The Creative Life.

It’s full of color.  Beautiful self-expression.  Ideas are birthed multiple times a day.  And they’re all so exciting!

And they all get seen to the end!

Right?

…Not so much, for most of us.

For most of us creative individuals, it’s the FOLLOW THROUGH that we are lacking.

How many paintings have you started and not finished?  How many online programs have you purchased and not listened to all the way?  How many times have you said, “One day I’m going to write a book…”

Why does this happen?

As someone who suffered through this pattern and has come out the other side, I can tell you exactly why.

It’s fear.

The painting is NEVER done.  If I finish the online program, that means I will have to–GASP!–start implementing!  The timing is never right to sit down and work on the book…there is a lack of inspiration in the moment.

Mark Twain was once asked if he had to wait for inspiration to come before writing. “Yes, I do,” he replied, “but inspiration always comes at 9am sharp, every weekday!”

The thing is, whether you’re a creative, or in corporate, or in athletics, or academics, you cannot escape human nature.

And humans thrive on routine and consistency.

It’s through establishing a consistent practice for yourself–a breath practice, a journalling practice, a yoga practice, a physical exercise practice…etc–that you do every day, that you will begin to develop the SKILL of follow through.  It takes PRACTICE to move through fear, as opposed to letting it stop you and continue to hold you back from finishing that which you start.

It will not just arrive magically on its own.

You need to COMMIT to your practice.

And when you decide that you love yourself more than the excuses that you are buying into that are holding you back from showing up for a regular practice, you will begin to see the most extraordinary results.

THAT I can promise!

Just put one foot in front of the other…one day at a time.

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To hold yourself accountable to a deeper level, let us know what project you plan on focusing on and committing to!  I cannot wait to learn what YOU are working on!

Have a beautiful day and Namasté,
Julie

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Something that I find SO exciting and exhilarating is hearing a masterful transition between two songs as I’m out dancing with my friends.

I know the skill it takes to make music flow so seamlessly, so I completely appreciate it when I hear someone else make it happen.

I also know from experience that getting good at transitions takes PRACTICE.

Nobody is born an expert DJ.

There are tools and techniques and tricks that you have to learn, and be disciplined in mastering.  Half the battle is creating muscle memory so that the skill becomes almost automatic.

The other half of the battle is consistently showing up to do the practice, and enjoying how great it feels to not only hear those transitions happen so beautifully but also watching the reactions of those listening as they, too, celebrate your musical creations.

The process I used in learning how to DJ is no different than the process of learning how to manifest your reality by realigning your chakras using the yoga practice.

You get training from someone who is an expert in the field.

You decide what you would like to create.

You mindfully make a practice or playlist based on what best serves this intention.

And then you absorb all the benefits of that intentional effort!

Like DJing, manifesting is SO fun.  We as humans are born creators; it’s our nature and our jobs to MAKE things.  Make music.  Make movement.  Make your reality.

What do you want to create?  No limits.  Acknowledge your power.  Comment below with what you’ll make happen by this time next year!!

 

Have a beautiful day and Namasté,

Julie

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How many times have you thought of a project, gotten SO inspired with creativity, and then halfway through (or–let’s be real–before you even BEGAN) you found reasons why you couldn’t finish (or start) it?

You have to clean the house.

Exercise is more important and thus precludes working on newfound project.

Gotta nourish your relationships with your friends/family/partner instead.

Sleep takes priority.

RESISTANCE.

I’m not saying these aren’t all legitimate things that need to be prioritized.  But sometimes we find that these things come up RIGHT at the time when the project (which–let’s be real–is totally revolutionary) is about to get good.

You know what happens!  Right when you get to the edge of your comfort zone–right when you’re about to expand–you come up with ALL SORTS of reasons why you cannot go there.

And then we get down on ourselves for not finishing/following through/completing what we started.

I have a really important epiphany for you…

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!!

This is actually just a natural part of the process.

