Rise and Shine in 2020

I missed the year-in-review 2019 posting sensation because my “New Year, New Me, New Life” started December 4th when I left my husband. This is that story and so much more:

I hugged my husband so tight the morning of Dec 4th, 2019 before he headed to work. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face in his chest, I even wrapped one leg around him from the bed which he stood beside; I hugged him like a koala; I hugged him like I was going to lose him; I hugged him like I didn’t know if we’d ever see each other again and if so, what it would be like.

He went to work and I laid there paralyzed by what I was planning to do. I reviewed the details in my head- take my youngest to school, unplug the cameras, get the rental truck, pack as many crates as I could, take the furniture on the dolly, get the keys from the new apartment, unload, pick up my daughters from school, call my husband and tell him what I’d done. “Moment of truth,” a voice inside my head said.

I knew this action would have an equal and opposite reaction, that it couldn’t be undone or taken back or magic wanded away if I carried out the plan. As scary and difficult and crazy as it all seemed, the alternative felt wrong- staying in this marriage, in this dream house, in this blended family we crammed together, resentful of each other at all times, with a constant power struggle taking place every waking moment- it was too much. Leaving felt right. Leaving felt like my heart singing and staying felt like my heart in a cage- a cage that was making me physically sick.

Fast forward one month (today it has been exactly one month since my girls and I left) and this amazing man and I are closer than we’ve ever been. Apart, we’ve been able to untangle some thick webbing we had caught ourselves in over the past 4 years together.

Yes, we had to go through Hell to get here, to get back to a place of liking each other, respecting each other, listening to each other and understanding each other.

Yes, it was worth it.

He and I will never be lovers, roommates, or spouses to one another again, but we are something more than any of those labels. More than friends. He’s my family. His children are my family. Our children are freely spending time together and communicating as they see fit. My girls are sleeping better, feeling more peaceful and say that our tiny apartment is the best place they’ve lived in 5 years. His children appreciate not sharing his attention with me and are loving having their Dad to themselves more often.

Since July, he and I had been struggling. We sought counseling in a few different forms. We talked it out. We bared our souls and our truths. We had been at an impasse for months when I walked out so dramatically Dec 4th.

I’m happy to report that my heart is singing. The lines on my face have softened and all but disappeared. He has been inspired to return to all the self improvement he gave up to make time for us living together. We are growing separately, together. In parallel, and with loving support of each other.

“What are you running from? Why do you constantly reinvent yourself?,” he asked.

I sat with that question and stared it in the face; let it take me to some really dark parts of myself before admitting that he’s right…I’m a runner. He’s right…I’m constantly reinventing myself. I have been running from myself!

Looking and listening deeply to all the internal and external factors that have lead me to the point where I am now, I see clearly that I have some unhealthy attachments- which all serve to distract myself from my own demons, my own internal mess that needs cleaning.

I’ve been deeply exploring and doing the work, so to speak. I’ve been and will remain sober- present with the difficult and the wonderful times. I’ve been deflecting and rescinding any flirtatious male energy that gets offered to me, and will continue to deny that distraction. I’m working the 12 Step Recovery program as guided by Russel Brand. I’m studying Yoga of 12 Step Recovery with Nikki Meyers. I’m working the 30 day workbook written by my mentor Dr Dugliss- learning to think with the heart and love with the mind. I’ve confronted my family members who have engaged in habits that subtly and steadily hurt me since childhood. I’ve authentically voiced that which I’ve kept hidden in my throat like a painful ball of stuck energy.

2020 is going to be and already is an amazing year of shining my brightest and returning myself back to myself. I no longer need to please everyone (or anyone). I don’t need to put up with any behaviors that hurt me and my children, no matter the source. I’m going to learn Spanish and grow my brand on Instagram providing free meditation guidance and ancient wisdom. I’m going to rock Chinese Medicine exams in Grad school and guide Yoga Teachers through incredible adventures and support my daughters in our sanctuary apartment with full presence and patience and I will continue living with all my heart, loving with my mind, putting down the gavel of judgement for myself and anyone else.

2020 will be hard, because life is hard. The calendar doesn’t turn over and magically life is easy peasy lemon squeezey. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean that it won’t also be magical, fantastic and full of growth toward clean peace, radiant joy and simplicity.

Let’s do this, and let it be done in Love!!!

Investigating the shadow aspects of my light.

This is not the first time I’ve faced my demons, not the first time I’ve craved change and needed growth.

I’ve reached the point this time where normally I would reach for something unhealthy, unproductive, to be the sugar coating on this pill of my experience that is so hard to swallow.

Not this time.

There will be no numbing out, no running away from myself, no hiding in the sideways comfort of solving someone else’s problems. There will be no charade to convince myself that the problems are from some external factor- it’s not where I live, who I’m around, how I was raised, or what I lack that’s creating problems- it’s me that has a problem. Pure and simple: I am having a problem, I am the problem.

