hot n bothered

I had a woman come up to me recently after class and say, "I liked your yoga classes when they were easier."

She continued on about how she still comes even though she hates them and she doesn't really know why she comes when she doesn't like them.

She spoke freely and openly. And I listened.

What I didn't do is press into her about it, nor did I explain or justify.

I simply listened. And thanked her.

This woman still comes to my classes. And every time I see her, I thank her.

That kind of comment a few years ago would've wrapped me up in my headabout my teaching. 

Today, I can give thanks.
(I am not saying that happens from the get-go every time, as a recovering people-pleaser)

Because this woman feels something in my classes. 

And she is being straight up real about it

I applaud her realness.

The yoga works

The teachings work. 

The student works.

The teacher works. 

Liking something or someone doesn't mean it teaches us more necessarily. I would argue that not liking something or someone just might teach us a little more about ourselves, if/when we are willing to investigate that upset. 

When we are rubbed "the wrong way" -- it's an invitation to go in. It's not about the other, it's about ourselves.

We must expose and explore ourselves first.

Exposing and exploring with love.

As in, "oh, shit. That hurts. Okay, why does that hurt or upset me?"

We should be like toddlers more and asking ourselves "why" on life thangs. Without judgment. But with curiosity. 

Staying curious is one of our greatest teachers.

With power and grace, 
Steph

PS - I started a hot n bothered list of my own. And it's all my own damn shit. On-the-real.



Write Club Prompt:
The next time you get all "hot n bothered" (not that kind, the other kind) by something or someone, PAUSE. Stay bothered a moment. Ask yourself why.

Write down why this situation or person is upsetting you. Now turn this upset around on yourself, why am I letting this situation or person upset me? Write down why you are upset in this scenario -- this time, without making it about the other. 

In closing, give thanks (grace). Write a thank you to the person, situation (no need to give, unless you want), or yourself for being willing to expose and explore getting all hot n bothered and include what it is teaching you or taught you.

lessons on repeat

Lessons on repeat.

I keep having to g(r)o(w) through the same lesson on repeat in my life. 

I don't know what to call this kind of lesson, per se. 

Ever since I was little, I have known psychological manipulation. It's one of the reasons I have had a complicated relationship with a biological parent.  

Throughout my life, I attract and often times have gotten close to people that are masters at manipulation. I would go as far to say that some are quite the cons at life. Either by leading double lives or taking advantage of others. 

By zooming out of my childhood, I can see that my dad's way of trying to get more time with his daughter, and perhaps win her over, was through the art of manipulation. It created more harm than good. It created more disconnection than connection. This has been one of my most complicated relationships.

There have been other players with such mastery in my life. 

I once had a yoga teacher that took me under her wing in hopes that I could give her "Instagram fame." 

Writing that grosses me out.

Maybe "gross" isn't the right word because it's actually pain.

Because being used sucks. Having someone pretend to care for me only to have an undercover agenda for her own self-serving ways is downright hurtful.

I feel like my child self when I feel this kind of pain.

The thing is, I have expectations that humans will be decent to one another; to help each other and, you know, not try to take hurt each other.

I know that expectations lead to pain. Yet, here I am full of expectations.

I don't know if I've allowed myself to stomp and tantrum about this particular experience. I very much hold things in as though they will just go away by my zipping up. Like I'm too proud to feel hurt by something or someone.

I don't want to live with that kind of pride.

Because it only perpetuates the cycle of numb and keeps me much too guarded

I read something yesterday from the book, Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. 

Choose to Heal (you may have to hit 'display image' at the top of your email):


Be willing to feel.

Perhaps my lessons will remain on repeat so long as I choose to zip up, close off, and run.

This is my work. To unzip, remain open, and live my truth. 

Such lessons are not about the other person or that thing -- they're really about myself. How I show up and how I will continue to show up.

To do no harm, but take no shit.

Trust. Trust. Trust. 

And to keep trusting my-mother-f-ing-self.

Love, 
Steph


Today's Write Club Prompt (WCW):
What lesson do you have on repeat in your life? Maybe it's dating the same person again and again. Or having the same arguments with your partner. It's impossible to change another person, all we can do is change ourselves.

