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Being Obsessively Grateful (and happy day after International Yoga Day!)

side crow cebolla

Hi friends! I wanted to put this post together for a few reasons. Firstly, yesterday was International Yoga Day!  I celebrated it practicing on the roof in the rain at Brue’s Alehouse with one of my favorite instructors and countless new friends (yoga on the rooftop is a weekly thing, check Studio Share’s Facebook if you’re interested).

In honor of a day that honors yoga I just wanted to give a huge shoutout to all of my fellow yoga teachers! Thank you all for pouring your heart in to healing people’s bodies and souls, for believing in the importance of yoga even when people doubt you, and for showing up every day even when there’s no money to be made. I’m convinced that yoga will one day change the world and I am so grateful that you all think so too. Keep doing what you’re doing!

Reflecting on my personal yoga journey got me to thinking of all the reasons to be grateful for yoga… I talk about gratitude a lot and you’d be hard pressed to find a post on my social media that doesn’t include an “I’m thankful/ grateful for” sentence or two but I saw a quote the other day that said “be obsessively grateful” and it really made me smile. Like, if you’re going to be obsessed with anything be obsessed with talking about your blessings and all that you have to be grateful for.  Gratitude= Happiness if you ask me. The more you wire your brain to think of all the reasons to be happy and thankful the more your quality of life will improve… So I though that in honor of International Yoga Day and a new goal to be “Obsessively Grateful” I’d expand on the last lesson in my “2 months later… everything I’ve learned from teaching yoga so far” post. The post itself was way too long (like all of my blogs) but this time that was mostly because I turned my blog into a list of everyone who has helped me so far on my yoga journey… a good problem to have! So here it is again, me talking about how much I love you all. Thank you for being you!…

I am so grateful for Christina, the time and effort she dedicated to my training, and the nonchalant way she told me she wanted me to teach at her northside location. Like it was the most matter of fact thing and that she had no idea that I was about to burst with excitement… she was the first person to believe in my dream and she continues to support me in about a million ways.

I’m grateful for Melissa, who welcomed me with open arms on my first day of teaching and who responded to my shameful apology about not wanting to work at St. Mary Corwin with a message that simply said, “no let downs here sister, I think you are pretty amazing.” A sentiment that meant more to me than words can say.

I’m grateful to all of the women in my teacher training and all of the instructors at Studio Share who continue to read and share my writing and occasionally attend my classes (where they laugh at my jokes even when they’re not funny). I love taking their classes and being inspired by their sequences and themes, you are all incredible! I love my yoga tribe!

I’m thankful for Paulo and all of his encouragement and instruction, and for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, when it came to teaching or inversions. And for attending my classes, even when he taught me a huge chunk of everything I know.

I’m grateful to James at Ultimate Performance for reminding me to never give up, that building a following takes time and for trusting me to teach his athletes. I’m also thankful for all of the athletes who talked to me about their games and came to practice yoga with an open mind.

I’m grateful for Chris at Devil Dogg CrossFit who is now my CrossFit coach but who has been my biggest supporter, most dedicated student, and an amazing friend since day one. His belief in me and my abilities, in our capability to create and grow a yoga program at his gym, and his unwavering dedication to, not only yoga, but everything he does inspires me on a daily basis.

I’m grateful for Calee and Cora who are also on this adventure of “how can we get veterans and athletes to come to yoga?” with me and have quickly become my DDC yoga family.  your support and encouragement is so important to me. I love that we are all different but that we all have a passion for yoga and a belief that it really can change lives. And I’m grateful for our students who are excited about the gym’s growing yoga program and are willing to try all of our crazy ideas.

I’m eternally grateful for my parents who come to yoga classes as often as they can (even when dad lets an “oh shit” slip during eagle pose). They have and always will be my biggest supporters. As much as I love writing there will never be words, paragraphs, or novels, adequate to express all that they are and all that they’ve done for me. From dancing in middle school to debating in high school to days spent roping and barrel racing they have supported every dream I’ve ever had. And now they’re supporting this one with just as much gusto!

I’m grateful to all of my friends who have decided to start yoga again, or for the first time, and have made it to a few of my classes… out of all of the amazing and capable instructors thank you for choosing my class and allowing me to be a part of your yoga journey. I can’t express how honored I am.

I’m grateful for all of the people who make it to my class on a regular basis and who come when I’m nervous that no one will be there. My Aunt Kelly has been to every Sunday 8am class with her kids and having them there ready to practice and make me smile is something that I could never repay.

I’m also especially grateful for Matt and Morgan. Matt has been my ride or die since kindergarden and has always gone along with my latest obsession and craziest ideas (thanks for supporting yoga teaching! hopefully it’s more than a phase lol). Actually, just thanks for supporting me in everything I do and thanks for just being you! Morgan… I use to have a group of friends that I stayed out with until 3am and made bad decisions with- it feels good to know that they’ll always be there but what’s even better is that you’re the kind of friend I can make bad decisions with at 3am and who will still come to my yoga class the next day and brag to everyone about how well I’m doing. Friends like that are hard to find.

More than anything I am grateful to all of my student from the grumbling football player to my little cousin who has now decided she wants to be a yoga teacher when she grows up and everyone in between. I will always learn more from you all than I will ever be able to teach you.

Now, get out there an do some yoga and become obsessed with all that you have to be grateful for!

Namaste, my friends!

2 months later… everything I’ve learned from teaching yoga (so far)

Day 60 and the CrossFitters, and football players have started to accept me as one of their own…

No but really, I’ve learned a lot in these past 6o days. More than I ever imagined. Realizing that I only graduated from teacher training on April 3rd of this year has reminded me of what a baby I actually am at this whole yoga teaching thing… at this whole life thing actually. But there have been a few key lessons I’ve been wanting to write about. So, without further ado…

First of all, as cliche as it has begun to sound, yoga truly is for everyone. I have come to believe this so firmly that my writing has even been reflecting it. Visit the “article’s archive” tab on this website to read about why CrossFit Athletes and Military Veterans should practice yoga. And keep your eyes peeled for a Bad Yogi piece I’ve titled “Dirt Road Yoga”… about how I include myself in the “not a traditional yogi but yoga is still for you” category.  Over these past two months I’ve had the pleasure of teaching at three different locations. All different but still all good. I’ve been teaching at Studio Share II on the northside. I love meeting dedicated yogis who all smile and nod during my fumbling attempts to theme my classes, but who have still shown up the following week to practice with me again… including breast cancer survivors and girlfriends who bring their boyfriends to yoga, and boyfriends who leave with “that was harder than a work out” comments. I’ve taught at Ultimate Performance gym downtown where I’ve met young volleyball players who prefer to do their yoga to rap music, and minor league football players… who take my “you might have tight hips” comment so seriously that they message me after class to make sure they’re practicing pigeon correctly. And I’ve been teaching at Devil Dogg CrossFit Gym where I’ve met veterans who surprise themselves with how good they can be at this yoga stuff, and kids who restlessly make it through my class and enjoy renaming the yoga poses (nappy pose for savasana has been my favorite so far.) And not a single time throughout these two months have I heard an “I can’t” from any of these individuals, moments of struggle have been defined by goal setting and expressions of a desire to spend more time doing yoga… and frankly that inspires the shit out of me.

