❤ sharing the joy of yoga and connection with love ❤

❤ sharing the joy of yoga and connection with love ❤

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

THE SOUNDTRACK OF ONE WOMAN'S HEALING PATH

Are you healing from a trauma? I am, and want to share my recovery playlist with youthe music that has been a saving grace for me in so many ways. The healing process takes a long time, and is not linear. One day I might feel bright and hopeful in the morning and then get hit with a new surge of debilitating sadness or fiery rage by mid-day. 

Each time I "turned a corner" in processing my trauma, there was a theme song that perfectly expressed my feelings over that period of time. Connecting with the energy and poetry of the music helps me to honor my feelings and also to know that I'm not alone. I've compiled a super powerful playlist that you can experience below. Since I know that the path of one woman can be an incredible teacher and guide for other women (and men, too), I'm happy to share the light.

This playlist I call FREEDOM grew organically over the past 19 months, and it has been crucial for my healing.

Consider making your own playlist that speaks to you, and in the meantime feel free to copy mine. Take what speaks to your heart and leave the rest.

Most importantly, learn the lyrics, write them down, SING LOUD, allow them to penetrate your brokenness. Use them wisely to alter your state of mind as needed. Play them a million times on repeat. The next perfect song will make itself known when the time is right if you listen carefully.

I have incredible gratitude for the truly brilliant artists who created this music. There is so much power in sharing our pain, and I am inspired by their bravery. Each of these songs called to me at just the right moment, pulled me through and UP, and speaks directly to my soul.

HARNESS YOUR ANGER



FIND YOUR CONFIDENCE IN THE TRUTH



GET LOUD AND IRREVERENT


 
FIND YOUR CONFIDENCE IN YOUR SELF



BECOME INTIMATE WITH YOUR SADNESS



EMBRACE YOUR FEAR


 
SEE THE TRUTH CLEARLY



ACKNOWLEDGE THE STRENGTH INSIDE YOU



CUT THE CORD



 LEARN TO SAY NO



CONNECT WITH SOURCE



ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR GROWTH



CELEBRATE THE POSITIVE



GENERATE JOY



GO AHEAD AND RAGE



YES, JUST LET IT GO



CULTIVATE TRUST AND FAITH



LOVE YOURSELF



ACCEPT AND RELEASE



I sincerely hope this concept helps you manage your feelings and heal yourself purposefully. Here are a couple of messages from my beloved teacher Suzanne Sterling, explaining how singing and music can help you heal.

 

BIG HUGS,
Elyse

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ms. Divorcée

di•vor•cée or di•vor•cee (dɪ vɔrˈseɪ, -ˈsi, -voʊr-, -ˈvɔr seɪ, -ˈvoʊr-)
n.
a divorced woman.
[1805–15; < French divorcée, feminine of divorcé divorcé]

What an amazing feeling to CELEBRATE joining the club. At one time I considered it a failure to get divorced, a total defeat. So because of that fear (and a handful of others) I stayed in a bad situation for much too long and tried everything to make it better, as if I alone could fix it.

Then one day I realized my awareness had started to shift. A new hairdresser told me that she'd been divorced three times and that people judged her. I responded without thinking, and surprised myself with the words, "Anyone who's judging you is really just jealous." I saw her as brave and in control of her life, someone who wouldn't put up with bullshit for the sake of appearances. A woman who knew her worth. A woman who had gotten herself out of a bad situation.

Shortly thereafter I met another new friend who struck me as uber-confident and truly comfortable in her own skin. I overheard her telling others that she was a divorced mother of two teenage girls, and her tone caught my attention. How could she be so totally FINE with it? So totally free of bitterness and shame? 

Well...now I know. Because I escaped the cage of a stifling marriage. I'm no longer waiting for a man to step up, swallowing his bullshit day after day. Feeling desperately trapped and beat down. Instead, I'm relishing my freedom and seeking my joy without 200 extra pounds dragging along behind, and I'm offering no apologies or concessions to anyone.

My friend's story was no doubt completely different from mine, but her response is an inspiration to me. In the last year, she has traveled the world on her own, sharing pictures and stories every day and bringing many of us along with her for the ride. She is seeking HER joy and not waiting around!

I'm so happy to find myself following in her empowered footsteps--totally fine with being a divorcée, PROUD even. Yes, I am proud of the way I handled myself since day one, of the way I've loved and accepted myself, and of the way I've protected and cared for my children. Divorce sucks, but sometimes it's definitely the right thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting to Joy –My Messy Beautiful

 
I have been actively working on each of these action steps since February 6, 2013, when my life blew up. Someone shared this image with me over Facebook shortly thereafter, and although my mind was a complete fog of emotional trauma, these words grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me hard.