There will be no self deprecating acts to punish myself- no hiding in an unhealthy relationship, no accepting flirtatious advances from men who make me feel sexy and powerfully seductive, secretive.

This time (as if all the other times I tried to face it were rehearsals without a script, without a director, without any supportive roles) is the grand finale of facing myself as I am: the time has come to admit I’m lost and to admit I’m found.

I’m Showing up, not running away. Here I am, at 4:04am, in the glow of the Christmas tree, 2 kittens and a wise old cat by my side, sleeping teen and 9 year old breathing peacefully into the space of our Lioness Den, with Paul Dugliss’s workbook in front of me and the support of my grandparents and ancestors behind me, Gaia below me, the infinite stars above me, my community of friends, students, classmates and family beside me: Here I am. I’m ready to do the work.

The ancient wisdom of the Vedas guides me to acknowledge, honor and care for all 5 bodies:

1. Anamaya kosha: my physical body

2. Manomaya kosha: my thoughts/emotions

3. Pranamaya kosha: my energetic body

4. Vjnananaya kosha: my wisdom body

5. Anandamaya kosha: my Bliss body

The ancient wisdom of the Sutras guide me with a 10 step program:

1. Non-harm to myself and others

2. Non-lying to myself and others

3. Non-stealing from myself and others

4. Non-excess of that which brings me or others pain or pleasure.

5. Non-attachment to things, others, a timeline, set of qualities that define me or set of qualities that define others.

6. Cleansing of my 5 bodies through detoxing, cleaning, purifying, simplifying

7. Acceptance of what is: Simply Allowing.

8. Willing myself to rise above the ashes of that which I will burn through; letting go of that which no longer serves myself and others.

9. Studying deeply the reflection of God inside me, inside others, inside all that Is and will ever be and ever was.

10. Trusting, surrendering to the Divine power that envelops all that is, was or will ever be; letting the Light fill my existence, flooding me and shining from me.

(11. Spinal Tap- turn it up to 11)

The ancient wisdom of the Tao connects me to the 5 elements, guides me to live in harmony with what is; to empty my mind of all I know; to embrace that I know nothing. Every moment is a new moment- pregnant with possibilities and unique of every other moment and set of circumstances.

With this ancient guidance in this modern world, I will skillfully navigate my darkness and return to the light on solstice, (in rhythm with the Earth)

detoxing my mind by being the witness to my narrative, Unattaching from the narrative, allowing space and freedom for my old story to fall away, to burn up, to be returned to the earth and fertilize new growth. By non judging, non blaming, NOT TAKING THInGS PERsONALLY. NOt MaKING ASSUMPTIONS.

detoxing my body by flushing with water, hot lemon water, vitamins B,D, zinc, iodine and magnesium; allowing sesame oil with Brahmi to fill my nasal passages and throat. Exfoliating and oiling my skin, massaging my muscles, eliminating refined sugar, corn and wheat from my diet for 3 weeks. Asana daily and Kundalini weekly.

detoxing my energy field with cleansing breath. With seed mantra chakra chanting. With daily 3 minute dancing/shaking. With massaging my throat with castor oil, dissolving the energetic signatures of what’s been said and remained unsaid. Meditating twice daily; letting answers come.

Detoxing my witness by exercising the space of the witness; spending time with this wisdom.

Detoxing my window to bliss by detoxing these other 4 lenses so that I can see clearly, the true Self, Atman self, Universal Consciousness,

The One.

Work is Life is Love

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours in a leather chair with my tattoo artist- a 26 year old man with surprising depth, maturity and emotional intelligence.

Maybe it stems from being captive for 2-3 hours during the intimate act of having an artist draw on my skin with an instrument that dances between pleasure and pain, or maybe it’s the excitement of committing to a permanent external scar that represents a deeply personal internal experience; whatever the reason, being in the tattoo chair, for me, is never less than therapeutic.

During this particular session, receiving a lacy, swirly, playful but bold garder belt on my right thigh to detract from a rather unslightly scar from a dog bite, I experienced several of what I can best describe as magical moments.

First of all, this tattoo took place on Halloween, so each of the 5 artists in the shop donned spectacular costumes and were in playful moods. One of the artists, the shop’s owner who dressed as Muriel from Courage the Cowardly Dog, had brought her pup in to the shop for a visit, spray painted pink for the holiday to look like Courage. This melds into the second magical moment: the very fact that as I cover a dog bite with art, a dog was in the room, also covered in art.

