Episode 40 – Setting Intentions and Manifesting Love
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode Rachel shares her intentions for 2018 and invites her listeners to join in. Setting intentions for the new year is a deeply spiritual practice and to find out what we want to manifest we need to begin by looking at what we have struggled with during the year that’s passed! Rachel talks about how the idea of losing weight, starting a new exercise regimen and changing who we are is always doomed to fail and that to find long-lasting balance we need to look at what lies beneath wanting to change who we are. She opens up about her own resolutions and challenges; how can you learn to slow down when it’s in your nature to move? How do you ask for help when you’re used to doing everything for yourself? How can we make space for healing in a world that constantly demands us to perform and be perfect?
[00:00] Hi, and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. You guys! It’s the last podcast episode of the year! Can you believe it? I don’t know, it’s crazy how fast this year has just flown by. I can’t believe I’m sitting down to record the last episode of this podcast, which coincidentally is the 40th episode of the podcast as well. Number one, I’m blown away by the community created around this podcast, how many of you … we have over a half a million people listening every single month … and how many of you have really made this podcast a weekly thing! Like, this is part of your routine. So many of you write in. Friday morning, it’s podcast day. You go walk your dogs, or you’re with your baby or you commute to work, and you’re listening in every week the same, tuning in to connect. So, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for listening.
[01:05] Number two, I just have to say, I’m really, kind of, quite impressed with myself for committing to such a big feat. Sitting down to record this podcast every week, it’s a pretty big thing. It’s a big commitment. It’s not like I can go one week and say, “Oh, I don’t feel like recording podcast.” Even though some weeks have been more challenging than others, this has really become one of my favorite things. Actually, although I’m connecting with half a million people out there, it’s become a quiet moment for me to sit down and drop in. So, I’m grateful for you for providing me the space to sit here and do this every single week.
[01:44] When I recorded the very first podcast episode, so 40 weeks ago, I had a one week old baby. Lea Luna was just one week old. I was really nervous to record the podcast, I had never done one of my own before in my life. I was so structured about it. I was going to record the birth story, so if you haven’t heard the very first podcast episode and you want to hear how Lea Luna was born, it’s quite intense. You can listen in. But I prepared sooo much. I had a whole thread and some notes that I wanted to touch on, and I kind of decided how I wanted the story to go. I planned so much. I was prepared to edit things out, I started over. I wanted everything to be perfect. And then, of course, that lasted for all of one week, and since then I’ve come back to my very normal, kind of spontaneous and crazy, hectic, natural ways of just sitting down and recording what is present.
[02:40] In the spirit of the podcast From The Heart, so where am I right now in my life? What am I sitting with right now? What’s manifesting in my life right now? I have to share, this is so interesting … So, about an hour and a half ago I sat down and I started recording the podcast for this week, and I was really on a roll. Like, I was, I don’t know, I was 15 minutes in, and I was on a roll, I was talking about my intentions and resolutions for the new year, and then I just glance at my watch, and I saw, “Oh shit! In one minute I have an astrology reading that I had completely forgotten about!” My ex-assistant, an old friend, set up an astrology reading with an astrologer who is really, I’m going to say, really really really, like, recognized and amazing. Her name is Debra Silverman. She just, my ex-assistant texted me and said, you know what? You had this podcast that you did with Trevor Hall, Trevor talked about her on the show, and apparently a bunch of people went to get readings with her, she would love to give you a reading of your chart, if you’re interested. This was two days ago.
[03:44] I was like, “Sure!” I’m not super into astrology. I know very little about astrology. I’ve never had me full chart, like, read before. My friend Ashley sometimes shares little snippets about me and my chart and stuff like that, but I know very little about astrology. I was just really open-minded, and I said yeah. And then, of course, I forgot I had the appointment, and then I sat down and I recorded the podcast, and then a minute before my appointment I was like, “Oh shit!” So, I decided to hit pause on the podcast. I was like, you know, I’m just going to pause, because I was in a really good flow, and then I’ll do the reading, and then I’ll go back and press play and keep recording.
[04:17] But, of course, now Debra blew my mind and my heart wide open. So, there’s no going back to what I had recorded before. I’m starting fresh, because I’m in a totally different mindset right now. Wow. Wow wow wow wow. Anyone out there, I mean, I think this is specifically in the yoga community and this line of work that I am in, we talk about astrology a lot. As I said, I don’t know much. I’m a Libra, that’s my sun sign. I’m not really … invested, I would say. I’m not really invested. It’s not like I don’t believe in astrology or anything like that, I’m just not as invested as other people in the community are. I never had this big, giant reading before. I just, I have to say, my … I don’t know, I’m just sitting here smiling right now because of how on point EVERYTHING she told me was. Kind of mind-blowing.
[05:18] Of course, you can find anyone who’s skeptic out there. Of course, I am a very google-able person. Anyone can head over to my social media accounts and find out a lot of stuff about me. But, just, what she shared with me was nothing like that. It was really … So how it works is, basically, you share the moment you were born, so not just the day and the year, but the actual down to the minute and location of where you were born. So, depending on how the stars and the planets are aligned, it sets up your character … Your characteristics as a person. It sets up your destiny, where you come from and where you’re going to. It’s … I’m blown away by how correct all of this was. What I really, really focused on in the reading is things I should be working on in the New Year, I guess, for my personality. What are my challenges? What are my big challenges, and how can I make space for what I need in my life?
[06:19] It’s really interesting, I had that reading today, I’m recording the podcast about ending the year today, and for me, when I set intentions for the new year … So, first off, I don’t love the word “resolution.” I don’t know why. It just doesn’t really resonate with me. I always go with intentions, because I’m used to setting intentions when I teach, for when I practice it has a little bit more of a sacred feel, to me. But, what I like to do, instead of just on a whim deciding, okay well what do I want for the new year? It’s a new chapter, a new beginning, new year. I like to look back at the year past, so 2017, the year past, what have been my big challenges? What challenges am I sitting with right now? Where is there space for me to heal some wounds? Where is there space for me to improve, to evolve, to grow, and to learn? I use those challenges from the past year to create my intentions for the new.