This epiphany came to me in a conversation with my photographer and good friend Nikki Incandela, as well as in conversations with my mini-mastermind group where I found myself saying THE SAME THING in both conversations!  I decided to offer YOU this insight in a video I was inspired to cut for you!  In this video, I dig deeper into this epiphany as well as different approaches to get yourself “unstuck” and back to being excited about why you started the project or endeavor in the first place.

 

 

You’ll notice that there are some interesting cuts and strange noises.  Indeed–as I was starting to shoot, I was approached by a hunched old man holding a cage, which he felt compelled to deliver directly to me AS I WAS SHOOTING to show me that inside the cage was a chipmunk.  What I really said was, “Oh my gosh.  Please take that away.”  What I should have said was, “Can I get a picture of this because my tribe will not BELIEVE THIS!”

Guess what.  The creative process isn’t perfect.  There are going to be bumps in the road.

AND THAT’S OKAY!!

And sometimes we need little reminders that that’s okay to get us out of being stuck.  Those reminders can come in the form of friends, a yoga class, or a conversation with a coach like me.

In what way can YOU get creative as you navigate resistance?  Comment below with your ideas and plans!!

Have a beautiful day and Namasté,

Julie

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It was burning.  It was shaking.  The ache penetrated all the way down to my bones.

My arm had been up for 20 minutes at this point and there was no telling how much longer I would have to hold it there.  15 more minutes?  30 more minutes?  Another hour?

The rule was to keep our arm up straight in front of us (zombie-style), until we were the last person in the room (of 300 people) to be able to keep it up.  The goal?  To win a prize valued at $10,000 (a private VIP day with one of my coaches).

My vision was clear.  I wanted private time with this genius of a woman because I knew I would learn skills and content that would grow me into a better coach, better person, and better teacher.

20 minutes in.  Half the room had sat down.

30 minutes in.  I was one of 10 people left.

My yoga practice always has a way of showing itself at the most unexpected of times.  Here I was, in a large conference event, dressed to the T with my coaching colleagues, and the only thing in my field of perspective was my third eye, and my breathe.

I’ll be honest with you.  I had NO idea I could hold my arm up indefinitely.  But truly, with my eyes closed, my vision clear, and my breath settled into a powerful ujayi rhythm, I could have absolutely held my arm up…for forever.

The pain actually subsided.  25 minutes in or so…I completely stopped noticing it.  All I had was my vision and my breath.  I even had a smile on my face.  At that point, it didn’t actually matter if I won or if I lost.  It was a complete surprise, but I actually learned a lesson in that moment that may have even been more powerful than a $10,000 VIP day, and here it is:

I am so much stronger than I realize.

And you, reader, are so much stronger than you realize.  How would you live your day differently, and make decisions differently, if you had an opportunity to prove to yourself that your mind could tolerate the discomfort and resistance necessary sometimes in growing into your more authentic, vibrant, and thriving self?  How would you push yourself in your physical practice (yoga, running, dancing, etc) if you could realize that your edge may be just a few breaths later than you initially think?  Could you allow yourself to be so connected to your vision that you could give yourself the time and the space to prove to yourself your absolute inner strength???

In next week’s post, I will let you in on Surprise #2, and what ended up happening!

For the meantime, what is something you can do RIGHT NOW that you never thought you could do or do at the level that you would like to?  Allow yourself the time and the space to consider it–and then go do it.  Hold yourself accountable here in the below comment section.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Much love and Namasté!

Julie

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If there is one thing that is true about me, it’s that I’m a life-time learner.  I love learning more than almost anything else, and I get really excited about opportunities to be a student.  While I’m learning, I feel like everything else in the world is okay and, for me, it’s like there is never any sense of being lonely or disconnected. 

Indeed, I was a double major in college (Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and Anthropology…that could almost be 4 majors lol), a double minor (French and Finearts) and later went on to receive my master’s in Marine Mammal Ecotoxicology.  One of the things I loved most about my majors, and even minors, is that there were so many surprising connections I would learn between different topics and areas that were so seemingly unrelated.  It was like finding treasure when I heard a professor lecturing about a concept in my Cultural Anthropology class that was also just previously discussed during my Cognitive Neuroscience class — Every time it ASTOUNDED me that these extraordinary connections existed.