The fourth magical moment occurred just before I left the shop when a passer by came in to say hello, dressed from head to toe in Tim Burton attire, her Halloween makeup creating a Nightmare Before Christmas skeleton face. I mentioned to the kind stranger that I dug her outfit and that my name was Sally, like the Burton character tattooed on her right deltoid. Beneath the skeleton makeup her eyes grew wide as we shared an excited eye conversation.

Sandwiched between these moments, however, was the Magic Royale, the peak of the magical moments, when José the tattooist spoke about his distain for TV and movies. He didn’t feel that watching a show was worth his time unless it was a documentary or informative program where he could learn something. He went on to say that often when his girlfriend watches Netflix, he sits beside her with his headphones in, drawing and jotting ideas in his notebook. It was as if he was speaking from my own internal experience, and when he added “I love working. My job is awesome and I want to be working as much as possible- it’s going home and doing nothing that stresses me out.” I knew that I was talking to a kindred spirit.

I’ve worked hard to create niches that combine all that I have to offer the world. I’m

Fortunate to have artistic expression, spirituality, playfulness and physical movement as major components of my career as a yoga teacher trainer and a summer time preschool teacher. I enjoy working and want to live in it! My way of relaxing is to work more! I dream of class solutions, I hold my students with me wherever I go and with all things I experience I look through a lens of how it can inspire and inform their practices. Taking in live music, hiking through the forest, spending time playing with children and animals- these are all seemingly non-related to my work, when deep down, it fuels my lesson plans and introduces dimensionality into my class structure and function. The world deepens my insight. In that sense, I’m working all the time, even when I sleep and eat, even when in conflict and resolution with my teenage daughter. On Halloween 2019, in the most unlikely of places, I found a soul in a different walk of life who shares my passionate sentiment that when you love your work, and work is your life, then Love is your life.

The Birth That Healed Us

On a full moon 4/27/10 Penny Gwyn began her descent to Earth. I was curled up sleeping with my 5 year old Violet when I awoke at the stroke of midnight with my water breaking. I woke up a sleeping Daniel “it’s really time! My water broke!” I had been 7 centimeters dilated for a week after 2 false labors, 2 trips to the birth center, 2 times sent back home once labor stopped. This was it! We woke our neighbor who stayed with sleeping Violet until my sister Heather could arrive, and off we went to Chapel Hill.

The entire car ride I was in transition, contractions coming quickly and with no time between them. We arrived at the birth center and had the choice of rooms- we were the only couple birthing a baby that night. We chose the peach room and Jewel our midwife guided us through the entire experience with grace and loving support. There were two wonderful nurses who assisted the midwife and I felt like a Goddess- surrounded by my women, with women surrounding my husband, supporting him, supporting me. My little sister Caroline arrived and was an angelic presence throughout the experience.

I danced through the birth- my arms draped around Daniel’s shoulders with his hands on my waist, then I’d switch partners and wrap my arms around my sister’s shoulders as she held my waist.

It was time to push after just 3 hours of labor- I began to squat and push but I feared the baby would hit the floor so I laid down in the bed and pushed that beautiful 8lb 10oz baby into the world at 3:06am on 4/28/2010! It was orgasmic. It was bliss. The weight of that sweet stubborn baby on my chest healed the trauma of Violet’s birth. I felt whole. Our family felt whole.

Backstory: I spent the entire 9 months of Penny’s pregnancy preparing my mind and body for the birth of my second child. Everything that went awry in Violet’s birth and infancy I was determined to re-write with Pennys birth and infancy. This was my second pancake and I was determined to achieve perfection.

My support system was different for this pregnancy at age 29: I had dozens of friends who had given birth and 90% of those friends were La Leche League members or leaders. With Vi’s birth at age 24, I didn’t have friends who had children, and breast feeding didn’t hold clout with my friends and family. Failing to breast feed Violet beyond 10 weeks was a source of deep guilt, defeat and incompetence for me. Not being able to have my body do the thing it was built to do (sustain the life of a child with my milk) was devastating and humbling. I was certain that Penny and I would discover breastfeeding success together. I’m happy to report that Penny nursed like a champ for 11 months when we both naturally weaned from the practice and she began people food.

The postpartum depression (not to be confused with postpartum psychosis) which followed Violet’s birth was a dark time in my life. At a time that “should” have been serendipitous and new, full of Love and delight, depression took hold and created a ravine between me and the outside world. My connection with the baby flourished, while my relationship with everyone else seemed distant. Even my amazing mom and my husband who were close and constant felt miles away- a tell tale sign of the chemical imbalance that is depression.

This second time around, I cut depression off at the pass and started therapy with a psychologist that focused on women’s health and post partum depression.

Emotionally, physically, familially, Pennys birth healed us ♥️.

