Being Uncomfortable

I am in a huge shift right now and it feels uncomfortable. I am letting many things go from my life that have given an illusion of stability; a physical home, a regular schedule of teaching in a studio which I have done in some way for almost twenty years, along with other smaller things that come with all of this. I am very well aware it is self induced void that I am feeling now but something has been calling me to do this for some time now....

I feel like I’m in the best place possible to take this leap since six years ago when life imposed a change. It is still hard though. •

Today I taught my last class and wrapped up a few emotional things for myself. I felt empty and a bit sorry for myself. •

On my drive back I asked the universe to give me some little sign that all this is for something better.

Then, I walked in and collapsed on the couch, asked myself if I want to cry or mindlessly look at social media to quiet the chatter for a moment. I did the latter. Just within the first scroll, I found a post from a dear friend of her beach day today in West Haven, CT and she mentioned she was near Jimmies. •

This was the same town my dad lived. He brought me to Jimmies the day we reunited after 18 years on Father’s Day and he tried in his best way to explain why he disappeared. He loved that beach so much and brought me there on the following Father’s Day with his best friends.

This picture is of me, Father’s Day when we released his ashes just a few short years after our reunion. •

So I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed and lost but I know the universe has my back and dad is still somehow playing a role in the background to make sure his little girl is safe when she takes the leap. Thanks Dad.


More on the Space in Between

It's funny how I teach something from my experience and how life reminds me again the lesson through another experience, as if to ask "Do you really get it, Phoebe? Really?" 

Earlier this spring, I was invited to do a TEDx talk on the idea of the space in between, in other words, being present in those moments of challenging times, breakdowns, or what I prefer to call, break throughs. In the talk, I shared through my story how we can use those times as a catalyst for change and surrender to the flow of the divine dance that is within us and around us, calling us to flow with it, not against it. (you can see the TEDx talk here)

During that period of preparing for the TEDx and immediately after, I was in the midst of my own break through. It was all on the heels of a year of intense work; I completed two teacher training manuals/curriculums, taught 4 teacher trainings within 8 months, assisted in the opening of a yoga studio, on top of my regular teaching schedule, and moved my apartment. I was logging in 70 hour weeks some weeks. All while I was swimming against the current of my emotions  to avoid my broken heart. In May, I finally had a moment to pause and the waves  of my feelings all came rushing at me like a levy breaking. I wasn't sleeping well most nights from the influx of anxiety, bouts of anger, and tears as I reflected back on the recent choices I had made for my personal life. My body was showing me signs of stress for months with a persistent health issue that I was also not really dealing with efficiently.

In the space in between, I was invited to really look at how I was treating myself and my past relationships through a different lens. I began to peel away the layers of fear and anger that were still getting in the way from trusting myself and my past partner. I kept asking myself, why am I here again? Why do I keep pushing away someone who really loves me and that I really love? 

To make up for the time of avoiding the pain, I plunged myself deep in to the web of emotions and began to untangle them. I held myself accountable for everything. I began to torture myself with obsessive thoughts by replaying each conversation, every email, every text, and all the things I didn't say or do. It went against the grain of my own teaching and practice of  everything is as it should be. It didn't hit me until I was writing one night that I was recreating a pattern of feeling shameful. I didn't understand why or where it was coming from. So I looked far back at every moment I could remember this feeling...

It started when I was 14, I left my father because he was abusing drugs and neglecting me with no sign that our quality of life would get better. For years I blamed myself and felt responsible for his own mental health. Yes, a 14 year old girl who just wanted a healthy family life , left to protect herself,  then carried the burden of her father of whether he would  live or die  based on that choice.  It wasn't until I was 32, when he showed up in my life again that I realized he needed me to leave and hit his rock bottom so he could recover for himself, not for his daughter. 

That shame carried over to all other relationships with men. There was a night when I drank too much in college when I was mad at a boyfriend for neglecting me and my friends left me behind at a party because I passed out. I blacked out and only have a faint memory of telling someone to at least use a condom. I woke up the next day in someone's bed, a boy I had never met, both of us naked. Deeply ashamed, I never told anyone until I admitted it reluctantly to my therapist a couple of years ago. It was the first time I heard the words that I was raped. Before that, I never once thought that. I always carried the weight that I was the one who made the mistake and needed to suffer for it. 

The pattern continued with romantic partners throughout my adult life in various ways.  When I would later share the scenarios with people I trust and love, they would always say, "But you didn't do anything wrong! You made the right decision." 

Even after I recognized this pattern, I subtly put myself in positions where I was made to feel shameful (with the mask of being open and honest) even with choices I believed were with good intentions (but unconsciously were probably some self sabotage) and would defend them. To the outer world I would say, "I didn't do anything wrong!" but secretly I allowed myself to feel the shame and pain because that was what felt normal. This would lead to a spiral downward of emotions that led to the fear of rejection and I would push the person away before he could. (sound familiar for anyone out there??)

Then I remembered the Native American proverb (again) the one that I shared last year, about the wolf you feed. I needed to feed the wolf of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

It has been a really interesting summer of reflection while being even more honest and vulnerable with myself and with others. These past few months I have taken a lot of time being alone to look deep within. I am learning how to shed away the years of shame, fears, and anger through my own self dis-covering and healing. I wake up every day with a fresh perspective and ask, what do I need to do for myself today so that I can be my most authentic self in a way that will sustain a reciprocal  love within all of my relationships so I don't perpetuate shame?