Different locations present different challenges. This has been a surprise to say the least. I don’t know if I expected every class to be the same as the classes I practiced in during my training but I swiftly  learned that was not the case. No class has been bad, just different. For example, kids don’t always respond to cues like “rotate the biceps laterally” or even “squeeze your glutes” but they really do like to make the noises that go with “cat” and “cow” poses. Nothing makes my heart smile more than a gym full of kiddos doing their best cat, cow, cobra, and dog impressions. Kids are awesome yogis. I’ve also learned that adults can be pretty difficult. I’ve even had a few that refuse to lay in savasana for the full five minutes or who decide mid class that yoga just isn’t for them. Not an easy moment but an essential part of my journey and theirs. Now I understand why during training we were always told “teaching at a gym is hard” it is but it can also be very rewarding.

I’ve also learned that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Just because you have a class doesn’t mean you’ll have students. I was overjoyed at my partnership with two different gyms and my favorite studio and the opportunity to teach 5 plus classes a week. But I quickly learned that just because you have an allotted amount of time you are given to teach yoga at a gym doesn’t actually guarantee that anyone will show up. I’ve had more empty classes than I’d like to mention which has resulted in several “I’m going to cry my eyes out while I eat this Taco Bell burrito” afternoons. But several 7 layer burritos and teary phone calls with my best friend and mom later and I’ve learned that an empty class shouldn’t be taken personally. The truth is, teaching yoga requires building a following, like anything else and planning classes requires a certain amount of strategy. Having people who support you and are willing to work with you on this is also essential. Getting a full yoga class might be something that baffles me for the rest of my career. One week I may have 20 students and the next week… *crickets chirping*. It’s all part of the journey.

You don’t have to take every opportunity- and for god’s sake don’t beat yourself up. At the beginning I was so overjoyed about receiving a response to my email inquiring for a yoga teaching job that I became inclined to believe that if someone emailed me back it was just “meant to be” and I would end up teaching there. But in reality I quickly learned that I just didn’t click at some places. I spent a week crying until my eyes were swollen because I declined an opportunity to teach cancer patients at St. Mary Corwin Hospital. I’ve had a phobia of hospitals and getting my blood drawn (which is a requirement so that they can check your health before you can become a volunteer) for as long as I can remember. And I realized that all of this combined meant that, in that setting, I’d probably be a pretty crummy teacher. And that I just wasn’t ready to teach there… It’s okay if you think I’m a wimp, I know I am but I’ll get brave enough one day and that will be when I am “meant to be” teaching at St. Mary Corwin. I also declined a job at the YMCA… It was shorty after getting teaching jobs at the two local gyms I’m at now and I realized I just prefer the “rough around the edges”, “nothing official” kind of jobs as opposed to the “you’ll have to do X amount of hours of training” and red tape that comes with larger corporations. But, again, that’s just were I’m at right now.

You can be a yoga instructor and an entrepreneur at the same time… if I could give advice to anyone who wants to start to build their career as a yoga teacher I would tell them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with making business cards. It sounds kind of awful when you imagine an instructor in a temple-like yoga studio finishing their class with an “om shanti shanti, namaste…. now here’s my business card.” But knowing when and how to market yourself is essential. And it is something that I’m still learning. It does make me smile, though, every time I lock up one of the gyms and see a stack of my business cards by the front door… or when I grab a chai at The Daily Grind and see my card clustered with the many others on the cork board. Following your dreams means doing something that you are proud of and that you want to share and having the mindset of a entrepreneur has helped me to form relationships and reach more people than I thought possible.

The most important yoga, business, and life lesson I have learned so far is that having people who support you is worth more than words can say. This sound cliche too but it’s so incredibly true. I am so grateful for Christina and the nonchalant way she told me she wanted me to teach at her northside location… she was the first person to support my dream and she did it in about a million ways. I’m grateful for Melissa, who welcomed me with open arms my first day of teaching. I’m grateful to all of the women in my teacher training and all of the instructors at Studio Share who continue to read and share my writing and occasionally attend my classes. I’m thankful for Paulo and all of his encouragement and instruction, and for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I’m grateful to James and Julie at Ultimate Performance for reminding me to never give up and that building a following takes time. I’m grateful for Chris at Devil Dogg CrossFit who has been my supporter and dedicated students since day one. His belief in me, and in our ability to create and grow a yoga program at his gym inspires me. I’m grateful for Calee and Cora who are also on this adventure of “how can we get veterans and athletes to come to yoga?” with me. I’m eternally grateful for my parents who come to yoga classes as often as they can. They have and always will be my biggest supporters. I’m grateful to all of my friends who have decided to start yoga again, or for the first time, and have made it to a few of my classes… out of all the amazing and capable instructors thank you for choosing my class. More than anything I am grateful to all of my students! I will always learn more from you all than I will ever be able to teach you.

Here’s to many more months of this crazy, beautiful, adventure.

The light in me sees, honors, and unconditionally loves the light in each and every one one you. Namaste.

Alexis Kristan (10)

 

 

Things that don’t go together…yoga and politics.

'Today we're going to learn how to take our foot out of our mouth.'

