When “I” get out of the way…

Rhino In The City

A few months ago, I completed my Souluna Life Coach training, and since then I’ve been practice coaching clients. One of the first things I became aware of as a coach was that the topics my clients choose often reflect something relevant to my own life. Yesterday I coached a client, and before she mentioned her topic she prefaced it with, “When you hear my topic, you’re allowed to laugh.” She told me that her topic had been causing confusion in her life, and she just wanted to walk away with an answer. As a coach that comment made me a little anxious, but when people ask for answers, 99% of the time they already have the answer.

Her coaching topic was, “Should I cut my hair short?” She began to talk about cutting her hair, and I could hear the confusion. When I asked her why she wanted to…

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When “I” get out of the way…

A few months ago, I completed my Souluna Life Coach training, and since then I’ve been practice coaching clients. One of the first things I became aware of as a coach was that the topics my clients choose often reflect something relevant to my own life. Yesterday I coached a client, and before she mentioned her topic she prefaced it with, “When you hear my topic, you’re allowed to laugh.” She told me that her topic had been causing confusion in her life, and she just wanted to walk away with an answer. As a coach that comment made me a little anxious, but when people ask for answers, 99% of the time they already have the answer.

Her coaching topic was, “Should I cut my hair short?” She began to talk about cutting her hair, and I could hear the confusion. When I asked her why she wanted to cut her hair, she explained that he wanted a change that she had salt and pepper hair roots, and she wondered what it would be like to go all-natural. Then when asked why she wouldn’t cut her hair she explained that she didn’t like attention, and if she made a drastic change she would draw a lot of attention to herself. She also mentioned that she hid behind her hair, and she loved her long hair. Both sides seemed to have equal ammo, and the confusion was obvious. It was clear she wanted change, but it wasn’t clear that she was ready to make the change. After trying on a few perspectives and attempting to look at the situation in new ways, she came to a conclusion, “I’m just not ready to cut my hair!” When she said it, she was so clear. Instead of torturing herself to make the huge decision, she decided that she loved her hair, and wasn’t ready to say goodbye. How often do we place pressure on making decisions in our lives when we just aren’t ready? When is it better to opt to just enjoying what it?

For the past month, I have been in limbo with a few major career decisions. Vacillating between “I’m doing it!” and “Are you sure this is the right choice?” There has been an unknown resistance keeping me caught in the middle, unable to make a decision, and leading me to self-judgment. Like Erich Schiffmann says, “When there’s a choice, it’s NO for now.” Or the old saying, “When there’s doubt, there’s no doubt.” Sometimes we just aren’t ready to make decisions. Period. How do we handle resistance in our lives, do we become forceful and race forward, or are we able to step back and welcome patience in our lives? I do know that some of my hardest lessons came because, “I got what I wanted.” How can we learn to step back and allow life to happen, and let go of getting our way?  Great things often happen when “I” get out of the way!

Cherishing the Illogical


This year for Christmas I was very clear about exactly what I wanted from my parents, and I gave them very specific directions. At this point in my life, when I need something it often means buying it for myself seems impractical, so when the holidays roll around, I used it as my opportunity to ask for Melissa Button Short Frye boots, and a Breville Fountain Juicer Elite. Both of them, purchases that make sense and will most definitely enhance the quality of my life.

When I arrived in Michigan on Christmas Eve, my sisters were both teasing me about the gift my dad bought me. When I mentioned that I obviously thought I was getting a juicer, my sister Morgan replied, “Well, if you returned the gift dad bought you, you could buy 10 juicers.” Then my sister Karleigh kept repeating, “Dad got you the best gift ever.” Hearing these comments, I immediately realized I wasn’t getting a juicer, and then my mind started to explore all the other gifts I may be receiving like a car, tools, or something for my studio. In all honesty, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t even try guessing because all I wanted was a JUICER!

On Christmas morning when we arrived at my dad’s house, he was so excited. He couldn’t wait to give me my gift. He made me turn around while he prepared it. When he told me to turn around, I slowly turned away from the window, and what I saw was so confusing. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “What is it?” He had bought me a gong, not a small gong that could hang from the wall, but a HUGE gong like they might have in a meditation center for thousands. The gong was beautiful, but my reaction was, “What in god’s name am I going to do with this?” It was almost like when Ralphie, in The Christmas Story, receives his pink bunny rabbit pajamas, and is then forced to put them on to show is parents.

I was defiantly surprised, but I did not understand the true gift I had been given. So many times in my adult life, I opt for that which is practical, realistic, and logical. My mind has a list of things it needs in order to achieve maximum happiness, by it’s own standards, and anything outside that perspective seems pointless. When I received the gift my mind made a list of hundreds of things I needed that made more sense than a gong. What my dad had given me was so much more than a gong, it was a chance to see the beauty in the illogical. Yes, money would have been helpful, and a juicer would have been healthful, but a gong was inspiring. The gong said, “Lauren, lighten the f up! Life isn’t that serious! Play a little!” The gong sparked creativity, joy and opened my mind to the beauty of that which is yet to be revealed. Maybe the gong is my first step toward becoming a sound healer, or a gong meditation facilitator. Whatever happens with that gong, it was the greatest gift I’ve ever been given because it sparked my imagination, and opened my mind to what lies beyond my narrow vision of my life! Life is EXPANSIVE. In what ways do you narrow your vision or opt for the practical in order to protect yourself from the unknown? With the new year a few days away, what can you do to challenge yourself to move beyond the confines of your mind, and explore the world of the illogical and impractical? Happy New Year! 2014 will be the best year, yet!

