Friday, June 27, 2014


He patiently explains that love is a big word and then calls her, drunk, to blurt out he is falling for her. She wonders if this slurred declaration could be a sign of anything lasting. Can the trajectory of a fall be corrected? Isn’t it by definition something that cannot be remedied?

The next morning he calls again to clarify that “falling for someone” and “falling in love” are two very different things, and that he meant the first and not the second. So you can, she thought. You can protect yourself from gravity.

He did say he loved her a few days later, but that he didn’t need her. This defies every love song she’s ever heard. So she takes in a full breath, then another, when he isn’t anywhere nearby. She confirms it’s indeed possible. She can love well and not need him like she needs air.

She asks if he will always love her, and he shakes his head; then points out there would be no way for him to accurately predict that. That is when she truly grasps the value of living in the present. He loves me now, she thinks. And now is all we have anyway. So I have all I need.

The first time she visits his place she sees he comes with stuff. An antique chest, accouterment suited for a chef, leather jackets, raven paintings and haiku books. It’s the narwhal whale sculpture that makes the question irresistible.
“Who are you? And, how are you single?”
"I was waiting for you.”
She nods. It will take her some time to articulate her predicament: she believes him. In particular the very things she knows aren't true.

She notices how messy he is, the coffee stains on the kitchen counter, how his dirty clothes pile up high and spill out of the hamper. He doesn’t put things away or make the bed. He stacks mail everywhere.

This will work, she tells herself, as long as you don’t move in. You are too different. You can’t tolerate clutter; you give away a book after you read it. He owns bookcases.

This isn’t working, he says late one night. We barely have time to see each other. We really need to move in together.

At the end of each day he comes home to their apartment and demands room, even before he can say hello. She realizes that needing space for himself is not a form of rejection but an imperative that has nothing to do with her. It’s through living with him that she learns not to take things personally, that what people do is more related to what they are already carrying than to anything she could incite. This is how he sets her free.

One day, they are strolling through their neighborhood. She notices the wooden posts on every corner, covered in staples. “Who walks around driving staples into posts?”

He stares at her incredulously. “People post signs” he explains. “Signs are removed. Staples remain.”
“Oh.” She pauses. "I wonder how many other things that are obvious to the rest of the world are not obvious to me.”
“Many” he replies. “But a lot of things that are obvious to you aren't to the rest of the world.”

He leaves his motorcycle helmet on the chair, pairs of black boots near the door and under the sofa. He points at used cups and requests they not be put in the dishwasher, since he is likely to need them later. She, once labeled obsessively neat, realizes that evidence of him is more significant than living in a sterile apartment.

Saturday morning. They are sitting on the sofa. He's contemplating breakfast. She’s contemplating life.
“ Are you hungry?” he says. “What would you like?”
“Sometimes” she says “I feel like nothing is in its place.”
“Have you considered that maybe everything is in its place?”
She looks at him.
“OK.” He strides towards the kitchen. “I'll scramble some eggs.”

He is nocturnal and comes to bed late, then dozes off quickly, snores loudly and throws his leg over her stomach, his arm over her neck. She tells him he’s hard to sleep with. He offers to use the couch downstairs. She decides that getting a good night of rest is not the most critical thing.

She accompanies him to the radiologist. He needs an ultrasound of his leg. While looking at the screen she sees that the insides of his veins and arteries have a topography, similar to Earth seen from above. He carries within him the pattern of planets.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


If you talk to a radiologist she will tell you that the inside of our veins and arteries have a topography, similar to Earth seen from above. We carry within us the patterns of planets.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Good driver

A man gets on the bus, mumbling in a non-existent language. He stumbles over to a woman sitting alone, leans into her ear and yells unintelligibly. No one moves.
The bus stops. The driver gets out of her seat and ambles towards the man.
Her: get out of my bus.
Him: Aw, no!
Her: Now.
Him: I will behave!
She glares.
He walks out.
"Phew" someone says. "The dude sounded satanic".

I adore drivers with balls.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tough night

At 1:30 a.m. I hear gunshots. People scream. Cars screech. "THEY TURNED LEFT! OH MY GOD!" Sirens. Flashing lights. Police cars. An ambulance. Boyfriend sleeps through it all.
I get up after a bad night. 
Him: I don't think I slept well.
Me: Did the sirens disturb you?
Him: Huh?
He leaves for work skeptical; comes home that evening to report there was a shooting the night before, right below our window.
I wish I slept like that.


My father and I walking around. He asks a question and I provide an answer I consider both swift and smooth. He gives me a sideways glance. "For a person with such clarity of thought" he says "you have always been a terrible liar".
Don't even bother trying to hoodwink a Dad. Remind me.


Among many other things, my dad gave me my love for books, reading and writing. This is his library. When I conjure an image of him this is where I see him. I know the memory of the two will be forever intertwined.


Impatience runs in my family. I am having breakfast with my dad and am surprised to find he's rather mellow.
Me: you seem mellow.
Dad: I do feel more patient.
Me: Teach me! What changed?
Dad: I got old.

There is hope that our flaws can be mended. Sort of.

Just show up

I was recently talking to a guy who was in a coma for two weeks and woke up to find his friends had taken care of his family: helped drive the kids, brought food over, held his hand at the hospital. The experience changed him. Not just coming close to death, but realizing the power of being there for those you love. 