In my mind there’s a list of a few things that just don’t go together in this world, and you only try to combine them once before you vow to never do so again. Number one on this list is toothpaste and orange juice (no explanation necessary) and number two is politics and yoga (explanation may be necessary, hence the rest of this post…)

I started out my college career studying political science… this was after having spent four years, three all city trophies, four state, and one national qualification, and thousands upon thousands of hours researching nothing but politics when I was on the debate team in high school. So unlike the average college kid featured on Watter’s World on Fox News, I would be able to answer all of his questions about politics… and generally with an opinion attached. I like politics. Remember the old adage, “there are three things you never talk about, religion, money, and politics”?  Well… I talk to every “do you have a minute to hear about our lord and savior Jesus Christ” who comes to my door (and generally have a few interesting questions for them), I talk about money and the concept of how much my time and knowledge are worth everyday as I attempt to make a decent part time job out of teaching yoga, and I certainly talk about politics with anyone and everyone that wants to. So I guess you could say I’m kind of a rebel….

But with all that being said I’ve learned that there is a time and place to talk about all controversial issues. For example, why we eat what we eat and the debate between meat eaters and non meat eaters is my favorite subject. Another thing people tend to avoid talking about…. Maybe we should just make that list longer (taking a page out of Linus’s book) there are five things you should never talk about: religion, money, politics, the great pumpkin or dietary choices. But to me this just buries the issues that need to be talked about the most. However, I would never leave a rant about how people evolved to eat meat and have been doing so for over 2 million years on a vegan yogi’s Instagram… I leave those rants for this blog and I NEVER insult those that believe differently than me. So what I’m trying to say is theres a time and place for everything. And recently I’ve concluded that yoga pages are not the place for politics. How did I come to this conclusion? Here’s the story…

I was met with a lot of hate on Instagram recently. It all happened when I commented on a famous yogi’s post after she said something derogatory towards Trump supporters in a video she posted. I generally keep politics off the internet (because my internet pages are all about yoga and I don’t believe anyone ever visits my site so they can decide how to vote in November) , and would never consider myself a Trump supporter, but I felt something needed to be said. Don’t we all come here for yoga and to be inspired in our daily practice? Not to talk about politics and certainly not to be insulted if we think differently than someone else. So, essentially, I said just that in the comments section on her post along with something akin to, “people’s political beliefs, just because they differ from yours, should not be thrown in their faces like an insult.”

For simply suggesting she should keep the negativity and political talk off Instagram I was called a judgmental bitch, a terrible human being, a hypocrite, told to open my small mind, and get over myself… And these are the people saying they refuse to vote for Trump because he is too hateful. Also, if you click on these yogi’s Instagram pages you’ll find something like “light and love” or “only positive vibes here” or “peace to all living things” in their bios or posts. So hold up now… you mean to tell me you’re a yogi who believes in all these wonderful things… until someone says something you don’t like. Sounds legit.

To be honest, the hate and meanness exuded by my fellow yogis was far greater than anything I have ever seen or experienced from a Trump supporter…. I truly believe that it is a sad day for yoga when we as fellow practitioners turn something as beautiful as our shared practice into negativity and insults. These are the kinds of people who cause other’s outside of the yoga community to think that all yogis are “fake” or “hypocrites”. They conjure up an image of a yogi in the studio preaching peace and non violence as well as daily cleanses and veganism… but as soon as she’s out of the studio she’ll be glued to her phone posting mean comments on others’ pages while she digs in to a bacon cheeseburger.

I see two issues here, the hypocrisy of my fellow yogis and the hatred for others because they don’t believe the same way as you do. So here’s a friendly reminder….Everyone is permitted to believe exactly what they want and vote exactly how they want and frankly if I wanted to talk about politics I attend an awesome University full of people with kind hearts and open minds… I would never turn to social media to decide how to vote and I would certainly never go as far as to tell others that how they believe is wrong ( I would hope that no one turns to social media to decide how to vote actually….) There are plenty of better and more respectful platforms to discuss politics, and more kind and legitimate ways of doing so.  I also received comments saying things like “this is her page and she can post whatever she wants” okay… so why would she choose to post something hateful? And if she is “the largest yoga account on the internet” as she regularly reminds everyone, shouldn’t she think before she posts?  Maybe trying to make her posts inspiriting, or… at the very least not hateful? But …

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With that being said, I wish all of the those hateful yogis out there on the Internet the very very best and I hope they return to their mats and find the love in their hearts that hopefully brought them there in the first place. I also hope they find a way to discuss something as important as politics in a kind and respectful way and on an appropriate platform.

Finally….I love you all no matter what you believe in, how you practice, who you hang out with, what you eat, what you wear, what you post, AND most importantly, I love you no matter who you vote for. ❤️😊

“Can I buy you a beer?”- some thoughts on forgiveness

Forgiveness is like most important things in life (flossing, eating your veggies, or getting on your yoga mat every day) they are always good but rarely easy . We all know the benefits of forgiveness. Blogs, forums, and articles that talk about forgiveness usually just conclude by telling us to forgive because it’s good for us. Easy enough right? Wrong. I think that for forgiveness to truly be effective one must accept forgiveness as a journey, or a process similar to the grieving process, and be able to allow themselves the time needed to forgive. Also, it’s crucial to be open to the idea that you might actually have to open your heart in order to forgive.

Disclaimer: Life has been pretty good to me up to this point. That being said, my realm of experience for hurt and subsequent forgiveness is limited- but regardless, I believe everyone has been hurt by someone they never thought would hurt them and has consequently had to pick up the pieces. So, whatever that looks like for you, I hope a part of you can relate to this blog. ❤️

When it comes to forgiveness I’ve realized that you won’t always get an apology. And even if you do, in this day and age of texting, tweeting, and random hook ups it’s rare that apologies are sincere. The best advice I can give in relation to apologies is, “I’m sorry” is a statement and requires no response but someone actually asking for forgiveness is an entirely different thing. Life is too short to respond to hollow “I’m sorry”s. You can forgive a toxic person without letting them back into your life or fueling any kind of negative fire. Because really it’s irrelevant whether the person apologizes or not. Forgiveness should happen either way and in its own time.

The act of forgiving itself (apology or no apology) is difficult, because it requires accepting someone’s true nature. This means that not only do we have to accept that this person hurt us but we also have to let go of the idea we had of this person in our minds. Perhaps we always thought of them as someone who would always fight to protect us, and then they did the opposite. They said hurtful words or even abandoned us and broke promises. Realizing that you saw someone as better than they actually are is the curse of being a “fixer”. I’m a fixer and I know other fixers too. You find someone and fall in love with them, or become friends with them, or you even go into the helping professions because you consider yourself messed up up so as soon as you see someone else who is messed up you want to help them. I talked about this with a wonderful yogi friend of mine while on our retreat to Boulder (more on this adventure coming soon). It’s amazing how many people are going through, or have gone through, something similar and opening up about it can be truly liberating.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all kind of messed up and we’re all kind of trying to fix each other and I’ve never related more to the Kurt Cobain quote when he wrote, “There’s good in all of us. I think I simply love too much that it makes me feel too f*cking sad.”… Loving a lot takes a lot out of a person and I think that’s why we’re so quick to try to stop ourselves from loving.

