Dear Yoga: A love letter…

Dear Yoga,

I remember when I first met you. I was just a little one and less interested in you than I was the lady on the TV show, Lilias, Yoga and You. I think it was her long, pretty hair in a braid, and that badass purple unitard she wore. I wanted to be her when I grew up. And I’ll admit, I liked to show off to my mom the poses that I could do, but that’s as far as our relationship went at that time. I was much too young to realize how awesome you were.

The next time you showed your face was when I was a teenager, trying to make friends in a new school and decide who I was going to be at that impressionable age.  I’ll admit, I loved the physical practice, and the relaxation made me feel great for the moment… But I was far too self-concious to let my guard down and really explore what you had to offer. None of the popular kids were into you, and I really wasn’t sure if I should be either. Was I hanging on to my hippie roots? Would I be judged for it? I figured we should just take a break for the time being, and soon you were forgotten.

A few years later, while I was still trying to figure out who I was and what my place was in this world, you came back (although, I now know you never really left me.). You showed up when I needed you most but never imposed on my life. You were just there, waiting, allowing me to discover you on my own time. I saw you on my travels through Europe, and again when I moved to California. You intrigued me. You never judged, you never told me what to do. Even though I was quite the handful at that age…
I felt a connection with you that I had never felt anywhere else. It felt like coming home when I was with you.

When we began to see each other steadily, I felt like you had always been a part of me. I looked so forward to rolling out my mat everyday! But in true Yoga fashion, you never said anything if I didn’t show up for a few days or even weeks. You always welcomed me back with grace. When I tried different styles and tried to decide where I fit in, you let me explore and whispered in my ear: Trust yourself. Wherever you land, is exactly where you are supposed to be. Besides, I’m much more than the physical practice. So much more…

Our relationship now is so honest and beautiful, Yoga, and I thank you. You’ve helped me to find my truth, to find love, and to be happy. Through you I have come to accept my body- how it looks, its limitations, and its amazing capabilities. I’ve learned to love myself unconditionally, and to honor myself as a Divine being. Though I have my off days, you are always there to remind me to REMEMBER who I am. Through you, I have fallen in love with myself, which led me to find and marry the love of my life and have a truly healthy relationship. You’ve given me the tools to always strive to be a better person. Trying to be more loving, more compassionate, more willing to see the good in others. Of course it’s not always an easy, smooth road, but you make it easier for me to make good decisions on a daily basis. To make choices that serve my well-being and that of others.
I began to realize that once peace, beauty, and joy is found within, it’s so much more visible on the outside!

Thank you, Yoga, for all the wisdom you have shown me, and all that there is still left to learn! There are lifetimes of knowledge yet to discover and I am so grateful to be on this journey. Thank you for teaching me to choose Love over fear… To always try to do no harm to myself or others… And most of all, for showing me how to LOVE & BE LOVED.

With the greatest respect,
Namaste.

{Lilias Folan in the 70’s in her awesome unitard}

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Well there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining, Like a star that can’t wait for the night…” ~Led Zeppelin

Happy holidays! And, apparently I don’t blog enough.

K and I were having dinner the other night with some dear friends that we haven’t seen in almost a year, and the topic went from, ‘How have you guys been? What’s new?’ to… ‘You need to blog more! Do you know how long it’s been?? Much too long!’ Haha! Sorry, Hannah, had to throw you under the bus for that one. 🙂
But seriously, sometimes life is just WAY more exciting than the internet, and I just can’t seem to sit down long enough to pour out an entry. However- I am going to make this my New Years Resolution. I resolve to blog more. Because, in all honesty, I really love to do it. But sometimes I don’t even visit my own blog for weeks on end. And then I have beautiful comments from awesome readers and I feel like poop because I haven’t responded fast enough. And then the guilt sets in about abandoning the blog for so long and that makes me really want to stay away, because how many times can I say sorry for not blogging. Or is it Sorry for Party Rocking? But alas, here we are again. And yet again… Sorry for not blogging. Moving on…

