Sitting is so 2013.
I don’t actually think that. That is my reactionary statement to a Zen Buddhism class I attended, in which the instructor told me that yoga was not a great form of meditation. Not a great form (read: judgement). We were in a yoga studio (read: awareness).
Kathlyn Hendricks once told me: You start by whatever door you come in. For me, body movement is not a distraction. It’s a vehicle for me to move in more deeply.
It is my human form inquiring of its sinews, its marrow, its connective tissue. It is bone dry, finger licking, toe curling, knee high. It is the heart of the matter.
It is dynamism, shadow and light, action and receptivity. It is awakening in all its parts, in all its natures—its suckling wetness and its impulsive fire.
To me, yoga is the manner of devotion that most represents my duality, and so often—so blissfully more often, as I grow older—my vulnerable discovery as I step into it.
Coffee shops blaring reggae music. Coworking spaces where everyone wants to talk to you. Airplane seats with prying-eye passengers. Oh, the woes of not-so-starving writers who drink single-origin espresso.
But, for as well as it seems we treat ourselves—yoga breaks, tea breaks, two-hour lunch breaks (I learned recently that “break” meant that you were technically supposed to be doing work before and after. Mind, blown)—we can be pretty shitty to ourselves when it comes to commitments, resentment and real honesty. As solopreneurs or freelancers or whatever we want to call ourselves, we sometimes treat ourselves with way less regard than we’d ever let a partner.
It’s time we stop being our own worst-nightmare boyfriend. Here’s how to recognize and conquer those tendencies, and also be the travel-friendly, modern entrepreneur you want to be—you know, one who actually gets work done.
And not only work, but a writer’s work—a craft that requires dropping into a soft, still space inside of ourselves from which to pull gems or ashes or weeds, depending on the day, even when someone is yelling, “Almond-milk cappuccino on the bar!”
This is excerpted from my induction interview as a Professional Member of the Boulder Writers’ Workshop. I’ll be leading the free literary salon on March 9; come check it out if you live in Colorado.
What kinds of writing projects are you working on?
Amy Segreti: I’m constantly working on a myriad of things. When I was younger, I didn’t finish as much as I started; now, I’m getting better at doing my work and keeping commitments.
I work with clients on writing/editing projects, everything from press releases to book-length pieces, to private company branding and messaging. I started a print magazine of longform journalism on place, palate and pleasure in 2012, then moved it online. I also write a lot of narrative nonfiction and what I call “passion journalism”—I love writing in an inspired way, whether that’s about my life or about someone who is sharing their passion with me.
Whether I’m writing a news story, personal poetry, or a food and travel article, the purpose I strive for is to be the conduit for a genuine connection between my subject and readers.
In 2014, I set intentions.
I am going to love harder, but not need hard love. I am going to be fluid in a way that doesn’t belittle the beauty of discipline. I am going to understand better my boundaries, my edges, my swinging pendulums, my centers. I am going to let indulgence be just that, and take full pleasure in its fleeting nature. I am going to be patient and hold my fire, knowing that holding it doesn’t temper me, but strengthens me. I am going to know myself better, but not let that quest become an excuse for isolation and intolerance of others. I am going to get out of my own way and allow myself to be incandescent. I am going to let appreciation melt into reverence.
Happy New Year, everyone.
P.S. I have started a sweet, small site about the way I change my story in 2014. It’s called: Today I’m. Enjoy.
I was talking with my friend Sylvia about the cozy, gorgeous, one-bedroom apartment on Pearl Street that I want. It’s effectively double what I’ve ever paid for rent in my life.
I told her this, and then immediately remarked how if I didn’t get it, well, I had always wanted to travel during the Winter… which is true, and still mostly true. But I’ve been needing a nest so much more as I grow and expand. A mother home. A cocoon.
She replied that I need to believe I deserve it.
I’m back in Boulder now, riding my bicycle, doing yoga, sipping single-origin espresso, writing poetry, interviewing amazing people, sharing wine and dinner with girlfriends. It’s crisp but sunny, summer’s digestif.
It’s hearty, life here, and I can’t imagine tearing myself from it. In a traveling way, sure—in a permanent displacement way, no. Not yet. When I’m here, I can create a reflection of what I see around me—bliss, growth, magic—and store it inside myself as feeling. But, I find I have to keep coming back to recharge it.
I’m in Spain, buying too many books in Castellano, drinking too much coffee (and wine and sidra and vermut and…), and really allowing myself to indulge in play. Lunch at 4 with wine? Sure. Gluten? Dairy? Pile ‘em on top of each other and send them my way.
In terms of a more healthy type of play, yesterday I acquired a bicycle from the generous owner of La Bicicleta Cycling Cafe & Workspace, which I can borrow until I leave in 5 days.
I realized I had never biked in Madrid before—and I lived here for almost a year. I’m excited to combine my passions in a way I never have before—in this case, being in a world brimming with my favorite other language, and of exploring that world by bike.
Bicycling creates a flow, an ease, a rooted nugget of pleasure inside of me that can cancel out the negative outcomes of unexpected diversions. And in Spain, there are many: restaurants not opening when they say they will, losing something (my laptop sleeve now lives in Barcelona), machines eating your credit card at the train station then shutting down completely, clearly satisfied to have a siesta after eating your delicious only way of paying for things. Sigh.
Hello! I am going to Spain in a few days and that is pretty much all I can think about. However, I managed to express something else in this video—what I definitely DO NOT mean when I say “live all of you.”
Plus, I share a beautiful note I received from Christian in China about the idea of living all of yourself (also a personal exercise in receiving praise, which I sometimes have trouble with).
In this episode, I talk about:
- How to receive praise
- The importance of expressing yourself
- What I don’t mean by “live all of you”
- Taking inventory of your feelings in the moment
- Giving gratitude for your side work (like Marie Forleo talks about: B Jobs!)
Next time: See you from España!
This is part of a series of posts about turning yourself on—your sensuality, authenticity and vitality.
Next week, I’m going to be traveling by myself for the first time since March. I’ve traveled since then: Seattle, Portland, New York… but I haven’t done it alone.
I made some exaggerated statement to a friend that it almost felt like I hadn’t traveled much at all. I was naturally forced to explain myself.
There’s a different part of my brain that’s activated when I’m in a new place wandering around, finding my way by myself. It isn’t turned on so easily when I’m at home unless I’m highly conscious about it; often, I operate on autopilot. Even though I appreciate my favorite coffee roasters, I go to them routinely, the water flows in the etched-out trench its presence has created, and it requires some shaking up to alter the flow.
And when I’m traveling with other people, I see things with them in my context, as part of my environment, my experience. Sometimes, depending on my level of attachment, I see things through them. This can be lovely. But it is not using the part of my brain that lets me think entirely of my own survival, enjoyment, pleasure.
This is my Explorer Mind.
First thing in the morning (ok, after you have hot lemon water), you should do this: change your story.
I am someone who gets up at 7 a.m.
I am someone who wears scarves.
I am someone who rides my bike in Winter—and rocks it.
Change your story slightly. Mildly. Why so small? Because subtly shifting your energy changes your vibration, and lets the universe know you’re ready to allow new things to come into your life—big and small.