A San Diego Love Story

My goodness what can happen in 2 1/2 years…

My time in San Diego has been the most transformative chapter of my adult life.

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I decided to move to San Diego on a whim, kinda. I was flying from Hawaii to Virginia to surprise my mom for her 50th birthday. I stopped in LA to see a friend for a few days. I had this 30 minute layover in San Diego and when I got back on that little tiny death machine plane I thought (or heard) “I should move to San Diego.” I went to Virginia for 2 weeks and told all of my family that I’ve decided to move to San Diego. Coincidentally, that same trip, I was on Facebook and saw my now husband- then just facebook friend and former boss- posted something stupid about the mcrib being back. I think my exact comment was “ew.” He messaged me back catching up with me about where my life was and where his was in Seattle. I also told him that I had decided to move to San Diego. (It didn’t matter to me at all that I had no definite plans, job, place to live…I just knew (or heard) that this was where I needed to be next.) He was excited for me, told me I would love it, and that it was a great transition back to the mainland. We didn’t really talk again for months after this conversation but I still remember how excited I was that he sent me a message at all.

Anyway, on my way back to Hawaii I stopped in LA again to see my friend and break up the very long 12 hour flight. I sent my actual boss a message putting in my notice even though I still had 6 months left on island. I wanted it to be real and to start prepping. I realize then and now that it seems irrational to move to a city that you’ve never been to before because you claim to have “heard” it. That same whisper sent me to Hawaii and back to Brooklyn and back to Hawaii again…and it was the same feeling this time. An indescribable feeling that something really perfect was there.

 I lived out the final few months in Hawaii with 2 Japanese women who didn’t speak a lot of English. I did a photoshoot with one of them who owned a boutique downtown-I didn’t understand what anyone was saying for 3 hours of pictures- I only picked up on certain words ‘Kawai!”(cute) and “uh” (yeah). I hiked, sailed, camped, drank, danced, taught yoga, practiced yoga, paddle boarded, went on a solo trip to Maui and hung out in the rain forest during massive rain storms, met a guy that was living with his sister in a tent whose first words to me was “thirsty?” as he took his machetti out and chopped off a coconut to give me. I really made the most of my 4 years on a tiny island.

A really strange part of my love story is that 2 years before I moved to San Diego- still living in Hawaii and loving it- 27 years old and free, I used to tell my roommate Claire that I believed the love of my life lived in San Francisco. Well, around that time, the love of my life was living right outside of San Francisco and getting ready to move to Hawaii on a whim.

In April of 2012, a new guy started working at my job as my boss. I remember where I was when we were introduced, who was beside me, and that I was too shy to even say hi to him. I didn’t know why.I felt this significance when I met him. Without sounding too “new agey” I knew him already. I hardly talked to him but when he was working with me I was in the best mood ever- nothing really got me down. I hardly worked with him though because I was in my teacher training and only worked about 10 days a month and lived on lettuce and frozen foods.My friends and I would try to conjure up ways to run into him outside of work but we never succeeded. Once I did run into him in the mall around Christmas time. I was not prepared, this is not how we had always imagined it, and I was all alone. I just bought my first professional yoga mat for a ridiculous amount of money and was about to see the Christmas lights. I could have said any of that to him! I couldn’t think of a thing to say so I awkwardly said bye and ran off. I regretted it all night.I never got the chance to run into him again. The next April he moved back to Washington and it broke my heart. We had no real connection, we had never once hung out or had outside of work conversations, but there was something….

So around Christmas time, a few months before I took the leap to San Diego we started to have these simple and sweet facebook conversations. We spent all of Christmas Eve Day on facebook sending these animal videos back and forth. It was about 2 hours of this and easy conversations. I don’t love Christmas time- I’m always sad- and it was inevitable that someone at work was going to make me cry in the walk in cooler. I have worked every Christmas Eve for 12 years and the only people that go out on that holiday are pissed about it too. But thinking of this guy made it a little easier to bear- because I did end up crying in the walk in cooler.

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He told me Merry Christmas on Christmas Day, wished me a happy new year, we spent a lot of time sharing our favorite bands, he would send me hundreds of pictures of sea otters- his favorite animal and videos of cats. He never flirted with me but I knew.

In February, about a month and a half before I was about to move, he sent me a text message from Canada where he was snowboarding with friends telling me he was probably going to be transferred to San Diego but because of the poor reception, I didn’t hear another word from him for days!

When I finally heard from him again he was moving there. He offered to pick me up from the airport and even a place to stay! He may have regretted that right after he said it but he didn’t take it back! A month after he got here he came to get me from the airport and we were inseparable ever since. This is not to say that everything was perfect and smooth because this is not a fairy tale it’s real life. We had both been single for years and were stuck in our obnoxious ways that we had to communicate to get through. A year later we were engaged. San Diego gave me an incredible love story that I get to live for the rest of our lives.

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I was 29 years old- almost 2 months from turning 30 when I moved here. I had only worked in bars and restaurants my whole adult life. Something I think has given me a weird PTSD around drunk people. I cannot stand drunk people. Anyway, I was so unhappy in the service industry but the fast money and flexibility kept me attached. It’s also very easy to get a service industry job- well easy-ish. A few months before I moved here, I built a yoga website for myself, reached out to yoga studios to teach and take more trainings. I had a plan. I was going to teach yoga.

Plans go out the window when you move to a new city.

I stayed with a girlfriend downtown. Thank you Sarah, you are so awesome. I was so stoked to be living in a big city again with so many things to do. It was a challenge for 29 year old me to focus and get stuff done. San Diego is a really really fun city.

I finally (2 months later) found a place to live with a beautiful soul, Emily and Klaus the kitty. We met on craigslist. It’s so funny to think that most of the friends I have are based off of a connection someone had through craigslist. It’s a sweet compound sharing a fire pit with the house in front and the apartment underneath us. They accepted me as a friend right away. It took some getting used to but every place I have ever lived has. Emily would let me teach her yoga down by the ocean and introduced me to some really special people. Mostly, it was so comforting to be living with an extremely smart and beautiful girl that was going through the same difficult ambition/ dream chasing that I was going through. Her ambition was very different- she pretty much has her masters in saving the ocean. We had lived in all the same cities at different times and she was just as obsessed with her cat as I am. She let me move in with her even though I didn’t have a job yet. She said she knew I would figure it out. Having her helped me adjust to my new life much easier.

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I made flyers for donation classes right away and took them all over the neighborhood pinning them up. Some people would come and pay with fruits and veggies from their garden, some would give what money they could. I taught at this little grassy spot by the beach right down the street from my house. That spot was so random. Ron used to call it my little corner of the world. Everytime I went there something wild or fascinating would happen. Like the old italian guy in his tiny bikini bottoms sitting in his grass chair. No one showed up to my class the day he was there so we had a long talk about business building and what advice he had being that he owned a cafe himself. His million dollar advice was to over price myself. “People think expensive stuff is fancy.” Another time, a woman rolled up to my donation class and was from out of town. She was so excited to find yoga at the beach that she gave me $100! I could not have needed it more at the time. There were random homeless people that would join in my class sometimes and sometimes it would just be me and my boyfriend. He didn’t like doing it but he wanted me to succeed so he always tried. Suddenly my little corner of the world started turning dark and hateful. Travelers/transients would make fun of me and try to ruin the class. I had to stop practicing there.