Violet’s Earthly Premier

14 years ago tonight I was in labor with the child who would swoop in and transform my life beyond anything I could dream. I was 24 years old and had been feeling her spirit dance around me since I was in the 4th grade. This indigo child’s presence was strong and became a guardian angel to me the same year I discovered 2 truths: that death is not something to be feared because it is inevitable, and that no one on Earth can make me do anything I don’t want to do. Hell, maybe it was this spirit’s presence that whispered those epiphanies into my ear! 15 long years later, I was about to give birth to this child; to give a human body to house this sprite which I had come to know. As a child I didn’t walk around touting “there’s an unborn child that follows me around” because I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling AND I didn’t want to sound like a crazy person. By my early 20s, however, I was realizing that this benevolent spirit that traveled with me was waiting for me to make her a vessel to be born into. I knew Daniel was the right father. She had chosen him for me when I was 14, nudged me to marry him when I was 20 and finally here we were, Feb 18, 2005 6pm heading to Rex hospital to meet this creature.

When we arrived at the hospital I put on a gown that someone had probably died in an few hours earlier (thanks Jim Gaffigan for that tidbit) and our nurse was a lovely woman in her late 30s with an Irish accent. I gave her my birth plan and settled into a nest, turning off the fluorescent lights, setting up music and playing out the birth story that I had rehearsed in my head so many times. At 7pm the shifts changed and our lovely nurse was replaced by a woman my age who had just given birth 6 months prior and who told me repeatedly that I was going to want an epidural and not to hesitate to ask. I despised her. “Read my birth plan. Don’t say the word epidural to me again. Don’t even talk to me- just let me be.” My husband was refreshing my ice chips and trying to be supportive as he battled a nasty sinus infection which caused him to cough up mucus chunks loudly and often, then describe the color and consistency to me. I felt like I was in a crazy house. I went into isolation mode where I remained for the rest of the birth- if Daniel or the condescending nurse spoke to me I barked “no talking! I’m working!” Lots of rocking and meditating made the time pass swiftly. As the intensity grew stronger and the pain more widespread I suddenly remembered eating jalapeños for the first time and used that wisdom to accept the sensations I was feeling: “trying to make the jalapeño not be hot is pointless…trying to not feel the pain from this is pointless.” I was able to get inside the pain with my breath and allow it to be exactly as it was, knowing that it was impermanent and that a minute long vacation was coming. During some of those moments between contractions I fell into a deep sleep. I woke up fresh a minute later ready to surf the wave of pain and stay with it, accepting it. My mantra became “this is what this feels like. This is only what this feels like. This can’t feel any different than how it feels.”

At 2:19am on 2/19 my beautiful soul mate was born. I did it!!!! I was aware for the first time in many hours that my husband was there too. Inside the trance of labor, it was only Violet and I- working together- reaching from beyond- transcending time and space, to deliver this child into the world. Adrenaline rush….no epidural, no ibuprofen. Just my body and my baby.

But wait….she wasn’t crying. Something was wrong. The doctor and 2 nurses took the baby and left the room. I screamed “go! Go with them!!” to my frightened husband who wanted to stay by my side.

I cried hard. A love I didn’t even know was possible had blossomed the moment of her birth and then she was gone, without an explanation, without a trace. It was surreal. It was dark. I wasn’t afraid: I felt immortal, timeless, powerful, pure light, experiencing emotions my human body couldn’t comprehend. A nurse spoke softly to me “the baby wasn’t breathing well…..obstructed….mwah mwah mwah….NICU….” Adrenaline coursing hard through my veins, unable to stand on my wobbly post-birth legs, I cried harder and harder. I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless. Truly alone. I felt a fight in me that I had never felt before. In that moment I could kill. I would kill. I needed only to gain strength in my legs and then I would unleash a fury Raleigh had never seen. Dark and light would spew from my finger tips and toes and screams that wold deafen ears and break glass would shriek from every office in my face. I wanted my fucking baby. My body couldn’t take me to her. Nurses cleaned me and prepared my recovery room then finally placed me in a wheel chair and took me to the NICU.

When I entered the NICU I became soft- I shed another layer of judgement and preconceived notions. There, each in plastic incubator-esque boxes were 6 babies, 5 of them much smaller than mine, each ranging from 2-5 pounds, and then there was Violet 6lbs 13 oz looking like a hearty giant next to the tiny miracle babies. I was humbled. My husband had his hands inside the “petting tubes” for lack of a better description, and he was gently petting Violets cheek with on finger and holding her foot between two fingers of his other hand. I remembered then that he was a human that I loved, and he bent down and kissed me. He filled me in that Violet had aspirated too much fluid on the way out and the oxygen helmet she now wore was helping her breathe until her lungs were clear. She was hooked to a couple of monitors and sleeping peacefully. I reached my hands into the tubes and pet my baby. After some amount of time, a measurement that doesn’t seem real in a hospital environment, the nurses convinced me that I should take advantage of the down time and go sleep. “You should go recover now- you’ve been up through the night laboring and now it’s time to sleep. Violet will be ok and then the real work begins- please let the NICU nurses care for her until she’s ready to come to you.”