So when I graduated with my my collection of degrees, while it was certainly a happy accomplishment, I was also devastated at the same time.  At the time, I thought it meant that the treasure trove of connections were forever behind me.  No more learning.  No more interesting and novel philosophies and concepts to be absorbed.   And worst of all–I felt alone.

It wasn’t long before I realized that there would–and could– be more learning.  Of course I would continue to find ways to make interesting and novel connections across seemingly unrelated areas.  First, because it’s simply my nature.  Second, because we attract that which we manifest.

So, into my life came podcasts.  Those of you who also enjoy learning, or crave a bit of mental stimulation, I HIGHLY recommend downloading the “podcast” app to your phone RIGHT NOW.  And then do a search on topics and people.  When my friends come to me needing advice and support, do you know where I tell them to go first?  Yes.  Podcasts.

So I was listening to the TED Radio Hour on NPR the other day and had another one of those golden moments of unexpected connection and knew I could not delay in sharing it with you all.  I know you will be just as excited as I was.  Especially since it really gets to the root of why so many of us love and stick with our yoga practice and meditation work.

In the deserts of Arizona lives a facility which simulates and tests a model of a habitat which is fully enclosed and fully self-sufficient.  A BiosphereFor two years, a group of scientists LIVED there; growing their own food, recycling their own waste, breathing only the air that was found in this fully enclosed space.  They had their own miniature rainforests and a private beach with a coral reef.  They had a savanna, a marsh, a desert.  They had their own half-acre farm upon which they had to grow everything.  I’ll let you check out the talk if you want to learn more about it on your own, but let me tell you now why I bring this up.

One of the things said in the talk struck a chord so deeply in that same familiar resonate way that I used to feel in college when I heard something in one unrelated class be said, perhaps in very different words but with the same meaning, in another class.   The scientist discussing the experience, Jane Poynter said this:

The most profound experience I had in the biosphere was the experience of not only being completely dependent on my biosphere, but being absolutely a part of my biosphere in a very literal way. I mean, as I walked through the biosphere, I was incredibly conscious of the fact that the plants surrounding me were providing me with the oxygen that I needed to breathe, and that I was providing them some of the CO2 they needed to grow.

When I breathed out, my CO2 fed the sweet potatoes that I was growing. And we ate an awful lot of sweet potatoes. And those sweet potatoes became part of me. In fact, we ate so many sweet potatoes I became orange with sweet potato. I literally was eating the same carbon over and over again. I was eating myself in some strange sort of bizarre way.

And then, a little later, in the context of broader learnings for all of us, she said:

And if you lose where you are in your biosphere or are perhaps having a difficulty connecting with where you are in the biosphere, I would say to you, take a deep breath. The yogis had it right – breath does, in fact, connect us all in a very literal way. Take a breath now and as you breathe, think about what is in your breath. There, perhaps, is the CO2 from the person sitting next door to you. Maybe there’s a little bit of oxygen from some algae on the beach not far from here. It also connects us in time. There may be some carbon in your breath from the dinosaurs. There could also be carbon that you are exhaling now that will be in the breath of your great-great-great-grandchildren.

CONNECTION.  If you ever feel alone (and I know some of you do because I hear this a lot), Take.  A.  Breath.  And reconnect with this perspective.  Remember your part, your role in the world.  Literally.  Ecologically.  Physiologically.  You are so important, your existence, everything about you.  Take a step back.  And remember that.

I hope this message gave you the “aha” moment that I experienced.  How cool is it that these scientists, interested primarily in the pragmatic applications of creating a biosphere to bring to Mars, ultimately had epiphanies shared by yogis worldwide?

I would love to know your feedback and find out what you think about this story.  What connections did you make?

Much love and Namasté!