I want to be in a healthy romantic relationship and now I understand how I need to practice self-love and acceptance of all of me within it. By doing this practice, the thoughts and feelings of shame will no longer be reflected back at me in relationships.  

In recent years, I have come to realize that everyone is your mirror. Whatever they are making you feel is actually coming from within yourself. This is why you it is necessary to find the courage to understand the relationship within yourself first. If you don't, then blame, anger, resentment, fears towards the other will always show up again and again and you will never fully understand that what they are actually reflecting back at you, is the shadow side of YOU!  

And it goes in all directions bouncing off each other. The beauty you see in them, also lies within yourself while you reflect back at them all their light and shadows too. It continues to ping pong back and forth.

When I was younger, I used to sit in my bathroom with a mirror in front of me and a mirror behind me. I would try to see all the versions of myself from all the angles as they replicated endless images of me, like in a fun house. Our partners can be that too, they show us all the possible versions of ourselves. 

This is not only true of your most intimate relationships but also your foes. What you see in them that stirs something inside of you, is actually inside of you! What are you afraid to look at? What are they unconsciously asking you to look at? What wolf do you choose to feed when they challenge you?

My hope for you is that from sharing about my space in between I have be able to shed some light on how negative patterns might be lurking in the dark corners for you too.  Look deep into the eyes of someone you love and see what they reflect back at you. Invite them into the space and flow with them.  See what they have to teach that they want to free you...

With grace.

TEDx Talk: Life is a Divine Dance

I got to do a a TEDx!!! Seriously?!?! Seriously.

(click in the title link here to see it!)

It was an honor to share my story through movement on the stage with people that I love; my dance partner, and my fellow nOMad colleagues. What a gift! I think we need to do this again....

Who Are You Feeding?

" One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, 'My son, the battle is between two wolves inside all of us.'

'One is evil-it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.'

'the other is good- it is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.'

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 'Which wolf wins?'

The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'"

-Cherokee legend (provided by 'Vibe-a-thon by Jeanmarie Paolillo)

October was my battlefield where I could have easily chosen to feed the evil wolf. Upon my arrival home from Bali where I lead a retreat, I set the intention of allowing myself to be a priority. Immediately obstacles were thrown onto my path; a relationship on the verge of ending because my needs were not being seen, a job that did not value my experience or what I offer, and the scare of my own health, to name just a few. 

During the week between my biopsy and receiving the results I meditated and prayed. My mantra was simply "This is NOT my story."

I had a choice. I could feed the wolf that would perpetuate the chaos and suffering or simply not feed it with my reactions.

All of the circumstances that were being presented to me were not my story and I did not want  to play the role in them. No longer would I let myself be pushed aside by myself or by others. If I didn't make myself a priority, no on else would. 

I focused on the lessons learned from each little heartbreak I endured at rapid speed over the last month. Instead of focusing on the feelings of anger, resentment, betrayal, sadness, grief, anxiety, jealousy, fear, self-pity, and oh so much more, I vowed to move in another direction. I allowed self love to enter into my heart which was immediately followed by gratitude, love for others, gentleness, compassion, peace, joy, faith, self-care, and a rush of other positive energies. I fed my good wolf. 

What accompanied the good wolf at to my doorstep was quite an unexpected gift. I began to receive apologies from others that healed places I didn't know were wounded which brought me to a deeper place of my own self-forgiveness. As I fed the good wolf, I also received the nourishment of love and acceptance. 

The tests results came back negative and as I boldly closed doors on aspects of life, then new doors opened seemingly on their own with a new bright light on the other side. Perhaps this is all just luck or perhaps it was truly about who I was feeding in the battlefields of my mind.

I invite you to also boldly choose to feed your good wolf and see the gifts it brings to you...

Life is Change. That is Certain.

When I turned 30 I thought I was looking ahead to a decade of settling into myself along with a husband, a career, and a home in the city.  I was just shy of being a wife of two years, lived in a beautiful apartment on the Upper West Side near Riverside Park with my husband and kitty, had a thriving Pilates/yoga business and was dipping my feet back into the dance world feeling more confident in myself and my craft. The recipe for a grateful life was all there. I could now dig a little deeper into that life and settle into these roots of "Phoebe."

Little did I know then I would be uprooted in all sorts of ways that somehow rerooted me in the Hudson Valley. I had no idea my Dad would reappear after 15 years of abandonment, then pass away suddenly, that my husband would leave me, that I would gain a pet and loose both, and that I would loose the careers that I was building, a few times. I also didn't know that I would fall in love again, first my with myself, that I would start my own business, that I would heal deep family wounds, and that I would build strong friendships which ground me in ways I never knew were possible. I now see how all that was necessary and all allowed me to dig a little deeper into myself and this universe. So I did exactly what I intended to do in my 30's just in a very different way that I thought it would be. 

I'm not sure if we have only one life to live but I am grateful for the many lives it has led me to live among it. Perhaps that is the lesson here. Your world will always change all around you, even when you don't realize it the undertones of the universe are always shifting you to where you intended to be and your cells are always replenishing before your very own transforming eyes to reveal yourself to yourself.

