The Lovelight Project

Shining the Light on Happy, Healthy Living

What I Did On My Yoga Vacation

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Since I was just living a 25-minute plane ride away, I recently decided to travel to the Sivananda Yoga Retreat in Nassau. My friend Charlie (who had been volunteering there for a three-month stint) was leaving soon, so I took the opportunity to visit her and check the place out. I had never been to an ashram, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I figured I’d take some yoga classes, hang out on the beach and chill.

I had no idea!

If, like me, you didn’t really know, ashrams are basically like monasteries for yogis. The Sivananda retreat in the Bahamas is a highly spiritual, serious place that attracts


Shout-out to Swami Vivekananda, considered the guy who brought Yoga to the West.

those who are ready for a major transformational shift (whether they know it or not!). There are swamis, or monks, walking around in orange robes, while senior staff wore yellow shirts and white pants. There were also a bunch of Yoga teachers-in-training, carrying stacks of books and scurrying from class to class, who wore slightly different yellow shirts and white pants. Then there were the Karma Yogis – like my pal Charlie – and folks like me, who wore anything they wanted. There were about 300 people at the six-acre facility. No one was wearing the crazy, colorful yoga pants that you see on skinny girls showing off their handstands on Instagram.

The accommodations were simple. I booked a “tent hut,” which was one of 12 tents per floor set up in a wooden structure. There was a cot, fan, lamp, dresser, a bottle of water and some bug spray in my tent. It was not luxurious, but it was really all I needed. It was a minute’s walk to the beach and just about every place in the ashram. There were rooms as well as tent spots, too. Charlie was living in a tent. After nearly three months, she was ready for a good night in a real bed, she confided.

The daily schedule was long and structured, providing extensive opportunity to


So when a mosquito bites you, it’s because you did a violent act in a previous life or just last week. It’s karma, baby. So, do you slap it?

challenge yourself in a supportive, loving environment. I attended the “Yoga Vacation Program,” and the time there is designed to be very different from everyday life. It sure was. With the ringing of a loud bell in the middle of the ashram, wake up was 5:30 a.m. every day. I brushed my teeth and grabbed a scarf to cover my shoulders before heading to the temple, where everyone gathered by 6 a.m. for a 25-minute silent meditation, followed by the chanting of morning prayers. There were pictures of the founding swami fathers of the ashram on the wall of the temple, along with portraits of Sri Krishna and Hanuman, two Hindu gods. The chanting was in Sanskrit, and I followed along as best I could with a hymnal. Then there was a talk or a presentation. Yoga class was at 8 a.m. Then brunch at 9:45 a.m. Workshops took place at noon and 2 p.m. (One day I went snorkeling instead – I saw a king conch eating a sea biscuit! Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it, bisc-ey.) At 4 p.m. they had another Yoga class, followed by dinner at 5:45 p.m. Then there was another satsang (the meditation, chanting and lecture) at 8 p.m. I was fast asleep in my little tent by 10:30 p.m. every night.

Attached to coffee as a means of waking? You’re out of luck. There was no coffee (and no sympathy) for anyone who “needed” it there. They served lots of hot herbal tea – cinnamon tea, lemon ginger tea – that was really quite satisfying. The delicious and huge portions of food served at brunch and dinner were all vegetarian, of course. I was never hungry. Even though I enjoy a cup of French press coffee every day at home, I never had a problem waking up in the morning. There was, surprisingly, plenty of treats. Every day I was there, they had a birthday celebration complete with cake. Once I happened upon a woman handing out still-warm, homemade lemon-glazed doughnuts. Karma is pretty good sometimes too!

The week I visited, they had a Bhakti Yoga retreat. Talk about a treat! Bhakti Yoga is the Yoga of devotion and love. Basically, the Bhakti message is encouraging unconditional love and service to all living things, as everything is an embodiment of


Hanuman is the monkey, man! His love of God allows him to amazing feats like jumping across an 800-mile-wide ocean … in a split!

the highest Self, or God. Other kinds of Yoga include Jnana Yoga, where yogis connect with God through learning; Karma Yoga, where yogis connect with God through selfless service; and Raja Yoga, where yogis connect with God through meditation. The type of Yoga you probably think of – the kind with stretchy pants (Hey Nikki! Love your pants!) where you work yourself into a pretzel – falls under Raja Yoga. The whole idea of doing all those poses is simply to relax the body so you can meditate in a comfortable, steady posture. So success in yoga class actually has nothing to do with touching your toes, but how you react and feel when you’re reaching down but not yet touching your toes.

The backbone to Bhakti Yoga is kirtan, or devotional chants and music. I LOVE live music, so I was pretty excited when the musicians (Guara Vani and As Kindred Spirits, along with their guru, Ramandath Swami) came on stage and starting jamming. They were awesome! Big smiles were everywhere as we were encouraged to sing along (thankfully they broke down all the Sanskrit lyrics). I got that same amazing high that I get in the front row of concerts at music festivals. In the afternoon sessions, we danced and flowed to the music. I felt so happy and filled with love.

I even made up a joke: You know how you’re supposed to sing “Happy Birthday” when you wash your hands? Well, Yogis are so clean because instead of singing “Happy Birthday,” they sing “Hare Krishna.” Wow, that song doesn’t end!


Namaste means: The light in me sees and honors the light in you. I love you!

Toward the end of my visit, my friend Charlie presented me with a special gift: a spiritual journal. She knows I love to journal and also make lists. This journal broke down all the activities one can do to live a more spiritually fulfilling life. Although I did not realize it when I booked the trip, this was exactly what I needed to do. I had grown jaded. I had developed a harden heart because of all the challenges I had faced over the last year. I knew that my shiny self was veiled, but I didn’t know how to shake it free. The trip did just that. I left resolved to bring in more compassion for others and myself, to show and feel more love, find gratitude and be of better service for all the beautiful beings around me everyday. In other words – and I hope you do this too – let my love light shine brightly!




What Am I Hungry For?

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Just about everyone I know has some sort of issue with food. I have compassion for those who struggle with believing that food is love or that the only way to find control in their lives is to limit their calories. Those who find comfort in unhealthy foods or are constantly on a diet – I get it. I know and love so many of you.

I went on my first diet when I was in fourth grade. I remember looking down at my belly, ashamed of all the candy I’d eaten. So I watched what I ate for a week, lost seven


At what point does baby fat become just plain fat?

pounds and that was the end of it. Fast forward to my first major breakup, when I was in my 20s. I was always athletic and vegetarian, so I had never really thought about my weight. But when I was heartbroken, I wasn’t interested in eating. I numbed myself to escape emotions that I wasn’t ready to address head-on. I lost a bunch of weight. Everyone told me I looked great. Enter the world of diets.