We are enjoying this holiday season SO much! No stress, no rushing around, no angry shoppers fighting for parking spaces or the last DVD set of Sons of Anarchy Season 2. Ah… just bliss with my love being home, our sweet little Christmas tree, and lots of yummy vegetarian dinners at home. See, this year we decided to not buy presents for anyone, not even each other. No consumerism = no holiday stress. We did allow each other presents ONLY if they were hand-made by us. So instead of Christmas morning being the pinnacle of the holiday because thats when the presents are opened, we are enjoying every single moment just being together. And the days up to Christmas seem to last longer. They are being savored rather than having the feeling of rushing around to buy things for everyone. It is so nice. We are so relaxed and happy to just watch the chaos fly around us while we just look at each other and smile. I recommend this to everyone.

Until today. I did something completely out of my comfort zone, and far from my usual routine. I went to the mall today. Yes, December 26th, the Day After Christmas…! One of the cra-zaaziest shopping days of the year. WHY? I need a new coat for Alaska. And I figured I could sneak in under the radar and hit up the one store that was sure to have my perfect coat in stock for Uber-cheap, my color and size of course. And then I would whisk myself up to the register, pay and be out and on my way home in 30 minutes or less. Because I AM that confident and a total positive-thinker, and I only want one little thing, right?

{How I imagined my shopping experience was going to be...}

{What I actually saw when I got there}

Of course I asked K if he wanted to join me and get some new gloves. HA! He looked at me like I was looney and said no thank you love, but good luck. In fact, he actually suggested I bring my badass knife he got me for Christmas (Yup, of COURSE he broke the rules and gave me gifts). Anyway, I drive to the mall, happy as can be, calling upon the Parking Fairies to grant me rockstar parking right in front of the one store I knew would have my coat. Well, that didn’t quite happen. But I did get to see two older ladies scream at each other from their cars, fighting over a parking spot, obvs. That’s okay, I’m still cheerful and optimistic.
I can now see my store, but crap, with all the parking traffic, I am barely inching my way through the lot. I decide to park further away and walk. It’s a beautiful day out and I could use the walk after all the coconut milk egg nog I drank. SO I pull down an aisle and voila! A parking space appeared right in front of me! Thank you parking fairies! I get out of my car and start the pretty far walk to the store. I cut between cars and move to another aisle, then another. A car pulls up in front of me and a guy leans out of his car to yell at me for taking him on a goose chase. What the..? Apparently, he had been following me from aisle to aisle thinking that I was looking for my car to leave. Oops, I had no idea. Whatevs, dude. Two altercations in under 5 minutes but I am STILL having a good time. I just wave and carry on.
I finally get to my store and a whoosh of reality washed over me as I walked in. There were SO many people with angry, maniacal, and pissed off looks on their faces that I had to pause and find my courage to go on. Crying kids, yelling moms, people flinging through the racks with reckless abandon, throwing coats that didn’t fit them on the floor, others grabbing 5 at a time, not even looking at sizes, just so they could go take them to a corner to try on without having to shank someone for it. It was complete madness.
I took a deep breath…
And I walked over to the nearest rack that (miraculously) had only one person digging through. I found a couple nice ones, but my eyes were glazing over, my palms were getting sweaty, and my bottom lip was getting ready to pucker. Yes, my friends, I was thisclose to losing it. I wanted to either A. run for the door while screaming: “You’re all a bunch of f#*@ing lunatics!” or B. give up and sit down somewhere, where they would eventually find me rocking in a corner.

However, I pulled up my big girl panties and did C. Made one last scan of the coats with authority, wearing a confident smile while still being ready to fend off the crazies if I found My Coat. And then… there it was. The only one of its kind in the store, Michael Kors, down, mid-thigh, puffy but fitted with a faux fur trimmed hood,  in MY size, marked down from $400 to $109. True story. It was only a coat, but the victory I felt in that moment could only have been better if there was a soundtrack playing in the back ground, like in a Katherine Heigl movie. I took my starry eyes and my new favorite coat EVER up to the register. Where I waited.

Yep, still waiting.