What is something you can do differently the next time this lesson makes its way to the front? The note of your habits (unconscious act). Create a ritual (a conscious act) for yourself to move forward in a positive direction. Explore this.

#writeclubnow

a morning ritual (wcw)

Write Club Wednesday (wcw)

Today's prompt is to write first thing in the morning. 

Finish these sentences (five words or less) in a rapid fire kind of way: 

1. The time is...
2. I slept like...
3. I dreamt (this can be more than five words)
4. Right now, I feel...
5. If I looked in the mirror, I'd see...
6. Today, I get to...
7. Yesterday was...
8. I am grateful for...
9. My intention for today is...
10. My superpower is...

My answers below:
1. The time is 8:39am
2. I slept like I was half-asleep
3. I dreamt that B got a tattoo of the number "10" on his back.
4. Right now, I feel uncertain and restless
5. If I looked in the mirror, I'd see pillow wrinkles and dried drool
6. Today, I get to hang with B-man.
7. Yesterday was uncomfortable and hard
8. I am grateful for my family
9. My intention for today is to be open
10. My superpower is following my heart


Love, 
Steph

#writeclubnow

write club wednesday #2

Write Club Wednesday, fashionably late. Or is it unfashionably late? I've never been one to use such phrase because tardiness is something I don't do well. 

I hate being late. 

And I've been late 3 times in the last week. 

This month is a doing month. I've been hopping from meeting to meeting. Helping with Solfire's yoga teacher training, preparing for a BIG write club project, teaching weekly classes, chasing photo gigs, contract negotiations for corporate gigs, one-on-one coaching/coffee talks, planning our October Bali retreat, and running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the final week first grade for my kiddo. 

Oh, and squeezing in loverbutt date nights and family time in to that mix. 

Sometimes, not having a traditional 9-5 job can feel all kinds of crazy because work/life balance is not so balanced after all. 

I actually don't know that there will ever be a balance because I really love what I do.

With that being written...onto your writing. 

And thank you for being here. 

Write Club Prompt: 
Reflect on your busiest day/s of the week. Write a list of what you do every hour. Like a planned schedule but in reverse. Because life doesn't always go as planned. 

Now, write an hourly list of what you'd want your day/s to look, sound, and feel like. It can be as dreamy as you like. Don't hold back. 

Lastly, an activity. Start implementing one of your "dreamy hours" into your real-life hours. This last bit might take some time. You don't have to do it this week or next, but the sooner, the better. If an hour sounds ridiculous, try a half hour.

The idea here is to do one thing everyday that is from/towards your dream life. 

write club wednesday's

Last Saturday, I hosted another Write Club (like a fight club for people who want to write) here in Sacramento. It is a monthly series that softly kicked off in December and going strong ever since. I am really proud of the people that show up, whether it's was a one-time gig or to the ones that have joined every single month. 

What we do in Write Club is not easy

Writing inside-out takes a lot of courage and a willingness to be vulnerablewith the self. 

Not many people are willing to do it. 

They overthink it or worry about what they'll look like or if they have to read out loud (which is never to rule).

It takes guts to write. 

It took guts for me to write this out loud today

An old photo popped up today. I had a swirl of emotion and old thoughts around it. So, I wrote and shared it. And re-adjusted my thoughts and reminded myself where I am at today. 

This is a good place to start Write Club Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I'll deliver a write club prompt here. You can read, write, respond, share (#writeclubnow), or toss away. 

Like yoga, writing is healing. And the way it works is you show up and commit yourself to the practice and make it a ritual.

Through discipline, comes freedom. 

Join me or feel free to unsubscribe/unfollow.
I want people that want to be here.
And if you don't want to be here, press the button below and help yourself out.


Let's get you writing. As we move forward, I'll guide you further with some tips and create videos for you from time to time. But for now, just write without worrying how to write.

Your first prompt with me below.