The hormonal roller coaster was almost unbearable. And then….I went numb. A switch turned off my emotions. I wasn’t terrified or happy or any registered feeling- I was a zombie in a hospital. When we got back to the room we curled up into our respective balls and watched America’s Funniest Home Videos until the sun came up. Then I slept. The belles of the ball, my angels, the lactation consultants and recovery nurses held me. They cried with me. They reassured me. They squoze my breasts and showed me how to pump my milk. They convinced me that it was ok to now take some ibuprofen. I remember the day nurse said “girl, you had a natural labor like you wanted. The labor is over. And it’s just ibuprofen. If you don’t take it to help yourself heal, you’re not being courageous and tough anymore- you’re being dumb.” This made me so happy- to have someone take charge and tell me what to do. It was the first time I remember feeling like everything would actually be ok. By now I could walk slowly and Daniel and I went to visit the baby. My mom and sisters and my In-laws were coming and going, visiting us and peering at Violet in the NICU. Daniel asked if he could feed the baby first, so he took the syringe full of colostrum and put it in the baby’s mouth. She slurped it right up and I felt my milk let down to see her eat. I asked the NICU nurse if I could try and feed her from my breast now that her oxygen helmet was gone. She agreed that this could be done but cautioned me that she wouldn’t latch and suck yet. She thought this was a great time to try skin to skin contact but that the baby wasn’t ready to feed. There we were, 16 hours post birth and I got to hold my precious child for the first time. She latched on to my breast and sucked like a champ. I giggled, and tears streamed down my face. Daniel too was crying and smiling. The whole entourage made up of family members were standing outside the NICU, witnessing our baby nurse for the first time.

14 years later- my intelligent, multi-talented, diligent, fierce, intuitive, exquisite beauty, Violet is still the light of my life. Thank you child, for choosing me.

Ex Ettiquite: How to date well after divorce.

This Valentine’s Day in honor of boundless LOVE making the world go ‘round, I wanted to share my thoughts on the “ex factor” when it comes to dating a divorced man or woman. Perhaps you’ve found a smart, sweet, funny, attractive and sensual person to spend your time with? Perhaps this person has never been in a relationship before and has a clean slate, beginners mind, no baggage and has just been working on their own self growth to prepare themselves for the day they met you. More realistically, this amazing person you’re into has an ex-factor or two- meaning, they’re the cat’s meow but they come attached to an ex who is in their life, meaning: their ex is also in YOUR life now.
In the past 5 years since my separation from my ex-husband, I’ve had the opportunity to experience the ex-factor from both angles: both being the ex-wife, contacting my ex-husband aka my children’s father, and being the girl-friend of a divorced man whos ex-wife (or ex-wives) contact him.
There’s no right way or wrong way to be in a relationship with an ex-factor. There are simple ways to minimize drama and maximize peace, enjoyment and ecstasy within your current relationship. The following requests are from my own experience and may or may not resonate with you! I’d love to hear your thoughts- send me feedback about what I’ve said and how its inline with or differs from your experience. 
Before I get started let me address the element of my respect for love in all its forms. If you have an ex, you must have at one point been in love, for which there is a deep respect and appreciation from me toward what you had in the past. Secondly, let me applaud your courage to move on, to answer to the call of your heart which you interpreted as saying, “this version of us is over.” Endings are not easy, even when they are warranted or desired. My hands at my heart center, I bow to you for the love you once felt for your ex and for the way you navigated your way to an existence without each other as partners.
Ex Ettiquite request 1: Ex-wives, ex-husbands, please don’t send photos of yourself to your ex. If you have children with your ex and you’d like to share with him/her what the child is doing and you happen to be in the pic, go ahead and edit yourself out. It takes 15 seconds to crop a pic, or better yet, take a new pic of just the child in half that time. Your life post-divorce is not a contest as to who’s doing things that are more fun, who’s bonding more with the child, who’s able to eat lunch at school with the child more often. If that IS a game you play, consider that the message you’re sending actually says “Hey! We’re here doing this cool thing together and all I can think of is you. And instead of spending time with our child and giving her/him my undivided attention, it’s more important to me that I take time out of this priceless moment to rub in your face how great my hair looks today.”
Do I sound bitter?  Its only because I’ve seen this from a few angles- if your ex didn’t want the divorce, they are in pain when they see pictures of you. How dare you exploit that, and thank you for showing me what kind of person you are, this early in the game. If it was your ex that wanted the divorce and you didn’t but are now feeling great about yourself and want them to see how happy and good looking you are now, I understand…and you’ve just friend-zoned yourself with me because you’re clearly not ready to be available and fully “in it” with me if you’re stuck on needing validation from your ex in order to move on. So thank you, either way, for exposing those characteristics. Reach me in a year if you’re ready and if I’m single let’s go ice skating and eat oysters together!