Make a Commitment.


Well, I’m just going to admit it now, I LOVE Angel Cards. I wake up most mornings meditate and pull an angel card. I think it’s very ironic how I pull the same cards over and over, yet there are 44 cards in the deck, and there are over 20 cards I’ve never pulled. Say what you may… I think it says something. Over the last few months, I’ve pulled the card, “Make a Commitment” so many times it is almost annoying.

Last Friday, I sat on my cushion and asked the card my question, “What message do I need to hear this morning?” and I pulled the card “Make a Commitment.” I said, “No, thank you,” reshuffled, and pulled the same card,… “Make a Commitment.” Ahhh… Have you ever had the experience of knowing the answer, but questioning it so many times, until you finally are forced to submit, “Alright, alright, I get it!!!” Well, that’s how I feel.

For the past few months, I have been working on creating a business. I started the journey in April of this year, and I have been working on the details for several months. Changing my mind several times, shifting my focus and questioning my ideas. I have played the scenario over in my head so many times that it already feels as though I have reached some level of success, yet I haven’t signed one contract. I’ve always been a “big vision” person, but I have trouble committing to the details.

Recently, I’ve been challenged to focus on the details: editing documents, organizing data, creating a business plan, mission statement, goals and objectives. Working on the details makes everything feel real, but it also makes the idealistic vision become foggy. It leads to questions: can I really make this happen? Is this a product people want to buy? What makes my model different? How do I get contracts? How do I sell my idea?

So many questions, but the only way to answer them is to COMMIT to being in the process. When things get tough or it seems like no one understands, will I keep moving forward?

Right now, there is part of me that wants to give up, but when I think of my life without this venture, it seems unfulfilled. How many times in life do we give up because we are scared of failure? People always claim they are “scared of success,” but we aren’t scared of “YES,” we are scared of “NO.” Like most people we are scared of working hard for something and having people turn us away or shun our ideas. How do you continue to wake up and say “YES” when the world seems to be telling you “NO”? I’m serious… I’d love for you to answer this question. How do you stay COMMITTED to anything?

(This is where you write me messages to give me hope.)

Slow Dancing With Myself

Since becoming a yoga teacher, I decided that each year I would take a month to continue my studies, and after a year of significant change, I decided I needed to take some time to love on myself. So at the end of July I packed up and headed for Kripalu, a place that always helps me find my way home, and I set off on a three-week journey. The first of my three trainings was a Journey Dance teacher training. Originally, I didn’t sign up for Journey Dance because I thought I ‘should’ attend a more academic training to help me with my credentials, but there was a small voice inside me saying, “Lauren, your soul needs to DANCE!”

Secretly, my favorite thing to do is dance. I put on music, maybe throw on some ankle weights, and ecstatic dance in my living room. For the last few months, it has been nearly impossible for me to dance.  Actually it’s been hard for me to dance, meditate, practice yoga, make art, paint, or do anything creative, and if you know me, you know that if I’m not creating I’m not really living. So I went to Kripalu in search of my creativity, my Shakti, my prana, my life force; in other words, I went to Kripalu to find ME.

After a couple days of dancing, I began to reawaken. I could once again feel my soul inhabiting my body. My energy swirling through my skin. My feet light, and my spirit expansive. At the end of one class, we moved into a prayer dance. Toni Bergins, our teacher, said, “Imagine you were slow dancing with yourself.” I began to dance as though my arms were around another. A flash of a past partner came to me, and I remembered how much I enjoyed dancing with them. Then my dance began to feel so delicious, each movement was my own, my body and spirit moved in unison. My hands were now touching my flesh, the warmth of my skin penetrated the very core of my being. I was embodied. I was bliss. I moved with every desire. I began to cry tears of release, of love, of letting go. I realized in that moment what I longed for was to dance alone. I realized that if I wasn’t happy dancing alone, no one or nothing would ever be able to make me happy.

I became aware of how often I search for fulfillment outside myself, whether it’s instant gratification from my phone, FaceBook, buying new clothes, a relationship, the thrill of dating, or just keeping myself so busy I can’t think about anything but how busy I am. Actually, what I was looking for in my mess of overstimulation was a long, loving slow dance with myself. How often do we listen to our heart’s desires? How often do we dance, sing, paint, craft, or meditate just because that’s what we want? When was the last time you felt completely embodied? When was the last time your soul danced?

Below is the song I slow danced to… maybe you could try it for yourself.