I was auditioning regularly for teaching jobs and applying all over the place for any jobs other than service industry. With zero experience in much else and very little teaching experience, it was a door slammed in my face daily. Looking for a job is hard but taking the bus to interviews seemed to make it much much harder. It would take 45 minutes- 2 hours sometimes to get to some craigslist offered job where you just never know who you will be meeting with. Sometimes my bus rides were interesting. I got on the bus one day and saw a homeless man give another non homeless man .50cents to ride. He talked to imaginary people. He was having the happiest conversation with the people he saw and when those angel people would leave or get off the bus he would laugh in a really jolly way and say “okay now, have a nice float!” They were not all like that though. That guy was special. I liked that guy. I won’t forget him.

When I finally bit the bullet and realized that getting involved in a yoga community in San Diego was way way way harder than I thought- I had to get a serving job. I got this really crappy job in a Hawaiian cafe. Like really really crappy cafe. I wouldn’t even eat there. It was only me and the cook there everyday. The owner would be there sometimes but everyone liked it better when she wasn’t. She wasn’t mean, she was just particular and it didn’t make any sense why she pretended to care so much about such a crappy place. The place reeked of this flying insect spray. To this day, if I smell that crap I’m out. There were gooey fly traps hanging in every corner. I touched as little as possible. Most days we would have 5 tables the entire day, other days we would close 4 hours early. I kept going to this job because there was so little to do and zero supervision that I could spend all day sending out resumes and setting up auditions and planning my next life move. What I found so interesting about this cafe was the regulars. We definitely had some homeless regulars. They almost always paid- there was only one I really disliked. His name was Colt and he had one real leg and one metal one. He was mean. I realize his life has been tough but he was so awful to me and always ran out on his bill. The cook would chase him down and make him pay for some reason. I usually didn’t see the point of taking his last few dollars for some eggs. There was a regular that came in who was a recovering meth addict. He always gave me the best monkey bread and told the funniest stories and watched his carb intake. The cook himself was a homeless man and recovering addict, father of 6 all of whom were grown ups except his newest little one who was 3 and his whole world. The kid lived with the mother’s mom and was a very happy and taken care of child. I wonder about the cook sometimes and hope that he’s okay. Working there sucked for sure, but it opened my eyes to a different kind of compassion. I’ve lived in lots of places with lots of homeless communities but none like OB. If I’m walking around on the sidewalk here and pass a guy with a sign, I ask him his story. If they have a dog, I buy him dog food. If you leave with anything from this story, know that not all homeless people did it to themselves.All humans deserve respect and acknowledgement. We are all in this together, find a way to help the human race. And animals.

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My little corner of the world.

I made no money at this job. Well I made enough money for rent and some food. I had to decide which bills to pay each month. Luckily I don’t have many bills. I never got a car, I just biked or rode the bus. Around this time, I actually stumbled upon a corporate yoga substitute teaching gig. I would go to businesses after their work day and teach. I tried to find my own clients and start my own businesses-awkwardly cold calling businesses and asking them who was in charge of their on site fitness program. Just another version of doors slamming in my face really. But i would spend hours a day calling them, listing more to call, and creating brochures to take to them. Nothing ever came out of that but it kept me focused and my mind filled with yoga.

I found another waitressing job down the street at a little family place, super clean and organized. My first day of training was fine- everyone was so nice. At 12:30 pm when I still wasn’t allowed to go home because I had to polish silverware I knew I was never coming back there. It was my third job of the day and I was just so done polishing silverware and wasting time doing what I hated! I quit. I knew I would rather be poor working towards what I loved than to be poor slaving away at something I despised.

The summer was ending and I didn’t have much to show for it except  my crappy job and a substitute teaching job in which the woman that ran the business would always conveniently forget how much she said she would pay me.

I made a vision board with Emily just putting up pictures that I loved. Found a really cool image of a fairy and 2 separate words that said Lucky and Pixie. When I showed my boyfriend my board he casually commented that the Lucky Pixie would be a cool shirt brand. He also casually mentioned that he knew how to screen print. I casually brought it up to Emily in our living room where we would sit drinking our tea and discussing what we thought Klaus’ day was like. She thought it was a great idea and told me to look into crowd sourcing. I had never heard of that before. She suggested Kickstarter.

 

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Learning to screenprint!

I was so damn excited! I was gonna start this screen printing business and use it to spread a positive message and fund my healing yoga studio. The shirt said things like “Super Loveable, Yoga Kitten, Om, I bet you can fly you’re that special, Limitless, angels exist.” The kickstarter went way better than I thought and then I was on my own. I quit the cafe job and focused on building this business and continued to teach and would occasionally pick up shifts at that crappy cafe. I had 2 months to get this thing going. I kept saying “anything can happen in 2 months…” I made some sales, learned a new trade, and went broke again trying.

So I am back at square one. I started working at a customer service job answering phones for an online flower company. It’s the only job I’ve ever had where I sat at a desk. I would rather wait tables. People are awful to you on the phone. I am a calm person but I’m not very patient with mean people. I would just hang up on them. I didn’t get paid enough for the abuse. Also it took me 2 1/2 hours to take the bus there. Sometimes my boyfriend would be able to come get me but he had to work sometimes too. It was Christmas time- not my favorite time. I just couldn’t do it. So I quit going. I started working at the crappy cafe again. She just kept taking me back. I also got a catering job….the kind where your interview consists of you carrying a large tray full of plates in front of a lot of people and gracefully setting it on a tray holder thing. Damn it. My one and only job I took with these people was on New Years Eve in a huge hotel where I was a glorified busser. I just wandered from banquet room to another picking up cups in my stupid black pants and tie.Watching women slip in vomit in the bathroom and cry hysterically. My boyfriend picked me up that morning after I was finished at 3:30am. I don’t think I have ever felt that sad before. We gave a girl a ride home that had been catering the event with me. She lived in a hotel and studdered. She loved catering and living at the beach in a hotel. Perspective is everything. I never saw her again.

I don’t want to be misunderstood that I look down on the job opportunity in any way. Some people really like it, it is easy money, and flexible. I put in my 13 years of service industry in Virginia, NYC, Honolulu, and now all over San Diego and was really good at it. I did not love it. Quite the opposite. I really really really wanted to share my love of life through yoga. I wanted to help people feel at peace with their lives. I truly want to make a difference in the lives of others. Because I was so miserable at my jobs, this was never going to come across to anyone I met.

I could write a book about the amazing experiences I had bartending and serving in some of the coolest cities in America. I could write a longer book about the amount of abuse I was exposed to in this industry.

New Years came and went. My boyfriend moved in with me and my rommate moved up north for a job. I had an audition scheduled for about a month. I had the flu, my boyfriend’s friend was in town, and I would come home to nap between crap cafe and corporate yoga teaching to find drunk happy boys. Drunk people give me anxiety. Happy people made me sad because it was all I wanted to be but no matter how hard I was trying nothing was happening for me. I had this audition and I had to go regardless of mood or health. It was honestly the longest audition I have ever been on. All of us had to teach for 20 minutes…there were 12 of us. I stayed because I was the last to go… of course. I had no energy so I sat at the front and guided them through meditation and restorative yoga. I just had to trust myself. I usually would audition to show I knew the names of sanskrit poses or terms- or fancy peak poses- or a strong voice. Not this time. I could not. Afterwards the owner hired me and one other girl. It paid next to nothing but it was a teaching job! She was a very….eccentric person. 60 years old and zero knowledge of business building or team appreciation. At first she would call me and tell me I was a star teacher and give me 5 classes a week. She would have me sub her classes and not tell her students that she wouldn’t be there. They always got mad at ME! They were just as eccentric and unwilling to accept change as her. But I remained calm and grateful. Then she would send me long mean messages about my teaching style (even though shoe never took my classes) and that I needed to be more like this other teacher whom I’ve never met and also she fired. I remained calm still. Then she would tell me how much her students loved me. Then she would take away some of my classes. I remained calm still. Then a year later, at Christmas, she fired me. She said she hired someone who gets 300 likes on Instagram and thought they would be better at building her business for her than me. The woman she replaced me with only taught there for a month or two. I admit I was a little relieved to release this woman’s toxic exhausting energy from my life.

