The little things, are the big things

Sometimes when things seem to be really sucking, you know, that day when a slight depression snowballs into, "My hair looks like shit... my career looks shittier... and I'm probably going to die alone", I'm really grateful to come across a funny video, an inspiring quote, or kind words from friends. Even in the darkest moments, these seemingly teeny, tiny things have kept me going. I remembered some such inspiring words yesterday, sent a few years ago from my friend, Ivan, who lives in Paris. They make more sense to me now, years later—I suspect this will only increase with more time.


What you really want, you'll get.
Or I should say: what you really need, you'll get.
Sometimes, we want the wrong things.
Or sometimes we don't really know what we really want.
Or sometimes, we want it too much!
But it takes time to find oneself. It's deep inside.
And you need silence to find it. And patience :-)
But if you are here and now, good things always happen
in the present moment :-)


So, I've recently re-entered the lair/playground/shit-show of dating. In my mid 30's. I've been on so many goddamn dates now, I can't keep them all straight. I recently sent a Peruvian vacation Groupon to one dude referencing a conversation I had with someone else weeks earlier; the guy who texted me, "You're hot on tv!" after watching my web-series, and then never wrote again. Next there was the man who called/texted/wrote me several times every day with lovely intros such as "Hey hot stuff" or, "What's happening beautiful?" Almost tricked me into thinking this was normal after meeting someone twice. It wasn't until he questioned me via text message if I was only dating to, "Get over a bad relationship" that I woke up to our incompatibility.

I had a bartender pick me up while one of my dates was in the bathroom. Went out with said bartender a few weeks later, and it turns out he's twentyfuckingfour. A few fun cocktailed-hours spent telling me how he liked older women, left me thinking, "This might be an interesting summer, Mrs. Robinson." Needless to say, that text he promised to send? Never came.

Dated one guy for about a month until I uncovered a lie he told me to my face on his facebook page. I don't know if it bothered me more that he lied, or that he was dumb enough to leave it on facebook.

I've been on 3 different dating sites. I'm so beyond mortified about this that I don't even mind anymore. I imagine it's like when a woman is giving birth; you know the point she's so far beyond caring that everyone in the room has seen her fucking vagina and is aware that she just shit the table.

The problem is, I've started to ask myself, "What's wrong with me?"

I'm not the hottest little catch by any means, but I don't think I'm scary enough to warrant the deficit of kind, stable, single men that I'm currently experiencing. Maybe I'm hanging out in the wrong places. Maybe I should find a job where I have even mild exposure to straight men. Maybe the all-female choir wasn't the best choice. Maybe West-coasters, like Bassett Hounds, are just too chill to make a move. Perhaps Portland really is short on men that own more than one set of sheets. Or, is it my profile? I've become brazen enough to send "winks" and messages with wild abandon. Each one in vain.

Truth is, I've spent way too long trying to morph myself into someone I wasn't so other people would like me. Litany of passive-aggressive disasters behind me, I've vowed to do the only think I can do and ever truly do well; be myself.

But as it turns out, a lot of people, most in fact, don't resonate with that. I suppose I should look at this with a positive attitude; it does indeed save me a lot of time going out with dudes with whom it would never work anyway. But I've discovered, it's a lot more painful being rejected without the protective artifice of my co-dependent candy-shell.

Last weekend I went on a date I thought was finally really promising. He was covered in tattoos and had a purple hair. I decided I didn't care that he couldn't spell; in fact, he probably did it on purpose. We had a nice conversation and he was very open and kind. I convinced myself that his alternative approach to life meant that surely he would accept me and be open to whatever it must be that the rest of the dating community can't get into. I don't own even the tiniest tattoo, but I aspire to be an open-minded and loving person; willing to see where a relationship with someone my parents would consider a carnie, would go.

I took a long walk before our second date and thought about how my Portland integration would finally be complete. Aqua vintage Craigslist bike for commuting: check. Funky hipster frames picked out by awesome gay dude at locally owned eye-glass store: check. Sweet, subversive, counter-culture boyfriend with mohawk and tattoo sleeves: awesome.

