June was one for the books! With long, warm days filled with growth and boundless adventures, the past month was brimming with lessons that I will carry for the rest of my life. It also was a beautiful summation of facets I had been focusing on for the past two years where I made a conscious shift in how I lived my daily life.
It all began when I stopped in front of the mirror one day and just looked at myself. I saw all of my tattoos and realized that they were weapons, almost every single one. Beautifully done, and a map of sorts of my journey. They were badges of honor of obstacles I had overcome (such as losing my mother), but also my armor, shielding me from my fears. I saw that I was a woman who felt like she had to fight to prove herself, to others, and more importantly to myself. I felt exposed and vulnerable but with a newfound sense of clarity. The internal armor wasn’t necessary, and there was and is power in that.
From that moment, I decided to really take the time to connect with and love myself, to care for my body and my soul. It became so apparent that being present in all forms was imperative to a fulfilling existence. Learning to fully access that space has been a goal ever since.
Putting it into action
Intent is nothing without action so I started with a healthier eating routine, daily meditation and intentional movement. I noticed an immediate difference and was amazed at how making slight tweaks in my daily habits helped open up doors into my soul. I was able to see myself on a deeper level and found quicker access to a present state of mind. This allowed me to jump into my work easier and have my ideas to flow fluidly from my mind through my hands into my craft. Of course, not every day is filled with perfect presence, but being aware and honest with myself has opened a channel; and it has been a beautiful journey full of growth.
In April, I was invited by Lululemon to attend The Immersion in Hawaii for a four day experience. Beyond the two words that made up the name and the location, I knew nothing else. I pushed aside any uncertainty I had and decided to surrender completely and go for it. I excitedly leapt in with the expectation of meeting some incredible people, sweating it out for sure, deepening my yoga and meditation, and pushing my mind and body into a new level of wholeness. To say the least, that and so much more was manifested in that trip.
A passage I scribbled down while I was there keeps bringing me back to those moments; and I think it truly describes the state I was in: "There is so much power here - the land, rich fertility, and history beneath my feet; the natives and their families that have kept the culture alive in this place; and the reason I am here with THIS select group of 50 incredible individuals all has my system shocked. I am blown away by the vulnerability of each human here. The openness and willingness to deeply connect, and the raw humanity that I am being greeted with has me completely humbled. Each one of us is here for a reason. I am truly in the company of greatness and the growth and openness I feel is unlike anything I have experienced. Thank you my new friends for today, it rocked me."
It was on this trip that I was able to break down the physical walls I put up, pushing my body beyond its comfort zone. I greeted myself with honesty and finally took off the last remaining bits of armor; emotional baggage I had been carrying around my entire life.
This gave me certainty that the path each of us is on, is meant for us. No one deserves your opportunities, your successes and your failures. Those are yours - celebrate them! I felt whole embracing the now because it’s mine and I am proud to own what gives me purpose. I am truly out of my mind humbled to have experienced those four days with people that now hold my heart and inspire me to push further for growth and understanding and meeting myself fully.
Taking it on the road
Just a few days after Immersion, I was able to continue my journey with Lululemon and Antrom Kury for a three week road trip up into Canada, down through Glacier, through Moab and back home. It was an incredible experience to keep moving as a continuation of what I had learned in Hawaii. It allowed me to implement the idea that a yoga practice goes beyond being on your mat, and is in everything we do.
I wanted to take the openness and raw spirit that I was feeling fresh off Hawaii and apply it to the road. As I’m in the process of being open to finding my deepest parts, I wanted to challenge myself to push even further on this trip. I thought: How can I take what I do when I unplug, and bring it into my everyday? That practice truly is yoga - translating the wholeness and presence experienced in a workout into daily “off the mat” moments.
There were so many incredible moments of this trip that truly showed me more than I ever expected. It seems that is how life works - you set yourself up to see and learn one thing, and then the universe hands you a completely new and even more radical life change to work on.