You know how everyone says when you hit 40, oh geez, it’s so much harder to take the weight off? That makes sense, even though I’m still in my 30s. As I age, I am much better at confronting my emotions, so less numbing is needed. I presume in a couple years I will also care less about what other people think of me. But I’m not there yet.

Last year, as faithful blog readers may recall, I embarked on a major fitness kick while my boyfriend was out of town for three months. I got up at 6:30 a.m. every day, ate a healthy breakfast and then hit the gym for high-intensity, personal training classes, followed by either a walk, run or sprint over the nearby bridge. I ate few


Wow! I look great! I was actually crying a lot and not eating, convinced I did not deserve love. 

carbohydrates and more protein, staying away as best I could from junk food. I ate mostly vegan and cut way back on the booze. I tracked my calories using My Fitness Pal and really tried. In the end, I could bust out 50 push-ups, which was something I never was able to do before, but I didn’t lose more than three pounds.

“Well, you know, one pound of muscle weighs more than one pound of fat,” everyone is saying right now. The amount of half-baked, useless and contradictory advice you can find on the internet and from well-meaning friends is amazing. It didn’t matter what they said, anyway; I wasn’t feeling good about myself.

Why? I am a Yoga teacher, an energy worker and pretty darn positive individual. But here’s the rub: I compare myself to others. Part of this is situational. There aren’t many curvy Yoga teachers out there, so I really noticed that little roll of fat presenting itself during a forward fold. I’ve also never dated a guy who was good at making me feel special in a truly holistic sense. If you are a man reading this, go tell your lady she is beautiful and smart and funny, and stop hound-dogging others. Because when my guy obsessed over other women, well, I did too. I would notice what those women had that I didn’t: a flat stomach and a gap between their thighs. So even though I am a German-Italian mix of curves that are attractive to some men, in my convoluted logic, I thought that if I could loose my little belly once and for all, then I could finally feel confident in myself.

When I told people about my interest in losing a few pounds, here’s a sampling of the comments:



When lame guys see a pretty girl

* “You’re going to go into starvation mode!”

* “You’ll slow down your metabolism!”

* “You don’t need to lose weight!”

These are comments based in love, and they are usually followed by self-deprecation as a means for buoying my ego. But they are not necessary. Regardless of my mentally unhealthy comparisons, when my jeans get tight it’s time to take action. It’s OK. Americans have an obesity epidemic in part because we use food not as fuel but comfort. This time around, it wasn’t candy that I was overindulging: It was beer and nachos. I did need to lose the belly. Not because I want the attention of some guy with his own problems, but because it is healthier to be leaner.

So about two months ago, I embarked on the 5:2 Diet. It’s from the U.K., and the upshot is ladies eat normally for five days of the week and fast (500 calories) on two days. It’s been amazing. I don’t own a scale, but the jeans are fitting again. It’s also taught me a few things about my own relationship with food.

First of all, by fasting, I’ve learned to find comfort in things besides junk food or alcohol. Sometimes, when I’m at the computer too long, I think, “I deserve a treat.” Actually, I deserve a break. So I give myself one. People like to say things like, “I HAVE to have sugar in my coffee.” But this is just an example of an excuse to make food into love,


Good coffee needs no cream or sugar, just as occasional treat needs no side of guilt.

into comfort. By really listening to myself, I am learning to love myself.

I’ve also learned to let go of the guilt that is associated with food. I really can eat anything I want on non-fast days – but I’m less likely to go crazy now because I trust myself around food. I am not so attracted to junk or beer anymore. But the other day, when my guy wanted to buy me a coconut ice cream cone, I said yes. It was delicious. It wasn’t comfort. It wasn’t love. It was just a treat. I do not need a food treat every day, because the sunset is a treat. A cool breeze is a treat. A purring kitty is a treat.

I’m learning the difference between feeling good and looking good. They’re not mutually exclusive, in this mass media market especially, but they are different. It feels good to drink more water and go to bed earlier. My interest in sugary treats has waned. While it feels good to fit in my jeans again, prioritizing my health and myself feels even better. Whether that roll of fat is there or not, Yoga still feels amazing.

I know people in my life who are losing weight in clearly unhealthy ways, and they obviously do not feel good. With all the Frankenfoods and high-fructose corn syrupy, aspartame-ridden swill on the market today, it’s easy to be removed from knowing what feeling good physically is like. With all the visions of “perfect bodies” in the media, it’s easy to compare yourself and feel bad mentally.

I still struggle with comparing myself to others, but now that I’ve lost some weight (and know that it’s not magic), I see that focusing on a stomach is as arbitrary as focusing on how long a girl’s ponytail is. As if a man falls in love with a woman based on the length of her hair. That’s not how love works.

I left out one piece of advice I hear when I talk about dieting: You have to love yourself just the way you are. That’s good advice, and it doesn’t have anything to do with numbers on a scale. That’s why every day I find a way to remind myself that I am enough. And I’m here to tell you, so are you. Sometimes we just get hungry for that reminder.

Quiet Time

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OK, let’s play a game. Who can be quiet the longest? Ready, go!

Who hasn’t tried that trick with an overly vocal child? It seems some youngins never shut up, and I’m the first to say that I was probably one of the worst offenders. I would have conversations with my stuffed animals if no one was around, which typically was the situation anyway since my parents worked, my brother too old to care and the friends in my neighborhood were just a bunch of boys anyway. (No offense, boys.)


A toy that can talk = creepy!

By the time I hit kindergarten and elementary school, it was a different story. I became friends with everyone and loved the social interaction, the giggling and the non-stop talking. My friends and I would make up skits, make prank phone calls and talk about anything and everything. In fourth grade, a group of girls who were my best friends decided one day to ostracize me; that taught me that it was a smart move to be nice to everyone, because you never knew when a friend would stop being one. So I talked to everyone and made many different groups of friends. As a teenager, I had crews in local public and private high schools, from work and from my new neighborhood, which thankfully offered some super-cool chicks to run around with. Naturally outgoing, it was easy for me to say, “Hi, my name is Suzanne. What is yours? I like your shirt.”

After college, I started a career that would pay me to talk to people. As a newspaper and magazine journalist, my job was to ask people questions on a daily basis. I had to learn from them, distill their knowledge and write it in a way that everyone else would understand. I realized that the most important communication skills was listening,


Part of the “girlie clique” – to be honest, I got lost in a vortex of friend photos in an effort to show you that I actually have friends and I’m not bullshitting. I really love my friends.

and during my years at the newspaper, I did a whole lot more listening than talking. After a while, I started to think that many people didn’t really care what I had to say anyway.