Hard Places

IMG_1658At the beginning of June, I attended a Therapeutics Workshop with Gabriel Halpern. On the first day, Gabriel held an initiation ceremony, where he called each of us to the door and handed us a rock. He asked, “What does this rock symbolize to you?” I pulled an Opal and my response was, “protection and security,” which I actually said because I secretly knew the energetic purpose of the stone, so it wasn’t totally authentic. Once we were all sitting down, he told us that the stone for him represented the “hard places” in our lives. The hard places are our the things we feel we need to hide from the world. We label them our “deficiencies.” Usually these are the things we avoid telling others upon introduction, like that I went to rehab when I was 19, or that I’m a lesbian. The more subtle include our soul work, like my neediness, my fear of rejection and abandonment, that when I feel inadequate I often lie or embellish, or that I’m indecisive and often change my mind. These feelings left unheard can lead me to express myself in some very unflattering ways, but they are my truth. When I’m honest with myself and embrace my hard places, it doesn’t make me weak it makes me courageous. When we have the courage to stand up and say, “This is who I am!” We are empowered.


If we don’t have power over our hard places, they will have power over us in the form of shame and self-hatred. Going to rehab at 19 was one of the greatest choices I’ve ever made. I stayed sober for three years, found yoga and meditation and developed an intimate relationship with myself. I started to learn to love my hard places. During that time I also started to “come out.” Growing up in Flushing, Michigan, I was never around gay people, and from an early age, I was attracted to women differently than men, and I didn’t understand why. I felt shame about who I was, so I rebelled against myself. Through soul searching and the guidance of others, I came to see that my struggles have not made me less than, they have made me, ME. Those hard places are my soul’s work, and compassionately accepting them has only made me better at everything I do. Each one of us has work in this lifetime, what is your work? What are your hard places? Are you running from them or towards them? They can only chase you if you let them.

Someone once told me when I started blogging, “Be careful what you write because you never know how other people will react to what you say.” The truth is if people react to what I write, it’s only because I am a mirror for something they are unwilling to look at in themselves. I am me, and you are you. Be empowered. Go discover what makes you, you. Like Rilke wrote, “I want to unfold, I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.” Stop living in the lie, embrace the hard places, and set yourself free.

Courage to Change: A Self-Revelation from the Bathtub

“We can influence the direction of change; we cannot stop change.” -Gary Kraftsow

As I laid helplessly in my bathtub crying, and wishing someone would save me or take me away, I sobbingly screamed out to the gods for help, “Please save me! Why do I feel this pain? Why do I feel my body is torturing me?” I knew I had hit an emotional low, and I was willing to try anything, absolutely anything.

Six months earlier, I went to my doctor because I knew there was something wrong with me. Since I’d been back from India my digestion had not been the same, and I was almost positive I was the host of a pretty yucky parasite. After taking my stool test, my doctor informed me that I had a parasite named Endolimax (referred to as Max) and because the parasite was eating all of my good bacteria, I had developed severe Candida, or intestinal yeast. I thought I was ready take action. I took my antibiotics for the parasites, which coincidently increased the amount of yeast in my system, but killed the parasite. I was on the path to recovery… right?

For the next several months (October to February to be exact), I knew I needed to correct my yeast overgrowth, but I was scared to change my eating habits because I didn’t want to give up anything. During this time, I was having very extreme manic depressive mood swings, but I associated them with my cycle or circumstances, and I denied it was my diet. Until of course, I literally found myself in my bathtub broken and questioning why I was even here. I decided that was it!

Since I had tried every form of avoidance, I was in enough pain to make some serious changes. So I quit eating sugar, gluten and dairy and went on a strict Candida-free diet, and I started seeing an Acupuncturist and taking my herbs. Three months after making my commitment and I have not had one significant mood swing. By changing my diet, I changed my life. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the daily commitment has been empowering and boosted my willpower in all areas of my life. Everyday I get to make decisions that support my health and overall well-being, and I feel how those decisions have bettered my life. When I walk into the prepared section at Whole Foods, I’m not even tempted by the mac n’ cheese. Partially because I no longer crave sugar, dairy and gluten, but also because I know that if I eat enough of that crap, I could end up crying in my bathtub contemplating the meaning of my existence.

Often times we have to be in severe pain to make serious life changes, but regardless change still occurs. Yesterday at my Yoga Therapy workshop Gary Kraftsow said, “We can influence the direction of change; we cannot stop change.”  We all have choice, and at anytime we can stand up and say ENOUGH. I’m done thinking this way; I’m done being a victim; I’m done hating my life; I’m done being in harmful relationships. This idea is scary and effing empowering! When we admit we are not subjected to our life, we begin to take charge. We are longer the victim. How can we use this as motivation to live more awake? Change happens. We might as well make it work for us and not against us!



*If you related to this post because you feel you might be food sensitive, check out the following books- Potatoes Not Prozac and Radical Acceptance. The first book helped me understand why my body reacts the way it does to sugar and gluten, and the second gave me the tools to tap into my personal power and self-love.