Sometimes when we are quiet and look around, we get glimpses of seeing it and feeling it. We witness and simply allow the work to be done to us. The lesson is to let go and let it happen because it seems to be that it will happen anyway. Allow yourself to dig deep and the layers will begin to peel away and reveal your soul. There we discover our own beauty of our inner universe and how it is in a constant dance with the greater one.

Life is a dance. We are dancing without even knowing we are most of the time. Why not wake up, hear the music, and find the delight in the changing rhythms, melodies, and tones, it plays for us! Let's dance in this beautiful dance of change and transformation! 

As I now step into my forties, I intend to embrace this dance and all the mysteries it wants reveal to me about myself and this mystical universe. 


The Last Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day was here. That evening was a typical February evening, cold and dreary, but my Daddy’s warm heart came in and lit me up, as it always did. He brought all of us gifts for the very special day. For Mom and Aunt Betsy, potted plants and for me, the biggest card ever and a balloon that said “I love you.” I kept the balloon roaming free until it lost its last breath of air, then I pinned it and the card to my wall for years as a reminder of that love and innocence.

My Daddy wrote how much he loved me in his beautiful penmanship written with his special red felt pen. He showed me how much he loved with decorated hearts all over the card and the envelope, like he always did. Hearts were his thing. He even gave himself a heart tattoo on his right hand when he was a kid.

Dad gave me a big hug, then announced he was taking Mom and me out for dinner to one of my favorite places, a restaurant made out of old train cars. It was super fancy. I got dressed up in my favorite dress and my white stockings with red hearts on them. We ate, they drank, I got dessert as my Dad ordered his usual favorite drink, tia maria with coffee. As we drove home, the energy shifted, my Dad seemed agitated. He drove much faster with abandon and the music became unbearably loud. I pleaded to have it turned down because it hurt my ears, but neither of my parents could hear me up front since they were shouting at each other. I sat helplessly in the back seat covering my ears.

When we got home, things got really blurry, as if I put myself to sleep to escape a nightmare. I went somewhere else. When I came to, I was crouched in the corner in the kitchen with my Mom holding me close, she was shaking and her tears were soaking my hair. I looked across the room where I would sweep after dinner every night, Dad was standing over dirt and broken pottery that was all over the floor, the remains of the plants he gave as gifts just hours before. There was so much dirt and brokenness, I could not even make out where the plants were, if they were still there at all, dismembered into pieces.

It was all over now, everything was destroyed, the plants and my image of my Dad. He was some sort of demon. He looked back at us with red hot eyes, maybe he was still mad, or maybe he just woke up from my nightmare too. And then, he just walked away, went upstairs to his study, like nothing happened. Mom peeled away from me to clean up the mess and she sent me to bed. We never spoke of that night ever again.

The Valentine’s Day card hung on my wall for years as a bittersweet reminder symbolizing both my Daddy’s love and the loss of my innocence, from then on I never felt quite safe. It was the first time I saw a darker side of my Dad. I soon taught myself how to watch for the signs of the rumblings of Earth below me. What I thought to be solid ground was no longer stable. For my survival, I kept myself awake and quickly learned when to flee to a safe place. 



By the end of the third grade, Dad started dating. He had a new girlfriend, Katie. She was young, she was 25, Dad was 40. I didn’t really get it.

She moved in with us pretty early on and she made big changes in our world. Katie made Dad tear up our dark green carpeting and refinish the hardwood floors that were underneath. She redecorated our home so things were generally a lot lighter. Katie also updated Dad’s wardrobe with new light grey Reebox and brighter colored shirts of my favorite colors, pink and purple. He didn’t seem to mind the changes. In fact, I think he really liked them.

Katie also got us a new dog, a big dog, a fancy dog that flew all the way from California. It was called a Bouvier des Flandres and his name was Igor. The first thing he did when he came into our house was he sprung from all fours above my head several times.  We would soon learn that was Igor's thing when people he liked came to visit.

Needless to say, I was excited about him too. Even though he was probably double my own weight at the time, I begged Dad to walk him by myself. He finally and very reluctantly agreed but with rules. First rule was I could only walk Igor to the circle and back (which was about a block away) and second, if Igor tugged me, I had to “let the damn dog go. He isn’t worth it.” I didn’t quite understand that rule though because I knew Dad spent a lot of money just getting him from California. I nodded my head eagerly to agree and then we were off, just the two of us, Igor and me!

I walked down the street with my chest in the air because I was so proud of my new responsibility of having a dog but mostly because I needed to seem taller because we were pretty much eye to eye. We walked very well together all the way to the circle. Rule number one, success! We were both very obedient.


About halfway home from the circle, we crossed my neighbor’s gravel driveway when Igor saw a furry critter, Mr. Squirrel. Immediately, Igor dashed for him to the other end of the driveway. I held on and didn’t let go. Rule number two, broken. No way was I going to let this guy think he was in charge of me on the first day! He dragged me about 10 feet and I screamed at him, “IGOR! NO!” with the deepest. most commanding voice I could muster up from the depths of 60lbs of my little child body. I somehow broke Igor’s fixation on Mr. Squirrel, who made his escape up a tree. Igor stopped and looked back at me to see what to do next.

I held back the tears as I made my way back to my feet and dusted the gravel dust off of my clothes and my knees, which were bloodied and imbedded with the tiny little stones. I hobbled the rest of the way home and Igor bounced along my side as if nothing happened. As we approached my house, my Dad stood at the end of our driveway looking at the scene. He saw my bloody knees and my inner battle of fighting off the tears with a big smile on my face. He started laughing and shook his head like he often would do and said, “I told you to let go of that damn dog!”