Food is a nice touch, but all you really need to do is show up.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mercury in retrograde

I love that in San Francisco, “Mercury is in retrograde” and “our feeling is that you have an understanding of where we are going with this energetically” are legitimate things uttered during serious client meetings.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Take who you already are and stretch

This article was originally published in The Elephant Journal.

For years I rejected yoga. It would help me, enthusiasts insisted. I would sleep better. It would make me less anxious. My response? Please. No. No to chanting and no to being still and no to being cooped up in a room when I could be outside.

Then, my life started behaving unpredictably. I found myself sitting cross-legged in a yoga class, then another, because I craved peace in the struggle my days had become.

Over the past three years I have witnessed this practice seep into every area of my life. Not because I strived to achieve it; but because I discovered I just needed to get out of the way.

To which you might rightfully say: What on Earth are you talking about?

Who you are shows up everywhere.

Often, I come to a pose I can't do. I see others do it. I know, I know. You're supposed to focus on your own practice, but I always look at people around me in awe. And think "I will never stand on my head. It defies gravity."
About a year later, there I was, holding a tripod headstand in the center of the room. I realized that anything that seems impossible - anything - would become easy, because that is what happens when you practice. Practice, and all will come. Once your brain has grasped that, it extrapolates it to other areas (without you telling it to). "I don't think I can ever do that" becomes you surprising yourself with all you can do.

Let go of what doesn't serve you.

What you're thinking is "Of course! But, how?" And the answer is: I don't know. But if you focus on your breath instead of your thoughts, and you want to stop holding on to something that hurts, one day it will loosen its grip on you. Breathing in and out through your nose doesn't just calm you. It changes you.

You want a better explanation. But that would be intellectual, and you are not your thoughts. You are their creator, and sometimes, for a glorious, lucid instant, their observer. Yoga works not with you the thinker, but with you the witness. With your thoughts out of the way, things have space to get sorted out. You don't need to know how. You are not making it happen. It happens on its own.

Stop thinking.

Thoughts are meant to be your servant. If you let them be the master, they will lead you astray. They will betray you. They will make you suffer. If you, like Descartes, are convinced that is why you exist, this practice reminds you that everything you could need - even the cure to loneliness - is already inside you. It's just that it doesn't reside where you think.

How can this be easier?

There you are, locked in a bind. And the teacher asks - "how can it be easier?"

What if I told you to relax when you felt you needed to struggle? You don't have the stamina to muscle your way into every pose. That's when the energy you're expending that you don't need to be expending reveals itself. Why is your jaw clenched? Why are you putting all the weight on the tips of your toes? Look at yourself. Look at your job. Look at your relationships. How can it be easier?

How can you work harder?

And of course, the reward. How can you work harder? Certainly not clenching your jaw. But once your jaw is relaxed you have more energy to put into where it matters. In lifting from the upper back. Or, anywhere.

How can you be comfortable within uncomfortable situations?

Have you ever held plank for more than a couple of minutes? When the teacher says you can "drop to your knees" you want to flop on your stomach. You learn that while it hurts, that's ok. While it's hard, that's ok. Soon you stop desperately trying to escape other uncomfortable situations. Less flailing (which is in itself exhausting). More acceptance.

Whatever you push pushes you back.

I used to believe pushing was the only way to get things to work out the way I wanted them to (OK. I still do. I have to re-learn anything I think I've already understood.) And there I was, trying to touch my toes, frustrated with myself for not "doing it right". "Don't push", said my teacher. "Whatever you push will push you back." (Whoa.)


This concept is counter-intuitive to anyone who believes you have to fight for what you want. Surrendering and trusting - having faith - that whatever is happening is happening in your best interest, and that things will unfold as they should without the need for you to interfere. Surrender is always my last resort and I feel awash with gratitude when, despite my tendency to refuse its solace, I always find it there waiting for me.

Meeting people where they are at.

And on a related note, don't try to change the other person's mind, opinion, or outlook. In fact, don't try to change the other person. Stop trying. It doesn't work. It never will. It never has. (There. That should free up more energy to put into other things.)

Multitasking. As in, don't do it.

I often go into a class dragging work (or whatever it is I'm dragging) in with me. The teacher says, "Whatever you have to do won't get done while you are here. Focus on breathing and moving through the poses". It hits me that I can take time off from whatever weighs on me any time I want. Let me say it in another way, because it's amazing: if you do one thing at a time, you can take a break from everything else.

Getting off the roller coaster.

There isn't room for your ego on the mat (you'll get injured fast by doing something everyone is doing if you aren't ready for it.) In yoga, you are strong one day and you suck the next. You eventually learn to feel equal regard towards the powerful you and the sucky you. (You might not believe me, but I assure you both of you are already perfect.)

And my favorite thing for last.

Being better requires minuscule steps. One of my teachers asks: can you go a bit lower? Can your back be a little straighter? Can you breathe just a bit deeper? Stretch!

It's such an incredible concept. Think about it: Depression makes you want to curl up. Darkness makes you shrink. Fear makes you wither. Stubbornness makes you narrow. Hate makes you lessen. Guilt makes you contract. Regret makes you shrivel. Negative feelings constrict. They diminish you. Stretching opens up your heart. It fills you with strength. It makes you more flexible. And it doesn't take much. You don't need time to learn how to get everything just right. There already is beauty and power inherent in you. Because it is inherent in everything.

You just take who you already are, beautiful, radiant, and stretch.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Definition of stubborn

Stubborn (adj.) a very very hard headed individual insistent on doing what he wants to do rather than complying with what I want him to do.