In fact, that really is the case. (Oh, you’re reading this! Hey, thanks!) But honestly, don’t most people you know think they know everything and would rather blather on about what they think they know than learn something? Try debating someone with a different political slant than you. I have very few friends with whom I can engage in this sort of discussion and remain friends at the end. That’s because most people I have met know what they know and put a lot of weight in their knowledge. It’s WHO THEY ARE. Today, what you know is shorthand for who you are.

What is knowledge (<– soundtrack alert!), anyway? I mean, how do we know what we know? Is it like obscenity, you know, where “I know it when I see it”? Experiencing things isn’t really a way to gain understanding, because I sure know a lot of people who make the same mistake over and over (raises hand).

According to the yogic teachings, there are four means to understanding:

* Sravana: That’s hearing it straight from the guru. This is interesting in modern-day culture, because sometimes it’s difficult to decide whether your source is biased. How many gurus are out there? I’m gonna put it out there that there are none on Fox News.

* Manana: That’s deep thinking. Like, think about it! Duh!

* Nidhidhyasana: This is constant meditation. It’s not easy to really stop and clear your mind, but that’s an excellent way to figure out your truth.

* Atma-darsana: Hearing it from God. What a fantastical concept, right? Those people are cray-cray, yeah? And yet … aren’t there times when your instinct is so very, very correct? Where do you think that comes from?

Here’s the thing about those four ways of understanding: They all involve being quiet and listening, either to yourself, to a wise one or to the highest spirit. With time, we see how those sources are all the same.

Being quiet isn’t easy in today’s world. We’re a little scared of it! If we are quiet, than no


Shhh … it’s around the corner. (say that fast! Haha!)

one will know how amazing we are! We can’t prove our intelligence all the time by spouting off our beliefs, what we’ve heard and what we’ve read! Look, I know ALL ABOUT what you are going to say … I heard it on a podcast the other day!


The 24/7 news culture and social media adds to this. The fear of missing out (FOMO) results in everyone talking all at once: spewing their opinions, what they ate for lunch, how they are feeling, what they are doing. But of course, opinions, emotions, intake and action are not knowledge. There is emotional knowledge, but we get tricked by that more than we want to admit.

Now that I live on a sailboat, I spend a lot of time by myself. Sometimes I listen to music and sometimes I partake in media. But other times I am quiet. Just this morning, I paddleboarded over to the beach to meditate. When I opened my eyes, I saw a little sea slug living in a little gray shell walking toward me. Right at the water line, this little guy was moving slowly and quietly. I wondered where he was going. I mean, really – what was this slug’s end game? There were no places to hide anywhere nearby; was it food? He was certainly on the move. I just watched him. When he reached my shadow, he froze and retreated into his shell. I picked him up and put him on the other side of me and my board and headed back toward the boat.

Sometimes life is really just that simple, just a slow walk along the water’s edge. Survival. We wouldn’t know it with all the noise around us and within us. Being quiet helps us differentiate between the chatter in our heads, the chatter all around us and the knowing. Part of the joy of sailing is turning off the motor and only hearing the waves lap against the hull of the boat. Can you turn off your motor and still find movement?

Doing It Wrong

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The first time I really registered the phrase, “You’re doing it wrong” was relatively recently. My friend Cord posted a picture on social media of a hilarious logo for a surf-themed clothing brand, with the surfer on top of the barreling wave. He wrote, “You don’t


It’s possible this surfer is having fun, but he’s about to eat it. Thus, he’s doing it wrong.

want to be there, brah!” but I read it as, simply, “You’re doing it wrong.”

Why? Because there is a really right and wrong way to ride a wave. You need to get in the groove of the wave, ride the energy in an artistic and athletic manner so that you can have fun while being propelled by the sea. It was OK to say that the little dude on the logo didn’t quite grasp surfing. Physically what he was trying to do wasn’t realistic. It sure was funny.

But oh boy, it was most definitely not funny when I used that phrase recently in a sailing group for women on social media. The conversation thread originated from a woman who was planning on moving on her boat without a generator or an inverter, and wanted to know about charging her devices and equipment. Another woman listed lots of good information, especially about how some appliances surge with energy when they are turned on, which can be problematic when energy is a premium. She mentioned a breadmaker as one of the appliances.

Faithful readers of this blog will know that I’ve recently been working on making my own bread. I am super-proud to say that the last batch has been the biggest hit yet; I am starting to understand elements of the process that have been keeping me back. Each loaf I make is an improvement on the last. We eat egg sandwiches, grilled cheese and toast with peanut butter and banana slices. For pennies, the bread I bake is a staple as we live on a sailboat.


Photo credit: The lovely Leah Voss. Notice how even the cat can’t fit in the galley with me. P.S. We gave away that box fan.


Understand the concept of living on a sailboat. The galley, or kitchen, is big enough to turn around in, but not that much bigger. Certainly there is not room for two people. There is a slider on the other side of the boat, which can be reached with a lean, where we store all the kitchen appliances. This includes a pressure cooker, a mini crockpot, stackable mixing bowls, a 12V blender, an inversion blender and a French press. I could not fit a breadmaker through that storage slider if I wanted. I used to own a bread maker. I know.

So when I saw the woman on social media mention a breadmaker, especially during a conversation about using electricity, I chimed in: “Lots of good information, but if you have a bread maker on a boat, I dare say you are doing it wrong.”

Outrage! Sure, some of these ladies who are members of this social networking group have huge boats, double and triple the size of the 32-foot Downeaster that I am living on with my boyfriend and cat. But if the object is to be self-reliant and self-sufficient with energy use, I’m sorry, but a breadmaker is a bad move. It takes up space, uses too much electricity and is really unnecessary. I know because I am making delicious bread without a machine! I’m not that awesome a baker; anyone can do it!

The administrators of the web page all chimed in, wagging their fingers and messaging Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 12.11.18 PMme, asking if maybe I wanted to take a break from the site. Yikes, everyone was so sensitive. How DARE I!? They seemed to believe that there was no wrong way to do something, that every way is a right way; it all depends on your perspective.

Hogwash! There’s a way to be doin’ it right  (<– Soundtrack alert!) and doing it wrong. With everything, I think. I’m all for supporting fellow sisters in a righteous feminist manner, don’t get me wrong. But every religion, every society and every small circle of enthusiasts there is outline such a dichotomy for everything imaginable. Laws of the land, in general, are pretty clear. Best practices are shared throughout communities, as we help our neighbor become efficient and effective in similar tasks.


Didn’t get it right? That’s OK! It’s an opportunity to learn, think and grow!