[07:18] I would love to invite everyone listening right now, if you could just maybe hit pause on this podcast right now. Go grab yourself a notebook and a pen, if you have it available. Unless you’re driving a car, of course, in which case just stay tuned and continue listening as you are. Don’t text and drive. Don’t journal your intentions and drive, I should say. But you can always look back to this later and just find a notebook and a pen. If you don’t have a notebook, you can use your phone. This is, I think, a really important piece. We use our phones so forking much. I mean, is there a moment in your day when you don’t have your phone right next to you, or in your hand? We’re always on our phones, all the time. I am deep in the practice of trying to make my phone, or keep my phone, as sacred as possible. Because I spend so much time with it, working, social media, connecting with my friends, all of this stuff, I really really really try to make a point to only connecting with my phone in a way that’s actually grounding, and that helps me stay present. It’s easy to get sucked into this endless scrolling on Instagram, and left and right, comments from people that you don’t even care about, to get sucked into things that maybe aren’t as mindful.
[08:31] So, what I love to do is I have on my very first screen, when you open the home screen, I guess it’s called, on the iPhone, when you press the button and it opens? There’s nothing there. I put all my apps on the next page. Whenever I open my phone, there’s just nothing. I put a beautiful picture of the baby, I have a little lotus flower on their now, so I don’t have to open my phone and there is everything right away, bombarding me. There’s just nothing, so that I can mindfully decide, where am I going in my phone? Am I just pulling up my phone because I’m bored? I’m not present, I’m not paying attention to what’s happening in the moment? Or, am I consciously doing something? I’m like, I’m going to post something on Instagram, or I’m going to call someone, or I’m going to text someone, or I’m going to check my email. I want it to be a conscious decision, so I don’t just sit there scrolling through everything. Because there’s a lot that happens on our phone at any given moment.
[09:19] Then the first app that I have at the top left corner is my Notes app. If you’re not using your Notes app, I highly suggest you start. It’s just, I don’t always have my notebook with me, and of course it’s a much more present thing, to have a notebook and a pen and sit and journal every day. It’s a really important practice to keep. But we don’t always have our notebook, and I don’t like to use that as an excuse to not write down my thoughts or epiphanies, or challenges, or anything that comes my way.
[09:50] I use the Notes app, I have thousands of notes there. Whenever I have a realization of any kind, or, you know, anything profound comes my way, I write it in the Notes app. It really helps to create this … It helps make my phone a more integrated part in not just my day-to-day work life and social media, stuff like that, but also it can be part of a spiritual practice if you use it the right away.
[10:15] So, what I’m getting at is if you don’t have a notebook, use your Notes app! Throughout this podcast, anything that resonates with you, that you want to use for your own spiritual practice, or your own practice of setting intentions for the new year, write it down. Okay? It’s a really important thing. I’m going to be journaling as I record, because that’s how … that’s how we arrive. At least for me, that’s how I arrive at my most important points is by sharing them.
[10:40] So, recording this podcast is also, interestingly, become this very sacred, sacred part of my life. So, I have my notebook right here, I know already sort of what, you know, of course I know in the major way what things I have that I want to work on for the next year, and that I really want to make space for. But then this astrology reading I just had helped bring me so much clarity.
[11:05] So, let me start at the beginning. One of the things that I really … and I’m always struggling with. I guess it’s part of my day-to-day struggle, is I have a really hard time slowing down. Anyone who knows me, my friends and family, I mean, I’m sure you guys can see this from social media and from afar as well. I do a lot of things, I have a lot of things going on at the same time. I run a lot of businesses, we have a lot of employees, I have a lot of initiatives, and I’m always busy, I’m always doing things, I’m always going places, I’m always doing, doing, doing, doing. My challenge is to slow down. I know this, for a fact, of course. But because I know I should be slowing down, like I have this little thing in the back of my mind. “Oh my god, I should relax more. I should stop working, I should I should I should.” It kind of has made me feel a little bit guilty about always moving so quickly. Do you know what I mean? If you have someone always tell you, like, “Oh my god, you should really be relaxing.” I should be meditating more, I should be quiet more, I should be making space to be still. But it’s really hard for me! I always find myself in movement all the time.
[12:12] So, whenever I hear that little voice of like, “Oh my god, relax!” It makes me guilty, and then I feel like, wow, I should get better at relaxing! (laugh) And then relaxing and taking time to be still becomes another thing I should do, so I add it to my to-do list. Can you believe it? Now, during the holidays, my mom is here, two of my sisters are here, and of course Dennis and the baby. We’ve had a really beautiful Christmas. It’s been so nice, we’ve just been home, we haven’t had all of these major things to do. Then I’m realizing, for me, just being home, it still means, like, I’m teaching a bunch of times a week and recording the podcast, I’m still uploading to social media, I’m still doing my emails. I think my version of relaxing is probably a normal person’s day-to-day life? I don’t know.
[12:59] We just built a pool at the house, and this is just absolutely crazy that this is happening right now. I’ve had the dream to build a pool at the house since we moved in, which was four years ago. We have this BIG big big backyard, but nothing grows. It’s just a patch of dirt. There’s nothing there. We live on the desert side of Aruba, so there’s only rocks and cacti and aloe vera. Everything that grows can kind of hurt you. It’s big patch of dirt. I had this dream to put in a pool. Of course, it’s really expensive, and then we never had time, or we never had the money, and money had to go somewhere else. Then this year I had this epiphany that, okay, I’m working working working working working, I never take the time to reward myself. Ever. There’s never, just for the family, something that I want to create for us. I always, anything I make, I put it back into the company, or we invest it somehow for growth, or it’s spent. We have loans and things we’re paying off. We don’t have a savings account, at all. And I work really hard, but I never have, like, a reward at the end of the day. I’m just used to living like that. But I had that epiphany this year of like, “Wow, maybe it’s time that I do something for me, like, for me, what do I want at the end of the year just to feel like all of this work, it’s providing me with something?” Like a space to relax, a space to be, to enhance the quality time we spend at home in the family.
