Adding and Subtracting

“Subtracting is always harder,” she told them. “Because it’s harder to give things away.”

These wise words didn’t come from Oprah or any self-help guru. No, they came from the head teacher I work with at my school. She didn’t speak them to a crowd of people looking to change their lives. She spoke them to a class of 3rd and 4th graders. “Adding is sometimes easier” she told them “Because it can seem more exciting to get more. But subtracting can feel hard because it’s scary to give things away.”

Wow.

The life lessons that you can learn in 3rd grade.

Since hearing those words, I’ve been looking at my own life and my packed schedule. This past year has been a year of adding. Adding more yoga classes to my teaching schedule. Adding grad school. Adding a dog. Adding community. Adding a summer camp position. And I keep adding and adding….without subtracting. I love the fullness of my life right now, but I also want to relish in spaciousness and enjoy time with my man, my dog, and the beautiful community we are becoming a part of.

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Grad school here I come!

The first step in creating this spaciousness has been to declutter my actual living space. I have been working with my girlfriend and organizer extraordinaire Kailea, who is absolutely brilliant when it comes to getting rid of the excess. She’s helped me identify things that have been well loved and are ready to retire (a.k.a. I took 3 bags of stuff to Goodwill). We also discussed the idea that more things do not equal less stress. It’s actually the opposite. When we are able to let go of excess, we are able to let go of excess stress as well. Definitely check out Kailea’s blog, An Island Away, for tips on everything from closet cleaning to creating a relaxation routine.

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Kailea working her magic!

I’ve also been incorporating tips from this fabulous book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This book has encouraged me to look at my life through a lens of “Does this bring me joy?” Getting rid of physical items is easier for me than getting rid of activities. Does teaching this creative writing class bring me joy? How about happy hour with friends? In the midst of grad school and working full time, am I going to want to be able to teach a yoga class or take one?

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These are questions that I’m asking myself right now. And that’s the tricky part…I don’t have all the answers yet. But I am enjoying this journey of creating more space. Yes, adding is a thrill. Our society teaches us that more is better. Busy is better. But what if that opposite is actually true? Perhaps by subtracting, less means more….more time and space for joy.

My Toolbox

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“I need it all right now.” she told me.”My mat, my mediation cushion, and lots of greens.” I sat at lunch talking to a work friend about how hard these past few weeks have been. I nodded, although in the back of mind I knew how I’d been lacking in these areas. I had been choosing cookies over big luscious salads, a marathon of Scandal (Olivia Pope, I love you) over a sweaty yoga class, and I was finding any excuse not to sit and meditate. Needless to say, I was not in a good emotional place. But this work friend is one of those goddess mamas. She’s a lady with lots of stories, wisdom, and heart. So I listened to her. And then I went to yoga. And I went to yoga the next day too. I cooked with lots of veggies that night. I sat and meditated. Just 5 minutes. And then 7 minuted the next day. And you know what happened? Things started to change. Well, my perspective started to change. I felt excited to go to work and inspired about the projects I was doing with the kids. There where a couple of mornings where I actually enjoyed walking the dog.  “Wow,” I thought. “This is so peaceful and quiet.” What??!! Who am I?

What I am learning is a lesson that I continue to learn over and over again. I have a toolbox, and I should use it.

For me, an hour on my mat or a 30 minute run will help me become more present and engaged. Taking the time to cook a nourishing meal will make me feel loved and cared for. My tools are always there. But it’s my job to create space for them. It’s my job to step onto my mat instead of perusing Instagram for an hour. Sometimes this isn’t easy, but I am learning that it’s almost always worth it.

When things get tough, what is your practice? Where is your mat? Perhaps it’s your yoga mat but maybe it’s being in the wilderness, or going for a run, or whipping up something incredible in the kitchen.

By opening our toolboxes, we have the power to shift. We can transform our worry into acceptance and our fear into love. So let’s open our toolboxes together this week. Let’s carve out the time and space to change our perspectives and cultivate gratitude for beauty that surrounds us.

S P A C E

I know that it is January 27th. I know this is about 27 days after most of the world sets their intentions for 2015.

But today, my intention came flying towards me, landing straight on my heart.

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S P A C E

This year is about finding and creating space.

Space in my body.

Space in my soul.

Space for my family.

Space for my chosen family.

Space to try new things.

Space to fail.

Sacred space in my relationships.

Sacred space that is my home.

Space for my my intuition to live and breathe.

Vegan Week!

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Vegan week. Yes, you read that correctly. I am a lover of burgers, cupcakes, and beer. But I am also a lover of green juice, lentil soup, and overnight oats. And lets be honest, I feel a hell of a lot better when I go the green juice route. While I am a big believer in balance and indulgence, I also love to reset my system every once in a while. And when I am eating greens galore, I feel like a million bucks. So…..this all led to one of my goals for 2015….VEGAN WEEK! Wahooo!

