A Year of Yes: Sometimes all you can do is breathe

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

The stresses of life pile up from time to time. These last few weeks were a little rocky. Stress at work. Apartment issues. The nerves associated with putting on a live show in New York City on a cold Monday night in January. A really not-great date. Not enough time to write. One afternoon, I was sitting with all of that and I realized I was holding my breath. This is what I do with stress. I get very still. I get quiet. I hold. I wait.

I’ve found that the breath is the beginning and end of everything for me. A thought. A feeling. An action. A reaction. If I can get my breath moving, my spirit comes back to life. Then the mind. Then the body. And if I can keep the breath going, these pieces of me begin to work together. It’s a slow but reliable process.

Sometimes breathing moment to moment is what I can do. Sometimes it’s all I can do. And that’s enough. That’s the seed where solutions begin. And I always have access to it. It’s always an option, and so I take it.


In the pause: Join The Mindful Rebels


My dear friend, Marita, has been on a quest to create tools and practices for mindfulness. I find daily inspiration in her posts, and every time we get together I feel more motivated, calmer, and happier. Marita’s growing her audience for The Mindful Rebels and I hope you’ll join the journey. Find Marita on Instagram at @themindfulrebels, Facebook at The Mindful Rebels, and her blog Be prepared to be inspired by her vision to create a global community that supports comprehensive health for all living beings. Be a Mindful Rebel.


In the pause: Happy Summer Solstice from Times Square

Today I’ll be in Times Square with thousands of other yogis today celebrating the longest day of the year with the Mind Over Madness event. Come on down and join us in-person or online as we welcome the OM of summer. It’s one of my favorite traditions in the city and I’m so thrilled to be home to join in the festivities. Here’s to a wonderful season of light and love for all of us.

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In the pause: Choosing how to spend our time is our most important job

“Although you may have had a tragic past, it does not need to define your future. Unless you choose it. From this moment on, your life need not be tragic. From this moment on, your life is yours to make. To heal and to love are choices.” ~Max Strom

Max Strom is one of my favorite yoga teachers and writers. His book, A Life Worth Breathing, is a book I return to over and over again because of all the wisdom and grace be packs into his words. When I think about starting this project of virtual guidance counseling for kids, Max’s words speak to what I want to do for kids. To show them that though they may feel like their choices are limited now, life won’t always be that way. Eventually, and not to long from now, all of the choices will be theirs. It can be an overwhelming step change to go from being a child to being an adult. Kids have to know that someone is cheering them on, that someone is there to support them and help them wrestle through growing up.

And it’s a good reminder for us, too. The options of what we can do with our time and talents are endless. The most important work we will ever do is to decide how to use them.


In the pause: My Facebook feed was filled with these inspiring stories

On Saturday morning, my friends filled my Facebook feed with these inspiring, empowering, beautiful stories. If you need a boost, here are a set of links to lift your spirit. It reminded me that sharing good news is needed now more than ever:
Detroit health director set to make bid for governor
Sammy Irssak’s video “I’m Muslim and people call me a terrorist. Do you trust me? If yes, hug me.”
A sleeping hedgehog wakes up when he smells food
Artist Jason deCaires Taylor creates underwater sculptures as makeshift coral reefs to replaces the ones we’ve lost to climate change
The Dodo’s post about a bird who got sick, lost all her feathers and her home, and then got adopted by a kind human
San Francisco is the first city in the US to make college free for all residents who have lived there for a year or longer
A wheelchair that helps people who can’t walk stand upright increasing mobility, independence, and health
And an idea to make a donation to the International Rescue Committee this Valentine’s Day in honor of your love
And I love Ruah Bhay Yoga – Healthy Mind, Body & Spirit‘s sweet video of arm balances with her daughter riding piggyback

This just in: D.C. cultural activities for the week ahead

First Friday Dupont
First Friday Dupont

For the past couple of months, I’ve been exploring D.C.’s cultural side. Through a wide variety of newsletters, blogs, Twitter feeds, Meetup groups, and random findings, I’ve managed to turn up some fantastic experiences and meet great people along the way. A few friends recently asked me how I learn about these events and places so I decided to try out a weekly feature on this blog on Fridays that captures cool things happening in D.C. in the week ahead. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a Meetup group, too. Please join me at any of these activities and share with people whom you think might be interested!

The week ahead:
Labor Day weekend is a busy one as we try to squeeze out our last drops of summer fun!

Friday, 9/4/15
First Friday in Dupont
I’ve enjoyed First Fridays in many cities around the country and I’m excited to learn that D.C. has one, too. The art galleries in and around Dupont Circle have extended hours on the first Friday of every month. Get inspired by the event “Where Art Comes Alive in D.C.”