I thought about how cool it would be to date someone really different; how people at the farmers markets would admire that two people so opposite on the outside could fall in love. How he would teach me how to fix my bicycle and I would introduce him to fancy cheese. How we'd decide never to marry because we were way too progressive for that mainstream bullshit. He would be happy to stay home with the kids, and I would go to work.

But, just like the guy who never wrote again after watching my show or the baby-bartender, or the half-dozen other guys who asked me out and then just disappeared; the texts after our second date - vanished.

So, disappointed and crushed once again, this pariah, had to backthefuckup and ask herself, "What's The Deal?"

And I now see two things: 1. That my old habit of changing what I'm attracted to just to be with someone had once again snuck in, and 2. I had to face the fact that this keeps happening because my core belief is that it's never going to happen for me; that there just isn't a dude on this planet, let alone Portland, Oregon, that will adore me, As Is, that I will be mutually crazy about. And until I dig out the roots of this belief, I'm continually going to desire to bestow my love of cheese on any guy who seems an almost-but-not-quite match.

I wish I had some awesome conclusion here, but I don't yet. That's the catch about faith and trust - you just gotta keep moving forward. And know that the all these sad and hilarious encounters aside, the only real tragedy would be to never realize that the only one holding me back, is me. The biggest con here, is the one I've been telling myself.

maha life

It's prolly safe to say I am currently obsessed with expansion. The bottle of red wine I joyfully drank last night (alcohol is very expansive) is a lovely example of this.

I had the most intense acupuncture session with Carrie yesterday. I've been having a lot of pain and heat in my lower legs, apparently along my stomach and spleen meridians and caused by excessive dampness in my body. Think hot, wet, heavy - it feels very tight and contracted.

Carrie does her thing, a few of the needles were pretty painful, and then some more of that magical cranio-sacral work. I can feel so much energy moving - it's undeniable that we are pure energy & that this is a completely viable and important healing modality.

I have the distinct feeling towards the end that this body I am trying to heal and clear is simply and profoundly the vehicle for this energy to move through this life. And wouldn't it be nice to finally unite my physical body, my mind and an awareness of this energy with which to live it.

My right kidney is killing me today. I know this might sound insane if you haven't experienced it - but I can't move so well and there is a big red spot on my back; kidney height. As energy moves and clears suddenly other places of holding begin to free themselves up as well. The body is really incredible.

You see, we can't really move on fully into expansion until we clear out the old. Sometimes, oftentimes, it hurts like hell... but I'm okay with that as I know it's part of the process. I'm currently sucking the most exciting things into my life - I believe because of all this (sometimes painful) housekeeping. If finding THE pair of jeans I've been eying in exactly my size laying on top of the rack (waiting for me) yesterday for $20 on sale from $150 isn't a clue, I don't know what is.

We're meant to expand. We're meant to go out and live our own maha (sanskrit for great/big) lives. Lives that we love, created and manifested by ourselves - and to do this we have to be big! And bold and brave and maybe even deal with the pain of clearing our old energies, thoughts, and emotions... in the many forms they present themselves, which can oftentimes be through the non-expanded views of others.

As the session was over, Carrie stayed as I lay there (she normally doesn't) and I had the sense that she was holding space for what had occurred. I began to cry a little, then laugh (it's interesting for me to note here that I've found my joy is always held underneath my sadness). Apparently my "dampness" had been holding some of both...


Maha Alex

P.S. I'm (obviously) kidding about the jeans being so important. Sort of.


I found something very interesting today that I wanted to share with everyone. 2 falls ago, I came back from Europe extremely unwell, due to many emotional and physical factors, one of which was my addiction to xanax or klonapin to sleep. I dropped out of Grad school, and entitled that fall "The Fall of Healing" - one of my main goals was to kick that tranquilizers for good. And I did. It was one completely sleepless week and a lot of physical pain, but I haven't taken one in over 1.5 years now. I have since been out of my tree anxious at times... but somehow struggle through it.

Today I woke up so calm, and have remained so all day, it is as if I am on xanax. Or had a cocktail. I am astounded by how calm and peaceful I am, and a bit worried that I might go out and buy some patchouli.

In Macrobiotics they call this expansion or yin, when we eat foods that expand us it makes us feel spacey and far out and coooool. I have never experienced the power of food in this way, but believe me, it is real.