The Escape

When Mom and I got back to my home, Dad was with some crack head woman I had never seen before. They were both extremely high. Mom took Dad upstairs to his bedroom and reprimanded him like a little boy. He took it just like that as he sat there not making eye contact, looking at the ground, nodding his head saying, “I know. You’re right.” Mom scolded him by saying things like, “What the hell are you doing with your life, Jay? You are going to get AIDS! You are going to get yourself killed. You are not being a good father to your daughter like you promised you would.”

As I eavesdropped from my room while I packed, that’s when I realized that Dad had begged Mom to keep me when she left him. That he believed, and perhaps she believed too, I was the only reason he would survive. I gave him purpose and a reason to wake up in the morning. When he begged her to keep me, seven years prior, he promised that he would take care of me and make it his purpose to be my Father.

By the time I was ready to leave, Mom was loading up the car with my stuff, Dad was on the couch downstairs, and the crack head woman was gone. I walked downstairs apprehensively, to say my last goodbye. It was going to be the last time I would see him for a very long time, we both knew it but didn’t speak of it. He felt like a ghost. His hair was wild, his blood shoot eyes were vacant, he was a shell of a body and his soul was no longer in there. He was no longer my Daddy.

I announced it was time for me to go. No response. I said how sorry I was for leaving him. He couldn’t even look at me when he got up and walked to the front door. I followed. There were heavy tears in my eyes waiting to escape but I was trying my best to be strong. When I got to the door, I tried to hug him for a moment and then he pushed me away, he pushed me out the door like I was a stranger invading his space. I was no longer his only family. He pushed me outside and shut the door. My Daddy was really gone and I felt like it was my fault.

I slowly walked through the rain to Mom’s car, doing my best to remain strong. I sat in the car, shut the door, and immediately years of tears that I had never shed exploded from my body. I sat there crying for a very long time, for what felt like days. Perhaps I am still there in some ways to this day. Mom just sat there watching me, her only daughter, her little girl crying and falling apart. There was nothing she could do but just be a witness. I fogged up the windows with my sobs and tears. She didn’t say anything. She couldn’t. She just held the space for me. What else could she do? Her little girl was broken and from just that simple knowing, she was severely broken too.

She probably thought back to all the moments years before when she considered sneaking out in the middle of the night and leaving with her baby bundled up to never look back. She probably thought about it and regretted the time she finally did leave but left her daughter behind. She must have known somehow this was meant be, at least I like to believe this to be true. She knew that I had to learn who my Dad really was, the beautiful soul she once fell in love with back when they first met in that town in Pennsylvania years ago. She knew that the stories would have never done him justice. No, Mom knew I had to know for myself, even with the pain and suffering that was here at our doorstep on that dreadful night. She watched me weep with such sorrow that would permeate through both of our souls and haunt us for years. This wound would be deep and primal for me. It was a wound that I would have to sleep with and keep there in my dreams for years because it hurt way too much to bring it out to the light for it to really heal. It would take the miracle of Dad dying for that process to really begin.

I Will be Your Parachute

Later that evening Gabby needed to work a DJ gig. I stayed back to relax and took a stroll around her neighborhood in South Beach. I ended up on Espanola Way, a familiar little spot since I had come to visit Gabs a few times in the past. I sat down at a little street café and ordered myself a glass of wine and a delicious chocolate dessert. An older man passed by and said a pleasant, “Good evening” I responded back and he went on his way. A little while later as I was finishing up he passed by again and invited me to stop by his gallery a few doors down to share a bottle of wine. I politely said no but then something inside of me told me to go, so I went to join him.

His name was Alberto. He was an artist. He showed me his gallery of paintings that were of Hindu deities. They filled up the entire little room from floor to ceiling canvasses. They were quite special and very unique interpretations.

We sat outside on his patio and he poured us each a glass of wine. He proceeded to tell me his life story of traveling for love and art. He was from Argentina but lived most of his life in France with the love of his life and was still recovering from that heartbreak.

I didn’t say much but he could tell I was healing from a heartbreak myself. He listened to the little that I said about what I had been going through and he stopped me. He said, “Never say, ‘struggle’ instead say, ‘obstacle’” he went on, “Obstacles can be removed and you can move around them in many ways as well. Struggles take a hold of you and you can’t get free. Pay attention to your words, Phoebe.”

Alberto continued to shed light on life as I watched him talk, I thought how much it made feel like I was back in my front yard with Dad as a little girl when he would tell me how smart and beautiful I was and to never settle for anything less than what I wanted. I got lost in the daydream and Alberto brought me back with offering another glass of wine. I snapped back. I had to go meet Gabby. I stood up and gave him a big hug. He hugged back. It felt so familiar, his warmth and the intention. I thanked him for a lovely time and as I walked down the street he shouted, “Remember! If you need anything, I will be your parachute!” I waved and blew a kiss and whispered, “Thanks Dad.”

Making Connections

I have been getting endless signs to continue on with telling my story. A lot of my story is about overcoming obstacles but the underlying tone throughout is about the desire for connection. I, along with everyone who walks on this Earth whether they admit it or not, desire the feeling of connection and unconditional love. I am grateful to say I am starting to be immersed in this beautiful world the more I dive in and explore my authentic self.