Julie

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In the last article, we talked about goal setting.  Now that you’ve gotten clear on your goals and what your plan is, it’s time to IMPLEMENT!  This is where most people hit their snags…and ultimately peter out.  And then their goals evaporate into the ethers, never to turn into reality.  Sigh.

How would it feel to keep that momentum of the New Year going, and be able to check something off your list every day that contributes to your larger goal?

Lucky for you, now is EXACTLY the right time to do this!  We just shifted into the Year of the Horse.  Right now, it’s all about freedom.  It’s all about liberation.  It’s all about ease.

Humans, like anything else on this planet, are subject to the laws of physics…and the one I want to talk about today is Newton’s first law of motion which is INERTIA; an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

What this means is: That which is in motion will stay in motion, that which is at rest will stay at rest.

How is this relevant to you?

Changing speed and changing direction are, according to the above law, forces which require external energy.

Most New Year’s Resolutions do not get fulfilled because of the above law–change is an intrinsic part of the process, and if you don’t know where your external energy is coming from to facilitate this process– or you straight up don’t have the external energy to make it happen– then guess what?

Your changes won’t happen!

So how can you ensure that this year, your changes DO happen?

Hop on the back of your new 2014 horse, and utilize this amazing momentum!

Sit down with yourself right now.  Close your eyes.  Palms face up.  Breathe.  Start to become aware of the energies around you.  The ultimate desire of the universe is for you to have ALL the things you want.  You were put on this planet for a reason, and the universe knows that you need certain resources in order to offer your amazing, unique, beautiful gifts.  The universe INSISTS on helping you.  So get quiet.  Listen for the wisdom.  Listen for the advice.  It’s there!  Waiting for you.  Your inner wisdom KNOWS exactly what you need to do to get the things you need to move forward.

I love what Gahl Sasson, one of my favorite astrologists, says about The Year of The Horse:

Like a horse rider, before you mount to ride this year, make sure you know your final destination. Once you do, allow the spontaneity and synchronistic nature of the horse to lead you on the right path towards reaching your goal. The horse has inspired many myths: Pegasus that came out of Medusa’s head and ended up a constellation: leading the way from evil to enlightenment. Buraq, the white stallion that flew Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem on his pilgrimage to meet God. This year can be just as magical, profound and spiritual for you. Make the best of this year of the Wild Horse.

We already did the “final destination” part.  Now it’s time to ride!

Have fun!

Julie

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It’s the end of the year, you’re SO ready for 2013 to be over, and you know 2014 has got to be better than last year. 

However…you’ve stopped setting New Year’s Resolutions.  Or if you do, you just set them half-heartedly.  Why bother?  You won’t follow through on them anyway.  You never do.

Let this be the last time you think that to yourself.  Let this be the year that the whole-hearted goal setting is followed by real action that leads to real results.

I’m going to give you a super simple tip to help you in this process, and you’re going to be like, oh em gee, Julie, why didn’t I think of that?  And I’m going to be like, well that is why they pay me the big bucks.

So here we go. 

Prepare:  Start by taking a big piece of paper and listing out all the months (Jan-Dec) with plenty of space between each.  Get another piece of paper for other brainstorming and notes.

Step 1:  Identify your ONE big goal for the year.  Just pick one!!  If it helps, start by making a list of each area of your life (career, relationship, spiritual, financial, family, fitness/health…), list out all your goals in each of those areas, and then let that help you make a decision about your big #1 overarching goal.

Step 2:  Identify what action steps will help you achieve that goal by this time next year.  Turn those action steps into Quarterly Goals.

Step 3: Identify what should be achieved by the end of each month to help you arrive at each quarterly goal.  turn those action steps into Monthly Goals.

Step 4: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL!!!  Identify what beautiful daily and/or weekly routine you can establish for yourself to facilitate the achievement of your monthly goal.

FUN EXAMPLE: 

My #1 goal is to do handstand in the center of the room with no support by the end of the year.