But that’s okay because I WON. I wrapped my arms around my coat to snuggle in its warmth while I waited. I walk up to the register and she sweetly tells me that My Coat is now only going to be $85 because it has been marked down yet again for today only. Ahhhh sweet victory. I abandoned the rest of my plans and just went home to have lunch with K. My day was complete and oh so sweet. BUT- I vow to NEVER do that again. I have no idea what I was thinking…

So me and My Coat are heading up to Anchorage with K on Thursday for their New Years Eve concert. I am so excited! See, I was born and raised in Hawaii. However, for a couple of wild years when I was a little one, my parents, my dog and I were nomads and went from Hawaii to California, then up to Maine and all the way through Canada (in a van with shag carpet walls!!) to Nome Alaska where we lived on the tundra for a year or so. I don’t remember any of it, but I have some great photos, and I love hearing the stories…

{Yes, that is me. Could I look any more uncomfortable?}

Then I came back to Hawaii, all before I was 3 I think? Mom, dad, you can probably fact check me here. But I have never been back to Alaska, and now we have the chance. I’m very excited to see the Aurora Borealis again, and to visit a glacier south of Anchorage. It wasn’t on my Life List, but I am eager to experience it just the same. Are any of you readers out there in Anchorage? Anyone coming to the show? We will be there for about six days and would love to have some recommendations of restaurants, fun things to see, etc. And wouldn’t you know it… there is a yoga studio next to the venue. Boom. 🙂

It has been such a wonderful year, and one word sums it all up for me. Gratitude. I am so grateful for everything in my world: My love, my family, my friends, my studio, our travels, our life together. It’s been a fabulous ride so far, and I am so excited to see what the New Year brings! I would love to hear from all of you… What are your plans for New Years Eve? Are you making a resolution this year? Of course, mine is to blog more, blah, blah. But other than that, I really don’t have another one in mind. Just to Live. Live happily, live healthily, and honestly and lovingly. Enjoy every. single. moment of this beautiful life and to appreciate and love my closest like it’s the last day of the world.

Happy New Year. Peace to all.

Currently…
Reading: Jimmy Page. Magus. Magician. Man.
Listening to: Chris Cornell- Live acoustic tour. Swoon…
Eating: Homemade Vegan Harvest soup (basically any veggies I have on hand)
Grateful for: Kaleo making me delicious breakfasts every morning. I’m spoiled.

 

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James

Just a quick post today with an amazing video that’s so heartwarming, I got all teary-eyed. The kindness of humans never ceases to amaze me. Everyone has it in them to make a difference, either big or small. Mother Teresa said, ‘If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ‘
So if you can’t save a hundred whales, save just one…


I ask you this: Without spending any money, how can you be of service to the world today?

Peace in, Peace out… 

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” ~Ingrid Bergman

Well Hello, old friend…
No excuses. No apologies. I’ve been enjoying my life immensely …that is all. I’ve even been pondering the idea of taking a hiatus from blogging altogether. But alas, I’m back once again to pour my words out onto your pages. To discuss joyous occasions and laugh at oddities, to own up to my awkward moments and dissect my silly quirks. All out in the open for scrutiny in the public eye. Why on Earth would I be so transparent, you ask? Why don’t I password protect my life? That is a damn good question, actually. The only answer I have is… That’s not me. I don’t hide. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and sure, it might bring some hurt feelings into my day occasionally. But it feels much more authentic to be true and broadcast good stuff that might inspire people, or awkward moments that people can relate to, than to stay private and closed off. And believe me, friends, the truly juicy stuff in my life doesn’t go on a WordPress Blog, it stays in my heart and the heart of my loved one, all tucked away neatly and safely for our eyes only.

But there is so much more to talk about. Life brings us daily gifts in a myriad of ways. Getting that extra half hour of sleep & snuggle time in the morning; a hand written letter from a dear friend in your mailbox; when a new recipe comes out delicious the first time; discovering new music; cozying up with a great book on one side of the couch while your loved one is reading on the other side of the couch, under the same blanket… I could go on forever! And these are things that are worth talking about, and sharing. It’s the little things in life that bring us so much joy, IF we are able to recognize them. So sure, I might rant and rave about something awful and annoying from time to time, but those are the times that we can laugh at, ultimately. And in fact, by writing about those times I am making myself laugh at them, and it becomes a non-issue.