Today's Write Club Prompt: 

Name one of your greatest obstacles in life (past or present). Name every emotion experienced during said obstacle. What did you do to overcome this obstacle? If you're still working through something major, write down every possibility that could help you move forward.

Falling forward with you. 

Love, 
Steph

PS - thank you, Judi, for pushing me forward and up with this and keeping me accountable. Always.

you can't unbutton your pants

I started to feel "boxed in" every time I walked into our house. 

That boxed in feeling where claustrophobia sets in.

Because I've completely slacked on keeping up with house things in the last several months.

Yesterday, we spent the better part of the day emptying out the closet, toy boxes, and corners of our house. Organizing what we no longer need into: donate, throw away, recycle, or keep. 

Our house is 600 sq ft.

It's the same size as my studio apartment I rented years ago when I first moved back to Sacramento. 

I loathe collecting "stuff." We are not really collectors, per se. I am obnoxiously practical, when it comes to buying things (my obnoxious, I mean awesomelypractical). But when you add holidays, birthdays, etc -- stuff comes in and stuff needs a place and I had just about had it. 

I think we could all use more space in our lives. There's this shit-idea that we have to fit ourselves to the brim as though it makes our life hold meaning. I want to create more space. For myself and others. 

I have been offering more space in my yoga classes too. 

Less music. Less story-telling. Less rigidity. Less cueing. Less filling. Less trying hard. 

Less is more. 

More receiving. More surrender. More tuning in. More exploring. More space. More ease. 

I am watching where your breath travels as you lay in savasana. 

Seeing if your belly rises and falls with ease versus pumped up in your chest with force. 

Because it matters. Your breath matters

I am watching you more than ever before. 

Because it matters. Seeing you matters

With this exploration, I have noticed how jarring it feels to be in a class where the music never stops, where a teacher doesn't hush-up for two seconds, and how there is never a sense of settling because the class is so damn full of "stuff." 

And the class is not terrible or wrong by any means. They're just full

I leave feeling like I ate too much or too fast. I need to unbutton my pants and go lay on the couch because I'm stuffed. 

Feeling overstuffed makes me tired and bloated. 

And I don't want to walk out of a yoga class feeling tired or the need to unbutton my pants for the world. 

Space. I am exploring with it more. It feels damn good. 

Space is spacious. As my friend, Bethany, once said. 

Less doing. More Being.

Love,
Steph
 

Write Club Prompt
Notice where you fill in your life. Start to explore your why for filling. Is your schedule a "have to" or a "get to?" Where can you let go and give yourself space. Write about this.

Bonus Offering: 
Take one less thing off your schedule everyday for 7 days in a row. Write about this experience of canceling plans, not doing something, etc. What did it feel like to cancel/say no/ or not do something just because? What were the consequences? Did you have guilt about it or feel empowered? Is this something you can enact in your life moving forward?

so selfish

24 hours in a day well-spent. 

One hour of yoga is a blip on a 24 hour day. 

I would argue that one hour of yoga won't transform your life. Because your life is the remaining 23 hours in your day.

Save room for a good night's sleep, hopefully a minimum of 8 hours. Any adult that tells me they can run on 4-5 hours, I tend to think you're nuts

There's so much science to sleep. I won't get into it too much but you need to sleep, people. Your brain needs to restore and rejuvenate. Not just your brain, but your entire body. For the new parents out there, I feel for you. I hope, goddess willing, you've got some support so you can get some shut-eye.

24 hours in a day. 8 hours of sleep. 1 hour of yoga. 

15 hours remaining. 

You can do the math for yourself and what you devote your time and attention. I suck at math so I'll stop there. 

I started practicing yoga because a friend offered to buy me a beer if I went to class with her. That was almost 10 years ago. Yoga, to me, became sweet (and hard) humble pie.

7 years ago, this practice saved my life.

I don't know how to word that or say that out loud with people without them going hush. It is not my intention when sharing my story. What I often see or hear is pity like, "oh, you poor thing." I hate that. 

Maybe that's why people don't talk openly about hard life shit or mental illnesses.

More than hating that feeling, I believe it's important to talk about such stuff.

People either pity or try to fix you.