Would I ever in a million years send my ex a pic of me? No. Because sending imagery of yourself is for your new partner. I invite you to send your current sweetie pics of how great your hair looks, how genuine your smile is when you think of him/her, your beaming expression of pride when you finished that half marathon! If you’re single, rock it! Care for yourself, look great, take selfies and save them for when you’re ready for that blind date with a friend’s cousin or when you exchange numbers with that cutie from the coffee shop. 

Ex Ettiquite request 2: Don’t text your ex after 9pm. Why are you thinking of him/her after 9pm? Whatever it is, save it for 7am. If your ex has moved on and is dating, after 9pm is reserved for the new flame- they’re making out on the couch while Alexa is rockin the playlist they made together. They’re studying each-other’s eyes and bodies by candlelight as they tell each other all the dark and light secrets of their pasts. Out of respect for the new person, unless there is an emergency that involves the child, there is no reason you should assume that you have the right to reach into his/her down time between 9pm-7am. Even if you text at 5am, you’re probably interrupting their morning delight session. Let’s say your ex keeps his/her ringer off- its still highly inappropriate to text during this 9pm-7am window because when there’s a pause and he/she looks at his/her phone, when there are missed messages from you, they need to read them to be sure it’s not an emergency. This is not good for you- this creates resentment, this causes distractions that deter your ex from moving forward in a healthy respectful new chapter with a new soul, who could potentially be the next spouse for him/her. Once the newbie becomes the spouse, he/she holds a lot of power and you want to be in this person’s good graces. If you have children, this person could one day be your children’s step parent, another layered reason that you want to keep clear, honest, respectful intentions. 
If your ex isn’t dating, you still don’t need to reach out after 9pm. If you find yourself doing so, ask yourself, “why am I still relying on him/her as the person that’s there for me at night?” Perhaps its time you looked into reconnecting with old friends, making new ones or writing in a journal. This is a new version of your relationship with your ex, remember? Change can be hard. But you’ve got this! Use that 7am-8:59pm time frame to get in all your requests, information exchanges, etc. 


Ex Etiquette request 3: Know what constitutes an emergency and what does not. Your dismay at your teenager’s behavior in school today is very important to share. You can share that before 9pm. It’s not an emergency. An emergency is “our child has a fever or 104, Im taking her to the ER. Meet us there?” Another emergency would be “My dad is on his death bed, we’re leaving now to drive through the night and say goodbye. I need the children now.” Non-emergencies would be “When are you going to pay me that $ you owe me for the girls’ gymnastics classes?” and  “Ive really got to get child care coverage next week when Im in Vegas for work. Can you cover me?” You know when you could ask those things? 7am tomorrow. If you MUST get these urgent needs fired off, email them. Nobody’s gonna stop their naked cookie-baking dance party to check an email that comes in, so this is a safe way to cover your needs without interrupting the love birds.

Ex Ettiquite request 4: Newbie: don’t compare yourself to the ex. Ex: don’t compare yourself to the newbie. Making yourself miserable is all that will ever come from judging yourself in comparison to someone else. You’re bound to exaggerate their skills and characteristics, and even if you completely accurate with qualities you assign to the person you compare yourself to: does that person’s awesomeness somehow take away from your amazing-ness? She can be an Engineer for Tesla with perfect breasts AND you can still be a fantastic mom who dances gracefully and can beat any opponent at chess.

Ettiquite request 5: You’re special. Please don’t guilt trip your ex for experiencing things with someone else before you. Everything your new man or new woman does with you is the FIRST time he or she has done it with you. Falling in love is full of firsts. You can’t go back in time and be his first outdoor movie under the stars. You can’t go back in time and make her a mother. Remember that this person in front of you, enchanting you with her smile, giving you electric goose bumps with his touch- this person is the way he/she is because of the collection of experiences he/she had before meeting you. This is the first moment of the rest of your lives. Whether this person becomes significant and you grow old together or if this person serves as a flashlight into something you needed to know you wanted or didn’t want, every single thing you do together now is New. It’s the First time. Relationships are ephemeral. Enjoy every breath and notice all the magical moments along the way.

On Valentine’s Day and every day, be gentle with yourself. Be as slow as you need to be. There’s no rush. Just like an Instagram post will tell you: Ease into and trust the unfolding of your life. 💗

Birth Chart Trajectory

I’ll never forget the first time I had my birth chart read by a Vedic scholar. “Oh wow! You’ve got a strong chart,” he said.