[14:21] And, of course, the pool is the number one big thing, it’s always in the back of my mind. So, I decided to go for it, and Dennis is the voice of reason in the family, he always says no to everything. Of course his response was, “No, you’re crazy, that’s too much, we can’t do that, no.” Then I bought Tim, the pool guy, to the house, and I said, “Dennis, meet Tim, he’s the pool guy. He’s going to put in a pool, it’s going to be done by Christmas.” So, I took charge, and now it finished. Christmas morning, or Christmas eve morning, which in Sweden is our Christmas morning, we celebrate on the 24th, we got to take the first dip in the pool, which was so beautiful.
[14:56] It’s totally changed how we live. We normally, like, we spend a lot of time indoors, it’s really windy, and it’s so hot outside, so you can’t really sit outside in the sun, but now that we have the pool, we can. Then, everyone was around the pool relaxing, and I was running in and out. Like, I was preparing food, and then I was taking out some drinks, and then I realized one of the rooms was really messy and I started organizing it, and I started cleaning some stuff out. I decided, wait, we have to put this thing up on the wall in the baby’s room. We forgot to put a lamp up, I need the drill. Then my mom was saying, “Hey! You never sit down! Can you just sit. Still.” I was like, “Oh shit.” Okay, yes, I should be relaxing, I should be relaxing. And then I sat down for a second, and then I realized, oh wait, I have this book that I really want to read. So, I ran in and I got the book, and then I found something else to do, and then the baby woke up, and then … you know. All of this happens. This is just life.
[15:49] My mom has been really telling me, these days, like, “You need to slow down, you need to learn how to relax.” And now that I had this reading just a moment ago, the first thing that Debra says, she’s like, “Wow! You are not meant to be still. I bet it drives you crazy when people tell you to relax, when people tell you to slow down and stop.” I was like … Yes! But I know I should stop. I should relax. She says, “No no no. You shouldn’t do anything other than what you’re doing. Telling you to sit down and to stop and to relax, it’s offensive, because it’s not part of your personality. It’s not part of who you are. All you have is this fire and this drive and this discipline, and this movement. So, living with this idea that you should be still totally contradicts everything you are, and you need to drop that, right away.”
[16:40] When she said that, honestly, I felt this weight kind of lift off of my shoulders. I’m like, “Oh my god! What a relief!” To not have to think that I always should be slowing down. Because it’s not in my nature to slow down. At all. It was a really nice confirmation just to hear that. Okay, maybe I don’t have to fight this nature of mine, which is to move, to be fiery, to do things, to get things going, to get things moving. I think that’s why I’m really happy right now. Maybe I’ve been trying to fight my own nature by trying to slow down when it’s not who I am.
[17:15] Then what she said, which was also really good, she goes, “Of course everyone needs to replenish themselves and to make space for healing and to relax and all of those things, it’s important to make space for that in your life, but when it comes to a person who has movement and fire as part of their nature, it doesn’t just happen.” She says, “You need to first move, do, organize, work, get things done, go practice yoga, get moving, go swim, go run, do something, be active. And then, relaxation will follow.” She said, “Aren’t you like the type of person who you love having a really long hard day’s work, and then you sit down and you have a glass of wine?” And I’m like, yes! That’s totally me! That’s everything, everything. But I always have this idea that I shouldn’t have that glass of wine at the end of the day, because, you know, I shouldn’t be drinking wine. She said, “What!? It’s beautiful. It’s perfect. That’s how you relax. That’s a natural way for you to wind down at the end of the day. And it needs to happen after the movement. You could just wake up in the morning and now you’re on vacation because it’s Christmas and you just do nothing. No! You need to have that movement first, and then you enjoy a glass of wine, or you go float in the pool, or you go practice yoga, you do something calm. Meditate. But it has to follow something really intense.” And I LOVE THIS. I love this. I feel like that just allowed me permission (laugh) to keep moving, because it’s totally in my nature.
[18:38] So, how this is helping me now narrow my resolutions down, or narrow my intentions down is I have it at the very top of my list. It says, “Receive.” Do you resonate with that word? Receive? So instead of “slow down” “relax” “stop.” It says Receive. That phrasing, it’s totally, totally, totally different. So, what I want to make space for next year is much more receiving. Because I do a lot of giving, a lot of doing. I have much more space for receiving. Which might mean getting a massage. It might mean, yeah, making space for more meditation in my life. It might mean, yeah, making space for alone time with Dennis, for us to go out to eat and just be a couple. But the idea of receiving, such as sitting back and maybe letting other people provide me with what I need. I’m really bad at that, and that’s what I want to make space for next year, because I think it would help replenish me in a really deep way, but without this idea that I have to stop or be different than I am. Is that resonating with you? It’s really resonating with me. Because the idea of stopping, the idea of slowing down, it doesn’t resonate with me, because I don’t know how to do it! I don’t know how to do it. But the idea of Receiving, after having worked really hard, that I can do, you know? That totally, totally makes sense.
[19:58] So, I’m writing down now, okay, in my notebook, “Slow down, relax.” And then I scratch it over and it says, “Receive.” Receive. So, what I’m going to make space for next year is really having that time to receive. And I think, specifically to body work, astrology, holy shit, I want more than that. (sigh)
[20:21] I want alone time with my husband. All the ways in which I feel like I’m replenished. I want to have that glass of wine at the end of the day, and I want none of the guilt. So actually, guilt-free receiving. That is at the top of my intention list. Guilt-free receiving. Who else has that little voice in the back of your head that tells you you should be doing thing differently? Or, like, I love my glass of wine at the end of the day. Does not mean that I have, like, and alcohol problem. Does not mean that I’m an alcoholic. Does not mean that it’s a bad, horrible thing. I don’t have it every single day. But when I do, I would like to enjoy that glass of wine all the way. Really immerse myself in that glass of wine, and really enjoy the shit out of that wine, without having any type of voice in the back of my head that tells me I should be drinking tea instead. Fork that! All in for the wine at the end of the day, guilt-free ways to receive.