I have never felt pitiful or the need to be fixed. 

I needed to be.

I practiced yoga during a time I wanted to die.

And the reason I am here is because I dedicated myself to something more than yoga. 

I dedicated myself to myself. 

That's what this practice has taught me.

This is one of the biggest reasons I teach. To hold space for you on your mat and the remaining 23 hours in your day. To not pity you or try to fix you. Just to be with you as I have had others be with me.

This practice is more than a check-off. It's more than a hobby or trend or about wearing the latest pants. It's definitely more than what media portrays. I don't know if it's possible to encapsulate in a post or even this email. I'm not sure it's entirety could live in a book. 

I only know that my life changed when I actively started participating in it. Choosing myself every damn day.

What if we gave every hour of the day everything we've got? Even the moments of doing nothing. Give everything to nothingness. 

Like my friend, Dan, says: "everything is everything."

Be unshakably dedicated to yourself. 

Surround yourself with people that know how to take great care of themselves. People who are unable to take care of themselves will not be able to take care of you (when/if ever needed).

Selfish is service.

Love,
Steph

wild and out

Let women be wild. 

This has been sticking with me over the last several days. 

The feminine, in particular. 

The feminine is meant to move, fluctuate, and feel. High, low, and in-between. It's like sitting in the front seat of a moving car with your arm out the window making waves with your cupped palm and the wind.

Yet, as a young girl, all I've ever been taught is to not be too much.

Stay in line. 
Close your legs. 
Quiet your voice. 
Don't talk back.
Stop crying. 

In my twenties:
Stay small.
Close your eyes.
Quiet your screams.
Don't speak out.
The crying stopped.

Women are expected to stay small and quiet.

Be as little as possible in order to be presentable. 

I made good money as a cocktail waitress at a private club. I was quiet and small. I needed to pay rent. During those years, I had to completely disconnect from my body as my livelihood depended on a smile.

I learned a lot about married men at this job. How they'd put their hands in places without permission. I'd bite my tongue at the disgusting slurs whilst being slipped 20's, 50's, and 100's. I'd report the over aggressive types and ones that followed me to my car at night only to have my female boss tell me to "thicken my skin and just take it." 

There were a few times I slapped hands or said, "stop!" only to be called a "bitch" and forfeit my tips. 

The smell of Scotch to this day reminds me of my smallness during that time. 

It taught me to disconnect, stay neutral, dumb myself down, live apologetically, and play the part in order to get paid. 

I still catch myself falling into the trap of playing the part. 

There is no power in that. 

It shows up in my life at times, too. 

I'll tip-toe in an attempt to not be too much. Or I'll caution myself on what to say in person and question what I post online. Or I'll justify/explain things about my life in order to soften myself. And for what?! And for whom?! Certainly, not for me.

There is no real power in that. When I hold myself down or back. 

I'm not interested in being neutral or small for the comfort of others. Much of my life was built on that. It led to taking money from grabby hands, collecting partners to numb, and kept me running from myself. 

I am not willing to step back into that way of life. 

I recognize that I will lose people, they will ridicule and insult my character, and attempt to shake me down for not living up to their comfort bubbles. 

And that's okay. 

The way of the woman is in the wild.

Without apology. Without explanation. Without hesitation.

Leave us wild. 

Wild and out, 

Steph

Write Club Prompt:
Do you live your wild? What does it feel like when you live your wild?

pretty ugly

Over the weekend, I turned 35. 
My brother reminded me I'm halfway to 70. 
Naturally, I reminded Steve that he will be halfway to 90 next month. 

I love love that is poke-fun love.

This weekend was pretty prickly.

I spent my birthday weekend being messy in front of people. Which does not come easily for me (my guess is that it doesn't come easy for most of us). The attention that comes from messiness makes me want to unzip my skin and climb out of myself.

I want to uphold myself in this image that I am strong and capable 24/7 which leaves little room for my humanness.

I am good at letting myself "hang out" through written words with painful experiences and truths, as well as ah-ha moments and funny business. That is where I let myself be messy. 

Like this.