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If you read this post, you’ll know that I am head-over-heals in love with Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook (you can also check out her amazing blog here)!  This cookbook is going to be my vegan week bible. Some of the goodies I’m planning on making for the first few days? Summer harvest tortilla soup, miso and quinoa power bowl, and green monster smoothies!

I’ll keep you posted with recipes and pictures throughout the week! Happy eating!

Virtual Coffee Date

Hello blog friends! It’s been too long. And if we were here together, I’d say “Hey! Let’s get some coffee and catch up!” So, I’d thought I thought we could have another virtual coffee date instead…

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If we were having coffee this morning I would tell you how excited I am to be joining the YOGAudacious team starting in January! YOGAudacious was created by Gigi Yogini as a way to celebrate one courageous woman each week. Stepping onto your mat takes courage! And by sharing our stories, by being brave, we inspire others to do the same. Want to share your yoga journey? Click here!

If we were having coffee this morning I would tell you that although I was late to the #Girlboss party, I am in love with this book. I am not fasionista by any means so at first I was skeptical about what I could learn from the Nasty Gal CEO, Sophia Amoruso. But OH.EM.GEE. Sophia is incredibly empowering and kick ass, regardless of what your interests are. She will inspire you to bring creativity to whatever you do, whether you are an artist, accountant, or just a girl tryin’ to get by. Please, please, please, let #Girlboss help you take charge in 2015!

If we were having coffee this morning I would tell you how this month has been a big month of change. One of my very best friends is moving abroad while another is returning stateside. Ebbs and flows, man. Ebbs and flows.

If we were having coffee this morning I would tell you how the Nike+ Running App is rocking my world right now. Seriously. Not only is does this GPS app calculate your distance and pace, but you can create challenges with your friends. My sisters and I live in different states so we used the app and created a challenge to run 60 miles in the month of December. Oh my gosh. Hello motivation. You need a reason to run? See that your little sister is beating you by two miles and you’ll be sure to lace up those sneakers.

If we were having coffee this morning, I would wish you the most magical 2015. Truly girlfriend, this is your year.

Sending you all lots of love in the new year!

xoxo

Dear California

Dear California,

I’m sorry I’ve been a bitch lately.

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I’ve been so wrapped up in complaining about your traffic, your $50 T-Shirts, and your gluten free obsession that I was blinded to your beauty for a moment there. I couldn’t see your daily farmer’s markets, 6:00 am surfers, and delicious sunsets.

You see, sweet California, I am a Midwestern girl at heart. I was raised with humid summers, icy winters, and family always nearby.

California, you pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. But you showed me how much growth can come from this place. Since being here, I’ve met the most inspirational, beautiful souls. I’ve met people that like me, moved across the country for love. I’ve met yoga teachers so creative, that taking their class feels like being part of a piece of art. I’ve picnicked on the beach, feeling wrapped up in love and then driven solo along the PCH, crying and singing along to Taylor Swift. And I have to tell you, I wouldn’t have experienced any of this if I stayed in my comfort zone. I would have been safe. But I would have been longing.

California, you will always be a risk. But I am learning to trust you and love you all over again because I think I’d like to stay a little while longer. What do you say?

Love,

Amy

 

 

Pressing Pause

For the past few months my computer background has looked like this:

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C L A R I T Y

Clarity has been on my mind in a major way recently. My intention in yoga has been centered around clarity. The sole reason I’ll clean my house is in an attempt for clarity. I’ve meditated and journaled and sweat…all in the name of clarity.

And when I finally got some…well that was a scary thing.

Let me start from the beginning.

Up until Thursday of last week, my plan was to start a grad school this fall. I had my class schedule, I had accepted my financial aid, and I was searching on amazon to buy books.

And then…

I felt like I couldn’t breath.

With each syllabus that arrived in my inbox, with each email from the department, I felt panic swell in my chest.

Hello clarity.

My body was sending me a message loud and clear: P R E S S   P A U S E

Right now, I am developing my voice as a yoga teacher. The Boy and I just adopted a pup that has stolen my heart. I’m in the midsts of creating a running program that I’m super excited about.  Also, as a school teacher the summer has come to an end and I’m heading back to teach full time!

Needless to say, life is full right now. beauty{full}.

So I had to ask myself some hard questions. Do I want to be in school right now? Why am I really pursing another degree? Is this the right program for me?

And after answering those questions and talking to some real life grown ups, I knew that deferring my enrollment was what I needed to do.

I am gaining C L A R I TY. And it ends up that clarity is kind of a scary thing. Because once you know what’s on your heart, it’s time to take action.