You see, I spent all of 2012 fundraising for victims of sex trafficking in India, in partnership with the yoga activist organization Off the Mat, Into the World. This blog was originally created to document my fundraising journey. I was dedicated to the idea of helping women who had been victimized, and I spent lots of time learning and thinking about how women so often become victims of predators. By December I had surpassed the goal, raising $22,000. So in February 2013, I left my two small children at home in Virginia with my husband and traveled to New Delhi to meet up with an amazing group of people who had also each met the fundraising goal. Surrounded by people I admire and adore, my life imploded just four days into the trip. I found out by text message at 5 o'clock in the morning that my husband had been arrested, accused of raping our live-in nanny.

{Take a deep breath, let that sink in.}

It's been a long road since that day, filled with rivers of tears, extremely stressful protective order hearings, and many hours of therapy for me and my kids. I have come out on the other side a much stronger person. These are some of the ways I take action to heal myself.

1. LOVE YOURSELF, UNCONDITIONALLY.
Some days, I just feel lost. I spent my 20s looking for a husband and my 30s wanting more from the one I'd chosen. Now I just want to NOT need a man in order to feel loved. When I'm overwhelmed and down, this "Thank You, I Love You" meditative practice sparks my innate motivation and positive attitude. I can see the shift right awayin the way I look at myself in the mirror, in my self talk, and especially in how much more energy I have available to nurture my kids. Here is a description: THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU, a meditation from the ‘Sacred Feminine Rising’ Course by Jeff Brown.

2. RELEASE YOUR BOTTLED UP EMOTIONS.
There are so many ways. Writing in my journal and crying with my closest friends, over the phone or hugged up on the sofa...running hard with a carefully selected playlist...dancing all night...writing angry letters that I maybe send. Crying is an escape valve for me and must be done on the regular. Luckily, it takes very little to get me going.

3. MAKE TIME FOR LONG WALKS, ALONE.
I've made time for long runs alone more than walks, and the ones through the woods have been the best. I stop for yoga at a pretty spot by a stream, lay down in crunchy leaves to stare at the sky, or take an expansive back bend over a fallen tree. Two deer strolled by me one day, I'd been sitting motionless for so long.

4. AVOID LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS.
This one has been hard, as retail therapy is my knee-jerk reaction. I've stopped myself many times from buying yet more tea bags, yoga pants, and candles. Luckily, I am super frugal and mainly spend at Marshall's or on Amazon using my Discover points! Plus, my lawyer sends me frequent invoices to set my teeth on edge.

5. NURTURE YOUR INNER STRENGTH.
I was petrified of being a single mother and a divorcee. I put up with so much in order to avoid being these dreaded things. I was ashamed to admit that things were very bad in my marriage, that I was ignored and belittled and disrespected, and that I wasn't able to fix it. I just didn't know then how strong I could be on my own. I have realized that I really was alone all along.

6. STOP APOLOGIZING FOR BEING YOU.
There are certain things that just ignite joy bubbling up from the depths of my soul. Being around my beautiful kids. Teaching yoga to athletes. Latin dancing. 90 minute massages. Hiking in the woods. I now do all of these things as often as possible and resist the temptation to make do without them. I'm done making do.

7. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE.
My friends and family have held me up. They've filled in my cracks and patched my holes. Some have been in my life forever and some have just arrived, but they all help me see who I really am. I've told the brutal truth since day one and admitted everything to everyone, pushing through the shame, refusing to own it. I can say for sure that I have been protected by G-d, given what I needed when I needed it, in so many forms. Today I feel stronger and braver than ever, but at the same time incredibly raw and sensitive. Healing takes time.

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Misión Cumplida!

GOOOOOOAAALL!!!! You have probably already heard that I surpassed the $20k goal and am confirmed to travel to India in February. I'm shocked, excited, terrified, and psyched all at the same time.

I will never be able to sufficiently express my gratitude to everyone who helped me achieve success with the Global Seva Challenge 2012: INDIA. I am beyond grateful. I learned so much, and reminded myself of so much...

1. Nothing is impossible.
2. Put yourself out there with enthusiasm and passion, and don't apologize for your exuberance.
3. People are more generous than you think and they really want to help.
4. Slow down, calm down, and keep going...you WILL get there.
5. Be kind to yourself, in thought and action. Speak to yourself as you would to your child or best friend, with unconditional love and compassion.


Thank you for donating, for showing up, for helping promote/set up/prepare, for supporting me, and for your kind and encouraging words...you know who you are :)

I promise to share my experiences in India this February. All love

PS: I am still raising funds so that I can bring first aid, school, and art supplies with me--all needed by the organizations we are supporting. If you would like to purchase a shirt or wristband, contact me or order on the PayPal cart here on the top left of this blog. I have white tanks in M (2); black long sleeve tees in M (3) and L (4); and black mens tees L (3), XL (2), XXL (2), $25 each. And awesome Global Project India wristbands in every color under the sun, $10 each. Thank you! 


