love is TMI

“Recaka" is my new favorite word. 

It's Sanskrit for "expulsion." In the practice of yoga pranayama (breath-work) it basically means "to exhale." I'm not even big on Sanskrit but this word is the bomb dot com.

But I like "expulsion" like a dramatic exit

Who doesn't love a dramatic entrance and/or exit?!

I had a dramatic case of "recaka" (by the way, the "c" is pronounced like a "ch" here: rech-a-ka) when I was hit with a bout of food poisoning the other night. 

Sweat, shivers, and shits. 

TMI?

This time was much easier than the two times I had Montezuma's revenge.

Talk about recaka from both ends. 

The body knows how to rid, that's for sure.

Smart cookie.

Sometimes shit needs to come out. 

And sometimes, we need to stay in shit long enough to feel it and then let it out.

This is why expressing ourselves is important. 

See what I did there?

From shit to expression. Insert side tongue out here.

Many of us have been taught that our thoughts, feelings, and actions don't matter. 

Since we were children. 

If you grew up like me with the conditioning that emotions were bad, your voice isn't necessary (until you're an adult...even then, it's questionable because you're a woman), or that your actions are not good enough (for your work, bosses, or in times under trauma, etc). 

Bottle it up. 

Sweep it under the rug. 

Don't talk about it. 

You ever notice how toddlers are one of the most expressive beings on the planet? 

Crying their heads off one minute and giggling the next. 

They're the queens and kings of getting over shit fairly fast (especially, if we let them a bit). 

When babies are learning to walk, what do they do? 

The wobble, fall, and every time -- they get back up.

They get back up

As if giving up isn't option -- because it's not for them. 

We adults give up so damn easily. 

I wonder if it's because of our conditioning complexes. The story wounds that lead us back to the trail of "not good enough" belief systems. 

I bet if each of us had solid support system -- like the way we support babies learning to walk -- we'd keep going eventually walking upright in our creative genius. 

We need to people to lean on, sometimes. 

I am the queen of trying to do it all and alone. I have this thing where I don't want to burden people by asking for help. I am realizing it also makes me think I know better. And I don't

We need people that come up from behind to cup our armpits to prop us upright again so we can continuing wobbling forward.

Do have those people in your life? I hope you do.

I do. Even when I try really hard to not ask for their help. 

I am totally working on that.

Here's a reminder:

Let your shit go. Recaka.
Wobble. And Fall
Ask for help. And let people help (eh-hem, Steph).
Dust your knee caps. 

And get your ass back up.

From recaka to getting back up.

Love is full of TMI sometimes. 

Love, 

Steph

i don't care what pants you wear

I don't care what pants you wear.

I'm not going to talk much about that yoga pant company and that lawsuit that's currently happening. 

I jumped on the emotional bandwagon posting about it over the weekend, which I've since taken down. 

The human and emotional part of me feels empathy for the yoga teacher(s?) involved. 

The business part of me has no feelings on the matter. 

I don't have all the facts. And I am not interested investigating any further. I do hope that resolution happens with as little to no harm as possible for the teacher/s involved.

I've come to this conclusion:

I don't give a fuck what pants you wear. Be it in a yoga class and/or in life. They're your pants, not mine.

I do not have the bandwidth to care. 

When you come to class, I'm not looking at your pants. 

When we meet for coffee, I'm not worried about your pants.

I care about you

I care about my line of vision and what is within ear shot. 

Think about this a moment as it relates to your real life.

Don't open your phone or hop on that app.

Pause at what is in front of you.

This is what matters.

I wrote on a post-tit this weekend: "distractions taste like comfort."

Sometimes I feel this undercover pressure to care for things because I'm involved (be it directly or indirectly) in such things. 

And I become completely depleted stammering about "running away and turning off everyone and everything."

My energy management is everything

In order for me to prevent the "fuck everything and run" protest, I've got to remove the suction cup attention on things.

