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1. Bury the idea of perfection. It doesn’t exist.

2.  Be kind, especially to yourself ( see rule number 1).

3. Don’t get caught up in what others think of you ( see rule number 1).

4. Eat that second (or third) slice of pizza, and enjoy it. ( see rule number 1).

5. When you mess up always say you are sorry, and mean it ( see rule number 1).

6. Laugh at yourself, a lot ( see rule number 1).

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For months I knew I had a photo shoot scheduled with Robert Sturman ~ Artist/Photografía​ and as a single mother, small business owner, yoga teacher life was full. The months and weeks leading up to the shoot I was tired, overworked and I rarely had the time or desire to unroll my mat. When I had down time the last thing I needed was MORE effort, and striving. I just needed to CHILL. As the date of the shoot drew closer I knew I had a choice to make. I could starve myself of sustenance or I could show up imperfect, soft and accepting.

I am woman and I am imperfect.

I am learning that my appearance doesn’t define my worth. I sometimes carry extra pounds draped upon my yoga body like a second skin. Sometimes I embrace that weighty suit, an old friend with a lingering hug to keep me humbled. Sometimes I don’t.

I am learning to show up in my skin, with stretch marks like a trusty map of a long life lived. The faded patterns of love and miracle traverse across my once taut and trim belly.

I am learning to show up in life and be courageous. Mostly I want to climb in bed and pull the covers over my head, a frightened child still as a mouse, barely breathing for fear that I’ll be seen. Be still, don’t make a move and you can’t fail.

I am learning that failures and imperfections are inevitable when you are truly living. Stumbles and missteps disguised as an invitation to help you up, dust you off and send you back into the arena to keep fighting. (Perfection is the heavy shroud to keep people from truly seeing you there under the covers, still as a mouse).

I am learning to embrace my vulnerability. Living with an open heart is exhilarating, beautiful and joyful, yet it is also guaranteed to be painful and at times heart wrenching.

I am learning that being the best version of myself has nothing to do with perfecting a pose or even unrolling my mat. Instead it has to do with giving myself permission to fuck up, to fall down and to still show up day after day with my head held high.

When I boldly show up with my imperfections I allow you to do the same. Together, hand in hand we thrive; imperfect, messy and beautiful.

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10982437_10204906846405154_314762427307167086_nDid you know some of my closest friends call me “Selfie Roberts”? I really love the nickname I see it as loving and endearing but I never really figured out why, especially since the term “selfie” in society is often attached to the idea of an oversized ego. A dear friend of mine who recently became single wrote not too long ago “I never knew that a byproduct of being single is a phone full of selfies and landscapes”. Lately I can really relate to that idea. These thoughts led me down the path of my intention when I post pics of myself, whether in yoga, with my son, being “Mandy” (ie, ridiculous and goofy) or having a great time with friends. While I don’t know a lot about life, I have learned all too well that life is too short. That we must cherish each moment life gifts us with. I have learned to celebrate life and love and to SHARE it (likers gonna like). I have learned that if you want to take a pic of yourself eating a banana upside down in a tree then do it! (Note: put taking a pic eating a banana upside down in a tree on my selfie list). This leads me to one of my favorite quotes of all time and the quote I often allude to after every class I teach.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

As I give myself permission to shine, to mess up, to land a bad-ass pose (or not land that bad-ass pose), I give you that permission as well.

Thank you to my tribe for my selfie-stick on my birthday, I love you. And get ready selfie friends, we are gonna have fun with this!

This weekend my ex-husband is getting married.

Damn him.

I tell myself “That’s mine!”. Not my ex-husband, but the life he has.

Commitment. Family. Marriage.

Those things I am really good at. Those things that I had for so long. Those things that I desire so fiercely and fully that in writing this sentence my heart aches.

Photo by Lindentree Photography

Photo by Lindentree Photography

It’s happened over and over these past 3 years since my divorce. I am lying in my big, empty bed lonely and exhausted from the day thinking, planning, dreaming. And then it happens. I feel that thick multi-colored blanket of fear, doubt, and uncertainty descending. Getting heavier and heavier upon my chest until I can barely breathe.

“You will never be good enough, no one will love and commit to you.”

“You had a great life and you ruined it.”

“You expect too much from people. No one will ever satisfy you, don’t even try”

“What makes you think you can be successful at owning a business?”

“Why do you think you have the authority to teach anything valuable to your yoga students?”

“You want too much in life, you should just be happy with what you have.”

In my 36 years I have told myself many bedtime stories about what I am and what I am worthy of. And though I am a “yoga teacher” and “I should know better” I still struggle with turning the page of these stories. The truth is I am afraid I’ll grow old and die alone. I am afraid that I don’t have all my shit together with owning and managing FORM {yoga}. I am afraid of being some fake-ass yoga teacher that only spews love and light. And the truth is I AM happy with what I have…I just want more.