[21:18] So, part of that, I look back at 2017, so I had a baby this year, and part of what Debra was just telling me now, she said, “Six to nine months ago something major happened in your life. Like, major major major major.” I said, well, I had a baby. Totally changed the entire course of my life. I can see what a lesson she is for me. Like, really. Everything that I’ve had to learn this year, and a lot of that revolves around letting go of control, around slowing down when needed, you know? Because I had the baby, and I couldn’t keep going at the pace that I was moving. Even the birth was a total lesson. If you loop back and listen to The Birth Story episode, a total lesson in letting go of control, like total lesson of me not being in control. Actually, what I had to do during labor as well, because I had this idea that I was going to have a perfect birth at home, I was going to be in the birth tub, it was going to be totally natural, no hospital, no doctors, nothing. Just me, the midwife, and Dennis, and a doula, we had a doula. And that didn’t happen. We had the whole labor at home. I had 18 hours of laboring, listening to mantra music and burning palo santo, and supported by Dennis and really peaceful and all of that. And then I came to a point where all I wanted was I wanted help. I was trying to explain this to Debra, the astrologer just now, she asked me to explain the birth and how did it go. And she said, “Oh, so you went to the hospital. Oh, so you had a C-section?” I said, “No no no, I didn’t have a C-section.” “Oh, so you had some drugs? You had some pain relieving?” And I said, “No no no. I was still the same. It was just the moment I arrived at the hospital, something changed.
[23:03] I think the idea was that I was so intent that I had to do all of this on my own. I was alone giving birth, it was just me, I am the only one who can do this. And then the moment we arrived at the hospital, it was like, “Okay, I could ask for help.” And I let go of some of that control, and I really just asked for help. Without anything shifting in terms of drugs or a C-section or anything like that, I still had a natural labor, but I allowed myself to be supported, which I wasn’t allowing at home, because I felt like I had to do everything on my own. That, I’m realizing … That’s the lesson that Lea Luna, that was her first lesson to me, as a mom, you know? It’s okay to ask for help.
[23:45] It’s okay to ask for help. That is number two on my intentions list. I want to ask for more help. I’m going to write that down right now. Ask for help. So, it’s okay to ask for help! That’s a huge lesson of mine, like a really big … I look back at this year, that’s something that I struggled with soooo much. There’s something engrained in me where I think asking for help, it’s like failing at something. I have to do everything on my own, I have to do everything perfectly, and I’m the only one with a burden of everything. Like, all of life hangs on me. If I don’t do it myself, it’s not going to happen. That’s just … you know, number one, simply not true. I’m surrounded by super capable, amazing people that can help and support me.
[24:30] As well, it makes me feel really alone. It makes me feel really lonely. If I’m the only one who can do everything, then everything is on my shoulders. I am ultimately responsible for whether or not the universe, you know, the earth keeps on spinning! Like, that’s not true, and it’s a heavy burden to carry. So, I can really see so many moments, especially moments of struggle, moments when I felt overwhelmed, moments when I felt … I had one moment this past year where I really felt like, okay, I’m going to burn out now. I have to just completely stop. I can’t do this on my own anymore. It was not at all related to what’s happening in work. It was just me feeling like I didn’t have the support that I needed, which wasn’t true. Then I asked people around me, “Well why aren’t you here for me in this and that regard?” The answer is always, “Well we didn’t think you wanted it!” Everyone thinks that I want to do everything by myself, which I do, but it’s not what I need, right? I need help, I need more support. So, it’s not the fact that I don’t have that support around me, it’s the fact that I need to receive it. So, again, it loops back to my number one thing, which is Receive. I need to allow it, right? Ask for help, and then when help is provided, receive. Take the help in.
[25:45] So, asking for help is a really big point. Whether that’s for help with the baby, which my husband does so beautifully, and I’m so so so grateful … But help with anything. I think so many of us have that engrained feeling, like, okay … Like it’s failing, asking for help. Well, where can I look in my life? Where can I look around and actually see resources that maybe already are available. Maybe we’re going through life with the struggle of not having enough space, not having enough time, not having enough money, not having enough resources to get by, or to get support where we need it. But maybe it’s it’s already there, we’re just not inviting it in. So, that’s definitely, definitely a really big thing.
[26:26] Then, looking back at this year, something that’s a recurring theme in my life, and I don’t know if this is just me, or if you feel it too … I am SO so so good (laugh) at focusing on what doesn’t work. Like, really good at focusing on what doesn’t work. It’s kind of like my mind is just a little troubleshooter. So, I can enter any situation, or I can enter the studio, or wherever I am in life, and I just look for the flaws, I look for what isn’t working.
[26:58] So, as an example, I just taught a big class this morning here at Island Yoga. When I walk into the studio I’m like a hawk. So, from the moment when I’m parking the car behind the studio, it’s really full. The parking lot is overflowing, I could barely turn my car around, and I know people getting in and out of this parking lot are going to have a really hard time. Then I see that we have the Island Yoga car, one of our trucks here, is parked in the back. And I’m like, “Why is the staff parking the car here when we have 54 people in class and it’s packed and we need students to park here?” So then I write it down, like, “Okay, my god, Parking Situation. Fix it!” Then I realize, okay wait, actually we need to make little lines in the ground in the parking lot, because we don’t have designated squares. It’s like a dirt road thing going here. It’s Aruba. If we did that, it would be much easier for people to park in a smarter way. We could fit more cars. So then I write that, okay wait, we have to get these parking lines drawn in. And then I go inside, into the café, and the music I feel like is a little low. I’m like, why isn’t the music louder so that we have the ambience in the café? Then I see there’s like a chair out of place and why isn’t that put in the right thing? Then I see that they sold one of the paintings in the café but they didn’t replace it with another painting, so the wall looks off, you know? All of this happens in the span of, like, one minute. I’m realizing like chk, chk, chk … This needs fixing, someone didn’t water this plant, someone didn’t do that. You know?