How am I letting distractions, big or small, take up space in my life?

How many times do I let myself be distracted by something that is outside my control?

Probably a shit-ton.

I was reminded of that this weekend. 

It made me yearn to be back in teacher training (which is about every other weekend now).

To be working on things that matter: internal engine stuff and continuing to nurture heart to heart connection with others. 

It's the kind of work that doesn't care about your pants.

And this weekend was a great test for me because I failed miserably.

Failure is a forward motion. 

I got my shit together (mostly) and came back to my center (and senses).

I wrote what I care about:

Being a good mom
Helping others
Making personal connections
Staying grounded
Being a fiercely loving human
Making life more fun

If there's anything you can manage efficiently in life, it's your own energy and what really matters

And the thing is, I've had to learn and unlearn some things about other people and how they manage their own energy.

I've learned to not get close to people that are incongruent in with their words and actions (the repetitive "say one thing and do another" types). Or not work with people that are just users, ones that simply want to take-take-take. I've walked away from people that rely on manipulation and victim-hood as a key to power.

Some of those example above have been my own blood, close friend/s, and teacher/s I once had and respected.

I am my upper management. 

I am responsible for my energy, the company I choose to keep, and the things I act on.

The same goes for you.

It all matters. 

It's all energy. 

If that means fighting head-on with a big company, go for it. 

If that means encouraging people not to wear pants, go for it (I'll join you).

Whatever it is, big or small, go for it. 

Your energy is contagious. 

You are contagious.

Right now, not wearing pants feels like the most manageable thing in this moment.

No pants, no problems.

Love, 

Steph

pyramid schemes

I used to be involved in MLM.

aka:
Multi-level Marketing
Network Marketing
Pyramid Scheme (debatable)
Cult (yes)

*a cult is not necessarily a bad thing. We actively participating in cult-like things everyday, whether we like it or not.

This was almost 10 years ago. I didn't really know what it was at the time, I dropped $500 and went to work. 

I learned really quickly that most people are a "NO." 

At first, I took a beating with all the "NOs" I got. 

My feelings got hurt. I got offended. I huffed and puffed.

I started viewing people as numbers. In order to move forward, I had to detach myself from my emotional self whilst fishing the sea of NO to find a small number of fish that were a YES. 

I was in the business for a year and a half. More like a year, the final 6 months was me slowly making an exit.

I participated in twice a week meetings. 

I traveled to stadium-wide venues for trainings and got to see some really successful life coach-type people.

I didn't do well making money but I learned a lot. 

I found a lot of value in the life coaching bits. 

To me, that was money well spent.

I learned that I am coachable and I am capable of coaching others.

I learned that most people are a NO.

Not just in networking marketing. 

People live in the NO, not necessarily in the know.

They're a NO on life. On trying. And that's it. 

I was a guest on @thejournaldeck podcast recently (you can listen here about yoga, why I've halted the picture-perfect social media bullshit, injuries, and my self-care routine). 

The creator of the podcast, Alyssa, asked me:

"If I never had to do this again, it would be..."

I didn't have a real answer for her. 

I've thought about my life and what I've done, what I've learned, and there is nothing I'd change or not do again. 

I believe in trying more than once.

Every NO has led me here. 
Every YES has led me here. 

I aim to be a BIG YES even if that means to fail miserably.

As @usjohnsons said to me the other day: "fall, fart, and fly."

I'm going to stick with that Triple F and living a gassy life.

Toot-toot,

Steph

Write Club Prompt:
Write down three of your biggest life moment NOs.
Write down three of your biggest life moment YESs.

How have they led you here?

#writeclubnow

heart hustler

One of my favorite mantras is:

"Let go, let in."

I am not a huge mantra person. But this one has stuck with me for a long time. 

It's applicable in the way that I can use in real life terms, examples. 

When I let go of ________, I (can/will) let in _________.

I wrote some examples on the oneOeight blog last fall

What I wrote then, has transpired now

I recently let go of one of my weekly public classes.

