Monday, August 4, 2014

Create miracles. It's easier than you think.

Dear Miracle Maker ~

Is there anything kicking your butt right now? Finances? Relationship? Family issues?

Do you know that when things REALLY seem difficult, it is the most important time to believe in miracles and believe that things are about to get really, really good?

Take a look at the picture above. It is a miracle. It represents something that I didn't even know was a possibility.

That I would be invited to teach at a drum center for women in my home state?

That the two workshops would be full (to almost overflowing)?

That I would be invited to stay in a beautiful home where I was honored and celebrated for my music and teaching gifts by a gracious, generous and incredibly loving hostess and new friend?

It may seem like a shock to you that I didn't think this was possible, but I didn't and I have to wonder what other possibilities I may be ignoring or refusing to consider in my life and career?

Hey, I didn't even know that a Women's Drum Center of Minnesota even existed. Wow. Just, wow.

When I think back, though, I realize that the past several months have been pure magic and a few important factors stick out in my mind that I want to share with you as you create miracles in your own life:

  1. Self-care has been numero uno. Rest and rejuvenation have never been more of a priority for me. My desire to feel joy, free, fluid, connected, and aliveRULES every decision I make and direction I go. 
  2. Gratitude has been abundantly flowing out of my mouth, in my writing, in my thoughts. I have focused more on gratitude this year than ever before, and I'm not afraid to share it. 
  3. I am listening to my inner wisdom and intuition more by saying "no" when I need to and saying "yes" to opportunities that scare me (in a good way)
  4. I am opening my heart to giving it, receiving it, celebrating it, generating it...more than ever. 
  5. Last but not least, I am making friends with the darkness and shadows. I am noticing the uncomfortableness, frustrations, and stagnation. I am being with whatever is coming up. Breathing it. Trusting that it is a part of the important journey that I am on. 

I could probably list more things here, and I could tell you about how lost I sometimes felt last year as I was trying to figure out how to move forward with this work and my career, continue to do what I love AND make a living at it. Many times I considered giving it up.

But...I didn't give up. And when I was at my very lowest, a little voice inside of me told me that it was going to be alright. "Keep going" the voice said..."you are on the right track!"

And because I've made a commitment to focus on self-care, gratitude, deep listening, cultivating an open heart, and trusting in the the process, I continue to create miracles and be totally "wowed" by life. I want that for YOU!

My life is a miracle.

So is yours.

Believe that anything is possible.

ANYTHING can turn itself around and upside down in ways you have never even considered.

Stop the limited thinking and open yourself up to ALL possibilities.

Consider things working FOR you and not against you - no matter how it appears right now.

Consider the possibility that the ugly stuff and the heartaches and frustrations are part of your road to more GOOD than you could ever dream.

If I can do it, anyone can!

And I have a long way to go, dear friend. So let's help each other and share in the ups and downs.

I'm here for you. I believe in you. I adore and love you.

What miracles are happening in your life?

What possibilities are you not considering for yourself?

Open up and enjoy the ride and let me know how it goes. I want to celebrate with you!



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Capacity to Love.

Are you willing to fully open yourself up to love and express love?

Are there limits to your capacity to love or do you feel like your heart is capable of holding, absorbing, expressing and sharing endless amounts of love and joy?

Are you willing to let it all in, no matter how much fear or resistance shows up?

Can you let yourself feel matter how "out of control" it seems, no matter how much you've been hurt before?

This year has been powerful in terms of my own personal capacity for love.

I am still processing all that has occurred since early spring.

I am blown away as I recall the dreams and desires I put forth this past December and January and how quickly and magically I've manifested these desires in this year of the wood horse.

That, in itself, is so wonderful. Manifestation is real. Visioning is powerful.

But what I did not anticipate was the amount of love I would be able to experience and hold in my body and spirit as I moved forward.

I called for an abundance of support and love from the dance and drum community. It brings me to my knees when I truly feel into the love I have experienced over the past several months.

Last week while I was attending my beloved Camp Fareta in the Sierra Mountains I experienced a lot of uncomfortable and intense feelings...especially at night as I lay in my tent before falling to sleep.

I felt confused, overwhelmed, raw, and alone.

How could this be possible? My dreams were and are coming true.

I had had the most successful and heart opening Summer Solstice season to date.

I felt profound connections with my dancers and the musicians.

I experienced another level of connection and love for drumming during our teacher Moussa Traore's stay in Santa Barbara and at Camp Fareta.