She wasn’t all bad though. She referred me to a private student named Aisha. We met in March that year. We worked together 3-4 times a week for almost 2 years  now. We’ve met each other’s families, she gifted me a room full of beautiful flowers for my wedding! She has meant a lot to me since we met.

Around the time I started teaching at that studio, a man called me out of the blue. One of the places I subbed for the county employees had an employee recommend me as a teacher. He got my number and offered me a job without even meeting me because I came so highly recommended. I taught them for almost 2 years too. I only said bye to them last month because I am moving. I also started teaching at a psych hospital to the nurses and employees. Loved them too.

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My “office”- where I taught corporate yoga.

 I have nothing but confidence now when I teach as I feel I have taught in so many different forums. I put myself on google and yelp and would get calls for bachelorette yoga and wedding day yoga, baby moon yoga at sunset cliffs, private sessions for tourists… I was a full time yoga teacher. I finally did it. I rented my own yoga space and held classes there every week. They went well and it was amazing to practice  what goes into owning your own space.

The thing I wanted most to come out of this pursuit of teaching was-and still is- to make a profound difference in someone’s life. Since I began this journey, I have received many phone calls, emails, and hugs telling me how I have affected them. I am in no way saying this to boast. I am saying this to explain how much those people have affected my life. I’m saying this to explain that helping is the point- to make a difference with whatever gift God gave you. We all have something unique to offer the world. Don’t shy away from it.  I do this to see you glow and transform. I’ve seen it so many times now and it lights me up. That is worth every single bit of effort. That keeps me going even when giving up seems like the obvious option. So thank you so so so much. We are all in this together.

“The genius thing I did was I never gave up.”

Somehow through the grace of God I was able to hold onto this wonderful man I have. He let me cry and scream and get mad and watched me become happy and successful. I think a lot of this is because of him. He never let me believe for a second that this wasn’t going to happen eventually. He did everything he could to support me. Came to every single class that he could, helped me print flyers, helped me fill classes, take me to the beach when I was sad….I’ve never felt so happy and blessed because a man like this loves me and lets me love him right back. It is because of him that I am so happy today. Thank you for always just letting me be me.

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From that Christmas I was let go from the odd studio owner woman, I have only become happier and more successful.However, I am forever grateful to her for taking  a chance on me and giving me space to spread my message. Everything is perfectly placed in life. Looking back on all of my opportunities- it seems as though “this” is what you get if you work this hard; “this and that” is what you get if you keep going just a little more; “this, that and all of that fluffiness” is what you get when you really go all in and trust the process. If things are not panning out for you yet in the way you imagined, ask yourself if there is an extra mile you can put in.

I have learned that it is not so bad to try something and end up looking like a fool. It is not so bad to try and have it not work out. It is not so bad to have a door slammed in your face. It is not so bad to work at a crap cafe and befriend homeless people. It is not so bad to do the jobs you reeeeaaaallllllyyyyy don’t want to do while you work your ass off for the one you want. It is really bad to be afraid of any of these things. You will only live the life you really want if you are willing to work- sometimes 5 jobs at a time- and believe in it. Believe in it more than you are afraid of it. BE ALL IN.

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In the middle of all this chaos, I got engaged and married and my husband got a job he really wanted and it is moving us up to the Bay Area in a week! My wedding was a dream day that went by too fast. I set my intentions for the day like I do everyday and they were to be grounded, present, sober, and to be sure to eat! I did it! It was an intimate wedding with all of our favorite people on Earth. My husband stayed sober with me and had my back! He just keeps proving to me that we are a team and will be for life. Somewhere in life I went right to end up with him.

My engagement was long and we had so much fun all over this city. We make sure to do something fun together at least once a week. We have seen everything in San Diego at least once. Holding hands and giggling together the whole time. We get stopped at Target by strangers asking if we are newlyweds because we are so cute together.

My honeymoon was so relaxed and romantic. Everytime we would share an inside joke I would look at him and just be so amazed that he is my husband now. I get to laugh with him and at him for the rest of our long long lives together.We get to watch each other continue to grow and support each other through everything. I have a partner in crime through all of life’s challenges. This is the most magical thing that’s come out of San Diego for me. I have a husband that I get so excited to see every morning and every evening. I have someone that just gets me and loves me completely. I got to marry the guy I had a secret crush on for 2 years.

San Diego has been the most transformational time in my life. People that see me now are amazed at the difference between the wild Danica they knew and the calm, collected, and focused Danica I’ve become. There is a huge shift still happening within me and I plan to keep embracing it and growing with it. This San Diego chapter has also been the most introverted and reflective I’ve ever felt. I’ve always had a ton of friends and parties and huge social network- but that seemed like it would get in the way of what I feel I need to accomplish. I wasn’t shutting people out of my life by any means but I was only spending time with meaningful people. Almost as if they felt effortless, we would just click, I trusted their vibe. I collected a small tribe of extremely inspirational women that I will always know, love, and root for in life. To my Guinevere, Emily, and Jennifer thanks for having my back these past 2 1/2 years- your friendship means so much to me.

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So now this brand new wife and husband and fur human baby kitty Murphy are heading north outside of San Francisco for my man to start his happy new career- could not be more proud of him. And for me to build mine again. I am not afraid of this challenge this time. I have way more knowledge and confidence. I am also aware that I have purpose here and as long as I keep listening to those seemingly irrational whispers from God I will fulfill that purpose. Lord knows I’m not naive- I would never have made it everywhere I’ve been if I was- but I’m going all in-In the most positive, manifesting, dream catching way I can think of.

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For all of you that have supported me all along, I think of you often and love you all the time.

I don’t know where life will take us next but I know I am in love, rooted in love, focused, and ready for the change.

Do not be afraid of failing. Do not be afraid of succeeding. Do not be afraid of growing into a new version of yourself. Trust. Good things are going to happen.

I love you all so much!

Danica

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Unstuck.

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What is standing between you and your dream life? I’m not sure if the question is inspiring or cliche. I do know, however, that this question goes through my head every single morning for the last couple weeks.

The strange part of the question to myself is that I thought I was living my dream. I worked very very hard to teach yoga as my only career and I have achieved that. I am marrying the best man I have ever known in about 2 months. I have a kitty. He’s mean but he has a sweet streak too. I really felt completely whole…for about a year. Now my soul is craving growth. And my heart is telling me that this time it’s going to be a huge jump. Something is whispering in my ear all of the reasons I have to be afraid but my heart is telling me that they are not real obstacles. They are not real whispers. There is nothing, literally nothing in my way…except fear.

I talk about fear a lot in my classes and writing. I talk about it so much that I’ve given it space in my life. I’ve allowed it to exist because I thought I had no other choice.

Something has shifted in me and I know the exact moment it did. It would sound absolutely crazy if I tried to describe it in this blog but ask me to tell you about it next time we meet. Suddenly I was filled and overflowing with intense ignition. This is the word. Ignite. I began to feel and hear whispers saying “I am done hiding behind my truth for fear or rejection or ridicule. I am done second guessing my work here on Earth. I am done feeling small or inadequate. I am ready to step fully into the person I am meant to be.” And I meant it. With fire.

