Jai Siddhatma: Victorious Are Liberated Souls

Two weeks ago, I sat alone with a glass of wine desperately trying to decompress from another week filled with dance classes, yoga classes, students of all ages demanding my undivided attention, rushing from one space to the next, and found myself googling “silent retreats.” I stumbled upon Siddhayatan Spiritual Retreat. After browsing through their offerings, I noticed that for a small additional fee I could bring Mr. Darcy and within minutes I had impulsively reserved my space for the following week.

Monday morning the pup and I set off for the ashram in East Texas. The day was bright, brisk, and beautiful. Mr. Darcy napped for the majority of the drive while I sang along to all of my favorite 70s jams.


Upon arrival, I was greeted by one of the nuns who went over my options along with the general rules and guidelines. Since puppy was with me, we were staying off the main property. The space was simple, modest, and bare, but clean and more than enough room for the two of us.


The area surrounding us was enclosed with a special gate designed to keep the coyotes out, so Mr. Darcy was free to run wild and play fetch. We did a fair amount of wandering outside the gate before I had to head back to the main property for mantra with the Master and other retreaters.

My knowledge of mantra is limited, but I was familiar with several from my 300hr training. For the first few I opted to listen, but by the second page I readily joined in. The energy you feel when reciting mantra with a group is almost tangible. It reverberates and pulses throughout your body – you’re almost humming with energy like a plucked guitar string.


It was fun to meet people from all over the world who had found their way to this place. Some had been there for over a month, others had arrived within the past few days. One of the men asked why I was there. He said that everyone who came to Siddhayatan was searching for something. He also told me that while someone had successfully done a 38 day water fast, but the longest anyone had gone without talking was 8 days.

The silence wasn’t so bad. While a little lonely being separated from the group on the other side of the property, I was able to chant in the mornings and spend time with others during meals. There is something both peaceful and liberating to be able to absorb all of the activity and conversation happening around you without the expectation or obligation to participate.


I hadn’t realized how much I’ve been needing to slow down. I spent countless hours wandering through fields with Mr. Darcy, and the rest of my time reading, writing, and sleeping. I was able to identify my fear behind some of the issues I’ve been dealing with, and have felt a pretty big internal shift since naming them out loud. The next time you have an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary, I encourage you to book it before you have time to change your mind. It could change your life!



Smoke on the water after morning mantra on the walk to breakfast.


Beautiful flowers I was able to capture on the Spring Equinox.

Texas sunsets make my heart flutter. This was my view between mantra and dinner Monday night.



Function vs. Fun

I have done next to nothing to prepare myself for the upcoming week, and I feel fucking great.

You see, Friday I got tired of my own bullshit (again). I have been giving, giving, giving almost every ounce of myself for the past six months that I haven’t had much leftover at the end of the day.

I read this article a few months ago about what self care really means, and caught myself nodding along thinking “Hell, yes!” because it justified my seclusion.

Since August, I’ve been exhausted most of the time. My place always seems cluttered and I feel scattered. I have minimal patience with students, I’m overly sensitive and overreactive in my personal relationships (Shout out to R for being a champ the past month!), and ultimately spend all of my free time hermiting away trying to catch up on sleep, laundry, meal prep, and getting my shit together for the next task. All of my trips/visits since August have left me drained instead of invigorated, and Friday I remembered that: This isn’t the way I want to live my life. 

So I’m sitting here wondering… is all this stuff self care, or just necessary for survival?

It’s time to start refilling my own cup.

Friday I made the decision to reclaim my life. I made a list of what I’ve been missing:

Yoga classes
Social life
Life’s little luxuries

These are the intentions I’m going to focus on at the next New Moon (this Saturday). Practicing self care through making more time for the things that bring my soul joy. Yes, being a grown ass adult and doing all the things in that article are necessary and constitute self care.

But I want to have my salt baths and to eat my chocolate cake too.

So I’m doing that.

This weekend I did laundry, dishes, and in true bachelorette-style bought two vegan pizzas, coffee, wine, and tulips from Whole Foods. I’ve gone on about eight long, luxurious walks with puppy, bought way too much shit that I don’t need (but am super excited about) from Spiritual Gangster, took beautiful photos with my new iPhone of rocks, tarot cards, and pretty much anything else that will stay still long enough to use the portrait feature, and I even signed myself and Mr. Darcy up for a silent retreat.

This weekend I didn’t clean my place from top to bottom. I haven’t started mapping out the YACEP workshops that I want to do. I didn’t sit down with the book about Vicarious Traumatization, figure out how I’m going to manage to pay for all of the everything, or bridge the gap with that one friend.

But I did paint my toenails pink.

And I feel more put together than I have in months.

Cheers to finding balance in the self care department. The stuff you need to function vs the stuff you need for fun. Always a work in progress.

PS. Here’s a photo of Mr. Darcy. Obviously, the only I could get of him in portrait mode.




Social Media Detox: Lessons Learned

Sometimes you have to step away in order to view something more clearly.