Mali djembe has entered my heart and I long for a deeper study and future travels to Mama Africa with this extraordinary teacher. 

I have made connections with women in other communities and am sharing music and dance with a greater audience. 

I am co-creating and collaborating with more folks who truly inspire me. 

I feel more supported. 
I feel more on track. 
I feel more organized. 
I feel my heart spread wide open. 
I feel a stronger connection to others. 

And sometimes it scares the shit out of me.  And sometimes it hurts. 

Thus...the confusion, overwhelm, rawness, and loneliness. 

At one point in my little tent, I had an "a ha". 

I realize that I am being cracked open. 
My cells are reorganizing themselves. 

The layers of resistance and "protection" that I have built up for all these years continues to crumble down and melt into mother earth. 

I am simply feeling more. 

The tears flow more easily... in unexpected places and at times when I would usually suppress them. 

I'm letting them flow. 
I am hugging more. 
I am speaking my truth. 
I am looking deeper into people's eyes. 

I am loving for the sake of loving...not to get anything out of the other person or expect them to feel the same way about me. 

I am being with all of the feelings and I am allowing myself to be loved and to love. 

No matter how scary or how unfamiliar or how exposed and vulnerable I feel. 

I am letting it in. 

My capacity to love and be loved is limitless and eternal. 

And the more I express my gratitude (in prayer, meditation, writing, teaching, sharing with friends) the greater my capacity for love and joy becomes. 

Holy wow. 

Thank you God/dess. 

Even when it's hard, and even when we're wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we're afraid to let ourselves feel it. It's these moments in life that demand we show up - that we let go of who we think we're supposed to be and embrace who we really are. ~ Brené Brown

Friday, June 27, 2014

Time to exhale.

Dearest Beauty ~

It is time for this girl to decompress...





The only way we can live sustainably is to create space and time for silence, rejuvenation, processing and integration.

Especially after a BIG push.

I have fully entered this phase.

While I am still teaching and putting things out there, more than ever I am prioritizing R&R.

Listening to my body's needs and paying attention to the signals.

I began this phase earlier in the week. I drove 1.5 hrs to Sycamore Hot Springs near Avila Beach and soaked in the tub for an hour. Afterwards, I drove a few miles towards the beach and found a cozy spot under my umbrella with an espresso, big jug of water, and my journal.

It was heaven.

The sound of the ocean, dolphins frolicking in the water, warm sun on my skin and the sand beneath me was the exact medicine needed to begin my decompression process.

I meditated, shed tears, laughed out loud at some college-aged girls flying a kite and having a tough but fun time of it, wrote a love letter to my solstice family, braved the cold water (up to my belly), watched pelicans dive for fish, and breathed deeply.

Later I took myself out to dinner and then joyfully devoured an ice cream sandwhich fromBatch in San Luis Obispo (coconut ice cream in between two gluten free chocolate chip cookies).

Did I feel guilty? Hell no. Was it delicious and worth every bite? Hell yes.

This past Saturday was a BIG birthing event and I feel raw, tender, emotional, proud, releived, sad, grateful, honored, and satisfied...all rolled into one.

Mama bear to 40 dancers and nearly 30 musicians, surrounded by almost 100,000 people, I am giving myself plenty of down time to feel all of the emotions and feelings and process all of the events from the past few months.

Even though I have expressed the importance of R&R over and over again...I'm reminding you that we're in SUMMER MODE. Go to the beach. Take a solo date to your favorite art gallery. Go for a sunset hike with your best buds. Sit in silence under an oak tree. Sleep in once in a while.

Treat yourself. This is the time and the season!

Thank you for being a brilliant star in my life. Whether you were rocking your dance and drum on State St last week or not...I know you love what music and dance and community does to your spirit. I know that you are a part of the LBL community because you are a game-changer, creator, and artist who wants to bring more beauty into this world.

Revel in it!

I love and support you FULLY~


Friday, June 13, 2014

Take a load off.

"There is time for everything; a time to MAKE the BEST and a time to TAKE a REST..."~ Israelmore Ayivor

Dear Mover & Shaker Extraordinaire ~

As much as I am all for pushing yourself beyond your limits, going for the gold, becoming all that you can be...I must stress the importance of giving yourself a frickin' break every once in a while.

I'm giving you FULL permission to make time for a break every day. Can you do it?