When I tell people this that are accustomed to believe that we have to do things a certain way, or have little faith in a greater infinite spirit inside ourselves- they don’t quite know how to respond. I can make them uncomfortable- even bitter if they are really out of touch with their spirituality. If I can convince even one person that they matter and they are far from alone on this journey then it is worth it to put myself completely out there.

I’ve prayed and meditated on my purpose. I believe in finding purpose so much. We are not here arbitrarily. We are here to do something specific that continues to evolve as we continue to evolve. With each new evolution of our spirit, a higher purpose and opportunity is introduced to us.

I’m feeling big huge brave future for myself right now. I am feeling absolutely limitless in how far I can reach. I am feeling the power to inspire an endless amount of people.

So, naturally when these thoughts slammed into me I wanted to retreat. I sat with them and meditated with them. What I found so interesting was the whispers in my head were soooo loud and so positive. They were the majority of my thoughts so much so that when the negative entity would enter my mind to tell me “who are you to think you are special? Why do you think you can grow any bigger? You don’t have the courage.” I was able to hear it and dismiss it because the majority of my feelings were so positive and encouraging. I allowed myself to have confidence. I allowed myself to feel empowered. I allowed me to believe in me. That became my mantra. “I am allowed to have confidence in myself.

I have a mission. I want to help you see your purpose. I want to help you live a full life. I want you to know, beyond a doubt, that you deserve to live with purpose and pride. I can think of a million ways to share this truth with everyone. And writing in this blog every single day will serve as one way. Teaching yoga and workshops will be another. I will indulge every single idea that comes to me without regard to ‘if it works out’.  If it touches one person then that will be perfect. So worth it.

Follow along with my journey and please allow me to follow yours. Leave comments, email me, call me, hug me, dance with me, and love me forever! I will answer every single comment left.

If this sounds crazy, that’s okay. It’s my truth. I feel empowered and motivated and inspired by my spirit guides. I am not alone on this journey. As a matter of fact, the more I feel this and pursue this, the more people and life I will attract who are on a similar journey.

Surround yourself with inspiration. Every single day!

Sending so much love to you all! Tons and tons!

Danica Elle

We do not have time for fear. None.

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There aren’t many people in the world that have a strong desire to teach yoga.You can replace the last few words of that sentence with anything that you have a strong desire to do. Raise a family, run a business, fly planes, serve tables in a restaurant… anything. We don’t all share the same desires or dreams. That is a huge sign to me that we are given these dreams as a pathway to our purpose. Our purpose is unique and no one else will have the exact same purpose as you.

For most of us, it takes a very long time to gain the courage to work towards our dreams or desires. Lots of things hold us back. Fear that we are not good enough to make it is the number one thing that could possibly hold you back forever. It could strangle the real life you are meant to have right out of you. Fear is an entity all of its own. It can convince you, without a doubt, that what your heart truly longs for and daydreams about is out of reach or completely unattainable.

From what I am reading in “The Happiness Hypothesis” I’m understanding that this is the outcome of letting the brain do all the thinking. I know that sounds obvious and kind of silly- of course the brain thinks. What I am talking about is deeper. The brain is meant to serve us, problem solve, administer proper motor functions throughout the body. It is NOT meant to talk us out of something we know we would love. It is NOT meant to convince you that you aren’t worth the risk. It is NOT meant to become more important than the heart. When it comes down to it, you can live without much brain function- not a happy joyful life by any means but you can survive. You cannot live without a heart. It is the soul. It is the essence of life.

To put this into a more personal statement, I have anxiety. It’s new. I’ve never felt anxiety before and it’s awful. Anxiety is strange because it takes very normal everyday activities and turns them into HUGE deals. I would have anxiety about having to have a conversation with a stranger, meeting a yoga teacher, driving a car on the highway, a newfound paralyzing fear of flying… It has prevented me from doing a lot of small things like trainings, retreats, and even small get togethers where I wouldn’t really know anyone. I had a desire to do all of these things I was afraid of. A strong one. I love connecting with people and sharing this passion I have for yoga and life. But this bizarre entity was keeping me still or stagnant. I kept feeling that if my mind has the power to convince me of all of these imaginary circumstances being unattainable then perhaps I could begin to convince my mind of my strength and abilities. Maybe I have had the power all along. Maybe my heart tells my mind what to do and think. How do I do that?

Meditation, yoga, and journaling. Creating a mantra for yourself to embody love over fear.Some of mine are- “You have to love it way more than you’re afraid of it. People generally want to like you and be liked. What I project and share is what I will receive as well. I have a gift to share and gifts to receive. The world desperately needs all beings of light to shine and speak up and inspire. You deserve to be happy. Ignite from within and move with God.” Repeating this until you believe it. Writing it somewhere that you see daily so you really believe it.

The thing is, we really really really need all the love and light we can get. So gather yours and shine it into the world. Fear is not real. You will not fail if you are truly moving from the heart, then it is absolutely God’s will and you will flourish with every brave step you take. I am not saying that this will be easy. It most certainly will not, but how fascinating of a life it is to truly truly live the life you have always dreamed of. To wake up every morning filled with excitement because yo have so much purpose and you are surrounded with light.

“I do not dance around the perimeter of who I am meant to be. I step in fully and completely.” I will not be afraid to speak my truth anymore. I don’t have time to care if others are thinking negatively of me. I am here to inspire, heal, help, and support. I am living my purpose.

I love love love all of you.

xxoooxxo,

Danica Elle

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Live Your Dream…my humble advice

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It’s only my 2 cents.  You will always need to know in every life decision why you are good enough and deserve to be happy. Always. So figure that out now. And then do what makes you happy every single day. Here’s a little bit of my most recent journey to happiness and what I think works.

I don’t make a million dollars…I mean my car doesn’t even have power windows… and it’s a stick! I can say without a doubt that I am the happiest version of myself that I have ever been. I cannot believe that I get paid to do what  I love and teach people how to find what they love. I can’t believe that I am marrying the sweetest man in the world. And I get to live in a cute tiny home half a block from the beach with my little Murph monster kitty. This. How did I deserve all of this?

So I have been thinking about how blessed I am and how I got here. I wanted to share my advice with you for anyone who feels stuck or close to giving up on being really really happy. I was there more than once.

First of all, you probably already know what you would rather be doing for your job. (Perhaps you love your job. That’s great! But this blog will most likely not interest you.) I hear from people all the time about how they have been getting all of these affirmations that they are really good at something. They are super interested in it, spend their spare time reading about it or thinking about it, taking classes on it. In other words- really very drawn to it. This could be a hobby. Hobbies are good. You don’t need to turn all hobbies into a job. The feeling you get when it is more than a hobby is a NEED TO ACT. A strong desire to get involved in some way. That desire will most likely be ignored by you. In my own experience, it was ignored because I didn’t believe I was smart enough, creative enough, loud enough (I speak very softly until I teach…or get mad at people driving), I didn’t think I could make enough money to survive doing what I loved.