Quarterly Goals: Jan-Mar: Master “floating” from downward-facing dog to forward fold.  Apr-Jun: Master balancing with the hips over the shoulders and the knees and feet off the ground for a few seconds.  Jul-Sep: Master balancing on the hands with the knees tucked to the chest for 5 seconds.  Oct-Dec:  HANDSTAND!

Monthly Goals:  Jan- Upper body-focused stregnth practices.  Feb- Core-focused stregnth practices.  Mar- Arm-balancing practices. Apr- All inversions, all the time.  May- Self-trust exercises on and off the mat.  Jun- Increase # of vinyasa flows in each practice to be between each pose.  Jul- Upper body + Core.  Aug- Advance arm balance practice.  Sep- Revisit inversion insanity.  Oct- Balance in handstand every day for 5 seconds.  Nov- Balance in handstand every day for 15 seconds.  Dec- Balance in handstand every day for 30 seconds!

Daily/Weekly Goals:  60-90 minute practice 6 mornings a week, every week, for the entire year.

 

What is your #1 goal this year?  What is your quarterly/monthly/weekly plan for achieving it?  Let me know in the comment section below!

Namasté and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Julie

 

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Let’s talk about the BIGGEST question on all of our minds, especially during the holidays.  The question that keeps us up at night, the question that makes it impossible to wake up in the morning–the question that nobody really seems to actually ever know the answer to.  I’m going to say it RIGHT NOW whether you’re ready or not!:

How do I achieve perfect life balance?!

Realistically–how many times a day do you say this to yourself in one form or another?  Maybe it also sounds like, “I ran out of time so I can’t work out tonight like I planned.” or “Feeling a little depleted now–maybe I’ll have chips for dinner instead of making salmon.” or “I had to take my son to soccer and my daughter to her friend’s house and my husband’s shirts to the dry cleaners–so what is this thing you call ‘me time’?!”

Once you get into the habit of the daily drudgery, anything other than this typical routine of yours will sound absolutely alien!

So let’s start from the top.  What even IS life balance?  This is my interpretation:  Balance is the delicate dance of giving and receiving.

Think about how and where this can apply to your life.  Is your give/receive barometer out of whack?  Do you give more than you receive?  Do you receive more than you give?  Perhaps it’s inconsistent in different life areas?  Perhaps it’s totally consistent in each life area?

More likely than not, you give more than you receive.  And here is my simple suggestion for today to make a life-changing difference for you:

Cancel one obligation on your calendar this week.

Just one.  Start small.  And use THAT time to do something wonderful for yourself.  Take a bath.  Sit in meditation.  Journal about your amazing accomplishments of this past year.  Take the time to cook a REALLY delicious healthy meal.  Get a massage.

A friend of mine told me I needed to practice receiving more, and he’s totally right, hence the inspiration for this post.  So how about we take this journey together?  I’ve been spending every evening at the rehabilitation hospital taking care of my father who is recovering from a severe stroke, and today, in light of this important message, I spent the morning with him instead of the evening to be able to go to a beautiful yoga class with my friends and to support one of our other friends who is teaching the class.  I literally haven’t seen my friends in over a month since I stepped into the role of caretaker, and this is an important choice on my behalf that I know EVERYONE (not just me!) will benefit from.

And how about YOU?  Where can you rearrange your schedule to make room for love and joy?  Let me know YOUR action plan in the comments below!

Have a beautiful day and Namasté!

Julie

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I recently wrote about the importance and power of believing in miracles.  The last decade represents a true spiritual awakening in my life and an openness to positive belief systems–but never before had it been tested the way it was tested this past week.  I had no space for uncertainty.  Simply put, developing a positive belief mindset was no longer just about me–it was about helping to save my father’s life. 
And it worked.

A miracle came through.  Three days ago my father– a young, athletic, and overall unlikely stroke patient– finally popped his eyes open– after over a week of being in and out of consciousness due to a hemmorhage in the right parietal lobe and motor cortex of his brain.  As of today he was fully awake and able to freely move his right side.
This whole experience with my dad and watching how he and his wife of three years–my amazing angel of a step-mom– interact, has given rise to an observation within me that I have never before thought about: the risks of love.