I found it interesting that the quest I started that fall has led me back to the same feeling, in a totally different way. We have so much power by choosing what we put in our mouth it is astounding.

Much love an gratitude to: Cyndie Suarez, Carrie Cegelis, and

Love peace and (maybe not) chicken grease


that's all folks

I FUCKING MADE IT!! Maybe not the most appropriate opening sentence...
Or is it?

Yes my friends, I am officially done guzzling juice and nothing but juice for 5 days. It has been one helluva ride I must say. I feel like I have put myself through some sort of rehab as I look forward and realize that tomorrow is really the first day. Going on this cleanse has been such an internal journey that I recognize that I have really been through something - it actually isn't unlike the 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat I did coincidentally the same time last year. Coming out the other side of challenges like these makes me feel proud and capable and maybe even a little bit more confident.

I feel pretty clear as well that my time cleansing is done for now. I was hungrier today than I've been all week, and my ability to survive in a concrete jungle this expanded is wearing thin. I can smell everything (not usually what one aspires to do in NYC) and I feel like I could burst into tears a bit too easily. That being said, I am also nervous to begin eating again. I plan a slow transition that will include more greens and less of the things that don't really make me feel great. I was shocked when I realized that I haven't craved coffee or sugar AT ALL.

It's a dance. An ever evolving, shifting, changing dialogue with ourselves and our bodies. One of the points of my doing this was to be able to hear the subtle (and sometimes not so) pleas that I have often ignored. Knowing I have lived for 5 days without food makes me feel like there might be a lot of other things I can do that I might not know about.

It's a celebration for sure.

I want to thank all of you for stopping by, for your well-wishing, inquiries, and support. It's been a sweet ride.

Dreaming of avocados

+ + +

Gotta say, today went off without a hitch. I had some extra trouble spelling while writing an article this morning, and was a bit tired after rehearsal this afternoon, but that was about it. Oddly enough I've noticed some pain & sensitivity in places where I have had injuries before, namely my appendix (or lack there of), my inguinal hernia (which I still need to get fixed :P) and my right front tooth which I bashed when I was about four years old. Weird. Last night I awoke again at 3:30 am, and was pretty achy. Laid there for hours, until finally I got up to take an epsom salt & peroxide bath at about 7am. But while lying there for 3.5 hours, I thought about this:
We all just want to be happy. Find joy, freedom, love, a purpose etc etc etc. If these positive feelings and emotions vibrate at a higher frequency, then by clearing out old stuff and replacing it with higher vibrating substances (plant based foods) we are literally changing the frequency at which we vibrate. Now I realize that we can also do this by thinking more positive thoughts, which most likely has an even more profound effect - but my point is, there is more than one way to skin a cat (I don't really ever ever care to skin anything). And if we are having a hard time changing our thinking, maybe working from another direction, the body, can help us move in the overall direction of happiness.

Food for thought.

Ciao amici

the art of love

It's been a crazy week, what with all the Valentine's Day shenanigans. On account of my apparent laziness and chocolate induced stupor I am merely going to post my latest article. What you don't see is that I actually attended this workshop in the middle of November. Due to the need for some serious editing and my inability to want to see it again for awhile - it has taken 3 months to publish. I think it makes some pretty interesting points, I would love to hear all of your comments. I actually spent over an hour Skyping with Hari Nam about a month ago to get more clarification; I highly recommend his workshops if you can get to one. Anyway, without further ado...

The Art of Love

One divorce and two post divorce breakups under my belt, and I am ready to admit that I haven’t got this relationship thing figured out. The definition of insanity, after all, is doing the same thing over expecting a different result.

I recognize that my yoga practice has been the only thing for the past year that has kept me sane. Realizing this, I wondered if yoga might also help in my dark relationship corner and signed up for a lecture at Kundalini Yoga Park Slope titled The Art of Love.

Keep in mind that at this point - I know very little about Kundalini yoga. So I had a nice dinner and headed out into the night; imagining how the awakening of my spinal energy might finally bring me everlasting love.