I have been known for pairing pretty photos with lengthy word vomits on social media. Over time, it went from being a connective release to an outlet for hiding

Maybe hiding is not the right word. But more like a tip-toe to let others see me by reading my words. 

I could write really ugly words and pair them with a pretty photo to say:
"here are some ugly words to go with a pretty photo to make sure I wasn't too much.'"

Because in-person, I'm rather quite reserved, shy, and introverted.

I get clammy when people ask me about my writings online and even when they say nice things about them. I struggle with this relationship of being seen when it comes to face time action with people. It's weird, really. Like I want people to read my words but at the same time, I don't know that I always want to talk about it.

I've created a strange disconnect.
Like, that story no longer exists because I wrote it down.

Therefore, I can sorta-kinda turn it off.
That was me then, and here I am now.

This is another reason to stop curating myself online so much.

And with that stopping, I've had to learn to get comfortable disappointing people. Which is a good practice, as any, in this life.

I've taken this into practice for my teaching as well. Not planning every single detail for my classes. If you checked my journal from 2 months ago, you'd still read: "savasana" planned at the very end of each class. Writing that out loud makes me chuckle and I totally want to erase and not share that with you.

It doesn't mean I don't plan a class, full stop. It means that I'm working on trusting myself to let the yoga move through me. Keep it simple.

And remembering:
"Complexity is the enemy of execution."
That is my work.

And I've yet to skip savasana at the end of a class!

I'm working on allowing myself to be seen in front of others. This last weekend was not easy. Crying in front of people and talking about tough-love type stuff was hard. I'm working on breaking down walls. I'm not sure I really how to do that. I do know that walls keep me safe and no amount of hurt can get through them. 

That's the thing about walls, though, they're built by pain. 
So, while I try to keep pain out, I'm still living from pain.
What a mind-fuck.

This is where I'm at today. 

Letting people in.
In person, not just writing out-loud.

Love, 
Steph

the truth is...

The truth is...

I am enough. 

This is my "I am" statement.

This is the world I am living in and creating.

It's important for me to know this and feel it in my bones

One of my deepest processes for me to work through is not being enough. It's the story of my life. This sense of not belonging, not good enough. My parents had me at 17. No teenager wants to get pregnant at 16 and have a baby their junior year of high school. I don't blame them. And yet -- I chose them to be my parents.

When I found out I was pregnant with B. It was a big, "holy shit" freak out during that time in my life. I was 27. I didn't want to have children of my own. I couldn't take care of myself, let alone a baby. And yet -- he chose me to be his mama.

This is what I often come back to. In moments where I feel not enough. Or don't feel I have a right to be here.

It is legit root chakra work for me (there's work to be done in the other chakras but this root one is a biggie). 

This story. This upbringing. It bleeds into my life and relationships.

It is why I run from you first. Or hurt you first.

And I am now in the practice of leading with this:

The truth is I am enough. I have a right to be here.

I'm halfway through my yoga teacher training. 

I don't want it to end. As I sit and type this I am holding this lump in my throat. It's the kind of lump that I get when I know I'm growing and expanding but also a little attached to comfort. Knowing I gotta go, do, and be on my own type of good-lumpy-feeling.

Like when I left home at 18. Or when I got pregnant and became a mom. When I taught my first yoga class (probably the first 100 yoga classes). Or taveling out of the country by myself for the first, second, and third time(s). 

It kinda feels like that.

I've been in a yoga bubble since March 1st. 

I am receiving the best coaching in years, maybe ever.

I knew it would be like this. It's why I am here. 

I cannot get away with shit. And -- I don't want to.

I really feel that I have a teacher that really has my back. Which hasn't always been the case in the past (and a mind-fuck of shit to work through for me).

Coaches need coaches.
Teachers need teachers.
Mentors need mentors.

I believe this.

In real life, in person, and in real time kind of way.

I feel really alive. 

And high. 

I'm not on drugs right now.

I am soaking up the next month and a half of learnings. 

With lumpy-goodness.

And all.

Well, almost all. 

Love, 

Steph

Write Club Prompt:
What is your "I am" statement?