Monthly Archives: June 2009


There must be a heart that keeps me here
Away from the panic and the fear
There must be a heart that keeps me here

So where is the good feeling?
Where is the lighting up?
Where are the thousand voices screaming, telling me this is enough?

-'Heart' Annie Stela


It will always give me perspective. It will always make me understand what yoga really means. Waaaaaaaay beyond a posture…beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is love. It is communion. Yoga is being present with what you are presented with.

I wrote friends before I went home to be with my dad…like a suicide note…I just want to let you know that I love you and what I need from you is to know you are there. Text me, email me and let me know you are thinking of me and my family. Even if for just a second. Just let me know you are there and that is all I need.
That will be what I need to get through. And it's true.
When I’m home, I don’t speak to anyone. I’m on immediate speed dial to my family and their needs. I hate driving but will go whatever miles for their needs. I have no money but will buy whatever they need. My family already knows the ropes and what needs to be done. With all of my training and work with the elderly or disabled I am not prepared. I come in and there is nothing but unconditional love that I can provide and it comes to me like auto pilot. There is no training for that. It is love.
I watch my masculine father accept help without a beat. I see him. Months ago...reticent to accept anything.
Now, he takes it.
He needs it.
I’ll wipe an ass. I’ll clean up urine or shit. I’ll take his puke even if it runs off the tissue into my hand.
Because it is my dad and I love him, There is no thought. It is there.
My mother and sisters have been doing it for the last few months as it’s gotten worse and the conversations scared me. But, seconds in and no time has passed. I’m here.
My family is my greatest joy. I feel lost in my life in LA knowing what is happening at this HOME that I once had long ago. Home is always home even when home is LA. Home is always family and noone understands when Cancer is involved.
I can’t speak to anyone until I am home and even then, I don’t say a word. It all, comes naturally. It comes naturally to…
take care.
I arrive and hit the ground running. I am a part of the family. I am a part of the cancer. I am a part of the terror and a part of the humor that surprisingly arrives like a sherbet at the end of a good meal.
The things my mother and sister only described on the phone, the things I feared, I picked up where they left off, added a hand to theirs, added a tear to theirs and there I was, ordinary to their extraordinary.
This experience isn’t new to many but is all new to us and especially new to me and I don’t belong because I live so far away but my heart is here. My unconditional love is here.
This is where all pain, memory, love, happiness begins, ends, remains.
Now that we have cancer as the main course in our lives and not the periphery appetizer, just something to deal with as we deal with the new normal, it is something altogether new and different and scary and terrifying and wonderful as we come together in a tattered mess of love and longing and memories and anger and frustration and wonder of where we all fit in and where we belong when we begin to lose what once was and make sense of what is.

I don’t know what to prepare for. I don’t know. I don’t know. I know that I love. I know that I can give what I can give and sometimes it’s not appropriate. I try to find where I fit in the healing, in the giving, in the helping. All I can see is the love and it hurts so much I can cry and laugh in the same breath. How could I have ever left the most amazing family, 3000 miles behind when everything I do so many miles away is for them?

I don't know. I don't know. All the training. All the experience and it’s never enough. It’s never enough and it’s all that there is. Enough is enough and it’s all you can give and all you can give is enough and all yoga is is what you can give in the present. It’s all there is.
And I don’t know the rest. I don’t know. And I don’t think any guru does. I don’t think anyone does. I think what it is is enough. It has to be. It has to be enough. Enough to be loved. Enough to give. Enough to be needed. Enough for right here and now and it might not be Africa and it might be the world, but what we can give to the person next to us and the student in our class or our teacher having a bad day or the guy that cut you off on the freeway for no reason, it all has to be that we are here for each other to love and to give. I don’t feel anything unless I love and give. Nothing. That’s life…right? That’s yoga…I think…no, I know. There’s no other fucking point. Be, love, serve, guide. That’s it.

There must be a heart that keeps me here.
Away from the panic and the fear
There must be a heart that keeps me here


Love Me Like a Rock…

A meditation taken from class at Liberation Yoga, Hollywood, June 3, 2009

I run daily.  It’s one of my forms of yoga.  But recently I’ve traded concrete for the sand along the shore.  I still listen to my dance music but I often swap that too for the soundtrack of the waves. 

Calm while in motion.  Balance.  Yoga.

I’ve been picking up rocks, not many sea-shells along this part of the Pacific.   I hold them as I run.  It gives me a place to ground my energy while in that motion.  I notice how the stones change color as they dry, the way some of them hold shape and some of them crumble. 

I never thought how rocks could crumble.  But then again, where did they come from? 

Just like us, they came from bigger rocks.  We’re all little pieces that came from our parents and our parents’ parents, set off into the world to explore, skip and ultimately settle into stability.

It’s not often that I refer to people as rocks but there is a certain non permanence and permanence in rocks.  Just like people. 

Sometimes we are solid.  Sometimes we crumble.  Balance.  Yoga. 

Where exactly, are these stones off to?  How did they end up here?  What does it feel like to be carried by flow?  What does it feel like to be still?  How does it feel to be carried by or lend support to being the foundation for something bigger? 

Well, how does it make us feel?

I focus on the little rock when my feet get heavy or challenged by a slope of sand dense and difficult to pass through.  I squeeze the rock and am happy it’s there to be squeezed. 

Sometimes, all you need is a squeeze. 

I release the squeeze when my feet move with the rhythm of my breath and intention rather then just muscles engaged in action.

Sometimes, all you need is to let go and release. 

It’s an altogether different feeling.  

Expansion and contraction…balance, yoga.

Each stone has a story, scars from sand, it’s interaction with other rocks, it’s journey from sea to shore. 

Each of us has a story, scars from life, our journey to exist, make our mark, survive and thrive.  

Lately, I’ve been bringing these stones back home with me one run at a time.

I think about teaching.  I think about each one of my students.  Some, I know very well, some, I have yet to meet. 

I think about how unique all of us are as students and stones.  After each run, I bring my little findings home. 

A present to be present.

Simple really. 

So today, I’ve brought them to share with you.  Cleaned thoroughly of course with organic soap and water.

And now it’s up to you to decide it’s purpose.

A simple little thing, not so simple.

It’s up to us to decide how much power we like to put into anything we focus our minds on. It’s from that focus that we can expand, our intention, passion, light for life, goals, effort and energy.  Balance.  Yoga.

For the purpose of this rock meditation, many of us don’t have spaces in our homes to sit and meditate.  We can use this little stone as a gentle reminder to just be, if just for a moment , a deep inhale and exhale. 

For me, I have a little stone I simply look at on my kitchen counter and it reminds me to take breathe deeply or to keep it together.  Solid as a rock.

Use this little symbol as your touchstone, a unique representation of who you are and how you are in the world.

Or, you can choose to toss it back to sea or back at me if I hold you in a pose too long.

Over the next few minutes, hold your little stone and watch the thoughts in your mind like waves in the ocean.  Let the breath be slow and deep.  If something comes up for you that is challenging, scary or tough, give the stone a little squeeze. 

Let the stone be an offering to yourself, a present to remain present for the next few moments. 

Use it within the practice as a reminder of your purpose, if you lose your breath or if you lose your way. 

Tune into it with touch or sight, hold it with your hand or gaze as we hold a posture, strengthen, balance or rest.