The bad news was that I have Venus in retrograde in Taurus, indicating that I am never satisfied in romantic relationships, but I pledge misplaced loyalty to my partner and stay in the relationship long past it’s expiration. Oh, and this placement of Venus in the 7th house reflects into my first house of self, indicating that I obsessively try to fix the relationship to make it fit into a mold that doesn’t exist.

“All of this can be peaceful and enjoyable as long as you cultivate a deep self-love and allow your partner to simply be the cherry on top- you dear, are the ice cream.”

The good news (phew- yes please after that harsh news) is that I have a well placed Mars in the 10th house indicating excellence and satisfaction in career with strong ambition and life organization.

My Pisces Moon in the 5th house indicates a playful, wise disposition capable of daydreaming life into the exact shape I most desire.

Sun in Gemini allows me to adapt easily to change, make friends quickly, strike a conversation with anyone and light up a room with charisma. This is especially useful when lightening up my Scorpio rising- the aspect of myself that is deep, dark, sensual, mysterious, possessive and intense.

Knowing these things about myself and having useful, practical methods to overcome these tendencies has helped me to not get in my own way in life!

Want to know more about your trajectory based on your birthdate and time? Pop over to the services menu on my website and help yourself to a reading!

To the man who bullied me with interrogation at dinner 2 weeks ago…

My hair may not be blonde anymore, and I haven’t played softball in a couple of decades, but that fierce look on my face and the intensity of my own dignity and self preservation persists in my now 37 year old body and soul.

I was bullied once in 6th grade. A child much bigger than me was spewing hateful words at me on the bus ride home. I gathered all the intensity I have and said very clearly, “Every word coming out of your face makes me feel sad for you.” I turned back around in my seat and tried not to cry until I got home, where I soon forgot all about it. The next day and every day for the remainder of middle school, that child had nothing mean to say to me.

Recently at dinner with my best friend and a vicarious friend, enjoying the food as well as the weather on the restaurant patio, our conversation turned from congenial interaction to oppressive authoritarian-style grilling. The first time this friend of a friend asked me why I thought I would be successful in my new business venture, I was delighted with the platform to show my passionate excitement for Revive Wellness. I outlined in succinct detail, my business plan and marketing strategy.

My answer seemed to fuel him to shake his head “no” and get louder when he asked the second time why I thought I could be successful. This time I was on the defense- my smile fading, as I calmly explained again my desire to be a source of light and love in the world and to empower people to find their own healing potential through therapeutic yoga, spiritual counseling and massage.

Projecting himself loudly and with a sharpness in his voice he demanded again,
“what makes you think you can be successful? Why are you going to be successful? I don’t care about your certifications, I want to know how you’re going to be successful!”

My defenses were fully up at this point and I said, “Failure is not an option. I won’t fail.”

“Failure is absolutely an option. You can fail. Why are you going to be successful? Convince me,” he said, seeming to grow more comfortable and delighting in seeing me struggle to defend myself.

I was feeling small as I mustered the strength to say “I don’t need to convince you of anything. I can’t control external forces, but Im going to do my best to provide what I know is a needed service, and that is success.”

He backed off slightly for a moment and then said, “I believe you will succeed. But only this much,” and he held up his thumb and pointer finger an inch apart.

I stood up and said, “I have better ways to spend my time. I don’t want to be here with you anymore.” I walked away and cried behind a brick pillar while I waited for my Uber to take me home. “Everything coming out of your face right now makes me sad for you,” is maybe what I should have said, but as an adult that seems a little snarky.

On the ride home I thought, “why is this upsetting me so? I know that its nothing personal- he has some deluded sense that he was helping me outline a strategy for success. He’s jealous of the freedom in my life’s choices. He has a different definition of success than I do. Of course I can fail, but Pema Chodron says Fail, Fail again. Fail Better. I may fail, but failure is just another chance to grow and change and try again.”

This effort of starting a new business after starting my life over again is deeply pleasurable and exciting for me. My life is already a success story! I don’t need nor desire a 6 figure income and the stress load that comes with it. I want to work part time and make enough money to support my sweet children, continue traveling the world, quenching my soul by learning how to love more fully and deeply, caring for my body so that I have a healthy vessel to carry out the rest of my life on this lush planet. I want to see Iceland with my closest friends! I want to take my daughter to Hawaii! I want to volunteer in middle and high-school, teaching mindfulness based techniques to bolster children with tools for coping with stress and pain and standing up to bullies! I want to help women and men tap into their own authenticity and find happiness through balanced, blissful health in their body, mind and soul! This is happening. I will be successful. I am already successful.


Sally Raspberry LMBT 2550, RYT 200

Owner- Revive Wellness, Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Practitioner


Seed Sound of Your Sprit

This weekend in Banner Elk, with snow on the deck and a fire crackling in the fireplace, we chanted bija mantras- the seed sounds of each of the Chakras. It occurs to me that in searching for balance, we are actually seeking to tune the seed sound of our beings.

