is our intention.

My intention now (nearly 10 PM) has changed from when I began this post (before 7 AM). I had thought then that I would write quite a bit, having not written for a while. Perhaps I’d even write about the reason for the break. But the day carried me away. Whenever I could, I remembered to slow down, breathe, stay focused on one thing. Once in a while I was able to.

So here is this post after a long silence, one little offering.



Asana · Health · Kajal

From Recovery to Rediscovery

The recovery process after spraining my ankle last summer has taken time. I had no idea the toll an injury takes on the body, especially considering mine was not even as bad as injuries many athletes or others have. Taking a hard spill down the stairs, really wreaks havoc. All those action heroes definitely would not be able to get back up from some of the falls you see in the movies.

Despite being mobile, I had to take slower yoga classes. Now I’m slowly building my way back up to where I was before I fell. I even started doing a full sun salutation again! Yet, with each upward dog, each chaturanga dandasana, my left foot feels like a flipper swimming in isolation, still paddling back towards harmony with the rest of my body.

Although the different parts of my body are still finding their way back together again, it feels really good to be on this path. I’ve missed the feeling of doing a complete sun salutation. As each pose combines with it’s respective inhale and exhale, I rediscover what I love about yoga. Only it’s deeper, because I am so grateful to be practicing this way again. The ujjai breath winds it’s way through the body, working in unison with each muscle and helping me to find my inner light and shed everything even if for one moment.



Kajal · writing

Don’t think, just write

Overthinking is a shackle. If I do X, then Y. Saying this will result in that. What if scenario A, B and on and on to Z? By the time you get to Z, you will have completely talked yourself out of the thing you were doing.

As children, we are fearless, playful and curious. Over time, a parent slaps our hand when we reach for something, a teacher says we didn’t color in between the lines properly, a coach or teammate says we can’t do it that way and pretty soon we are programmed to try to just figure out what others want and please them.

Writing is a creative process. Overthinking obstructs the process of letting an idea come to life. Once where there were thoughts and ideas flowing freely, the shackle presses down on your brain and holds the creativity back like a vice. It boils down to just going for it and not second-guessing yourself, in other words, it comes down to confidence.

Lately, I’ve become more self aware of how my desire to please takes over my confidence. My fear of being or doing something wrong freezes me dead in my tracks.

What’s the cure?

Being highly aware of the behaviors and realizing when I’m doing it is a start. And then when it starts, I tell myself, “Stop overthinking, do it.” Or in the case of writing, personal or professional, “Don’t think, just write.”