I've been taking at least 5 min daily breaks to rest, daydream, unload, refresh, etc. and it has been wonderful. If I can do it, you can do it! As busy as I am right now with Summer Solstice a week away, down time is non-negotiable.

The busier and more "in demand" we are, the more we need to commit to taking a little break every day.

Here are some of my current favorite ways to unwind...

1. Nature is Medicine

Drive/walk/bike to your favorite nature spot (beach, park, etc).

Leave your phone at home (or at least in the car).

Get a blanket or beach towel and lay it down in a pleasant spot.

Stretch out on the blanket and gaze at the blue sky and clouds above.

Allow your thoughts to come in and pass through your mind without holding on to or obsessing about any of them.

Observe the leaves on the trees, birds flying overhead, or the reflection of the sun on the water.

Be with the sounds and sights of nature...give yourself a break.

10 min - 1 hour is ideal.

2. Animal Healer

I am the very happy co-parent to two dogs and a cat.

Often during my daily "break" I will lie down on the bed or couch and get as cozy and cuddly as possible with my pets.

Giving them my full attention (again, phone is not accesible), I pet and love them up completely.

I am immediately reminded of the ways in which they teach me about loyalty and unconditional love.

My nervous system immediately relaxes and I soften into the present moment with my pup or cat child.

5 - 20 min is ideal for me (any longer than that I will most likely fall asleep).

3. Sweet Slumber

Not that sleep is a bad thing. Cat naps are awesome.

20-30 min is the max I like to do, otherwise I wake up feeling groggy and fatigued.

Set the alarm, close the shades, close your eyes and revitalize with a lil' nap!

If you can schedule an afternoon nap in once in a while, your body will thank you!

You don't even need to sleep. Just shutting your eyes, calming your mind and stretching out your legs will feel like heaven!

4. Bathing Beauty

I'm taking fewer baths right now since we are in a drought, but when my muscles and mind need some serious relaxing, this is the best way for me to let go.

Hot water, essential oils (lavender, rose, eucalyptus), epson salts, Karsh Kale Pandora station and a few sprigs of rosemary from my garden and I am in bathing bliss.

No more than 20 min for me (otherwise I turn into a prune or get overheated).

5. Get lost in a Story

Turn your phone on silent and/or put it in a drawer in another room so it doesn't bother you.

Turn your computer on "sleep" or completely off.

Stereo, tv, all other distractions off.

Pick up a favorite novel or short story and read.

Give yourself a break. 30-60 min is ideal.

Unplugging is Necessary

I stress the importance of silencing or turning off your phone, computer, stereo, tv, etc. because I personally need to unplug from these distractions and I know you probably do, too.

I love my smart phone, but boundaries are necessary in every "relationship"!

And we can't truly unwind the mind, body and soul if our focus is even a little bit connected to an electronic device.

We just can't.

More on R&R

I've written a few blog posts on the importance of rest if you want more inspiration and guidance towards a more restful and rejuvenative existence.

The Art of R&R

The Sunday "Funday" Challenge

Nourish Thyself

Calmness of Mind

Enjoy your down time and watch as you are able to get more done and feel more energized becuase of it!



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Recipe Love: Gluten Free Vegan Pizza


My favorite food since forever.

Frozen pizza, pizzaria pizza, Domino's, homemade, fresh from the streets of Rome.

I love it all.

Cheese and bread, however, are not part of my vitality lifestyle.

I could feel like I'm deprived or too strict...

Or, I could create some healthy and fun alternatives that just simply make me feel BETTER after eating them.

Here is one of those alternatives to good ol' PIZZA...

LBL's Vitality Pizza (GF) (V)

For the crust (adapted recipe for Farinata Batter from Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Kitchen Cookbook):

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea flower

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a blender, combine all until smooth. Add more flour, if necessary. Batter should be slightly thinner than pancake batter. Feel free to throw in some fresh herbs and then pulse in blender again.

In a well-seasoned cast-iron pan, pour in batter about 1-inch thick and bake for 25-30 min until golden and crispy. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Turn down oven to 375 degrees for making pizza

Arugula Walnut Pesto (thanks to Jeff Evans for the inspiration):

  • 2 cups packed arugula (or basil)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pulse the arugula and walnuts in a food processor a few times, then add the salt and garlic and combine until mixed. Add the olive oil in a constant stream (while food processor is on, if possible) and gently scrape down sides as needed.

You will probably have much pesto left over. Save to use in salads, on rice, potatoes and your favorite pasta.