I spent months with a closed heart chakra (shout out to yoga teacher training for all of the ways it’s taught me about myself)- in essence I wasn’t allowing energy (good, bad, or indifferent) to flow through my heart, causing blockages and all kinds of other emotional and even physical problems. This is a completely natural defense mechanism. But for me, it led to all sorts of destructive behavior and bad decisions. A lot of it came from a place of hurt and insecurity which slowly turned into anger.

When someone hurts us or leaves us we have to go through a grieving processes and when we share this process with those around us, who love us, they often display anger towards the person that caused someone they love so much pain. Because of this I felt like I should be angry too. And that’s just not me. I was sad for a long time before I got angry. I stopped practicing yoga and felt the spiritual and physical effects of closing my heart. Months later the anger subsided and I found my way back to yoga. I also got slapped in the face by the scene in Eat Pray Love in which the main character says something akin to the fact that she loved her ex boyfriend even though she knew they were bad for each other and she still misses him. Her newly acquired friend says, “So what? Miss him. Send him some light and love every time you think of him then let it go.” This is powerful. Missing someone, or even missing the way things use to be is all part of the process. Then comes the light and love. Then the letting go.

 

Although I wasn’t angry anymore I still didn’t feel as though I had managed to let go and I had certainly failed miserably at the art of forgiving. Then one day during a shavasana after a particularly grueling practice I slipped into a deep meditative state (something I actually never thought would happen to me because that meditation stuff is all malarky 😉 ) and something came to me. I had been focusing for a long time on the idea of letting go and then suddenly during my final rest after practice it came to me as clearly as if someone next to me had whispered in my ear… “Just love” is all it said.  Bam. There it is. In order to let go we have to love. We have to send light and love to the person or experience every time we think about it and THEN we can let go.
Being someone that gets easily attached (like an emotional sloth or something) I’d spent all of this time trying to stop loving. Perhaps it’s true that when we go though a romantic break up, or even a friendship break up, that we have to learn to stop loving that person the same way we use to, and to stop being attached to them. Like Kurt Cobain said (among thousands of other wise things) loving can make us f*cking sad. But that does not mean that we stop loving completely. And sometimes we have to realize that being one of those people who “loves too much” isn’t easy. But when we close off our hearts to romantic love, for example, we’re really closing our hearts to any and all kinds of love. You have to reopen your heart, breathe through the hurt, and experience it. Easier said than done but breathing though it is a heck of a lot better than numbing it. Anything you numb you’ll have to face the effects of eventually. In the case of an ex boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse or lover or whatever this doesn’t mean that you continue to love them like you want to marry them or grow old with them or have their babies or anything. You begin to love them as you love the person who cuts you off in traffic or who you pass walking on the street or the person you share an elevator with. As another human who is not separate from you but, in fact,  sharing this cosmic experience with you and all other humans and living beings.
I think this idea still continues to hit me, sometimes harder than others. When my yogi friend and I shared experiences about being “fixers” and trying to forgive we realized that we shared a very similar experience. It wasn’t until days later that I realized how sad that was. So sad that both of us had experienced a similar hurt and that people are being hurt and hurting others like this all over the world, everyday, every hour. And that’s heartbreaking. In response to realizations like this it’s easy to get sad, hurt, or angry. It is not as easy, but infinitely better, to just forgive. To just love.
I think, for me, looking at forgiveness as a journey has empowered me to see all the good in that journey as well. All the hurt you have to go through to forgive someone can lead you on a pretty amazing spiritual and emotional path. Eric Church is modern country music’s saving grace, in my opinion, and on his new album Mr. Misunderstood he has a track entitled Record Year. The song is about a breakup that he didn’t see coming, that lead him to sit alone with his vinyl records and alcohol. Sounds like a pretty run of the mill country song at this point and also something that most of us can relate to on some level. But there are a few lyrics in it that have spoken to my journey of forgiving in a way that nothing else ever could. He basically refers to his time spent getting over this person as a “record year” both in the sense that he’s spending all year listening to music but also in that this year contained record ups and downs for him as a person. At one point he talks about all of the songs and artists he rediscovered because she left him and says “if you find your way back I owe you a beer, for my record year.” Not necessarily implying that he ever wants to be with her again but that he would, if given the chance, thank her for everything she put him through that led him to having a record year. And that lyric right there is how I have come to look at forgiveness… Learn to let go of what was, and enjoy what comes out of being hurt, the inner journey and moments of self discovery.

 

But most importantly learn to love the person that hurt you. Not enough to run back to them or give them any more of your time just enough that if you ever saw them again, in this life or another, that you would figuratively or literally, be able to buy them a beer.

Yogi Approved Article (2,000 Shares!) and Collaboration with Bad Yogi!

Hi all!

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Things have been crazy… midterms, yoga teacher training, quitting my job, a yoga retreat in Boulder, and teaching a few yoga classes for practice… oh and my family would like to see me every now and then just to ensure that I’m still alive… but I do have some exciting announcements!

First of all I have a new article published on the Yogi Approved site. It’s called “6 Life Changing Documentaries Every Yogi Needs to See”.  I wrote reviews/summaries of the first 5 documentaries, and the editors at Yogi Approved inserted the last documentary (Cowspiracy) which I promptly emailed the editor with concerns about. So, incase you didn’t notice the “this suggestion was added by the editorial team” disclaimer before Cowspiracy just know that I wouldn’t include that on a list of must see documentaries. For several reasons, that I plan to write a post on later (yay for blog inspiration coming out of a stressful situation!) . Not trying to hate on any Cowspiracy believers/ watchers, because I’ve definitely watched it myself, just trying to remind everyone that even documentaries require fact checking sometimes.

Anyway… this article has gone on to receive 2.3k shares… granted at least five or six of those shares were me sharing the article several times as an update to how many shares it received… but the other 2,295 or so are people actually talking about and hopefully watching these documentaries! This is so exciting to me! Mostly because I no longer feel alone in my documentary obsession and because I feel as though these documentaries have the potential to really change people’s lives. So, I hope you will all give the article a read (it has trailers and summaries of each documentary in it) and let me know what you think!