[28:22] Living life this way, as an entrepreneur, yes, it’s a good thing, we want to look out for what needs to be improved, what needs to be fixed, where we can do better. Yes. But, if we get stuck in that thinking, if we get stuck in that mindset of, “oh my god everything is bad! Nothing works. Look at the parking spot and then look at that plant and then look at the chair and then look at the music and look …” All this stuff. That’s a really shitty mindset to keep, and also it’s really hard to make good change, keeping that mindset. It’s really hard to motivate people in a good way if you’re angry about the stuff that doesn’t work. So, if I have another mindset, just parking my car here, if I would just focus on the fact that that parking lot is overflowing with cars, because of how many people are going to come practice with me this morning … Like, how amazing is that?! What a forking blessing, to have so many people come to your class that the parking lot is overflowing! The joy of that is unbelievable, instead of focusing on the fact that people park their cars in stupid ways, right? And then walking into the café, like, wow! The fact that they turned on the music in the morning and they chose a really awesome playlist, amazing! Amazing. The chairs are out of place because people are busy drinking coffee, and they left, and they didn’t get a chance to put them back yet. We’ve sold paintings in the café! People are buying our art! That’s why there’s missing art on the wall. How beautiful is that? All of this stuff works! We have a business that works and runs and thrives. Holy shit! How amazing is all of that?
[29:59] So, just talking about all of these positives, like, it elevates me completely. I can sense my vibration just goes way up. I start buzzing with energy of all of the beautiful things that work, right? So, I can keep that mindset of “look at everything that flows,” and then still make a little note of the things where we need to improve, and then, that’s not a big deal, we’ll just fix that. But I do have that big tendency of getting stuck in what doesn’t work. I think part of that is also why we are very successful, because I am a perfectionist. I want things really amazing and to be awesome and great all the time. But it’s also a struggle, because I don’t want to walk around reprimanding people. I don’t want to be the type of boss that just tells everybody when they’re doing things wrong.
[30:42] I’m going to give another example here, also, that really ties in. Over the weekend, or over the Christmas … Over the holidays, over Christmas, I had a class right before Christmas where afterwards we got … I’m going to say our first … Yeah, our first bad review. Like a baaad review. Just saying it, speaking it out loud, makes me shudder a little bit. So, what happened is, okay, we have classes every day, several times a day at Island Yoga. When we pack the room in, when the room is really busy, which we do for all of my classes, we can fit 54 people in the room. We take 52, because we have a little space behind the pillar where we don’t want to put anyone. So, 52 is my regular class size. If I have friends or family joining in, sometimes we’ll max it out at 54 or maybe even 56, but 52 people is what we take. All my classes are the same, always. All my retreats are the same, all my teacher trainings are the same, everything I post through social media, you always see the room mat to mat full with people. This is important too … This has very much less to do with revenue or money or maximizing profit at all. It has everything to do with wanting to make space for everyone who wants to come, right? There’s a community that’s built here with every single class, and we have waiting lists for these classes. People come to Aruba, maybe it’s the one time in their lifetime that they’ll come here, and they really want to take this class. They’re just wanting to have the experience and get really sad if they can’t join in. So, I max my classes out because I want everybody to be able to come, right?
[32:16] I have no idea, honestly, and this is … I’m really good at looking at the experience of the customer and clients when they come in and how we can make it really beautiful and perfect. I have no idea what our revenue is for a class when I teach. The numbers and money side, it’s not what motivates me at all. It’s a great thing if we can pay our bills at the end of the year, hell yes! It’s a great thing if we’re thriving because we can do more awesome things, but I am not a money-type person. I try, at least me, really hard to communicate, like, ‘This is a packed class. It is what it is. If you’ve never been in a room that’s really full of people when you practice yoga, if your used to practicing in a smaller class, or when you have these really spacious rooms where you can float your arms out, and people are really far away from you, and you have this experience for the first time, it’s going to be a shock. It’s going to be a totally different thing, because it’s sweaty and we’re close together, we’re out of our comfort zones. I love that. Those are my favorite, favorite, favorite classes. When the mat doesn’t have to be this structured little box we have to stay in all the time and not connect with anybody else, and no one should walk over my mat or come to close to me, because I want to keep my space. You know, for me, that’s not what yoga is about. It’s about breaking that box. It’s about getting out of that confined boundary of, you know, I’m just comfortable here, I’m just going to stay in this little space. I like to, when I teach, whenever we have a pose or a transition where we reach our arms out to the side, if you ever accidentally touch someone, have you ever had that in class? Where you reach your arm out or a leg and there’s a person there, and we’re like, “Oh no! God! I’ve touched someone! Oh no!” Instead of having that be accidental, I tell people, “Make it intentional.” So, if you reach your arm out and there’s a person, let your hand rest there for a second. Maybe give their shoulder a little squeeze, say hello, nice to meet you. We’re in the same space, practicing together. You already know you have a lot in common because you’re both in this class. So why try to separate more when yoga is all about union? It’s about yoking, it’s about connecting. So that’s just the way I teach, yeah.
[34:18] But, anyways, we had this woman who came to class who was really really did not like the fact that we were that close together, and she felt the room was too hot, and she was really upset about the class size. She sent this really angry, angry email to the studio. Of course, the studio girls forward it to me. Also, she said that, because at the end of class I always say, “I’m going to go out into the café,” because we have a little café around the corner, so we can clean the room, and out there I answer questions and I hug people, and I do that after every single class. I’m out there drinking my coffee, talking to people, and if someone wants a photo or whatever, like, I’m always there. After this specific class, there was a lot of people in the hallway, so it took me a little while to get to the café, maybe five minutes to get to the café. And then, she had already left. So, she wrote in her email she was, one, so upset about the class size, and she was so upset that the room was hot, and then she was really upset because I wasn’t in the café like I said.
