Monday, May 20, 2019

My Spiritual Awakening: Nature Goddess Adventures

I have been on quite the spiritual journey lately, and I feel like a completely different person.  There isn't one single thing that has "cured" me.  But I feel like in the last four years, I have learned how to get my anxiety and depression under control.  I have healed my horrible body image issues.  I have generally become a softer and more gentle person.  I am so grateful for this journey.  Recently, I have felt compelled to share my story and help others.  I met someone who said he saw me writing a book and doing workshops for women.  A week later, my friend and I were hiking and we heard chanting.  Being out in nature lately has been extremely important to me.  She said we should host some spiritual hikes.  So we started planning.  I knew I wanted my amazing yoga instructor there.  I figured we could do mini-retreats.  A little hiking to get ourselves out into nature.  A little yoga to ground us.  Then a speaker to talk about self-esteem and other topics that will help women empower themselves to be more joyful in their lives.  I have a multitude of friends who could fill this speaking role.  I went to my team of three friends with my full idea and everyone was on board immediately.  I am currently reaching out to local parks to see if a permit will be required and am planning our first event for July.

I started a Facebook page for this endeavor.  I decided to call it Nature Goddess Adventures.  I don't want to discourage men from joining us, but I do plan to focus on issues that often traditionally affect women.  So much has happened in other states with women's reproductive rights being taken from them.  I wanted a safe place for women to be able to be vulnerable and share their innermost fears and celebrate their greatest successes.  I like to call us a meetup for like-minded spiritual friends!

If you want to read about my progression, here are some posts you may enjoy:

The Shadow Self

An Entire Year of Joy

Living My Best Life

Eager Anticipation

Living An Exuberant Life

Curing Psoriasis

I Am So Fortunate

The Path Of Least Resistance

Everything Happens For A Reason

A Unicorn's Journey


The Art Of Being Busy

Mind-Body Connection

I know that's a lot of links, but I kind of wanted to re-live my own awakening.  I feel like body acceptance (helped along by Twirly Girls and Chunky Girls) has morphed into acceptance in all areas of my life.  Letting go and not attaching to an outcome has completely changed my perspective, leading to a more joyful life.  I am really excited to be on this journey, and I am even more excited to invite all of you on it with me.  Please join me on Facebook and Instagram where I hope to share inspirational posts with all of you and have some fun conversations.  If you're local to the San Francisco Bay Area, please join us for an event soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Twirl for a Cause: Chunky Girls Style

Robert has done it again!  He hosted another Twirl for a Cause to benefit his AIDS LifeCycle ride.  I believe he raised $3,500 (and is close to meeting his $15,000 goal).  Marisa and I came with another faux drag performance, this time as Rihanna and Britney. (Thank you to Ben for being our boy toy, and to Cassie Begley for the rope choreography!)

Check out the video:

Hundreds of riders leave on June 2nd.  They will be riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles -- 545 miles.  If you have some spare cash, please consider donating:


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Your Shadow Self

Recently, I saw the movie, Us.  While I watched it, I thought it was probably the worst movie I'd ever seen.  It was "classic" horror.  Look behind you!  Why aren't you running?!  Why are you going back in there??  The twists were pretty obvious and there was little jump factor.  Once I got home and thought about it a little more, however, I realized there was much deeper meaning hidden in that movie (other than how offensively horrible race relations are in the United States).  Without ruining too much of the plot in case you haven't seen it, the movie really makes you think about your shadow self. 

What is the shadow self?  It is the part of us we don't want to admit to having.  We may consider her weak or lazy.  We probably blame her for weight issues or the inability to commit to a relationship.  Most of us push our shadow selves away.  Reject her.  Tell her she's bad and needs to stay locked up.  She sits in a dark room stewing until some day she reappears.  Maybe you need her and you subconsciously call to her.  Maybe you have a moment of "weakness" and she just shows up.  But you'll have to face her sadness or rage someday. 

When you reject your shadow self, you reject yourself.  You tell yourself that you aren't good enough because this small piece of you is "wrong" in some way.  You spend so much of your life trying to keep her down.  So much precious energy that could have been used in a much more positive way. 

I recently did a Seven Day Healing Program through Preside Life.  Each day you listen to audio then journal answers to the questions he asks.  Although he doesn't specifically call it the shadow self, he does talk about the wounded inner child, which is essentially the same thing to me.  He talks about the masks we were made to wear as children in order to fit into our families.  I won't go too much into what he teaches, but the end result is accepting that your parents did the best they could, they did love you unconditionally, and you should learn how to talk to your inner self when you are feeling insecure and unworthy.  For me, it was important to realize how many things I use to stuff my feelings, and how I can rewrite my script to self-soothe in more healthy (or, at least for now, less damaging) ways. 

So many of us have those feelings of unworthiness.  We settle for sub-par relationships.  We don't ask for raises at work, or go for the better jobs.  We have to take sleeping pills to sleep, then we have to down gallons of coffee to wake up.  We eat to damage our bodies.  We exercise to punish ourselves.  We drink alcohol or take drugs to excess to dull the pain.  We make ourselves too busy so we don't have to sit in silence and listen to our own brains scream at us.  We push people away and pretend we don't need anyone else.  We spend hours looking at our phones, and not living in the real world.  It leads to a life of feeling very much alone in our misery.