And yesterday, I let go of another public weekly class I was set to start teaching next week. 

This leaves me with teaching 5 badass classes per week. 

Teaching a handful of classes per week feels just right.

I am not the type that can skirt my ass all over town teaching 10, 15, 20 classes per week. 

There are people that can do it and do it well. 

Me? Nah. 

I struggle with that juggle. Because I love creating a lot of things. And I've got a big role to play being B's mama. And practice being a good someday wifey to Tiller.

I have to work really smart otherwise I'm the type that will go-go-go until I implode and say, "fuck this shit, I'm out."

I'm 100% in on all the things I do.

I love teaching yoga

I love hosting Write Club on a monthly basis (next one is March 31st). 

I love having classes online at oneOeight

I love creating Write Club classes online on YouTube (ps - I'm going to turn-out a series on my birthday in April).

I love writing. Period. 

I love taking photos of/for people. Period.

I love talking shop, ideas, working hard, and helping people create that good life

I love retreats too. We nixed Hawaii and I hopped in on Bali in October with Veazey and Dan.

A lot of what I do is really uncomfortable and messy

Often times, it's scary

To go out on a limb and go, "hey, this is what I'm doing, if you're invested, swipe your card and come along. Or don't and enjoy the show."

That's hard to say sometimes. 

This type of work is unusual. Sometimes, I feel like I'm clocked-in 7 days a week. I also feel like I'm doing the best work I've ever done.

It's a gift. 

It takes grit.

Time is valuable

I do know this: no one is going to do it for you.

You may as well create things you absolutely love

Lean and learn. 

You'll feel every single emotion doing such work. 

You'll want to quit.

Keep going.

People will call you crazy or try to stand in front of you. 

Those are not your people.

Get close to people that say, "YES!" every damn day.

Rub elbows with idea-makers and dream-doers

Who you have around you is important. 

Where you spend your time is important. 

If you never go, you'll never know.
Are you in on your life!? If yes, say it out loud. If not, let's dig in there a bit and find out why (this can be your write club prompt of the day).


With love and grit,

Steph

you're good

I'm coming out of my first weekend in a teacher training.

I feel pumped! 

That can happen when you spend four days with 50 people that say, "YES!"

I'm in this place where this training (life) feels right on time.

(Your life is always on time)

Yet I also feel like I wish I had taken it sooner. I admitted out loud to Steve that I wish I had taken it first.

I was invited with certainty.

I was pulled by the certainty in her voice.

I just knew. And she knew I knew.

The thing is -- not all yoga teacher training programs are alike (and thank goodness for that). 

I've taken other trainings. I've assisted other trainings. 

I've learned from alignment-based to almost non-existent alignment based.
I've learned from those that teach one/right-way to ones that bank on uncertainty.
I've learned from those that said no music to ones that blast music. 
I've learned from those that believe in science to those that believe in psychics.
I've learned from ones that taught from tradition to ones that threw out the tradition.

I've realized this: everything up until this point has brought me here.

None of the above trainings are right or wrong -- they teach what they believe. 

I've learned and unlearned. Some stuff is a re-learn. 

I've been teaching yoga a short time, 3.5 years. 

The way I teach now, is different from the way I taught a year and a half ago, it's different from the first time I ever taught.

Heck, even in the last several months! Now that I've been dropping all the mobility stuff in my classes (for damn good reason).

My approach is always in practice. Application of what I'm learning in my own body. 

Too many instructors get away with not practicing

I always found that strange. 

I'm not talking about the "funks" that can creep in but I'm talking about instructors that hardly practice at all. 

Or the ones that only practice handstands all day.

(I've had people in my classes that are great handstanders on Instagram but will bow out of my class half-way through and tell me my class is too challenging for them. And sometimes I've asked: "do you practice anything besides handstand?").

There's nothing wrong with handstands.