You have an Essential nature, a True self, a Unique vibrational signature that you bring to the world. Without effort, simply by existing in your own Nature, you contribute something to the world that no other being can duplicate. This phenomenon is what indigenous peoples call your Original Medicine. Many external factors can bring us out of alignment from our True self/Original Medicine. Finding our balance by bringing that which we need more of into our lives, we restore the potency of our Essence and in doing so, we restore that which we contribute to the world simply by Being.

Using the Universe as your pharmacy, find the medicine and magic that keep you thriving!

Maybe you need more softness in your life, more playfulness? (More Kapha)

…Try sitting down with a cat or a dog and petting them for 20 minutes a day.

…try the mantra “with ease”

…play with a child, not a one-dimensional pre established board game with rules and logic, but a game the child invents or you and the child invent together. Stay present for 20 minutes- no phone or past/future interruptions.

Maybe you need more grounding? (Kapha)

…Walk barefoot on the earth.

…Get your feet in the mud or soil.

…Breathe fully into your belly and retain the breath for 3-5 seconds before exhaling slowly with constricted throat. Notice the prana that enters your Root Chakra with the breath, and stays there with the retention.

…place a sandbag or lightly weighted object on your belly as you lay down on your back. Or rest in child’s pose with a sandbag or weighted item on your lower back.

Maybe you need to cool down, slow down?(more Kapha)


…Spend a couple of hours in the woods. Look up! Look down! Let yourself feel the enormity of what you see.

…curl your tongue in a roll or just stick your tongue out and pull in breaths through your mouth. Feel the cool air coming in over your tongue. Long, slow inhalations. Even longer, slower exhalations.

Maybe you need more energy and fire (Pitta) in your life?


…Try kapalabhati pranayama breaths https://m.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-practice-kapalabhati-pranayama-in-yoga/

…use the rattle to awaken your inner warrior and the bells to awaken your inner visionary: find what fuels you

…Eat more inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers

Maybe you need more inspiration (Vata) in your life?



…eat raw foods and drink raw juice

…use the sticks to break your attachment to things being a certain way

…pick more dandelions and blow their seeds- make a wish!

Sculpt the life that brings you balance, health and true happiness. Everyday is a reset button, everyday a fresh new start.

Snowy, snowy day.

Snowy, snowy day.

2018 feels as clear and crisp as the white blanket of snow covering the landscape outside my window this morning. The focus and determination I feel has a quality of softness- different than the intense, sharp focus I felt last summer.

Such is Ayurveda!!!

The energy of frenetic, excited, anxiety-wrought Vata is subsiding and making way for Kapha- a subtle, playful, peaceful lackadaisical energy which governs this part of winter, and will reach gently into the beginning of Spring.
These days you may find that you’re dozing more easily, slipping into naps when available and that rising from the warm snuggles of bed in the morning creates rancor. This simply means you’re in tune with Nature! Welcome to Kapha season. Embrace the inertia when you can, and enjoy the cool stillness…preferably wrapped in warm blankets and sipping some Ginger or Licorice tea.
Staying balanced during this time calls for some warming activities, so as not to let your pendulum swing into full-on lethargy territory. Establish a simple daily practice that utilizes breath and balance to build strength in your legs, core and arms and promotes flexibility in your hips and shoulders. Can you spare 5-10 minutes before your daily routine to add these warming practices to the cold Kapha energy which is currently pervading everything? If you can add just a little Pitta heat to your routine, you’ll save yourself from slothy winter blahs that may otherwise settle-in come February.

From my cozy bed, propped with pillows and surrounded by blankets, hot tea on my night stand and electric fire place at my feet- I am creating my 5-10min plan to bring some hot Pitta energy to my Kapha desires of chillin 24/7.

Winter Plan:
Ask Alexa to play Beats Antique.
50-100 squats
Mountain pose: engage quads. Engage muladhara bandha and uddiana bandha.
Prayer Hands to heart Center. Set intention to be a source of Love and Light in the world. Send intention into my hands and reach to the ceiling/sky, releasing intention to the Universe. Root into a balance pose: Tree, Dancer, Warrior 3. Alternate sides.
Fold forward, letting head hang down in dangle pose. Hold the stretchy edge for 2 minutes. Lower all the way to the floor or mat passing through Malasana Goddess pose. Extend legs and arms into Navasana and hold for 1-2 minutes. Release into brief savasana. Boom

Later this year I will travel to Asheville 4 times, Pilot Mountain 3 times, and once each to Banner Elk, Kentucky, Arizona, California, New York, Maine and Kure Beach! At least for now, I’m grateful for this cold, sweet season to rest, restore and nurture my stillness, warming myself up just enough to stay excited by the magic of everyday life.