What if you flipped the script?  What if you accepted your shadow self?  What if you looked at your wounded inner child, the one telling you that you aren't good enough, as trying to protect you, not keep you down?  If you don't go for that better job, you won't feel rejected if you don't get it.  But what if, instead of feeling dejected and freezing in your tracks, you took that feeling and let it propel you forward?  You weren't ready for that job, but now you're motivated to go back to school or get more training, which will allow you to get an even better job down the road.  One of my favorite things to say lately is: "Rejection is always protection, and delay does not always mean denial." 

I recently listened to the audio book, The Obstacle Is The Way.  The book tells you that obstacles aren't what keep you from success, they are, in fact, what will ultimately make you successful.  I have begun creating a program that combines hiking, yoga, and a little bit of a spiritual lesson.  I have also been writing a book about manifesting.  I realize now that I wouldn't be able to do these things had I not had the life lessons that led me to the hard work I've been doing in the last four years. 

So, that overly loud, chubby, mediocre, semi-attractive, commitment-phobe I've loved to bag on for so many years, is the same girl that is going to help me write the program that I hope will help many other people in the world.  She was my shadow self for years, but she recently walked into the light, and she and I are going to rule this roost together, hand-in-hand. 

Monday, April 22, 2019


I can't believe it has been over five months since my last post!  A little over five months ago, I had surgery to fix my breast implants. I'd love to tell you how that surgery was completely successful and I'm sitting here with amazing boobs and completely happy with all the money I've spent in the last couple of years.  The Universe had other plans for me.  A lesson in being happy with what I have perhaps.  My implants are uneven and I'm facing the scar revision (more surgery) that my surgeon didn't have time for during my last surgery.  I hear you yelling, you should sue!  Yeah.  Well, since I didn't die and the saline was just absorbed by my body, so I didn't get sick, no decent attorney wants my case.

Anyway, if you're wondering what I've been up to in the last five months, here we go.

I am (happily) back up to yoga five days a week.  You're probably thinking, man you must be extremely flexible.  That is not the case.  In fact, I am noticing that, at only 42, I have lost so much mobility -- it is actually scaring me.  I can no longer get even close to flat in "frog" position.  Even though my hips have always been a bit tight, and I've never been able to do the splits, I could still do a decently respectable frog.  I can't squat down without pain in my knees (don't even ask me to stand up from that position without touching my hands to the ground).  Sometimes when I am walking upstairs, especially if I'm carrying heavy bags, one of my knees just doesn't seem to want to work.  It doesn't hurt.  It just doesn't want to do what its being told.  My hammies are tight (which I understand is a sign that the muscle is short -- and weak).  My calves are floppy (they really never recovered from weight loss after gastric bypass 15 years ago).  I was trying to do what one trainer calls "prison squats."  It is really just standing up from being on your knees (with your hands behind your head).  Yeah.  I couldn't do it.  I can't deep squat without pain.  My lower back and left hip are often tight and sore.  My core is almost non-existent and I still just feel so bottom heavy because I can't lift my legs to my chest (or invert) without help.  Basically, my body isn't happy.

When did this happen?

I was trying to figure out when things went bad.  I was still good when I started pole dancing in 2009.  I never poled enough to gain the strength I needed to do all the "cool moves" but I was still fairly flexible in my own little inflexible way.  I did start having major hip pain in 2010 (later connected to my relationship, which I didn't end until almost six years later).  I started teaching my pole class regularly in 2011/2012.  I began a job in San Francisco in late 2012.  I was commuting (often standing for long periods) on public transportation, which I truly hated.  It was a job I disliked, and I gained a lot of weight.  This lead to foot surgery (plantar fascial release) in 2013.  I think this is when my body got mad.  In 2014, I lost almost 40 pounds and got back to being active, but my body didn't bounce back.  I also feel like that's when I lost my pole mojo.  I lost the ability to free dance/flow, and I stopped enjoying class as much as I used to.  I took a new job in 2015 and stopped teaching regularly.  I feel like that was probably the final nail in the mojo coffin.  I have been caught between needing to workout for the health of my brain and body, and being tired of injuring myself.

Suddenly, I have learned the value of doing movement that makes my body feel good.  Forcing myself to do things I don't enjoy was causing me more injuries and pain.  However, I recently felt like I needed to step it up a little in order to gain strength and reverse the lost mobility.  In addition to my yoga classes, I am doing Betty Rocker HIIT workouts (15 minutes in the morning to get the day started right).  I am also starting to walk more after work (now that the weather is nice), and am hiking on the weekends (to prepare for a trip to Hawaii in June).  I feel like it's making a huge difference in how my body feels.

Although I was pretty certain I wouldn't return to pole after this surgery, I recently offered to teach a class and took a class with Grace in order to try to find some of that lost mojo.  Due to surgery, and NCPP last year, it has probably been eight or nine months since I've been on the pole regularly.  Last Monday, I showed up to dance and was pleasantly surprised.  I really enjoyed myself, and I was able to do more moves than I expected.  I still feel like I won't be poling regularly anymore (it is just way too lopsided, even if you do train both sides), but I do think I'll take some workshops and one-off classes on occasion.  I paid a lot of money for these boobs and I don't want to do anything to damage them (or make them uneven).

So, there you go.  Sorry for disappearing for five months.  I will have some updates on a recent performance and perhaps my upcoming class.  For now, enjoy the dance we were learning last week in Grace's class. 

Check out the video on my Facebook page:

Until next time...