6 Life-Changing Documentaries Every Yogi Needs to See (Free on Netflix!)

In other exciting news in the world of me, I have received an invitation to collaborate with the wonderful, sassy, and beautiful people at Bad Yogi! I received an email from their managing editor containing incredibly kind words about my articles on Yogi Approved and expressing a desire to have me write some pieces for them!  I submitted three different guest blogging ideas and she like all of them! So guess who has two thumbs and is the newest Bad Yogi contributor…. THIS GAL! You should be seeing my first piece up in April or May. Here’s a link to their site incase you’re curious about what they’re  all about…

Bad Yogi Blog

I don’t know about you but I think I’ll fit in perfectly 🙂

Also, I heard back from Steven Rinella’s Meat Eater team! Some of you might remember I sent an email following my “The Hunter vs Vegan Debate” article’s publication on Yogi Approved to Steven Rinella just letting him know that I referenced the crap out of him in my article and this is the email I received in return:

“”Hey Alexis–

I read your article and really think you did a great job of approaching this topic respectfully and carefully. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about the people who don’t consider where their meat is coming from being the real issue at hand, that is definitely a huge cultural hurdle we have when it comes to knowing what we’re eating.

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, really appreciate the thoughtful tone, we might be pulling more content like this in the future so if we have any writing projects that might fit within this area, I’ll keep you on my list to reach out 🙂

All my best–

Nicole from the MeatEater crew””

So that required about 30 minutes of dancing around the kitchen in excitement… I think the best part about all of this is that people are reading, and maybe in some cases even being touched by, my work and that makes it all worth it!

Here’s that article incase you haven’t gotten the chance to read it yet:

The Hunter vs Vegan Debate article

Finally, I will be finishing my teacher training as of April 3rd so keep an eye out for some incredibly sappy posts as the end of that adventure draws near.

Thank you all for your continued support! More blogs/ articles/ shenanigans coming soon!

Lexi

New YogiApproved Article!- The Hunter vs Vegan Debate

Hey everyone!
So, I have a new article out on YogiApproved! It is called “The Hunter vs Vegan Debate: A Meat Eater’s Perspective”. It is actually the articled I referred to in my “Why Do We Eat What We Eat” blog post. I struggled a bit to get this one published because it’s not necessarily conducive to the audience at YogiApproved but I’m stubborn and my editor is awesome so it’s published! I am probably more proud of this piece than I have been about anything that I’ve written in a long time. So I hope you will all take the time to read it!
I reference a video from Steven Rinella’s YouTube channel. He is host of the show MeatEater on the Sportsman’s Channel and author of one of my favorite books “Meat Eater: Adventures From the Life of an American Hunter”. I’ve sent an email to the “contact us” page on the MeatEater website and tweeted at Steven. So, hopefully he sees it!
In the mean time people have already left some really great comments on the YogiApproved Facebook and the Website.
So here it is!

The Hunter vs. Vegan Debate: A Meat-Eater’s Perspective

I hope you all love it and that it inspires you to asks yourself important questions and to continue this debate!

All my love,
Lexi

EmBRACE Your True Self- flaws and all!

This is a blog about self love. Getting to know yourself and, more importantly, like yourself.  Maybe it sounds cliche. I certainly know the last sentence I wrote is. But if we get beyond all the self love and body positivity jargon we are bombarded with every day and get down to real stories and real moments on the journey to self love I think we are left with something both unique and inspiring…

This post is me sharing my story…. 🙂

It begins  with a discussion of my maternal grandmother’s right canine tooth. Her baby tooth fell out and then the adult tooth grew in… No big deal right? Then her adult tooth fell out and… Wait for it… Another tooth grew in! My mom’s right canine tooth on the other hand was a different story (I know what your’e thinking, and yes there is a point to this pointless story). Her baby tooth fell out and no adult tooth ever grew in. So now she has a bridge in place of her tooth. My right canine tooth remained a baby tooth, never got loose, or showed any signs of being replaced by it’s adult version. The dentist did x rays and said that my adult tooth was so far up in my pallet that the chances of it ever coming in were slim. So we’ll just leave the baby tooth. Cool…. So everything remained cool until about a year and a half ago when suddenly my adult tooth began to grow in behind my baby canine tooth. The dentist said to see an orthodontist about it. So I called the office, and made an appointment for two weeks in the future. In the mean time I named my adult tooth Bruce, since he was growing in like a second row of teeth that a shark would have. Shark tooth, Bruce.
Fast forward two weeks and I’m tearing up in the orthodontist chair. Under the fluorescent lights with that stupid contraption in my mouth that spreads my cheeks so wide that dry mouth doesn’t even begin to describe the sensation….

I was going to have to have braces.

I had managed to avoid the train tracks for all of middle school and high school and here I was 19 years old being told that the only way to remedy this Bruce situation was to have the baby tooth extracted (which meant I’d be toothless for one to two weeks, so more great news) and use braces to pull the adult tooth forward into its proper position. Damn you Bruce.
I came to the only natural conclusion at this point. Delay the treatment for as long as I possibly can. I put off getting the baby tooth extracted and the braces put on for about another year and a half.  So here I sit, twenty years old with braces. Not a big deal to most people. In fact, adult braces are becoming more and more common. But to me it was a big deal. And it took me a long time to realize why.

The answer wasn’t comfortable or easy to arrive at but here’s the truth: I was massively insecure and even narcissistic.
It’s kind of human nature to think that the world and other humans are more concerned with what we’re doing than they actually are. My mom once told me when I first started driving and was nervous to go to the gas station by myself, “you know not everyone is watching you pump gas right?” And that simple statement has forever made going to the gas station, and other mundane activities, much easier. For the most part people are not concerned with what you’re doing or why. This blog is a great example of that fact. Some posts get a good response while others only get likes from my dad and the ladies I work with at Dressbarn. Both examples of my biggest cheerleaders. Other people just don’t care as much as we think they do.