Saturday, 9/5/15
Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage
The Kennedy Center hosts more than 50 D.C.-area theater companies in a series of free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals being prepared for Washington premieres in the 2015–2016 theater season.

Free museums with Bank of America card
A lot of museums in D.C. are free but the ones that aren’t can be a little pricey. If you’re a BOA customer, your debit card can get you into some museums for free on the first full weekend of every month. Check with the museum just to make sure they’re honoring it when you want to go. This weekend I’ll be hitting the amazing Newseum!

Yoga at U.S. Botanic Garden
The US Botanical Garden has graciously invited WithLoveDC to continue our amazing community yoga classes through Setpember and October! Bring your mat, your water bottle, your smile, and an open heart as we join together every Saturday from 10:30-11:30am to flow, smile, and sweat (a little bit).

The National Book Festival
The 15th Library of Congress National Book Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, and feature more than 170 authors, poets, illustrators and special presenters. To mark this anniversary, as well as the the 200th anniversary of the Library’s acquisition of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, the festival has as its theme Jefferson’s quote, “I Cannot Live Without Books.”

The Lamont Street Collective Bi-annual Salon de Libertad
The Lamont Street Collective is hosting its bi-annual Salon de Libertad – an all day salon-style art show where every inch of our house is covered in the work of local artists. The events will feature live performance art, music, workshops, 2D/3D art, and activities for kids. We want to celebrate the wonders of our local artists here in DC, and open our home to communities across the District.

Sunday, 9/6/15
Paint Nite at Crios
You buy a ticket and create a work of art in a fun, vibrant atmosphere. Guided by a master painter, all participants leave with a beautiful work of art that they created themselves.

Monday, 9/7/15
Happy Hour at the Hirshhorn
The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is offering Happy Hour at the Hirshhorn, in collaboration with “SMITHSONIAN at 8,” every Monday, Aug. 10–Sept. 14, 5 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Galleries will be open late, so visitors can view exhibitions such as “Shirin Neshat: Facing History” and “At the Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection.” Admission is free, and there is a cash bar, operated by Tortoise and Hare Bar and Grille. Last call to enter the galleries and to order drinks is 8 p.m.

Woolly Mammoth Pay What You Can performance
Woolly offers Pay What You Can tickets for the first two performances (usually Monday and Tuesday) of every production. The season opens on Labor Day with a new play entitled Women Laughing Alone with Salad staring a D.C. favorite performer, Kimberly Gilbert. There is a second PWYC performance of this show on Tuesday, 9/8/15.

Tuesday, 9/8/15
Author Joyce Carol Oates at Politics and Prose
In A Widow’s Story Oates gave a powerful and moving account of her husband’s sudden death and how the loss led her to fresh perspectives on life. In her new memoir, the award-winning writer and Princeton professor of the humanities jumps farther back in time, chronicling her childhood and adolescence in rural western New York. An avid storyteller even then, Oates credits Alice in Wonderland with inspiring her to find adventures in everything, and she remains true to that spirit, bringing to life family and friends (which include a chicken) and reflecting on hard work.

Wednesday, 9/9/15
Glen’s Garden Market behind-the-scenes tour by Knowledge Commons
Go backstage at Glen’s Garden Market, an all-local grocery, deli, and craft-beer bar in Dupont Circle. You’ll see the kitchen and back-of-house operations, and talk with owner Danielle Vogel about opening and operating the mission-driven store, which launched more than 35 food vendors in its first two and a half years.

Mortified – A storytelling event at Town
Experience a night of adults sharing the embarrassing things they created as kids– in front of total strangers. Doors open 1 hour prior to showtime.

Thursday, 9/10/15
Rorschach Theatre presents Truth & Beauty Bombs: A Softer World at Atlas. Pay What You Can performance.
Somewhere, not far from here, there’s a place where we can touch the clouds and all the monsters are real. Based on the web comic by Emily Horne and Joey Comeau, this softer world explodes with brutal honesty and dark wit. As a photographer goes blind, he sets out to capture as much of the world as he can. Through his lens he discovers laundromats that eat hope, cameras that capture souls and a love that just won’t die. Created and directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick and written by Randy Baker, Norman Allen, Heather McDonald, Shawn Northip, and Alexandra Petri.

Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) tickets are only available at the door, or by phone at 202.399.7993 ext. 2.
Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:00pm 
Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 8:00pm
Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 3:00pm
Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 8:00pm 
Friday, September 11, 2015 at 8:00pm

Enjoy the long holiday weekend and get your fair share of culture in D.C.!