When did it start that people were so thin-skinned and sensitive that we couldn’t declare certain things just plain wrong? When we were in elementary school, if we didn’t get something right on the test, it was wrong. Red check mark. No. Go back and study. No one took this personally because we didn’t have big egos to comfort all the time. We were a bunch of snot-nosed kids and learning was our job.

I know adult life shouldn’t be so institutionalized, but learning should still be our jobs. I’m not sure it’s a bad idea to help people stay on the path to success, if indeed you are further down the road. I know that I’ve benefited from elders or those who are just naturally wiser than me, regardless of years. It’s important to stay humble and open to the words of those around us.

We create our own lives, that’s just the foundation of it all. I created the situation where a bunch of sensitive older ladies were upset with me for calling out their waste of energy and space in the name of straight-up laziness.

(Actually, the interesting part about that whole “Facebook fight” is that no one admitted to actually using a breadmaker. They were just outraged that I would dare to suggest that someone was “doing it wrong.” They didn’t care about context.)

There’s a reason I created this situation for myself, and I think part of it is my understanding that words can divide. The last thing we should ever want to do is divide, and yet that has happened. I had a similar incident with a family member a while back: Words divided. One person thought the other person was doing it wrong, and vice versa.

Egos play a big role in this concept, and I recently read an interesting article about the difference between discernment and judgment is emotions. If there is no emotional component, then you have succeeded in detaching from the outcome and instead you are utilizing the viveka, or discernment that is innate in all of us.


Newsflash: There is right and there is wrong.

That’s why I don’t feel bad about the strange interaction and personal offense taken on social media. I didn’t have any emotion associated with it, and I was able to step back and laugh. I guess those women still have lessons they are learning. I certainly have a lot of lessons that I am learning as well.

In the meantime, all I can be as right as I know how. Staying on the noble path is the best way. Sometimes I stray off the path and am wrong. That’s OK. I’ve been wrong before. Why ever would I be scared to be wrong?

The Constant Consumerism Craze

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How often do you buy something? At least once a day, right. But I bet a lot more.

I know I used to: Coffee, gas, something from the drug store, lunch. I’m not judging. People need to get new clothes and all kinds of things, all the time. New toys for the quiver, new fine wines or gourmet foods – there are all kinds of things to spend money on. Even though I wasn’t big on having the newest electronic device, I still had to admit when my iPhone 4 started acting really slow. I bought the 5S and would have bought the


What do you think of this guy’s shaved in part? Is that like tattooing on eye makeup? Anyway, the iPhone 6 Plus is really XL.

newest one if it weren’t so huge. It’s as big as a tablet! I’d need to buy a brand new, brand name handbag that matches at least some of my shoes to fit the darn thing in, it’s so big. Besides, the newest iPhone is nearly $1K. That’s a lot of coin for something that can break on a sidewalk.

We buy things all the time. Life has become expensive and there is so much to buy. Isn’t that why we’re working all the time? I had to afford everything that went into keeping up my life throughout the day, but the reality was that it was making me crazy. I have dubbed this the Constant Consumerism Craze. Do you suffer from this as well?

CCC didn’t happen back in the pioneering days, because it really wasn’t an option. People would have one change of clothes. Ma would clean ‘em with a washing board when they’re finally too dusty and dirty to stand. Or at least I think I learn while playing Oregon Trail or something in school. I hear televisions were only black and white at one time, and OMG! NO SMARTPHONE! How am I supposed to meet up with my friends so we can have


Now imagine if that vat was what was used to make orange margaritas at Crawdaddy’s!

one of those delicious orange margaritas at Crawdaddy’s? Maybe that $1K is worth being so connected to people, if that’s really the way.

(PSA: Only have one of those orange margaritas. When you drink one, you think, “Wow, now that was a delicious drink that sure went down quickly. Yes, I think I will have another. Thank you!” When you have two of those orange margaritas, you think, “Yikes, what happened last night? Last thing I remember was ordering a second one of those delicious margaritas.” I hear Blasters at Pete’s Pub in the Abacos is the same way.)

 Before I went sailing, I made a little extra cash with a friend who cleaned houses. She hired me to help with this really rad mansion owned by this lovely, uber-intelligent and wealthy couple. Their daughter was bringing friends home from college the upcoming weekend. The home’s architecture was extremely modern with an almost Baushaus-esque style, filled with original modern artwork. The black walls and stone floors were as dirty as my house was. I am not a big fan of cleaning, but this job was fascinating.

What really struck me about the place was the MASSIVE amount of possessions these


Would Storage Unit be a good rapper name?

people had. Piles of belongings covered every counter and bookshelf, and there were a lot of counters and bookshelves in this 9,000-square-foot mansion. A 4×5’ pile of unwashed clothes filled a huge laundry room, and the dining room table was covered with what looked like gifts and unopened mail. They didn’t throw anything out, it seemed, but they also continued to consume. Food was going bad in the refrigerator, and storerooms were overflowing with items like baskets, art supplies and clothes that needed a button sewn or something. So much stuff. In three days, we tried to organize while cleaning, and we barely made a dent. It was the Constant Consumerism Craze to the extreme.

I’ve heard from a few of my friends that they have rooms in their homes that are overflowing with possessions. Many people I know have storage units. I’ve been in garages that are so stuffed with storing things that the homeowners were unable to park in them. CCC is an epidemic.

Constant consumption has been something I’ve been studying with a current, weird job I’m doing to make some extra cash. (What is your relationship with money? I’ll come back to that.) I’ve been writing these b.s. eBay buying guides. They are actually hilarious, assigned randomly so I am asked to craft helpful guides on all kinds of things one could buy on eBay: Bike rims, professional cameras, Nintendo video games, Shiatsu chair massagers, DVD writers, lunch containers, toaster ovens, wood carving tools, small drones, laptops for children, home humidifiers, crimpers, 3D modeling software, tablets, Star War memorabilia, Steelseries headsets, casual backpacks, shine-free foundation makeup … you get the idea.

Of the 900 products I’ve written about so far, I’d estimate I purchased 4 in my lifetime. I did buy some shine-free makeup at one time, but I never really wore it. So, if you receive


I’m pretty sure I was wearing shine-free makeup when I got this picture taken. A friend gave me the earrings, and I bought the dress from Ross or someplace else not exciting.

nothing else from this blog post, know that you cannot trust what you read on the Internet! Including this blog post!

For that eBay job, it’s all SRO, or search engine optimization. They are studying what people are searching for, and then I create guides to steer non-thinking consumers toward a product from a search. Which ends in a sale, I guess, if you’re easily led enough to read the ignorant things I write just to make a buck.

What doesn’t end in a sale? Gotta make the sale. Seal the deal. Exchange dolla dolla billz y’all!