To me, my practice/movement foundation is vital the quality of my life.

And to my teaching.

I'm always learning. Refining. Growing.

Growth = Happiness.

I like having roots

I'm a creature of habit. I like routine. 

I like doing the same things, wearing the same things, and eating/drinking the same things. 

I am (annoyingly) practical. I'm not very sentimental.

This makes me a terrible gift-giver, according to some. 

I follow my gut.

This keeps me grounded. 

I'm a Taurus (if that matters? I don't know. That zodiac stuff is mostly just fun).

I play close attention that know more than me and that do things better than me -- so I can learn and do too. When it comes people that know shit, I listen. And I especially lean into people that have a shit-ton of certainty. 

Because you can hear it in their voice, see it in their presence, and feel it in their way of being.

There's a commitment there that in unwavering. 

This weekend was a reminder to have unshakable commitment to things that really fucking matter. 

To myself. 
And to others. 

It's not just about teaching yoga. 

Life things. People things. Thing things.

And being so fucking good, you'll be impossible for the world to ignore. 

Be good. 

Because you already are so fucking good.

Love, 

Steph

boundaries like a boss

I was talking in one of my yoga classes over the weekend about how I was recently told that I shouldn't talk openly about my life frustrations out loud.

And that I shouldn't share my opinions because I'm a yoga teacher

That these expressions are harmful. 

I used to believe in the above too.

Gosh, we have so many shoulds in the dos/do nots of this world. 

Especially, in yoga. 

Thing is, I've spent a great-deal of my life attempting to control my feelings. 

I've also spent a great deal keeping my mouth shut.

I was raised by these words:

"Stop your crying otherwise I'll give you something to cry about."

It's a conditioning that your voice, feelings, thoughts, and actions don't matter.

So, I stopped crying. I stopped talking. I stopped feeling.

When my grandpa died, I didn't cry. I wanted to but I couldn't. And I loved that man, I looked up to him. I mentioned in a previous email that I grew up being a "grandma's and grandpa's girl."

A few years later, I became a mom. 

And I've just about cried now more than I have my entire life.

Even when I'm really happy. 

I'm soft and hard at the same time. 

I am soft in the way that goes all-in for my people. 

I am hard in the way that I will not take shit.

I allow myself to think and feel. I allow myself to express openly. 

And I have boundaries like a boss

I had a friend ask me for advice on women/dating. He was hurting because the woman he was dating was messing with his heart. 

People play too much.

They play games with other people's emotions and lives. 

Because people are sick.

Sick in the way that they want to hurt others in the ways they hurt or have been hurt.

It's messed up. 

Separate yourself from people like that immediately
You cannot help them by sticking around. 
Some people can only receive help from the love you send from afar.

Have boundaries like a boss, it is essential to your health (wealth).

Your voice, thoughts, feelings, and action matter.

You matter.

Love, 

Steph

photographing women

I stopped advertising my photography for hire long ago. Because I'm a picky asshole. Especially, when it comes to working closely with people. 

Taking photos is intimate work.

I love photographing people. 

I don't love photographing everyone.

I don't do forced. Or overly posed. I mean, I can, but it stunts the outcome.

One of my favorite things and something I'm really good at is photographing women

To photograph is to observe. It's the details. 

The most empowering sessions are often the naked ones

Where a woman is wearing little to no makeup, her hair undone, and completely under-dressed. 

The way to capture a woman is to stand back and let her be herself. 

I don't think many women have really seen themselves in this way, or not enough anyway. From this side. To be observed without being objectified. A vantage point that doesn't ask anything of her.

Other than for her to be herself.

It cannot be defined. Or boxed in. It's like writing a feeling that has no words.

I want to help more women see themselves in this way

Nearly every delivery ends with her saying things like:

"I can't believe that's me! I've never seen myself in this way."

It's powerful.

I had a list of things written for you -- tips -- on how to photograph women, but it was too much. 

Less is more.