[35:12] I got this email on Christmas Eve, and I spent a good chunk of Christmas thinking about this woman and how disappointed she was, and how we could have made her experience better. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It really … I cried a little bit, because I’m very personal with everything I do. For me, I’m not some CEO sitting on top of a big corporation looking at a spreadsheet. This is my life, this is our family. Everyone who works here, we’re all family. We do this every day. Day in, day out. We work really long hours. I spend so much time making this a beautiful, sacred, loving space. So when someone has a bad experience, that kills me. Kills me, kills me, kills me, kills me. Because so much of our heart lies in this space.
[36:01] And, okay, this goes back to this … me getting stuck on what doesn’t work. Right? I spent a big chunk of Christmas thinking about this woman. I wrote her back, like, a very genuine email that I was so sorry, and explaining it’s not about the room, it’s not about how many people you put in the room. The room is always going to look the same. It always has, always will, for as long as people want to practice with me, this is what it is. Maybe what we can do a better job at is managing the expectations. If you’re looking for a small class, or a class that’s spacious enough that you can reach your arms out to the side and not touch anyone, etc, then you shouldn’t come to my class. There’s other classes, other teachers that have smaller classes that would be better suited for you. So we can manage that. I wrote all of that, yeah, and then she wrote back, and it was okay, but I couldn’t get it out of my head that we had this unhappy person.
[36:47] But then it hit me, okay, I’m spending so much time on this. I could have just answered her and then moved on, because of course it’s not a reflection of me as a person. It’s not a reflection of me as a teacher, it’s just she was unhappy. There’s that quote, I like this a lot, me and my friend Rose, we send this quote back and forth to each other every time we have a challenging thing with a person. For the time of me I cannot remember what is this woman’s name … She is the beautiful, sensual, feminine woman … Deeta? Diteeta? Is that her name? (Editor note: Dita Von Teese) Wasn’t she married to Marilyn Manson? She’s like a burlesque dancer, super beautiful? Okay, I’ll loop back if I remember her name. She has a quote that goes, “You can be the juiciest, most beautiful, delicious peach in the whole world, and there’s always going to be people out there who don’t like peaches.” And I love that, because, you know, we can pour our hearts and souls into something and do it as perfect as possible, and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t vibe with what you do, no matter how hard you try. So, maybe we shouldn’t try to please everybody and create this cookie cutter thing that works for everyone. No, because people are different.
[37:55] And I’m really trying to take that to heart, because I looked at the statistics of the year and the people that we’ve had practicing with us. We’ve had almost 13,000 people at the studio in our first year of business. Practicing, on the mat. 13,000 people. That’s totally crazy. Like, totally, totally, totally crazy. So many people. We’ve only had good reviews, and we have people raving about the studio. People come back day in, day out. Locals, people visiting, retreats, trainings. It’s been so beautiful. So if we’ve had 12,999 good reviews, why am I focusing on the one that’s bad? What is wrong with me? Why am I focusing on that? Why am I not, you know, looking at all of these other people that love it? Why am I not focusing on the good and the compliments? What is wrong with me?! (laugh) That’s what I keep thinking, like, what is wrong with me? Why am I wired that way?
[38:52] I get this commented a lot in my social media feed. If someone comments a really negative thing, I answer a lot of the time. I always do it. And people say, “Why do you answer this person and not the people that comment the good things?” Well, I read all of the comments, I appreciate them like crazy, but the ones that stick are the ones that are the negative ones. I would rather live my life focusing only on the good. You know? So that is definitely going on my list for my intentions for next year, because I know this is a struggle of mine. See the good. Focus on what already works. I’m writing that down as my #3 on this list. Focus on what already works. So that the next time I find myself in one of those situations where, like, oh my god we get a bad review or someone isn’t happy, or something isn’t good, instead of drowning in despair or getting obsessed with that one person, or caught up in whatever, whoever doesn’t like you, whoever isn’t vibing with what you do, I can make a note of that, and then immediately shift my attention back to everything that already works.
[39:59] So, actually, after I had this experience now, which was really good, I’m really grateful it happened now, because it made me evaluate, like, how do I walk through life? I don’t want to be that person that just site with the negative. And I don’t think, fundamentally, I am. But when it comes to specifically the studio and the experience people have here, I think because we have so much intention poured into the studio, I have a really hard time not taking it personally if someone isn’t happy.
[40:23] But, focusing on the good. So what I did now is I asked for the statistics for the studio, and how many people have we had practice. I’ve been sitting with our guestbook. We have a guestbook in the front of house in the boutique where people just write little comments and notes about their experience, and it’s so beautiful. I’ve been going to TripAdvisor and reading the reviews on TripAdvisor. I’ve been just … looking at all of the good and all of the positives and all of the feedback that we get from retreaters and trainees that have been good. And it’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelmingly so, so, so, so beautiful. This huge lesson for me, and a huge practice that I think probably I’m going to have to keep reminding myself of again and again and again.
[41:05] As you can tell, the reason I’m doing this, I’m not just, you know, for the intentions for the New Year, I don’t just pick this one thing at random. I can pick something at random … Eat less sugar! (laugh) Sugar is always going to be my thing. Eat less sugar, or quit sugar! I’m not going to have any sugar for next year, and then I could work on that for a little while and decide, okay, I’m going to eat more natural fruits, and skip this and not eat chocolate and skip that … I don’t remember exactly what the date is, but I think it’s like January 18th is the average day where most people have already abandoned their resolutions for the new year. So, for me, instead of picking one material thing, or one surface thing to work on, I like to do this work. The deeper work of actually evaluating, like, what works, what doesn’t (for me). Where can I make space for growth? Where can I make space for healing, and what are my struggles? It’s when I share in this way or when I journal in this way, or when I do this work that I actually realize some fundamental things about who I am. That’s what I want to integrate for next year.