“Your darkness is shining. My darkness is shining. Have faith in myself. Truth.” Alexander

I am learning the beauty of these struggles allow me to connect to my truth. These stories teach me that my darkness, my struggles make me beautiful. I am learning that unraveling all these thoughts and examining them will allow me to see them fully for what they are: beautiful bedtime stories.

My heart is heavy with change, as it has been so often these past few years. While I know that change is the foundation of growth it has not gotten easier.


Beginnings and endings will likely always be hard but with my ear to my soul I will reach for life.

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“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

~ Paulo Coelho

For the past few years have been living in a state of struggle.  A few years ago when I began to experience these difficulties I assumed these specific challenging events of my life would pass and I could move on with my life. Surely the struggle would end when my house sold or when I finally hired an attorney to help with my divorce. Surely things will calm down when I find a new home for the kids and I or when my love life settles in to a comfortable ease. Maybe life will be better once my daughter changes schools and I teach less classes. I certainly didn’t think years later the struggles would still be lingering about clouding my vision like a thick fog.

Not too long ago I had a lunch date with a few girlfriends with whom I didn’t get to see very often. We spent almost the entire lunch discussing the changes I was experiencing and how I felt stuck within these struggles. I was catching them up on the current drama in my life that had occurred over the past couple months ( I like to joke that I was their living breathing version of a soap opera). We talked about my beautifully messy divorce and my continuing struggles with my ex husband. We talked about my two children and their current hardships having two very different homes and a new baby brother. We talked about my on again/off again boyfriend(with whom I was deeply and madly in love) and our inability to move forward. We talked about the future of FORM {yoga} and the soul searching I faced deciding whether or not to look for a new space and keep it open. We talked about a sudden (and pretty scary) attraction that a secret admirer had taken sending me strange notes and flowers. We talked about my desperate search for a new home for my kids and I.

Basically we talked about life.

I remember sitting with my girlfriends and feeling the slight shifting of perspective that allowed the vision to see once again the absolute truth and beauty of these situations. These struggles ARE life. Life doesn’t halt like a frightened deer in headlights and wait for your struggles to lift before moving onward.

Life moves on.

 Life insists that we make choices. Life begs us to dive in and go deep. Life demands that no matter how uncomfortable the situation we simply keep moving forward. 

Life is what happens within the struggle, the fear, the discomfort, the uncertainty, the pain, the sadness, the frustration, the heartache. And maybe as our eyes adjust to this new vision of struggle we have more opportunity to experience life in all it’s beautiful mess. 

“It’s not about getting over things, it’s about making room for them. It’s about painting the picture with contrast.”
 Brianna Wiest

As yoga teachers it is important that our students know we are not perfect yogis. Often in class we demo and teach poses we are comfortable with so our students have the perception that we have the “perfect practice”. As a teacher I strive to grow WITH my students and become a better teacher, and to grow we must be okay with falling both on the mat and in the world. Enjoy this latest short compilation of my falls and successes.
Sorry for the grainy video, not only am I learning to fall but also learning to record and edit video. Enjoy!
Music by Chairlift – Bruises

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Lately I have been quite uncomfortable. By lately I mean the past few years.

A few years ago I went through an awfully beautiful divorce (Yes, awfully beautiful. You can read more about that here). Through my awfully beautiful divorce I had shed my “Type A”, controlling, old skin and developed into a different woman, a more compassionate, patient and real woman(or so I told myself). The kind of woman who FEELS everything deeply and invasively.

In the past several months I have been in an almost constant state of struggle.  From my personal relationships to moving FORM{yoga} into it’s own space, and with most everything in between, discomfort has been present. Along with the burden of struggle, the weight of uncertainty has settled in around me in most every aspect of my life.

As I slowly walked my son home from school today my mind was going into hyper-drive trying to find a way out of these situations and events that have left me feeling so heavily burdened and uneasy. How can I fix this? What can I do? Who can I call? How can I control these uncontrollable situations?

For a very clear moment I had the realization that this is just where I am right now. This is my work. There is no hurrying this process. This hurdle has been placed for me to leap over it gracefully…or not so gracefully.

Either way I will choose to persevere knowing it is all part of growth.

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
Paulo Coelho

Tonight as I put my son to bed I lay beside him, under the covers snuggling his skinny 8 year old body. As we do when I am privileged enough to tuck him in, we spend a few minutes playing the “I love you more” game and we shared a few of our favorite and our least favorite parts of the day.  After a few moments of silliness and chatting, I turn off the lights and we lay together as he says his prayers.

“Thank you God for this day. Thank you for my family and friends who love me. Please take away my bad dreams. Amen.”