My whole life I have been a connector. As a child I would have sleepover parties with girls from different cliques as some sort of unconscious social experiment.  We would all bond over boys and periods and the next week giggle at the inside jokes as we passed each other in the hallways.  I loved seeing mismatched friends come together from those times I had orchestrated.

As an adult I still find myself bringing people together socially and professionally. Recently I hosted a retreat in Mexico where I met up with another fellow teacher, Melissa. We actually met on Instagram and she is now a nOMad teacher. During the retreat she also met the attendees including my Mom, Gramma, and fellow students from New York who were reconnecting from my first retreat in Costa Rica. Now it touches my heart when I see them all interact on Facebook with comments and “likes” on each other's posts. My Gramma even takes Melissa’s class at my Online Studio regularly now. 
The connections grow stronger with every interaction.
Connecting others seems to be a strength of mine and gives me purpose. Most people who know me might not know this, I am somewhat of an introvert and shy. Being able to connect people to one another is my way of connecting to them and through them when I am too nervous to put myself out there directly. The platform I have created through nOMad has become a place for me to do my life’s work; bringing together other like minded souls.

I am fortunate enough to be meeting teachers who are living out the same vision in their own unique ways and to be able to give them the opportunity to let their voices be heard through nOMad. And what excites me even more is to see how a community is gravitating to it; teachers, students, travelers, and wanderers of life. All of them are in the search for something greater than themselves and know that going within is the best place to start. They know that taking care of their bodies, minds, and lives are the keys to fully participating in this collective life.

I have done a heroic amount of work these past two years to go deeper into a world of love and connection. I always wanted to believe in it but was too afraid to really search it out after years of abandonment and the fear of rejection in the moving forward. But through my work, now I know it’s worth the risk. You have to put yourself out there and say “I want to feel connected and loved!” You have to shout it out on the rooftops and be prepared for the silence but trust that it is only temporary because the louder and longer you shout it out, others will eventually stop and pause. They will hear your voice and say, “I want that too.” And over time they see your courage and resilience and will begin to make their own steps on the path of love and connection.
That is what nOMad is for me. A place where I, along with other tribe members, can hold a space and say “We are here to connect you to your inner light and others! Come join us! It is safe and rewarding. We promise!”

I hope you can connect with me there.

This Magical Life

Summer Solstice and Father's Day don't always fall on top of one another. It was not an accident that I randomly got inspired to organize a community event on this very day for my new company, nOMad.


The last time the two holidays shared the day was June 21, 2009. It was a day that changed my life. 


After 17 years of my father's disappearance, he called me on that very Father's Day. He called to tell me he was alive. He was sober. He was healthy. He was ready to be my dad again. 


About two months earlier before he had called on that day, I was feeling extremely lost. I was questioning who I was, where I came from, did I carry the same patterns of mental illness that he did, was I making healthy choices in the present despite what I carried from the past, and where was all that going to take me into my future. I didn't have a clue to any of these answers and felt the key was to reconnect with my dad again. And then, like magic, he reappeared with that very key to my life and so much more. 


We had 4 years of reconnection, good times, laughter, love, and healing. I felt better about where I came from, the person I was made from and where I was headed down my path. 


When my dad died in 2013, my life began to deconstruct before my very eyes and again I felt lost. As things were shedding away though it began to reveal more of a magical life. I saw signs from beyond that my dad was guiding me on this journey. They were strong and powerful that first year. My dad had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh, so often there were signs he was there at the most ridiculous moments too. It became a joke with my close friends when something absurd would happen we would laugh together and say, "Thanks Jay!" Somewhere after a year and half they stopped, or at least I stopped noticing them. Maybe I didn't need to search for them so much to keep me going, or perhaps he knew I was going to be ok and moved on to his next life. I stopped asking my dad for help and went back to asking the universe for guidance. 


This spring I started asking the universe what my next steps would be professionally for myself and for nOMad. Then this opportunity came to me to bring together the Hudson Valley community for the Summer Solstice. I was basically told by a studio owner at a meeting to do it and it just felt right. Within a week, I had three locations and emails out to area studios with 12 positive responses that signed on over 20 volunteers to teach and help coordinate. It all came together so fast, like magic, that I didn't even have a chance to realize the significance of the date and the shared holiday.


As the word got out many people said "It's Father's Day" as if that were a negative thing to keep people away from the event. 


Personally, I am happy it is falling on Father's Day. It was a holiday I was not able to celebrate for so many years, then it was a holiday I celebrated with such joy to have my dad back in my life, and then just like that he was gone again. I released his ashes at his favorite beach on Father's Day 2013. I can't even tell what I did last year while I lived in Costa Rica, perhaps I ignored it completely. This year I get to celebrate it again with my entire Hudson Valley yoga family. 


I absolutely know this day is going to be magical.
Thanks Jay!

Simplify Life Retreat; A Story and Quotes

This is a story abut a little girl and her dream. From the day she learned the word "choreographer" she had a big, yet simple dream; to have her own dance company and travel the world. It all came to her while dancing in her room, as she often did, around the age of six. She knew she didn't need to get married or have a baby to make her happy. All she wanted to do was dance. So she set her intention and went on with her life. 

As years went by, life happened. She dealt with the growing pains most children did and then some, but somehow she also managed to be grounded and happy.