Now, back to relationship with money. Most people think they can never have enough. That’s the crazy part of the craze! You think if you don’t work all the time, then you are going to fall behind on the upkeep of life and all the toys and fashions and high-priced wine and whatever other consumables fill your life. Isn’t that what life is all about, enjoying the finest things and living comfortably?

Isn’t that why I am writing those eBay buying guides and doing all the other freelance writing, editing and public relations work I’m doing now? I guess so. I purchased what I needed to live on a sailboat, but I sold and gave away a lot too. Not as much as that family whose mansion I helped clean really should, but a lot. Now I’m in a saving mode. I’m not entirely sure for what. I guess I’ve always been a little like that with money.

We are living in anchorages for free and eating mostly the stores that we had purchased in big box stores strategically before we left. I’m really only buying produce and alcohol,


Guess how much this is: free!

and in limited quantities. Otherwise, I’ve pretty much stopped buying anything. I actually got annoyed when my boyfriend came back to the boat with three plastic food containers with flimsy snap-on lids. Even if they were free, the boat is too small for too much stuff.

What if you just stopped buying things as well? How long before you would really suffer? How long would it take before all your food in your cabinets gets eaten and all the clothes in your closet turn to rags from wearing them? Before everything that is purchased becomes completely unusable as the task it was purchased for. Toys and tools will break, while your shoes would get holes in them or come undone. Everything. That’s what happens when you die, eventually. My boyfriend found a used and dirty bilge pump in a pile of debris at the edge of his grandfather’s old property in the Bahamas. We needed one of those; he cleaned it and is using it now in the dinghy.

My point is, it would take a long time before suffering would really take place, especially if you plan and remain a self-sufficient being. I think a better focus of energy is back on one’s self directly, instead of bypassed through Constant Consumerism. There is no need to identify with belongings. We are not what we wear or eat. We are so much more complex and amazing than that. Money and possessions should not become a path toward happiness, because it never fully satisfies.








All You Knead

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Now that we’re cruising on the sailboat full-time, I’ve been baking bread from scratch. It’s teaching me about what I really knead. (I crack myself up!)


Oh yeasty yummy!

I love bread, freshly piping hot loaves that melt butter smothered over its sides cut with a special serrated knife. It’s a bummer when I feel the need to diet, because I have to cut back or, more precisely, feel bad when I do partake. I’m definitely not gluten intolerant, and I feel bad for those who are. Because bread is so yummy.

I did not grow up on fresh bread. My mom bought pre-sliced wheat bread from the grocery store, because that’s what my dad liked to make the sandwiches he packed for lunches every day. My dad remains a soup-and-sandwich lunch man. But canned soups and sammies with that preserved bread from who knows what kitchen.

On special occasions, however, we might go to a restaurant – and that’s where I first learned the magic of hot, delicious bread. Not that I was ever really gluttonous and ruined my main meal, although I sure know a lot of people who do. Isn’t bread supposed to be addictive? I think I remember flour and sugar being food “triggers” for some people, so they’ll eat a little and then, oh boy, it’s all over.

No, I have a healthy relationship with bread, thank you. But we are totally going out and IF I LIKE IT SO MUCH THEN WHY DON’T I MARRY IT!? Yo that loafer ain’t puttin’ a ring on this finger, what with seed-laced crackers out there.

Regardless, I’m baking bread now, and it’s really a great learning experience. I used to own a bread making machine – I think it was a hand-me-down from my mom? It was either


Please Virginia! What is your bread recipe?

free or cheap, that I know. I baked with that all the time, but it’s a totally difference thing from baking yeasted bread. My friend Virginia perfected baking homemade bread, but she keeps the secret close to her heart. Despite my best attempts!

And frankly I never baked bread before because who has that kind of time? Doesn’t that sound like the fantasy activity that Martha Stewart and 1950’s stay-at-home moms do? My mom worked; she didn’t have time to bake bread! It’s the modern American way to just go to the store, damn it, and buy a loaf. It’s also the French way. Mais oui!

It’s not exactly the third-world way. We are cruising in the Bahamas, which is an archipelago of islands, some more inhabited than others. This country is actually known for its super-awesome breads (and conch!), so when we first got here we bought some. They’re $5 a loaf, and the bread has been light and fluffy. An absolute treat, but a little out of the price range when homemade bread is nearly as good and pennies on the dollar.

But it hasn’t been easy to replicate the amazing quality of Bahamian bread, especially for someone who really just started working to master this skill. Malcolm Gladwell says one must put 10,000 hours of practice into a skill before mastering it; I’m maybe 50 hours so far in lifetime, so I’m in the rapid learning phase.

Using a recipe from the Island Forklore Cookbook, I cut the shortening in by “worrying” it with my fingers until it “looks like rice.” At first that really didn’t make any sense, because you don’t really use THAT much. … But with time I am actually trying to channel a worrying breadmaker. Except that I’m not a big worried. Worst case scenario if the bread fails is I spend $5 on better bread. No worries, mon.

I once used the phrase “get stressed out” to my nephew, and he asked me what stress was. May you never know, nephew! At what point did we take on stress and worry? How far in the 10,000 hours toward mastering am I? Hopefully not too far.


My arms after kneading for 20 minutes … NOT!

Kneading the bread is another skill in baking bread. At first I thought the purpose of kneading was to work the air out, but it’s totally not. It’s to work the dough and stretch it to the point of providing its potential. The more the dough is worked, you can see it slightly ripping apart and then put back together until it becomes smooth. That stretch and imagined space is what allows the bread to rise and become light and fluffy.

Imagine this process as your life: It rips apart and then it comes back together, and then with time, you start to develop extra space in your life to bring new potential in. If you don’t get worked a little bit in life, you aren’t going to grow very much. And isn’t that when you are most proud of yourself, when you stretch to a new level that you weren’t sure you could reach?

I had a dream the other night (I dream vividly on the boat, it is so great) that I was on a set of gymnast’s rings. Not the kind even rings where you balance and flip, but more like a rope of rings. I took a little gymnastics when I was a kid, and I was never good at either climbing the rope or balancing on the rings. But in my dream, I killed it! I was climbing up using the rings, and then the last one was really far out of reach. Could I do it? I knew I could reach it, and I did! And everyone was stoked! Yewww!

Now back to bread: I’m learning about myself as well as learning how to make a great loaf. It is a good thing to be kneaded! It’s the first step to growth, provided you have a good catalyst (the yeast) in your life that encourages and facilitates growth. What in your life is that catalyst? Are you providing the challenge (the kneading) you need to expand your horizons?