(PSA: if you do read my blog regularly I am incredibly grateful and you’re the reason I do it! Chances are the internet won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon… MUAHAHAHAHA)

Anyway… the phenomenon that people don’t really care about what you do was true with my braces. I don’t know what I expected. Probably that everyone I had ever know pre- Bruce incident would ask me why or make a comment about how I looked like I was twelve (a fact that I don’t deny) but in reality no one has said a thing…. All that worrying for nothing (this is the part of the story where I would insert an “I told you so” from my mom, if she was the kind of person who said “I told you so”).
But this brings us to a more important issue. Even if no one cares why do I care what they think? Because I was insecure. I thought that having braces would make me less attractive, even as a friend. And that somehow this would make me less worthy of love or friendship or of allowing myself to be myself….
I have a fantastic professor by the name of Fred Stultz who teaches at CSUP. I’ve taken his Human Development course and I am currently enrolled in his Marriage and Family course. He’s been teaching intimacy and marriage and family psychology since the 70s. He always tells us, “You know, you’re all gorgeous people. And I’m not just saying that. You may think ‘okay Fred you’re pulling my leg’ but really I’m not. You’re beautiful people.” Something that always makes me smile. And the other day he took this little bit of wisdom a step further. After telling us we were all good looking people he said “Everyone is beautiful. The sooner you believe that the better.” So true Fred, so true. Everyone is beautiful. I’ve found, in my journey of self love, that this can be fairly easy to believe about the outside world and other people but sometimes we also need to find a way to believe that about ourselves. WE ARE ALL GORGEOUS PEOPLE! And I’m not just pulling your leg. 😉
In addition to Fred’s comments I’ve had my eyes and heart opened in about a million ways through my yoga teacher training program. We’re not even halfway through yet and I’ve had to admit to myself and the beautiful, wonderful, amazing women I am sharing that journey with that sometimes I don’t know how to love myself. I’m insecure and I worry about what others think. For our workshop on the Solar Plexus Chakra (more on teacher training adventures later) we were given a brown paper bag filled with sand and a candle and told that the candle was to be used to burn away all negative thoughts and feelings. About a week into having this tool I finally got the courage to write “I’m not beautiful with braces” on a tiny piece of paper and let the candle burn it away. Seeing the constant negative thought that runs through my head daily go up in smoke was an incredibly cathartic experience. And it was part of my healing and learning to love myself journey- which they never told me would be a part of my 200 hour certification. 😉
The bottom line is, my braces are temporary like a lot of things in life. And I’m well aware of what a drama queen I’ve been about this whole situation- in reading this post you’ve probably been thinking something along these lines: “there are starving kids in Africa, woman! And you’re worried about having to have one of the most expensive cosmetic oral treatments known to man? Poor you! Not like a million people have’t gone through it before. Some people would kill to afford braces.” *rolls eyes and makes a mental note to never read Well-Done Yoga blog again* Trust me, my inner dialogue has been saying the same thing to me for months. But sometimes we just have to allow ourselves to have emotions without judging ourselves for having them. It’s okay to be sad, mad, happy, etc about something silly. Part of my journey of self-love has been allowing my braces to be that something silly for me.

With that being said, I could have just as easily been writing this article about the susceptibility of breast cancer in my family but instead I’ve been fortunate enough to write it about the susceptibility of canine teeth perplexities. I’m incredibly lucky that braces are my biggest worry.   And really it was never about the braces. They exposed a much deeper issue. One of my own self esteem and my perpetual tendency to think that others are more concerned with my behavior than they actually are. I’m proud to say that learning to get past negative self talk and to teach yourself how worthy you are of all of the happiness in life is an amazing journey… and one that I’m still working on every day. I’ve learnt to emBRACE myself, imperfections and all  (you bet your britches that pun is intended).

I also think it’s nice to be reminded that no matter what kinds of changes or insecurities you’re going through everyone who has ever mattered will still be there. Because they never loved you for your smile or your clear skin or your perfect hair or the amount of likes you get on an Instagram post. True friends will still love you when you get braces, or a pimple, or your hair gets frizzy, or no one”likes” your post. So as Fred would say, “So, whats the point of all this??”

…if those you value most in the world still love you then you owe it to yourself to love yourself.
I guess I’m trying to say in 1,000 word blog post what the Buddha summed up very simply in a few words. “If you’re compassion does not include yourself it is incomplete.”

A- FRICKIN’- MEN TO THAT.

Why Do We Eat What We Eat- Starting The Conversation

So, I recently sat down to write a new article for YogiApproved. In essence, I tried to make an extension of the “Eating Meat with Integrity” article but I just might be tiptoeing into uncharted, and arguably dangerous, territory. I titled the article “lets have a real conversation: the vegan vs hunter debate.”

In the article I basically discussed the ever-persistent existence of conflict between those who eat meat and those that do not. Not just vegetarians and the occasional Texas Road House goer but I went a step further. What’s the most extreme veggie lover?  A vegan. And what’s the most extreme meat eater? A hunter.

I write about the controversy in starting a real conversation about why we make the dietary and lifestyle choices that we do. I talk more about tolerance and the conversation than I do about anything else in the article. So I wanted to use this blog post to get to the real meat (ha ha) of the issue. Why do we eat what we eat?

Being more aligned with the hunter’s point of view myself I naturally turned to my favorite resource on the subject, Steven Rinella. The host of a show that is literally called Meat Eater on Sportman’s Network and author of a book bearing the same name.  So being daring enough to be both a yogi and a meat eater, I finished my YogiApproved article and then continued my research….

One day while I was scouring the internet for documentaries on everything from veganism to recipes on rabbit (we’ll discuss my abnormal attachment/ addiction to documentaries another day) I came across this talk that Steven Rinella gave at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

 

If you’re curious, give it a watch here…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMXTjAjjQmM)

 

What did I get out of this? Hunting is something spiritual.

In this talk Rinella says, “I’m not going to lie to you and say that if I couldn’t hunt I couldn’t eat. I’d eat just fine. But spiritually I’d be starved to death.” It got me to thinking… People look for their spiritual kick, so to speak, in a multitude of different ways. A lot of us choose yoga, mediation, journaling, etc. and when you become involved enough in these things you take them on as part of your lifestyle. For example, most people find themselves modifying their daily life and dietary choices to compliment their yoga practice. Perhaps it’s time that hunters and non hunters alike learn to freaking respect each other.

I also thought of the men and women who I know in my life that are serious about hunting. They take to the woods unsure of whether or not they will even see the animal they are after but they enjoy the whole process and soak up the feelings of a universe and forces larger than themselves. The same way yogis get on their mats every day not sure if they’ll be able to accomplish that difficult inversion. In both instances spirituality is key and there are plenty of internal as well as external forces at work for and against the spiritual seeker (weather, gravity, whatever it may be).