So that leads me to the second thing ya gotta do…. WHATEVER IT TAKES TO CONVINCE YOURSELF!!!! I’ll tell ya what worked for me. And this is what I always do when I feel scared…I absolutely do it anyway. Fear will freeze you for a minute. The excitement of doing it anyway will melt that fear right off. I started teaching even though I was afraid of it and what people would think of my heart/classes. What has always seemed to work for me is to hurl myself into the fire so I have no time to tell myself I’m not good enough. Others have told me they have a mantra for whatever fear pops up the most in their head. Meditation. Journaling. Telling someone else your concern helps too. Don’t hold onto that negative voice that holds you back from going for the thing you want. That’s not real, it’s fear and you’re stronger than it. You really gotta love it (and yourself) more than you are afraid of it. You need to convince yourself that you deserve it and you’re good at it.

After you get over the first big challenge of showing up, you may be disappointed that the cash does not flow through like an ice cream machine. You may have to do a lot of work for free for the first few months….hopefully the first few months is all. I taught around a tree for free for a few months while serving tables. I slowly transitioned into a donation class in Hawaii because I still wasn’t sure if I deserved  to accept money for something I loved doing. You do deserve it. You’ve probably put a ton of money and time into learning your craft. You deserve it. People don’t typically expect free things except in corporate restaurants. When I moved to San Diego from Hawaii, it was like starting all over again except I didn’t know a single soul. So I taught for fruits and veggies in a park. I worked at a couple different cafes, I worked as a telephone customer service angry person until I hung up on someone for yelling at me about their flowers and never went back, I worked for a catering company, and I was teaching yoga to county employees after their work day. At one point I had 5 jobs and zero days off ever. I was surviving in the most minimal definition of that word. I had about 5 million voices in my head telling me to quit dreaming and start looking for a serious job. When this happens, and it will, go back to WHATEVER IT TAKES TO CONVINCE YOURSELF!!!!! This will become a daily practice. You will always need to know in every life decision why you are good enough and deserve to be happy. Always. So figure that out now.

The next thing, the most genius thing you just gotta do in order to make it to your dream world is NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVERRRRRR give up. Never. Not an option. Even if you have to work a job that makes you miserable while making this dream happen- do at least one thing every single day to work towards your goal. I worked those 5 jobs, I didn’t have a car and rode the bus an hour and a half both ways because San Diego really needs to get it together with public transit. It was strangely gratifying to be hustling so hard. I knew I was earning whatever success came to me. I started cleaning a yoga studio to get free yoga to keep me from going off track and peaceful. I cried a lot. My “then boyfriend- now fiance” just hugged me and never let me throw in the towel. He celebrated every win with me even if it was a $10 class. I wanted to give up but I kept finding myself in my journal writing about the gratitude I felt for everything I did have and why I deserved to keep trying. It hadn’t even been a full year in San Diego yet. Giving up after a year is barely trying. I was all in, man. If I failed it was going to be because someone looked me in the eye and told me that I was a failure and didn’t deserve it. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have quit then either. I had fire and was tired of being so unhappy with my work life.

The key to getting over the 6 month mark of going after something with no real validation that it will ever happen to you is to surround yourself with positive people, people living their dream, supporting your dream, listening to you cry, celebrating your wins, letting you vent, introducing you to people, your tribe. After 6 months especially. Your first instinct will be to isolate. You may have thoughts like “I don’t have any good news to bring” “I will make other people sad or worse pity me” “Happy people piss me off right now”. That means you need happy people more than ever. Networking is part of the job and if your an introvert like me- it might not be your favorite. In 6 months time when your new tribe has helped you reach your first HUGE win and encouraged you the whole way you will be so happy you pulled yourself up by the bootstraps and went to the party or dinner or meetup group. One man armies don’t exist.

Starting now, whether you are at the beginning of your dream life or in the middle- CELEBRATE ALL THE THINGS!!!! Every single interview, new friend, new job, promotion, other people’s happiness, a chance to do what you love even if it’s for free (think of all the new tribe members you could meet ;-)) Celebrate everything. That is the whole point of living the dream life, isn’t it? To be happy and free?

When something hits you that you are good at, passionate about, happy doing- get out there and find every single way there is to DO IT! Think way way outside the box. Make a whole other shape. Take this small piece of advice with you every morning, don’t be afraid to be you. I just love the ones that stand out! They are the most fun and inspiring and magnetic. Best human ingredients ever!

Next month is my 2 year anniversary with San Diego and I am now full time self employed yoga teacher, building my love business and brand everyday (for 4 years now) You can absolutely live your dream if you’re willing to work very very very hard for it and never give up on yourself. If I could ever help, just let me know how! Ask me or tell me anything!

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xooxo,

Danica Elle

The amazing experiences that come from facing fears…

“Everything seems impossible until it’s done”

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I love love love this quote. It has been my theme all week. I would like to relate it to yoga on the mat and then to my life out in the world.

Let me introduce you to a class of mine. They are so wonderful. A room full of women in the middle of their work day come to yoga and they are all beginners. I do a lot of yin with them because I know they love it but I also feel a need to throw some challenges at them from time to time too. When I do they would laugh at me and without even trying it would say I can’t do that. So yeah, they were right. Their bodies would say “oh we can’t? okay.” So I had enough of this. I know how capable these women are and they are getting in their own way. So I began this theme. Inviting them to simply try before prejudging their bodies. Come to the mat every class and check in with your ever changing energy. Some days you will be so surprised at what you can do and how strong you are becoming….and some days you will be frustrated that you can’t do something today that you could do yesterday. Life happens. Your body needs something different everyday. Your mind needs to be open to these possibilities of change and growth and surprise.

Practicing this for an hour every week or a few times a week, whatever your practice may be, will not only improve your yoga on the mat but your yoga in the real world as well. New stuff is hard sometimes. Relate that to your life however you need. Facing something new in any way is going to seem huge. Face it anyway, take your time facing it.

I’m 31 and have started my life over from scratch now about 5 or 6 times. As in, I got rid of everything I owned and could pack everything I did own into a 50 pound suitcase. (okay 65 pounds.) Yes it was scary and there were plenty of times I thought I was out of my league. Let that fuel you. Nothing is random. You did not randomly chose to be where you are in life. You are not randomly staying where you are in life. You are in it. Facing it. Falling in it. Failing sometimes maybe. Succeeding definitely. Because you are living it. I think the term fearlessly is thrown around loosely. I love the word and the vision it brings to mind but I think it is important remember that it is not the absence of fear. To me, fearlessly means to move forward in the face of fear. You are not carrying the fear with you. Acknowledge it because it is there to teach you something- it is not there to hold you back from living the best life you can imagine.

The first time I remembering feeling fear in my adult life was when I moved to NYC from Virginia when I was 21 years old. I sub leased a tiny apartment in Soho for the summer before acting school started- and when I say tiny I really mean the bedroom was pretty much the kitchen. I think jail cells are bigger. I didn’t see the place before I moved into it. I had only been to NYC like twice in my life. I was a truly sincere sweet naive southern country girl. My sister Nikki and me loaded my little Honda civic up to the max with lamps and hangers (I had no closet in that place), boxes of shoes and clothes, my prized possession stereo…pretty much all of it had to go back with her because there was no room. Not even for a lamp. Rewind a little bit, even driving into the city was out of the question for me. I pulled off as soon as we went through the tunnel to let Nikki drive to Soho because I was scared. My freaking car got towed that night because I had no idea to read street parking signs because I am from the country. I didn’t even know how to find where they towed my car because I had only been there 12 hours! Luckily a stranger passed by and overheard us and told me. The first few days were fun because I had Nikki and it felt like vacation but then she left with my car and all my stuff and I was alone in a big city. Hell yeah I was scared! I feel the need to mention that the night before I left my hometown, a few mean girls who were also my roommates and friends posted a bunch of mean signs about me all over our place of work and facebook. So I no longer felt welcome in my hometown either. I am sure this wasn’t an accident but rather something to force me into this new phase of my life without looking back. This was my new reality now and I needed to find out what that was going to look like.