Time is the final factor. The dough needs to rise and rest before it is baked. I always had trouble giving myself the time that was necessary for the transformation into a fully


Interestingly, I knew a lovely old lady who always gave me loaves of “butterfly bread.” Confidence? I. Think. Not.

developed next phase. The ole metamorphosis! Did you know butterflies have imaginal cells? These unique cells allow big change. It’s almost like kneading magically changes the yeast into imaginal cells in bread to turn from dough to delicious.

Of course I believe humans have imaginal cells as well. We have the ability to grow, change, transform and realize our dreams, but we must put in the effort (I work up a sweat sometimes when kneading!) and we must put in the time for rest and reflection. That’s really all you knead to be your highest, best self!

Surfing the Deep

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Let your tummy bubble with nervous energy!

I did: I got my first bluewater sailing experience recently, when we sailed on the outside – into the Atlantic Ocean, about three miles east of the coast – from the Palm Beach Inlet south to the Port of Miami.

See, I am of the strange and small cast of characters that make up the


We call these types of lonely, odd sailors “Wild Boys,” and I threaten Brad whenever he acts up with this as his fate.

“Liveaboard Sailor” designation, which I like very much because, in part, I really like freaks. But just because I live aboard a vessel doesn’t mean that I am an experienced sailor by any stretch. All this year, I practiced sailing with my boyfriend and my friend Michael, as well as studied concepts in many training manuals. I knew that if I was going to be an admiral on S/V Tortuga as we traverse the globe that I would need to be a competent mate and helmswoman; so I applied myself and took it as seriously as having fun would allow. I sailed the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie River, but I had yet to take the wheel in the ocean. Our lovely sailboat had suffered a variety of engine issues over the year, work that was pricey and complex (and dangerous!) to fix. Only recently (and finally) have we got her running smoothly so we can finally begin our adventures wherever the winds take us.

So, yeah, winds: They were favorable approximately a week ago, so onward we went. We basically had our act together, having done yet another major round of repairs and preparations. But those damn winds had been blowing fairly strongly … “honking” is the gerund we’ve been wearing into the ground … for weeks. It took a healthy amount of patience to wait until it was right to head south as we had been planning since basically January. Here we are in December.

Operation Tighten Up 2015 a success!

Yes! We are currently anchored for basically nothing in a small,



protected cove in Bill Bagg’s State Park in Cape Florida, as the winds just shifted so the 15 or so other sailboats in this anchorage drifted around their anchor rode and faced toward Biscayne Bay. We spent the day snorkeling in the healthy grass flats off the beach that featured a lighthouse, and I’ve seen a spotted trunkfish (see left), spotted sting ray, hermit crab hanging out in a queen conch shell, a juvenile yellowtail snapper and, back at the cove, three manatee, a great white heron, a kingfisher and a lovely sunset.

With my love, it was rewarding to look at each other and realize that an entire year of divesting, fixing, provisioning and planning had finally paid off, with our view of Stiltsville and our countdown to the Bahamas. So sweet.

But that didn’t mean that the trip south had been a total cakewalk. Even with the seas around 2 to 3 feet, the approaching front had churned up the current in a strange way, forcing the helmsman to ride the boat as she surfed down crooked waves, letting the rudder compensate in an effort to stay on a southerly passage. It took focus and muscle: We were alive!

If only my tummy hadn’t been talking to me! Despite our solid meals and sleep, I had a little seasickness in the 600 feet of ocean. I was physically ailing (although I never got sick and still managed to grill up a sandwich for my captain), but my cat, Penelope, was mentally anguished. She hated sailing at sea! The hanging nets that held our hats and random crushable groceries


Princess P-Nut waking from nap # 6 of the day … her grumpiness is a foreshadowing to how she feels about sailing.

fell down. The oil lamp clanked loudly as the hurricane-shaped glass swayed from side to side in rhythm with the brass casing. The boat was at a heel. Yeewww … and meooooow!

Thankfully, my boyfriend took the lion’s share of the time driving, because the entire trip took about 16 hours. We left in the early afternoon, so we watched the sun set and the crescent moon rise … and then the sun rise again! One time, while I was on the wheel, I looked down to see him lying down on the starboard settee with my big orange kitty nestled nervously on his chest.

Being in control of a 32’ sailboat (our home) is fun! We averaged around 5 knots, which is a pretty good clip for a boat loaded down with foodstuffs, water and fuel for a while. At one point, I saw a falling star. Another time, I watched a big marlin jump acrobatically out of the ocean at my portside. A little tuna jumped out and said hello to us, too. There’s so much life around us that is so easy to overlook or ignore.



As we turned into the Port of Miami (in between huge cruise ships!) and toward Biscayne Bay, we had figuratively and literally turned a corner. We were cruisers! We have entered a lifestyle that is new, novel and fun. And after a few nights in the public marina, where I was able to do some work and Brad could run needed errands, we crossed the bay and ended up here.

We came out the other side; that’s part of what it means to surf the deep. Big lifestyle change, I think, is a little like “walking through the valley of death.” (Oh good, I get to link to this <– Soundtrack alert!) It’s dark and scary; it makes you wonder if you should turn around. But something inside of you says, “Go forward! Progress! Keep on the path and you will make it!” Listen to that voice.

So, we have. Maybe this is as far as we’ll go. Maybe we’ll go around the world and back again. We’re keeping the expectations low and the stoke high … until the next big surf in life!

Project Overload

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Did you know that the tidal current is often inversely related to the range of the tides? Mung bean sprouts are rinsed four times a day. Brad y yo somos los estudiantes de Espanol, y nosotros hablamos en el barco.

Can you tell I just started relearning what pathetically little Spanish I once knew? And that’s on top of also starting to write a novel, work on some travel articles and, oh yeah, update The Lovelight Project blog. Talk about project overload!

What is on your to-do list? I constantly have a working to-do list, and it

to-do list

I have a lot of these.

really gets out of hand when there is more than one list going. Which, of course, there always is.

This is the modern-day, especially American problem of always having to be busy. I believe this is part of the origins of the addiction to the device, which I will now coin “Digidction.” It’s also some of the reason why some Yoga students have trouble with the final resting pose of a class, known as savasana, or corpse pose.

Corpse pose rocks, as far as I’m concerned. A former student once wore a t-shirt that read, “I’m just here for the savasana.” For the non-yogis reading this blog, the pose is unlike the muscular and sweat-inducing


Ah. One time the Yoga teacher played really awful emo music during savasana. It was challenging.

warrior or sun salutation series and does not offer the same stretch of a forward seated fold or a split (Jai Hanuman!). Savasana requires the practitioner to be completely still in body and mind, to have complete relaxation of all muscles. It isn’t the time to go over the to-do list in your head again.