Similarly, hunters and yogis are met with their own unique set of disappointments and life altering moments. I fell out of a headstand the other day (just when I thought I’d finally mastered those) and immediately felt angry… then I had to laugh. That’s life. Things don’t always go as planned and as soon as we think we’ve got it all figured out we are promptly reminded that that is not the case. I think hunters regularly experience and grow from similar disappointments and detours to their ultimate goals as well.

So the importance of what we eat and where we can begin to answer the question is found in the journey. We may become vegan because we love yoga and the non violent tradition so much. We may become hunters because we love nature and a connection with our meat hunting and eating ancestors.

I have experienced the spirituality of being packed in a studio with 25 other sweaty yogis and it felt similar to the spiritual experiences I’ve had in nature and in eating meat. I know, for me, that eating meat is different than the norm. The meat I eat, nowadays, is either wild game or certified humanely raised and handled meat from our ranch or bought at my local Natural Grocers. So this means I package the meat in ziplock bags in meal sized portions and label it as “Lexi Kosher”(a term my family has come up with that has come to mean one of severe things: “humanely certified by a non government affiliated entity, raised on our family ranch,  shot and field dressed by someone she knows, or basically she just knows generally where the meat came from and how the animals life was pre lets fry it and eat it”). Knowing I have enough to feed me and that I handpicked it myself after doing the necessary research gives me a new appreciation for what I am putting in my body.

I have seen this kind of spiritual relationship with meat come from hunters I know as well. But I would argue that they are even more spiritually in tuned with their food than I am after a Whole Foods shopping spree. The truth is, hunters know everything about their food and they take my idea of knowing where our food came from to a whole knew level. My younger brother, Brody, is a great example of this. The deer he hunted, shot, and field dressed himself this fall has fed the two of us for more nights than I can count so far. If you know Brody, he’s not generally a sharer by any stretch of the word. But when it comes to his wild game, not only does he like to be a part of the whole process from a deer track in the dirt to the burger on your plate but he loves to share that experience with whomever he can. And he makes some killer jalapeno deer burgers (I’ll be taking dinner reservations starting now). So when I sat down to ponder this question why do we eat what we eat I had to ask Brody, a pivotal question, why do you hunt? His answer was “In a modern world it’s nice to get back to our roots sometimes. Its nice to know where food comes from and knowing you’re part of the process makes your food more enjoyable.  Also, you get a more intimate connection and understanding of the natural world and animals than you would get from simply hiking or bird watching.” Simple enough.  Even someone who doesn’t hunt can probably agree that getting back to nature and knowing where our food comes from is important.

 

So why the nervousness about the yogi approved article? …

The best way to explain my general hesitation surrounding the attempt to post an article about hunting in a yoga publication can be illustrated in a recent conversation I had with a fellow meat eating yogi. I messaged a wonderful instagram follower of mine about my “how to eat meat with integrity” article, because I saw she had liked my post about it and I was so excited about being published that for the moment I had no qualms in regards to promoting myself and what I thought was a pretty good article. She replied by expressing an intent to print my article and share it with her acupuncture clients. The most striking part of her message however said “it’s nice to meat a yogi that doesn’t want to burn non-vegans at the stake” followed by some of those emojis that look like their laughing so hard they’re crying. I realized in that moment, that although she was making a joke that her statement held an uncomfortable amount of truth in it. And here it is… yogis can be judgy too.

One of my favorite groups of people I have ever met has been through yoga but there are a few yogis here and there that don’t act so yogic if ya know what I mean. I’m talking about the “look at my backbend in my overpriced lulu lemon bra drinking my vegan protein shake and let me give you alignment pointers before I have to rush off to whole foods and to get some incense and essential oils people”. Now I’m not dogging on lulu lemon because I have one of their bras and it’s amazing, and I love a good shopping spree at Whole Foods, and the Indian Temple incense as much as the next yogi but when did it become okay for yogis to think that they’re better than other yogis. Isn’t this exactly what we go to yoga to escape?

Now don’t get me wrong, vegans take their share of crap too. I notice this whenever I jump on periscope to talk about diet. I often get questions like, “you’re not a vegan are you?” and I immediately get offended for all the vegans out there. Maybe I am! If I was vegan I’d sure as heck be proud of it! Just in the simple phrasing of that question leaves me, not a vegan, slightly offended. What if we just started to approach things with respect and asked questions really wanting to know the answer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard things like “I can’t read your article/blog because I’m a vegan and you write about eating meat.” You are correct. I do write about eating meat but why on earth should that mean that you can’t read it? Refusing to listen to other ideas is akin to believing that your way of doing things is the only right way. I’d hope by now that none of us think that way.

 

Maybe people don’t want to have a real conversation because they know we’ll never agree…

My answer to this response would be that as a society we still talk about politics and religion, both things there’s a slim chance we’ll ever agree on. Educated people have an interest in opposing beliefs and nothing bad can come out of a conversation in which we can talk about our different lifestyles and cultivate the ability to explain why we do what we do or act how we act or eat what we eat.

FIRST YOGI APPROVED ARTICLE!!!

Hey world!
First of all, thank you so much for taking a moment to visit my blog! I hope to make frequent visitors out of you guys!
I am just making this post to announce my excitement and gratitude for the publishing of my first article on yogiapproved.com. The article is entitled “How to Eat Meat with Integrity” and I am actually pretty proud of this one! I think that often times people believe that as a yogi, or just as a human, that we must live our lives in extremes. So if you’re going to change your dietary habits you should become full on vegan overnight… OR if you’re not willing to do that, you should embrace being a carnivore and eat any and all kinds of meat that you can find.
In this article I have taken the time to explore a middle ground. What if you want to be a yogi but you still want to eat meat? What if you don’t know how you feel about eating meat? What if you’re curious about where our meat comes from? These are all questions that I had on my own spiritual adventure that I have attempted to answer with this article. I researched everything I could, as someone who grew up with meat eating as her way of life, and this article contains the information I have obtained and where it has led me so far. I would love for you all to read it and feel free to engage in dialogue about what eating meat means to you here on Well-Done Yoga or on the YogiApproved site! So here it is!
http://www.yogiapproved.com/health-wellness/how-to-eat-meat-with-integrity/

 

Thanks again!
Namaste.