So it was my first Saturday night and I lived in the middle of downtown New York City!  I was sitting on my fire escape smoking a cigarette (yes I used to smoke. don’t judge me.) and I could hear the horns from the cabs, the screams from the excitement of the city, cats meowing randomly; I thought I cannot just sit here in my jail sized apartment in New York City. I got ready and decided to walk over to Bleeker street and get a drink. I felt awkward at first. But I did it. I met some people and hung out for about an hour and before I went home I was asked on a date for the next day. The date went nowhere at all but I got to walk around the city and learn about some new things with someone. I had fun. I let this trend continue all summer. I loved my neighbors in Soho and we got to do a ton of fun things together. They knew someone that owned a boat so we got to take it out on the Hudson one night and look at the amazing city. That skyline still takes my breath away. When we brought it back to dock it, my neighbor was trying to hold onto it to pull it in and fell in the Hudson. So gross. That river is gross. I finally found a job at a tiny diner in Soho. It was a 5 table place. Made a friend in the only other person that worked there and wandered around the city with him a lot too. He was a 37 year old actor. He said his agent told him that he would easily be cast as a rapist or murderer. One of the funniest guy I’ve ever known.

Just little bits and pieces of awesome memories that stemmed from facing my fear of being on my own. Facing this fear as soon as it hit me allowed me to move all over the place on my own and figure out who I am completely on my my own. Facing the fear only brought me positive experiences.

So here I was first month in NYC with 4 or 5 friends and experiences that will last my whole lifetime. Fear did not stop me from having the times of my life even though it sure tried. Learning to live with my new circumstances was important. I am sure my story is way more trivial than some out there, but the motto is still the same. I still had to DECIDE everyday to live positively in the face of fear and change.

Just thinking about New York City and how challenging it really is to live there makes me so excited to eventually write it all down. Bravery is following your heart, being scared, and doing it anyway. My morning meditation today reminded me that in order to move forward into the next amazing chapter of our lives, we must remain completely open to change, open to new ideas, open to feeling fear, open to all new opportunities and finding the light within them. Nothing is random. What are you learning from your life right now? Full awareness of life, God, your unique light or gift, and how you are learning to use it.

Feel free to tell me the first time you remember facing a big fear.

I am always sending you so much love.

xoxooxox

Danica Elle

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Latest research on my quest for ultimate health and happiness…

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I am obviously not a doctor. I like to consider myself a happiness investigator. I am on the hunt for it everyday. I know it’s attainable for everyone, not limited to yoga girls or rich people. While it’s not always easy to put myself out there to the world- I love to share my life if for any reason it helps anyone at all then my vulnerability is so worth it….not to mention my life’s happiness research will not go to waste. 😉

So full disclosure on my health, how food contributes to your health of your mind and belly (where most dis-eases begin), and how I move my body when darkness takes over in my mind. Yeah, it’s gonna get personal.

So I’ll begin about a month and a half ago. (the boiling point.) I was really really sick all the time. I had absolutely no energy, I was nauseous anytime I was standing up, I was having a lot of trouble breathing in fully, no motivation, walking two blocks exhausted me, and I would see pictures of people all standing around talking to each other and got jealous that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that because of how sick I felt all day everyday. It was pretty rough. I had this really really tender place right at the bottom in the middle of my rib cage. It hurt to the touch. When I explained these symptoms to a western doctor he would brush it off as anxiety, depression, a stomach virus, or antibiotics….I was put on antibiotics indefinetly!!! Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?!?!?! How is this person licensed to practice medicine? So it became very clear to me that western doctors are not going to help me or take the time to investigate the cause- just “treating” random symptoms.

So by the grace of God, I started teaching yoga at a healing arts center back in January. There are so many healing practices there that I never knew about ever! The studio owner told me to see her naturopathy that practices/truly heals there. I didn’t know what to expect. The visits are an hour long compared to my 5 minutes on the doctors table. I explained my symptoms and that I felt I was falling apart at the seams. He does a series of pressure point massages and testing my strength before and after each series…..there’s a lot more to it…and he has been doing this forever…I thought he was in his late 50’s- he is 77!! We discovered that I was born with a weak liver. It has been weak for ever. Working overtime and robbing energy from other organs to keep working. Liver is in charge of the connective tissue in our bodies- so it weakened my diaphram which allowed my stomach to push through and hang out up in my chest (causing my shortness of breath) and well as my body’s inability to absorb nutrients. Food was getting stuck in the part above my diaphram and composting!!! So when it finally fell through to pass through my digestive system- my body was trying to digest rotting food. My muscles were absorbing this crap causing muscle and joint pain (also known as fibromayalgia) and that why I was in pain and exhausted. So I had been malnourished for freaking years probably. It’s called a hiatal hernia and from what I am reading, it is very common. He gave me a few exercises to do everyday and had to manually pull my stomach back down to where it is supposed to live. That did not feel awesome but afterwards instantly I could breathe and the pain in my SI joint was gone and my shoulder sockets weren’t in pain, and the headaches stopped. So I guess you could say it was a little wake up call and life changer.

All of this to say that I have a weaker digestive system. Perhaps because it is used to not having to work very much or it has given up because it had to work extra hard when I wasn’t aware of what I was doing to myself. I love to munch on stuff. Peanut pretzels to be more specific. 😉 I knew it wasn’t excellent for me but I had no idea that it was like a poison to me. It occurred to me that I didn’t really know what food was doing what to my body and right now is the time to find out. I don’t know if you have ever known anyone with fibromayalgia before but it is pretty debilitating and some people accept this as a disease they will suffer from for life. Not me. I know that the body is capable of healing itself (and God) but you have to find what it needs. That’s the tricky part because ayurvedically speaking, one man’s medicine is another man’s poison. Some people cannot have ginger, for example, and ginger is commonly thought to be very good for you.

So aside from my peanut butter pretzel addiction, I tend to eat pretty well, I thought. But I still felt this sluggish, unmotivated, foggy feeling a lot even after my treatment. Suddenly, the whole 40 diet kept appearing all over the place. I remember a friend doing it when I lived in Hawaii but it always sounded like something I could never stick to. I looked a little closer into it and found that it really helps to reboot your digestive system. After the 30 days, I could start slowly adding things back into my diet one at a time to find out what exactly I am allergic to or unable to digest easily. It’s not super easy- it really takes planning and work and faith and patience and most importantly THE DESIRE TO FEEL AMAZING! Because you will really really quickly.

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So I will explain what it is and what it is not, what I have been eating, and what changes have magically appeared with my dedication to my body.

It is not starvation! I can eat as much as I want of the reccommended things. I will tag the link to the allergy elimination diet my fiance and I have been sticking to at the bottom of this blog. What I am staying away from: gluten, dairy, most grains, legumes, sugar even things like honey and agave, soy, most meat and any meat we eat is organic/grass fed/no antibiotics, no nuts except coconuts, and several oils and margarine. So looking at it in terms of what you can’t have is pretty tough, yeah? Here are some things I can have: Cold pressed olive oil and coconut oil, fish, rice and rice noodles, zucchini noodles, spices, salads with homemade poppyseed dressing, juices, homemade avocado sauce, coconut rice noodle vegi stir fry….. the list goes on!!! At the end I will post another blog with some recipes. I think it’s important to know what vitamins and minerals your body needs by doing some reading so you know what vitamins to supplement for things you are allergic to. I struggled with breakfast- it’s my favorite. I love toast with avo or flaxseed oil “butter”, bacon, cereal… I can’t have gluten. I know a lot of people consider the gluten thing a trend but it’s a real food sensitivity and is hard for my body to digest, breaks my skin out, and leaves me feeling lethargic. Our food unfortunately is being made a little to a lot differently than it was being made ten years ago. New food allergies are not uncommon. Now I start my day with amazing juices that I make. I feel all glowy afterwards. So we cut out major food allergens for 30 days and we are now on day 12. The thing to remember while you are going through it and craving junk or even stuff like beans is that this is not permanent. It would be strange to cut all of that out forever. It’s a jump start for your digestive systems and a way to discover what makes you feel your best. Completely.