Kundalini Yoga Park Slope is located in a brownstone on a gorgeous block near Prospect Park. Everything inside is white, and it is maybe the most serene place I have ever been. The lecture was led by Hari Nam Singh Khalsa, a 30 plus year kundalini yoga teacher and couples counselor based in Portland. Extremely chatty and open, I discover he too has been through divorce. He is also a lawyer. As it is my first Kundalini experience, Hari Nam kindly offers to teach a bit of yoga before the discussion. Note to self – don’t eat dinner 15 minutes before kundalini. We started with breath of fire, and moved through about 30 minutes of abdominal exercises and squats – awakening my happily digesting dinner energy. The fantasy that kundalini yoga was sitting in lotus pose feeling the energy move up my spine? Shattered.

Hari Nam travels the world giving these lectures because he believes strongly in congruency; he sees a deep disconnect between peoples’ spiritual lives and personal lives, pointing out that we are working on merging with the infinite but not with the person we are sleeping next to. Yoga is practiced for personal and spiritual development, and in Hari Nam’s eyes our intimate relationships are the best watermark for this progress - “a person’s spiritual evolution is related to their ability to function in a healthy relationship with another human”. It turns out that in the kundalini yoga tradition, the highest spiritual path is one of a householder; a regular person with a family and a job living with a certain level of consciousness. That impressed me. I do think in many ways it would be easier to be a nun than in a relationship; at least some of mine.

“The problem today, is that everyone is lonely” Hari Nam begins after the exercises. In a desperate attempt to soothe ourselves we turn to alcohol, food, stuff and relationships to fill our deep loneliness. The truth of it is, he says, is that life is a lonely journey. We are an intimate group, three women and the co-director of the center Sat Jagat Singh. It is funny that we are all attracted to the workshop as one of us is divorced, one single, and one married. We are all searching despite our relationship status. The reason for this becomes clear as Hari Nam explains the only relationships we can really ever count on are the one we have with the divine, and the one we have with ourselves. And now I realize that I am in a bit of a pickle, because myself and I are barely acquainted, at best. I wonder if the other women agree.

Hari explains the real key here, is to know yourself. If one really knows and accepts who they are, the desperate need for something or someone to complete us fades. Yoga helps us to become more intimate with ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually; which is paramount if we are to ever become truly intimate with another. I always did think that part of Jerry McGuire was a bit over the top. Why can’t we see the rest of the movie, where he sick of being completed? I know from personal experience that after time the nagging desire for me to complete myself, once again, rears its ugly head. This is usually the point where I start trying to change my partner. I mean really, if he could just spend some more quality time with me, stop being so angry and leave the toilet seat down, everything would be fine. Right?

Sat Jagat Singh warns, “don’t think you can change anyone else. You can only change yourself to accept your partner exactly as they are”. Woops. He also offers that it is through satsang and discipline that we begin to know ourselves. It is the commitment to this practice of yoga, of knowing ourselves, that changes all of our relationships. It is rather poetic to me that a yoga practice and a relationship both require the C word. This type of discipline takes patience and perseverance I think, two qualities that are antithetical to our culture. It is no wonder we are becoming more and more lonely, and more and more desperate to fill up with the fleeting shiny promises of whiter teeth, an iPhone or a new boyfriend. I have even gotten a bit sneaker about it, thinking I really need a new yoga mat. Hiding my emptiness by wrapping it up in a “something for my spiritual development” package.

Hari Nam talks a lot about marriage, and I pay attention. He says marriage is the highest form of yoga and that there are really only two good reasons to get married. The first being coziness; it can be cruel and cold out there, and there is nothing wrong with finding a partner to create a beautiful safe home with. The second reason is to help one another on our spiritual paths. This union is not as easy because this partner will challenge as well as support us. A really spectacular marriage however, is one where there is a spiritual component; two individuals come together in a union, which has a bigger purpose. He says that if we’re not in a relationship for either of these reasons, then we are just there to get our emotional needs met because we aren’t whole ourselves. Gulp. Shel Silverstein images of me rolling around looking for my missing piece flash before me. Smashing all sorts of shapes into the nice pie-sized opening.

I believe on some level though, every relationship is walking a spiritual path – whether we are conscious of it or not. Each experience makes us either more aware or more miserable which then can lead us to desiring the awareness. Choosing to be in a relationship consciously is really taking it to the next level, and I realize that is what I’ve been looking for. True love is fearless, courageous and therefore not easy Hari says, because it requires us to be so vulnerable. “Divorce didn’t kill me.We can survive it, the sky is still blue.” When we are this fearless incredible strength is discovered, knowing that we can never really be hurt. My does this sounds nice after the past year in fetal position.

