Trust fall.

As we came back into our home port after a quick afternoon sail, I took my place at the bow of Soultide.  My job there is to lasso the piling on the starboard side and cleat it off to secure the boat.  I patiently waited as Claiborne honed in the nose of our girl and watched my piling get within range as we glided silently into our slip.  “Ive got it!”, I preemptively yelled as I reached out for the rope.  The boat, in a sudden fit of independence, stopped all forward motion and kept just far enough away from the piling to keep it out of my immediate reach.   Not a problem, I thought to myself. I turned my head towards the stern where I could see in my peripheral Claiborne cleating off his lines (successfully).  I called back, “I missed the line so I’m going to do a trust fall into the piling!”  The silence that followed my declaration instantly translated in my mind as trust falling into the piling was a great idea and that I had his full support.  It never occurred to me that his silence could mean he was assessing if he heard me correctly, as well as comprehend what trust falling into a piling actually entailed, and then taking a hasty inventory of the ensuing and likely injurious consequences that such an activity would most certainly result in.  While these calculations were ticking in Clays mind, I was delightedly and without any thought to possible negative outcomes, beginning my trust fall. 

When you are on a boat and apply pressure to an outside secondary, stationary object, you (and the boat) move and the object stays still.  This is common sense, of which I appear to have very little.  I bent at the waist and covered the distance that my arms couldn’t, just barely getting my palms to the piling.  This felt like definite success for two seconds until I felt the boat begin to move away from the piling, responding to the force of my palms landing.  I was just short of enough grip on the piling to where I couldn’t push once more to get myself upright again and so I gripped as hard as my little fingers would and stretching my upper body as far as I could. And then I started screaming. “CLAIBORNE, IM GOING IN!!” I shrieked, knowing I couldn’t grip anymore, feeling I couldn’t stretch my upper body an inch more and seeing the gap between the boat and the piling get wider and wider. I could almost hear his trust-fall-mind-calculation-thought-bubble pop as he watched one possible outcome take shape right before him and he sprang into action.  He reached me just as my fingers were finally slipping completely off the piling and felt his arms wrap around my waist just as I felt my upper body started for the cold creek water below.  Pulling me safely back over the lifelines he whispered, “That was a terrible idea.” 

In many ways, this year has been all about  trust falling. Closing my eyes and trusting that the universe would be there to catch me, trust falling into magical cabins and wonderful friends, home cooked meals and art projects, the man of my whole entire heart and the trip of a lifetime.  The most important aspect of a trust fall isn’t about falling or catching, it’s about the in between. It’s after you’ve fallen, taken an action on faith and before you are caught.  It’s the letting go, the trust.  That’s where the magic happens.  

I am planning on trust falling right into 2016, which sounds far less dangerous than into a piling.   Happy New Year, readers! See you on the other side! 

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Soul transition.

It has been a month since I boarded the flight that brought me back home. I have relished these past four weeks, taking in every familiar sight and sound and taste as if for the first time. Hugging commonplace conveniences like my washing machine. Wandering around for hours at the grocery store. Driving. Running. In my transition, there has been little room for reflection and I imagine it’s similar to the first visit to the lake every summer. You know that water is going to be damn cold so, standing on the edge of the dock you muster up a whole heap of courage, plug your nose and make a dash for the water. You plunge beneath the surface and for a few moments are suspended in a watery dream. It is damn cold. For a moment, there is nothing but pure adrenaline pulsing through your veins. Then you realize you survived the jump, the cold and shock of the first plunge and you smile, knowing the rest of the summer is going to be easy living. And as you resurface, life is a bit different. You have a new confidence. A new outlook. I imagine my transition in this way. The fifteen days I gave myself between making the final call on leaving my apartment in Los Angeles and boarding a flight to New Delhi: that was
me, standing on the edge of the dock as I mustered up a whole heap of courage and made a dash for the water, a whole lot of unknowns. The five months I spent in India, completing my yoga teacher training and life transition as a person: that was the plunge, the watery dream. It was damn cold (and then unbearably hot). For a moment, there was nothing but pure adrenaline pulsing through my veins. I realized I survived the jump, the cold and shock of the first plunge and I smiled, knowing the rest of my life is going to be easy living. The four weeks of chaos that have buffered me from becoming too nostalgic about my experiences in India have been a blessing, from losing my best friend to switching coast lines. And now, it’s the final resurfacing, the breath of fresh air, the knowledge that life is a bit different because now you live with a new confidence, a new perspective. That’s the moment to reflect on, the moment not to be missed among the trinkets and remnants of India.

This is my soul transition.

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No more coconut cookies: a resolution

Many of the fantastic people I’ve met during my India/yoga journey are jaded by their American experience. The reasons range from politics to the food industry to unemployment but the theme is the same: We are leaving the U.S. and taking our talents elsewhere. I understand this aversion but cannot overlook a very real concern: We all can’t just leave. Some of us need to stay and help. We need to return home with these ideas, techniques, skills and share them; that’s the only way things will get better. So in just over two weeks, I’ll be returning to Virginia and I will be hitting the ground running. Here are some resolutions to start with:

– From here on, no more processed foods. Furthermore, what I do consume will be local, seasonal and organic to the great Shenandoah Valley. No more coconut cookies, no more tortilla chips (oh man), no more chocolate, no more of a lot of stuff. Does wine fall in the no more category? If it’s local, seasonal, organic…I can find that, right?
– Support local VA farmers! Find them, learn from them, buy from them! Most of all, love and appreciate the wonderful work they do. Integrate their work with my work: yoga and food. A holistic relationship.
– Yoga retreats: I’ll be starting up yoga retreats in the Blue Ridge Mountains by August. The beginning stages of a yoga platform are already coming together, with big flowing curtains of Indian fabric that can be tied back during practice or let down for meditation. Also, there is a plan for a floating yoga platform in the middle of a lake. An important part of the retreats will be organic, fresh meals prepared by a good friend and phenomenal chef who is committed to seasonal, nutritious and delicious food. I’ll also be teaching food mediation classes on why we eat, how to eat, and what to eat to improve our health, physically and mentally.

Ready, set, GO!