Category Archives: Writing

The 12 Nonfiction Books That Have Changed How I Live In the World

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As I was purchasing the Kindle version of Big Magic today (note: everything Elizabeth Gilbert writes/says/does should be on an artist’s priority list of conscious consumption), I realized I hadn’t written about my own list of books that have changed my life.

So with no further adieu, here they are!

These books have completely helped me upgrade my communication, relationships, business and health in the last few years, and I’m super grateful for them.

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Behind the Scenes: How I Add Value to My Coaching with Show Notes

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One of the biggest (and most fun) ways I add value to my coaching practice actually happens after our call or in-person jam sesh is over.

After every session, I email what I call “show notes” to my clients.
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Reflections: 100 Days Left Until I’m a Yoga Teacher

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On March 8, 2015, exactly 100 days from today, I will officially be a certified yoga teacher.

I thought about this last week when I was at my mother’s house in New Jersey, as I touched down into how distant and numb I felt from my training and study.

My life in 2014 has been blessed, beautiful, confusing, jagged. For the first time, I’m traveling as a way of life, while simultaneously maintaining my own sanctuary in my chosen city. I’m doing poorly at maintaining a lot of connections that are important to me; I’m doing swimmingly at expanding others.

I frequently fly back and forth between two places: New York City, the most populous and unhappiest city in the country (re: the National Bureau of Economic Research, gleaned from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data), and Boulder, the healthiest, happiest city in the country, according to 25-year Gallup Well-Being Index surveys. To be fair, my partner lives in Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn-Boulder connection is palpable. But still, I feel such a disconcerting polarity sometimes.

Each time I move, fly, bus, train, drive—I try so hard to hold my center. But it escapes me. I scatter bits of myself, and I’m often unsure where I left them.

I want to honor this final 100 days. It’s not that I want to do asana—physical yoga postures—for 100 days. What I want is to build a more available access road into the place inside me that deeply wants this, that embodies yoga as my meditation and connection to self and Source.

I’ve been coasting along since October, when I started my yoga teacher training. Since it only happens 1-2 weekends per month, it’s easy to immerse and then disconnect, not incorporating what I’m learning into my daily life.

But, I want to make this meaningful. Why else would I do it?

And so I begin on the first of my last 100 days. The first Yoga Sutra is Atha, which means now. Yoga now, yoga always, yoga everywhere you are. My teachers say that we don’t just practice on the mat; we practice always, in all ways.

Today, I practice yoga now.

Write your words, whatever they are. Today, maybe they are about ham.

Sometimes, I start my day at 10:30 a.m. with a European-style baguette at the artisan shop four blocks from my home. Today’s crisp shell holds between its yielding inner lips French ham, brie, butter and jalapeño jam.

The words “gluten” and “dairy” do not have their meaning here, as they do when I say things like, “I avoid gluten and dairy.”

This morning, I am not avoiding. I am savoring.

I am swelling with memories of having this at least once every day in Spain, where they will put anything between two slices of a baguette and give it to you for 2€: tortilla española, squid, and often just a single razor-thin slice of jamón ibérico. Nothing else.

Think about it. It’s so beautifully un-American. A slice of jamón and bread. No cheese, no squishy sauce to coax your mouth into accepting it. You have to trust you’ll be ok at the other end—the cotton-dryness of the bread may put your mouth into a start of alarm, but only until it finds the jamón, its fat sweating into the inner cushion of bread, and there it is—the softness, the oils, the impossibly rich peppery barnyard flavor, and then it’s gone. It vanishes just as quickly as you put it in your mouth. And you want more.

The Spanish could put more slices of jamón ibérico in the sandwich, of course, and charge more for it. But they don’t. You’d have to buy five baguettes, toss all the bread, and put the jamón on one sandwich before they’d do it for you themselves.

Because jamón ibérico is meant to be savored in its juxtaposition: How can this much flavor be packed into such a featherweight thing? The power of ibérico is in the marvel.

How Tiny Actions Can Shift You From “Settling” to “Worthy”

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had a tendency to deny help and stay uncomfortable for no apparent reason.

“Do you want a pillow? How can you sit like that?” my mom would ask as I watched TV on her bedroom floor.

“I’m fine!” I’d squeal. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had returned from commercial break and I was not to be disturbed.

My mom would frown and walk away, only to ask me again 15 minutes later (“No! Go away!“).

You see, I was on the floor leaning against her bed. Except, not the normal sides of a bed that one typically leans on. I was propping my torso against the edge of the foot of the bed, the corner where metal mattress frames go to poke at spines and injure shins.

During the hour-long show (and later, during Angel, Dawson’s Creek, Felicity…), I would shift the metal edge from one side of my spine to the other, back and forth, left to right.

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Ignore Your Ego? Maybe It’s Worth a Listen

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I went to an intense yoga class with my teacher two days ago. Everyone felt it; I know this because he said toward the end: “Seven more minutes of class, guys.” And everyone laughed. Because damn, we were all wondering.

In the beginning of class, he shared with us something that resonated with him via one of his teachers, Erich Schiffmann:

In every moment, you’re either connecting to Source or reiterating the ignorance of the ego.

It danced over my skin when he said it.

Throughout class, I thought about it. I thought about how much I was seeing the appearance of ego in my own life lately, and in particular my relationship.

I had been making everything about me. I pointed out to my partner that even the simplest thing he was saying—she’s really really smart, for example—was triggering me. Wasn’t I really smart, too? Yes. Do I want to crawl into a shame hole for even admitting to thinking this way? Yes.

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How to Write Anywhere (And Stop Treating Yourself Like Crap)

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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!”

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