This can be very difficult for some students. When I was teaching Yoga in gyms, it wasn’t completely abnormal for a student to actually walk before savasana began. The pose should last for at least five minutes. Some people thought that wasn’t “real” Yoga, and that’s really a shame because likely those students were the ones who could benefit from savasana the most.

It’s so normal (and probably healthy) to have many things going on, but it’s all a balance. Those who know me know that I am a productive individual, and I allow that by tracking my goals and then rewarding myself by crossing that accomplishment off the list. This, as you may have picked up from the opening paragraph of this blog post, can get a little overboard.

Why do we do so much? Is it that we are aware of the limited time we have on Earth? Or is it a big joke that we think our time is limited, so we produce to such extent based on the fact that we are FEARFUL that we won’t accomplish what we must do? There are so many things we MUST do, though.

We must: brush our teeth, drink water, take our vitamins, eat enough but not too much, cleanse ourselves but not so much that we are like those


Mom, remember when you gave me medicine by sprinkling the medicine on a peanut butter cracker? That didn’t end well. Now I take my vitamins every day!

crazy people who preen endlessly and get plastic surgery and identify so fully with their physical being. (That’s really hard to break, by the way. I still struggle with the connection with my physical body as the main identifier for my person. That’s a whole other blog post.) But that’s just the beginning of the daily to-do list. Those are things that we do without actually writing them down. We are trained to do those things. Then there are the goals for progress in life.

Like, as I mentioned, studying Spanish with my boyfriend, learning more sailing skills and writing a variety of projects is part of my daily life these days. Practicing Yoga, exercising, making food and working on the boat are also on that daily list.

It’s rare when our to-do list includes relaxation, and really that’s something we should do every day as well. I have a daily meditation practice, which I remember often with a daily reminder set on my iPhone. It’s ironic that “do nothing” is on the “to-do” list, but there it is. That’s because, for me, it’s tough to turn down the constant, unconscious whipping of doing as a means of success rather than being.

I have written about this before back in August in “Rushing Slowly,” but I think it’s an epidemic that I’m not alone in battling. It is a national health problem. Think about the time you’ve spent today just being. Checking Facebook and all the various other social media doesn’t count. There are the down time, alpha wave-inducing activities that don’t actually accomplish much, but it’s still doing. Honestly, when I check Facebook, I am doing my part in the social network contract that says I keep up with the big events in my friends’ lives and acknowledge them whenever possible. So I have a lot of friends so I feel like I have to check in. Digidction!

So, it’s really a blessing that I now have limited Wifi capabilities, and I make some money by writing remotely. So I have to save my limited data usage for strictly things that are making money. (This is why those super-fun links I often sprinkle in here will be limited when not at port.) There’s no staring at a screen.

This offers time to stare at things like: the line of 50 ibis that flew in the formation of an arrow over the Indian River Lagoon, the two big circles in the water where manatees took a breath nearby, a Spanish 101 book and my shipmates. By limiting my ability to accomplish things, in effect, I am taking items off the to-do list.


Ah yeah. That’s how I feel when I check something off the to-do list.

There is a cost to this, of course, an economic one. Is that the root of the busyness syndrome in America? Are we worried that we won’t be making enough money to keep up with the lifestyle we are used to? What a sad state. We plague ourselves with things we feel we must do in fear that not doing things will mean epic failure.

What would we be like if we won the lotto tomorrow? We could be like the leisure class back in the Gilded Age, right? Just re-read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to think about whether the rich are always happy. Can’t buy me love, you know.

And yet, oh, the humanity, we sacrifice our present and closet relationships by trying to impress those around our periphery by being constantly busy. Especially with the ole digidction. You’ve seen those tables at restaurants where every person is staring at their phones. It’s really sad.

So I challenge you to work on the savasana! Habitualize relaxation and don’t let the fear of not being good enough, or having enough, or doing


Tee hee.

enough, stop you. Take at least 15 minutes – or 20, or an hour! – to really CHILL. At first, you may need to literally put this on the to-do list, much like my meditation reminder. But after a while, you may notice a shift. Don’t kid yourself into thinking exercise is your chilling out. It’s exercising, and that’s important too. Napping is a good start, but don’t get lethargic about this. That’s actually cheating too. After a while, you’ll be able to tell the difference between being actually tired and just wanting to be still.

Let me know how you do! Just think how good it will feel to check it off the to-do list.

On Craving What Is Best

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Wow, French fries are delicious. Seriously, I ate some fries the other day at lunch with my friend Susanne, and they were so great! Seasoned just right, crispy on the outside and a little soft on the inside. They held up great when dipped into a big dollop of ketchup and complemented my black bean burger over micro-greens perfectly.

French fries, while yummy, sure aren’t considered healthy. So why is it that I am so quick to order them at a restaurant? It’s like that big bowl of Halloween candy on the counter where I buy my coffee some mornings. I do

Mmmm .... everything bad for me ....... Gahhhhhh

Mmmm …. everything bad for me ……. Gahhhhhh

not need a Reese’s peanut butter cup, so why is it so hard to resist one? The beer my boyfriend just offered me is another example.

Why are we so attracted to things that are not good for us? How could something so wrong be so right?

On the face of it, it really makes no sense that we humans would crave things that are bad for us. You would think that I would be like, “Man, I could really use some spinach because I’m feeling low on iron right now.” But that never really happens.

Of course, this attraction to the “bad” doesn’t just stop at food and beverage. Relationships can certainly fall into this category, as well as general habits. Isn’t plopping in front of the television a really attractive concept on some days? Ever get a massage, only to have those shoulders tight again almost immediately? It’s like we WANT what is clearly not good for us.

Why don’t we naturally want to honor our highest self? Why is it so difficult to do the right thing?

This summer, I went to the gym a lot. My boyfriend was away doing his own thing, and I needed some activities

This sucks! And yet ... it is exactly what I needed to do. But 250 times in a 30 minute workout? Come on, trainers!

This sucks! And yet … it is exactly what I needed to do. But 250 times in a 30 minute workout? Come on, trainers!

to fill my time in a positive, healthy way. So I joined a group training session at the gym, started running the bridges and committed to a generally healthy diet. I learned something: I probably would never have otherwise done squats unless someone was yelling at me to do so. And yet, after I did hundreds of them, my body changed for the positive and I felt a lot stronger. You would think that I would naturally love doing squats because they were good for me.

That’s the thing. Squats, like other forms of hard exercise, are designed to break you down, literally. You are breaking down your muscle tissue so that it can regrow bigger and stronger. And it sucks! Humans tend to operate in homeostasis as often as possible. Change is difficult, so even though change is the best thing for us, we avoid it. We are adverse to it, rather than attracted to it.