Additional ingredients for the pizza toppings: 

  • 1 tomato sliced
  • chopped kalamata olives
  • nutritional yeast for sprinkling on top (a great parmesan cheese substitute when blended with a little salt and walnuts, too) 
  • any of your favorite pizza toppings

Pizza Directions:

Place pizza crust on a cookie sheet or heated pizza stone and spread on desired amount of pesto and then add your toppings. Don't forget the nutritional yeast (so good)!

Bake for 10-15 min (or more), depending on your oven. I often bake mine in a toaster oven.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heart Medicine. A gift for you.

Dear Heart-Centered Soul...

I am writing to you once again from my beautiful office in our backyard, and today my heart is raw and my emotions seem to be overflowing and overwhelming me.

You see, I have been experiencing extremeley high highs and also low lows. I know many of you feel you've been riding a rollercoaster lately.

There has been a lot of death and loved ones crossing over (animals/pets, too), and of course the devastating killings that happened in our own backyard this past weekend.

Trying to make sense of tragedies like these is difficult, but the most important thing you can do is to be with your emotions and to tend to your heart.

By caring for your own heart and healing, looking at your own anger, rage, sadness, well as joy, compassion, love, top priority right now.

As YOU heal YOU, the world begins to heal, too.

Our heart chakras are very powerful, but can become unbalanced during times like these.

An overactive heart chakra is one in which you are experiencing intense emotions.

This is not bad at just calls for some tender loving care towards your heart.

Balance and bring in healing energy for your heart in the following ways:

  • Wear green.
  • Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine a beautiful soft green light illuminating your heart.
  • Dab your heart, wrists, behind your ears with essential oils of lavendar, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, sandalwood, rosemary, neroli, and others.
  • Wear rose quartz, jade, malachite, emerald, and others.
  • Lie down in the cool green grass and focus on the beautiful green leaves of the trees above. Breathe in and out softly and allow the cool green color to soothe and nourish you.

I created a short body movement, chant and breath work exercise for you and for anyone who is needing some extra TLC for their hearts.

Heart Medicine Video - Free Gift

I love you and I wish you peace, stillness, love and I surround you with healing light and nourishing energy...from my heart, to your heart.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Live it. Breathe it. Give it.

"I slept and I dreamt that life is all joy. 
I woke and saw that life is all service. 
I served and I saw that service is joy." 
~ Khalil Gibran

Dear Amazing Being of Love ~

On Sunday I performed with Josette's fabulous Zumba tribe for the SBDI Annual Show. We were dressed in all white, dancing to Marc Anthony, with cheers and claps from the crowd. A total blast!

I was moved by something Josette said as she exited the stage after receiving a beautiful bouquet of roses and lilies and baby's breath.

"The more I give the more I receive! I just keep on giving and then I receive more and more!"

I loved the power in that declaration.

A very sweet, vulnerable, humble, raw moment...filled with TRUTH.

And it reminded me of the ways in which I give and want to give. It inspired me to ask myself, "where am I needed? what more can I give?"

And then I recalled a conversation with a friend who is frustrated with a certain aspect of her life.

My advice to her was:

"Be the very thing you want. Live it. Breathe it. Express it. Give it."

We often are reaching and struggling and searching for the things we if they are out there and we somehow have to find them.






But I'm here to tell you that it is oh so very true...when we GIVE of ourselves from the deep well of love within...we truly receive all that we desire...and so much more.

Be the wealth.

Be the love.

Be the romance.

Be the purpose.

Be the happiness you desire.

Give the wealth.

Give the love.

Give the romance (cue the Barry White music here).

Give the purpose.

Give the happiness.

The rewards and gifts you receive will surprise and delight you.

I'm teling you...this IS the super special secret sauce right here!

I have been writing these lil' e-mails to you all for years. I've received so many amazing notes of gratitude. My entire being lights up when I hear back from you - that somehow you were moved or inspired by something I shared.

I was put on this earth to share. Sometimes I start sharing (a video, piece of writing, etc) before I've even finished it myself because I just can't wait to pass it on...with the hope that it gives you at least a tiny fraction of what it gives me.

What are you holding back? What little special morsel of goodness are you hiding down in there? The world needs it!

What do you want? How are you living it and breathing it and sharing it?

I want you to be so happy and feel so fulfilled with full trust and surrender.

I want you to feel connected to your desires and realize all of your deepest dreams.

I want you to live the life you have imagined!

Let's do it together.