We end the evening with some delicious chai and the idea that you need to “be that which you want to find in a relationship”. Considering that I don’t want to date anyone that is jaded, suspicious, and makes me jump through hoops to prove I won’t hurt them and can thoroughly clean the bathroom, it’s safe to say that I have some work to do here.

I am extremely grateful to Hari Nam, and the co-directors Guru Surya and Sat Jagat Singh. I left this workshop with a lot more insight and maybe even a little hope that I too might someday have a real partnership not based on mutual emotional-need fulfilling. And this safe, warm temple is a great place to, sigh, get to know myself better.

For more information about Kundalini Yoga Park Slope please visit Hari Nam Singh Khalsa can be reached at and

laughter yoga

Last week I was luck enough to attend a Laughter Yoga class as part of an article I was writing for Yoga City NYC. Due to my long-windedness, part of it had to be edited out, so I am going to put the full version here... I rather liked it. Check it out and if you can make it to a class, I recommend it! In Laughter and Love,


It’s Tuesday night, and I am heading to my first experience at the Laughter Yoga Salon. It’s cold out, I’m really tired, fairly cranky and pretty sad. I don’t know how I’m going to be pleasant enough to get through a laughing class. It isn’t long before I realize however, that this is the whole point.

“There’s nothing funny about Laughter Yoga” says laughter coach Francine Shore. It’s true. Laughter Yoga, created in the mid 1990’s by Dr. Madan Kataria doesn’t contain a humor component. Based on the ideas that laughter is the best medicine and humor is subjective, Dr. Kateria created a series of exercises, which basically trick the body. Our bodies can’t tell the difference between spontaneous and simulated laughter, yet we reap all the benefits either way. Benefits that we all could seriously use: increases in our immune system and endorphins, and decreases in cortisol levels, blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, depression and anxiety. Laughter Yoga has also helped people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; who report less intense tremors after the laughter therapy. Laughter Yoga may also be the greatest tool in dealing with our often stressful lives.

Francine grew up in what she calls a “laughing family” that always used humor to get through hard times. She learned to cope with sadness and depression, dyslexia and body image dysmorphia by being the class clown. It wasn’t until she took the Laugher Training with Dr. Kataria eight years ago however, that her life really began to turn around. More than just laughter, this yoga also trains us to change how we can respond to the painful situations we encounter. Many of the exercises mock things such as breaking a treasured vase, getting a ticket, or loosing all your money while you laugh through it. This trains us that we have other options in dealing with stressful situations.

Back in class, I find myself feeling a bit ridiculous as I play little improv games and pretend to laugh with four other grown women. The exercises are broken into three categories: playful, yogic (mostly pranayama based) and value based; exercise that help us in letting go. Eye contact is the most important part. It is key that we connect with each other as we dance around the room. Each exercise lasts only a few minutes. Some are more wild and aerobic, others are movements to deep breathing followed by heart opening laughter. My favorites were where we pretended to see ourselves in fun mirrors and when we paired up and made lion faces. I am not unfamiliar with some of this work; I’ve seen a lot of similar games in my 10 plus years training as an actor. But this time it is different. As the class progresses, I have some sense that these women are really fighting for something. There is a commitment and an honesty that I have never seen in an acting class. At some point it dawns on me, that we’re really here fighting for something. For our health, our happiness, our lives.

After a seated, guided meditation Francine does a little touch-base with each of us. She is a counselor in addition to coach. I am touched by each woman’s honesty and openness. They all say that the yoga has helped them to deal with stress; it has been an amazing benefit not only in their health, but also as a tool to get through hard times. One woman shared that now instead of getting down on herself for perceived mistakes or failure, she is able to just laugh it off. Another woman said that she has used some of the exercises with her high-school students which results in a completely different and positive energy in the class. I myself share that before class I was tired and stressed, and after I was still tired, but relaxed. Francine explains that this is the key; our situations, problems and tiredness don’t go away, but the yoga puts us in a different place to deal with them. Aside from the physical release such as the one I felt, over time the yoga trains us that we have another option; laughter. It allows us to feel better, see things differently, and move forward in a more positive mind-set. “We all have adversity,” she says, “It is just how you deal with it.”