So this may be part of the answer for why we like things (and people) that are bad for us. We need to numb ourselves. Even though it’s not healthy to work those long hours in a stressful job, we do it – in part because it numbs us from addressing what is truly important in life. (<– Without love in the dream it will never come true!) Junk food does not really nourish us, but the fat and sugar will numb us. All of this, especially alcohol, helps us live in a state of denial.

It’s attachment. We are attached to things that we think will make us feel good. And yet the attachment itself is the root of so much suffering.

It’s almost as if the attraction to the things that are bad happen as a result of the perversion and pollution that we do to ourselves in this life. If we never ate sugar, we would never crave sugar. If we never suffered from feeling unwanted or hurt, we wouldn’t seek attention from those who are emotionally unavailable or abusive.

So, how do we get back to our good nature? How can we start directing our lives so that we bring in the things and people who are good for us?

The answer, of course, is inside each of us. What are we numbing? I mean, really – be honest with yourself. I knew exactly what I wasn’t interested in feeling for the moment when I grabbed that piece of candy from the Halloween bowl. Did that Reese’s cup make me feel any better? It did not. Did those fries make me feel any better? They did not. Would I likely eat both again? You betcha.

When I was a teenager, I considered working as a nanny for a summer ... until the family showed a woman riding a man on all fours across the Jerry Springer stage to their 5-year-old.

When I was a teenager, I considered working as a nanny for a summer … until the family showed a woman riding a man on all fours across the Jerry Springer stage to their 5-year-old.

It takes a long time to accept that the norm isn’t working. My friend Holly and I talked today about the joy of giving up reality television. It was more than a decade ago for me. I just realized one day that the shows that were attracting me were not really that great for me. So I stopped. I now no longer own a TV at all. Some things are easier to let go of than others.

I am working on letting go of negative thinking, of fear, of using anger to mask my true emotions, of limited thought processes, of not honoring my own beautiful self worth, of not being a completely authentic me. These are all things that I sometimes tend to do, strangely. I am working on eating cleanly, not drinking a lot of alcohol, being active and loving everyone, even those who threaten me or misunderstand me.

Rejecting cravings is really the only way we can release ourselves from the trappings of this life of suffering and transcend to happiness. Happiness? Now that is something worth attracting.

Feel It!

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One of my favorite Yoga teachers, Scott, once started a class by asking everyone if they were happy to raise their hands. Lots of us did. Then he asked the sad people to raise their hands, and one or two did. But really, there is a lot to be sad about. Have you read the news lately? We are not short on tragedy in this world, and often in our own little worlds, too.

Scott’s point is, of course, beyond just owning up to the realities of our feelings. It’s actually feeling them. My boyfriend said to me recently, “You feel a lot.” And it’s not because I’m a girl and we aren’t as afraid to express our emotions. It’s because I’m feeling my feelings these days.

Free hugs! Be supportive of each other and get 'em right in the feels!

Free hugs! Be supportive of each other and get ’em right in the feels!

It’s so easy to hide from feeling; it’s actually part of what makes our society what it is today. I remember when I was a newspaper reporter; parts of that job were really rewarding but all the time it was stressful. I used to come straight home and open a bottle of booze. Alcoholism was fairly institutionalized within that industry. My friend’s back bothers him; it’s a lot easier to smoke some marijuana medicinally than be disappointed by another doctor telling him to take pain pills or have a surgery he can’t afford. Love life not perfect? Pop on the television and grab some junk food, and you’ll be numbing it out in no time.

I spent many years being comfortably numb (soundtrack alert!). It’s not even something you think about. But we all want to be happy, right? We Americans are all about the pursuit of happiness, and what does that really look like? What does it feel like? I know when someone does something really nice for me, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling in my cheeks and up the back of my neck. I try to let that feeling linger as long as I can, but it’s never more than a moment. The rest of the time? Well, people aren’t always so nice, are they. Sometimes they are selfish, stupid, wrong-headed and even cruel with bad priorities that negatively impact your life. No wonder you want to hide from your feelings.

Lots of things are set up to stop us from feeling, but most of all it’s the sociological pressures to be all good all the time. Only lately have I had the confidence to stop with the superlatives. How am I doing? OK. I’m OK. Even though when I reply, “I’m really awesome!” that makes people smile. I like to make people smile too. It makes me smile. But lying to ourselves is about as basic of a numbing technique as you can get. What are you lying to yourself about?

It takes courage to feel your feelings, because sometimes they’re not very pleasant. I’ve been owning up to a lot lately, just because I’m giving myself no other option. That means sometimes I cry. Sometimes I don’t express my emotions appropriately because it’s hard to express anger, sadness and doubt when you spend so much of your life acting like it’s not there. It’s OK to feel bad. It’s like the song I learned in second grade: It’s alright to cry, crying takes the sad out of you! (<– IF YOU CLICK ON

My kitty has been a sweet support during some tough times! I love my kitty!

My kitty has been a sweet support during some tough times! I love my kitty!


After a while, I’ve found that by feeling your feelings … by really accepting and processing your emotions through your body … they start to simmer down. If there’s one thing I learned about owning a composting toilet, which can be prone to fly infestation if not maintained, is that DENIAL DOESN’T HELP. It just doesn’t. Clean that shit out. Really.

Really hitting home with the feels, however, does help. You become a more honest person with yourself. You start to understand yourself better. This summer, I’ve really come to appreciate and honor my vulnerability and my need for love and help. It wasn’t too long ago when, nope, I can do it! Like a toddler saying those words while trying to, say, pour milk. Oh geez. Someone help that kid. Because like with kids, when we ask for help, we get it.

That’s been the most wonderful thing about my last few months. Now that I’ve felt more comfortable asking for help, suddenly people want to help me. I have surrogate parents and siblings by the handful, friends who relate to me and give me loving advice. The world is filled with brothers and sisters wanting the best for you.

Even today at Publix, the guy bagging my groceries told me I was making a fashion statement. I asked him what the statement was, exactly (I was hoping it wasn’t “I just rolled out of bed”), and he froze. He said, “Your bag is nice.” As we walked out to the car, he told me that not long ago he saw a young woman about my age who looked pregnant. He asked her when her “blessed event was due” and the woman burst into tears because evidently she had just had a miscarriage. Well, poor guy got called into the manager’s office, where he was instructed to only talk about the weather. Isn’t that sad? Well, on many levels, but it’s sad that we as a culture are scared to feel. Too bad that woman couldn’t have turned to that nice man and cried on his shoulder for a moment. Because he really seemed upset by hurting her, and he looked like he would have comforted her. Sometimes we need to feel so that we can be comforted.

So am I happy? Yes. Am I sad? Yes. Do I need comforting? Yes – and I am here, ready to comfort you, too.