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As he rolled over on his side I wrapped my arms around him for one final snuggle before slipping out of the darkened room and away to do all the chores that await me each night. Trying to hold on to a few more minutes with me he grabbed my arm and put his little hand on top of mine trying to line our fingers up so he could determine whose hand was bigger. He seemed almost discouraged, or at least pretended disappointment, when he saw that he still had a bit of growing to do to match my size. I said to him encouragingly that one day very soon his hands will be much larger than mine.

And at that moment I felt an overwhelming urge to hold him and never let go. I want to say that this feeling came from a primal desire to protect and comfort him. To shield his childhood innocence and vulnerability; to shelter him from heartache, sorrow and the sure pain of life. To pull the covers over both of us and squirm lower into the bed. But as my eyes filled with tears my heart swelled with a heaviness of loss. Of dread. Of this child growing up and leaving me to grow old. Alone.

You see I will be 35 in just a few days and this year I find myself alone. Not a good time to celebrate for someone who is terribly afraid of growing old alone.

But I have a secret weapon that I keep hidden close to my heart; hope. I have hope that what I seek is seeking me as well.
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
― Alfred Tennyson

Disclaimer; I know what all you yogis are thinking out there, that with a post titled Yoga and the F-Word this has to be a blog post about Bryan Kest. Wrong. Though I adore Bryan and his extensive use of the f-word, for that topic you must read my dear friend Isabelle Casey’s blog post Judgement & F-Bombs. Read on.

Three years ago my life was over…or so I thought.

 The world I had known and built and loved was pulled out from underneath my feet leaving me stumbling, shrieking, clawing. I was standing at the edge of darkness and staring in the face of fear. I was experiencing the terrible reality of divorce.

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At this time I was 32 years old and I had never been alone. Yes, you read that right, I had never been alone. I was with my husband from the tender age of 15, and we were married three years later after learning that we were going to be parents. My husband and I both came from impoverished homes with our parents always struggling to make ends meet and to get food on the table. We were determined to have a future for ourselves and for our children. We both worked diligently from the beginning of our relationship and made many sacrifices to overcome the struggles we both knew growing up. Over the years we succeeded. We built a booming business together through hard work and dedication. For the last 8 years of our marriage our business had grown successful enough that I had the privilege of staying at home with our children. I spent my days running our household, working behind the scenes in our business, and volunteering in our children’s school and in our neighborhood. Being a strong-willed woman who liked to be in control (to put it nicely, but that is a whole other blog post), I found certainty in my marriage. We were going to grow old together and find ourselves at age 70 on a front porch swing sipping on a glass of sweet tea in the pre-dusk warmth of sticky southern summer days while our grandchildren played in the yard. My husband was my best friend, confidant and the only person in the world that I could depend on and trust.

As the reality of our divorce set in the many faces of grief and loss were swirling within my body and bubbling to the surface. Anger. Fear. Denial. Desperation. I was utterly TERRIFIED. I struggled to get out of bed. I struggled to eat. I struggled to sleep. When I was out of sight of my children I spent most of my day crying, locked inside my house. When I did go out in public I put on my warrior suit and held my head high, but inside I was screaming. I lost faith that I would ever be okay again. I was not even striving for happy, I was merely just wanting to be okay. Needless to say, it was bad.

There it is, the f word...FAITH.

Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown defines faith as “a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” Faith.  Much scarier than the other f-word right?

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Over the past couple of years I have found faith again (that journey will come in another blog, another time). In fact faith and I are very dear friends now. And just like with any other relationship, at times we struggle. Sometimes I push faith away because she is just too damn hard to have in my life. She constantly requires me to be present. She demands that I be vulnerable and open. She insists that I lead from my heart and not to make decisions based on fear. Sounds exhausting, right?

As a yoga teacher I strive to teach my students the concept of faith as I understand it. Through a yoga practice faith can be found when we let go of our limiting beliefs. For many of us this is not easy. As we breathe and move through postures on the mat we find ourselves challenged physically and emotionally. Just like in life, it is easy to give up when we are faced with discomfort. But when we are struggling( on the mat or out in the world) we have an amazing opportunity to explore ourselves, our patterns, our reactions. It is EASY to pull out of that utkatasana 10 breaths in when the mind yells”Abort mission!”. The hard part is learning to sit within the storm and to have faith that the discomfort shall pass.

Resolving to accept uncertainty and to choose faith not an easy place to live from, in fact it is very challenging at times. But I know now that no matter how hard it is to live within faith, it is much harder to live without it.

Within the depths of my sorrows and in the gloom of my divorce my yoga teacher Mitchel Bleier passed along this poem to me. Over time these words have carried me toward the shores of uncertainty while holding the hands of my long forgotten friends; courage and fearlessness.

THE TRUE LOVE
by David Whyte

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of the baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love,

so that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t

because finally
after all the struggle
and all the years,
you don’t want to any more,
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.