Now for the good stuff. How has this positively changed my everyday life: I haven’t felt this amazing in my body in years. I’m waking up and making it to yoga by 7:30 something I have really wanted to do for a while but just could not get my tail to move in the morning. My mind is soooo clear and motivated. In my meditation I can see what my next move is for my career and start putting it into action. I am way more calm- I think because of the lack of processed sugar or the overall feeling of bliss taking over who knows. The anxiety that was seeping into my brain and taking over is gone. It was getting pretty wild. I was becoming insecure about what people thought of me, what I thought of me, and who I am. It was holding me back for sure. I sometimes wouldn’t go to yoga to practice because I didn’t know how the teacher would judge me. If you know me, you know that’s not normal for me. I was beginning to develop a depression. Not having any control over my thoughts or breath. It’s honestly a thing of the past. I have excitement and joy and I dance all the time! I look forward to everything and I am able to appreciate all the hard stuff that led me here. I know its because I cut out the foods that I have a reaction to. Your gut health directly affects your mind health. It is your other brain. Do not treat it like a garbage can and throw whatever is 99 cents at the convenient store in it. You have to live with this body forever! and ever!! I am 31 years old with problems with my body already…can you imagine what you feel like in ten years if you don’t start taking care of your whole body right now?

One last thing to add to your daily routine is to move your body in all the ways you can. For depression, take up a lot of space! For stiff bodies move your spine in all the directions, for anxiety, run even if only for 2 minutes! Dance in the morning when you are getting ready for the day just to move and perhaps to set the stage for the whole day. Moving is as important as sitting still for 5 minutes a day with your precious breath and add the best nourishing foods to your day and in 5 days at the most you will feel and notice a difference in several aspects of your life. Just try and let me know how it goes!

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet – this is the plan we are following in case you are interested in trying. You may say its expensive to eat healthy or organic- but it is cheaper than doctor bills. The truth is you are either creating disease with your food or fighting it. It really is that simple.

I love you guys! Leave me any recipes or feedback that you want! I am open to answer any questions!

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How I moved from Virginia to NYC to Hawaii to NYC to Hawaii to San Diego before I turned 30…mini book

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I just think this story is such an interesting one and I’d like to share it. How does a girl get from Virginia to NYC to Hawaii to San Diego…. with hardly any money and a dream all by herself?

Okay so I’m not going to start at the very beginning because this is not a book. But basically I moved to NYC when I was 21 to go to acting school and become a rich celebrity and have the most glamorous life ever. It was the most fun way to spend my early 20s for sure without a doubt. I lived all over that city for about 6 years and what I imagined would be glamorous turned into a lot of bartending and waitressing until 4 or 5am and finding the energy to make it to auditions the next day at 8am and riding the subway next to some guy that’s trying to eat the gum off the bottom of his shoe without taking his shoe off. I was never ever bored and I made the best friends there that I still think about every single day. Sadly, the day came that the feet of snow, the bitter bitter cold, and being drunk in a bar was getting me nowhere except stuck in NYC. I knew the superficial world of acting was not where my heart was. I woke up one morning with Hawaii on my mind and what was so weird was the fact that I had never ever thought about Hawaii. Ever. I didn’t even really know where it was on a map. That’s a true statement. I was living in Queens at the time with 2 amazing women and I told them I was gonna move to Hawaii out of nowhere. They were pretty excited for me. It didn’t take long to rent my place out cause that place was cute. So within about a month I put all my stuff into storage (foreshadowing I would be back) and flew away to a little tiny island in the middle of nowhere. I had 2 friends there that I had not seen in like 10 years. One of them let me stay with her. I had like 2000 dollars to my name, no job, and no idea how difficult it is to get a job on an island. Instead of getting a job, I camped out, saw the most beautiful beaches in the whole universe, learned to hula hoop, learned to let go of people and ideas I’d been holding onto…but ultimately still felt very unhappy and unfulfilled. So after about a month and a half, I moved back to NYC easily. My friend Bailey had a room for rent in my favorite part of Brooklyn and my friend Elena got me a job near Wall Street at this Irish pub place.

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I’ve actually never had such an easy transition moving. I was so blissfully happy to be back in NYC which I now realize was because I was all high from a month and a half of relaxation on an island. I hula hooped all over that city. I met a guy and for the first time fell in love and was treated so lovely. Things were swell….and then winter came. It was worse than any other year. Cabs were abandoned on 1st ave because of the blizzards. I fell down the subway stairs often. My boyfriend moved to California to continue his music career and I hated NYC again. She chewed my up and spit me out and I was no longer happy at all. I knew I had to go back to my happy place in Hawaii and slow the hell down and figure out my next step. This time I didn’t put my stuff in storage. I took it home to Virginia and moved to Hawaii with one big ass suitcase and 1000 dollars to my name.

I made a friend the previous time I was in Hawaii that was kind enough to let me stay on his couch while I figured it out and got settled. This transition was by far the worst one to date. I wouldn’t even know where to begin telling you all of the things that went wrong within the first few months. Nothing was harmed on my physical body but my ego, emotions, trust, and mind were pretty messed up by the actions of others. BUT I made an amazing friend in a girl named Claire- I know I wouldn’t have made it very far without her. She’s something special to me.670

I also got a job waitressing at the Hard Rock Cafe which I would later learn was going to introduce me to my soulmate as well as allow me to follow my path.

Hawaii was different the 2nd time. People were meaner. The people I worked with were, for the most part, really terrible to me. I wanted to quit everyday but had no choices. It’s not easy to get a job in paradise. It took me 2 months. I was strong enough to handle it. I knew that. But I cried a lot in that first year. I was farrrrrr away from my family and anything I had ever known to be normal. I was different and felt like that was a bad thing. I was lost in self doubt. I was just lost.

So I got trough the hurdle of the first year. It really did take that long for things to smooth out for me. Finally, I had an apartment with Claire and made a pretty amazing group of girlfriends, rode my bike everywhere, lived 2 blocks from Waikiki beach and about a mile from Diamond Head, the people at my job were finally chillin the hell out- either that or I stopped caring what they thought of me and just did the job, and things were really fun all around. Still, I felt unfulfilled.

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I knew I had to do something. Anything. I just needed to take a step somewhere even if it turned out not to be the right direction because standing still wasnt working anymore. I thought about going back to school, i didn’t know what for but it was a step. I was discouraged a little when I spoke to the counselor there. So here I was sitting at a bar after work one night which had already started to become a seldom thing for me. I was telling my friend that was bartending about feeling lost and he told me to maybe give the yoga teacher training a try just to clear my head and make it easier to see the next step for me. That was totally the answer!!! I paid my tab and biked home super excited about my new found realization!