To fully love someone is to open your heart in a way that says, “No matter WHAT happens, we are in this together.”  This applies to romantic love, familial love, and the love that is shared between friends.

This also applies to the love of a business owner for their budding new entrepreneurial baby.

Or the love of a competitive athlete for their sport.

Or the love of an amateur trying a new, long-desired hobby.

Opening your heart to things outside of your personal control–people, businesses, competitions–is risky.

So why bother?  Why step into that kind of uncertainty?

We take risks because they are worth it.  My dad can’t speak yet (I have faith that he will be able to very soon!) but can communicate with a thumbs up and thumbs down.  I said to him, “You are so lucky to have her, aren’t you?” I said as I gestured to my step-mom.  He responded with a VERY enthusiastic thumbs up.  She gazed at him, in his half-paralyzed state, connected to tubes and wires and lines, and said with a loving smile, “I am so lucky to have him!!”

I risked a rewarding and successful career in academia to pursue an even more rewarding and even more successful career as a mentor, teacher, and coach.  Sacrificing employer benefits, association with a prominent institution, and the recognition brought by peer-reviewed publication, I risked it all–amidst a sea of uncertainty– to pursue a more heart-centered path that fulfills me by helping people directly and profoundly, not to mention that has ultimately filled my bank account much more prominently than my academic career ever did.

And what about you?

Is there an area of your life in which you wish you could take a risk, stepping out of your comfort zone, but your uncertainty is holding you back?  Can you resolve, even for just one day, to imagine how it would feel to take the plunge?  To love more?  To try more?  To BE more?

I would love to hear your feedback and comments.  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Have a beautiful day, many blessings to all, and Namasté.

Julie

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This morning as I thought to myself, “What do I want my readers to know today?” the thought of self-confidence came up since that is an issue that comes up very frequently among my students and clients.  Minutes later as I was checking my email, I got this article in my in-box which confirmed my intuition.

So the first thing I want to say, as reiterated in the article, is that it is NORMAL to experience ebbs and flows in self-confidence.  And–as stated so articulately in the article– “if you don’t, you’re not playing your highest game.”  As we know in our yoga practice, being acutely uncomfortable is a good sign!  It means you are pushing your boundaries and making space for new growth and progress.  The amazing thing about the yoga practice is that it provides a safe space for us to explore this sense of discomfort, noticing our patterned reactions to it, and then practicing the art of sitting with that discomfort as it exists in us.  When we practice sitting with that discomfort on the mat, it has immediate off-the-mat and real-life applications.

Another point brought up in the article is the importance of “doing” versus just “thinking” as a means of building confidence.  While the part before “doing” might seem scary, in most cases the actual “doing” is not that scary, and most of all you will feel so proud once you come out the other side.  I love having my students practice arm balances because they almost always believe it is impossible or unattainable for them.  I remember feeling this way, too.  But it truly does not take long– perhaps even just a few days of practice– for the pose to become a reality for that person.  I love giving the cue to move from crow pose, to headstand, to chattaranga dandasana, because people look at me like I’m crazy, and then they try it, and actually do it!  They smile gleefully and proudly, and in that instant their self-confidence has sky-rocketed.

I attended a Mastermind with my coach a few weeks back, and she had a panel of speakers to whom we could ask questions.  One of the speakers, a pro triathlete coach, said that she sets a goal to accomplish something huge every morning.  For her, that means waking up at 5am and going for an open-water swim.  That truly sets the tone for her day and gives her a huge  self-confidence boost and feeling of accomplishment.

You don’t necessarily need to set your alarm for 5am to prepare for a swim in the Pacific, but you may want to consider setting your alarm to wake up and do something powerful to indeed set the tone for a powerful day.  Something that will boost your confidence, make you feel great about yourself, and give you the courage to know you can do it all.  Commit to yourself.

Please comment below with what you are going to do to create that exciting sense of self-confidence!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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