Sitcoms, Nail Salons, and Yoga- A Journey in Self Acceptance

I was watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother the other day… Re-watching is actually a more accurate description. It is the episode entitled The Final Page- Part 2. It’s the one in which Barney proposes to Robin on top of the World Wide News Building. Ted encourages Robin to pursue Barney if she is still in love with him even if she thinks the odds of them ending up together are slim. In this particular episode Ted says something incredibly insightful, as only Ted can. “Making an ass of your self for love is underrated.”

I’ve seen this episode countless times but it hit home more this time than ever before… And I realized that making an ass out of myself for love is something that I’ve always embraced. In fact, I consider myself a bit of a Ted, but I like this about myself. I also realized that it took me a long time, lots of tears, and painful realizations before I could embrace the part of my nature that just doesn’t want to let things go.

The first part of this journey was the realization and acceptance of the fact that I am one incredibly nostalgic, not to mention romantic, human being… Kinda like Ted actually. I always see the past as better than it was and there was a time when I would do anything to preserve things exactly as they were. I would focus on all the good memories from the past and try to force things to remain, or go back to, the way they were. This reminds me of something my mom use to always say… She’d tell me that no matter what kind of relationship you are in- romantic, friendship, whatever- that you should always be happy more often than you are sad or the relationship is not worth it. Similarly and equally as wisely stated in one of my favorite, just as quirky as it is heartwarming British films, Hector and the Search for Happiness (more on this film and Hectors adventures later).  One of Hector’s newly acquired friends tells him that when evaluating a relationship one should consider “does this person bring me primarily a) up or b) down”. In retrospect this is some of the best advice I have ever received but I know that I seldom took it to heart. Even if I was mostly sad and a person primarily brought me down I never wanted to give up, on the odd chance that this person was my soul mate. I reasoned that not only had I grown comfortable in this relationship but “jerks have to have soul mates too right?” I’ve come to terms with the fact that in the heat of the relationship I would always want to push through or keep fighting for it even if things had gone south a long time ago. Bottom line: I’m incredibly good at the fighting to make things work part of the relationship, but absolutely awful at letting go of the things that are already gone part.

Another thing I had to realize… Possibly the most painful… Was that no one I had ever been with had been willing to make an ass out of themselves for me. So I would go to the ends of the earth, send a message when I knew I shouldn’t, forgive things that shouldn’t be forgiven, and say things that were better left unsaid, all in the hopes that things would mend and fall back in to place. After my first major breakup I spent months in this kind of limbo, waiting for a message, an apology, anything. Then I’d end up sending the text. We’d meet up and get coffee or try to go to some of the places we use to when we were together and I’d only end up feeling twice as empty as I had before. I neglected to realize, something that a wonderful friend told me several months later “it’s okay to grow out of someone”. Meaning, it’s okay to accept that things have changed and basically “please stop forcing this because it’s killing you”. Once again, in retrospect, I’ve realized how many people actually helped me get through something that I felt so alone in dealing with. I have amazing friends and an incredibly family. And what’s more than that, I have friends that have become family and that means more than the world to me. But all of their advice was always along the same lines: “let it go.”

Some of the people with the best insight into my situation, however, had only known me a few minutes. The one who speaks most to my “make an ass of yourself for love” nature was a small man who gave me a neon pink manicure a short time after a breakup. I was a mess, which came as a surprise to no one but everyone tried to cheer me up none the less. My aunt took me to get my nails done, and… as one does… I ended up informing my nail tech of the whole sordid affair. He just listened quietly for a long time and waited so long to speak that I actually wondered if he’d heard me at all. When he did talk he said, “never chase a boy. You have too much to offer and if he can’t see that then he is not worth it.” So simple yet so incredibly true. Later he kindly berated me for my posture saying that a pretty girl should always sit up straight. As I left the nail salon he called after me, “What two things?” and I responded ” Sit up straight and don’t chase!” Something that my aunt still texts me on occasion to remind me. After a long time reflecting on what my nail tech said, living through a few more experiences, and watching a few more cheesy sitcoms and romantic comedies  I concluded that chasing isn’t always bad… in fact, it’s part of who I am. People who chase the person they want to be with are not only romantic and nostalgic but they are willing to open themselves up completely and consequently live and love with their whole heart. I also concluded, however, that someone who tries and loves this hard deserves someone who would do the same for them. Basically, making an ass out of yourself for love is a two way street.

So, making an ass of yourself is good, but the other person has to make an ass out of themselves as well. And let’s be sure to clarify being an ass and making an ass out of yourself/ going out of your way to tell someone you love them are two different things. 😉 The excuse that someone is stubborn can only exist for so long before you have to realize that they really aren’t going out of their way at all for you. After certain break-ups I had to realize that I was a piece in a puzzle of convenience to this person and there would never be any changing that. You can’t always be the first one to reach out after a fight, the first to say you’re sorry, and you can’t be willing to forgive anything just to return to normalcy. I promise, if this person is all you’ve ever known chances are you can do better. So I guess it’s kinda like a line from another insightful romantic comedy, He’s Just Not That Into You, “If a guy wants to see you he will make it happen”. Sometimes those of us Teds out there have to realize that while we’ve been busy making an ass out of ourselves he (or maybe she) has not been trying to make it happen. A painful realization that, for me, led to a lot of self destructive thoughts…

Here’s where yoga comes in. Yoga teaches self love in the most honest and sometimes brutal way possible. We have to realize how little we meant to someone, breaking our heart and our ego, before we can actually realize how much we are worth. It’s sounds like kind of a paradox… And sometimes this is something we won’t realize until we take a prescription of equal parts yoga, crying it out, and ice cream with your best friend and/or mom.  But the ultimate conclusion is: you are worth it.

Although we are constantly told to stop chasing, and trying, and sacrificing (and there is something to advice of this kind) those things make us who we are. As Ted says “take it from someone who’s an expert at making an ass of themselves” never lose that part of you! Never stop being a romantic, and don’t be afraid to make an ass out of yourself for love, just have enough respect, for yourself, to know where to draw the line. Your love for others should never exceed your love for yourself. Actually, if you can’t fully love yourself then loving another person is messy, painful, and confusing at best. If you’re like me (FELLOW TEDS UNITE!) enjoy the journey of making an ass out of yourself for love and embrace that part of you but don’t forget to hold out for someone who will fight as hard for it as you do. Because, gosh darn it, you deserve it!