Before I dive into that here is a map of our journey created by our amazing friend Brett Colvin, and a list of the places we visited!
6/13: Union Creek Resort, CRATER LAKE CA
6/14: Vancouver, BC
6/15: Blue River, AB
6/16: Astoria Hotel, JASPER NATIONAL PARK, AB
6/17: Astoria Hotel, JASPER NATIONAL PARK, AB
6/18: Emerald Lake Lodge, YOHO NATIONAL PARK, BC
6/19: Johnston Canyon Resort, BANFF NATIONAL PARK, AB
6/20: Johnston Canyon Resort, BANFF NATIONAL, AB
6/21: Airstream in Flathead Lake, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MT
6/22: Airstream in Flathead Lake, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MT
6/23: Yellowstone Under Canvas, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY
6/24: Yellowstone Under Canvas, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY
6/25: Colter Bay Village Lodge, GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, WY
6/26: Moab Under Canvas, MOAB UT
6/27: Moab Under Canvas, MOAB UT
6/28: Monument Valley View Lodge, UT
6/29: Campgrounds at ZION NATIONAL PARK, UT
6/30: Campgrounds at ZION NATIONAL PARK, UT
7/1: Joshua Tree, CA
7/2 Head Home
The uphill climb
Every journey stands as a milestone, where you pick up new understandings as well as memories, overcome previous fears, and put what you’ve learned into action. Not sweating the small stuff and self acceptance were big road signs that kept hitting me in the face. I was furiously fighting to be present, but was ignoring the fact that I needed to accept myself for where I was in each moment to actually be present. That full acceptance meant knowing when to stop and catch my breath, breathing through a challenging moment physically and celebrating myself for what I had achieved and accomplished instead of wanting to move on. I realized that all of this applied not only to the moments of physical activity but into the soul dimension.
This was most apparent on a hike in Banff, AB. The Plain of Six Glaciers is a 4.5 mile trek (9 miles round trip) uphill over snow patches and rocks to reach a tea house! This was an overwhelmingly challenging hike for me. I was sore from the day before and keeping up was brutal. It took a few nudges from the universe and Antrom Kury to remind myself to slow down, look around, be with my breath and where my feet were planted. I would get there when my feet got me there. It took some meditation but one step after another, I finally got to the top where hot tea and chocolate cake were waiting! There is likely no greater reward for trusting yourself to get up a mountain. That feeling of immense gratitude filled my entire body the whole way down.
This trip brought me to myself, head on. I journeyed between the spiritual and the physical through challenging myself and being challenged by my partner. Looking back through the photos and reliving each beautiful and grueling moment, I feel changed. The main things I’ve taken from this incredible month are learning to slow down and fully hear myself and those around me. I am being more honest within my being, and everything feels more present - the studio, hanging with friends, and time with myself. I am able to give more of myself to everything with further excitement and meditative creativity towards the projects ahead and a more grounded ear for relationships.
See below for my favorite photos from the trip and bits about the adventure. Enjoy!
Chocolate Cake and Tea at the top of the hike!!!
Getting to show our friends the paces we fell in love with, the power that land holds and to experience new places was such a heart filling experience. The desert has always held such magic for me, it shows me new inspirations every time I visit. It awakens my creative soul, always.
We savored the last moments of the trip with plans for the future, dreams coming true and the exciting upcoming adventures and projects. What a trip this was. I could not be more humbled to have had the chance to unplug from the world and tune into myself and my surroundings. I will carry this trip with me always, in the lessons I learned that are now making their way into permanence within my daily practice, the sights I saw, the deeper connections that were formed, and the ultimate adventure it was to travel around to the most stunning places I have ever seen. Slowing myself down, taking everything in, and meeting myself with a heart of acceptance.
Thank you Lululemon for wanting to experience this trip with me. It has been the most beautiful ride and sharing it with you guys made it that much grander.