So there. I am back, and I am grateful for my blog, and my readers. I’m grateful for my family and friends who allow me to process my life openly and passionately with no judgement. And I am grateful to the very few of those out there who insist on judging and being party-poopers. You only make me stronger.

So with all of that being said… Let’s start again.

Well, Hello old friend! What a wonderful month it has been. I don’t even know where I left off, but I think since the last time I was here I went to Mexico, had a crazy 80’s-themed surprise birthday, saw Prince in concert from about ten feet away, went to see the beautiful Chris Cornell solo acoustic concert at Humphry’s, wrote another chapter of my book, led an Ayurveda workshop, and had a blast with Kaleo in between it all. I know I’m missing a ton of stuff, but I just don’t feel like recapping right now. What I do want to say is that I finally saw the Oprah show. Yes, for the first time ever. I think I must have seen it in passing here and there, I mean it has been 25 years since she’s been on-air! But I never really sat down to watch an episode. Not until last week, when I was feeling a little under the weather and decided to stay home in my jammies and drink tea on the couch. And watch Oprah. ???
Anyway, I will spare you the sappy details, but I was in tears! She was so awesome, and inspirational! I don’t know if all her shows are like that, but I was moved. Then I realized it was her very. last. show. Like, ever. I had no idea it was even ending. It’s never even been on my radar, whatsoever, so I never paid her any attention.  But damn, that girl can make a grown woman cry. Where am I going with this? Well apparently she has something on her show called My Favorite Things. Awesome idea! So I would like to share with you some of mine. However, the last thing I want is to be sued by a woman who can make me cry, so I am going to call it:

Things I am Loving Right Now

{Tuberose Essential Oil}

Sorry for the bad shot. But this stuff is deeelicious. My mom gave me 4 bottles for my birthday! I wear a smidge on each wrist everyday and it brings me right back home to Hawaii. I just placed an order to sell them in my boutique.

{Daniel}

Kaleo and I are huge supporters of Farm Sanctuary. When our beloved pig, Bella, passed away a year and a half ago, we decided against getting another pet. Instead, we became supporters of this organization and a personal sponsor of  a beautiful piglet named Blossom. They have two shelters, one in Northern California and the other in New York. Please visit their website and see what they are all about. For my surprise party, Kaleo created a large donation jar with literature and a whole display for my party guests to donate in lieu of a traditional birthday gift. How incredibly sweet is he???

{Breville Juice Extractor}

The Breville Juice Extractor is our new best friend. We juice everyday, and the cleanup isn’t even too terrible with this one. My favorite mixtures lately are Carrot-Ginger and Apple-Beet. Juicing is so deliciously good for your heart, your skin, your liver, your blood… The benefits are limitless! If you want to read about juicing, I found this great resource: The Juicing Book online. As for the juicer we purchased, we found Breville to be the best for what we were looking for. Easy cleanup, durable, industrial parts, and the extractor feature is a must.

{Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me}

Okay, I admit it, this book is hilarious. I read so many serious, not-so-easy to read texts that every once in a while it’s a lot of fun to read something like this, or the True Blood series. And I happen to Love Chelsea. This book is written by her friends, family, and co-workers, spilling the beans on all of the mean pranks and lies that Chelsea pulls on them. It’s pretty funny, and yes, her other books are funny too. Good summer beach read.

{Topless & Barefoot}

I love nail polish by Essie. It is reasonably priced and the colors are so soft and romantic. This pale natural pinkish gem is my new fave, I have it on my toes right now. Another polish I love when I want to go for a bit more pizazz is Butter London which uses No Formaldehyde, and come in whimsical colors with names like Tea With the Queen, Tramp Stamp, and The Full Monty. Love!

Well, it’s nice to be back. It was also nice to take a break. Stepping back and re-evaluating things is a necessary step in growth sometimes. We can use it as a tool to see if what we want out of life and what we are doing in life are in alignment. Now on to the important stuff… What is everyone doing for the Summer??

~Hugs
Melanie

PS: Thanks to Anonymous for the compliment, but to give credit where credit is due… My inspiration for titling all my posts with quotes comes from one of the blogs I love, Smart, Pretty and Awkward.