So, I'll repeat:

The way you capture a woman is to stand back and let her be herself. 

I'm feeling the pulse to capture again.

And host another Boudoir et Brunch with my main woman, Kimberly, where we invite (aka hand-pick) women to gather and get down in the boudoir. 

Write me to be invited.

Love, 

Steph

Write Club Prompt:

What does it mean to be yourself. If you're stuck, use the above scenario of a photographer "standing back in order to let you be yourself."

Same-same but different

It's one of my favorite phrases.

I used to work at a Thai restaurant. I learned that little phrase: same-same but different working there. I was better at bussing tables than I was playing a stand-in server at times. 

I didn't speak Thai. 

And sometimes mixed up people's food orders because I misheard them. 

I got yelled at sometimes. By "sometimes" I mean a lot.

But at the end of each night, all was forgiven

The women would pat my belly and tell me to eat more.

Making sure my plate was hefty.

I'd leave with tips in pocket and a full belly.

I feel like this today. 

The past few months, anyway. 

That's what happens when you start something new or stop doing what you've always done

For one: I've started exploring the body in a different way, with different teachers. 

Two: I've stopped pretending so damn much and stopped playing in to the pretty, posed, and perfect stuff (especially, the representation of such online, Instagram, specifically).

What I am doing is being me

In the most congruent way I know how, across all channels. 

In person and online.

My older online stuff was nearly an everyday draft of some random yoga pose with words of experience, hopefully some wisdom.

An attempt to be inspirational.

I got bored and tired of feeling this need to participate in such presentation.

I was on my way to deactivate my accounts. 

And then decided to stop playing up the presentation, instead. Thanks to making friends with people like Ryan (and the rest of the crew).

Which is tough, because a part of my business is closely tied to being online. Hence, the need to upkeep the inspirational speak.

Changing that -- I thought -- would change my livelihood. 

Which is terrifying.

So far, it has not. I can still put dinner on the table and pay rent.

And I am really grateful for that. 

In the mean time, there's been some hostility around me since I've stopped playing up the pretty (I'm not alone in this. In fact, my friend, Erin, wrote about this today).

Because the expectation is no longer there.

People talk about growth and evolution. They talk about being vulnerable (that word needs to fade from my vocabulary because it's become too trendy now, diluted). 

I stopped talking and decided that more doing is what is meaningful to me.

And more funny stuff. More controversial stuff. More feelings. More whatever comes up and out stuff. 

And not so much appearing neutral. Or always positive. Or always "yogi-like."

And the moment I did that, I've been turned into one of "them."

In the last week, I've been called a bully and unkind on a #randomtalkingvideo I recorded about the importance of integrity

I shared my frustration about how lame it is when people use your photos/words as their own on the internet. 

This is something that happens every damn day. 

It's weird to see your image used to promote someone else's business

Sometimes, I've granted permission for use.
Sometimes, I've been paid proper for use.
Sometimes, it's just downright taken.

It's one of the big reasons I stopped mostly sharing photos of my son and me doing yoga (long ago). 

And I've had my words used too. Full copy/paste as another's own or put on an advertisement. 

I don't have the energy to police. 

But I will say that such occurrences are absolutely lame.

The thing is -- I've been really fucking honest lately. 

And people don't like it. And they want to advise me more lately.

My friends are watching the "unfollows" in amazement. 

I wanted to start over, entirely. 

This feels like starting over. 

I feel like I am doing something that is more meaningful to me. Dropping the game of superficial that hones in on commercial. 

Like these emails too. I've written about a lot of life things. Mostly, very personal. Things that are descriptive, not evaluative.

There's death, despair, and depression as well as remembering to be 6, writing about how to write, and what/who inspires me.

And I care about people wanting to be here, with me, not fighting me or turning a frown. I can take a fight and frown, but it's just a waste of time.

Like my friend, Rachel, says, "the smart ones get it."