[42:07] So, as I’m making this list, it’s not like I’m going to every day look at my list and start checking off things. These big points, they’re not really things that you just check off. I don’t think I’m going to go December 31st of next year, “Focus on what already works. Check!” (laugh) you know? But I’m hoping to embody that feeling throughout the year, and when I find myself in struggle, that I can return to, okay, wait, what are my areas of growth? If I find myself in one of those really deep lows of, like, “Everything is so hard and I’m so unhappy,” maybe, chances are pretty high, that this is something I could come back to. Wait, when I am unhappy, why? Is it because I’m focusing on all of the things that don’t go my way, when actually I can change my awareness back to gratitude and see the gazillion things that already work, that are already beautiful? It’s a really important practice to keep, especially for a privileged person like me. So, yeah, number three on my list, focus on what already works.
[43:05] Then, you know, I can keep going for a really, really long time. Specifically when it comes to, I guess … I don’t want to say more superficial things, because they are very important. I just, I stay away from … The idea of changing the body, I know this is a big thing, and I see it all over the internet. I see it in articles and social media, New Year’s Resolution, New Year New You … Let me just, okay, I’m going to cut straight to the point and say Fuck. That. Shit. (laugh) None of that, “New Year, New You.” You’re good the way you are. You do not need to lose any weight! Let me just put that into the universe. If your New Year’s resolutions are surrounding you changing something about who you already are, like, in that type of way, anything that reverts back to you not being good enough, or you looking in the mirror feeling unhappy, or like you’re not fit enough, or not skinny enough, I would love for this podcast to be some sort of support for you, to change that from that external, superficial idea of looking at yourself in a mirror to doing the actual work of what happens in your heart, right?
[44:20] The three things that I wrote down, so far, and I can go on and on as well, but my number one thing is make space for guilt-free receiving. This is a really big thing that returns in my life again and again and again. I’m really bad at letting myself receive. I do and do and I give and give, and I need that time to replenish. To heal, you know? For me as a human being to continue doing good things in life, I need to heal what needs healing. I need the space for silence as well. So, maybe that involved, that guilt free receiving, maybe that involves some really specific things that I can do, like I should take more baths. (laugh) Get a massage … I should go to dinner with my husband, I should journal, I should meditate, etc. Those things are kind of … That’s kind of what happens after the diagnosis, if that makes sense. That’s the prescription. Those are the actions that you take after figuring out what that fundamental thing is that you want to create space for.
[45:24] I would love to encourage all of you, right now, to really get to the root of the change that you want to make. Get to the root of why you want to set this resolution. So, if you have something very body-related, okay, let’s go to that, as an example. You want to lose five pounds, right? If that’s your thing, you want to lose weight, what’s beneath that? What’s truly, truly, what’s deeper than that? Do you want to lose five pounds because you want to be healthier? Then make that your intention. Don’t make your intention to lose five pounds. Make your intention to be a healthy person, right? Why do you want to be healthier? Because you want to have stamina. You want to be able to move and run and be active and play with your kids, or you want to run a marathon, you want to accomplish something that’s been on your bucket list your whole life, or you want to life a long life. You want to be pain free, you want to be disease free. You want to be healthy! Awesome! Go be healthy. Don’t get stuck on what the scale tells you at the end of the day.
[46:27] And then how can you attach those action things to being a healthy person? For me, being a healthy person really starts with how I look at myself, right? How am I talking to myself? Am I kind and loving toward myself? Or am I looking at myself in the mirror saying, “Ugh, those five pounds gotta go.” Like, you know, no! So, what’s beneath, right? Do you have another reason? You want to lose five pounds because of what? Because you don’t think that you’re beautiful enough with your body the way you are? Well there’s something deeper than that. Trust me, trust me, if you want to lose five pounds because you don’t think that you’re good enough, then what you need is not weight loss. You need love. Self-love, self-love, loving-kindness, all the way. What you need is not a diet, it’s not an exercise regime, you need loving-kindness, and how can you make space for that in 2018? How can you love on yourself more? And maybe as a result of providing more loving-kindness for yourself, maybe you’ll lose a little weight, maybe more. You’ll be a little healthier at the end of the day. Maybe not! Maybe loving-kindness for you means gaining weight, right? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. These little superficial things that we attach, what the scale says or what the mirror says, or what the size of your jeans are. That. Does. Not. Matter. Right? It’s how you feel about who you are at the end of the day. How much love can you pour your own way? And for me, when I’m in that practice of self-love, that’s when I can actually look at these things that I’m talking about right now. For me, asking for help, second on my list, providing loving-kindness for myself is asking for help.
[48:01] I kind of want to … let’s see if this is possible. If you have your things and you’re writing them down … I’m going to add one more to my list. So, as of now, I have “Make space for guilt-free receiving,” number one. “Ask for help,” I want to ask for more help next year, number two. “Focus on what already works,” number three. Can you see how this is not really looking as a New Year’s Resolution? It’s kind of looking as a recipe for life? (laugh) It’s like a little genius list that I have going that I know I can apply anytime, anywhere, and it’s going to help increase my level of well-being and peace, and that’s what this is all about.
[48:45] If I’m going to get specific … So, okay, yes! Debra, the astrologer, also touched on … She said I’m entering a really intense place in my career where things are accelerating, and next year is going to be totally crazy in a really positive way. What I need to focus on is making sure that I stay really healthy and take really good care of myself, and if I don’t, it’s going to manifest in my body, somehow. Maybe through back pain, which I get through sometimes. Maybe with some sort of disease. For me, going back to this place of being really, really healthy, right? I’m going to add that as a number four. “Take Care of My Body.” Take care of my body. Whether that’s through diet, whether that is through scaling back on my sugar consumption, whether that’s through anything else, you know? But taking care of my body. How are you taking care of your body next year?