My friend Amanda was in her training then and she seemed to really love it. I had some anxieties about it, what if I am not flexible enough, or if I don’t fit in with the other girls…blah blah dumb stuff. I emailed the owner of the studio that I had already been going to on a semi regular basis and she told me I could pay half at the beginning and the other half at the end! It was 2700 dollars which is a whole lot of money when you are a waitress and live in Honolulu where a freaking apple is 3.00!! I had the whole summer to save the first half and it took that whole summer to come up with that first half. Hawaii is expensive.

I remember the day and whose class I took when I started looking at yoga as my daily massage. Chanti taught me how to do a headstand. I left class, went to the beach and jumped in the ocean that is bluer than blue and thought about how amazing my life had become. I was getting more and more in touch with who I was. It was a really memorable day for me.

Teacher training started on August 11th of 2012. My work schedule was small. Like 10 days a month and picking up random days when I could. I had my budget down to the cent so that i could save for the last half of the training before the beginning of December. I often had 20.00 extra at the end of the week. Things were that tight. I got pneumonia the first week of training….awesome. Good news was I quit smoking cigs. The doctor told me if I didn’t quit smoking that I would likely die from smoking….even though you already know this, you look at it in a different way when a professional health dude throws it at you. I quit August 16th. Best decision ever.

Teacher training was way more amazing than I could imagine. The women and men in it were so lovely and supportive. I learned so so so much about myself and my relationship with the world. I learned what I am and who I am and I slowly started to love and embrace that. I’ve never felt the thrill I got the first mini class I taught at the end of the training to my fellow teacher trainers. Something clicked in me right away that this was fulfilling to me. This is what I’d been looking all over for.

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When my training ended I immediately started teaching under a tree in the park by the ocean. Free classes to anyone that wanted to come and for the first few weeks it was only one person. I was not a great teacher yet. The words did not smoothly leave me mouth and I would forget what my lesson plan was. I was also shy about teaching the things that resonated with me for fear of seeming “flakey” to people that weren’t familiar with the yoga world. But then this wonderful man named Vito that played in a band at Hard Rock Cafe in the evenings told me he wanted to try yoga super bad and asked if he could come to my class under the tree on the weekend. He kept me accountable for practicing yoga, teaching regularly every weekend, and growing. He was 50 and brand new to yoga. He was the first person I ever taught that had never taken a yoga class before. I remember thinking I was in trouble during our first class together because I was clueless as to how to simplify my guidance for a newbie. He was patient with me. My class under the tree started growing and I found my voice and my style and my courage to step into this role. It takes courage to step into the role you were meant for.

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That class grew over the year and I would be so amazed sometimes walking up to the tree and seeing 10-15 people sitting under it ready for class on a Saturday morning. It blew my mind that so many people came to my little donation class and played. The Love Tree saga. 😉

I went on a trip to surprise my mama for her 50th birthday in Virginia. I stopped in LA for a few days. It was fun. It was different to be back on the mainland. On the flight to Virginia I had a little whisper in my ear that I should move to San Diego. It was the same random whisper that sent me to Hawaii from NYC. I decided that was what needed to happen next. It really was that instant. I emailed my boss that weekend to put in my freakin 6 month notice! I just wanted it to be solidified. I was ready. I was more than ready to leave the island that I had spent 3 and a half years on. I needed more. I needed to find out why God was sending me here now.

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Everything was falling into place so easily. I built my website from nothing all by myself. I had business cards. I was sending out emails to yoga studios and other jobs. I was manifesting my life and what it looked like. I had only positive thoughts about this move. I knew it was going to be my bliss. It so is.

I enjoyed the hell out of my last few months in Hawaii and created some super great friendships that will last forever and ever.

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I met my before mentioned soul mate there. He was my boss at Hard Rock. I was never allowed to confess to him that I had a huge crush because of corporate rules but after he moved to Seattle I found him on facebook and we kept in touch by sending funny animal videos and catching up on life events. I never imagined in a million years that he would be transfered to San Diego a month before I arrived. He picked me up from the airport and we have been inseperable ever since. He’s got my whole heart.

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It took some time to get into the yoga world here. I got a super cute apartment with a super sweet girl Emily who I adore and a job at a little cafe ironically Hawaiian themed about 5 blocks away from my house. I tried starting up a small donation class on the beach here. I met a few people and taught a few people. I was working at the cafe one afternoon when a girl named Leah who I had met a few times before came in with her puppy and she asked me to be friends with her. We had beach days together and she got me more involved with my faith in God which had been reintroduced to me by a friend Ashley in Hawaii pretty recently. I was not happy at my cafe job and really trying to find my path. She gave me a book about faith and being all in. So being all in I quit my job, started a kickstarter to raise money to start a small business making and selling inspirational tshirts and tank tops. I planned to use this business to fund the yoga center I hope to one day open. My campaign was funded and so generously so…It was funded 10 days before the end!!! I cried so much. I was obviously onto something that God had planned for me. The etsy store was created and really helped me out. I picked up odd jobs every now and then. I cried to my boyfriend quite frequently because starting a business is hard and scary and vulnerable. I felt like giving up every single day. Giving up wanting to be a teacher and the shirts and just going back to serving….but I didn’t give up. Something inside wouldn’t let me. I was on auto pilot almost. Sending yoga resumes out like crazy. Auditioning constantly for studios and gyms and never getting the job. I thought it was me….It just wasn’t time yet.

One day my mom called me and told me to get into corporate yoga. Teaching in the workplace. I googled it and emailed the first person that popped up in San Diego just to get some idea of how it is done. The next day we had a phone interview and she hired me to sub all summer last summer. I took some weird initiative and started cold calling businesses all over San Diego to see if they were interested in having classes for their employees that I would teach. That was awful. Cold calling is just never ever a good idea. Unless you are good at it.

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So at least I had this subbing teaching job that was allowing me to teach a few times a month. Big classes 30-40 people in a courtroom a couple times! I had a lot of fun with it. I learned a lot and got even more confidence. But that was all I had and by December they were on a break.

By New Years Eve, I was a mess. I had to get a party staffing serving job for that night in a huge hotel downtown watching drunk people thrown up on each other. I felt like I was at a low place in my life. I could not see the light at all and after rent I had like 15 dollars to my name. But still I couldn’t give up.

I got on craigslist to look for yoga auditions and emailed the first one that popped up. She called me the next day and set up the audition where all of us teachers would teach each other. It took 3 hours and I was really sick with the flu or something. I went anyway. I felt like I was finally gonna get this one. And I did! I finally did it. I was so beyond words happy.

Then I got a call from the corporate yoga people offering me a regular class downtown every week. Then the owner of the studio called me and offered me a private yoga client that I work with 3 times every week and it’s awesome! And then I auditioned for another off site yoga company and got another teaching job! It gets better every single day. I now teach every single day except Mondays. And I am so blessed and lucky to say that.

my boyfriend and I adopted a kitty and named him Murphy. He’s crazy as hell. I am living with the love of my life who gets me and loves me and is an amazing man, love, and best friend. And I do what I love every single day. I am looking for a church to get involved in and I hope I get to marry this wonderful man someday soon. 😉

I know this is a mini book about my journey but I wanted and needed to get this all out right now. So that anytime I fee like I am stuck or things are not going my way I can look back and remember that they are moving along perfectly and as long as I keep listening to those whispers in my heart- even when I am afraid of doing it- I am gonna end up in the right place. Everytime.

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What if you knew that every decision you ever make with your heart is the right one? Would yo be afraid to take those leaps of faith? This is my story of living fearlessly and open to change. Yes I feel fear but I never let it stop me from moving forward.