“I never lose sight of the fact that just Being is fun.” ~Katherine Hepburn

We are back! What a fun trip it was… I have uploaded (downloaded?) all my photos and videos and will be posting them soon. I promise! This time I really will do it, I’m super exited to do it. I just have three classes to teach today and a bunch of other catch-up stuff to do and then I am immersing myself in blogland.

A couple of lovebites to keep you busy:

{our bungalow suite for the week}

{under the Rancho looking at the beach}

{yoga space for future Yoga Oceanside Costa Rica retreat!}

And last but not least, my new love. This is Lolita. She is beautiful, and sweet, and… I swoon. Kaleo and I were almost choked up because she reminds us of Bella. A huge version, but all love.

{Lolita}

We are happy to be home, but really? We could have stayed for another month. It’s that beautiful. More to come…

Peace,
Melanie

“I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, a little better, all the time.” ~the Beatles

Hi friends,

We are back from our trip home to Hawaii. Does anyone else feel a little relieved that the holidays are over? Is it just me? I’ve sat down to write a few times and I stop each time. I have gone through so many emotions in the past month that to corral them all into one coherent post would be a huge challenge that I honestly didn’t feel like conquering. Trying to stay on an even keel during a rollercoaster of events, emotions, delightful experiences and heart wrenching tragedy… All during the holidays. And when I tried to write, it just didn’t feel like I was coming from an authentic place since I was trying to find answers and bright-sides amidst confusion. So I didn’t write. But then I realized that sharing these very thoughts are what readers might need to hear. Not just the all-is-well happy stuff but the I’m-trying-to-follow-my-own-advice stuff too. So here I am.

First of all, I want to clarify that everything with me directly is great. Kaleo and I are happier than ever, we have our health, and home life is simply beautiful. However, a large number of my closest and dearest friends and family are going through rough times for many reasons. I don’t want to air anyone’s personal stuff, but there has been a tragic death of a friend’s family member, terminal illness, break ups, financial hardships, more unexplained death, and most recently, someone in my family passing away from Cancer. If you know me, you know that I nurture, and I want to make things all better. Well, I can’t. And it often affects me in the way that I feel anxious and I take on my loved one’s pain and suffering as my own. I hate to know that someone I love is in pain. It’s one of the hardest feeling for me to process. Even worse than my own pain. I love each and every one of these people so much, and it’s hard knowing that I can’t heal their hearts.

So this past month for me has been a huge learning experience. I am learning to just BE there for people instead of thinking I have to DO something. HUGE lesson. There are things that happen that I can’t change or help, except by simply being a source of love and support. Sometimes just a quiet ear is better than a word of advice. Sometimes a silent hug is better than a question of how to be of help. And so I wait, ready to love, ready to listen, and ready to give that silent hug to anyone that needs it… You know who you are, and you know how much I love you.

This year is almost over and I am really excited to see what the New Year will bring. Kaleo and I loved our trip back home so much that we had a very hard time coming back. Being in the ocean, spending time with loved ones, watching the sunsets… One thing I absolutely LOVE about Hawaii is that everyone stops what they’re doing to watch the sunset. And it happens every day! I’m talking about people driving will pull over, restaurant staff will stop and watch, it’s so awesome! People actually take the time out of their day to pause and reflect on the beauty of nature. Every.Single.Day. That is a beautiful lesson right there. It’s a practice that we can adapt into our lives no matter where in the world we live. It doesn’t have to be a sunset, it could be stopping to watch a bird splash in a puddle or listen to a child laugh, or pick some wild flowers and give them away to someone. Any little pause in your busy day, and little gesture that makes you feel alive and grateful.

I’ve definitely had my love for life strengthened lately. My gratitude for every moment I can spend with loved ones, and my appreciation for day to day things that I might usually take for granted. All these things make me happy to be alive and excited to see what’s next. I will be posting a photo year in review soon, maybe today maybe not.

I love you all. Now go tell someone you love them…

Peace,

Melanie

{Oceanside Sunset}

(my header image is The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt, one of my favorite artists)