Fast forward, the little girl was now all grown up. She lived in New York City and was dancing but she was no longer grounded and happy. She was living her dream, so she thought, but it wasn't fulfilling her as she had planned and it seemed impossible for her to build her own company successfully. It was heartbreaking. So she retired, got married, and started studying yoga as her next career. Life got more complicated those years as she let go of her dream and searched for a new meaning; she watched her husband struggle with his own issues of happiness, they got a cat, they moved for the cat, they got a dog, they moved out of the city for the dog and the husband, she made the transition out of the city to small town life, something she was not very familiar with being a city girl, and then they bought a house.

That's when 2013 arrived. The year things got even more complicated but little did she know it was a new beginning to a simpler life. She watched almost everything get stripped away, as if the universe was doing its own spring cleaning for her. 

In October that year, she went to visit her best friend from childhood. It was the first moment she had to breathe and reflect on how she felt. She asked herself, "what do you want?" And she answered, "to teach and travel the world." So she set her intention and went on with her life. A year later, she started her own company and now travels the world. 

The lesson she learned here after 30 years is she is her own choreographer to the dance of life. It is that simple. 

"When carving a stone, the sculptor removes everything that is not the statue. She does not add anything to create it, except the willingness to do the work. The art of revealing beauty lies in removing what conceals it. Our work is to chisel away at everything that is not essence, not self." -Judith Lasater

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary can speak."  -Han Hoffman

"Elegance is achieved when, having discarded all superfluous things, we discover simplicity and concentration. The simpler the pose, the better, the more beautiful...the simplest things in life are the most extraordinary. Let them reveal themselves. The nearer the heart comes to simplicity, the more capable it is of loving freely and with our fear. The more fearlessly it loves, the more capable it is of revealing elegance in its every gesture." -Paulo Coehlo

Excerpts from "Journey to the Heart" by Melody Beattie

"Let yourself begin anew. Pack your bags. Choose carefully what you bring, because packing is an important ritual. Take along humility and the lessons of the past. Toss in some curiosity and the excitement about what you haven't yet learned. Say your good-byes to those you're leaving behind. Don't worry who you will meet or where you will go. The way has been prepared. The people you are to meet will be expecting you. A new journey has begun. Let it be magical. Let it unfold."

"Your next step, the answer to the question you've been mulling about-the direction for the next stage of your growth, where you will live next, what you need to do next about work, money, or that problem you've been struggling with-will come. If you fussing and straining, you may not hear it. Don't worry about getting all your answers and your agenda for the years ahead. That is not how this process works. In order to participate in this more magical way os life, trust that all you need to know will be revealed to you when it is time."

"Let the universe help you. You are not in this world alone. You never have been, although your belief may have created that illusion. 

Tell the universe what you want. Tell a friend. Tell God, too. Tell yourself. Write it down on a list. Be clear and forthright about what you need and want. Talk as if you were talking to a friend. That is not control. That is learning to own your creative power-your power to help create life. Then let go. Do not stand tapping your foot, impatiently waiting. Simply let go, the way you would if you trusted your friend to respond positively, in a way that was best for you."

"Open your eyes. Look around. See how the universe responds. Watch how it dances for you, with you. You are connected to a magical loving universe, one that will come alive for you, dance for you, in ways you cannot imagine-but in ways you will come to know as true."

"Come with me to the enchanted forest. Trust the magic is in the air; it is real. Take it with you wherever you go, for the magic you feel and want is yours if you simply believe."



a LOVE story

February is the month of LOVE so I thought I would share with you one of the greatest love stories I have been fortune enough to witness...

This past weekend I had the honor to attend the funeral of the late Daniel Oravec, my gramma's husband. He was truly a man that spoke and demonstrated unconditional love every day of his life. It was easy to see that on all the faces who attended his funeral; lots of tears that day but through them still there were smiles of joy to celebrate his extraordinary life. 

Let's back up a little...

For most of my life I have always known my gramma, Edwinna, to be a strong, independent, and self-sufficient woman. Her and my grandfather divorced when my mom and her sisters were in high school. Edwinna dated a few years after their separation but by the time I was around, she was pretty much a single lady. It wasn't until about 5 years ago when Edwinna went back to her hometown to attend a high school reunion when she reconnected with an old acquaintance, or little did she know her future husband, Daniel Oravec. Dan managed to get her phone number and then the pursuit for Edwinna began. It took some time to crack her open as she resisted the first few months of his courtship. 

Now that I have been a single gal myself, I completely get it. After your heart has been broken, you can not help but to put up walls to protect yourself. And the longer those walls are up, the harder it is to remember how to bring them down or to even know how to begin to function if they do come down. But Dan was slow and patient and demonstrated nothing but unconditional love for Edwinna.  

The first few times we talked of her new beau she would say something like, "I will date him but I will not move in or get married!" And then next time her tune changed to, "I will move in with him but I will not get married." A few songs later, they hosted their wedding day in the house they built together. 

It was quite a lovely experience watching my gramma surrender to love, and to see that love not only found her but found her her very own soulmate. Dan and Edwinna beamed when they were around each other. Their love was infectious. It was something that kept me going through my divorce when I stayed with them for a few weeks. It gave me hope that love would find me again too. 