//


My re-start leads with this: 

I'm under no obligation to censor myself. 

Same-same but different. Tips in pocket and leaving on a full belly.

Love, 
Steph

Is this what nakedness feels like?

I don't know. 

These everyday emails have not been easy for me but they've thickened me up.

This is the second to last email of these daily emails.

"I have absolutely love waking up and reading your emails!  What I dislike is the end of the month is so damn close!!! Although it was only for one month, I will honestly miss the routine of seeing your words. Thank you, thank you for being so raw, personal and honest!  
Love from Canada!!" 
-- Lori

I'm not going anywhere, you'll certainly still receive these emails, just not everyday (unless I decide to do this again).

The first thing I'll do on my day off from email writing, is start to answer the hundreds of emails.

There's been several occasions where I've received over 100 emails in one day in response to a story of your own or a writing piece from a prompt that you wanted to share.

I want to take my time to thoroughly read and respond to those I've not gotten back to yet.

//

Earlier this month, I wrote about being naked and encouraging others to be naked. I wonder if that's the email I wrote when I was high on cold medicine. 

I'm too tired to go back and look.

Because it doesn't sound quite right to me. 

I've been seeing a trend in nakedness lately.

Not just taking off one's clothes.

More of a proclamation. 

"Hey, I'm going to get naked over here."

When someone says, "I'm going to get naked over here" vs "there" -- I'm not quite sure I believe them. 

If you're going to get naked over "here" and not "there" -- it's not really nakedness at all. It's like partial nudity. 

And --
it's not necessary to announce your nakedness.

Like, walking in to the room naked and saying, "hey look! I'm naked!" 

And everyone going, "uh yeah, we know, we can see that you're naked."

Just be naked


Love, 
Steph

Don't do this, do that

don't write to get better at writing. just write.

You're too caught up in the appearance and fluidity of writing things down. 

Worrying about what people think or how you'll be perceived. 

Gasp! You might offend someone. 

Here's the thing, who isn't offended about something or someone all the damn time?

Being offended by someone or something is your own damn responsibility

Responsibility takes guts. A lot of people don't have guts.

You know what takes no guts? Remaining neutral, playing both sides.

Timidity doesn't get shit done. It gets in the way.

Being caught up in the above is a sure spiral you into feeling stuck. 

Read me clear, I write to coach myself.

Every damn day.

When I say you, I mean me.

And when I say me, it means you.

"It's not enough to be nice in life. You've got to have nerve." -- Georgia O'Keefe

Read that quote above 3 more times.

People ask me all the time about how to write. 

I didn't go to school for writing. I hold zero degrees.

Some of you will stop reading this because I lack "credentials" that you seek. 

Yet here I am coaching people how to write

I am great at it too. 

And it's not because I have some paper on the wall that tells me how great I am. 

I write to write

And I don't hold myself to standardize rules on acing an expository essay. 

I had some local quasi-journalist tell me: "it's amazing how much attention your writing has gotten over the years without being an actual writer."

I think people like her are surprised with a hint of jealousy. 

Jealousy can be one of the most destructive complexes

A boring and tiresome complex.

Back to writing: just do it, like the Nike swoosh. 

Write like you talk. 

Keep writing. 

Make lists, if you must. It doesn't have to make sense. 

Stop trying to be good. 

As if goodness is holy. Often it's just trying too hard

Be bad

Better yet -- forget the whole good and bad complexes. 

Stop giving yourself excuses.

Excuses are like armpits. Everyone's got two and they both stink. 

Oh, and stop using really big words. You will lose the majority of people if they need to scoot on over to google in order to read/understand your shit. 

(I feel the same way about yoga or body movement classes. Too many big words. My brain won't even allow me to drop into my body because I'm trying to dissect the meaning behind all those big headed words. 

Maybe that's just me? ...Cool.)

Again, write like you talk. Or how you'd talk to a mixed audience of A/S/L (age, sex, location).



Love, 
Steph