[49:40] So, if your resolutions or your intentions are surrounding that, you know, body stuff, diet stuff, weight stuff, get to the root of what you’re actually looking to create for yourself, because trust me, it’s bigger than the scale, or the number on the scale. It’s much, much deeper than that. And I would love for this next new year to be a place for us all to come together and do epic shit for the world. I’m going to add that as my number five. Number five, Be Of Service. Be of service. So, as I enter the next year, I have these four things up top to help take care of myself, to make space for what I need in the New Year, but number five, be of service. How can I use all of that to create a really whole and healthy place in myself where I can take my own abundance and give it away? Where I can take my own strength and use it to be of service for the world. Where I can look around me and see where can I help? Where can I support? Where can I help people that maybe aren’t as privileged as I? Where can I use my energy, my time, my money, whatever it is that I have to give, and we all have different qualities that we can provide for other … where can I create and set the stage so that I’m okay, right? When I’m whole, I can give. If I’m not whole, I’m going to spend my whole life looking at what’s lacking, looking at what I need more for myself. I need more for me me me me me, so I can be full and whole. But if I’m already whole, I have enough to give away.
[51:07] If I can set any collective intention for us all, like, you’re writing your own list, you’re going to have your own things up top. It doesn’t matter if you have five things or 50 things, although keeping it to, I think, less than 10 will make it easier to connect back to throughout the year. I would love if we all shared that one thing, being of service. So, whether that’s … It’s going to be really individual to you, but whether that’s looking at your family, your friends, how can you support people that are in need that are in your immediate surroundings, or is it looking at the global scale of the world, of how can I use my own strengths, my own abilities to help be of service for the world? And trust me, you’ll find it! Yeah?
[51:48] So, sit with this now, okay? This is the podcast, we’ve just begun. All of us have just begun. I’ll be sitting with this. I have my pages I’ve written down. I’m going to sit with this further and refine it, okay? I have my five things. Number one, make space for guilt-free receiving. Number two, ask for help. Number three, focus on what already works. Number four, take care of my body. And number five, be of service. I’m going to sit with this. I’m going to roll out my mat tonight at sunset, so do it yourself wherever you are, whenever you have the space. Turn your phone off. If you wrote this on your phone app, make sure you transfer them into actual writing. So, sit with your phone, write it down, and then journal on it until you’ve really defined what you want to manifest of the next year, what it is you’re looking to let go of, what you’re looking to change and create. What do you want 2018 to embody for you? Sit with this. Write it out, make it really, really, really beautiful, and have it on one page. One piece of paper. You can doodle on it, put little stickers on it, little stars. Just make it really beautiful, and then fold it up and throughout the New Year’s celebration keep it in your bra or in your pocket, or somewhere on your person. In your purse, wherever. Make sure you keep it with you. Every New Year’s, actually at 12 o’clock, I always bring a little pouch. We normally go to the beach here in Aruba and we watch the fireworks and we celebrate. This year we have a little baby, so no 12 o’clock beach time, but I’ll probably be outside in the garden somewhere. I bring a pouch, I bring always at least one little crystal. Something of meaning. I’ll bring a bracelet from my best friend who passed away, I always carry with me. A little bit of palo santo or something that’s meaningful to you, yeah? Like a little sacred moment, so you can take a minute to create a little mini alter wherever you are. Just to sit down, look at the sky, have your intentions with you, keep them really close to your heart, and breathe with the sky, yeah? Just inhale, exhale. Focus on what you want to embody for the next year. What you’re looking to create. Then send these intentions out into the universe. Fully, fully, fully. Deeply connect. Root down to the earth, look up at the sky. And this can be anytime. I’ll do it normally around 12, I mean 11:30, so a little bit before so that I can spend exactly the 12 o’clock kissing my husband and toasting and champagne and all of that stuff. But about 30 minutes before, I’ll sit down in silence, because this is a really sacred practice. Then, when you wake up the next day revisit. Really revisit. Open up. And there are going to be action steps tied to these intentions that you’re going to want to take throughout the year. It’s not just writing your intentions down. Because these are big abstract things. They should be big things. They shouldn’t be just little specifics only. They should be big, because they’re big and they’re meaningful to you. But then to each one, maybe all you have is one thing. If you have one thing, trust me, that’s going to be a powerful thing as well. How can you attach action steps to these little pieces of intentions so that you can actively make them happen?
[54:46] For me, I mean, being of service, that’s a really, really good one. How can you actually be of service? Look around you, see where in your own community is there space for you to apply what you have to give, right? For me, making space for guilt-free receiving, the action step to that, I’m going to start immediately now asking the universe to provide me with help for that. So, whether it’s … I need a body worker in my life, 100%. I need a body worker living in Aruba, a great, amazingly awesome person where I can once a week or once a month, or however much space I have time for just lie on a table and have my body worked on. I need that. I can take steps to actually arrive at an action there so that I can have that happen for me once a week. I want to carve out time for me and Dennis to have date night once a week. We’ve totally lost that. We need a babysitter now, we don’t have one. I’m going to start calling people and see if we can find a great babysitter, so that we can have once a week just a night to ourselves where we can receive and just be husband and wife. That’s an action step attached to that first intention of mine, right?
[55:51] So, before you get into all of those details, make sure you get this part right. And it’s always going to be related to your heart. You know you’ll have the right intentions when your heart tells you yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And then sit with that. Then when the clock strikes 12, deeply connect. Take a breath in, and out, and recognize your absolute place in this world. If it wasn’t for you nothing would be the same. And the fact that you are here doing this work, that you’re making this new transition into the new year about something deeper than losing five pounds, you know? You’re actually making a change in the world by becoming your best version of yourself, by providing yourself with all of that loving-kindness, which is, at least for me, what this next year is going to be about.
[56:35] On that note, thank you, thank you, thank you for tuning in! Thank you for listening, thank you for your presence, for all your loving-kindness, really. For all the … trust me, everyone that’s pouring love my way, I am deeply deeply deeply dedicated to spending this time in the next year, and to looking and focusing on that, on the love that’s present, the beauty that’s here, focusing on all of the good that’s here in the world. And then, together, next year, you know? Damnit, I think we’re going to make a change. I’m so excited to share what’s in store. So, Happy New Year! I love you guys. I’ll see you next week and next year.