For now, this story comes to an end a few weeks ago. Dan had been in/out of the hospital for about a month. His last night on Earth, he came home with hospice care. He feel asleep with Edwinna by his side and she witnessed his last breath. She told me about his last moments of his life and how she experienced that he was truly full of love. As life left his body she could still feel the warmth of his love with her. As she continues on her journey here, Dan will guide her in ways that maybe he might not have been able to do as a mere mortal. His love will always be with her unconditionally until they join together again for eternity. This I know is certain. 

If I learned anything from their LOVE story is that LOVE is all around us, we just have to let it come into our hearts. Reach out and let a loved one in a little closer to you during this month of LOVE and speak of your own unconditional LOVE for them too. 

Much love and peace to you.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It's that time of year again when we give ourselves the opportunity to begin again. What lessons did you learn in 2014 that you can bring with you and move forward into 2015?

New Year's Eve always seems to come with a minor anxiety from the expectation of "where are you going to be when the clock strikes midnight?" Last year's celebration was spent with one of my best friends in her apartment as we danced and laughed ourselves silly into 2014. It was one of my best NYE yet. I had such a feeling of freedom and release after such a horrendous 2013.

This NYE, I secretly wanted a repeat of the last one but I told myself that I should get out and be social. I was fortunate enough to find myself in the company of good friends and a cozy fireplace at a comfortable place that still feels like a home. Just as the countdown began to 2015, my friends disappeared, off to have a quiet moment as a couple. I was left standing in the room with strangers and acquaintances counting in unison to the new year. Although it was very warm and uplifting moment, it quickly passed after the toast and the celebratory first new year kisses were witnessed. I had this overwhelming sense that I had to get the hell out of there and bolt home. So I did. When I walked in the door to my empty apartment I felt just as empty inside. I cried for several minutes asking if 2015 was going to be a year of loneliness, as it was very evident that I was stepping into another year on my own after a year of finding love and losing it again. Then within an instant something shifted inside of me and I dropped the storyline. I got up, put music on and danced myself into a frenzy like I did with my bestie the year before. Spotify was my genius DJ and played all the right rhythms to shake me out of my funk. When I was done, I fell into my bed and slept hard and I dreamt hard too; a night full of vivid dreams after a year or even two of not having many at all. When I woke up in the morning to this new year, I felt wrung out and cleansed. I spent the rest of the day by myself; napping, practicing yoga, meditating, reading, watching a movie, cooking and eating a delicious meal. 

The lesson learned here is sometimes we put expectations on ourselves, or worse, allow the stigma of a holiday or other people to put them on us. When all we really need to do is let go of the storyline and enjoy the moment that is presented to us.

Trust what is being given to you. Each experience is a true gift. 

I could have very easily stayed out all night and reconnected with my friends, drank too much, and regretted it all with a hangover in the morning. Or worse, ended up at home to wallow in negativity and cry myself to sleep. Instead, after my minor breakdown  (or I prefer to call it breakthrough) I got to enjoy "me" the way I was intended to do. That was the best New Year's gift I could have ever given myself and no one else could have done that for me.

As you set New Year's resolutions, intentions, goals be clear in what you really want, drop the storyline of what you think it should look like and trust that the universe will give it to you if you are true to yourself first.

Be well in 2015!!

My One Year Chip

I just finished my yoga practice in preparation for my "transitions" class that I am teaching tonight and I had a moment of zen, aka "holy crap! I can't believe how far I have come!" This year has certainly been a year of transitions.


It was a year ago today I was curled up in my little sister's bed while she was away at college. My mom brought me tea for me to sip between the sobs and running to the bathroom. I had been physically sick for almost two months and emotionally ill for a good ten months since my dad passed which spawned months ahead of further loss. The doctors were still coming to conclusions as to what went wrong in September and why I was slowly recovering from what might have been a string of bad urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and/or ovarian cysts... 


After pushing myself through it I hit a wall, I couldn't taken another step forward. I woke up one morning feeling extremely unsettled, I texted my mom, "Can I come home this weekend?" I was sobbing uncontrollably looking at the clock, I had 30 minutes to pull myself together to go to teach a class. "of course!" was her reply. Then my reply, "Can I come home tomorrow?" I calculated how I could get classes covered for the following days. "yes!" she texted back within seconds. "Can I come home now?" I couldn't do it. I couldn't walk into another class and pretend I was ok. I couldn't try to teach students to let go of their own pain while I was drowning in a pool of my own. "I would love that!" replied my mom. I mustered up the strength and made the arrangements within minutes; sent out an email and social media to cancel my class, got my teachers to cover my classes for the next few days, emailed my boss that I had to go home, threw a few things in my bag and I was in the car for the next five hours to West Virginia to go to the closest thing I could call "home."


"I've been drinking these tears so long all I've got left is the taste of salt in my mouth" -Beck


My drive was spent with music blasting with intervals of me crying, singing, talking to myself about how that things would get better. Beck's "Volcano" came on and these words above rang in my ears. I had been talking to my acupuncturist about the salty taste in my mouth for the past month...a moment of clarity.  


I arrived to my mom's. She simply hugged me as I crumbled in her arms. I apologized for falling apart. Her response was "It's ok. I have been waiting for this to happen." She took me to my sister's bedroom and I laid there for the next few days as I planned my next steps to go on with my life. I came up for air to eat dinners with my mom and stepdad. I had a plan that sounded completely insane and was waiting for them to tell me to suck it up and go back to work next week. But something even more insane happened, they didn't. They supported me. They told me I should leave my job and explore this new plan of travel/yoga. My nOMad baby, that was born out of wedlock, was going to have grandparents that loved it unconditionally even though the mom-to-be was a hot mess.