I’ve been navigating through another transformational period. When it began, my direction was unclear, but the gravitational pull was there… the need for growth, change, and expansion.

For me, personal growth is very much like tending a garden:

  • It starts small, and requires lots of patience. It doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Next you prep your space by removing obstacles like rocks, weeds, and other things that might get in the way of new roots, and then enriching the soil to make it a safe, nourishing place for seeds to grow.
  • Consider the natural gifts you’re working with (climate, soil type, etc.) when selecting seeds to plant.
  • Once the seeds have been planted, there’s more of that patience stuff.
  • Tending the garden requires attention. You must mind your garden diligently and carefully with love, while making sure not to overwater it.

At the beginning of April I decided to step away from social media to get some weeding done give myself room for growth.


Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:

Leaving social media isn’t that hard. I put up a post letting everyone know my intention (so they didn’t think I was dead), and deleted all the apps from my phone.

The first afternoon, I felt naked. I’d reach for my phone out of habit to scroll through Instagram or Facebook. I realized very quickly how ingrained social media platforms had become in my day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute life. It was pretty humbling to be so dependent on something. By that evening, I felt liberated. 

After a week or so… I noticed I was spending more time doing stuff I like.

I got back to my roots. I reconnected with things that move me, bring me joy, and have shaped me as a person. Art, literature, classical dance and music – there’s so much beauty in this world! I pulled out albums and arias and picked up projects that have been ignored for weeks, months, and years. I spent spent countless hours researching, organizing, and writing about subjects that interest me. Not for work, but because it’s fun and I like it.

Once I made my own interests a priority, I learned…

I create my best work without external influence. I’m more productive, more inspired, and more creative when I turn inwards. I’m not worrying about photos, likes, and comments. I’m not comparing myself to others, looking for external validation, or questioning myself. I feel free. Safe. Grounded. And I’m really proud of the work I’m generating because I know it’s all authentically me.


By reducing noise, I’m more mindful. This manifests in small ways like observing that an occasional magenta bloom will pop up on the light pink rose bush next door, and that a tailless squirrel lives on our block.

I listen more closely to my body, and have discovered that I’m more energized when I take breaks instead of pushing through, and I now go to bed when I’m tired instead of trying to finish up “a few things.”

When people talk, I listen. Like, listen. I take the time to process what is being said instead of thinking about how to respond or what to say next.

Which brings us to…

Closing the space through deeper connections. Social media gives us the luxury of keeping up with friends, family, and students at our own convenience from afar. To find out what’s going on in people’s lives, I can’t cheat. I reach out via text, email, phone calls, FaceTime dates, and spend quality time with students before and after class. I feel connected in a more meaningful way.

And it turns out…

Quality > Quantity. I was concerned that my class numbers might decrease and that my already limited social life might evaporate completely along with my social media usage. As it turns out, a lot of the people are willing to meet me halfway. Friends call, check in, and still want to hang out. Yogis who enjoy my class are willing to make an effort to check the studio’s website or text me about my schedule.

Spending time and working with smaller groups of people who truly want to be there is far more fulfilling than 100 semi-friends and packed classes, and worth more than all the follows, likes, and comments on the internet.

Overall, this has been a wonderful experience. But it’s all about finding…

Balance. I’m nearing the end of my social media detox, and a little wary about returning. I’m looking forward to seeing the thoughts and ideas of others, but I don’t want to relive the pressure to create posts that will appeal to others. I want to protect the purity and integrity of my own.

I’m not exactly sure how I’ll transition back into the realm of social media, or how I’ll cultivate and maintain balance, but I’m grateful for the space and movement I’ve experienced in my time away.

And I think it will be another exercise for learning growth.

Cheers to perpetual movement, and beginning another leg of the journey.

See you guys Monday! xx

What gives you energy?

“To have energy you need love, rest, authentic self-expression, play, safety, creativity, joy, emotional honesty + release, connection, hope, water, security, healthy relationships, adventure, beauty, movement, a happy home and some real effin food.” Kylie McBeath

I saw this quote today on Kylie McBeath’s Instagram (if you don’t follow her already, I highly recommend doing so) today, and it truly resonated with me because I am seriously dragging right now. Feeling physically and emotionally drained after a beautiful (but long) weekend of growth, expansion, yoga, and travel. Some days it feels like the quest for balance is eternal. And maybe to an extent it is… because if you ever manage to cultivate balance, it requires constant nurturing and maintenance to retain.

But it’s given me the inspiration I’ve been needing to sit down and ask myself: What helps me create and build energy?

Here is my working list:
– sleep
– real food (loads of veggies and fruits, some grains and animal protein)
– less sugar + alcohol
– water (drinking it, swimming in it, sitting beside it)
– puppy time
– movement
– human connection
– nature
– music
– hugs
– art
– travel
– opportunity
– new ideas, creativity, inspiration
– space
– laughter
– rest
– books
– adventures
– friendship
– teaching
– security

Reading over these words I notice that I’m doing really great in some areas, not so great in others. So it looks like I’ve got a little self-care to work on.

What gives you energy?