Monday, December 10, 2012

$2200...that's all I need to meet my commitment!

To all those who have donated, THANK YOU!  The commitment I made--to raise $20K in 2012--was HUGE, and definitely not something I could do on my own. So many new and old friends have helped push me forward on this path, and picked me up when I felt I'd never get there. I have said Thank You more this year than ever before in my entire life, and it's been amazing. I'm in awe of the people who take time out of their lives to show up to my events and give, and those who have just donated without receiving anything at all in return. It truly has changed me. 

So in the next 21 days I must collect an additional $2200 to fulfill my commitment. I'm not going to stop until I get there!

If you have considered making a donation, now is the time! If you've already made a donation, please consider giving a little more. I promise you that Off the Mat will make the best possible use of your money, and young girls who have suffered greatly will find their lives extremely improved. Thank you, Gracias, Toda, Merci, Shokran, Shukriya!!! Just follow the DONATE NOW button to the left :) Namaste.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

$6923 more to go!

To date, I have raised $13,077 towards the Global Seva Challenge!!!...with the help of many generous and loyal friends. I'm currently crafting my plans to reach the $20k goal before Dec 15!

Do you know of a potential donor who might want one of these wonderful things in return?


***** A week at a vacation house in Lake Tahoe! No minimum bid!


***** A lovely facial + more with Dr. Dadlani!
With more items to be listed soon, including a custom photography session with the super talented Larkin Goff!

And...Join me on December 8 for a YOGA MALA! Generously hosted by the newly opened Stafford House of Yoga. Open to all levels-- do 108 sun salutations or 10, just come. Email me for more information!


Or...Join me on December 9 for a Northern Virginia YOGATHON! Generously hosted by PranaVibe and sponsored/taught by the best yoga studios in Northern Virginia. Open to all levels-- do 108 sun salutations or 10, just come. Email me for more information!


I'm also selling tshirts, tanks, and wristbands still here on my blog (top left corner, Paypal checkout!). And I'm open to all suggestions :) More to come!

Donations are more than welcome, click here 24/7 to donate!...up until December 15! Please consider contributing. No amount is too small. I thank you sincerely for your compassion to help these girls. Namaste.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Activism's Shadow

Emotional turmoil. Maybe not what you'd expect to be an intrinsic and painful part of raising money to help victims of sex trafficking. But the truth is, putting yourself out there, pushing pushing pushing for months on end to achieve a fundraising goal--that shit will seriously drain you. Knock you down and make you question everything about yourself.  

Why am I doing this? Who do I think I am? Why can't I just stay home, do my work, make lunches, scrub the floors, and do laundry...just keep it simple?

Because raising money and awareness is tiring. And my plate is full. And I'm exhausted. And I didn't accomplish what I thought I could, even after all that work. 

How could I have done it better? What did I miss?

Once the self-flagellation gets going, hoooo it is HARD to stomp on the brakes, they resist like crazy. So many people helped me, and I wonder if they feel let down, or embarrassed. It's so easy to get caught up in the negative spin. And my gut instinct is to keep it to myself and stay quiet until I have something positive to say. But I'm gonna go ahead and put it out there, in all its miserable, sloppy glory. This shit is hard. The Off the Mat brainchildren are no joke, and they knew exactly what they were doing when they designed the Seva Challenge. It's meant to push us out of our comfort zones and grow us into activist leaders, fearless voices for the voiceless, brave shiners of light. A wise professor during graduate school taught me that the most successful people are those who are comfortable being uncomfortable. I've been striving ever since to truly fit into that category.

I've received beautiful and generous messages of support from many friends, and I'm so grateful for the help to press the brake pedal down!

One sent me this:
Buddhist practice only works when it's on the edge. And that's what the renunciant lifestyle is about, what living in the wilderness is about, what meditation is all about—getting to the edge. Because that's where we are transformed.
- Ajaan Amaro, "Just Another Thing in the Forest"

Another sent me this:

I feel the same way, and can't bear to see little girls be taken advantage of, especially after the birth of my three angels. I really applaud you in your efforts. It really shows your passion for doing the right thing, and "being the change you want to see in the world."  I think you are incredible. ~LP

And today, more wind beneath my wings:

"I want you to know how inspiring you are and how much I admire the work you are doing for the Seva Challenge. If you are Type A like me, you are probably being mean to yourself, thinking about how far you have to go and what more you could have done. Please don't. Please spend more time appreciating the miracle you helped bring about: Because of your work, $6000 exists to fight this horror....$6000 repurposed for a completely new destination. You and your spiritual work caused that. Before your work, it was just $6000 random dollars, floating around in the capitalist system, not helping anybody. Because of your work, that random money has been redeemed for a new purpose. That's a good thing, and I hope you embrace it. And embrace yourself.....Take care." ~MTS

I am absorbing all this positivity and support and growing, little by little. Thank you.