“Laughter Yoga is really intimate,” I say to Francine after class, and she agrees. There is a bonding and connecting that happens when you laugh with someone. It’s true. I feel a greater heart opening tonight than I ever have from wheel or camel. I feel a fierce connection with these strangers, and I want them to find peace and happiness as much as I want to find my own. Make no mistake, Laughter Yoga isn’t easy - you burn 300 – 400 calories an hour dancing and hopping around. The harder part was getting over my ego and letting myself play and feel silly. It wasn’t until we were pretending to smoke a joint and I started eating Captain Crunch that I realized it was really okay to be free and creative; I was the only one holding myself back. Francine says that as children we laugh 400 times per day because we live in our hearts. As adults stuck in our heads we laugh a mere 12 times per day. And I wonder if maybe even less in this high-stress over-achieving city of New York. There are only about two other Laughter Coaches here, but 6,000 worldwide. Yet I can’t think of a better, faster way to alleviate some of the tension now in our unemployed, uninsured, and uninspired climate. Apparently companies that wouldn’t give her the time of day before are now calling up and saying “We need you.”

And with good reason. Aside from being one of only 3 coaches in the city, Francine is one of the most beautiful people I have met. She told me how for five years she didn’t date because she had gained weight and felt horrible about herself. Through the yoga however she has been able to find self-acceptance and love. She now feels sexy and beautiful as a plus-size woman; her confidence radiating from within. More than anything, it is her compassion that is palpable. Synchronistically, walking to a coffee shop to continue the interview, Francine and I run into one of her students who couldn’t make class due to a minor emergency. Happy to see her safe and okay, Francine pauses for a moment on the corner of 6th avenue and 23rd street to laugh with her.

Laughter Yoga is the union of people laughing; a movement of world peace through laughter. “It would be pretty difficult to aim if you were laughing so hard your couldn’t shoot straight” she says. And I wonder if even more importantly, our hearts would be so open that we wouldn’t pick up the gun in the first place.

Come out and laugh with Francine at her annual post Valentines soiree for women on February 16th. For more information please visit

rolf yourself

I want to be rolfed. I want every little bit of tension and holding finally rubbed, beaten and released out of my body. I'm sick and tired of my inflexibility, fear, pain and weakness which I believe is a physical reflection of what I am holding onto mentally. Once and for all I want the emotional trauma and sickness gone... I want a clean slate. But I hear rolfing is a couple thousand dollars and as that isn't the most prudent use of funds when I don't really have a job - I need to find other solutions. Yoga High.

Yes, this little studio on the Lower East Side is my newest yoga adventure and I have thrown myself into it with such a passion that it might be bordering on obsession. Having just graduated from the fast, flowing, creative vinyasa yoga teacher training of Laughing Lotus (which I love) I feel like I am cheating on my partner so to speak... but it just feels too good to stop.

There is a big focus at YH on the breath, and using it to really open and connect with yourself - which I know all yoga is, but to me this is on a whole new level.

This is rolf-yourself yoga.

In addition to the breath guidance, the adjustments here guide me into opening the scariest and darkest places. In my tradition, it is the belief that less is more regarding adjustments - allowing each student find where the poses live in their own bodies. And that makes sense to me. But Liz of Liz & Mel (co-owners of YH) explained that guiding a student into alignment helps them to find it - and I agree. There are a lot of places that I would not find without the expert and loving guidance of a well trained teacher. The love and patience with which I am aligned here allow me to open and breathe into parts of my body like never before.

They've created a monster. I am so excited by the opening and letting go in my hips, ankles, and knees for god's sake that my self-rolfing practice has become an addiction. Last week Mel massaged my back on both sides of my pigeon, which made me release into the pose like never before - as well as profess my undying love to her after class. I have also decided to become a regular at Abby's friday night class after she supported my standing split (I pose I hitherto regarded as mostly annoying) letting me see how to release tension in the back of my knees - a completely new concept to me - which has also helped alleviate a chronic pain I have been having in my IT band.

So, if like me you are ready and willing to let go of some more things that are holding you back in your life and your body, check out Yoga High. They are also seriously the nicest people on the planet.