A few days later, I gained some strength back and decided to go head back to Beacon to give my notice. My mom begged me to stay for my dad's birthday (she didn't want me to be alone for this first one without him here). I knew I couldn't though. I had to go home and prepare for my next journey. I drove to Beacon on his birthday and went to give my notice the next day.


And here I am a year later; ready to launch this crazy dream of mine into the world, made my way back to Beacon after living in Costa Rica for eight months, traveled to Nicaragua, the midwest, and Mexico, found and realized the love I have for myself and allowed myself to accept the love of others, and most importantly, about to celebrate my one year of survival. I think I am understanding what it must feel like to be an addict who goes into recovery. One day at a time. It is so simple and so necessary. You can't help but hit the anniversaries and reflect. Those daily/yearly chips are your moments to look back and say, "holy shit! I really did this!" 


When my dad passed, we held a memorial at his AA club in West Haven, Connecticut. There were so many wonderful stories about my dad and how much he helped his community. I was told that he gave out his own special chips to newbies; an angel coin. When I went through his things I found a whole bunch of them. I decided to pass a few out to his friends at the memorial. I held onto the one I believe was "his" and have been sharing the rest with the people who have helped me along my path this past year. It's my way of saying thanks and making sure I know and they know that we can't do this life thing alone. We all help each other through our hard times. We must. The moment we feel alone, we can not see much past that. It hit me the other day, the word "alone" is "all one" without "L"ove. It's the love and support we must give to each other that gets us through it. 


What got me through the hard times was hearing the stories of other strong women and men who rose from their own ashes; my gramma after her and my grandfather split, my mom after leaving my dad, my dad recovering my his various drug addictions and the other stories I heard and read about of others who suffered but woke up each day and kept moving forward. That's what inspired me to live.


After I wrote my last post earlier this month, I received responses from friends, family, and students. One of my students called me to personally thank me for sharing my story (although she already knew a lot about it). She said it gave her permission to feel her own pain and live own her own story.


So I sit down and write yet another post about my suffering and rising above it, in hopes that it is received honestly. It's not for a pat on the back but to give you permission for your own journey whether it's currently in a place amongst the obstacles or in a position of removing them.


Last night I read an email before I went to sleep, a dear friend wrote me about the challenging year she has been having. I went to sleep and dreamt of my dad's angel coins; I was going through an old bag of his and found a big handful of them and I was excited to know there was more to give. It didn't hit me that I had that dream until I started writing this now. 


So I leave you with an angel coin; your permission to be on your own journey with the confidence that you will be supported along the way. And remember, don't be afraid to look back. You might just be surprised to see how far you have come. 

Waking from a nightmare, I dream to give birth to a beautiful new life

"When something bad happens you have three choices; you can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let strengthen you." -unknown


A year ago today, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After 2013 brought me a year of loss; my dad, a husband, a life we built together, my dog, my dream home, my health, I decided to visit my best friend from childhood, Gabby, for some much needed healing and love. On my flight there I had a vision. It was something I had been beginning to dream up for the few months prior but never had a moment to really sit with it amongst all the sorrow and stress that I was stuck in. My dream was to bring together my teaching and my desire to travel. 


Something I have always known about myself was I never take the conventional roads, even on the unconventional paths. As a yoga teacher (being unconventional) there are rather simple ways to travel within the profession. My vision somehow kept hitting dead ends if I chose to take those more conventional paths. So I gave birth to a dream of my own travel/yoga website baby, nOMad. When I arrived to Gabby's I told her my plan and she encouraged me to buy the domain. Best $13 I ever spent!! 


The rest of my trip I had several very mystical interactions with people; a healer, a long lost acquaintance soon to turn good friend, and an eccentric artist I met over a glass of wine. Each one gave me a sign that this was my way out of the darkness. The eccentric artist was an older man that resembled my dad. He showed me his art of hindu gods and he talked to me about obstacles vs. struggles. He told me if we see things as a struggle we will never be free of them, they can not be removed. However, obstacles we have many ways of getting around them, above them, through them, or remove them completely to be free of them. His last words he shouted out to me as I walked away on Espagnola Way were, "I will be your parachute!!! If you jump I will catch you!" Without sounding completely insane, I truly believe that was my dad speaking to me that night. 


So I decided to jump. It's been a year of preparation and lots of leaps but now I am jumping with full force! I will be launching my website into the world on October 28th (I am telling you all now, so I will be held accountable!! ha!) This day is significant because it would have been my dad's 69th birthday and it will be the anniversary of when I hit my emotional rock bottom and asked my dad to please help me get through the next year. From that moment everything began to shift. The next day, I walked into my job and gave my notice. Two months later, I landed my feet in Costa Rica where after a month of being there, I fell deeply in love with someone who encouraged me to follow the path when times felt rough again. And now, less than a year later, I found my way back to Beacon healthier and happier than I have been in years partly because of the love and support of my friends here. 


I could have very easily chosen to let the obstacles of 2013 or any other times of my life destroy me or define me but instead I let them heal and strengthen me so that I could become the warrior that I am today.