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Say Goodbye to All Your Labels With These Two Words


It’s been a rough week. Everyone was sick. And in the middle of all the snot and phlegm and co-pays and Tylenol I was busy getting ready to open up my online Yoga Inspired Jewelry shop. It was crazy and hectic and extra hard, but now it’s done. The shop is open! There are malas sitting there right now. For sale.

I also have a few shop opening specials going on:

  1. The first 3 people to make a purchase will save 15% off one item (excludes custom malas) with coupon code FIRST3.
  2. All custom malas are 20% off until the end of May 2017.
  3. You can save an additional 10% off by subscribing to the blog. 

Or if you’d rather donate your savings to a good cause I am helping a friend fundraise for the Denver Strides for Epilepsy. Just enter the coupon code FORMAILI and I’ll set aside 30% for her fundraising.

If you’re sort of interested in malas but you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to do with one, start by watching the video in this post. Or observe my own mental chatter as I meditate with the mantra So Hum.

So Hum.

I am still sick.
I am sick of everyone else being sick.
I am tired. Physically.
I am tired of everything feeling so hard.
I am not sure why I didn’t just delay opening the shop.
I am also kind of wildly impressed that I somehow got it all done.
I am not surprised though, because I know myself.
I am determined.
I am, or at least can be, a perfectionist.
I am… a little intense.
I am passionate.
I am a lover. Of many things.
I am a writer.
I am a musician.
I am an artist.
I am a runner.
I am a yogi.
I am a math geek.
I am analytical and discerning, yet open minded.
I am a high maintenance, yet understanding and accepting wife.
I am, despite being a perfectionist, an imperfect mother.
I am a loyal and supportive friend.
I am an obnoxious, yet unconditionally devoted daughter.
I am a woman.
I am only human.
I am a thread in the fabric of all existence.
I am part of the connection. Through words, through relationships, through being.
I am the miracle of life.
I am all of these things, and I am none of them.
I am that.

So Hum.

So Hum is a beautifully simple mantra meditation that you can practice with or without a mala. It’s a reflection on our connection to all existence. I like to sing this mantra out loud. But it’s also a lovely mantra to repeat silently in your head. Listen to the sound, “So,” with each inhale and the sound, “Hum,” with each exhale. With each repetition practice letting go of all the labels you’ve assigned to yourself.

I am an anxious person.
I am afraid of failure.
I am desperate for validation.
I am too easily angered.
I am not agreeable enough.
I am not pretty enough.

So Hum.

I am smart.
I am brave.
I am perceptive.
I am empathetic.
I am creative.
I am beautiful.

So Hum.

I am all of these things, and I am none of them.
I am a thread in the fabric of all existence.
I am that.

So Hum.

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Big Things Are Happening


Big things are happening around here these days. Let me share.

My husband cleaned the ENTIRE HOUSE this weekend. Isn’t he the best? I don’t even remember how he forgot to pack my wedding dress.

Baby Girl is no longer staying up with me after Big Girl goes to bed at night! Instead, they both go to bed at the same time and Big Girl does the consoling. It’s a win all around. Big Girl feels super proud of herself for putting Baby Girl to bed, I get time to myself in the evening and Baby Girl gets to confront her fears! (I’m sure she feels really grateful for that opportunity.)

And she’s not the only one confronting her fears. After congratulating myself last week for pursuing my dream of becoming a yoga teacher, I asked myself what I’m afraid of NOW. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Losing my Mom
  2. That I’m a terrible parent
  3. Driving in the snow
  4. Having my blood pressure taken
  5. Talking, with my voice, about my business to real live people
  6. Sales tax laws

The way I figure it, there’s not much I can do about fears #1 and #2. Fears #3 and #4 aren’t going away, but I confront them as necessary. I don’t hide in my house or avoid the doctor.

Now as for fear #5. Anytime someone asks me what I do I say, “Mostly I’m at home with my girls.” You see what I did there? I used the word “mostly”. That means the same thing as “not entirely”. Clever people should pick up on that subtlety of language and ask about the rest of what I do, right? Not so, my friends. They pretty much just leave it at that. So from now on I’m going to answer with, “I’m a running coach and soon to be yoga teacher. Oh, and I also spend a lot of time watching my girls.” How about that?

Now that that’s handled, let’s move on to fear #6. A little while ago I developed a mala making habit. The gemstones are so pretty and the tediousness of the hand-knotting feels so very therapeutic. But it’s kind of an expensive habit and I really only need so many malas. After gifting several to friends it occurred to me that I could sell them.

So I spent many hours researching and trying to understand the Colorado sales tax laws as they pertain to online sales. So many hours, in fact, that a friend of mine complimented me on my dedication. I assured her it was actually a combination of perfectionism and paranoia driving my research.

This past Thursday I noticed a flyer at the YMCA asking for donations for a silent auction/fundraiser benefiting the kids’ programs. Donations were due on Saturday. It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I dropped off a mala and made a commitment to myself that I will submit all the paperwork and open up shop online here before the auction at the end of April.

That’s right. There will be malas. For sale. Right here. In just one month. That's right. There will be malas. For sale. Right here. In just one month. Click To Tweet

If that’s not enough to convince you that big things are happening around here, let me just add – I also took a shower this week.

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You Could Win a Mala, Not a Boobie


A frank conversation between myself and I. Plus, a video about what a mala is.

I think we all know the kind of difference a boss can make in terms of job satisfaction and I have a great one. She gives me tons of creative freedom, pushes me to do super scary things (like post a video about the mala I’m giving away as a prize for the Race My Toddler Virtual 2K) and then reassures me that it’s going to be okay.

Like last week, for example. All I could think about and, therefore, all I really wanted to write about was my Mom. But I was worried that it wouldn’t work on a “fitness” website. So I discussed it with my boss and she was all, “Include the part about mindfulness. That fits with meditation and yoga… and we have that whole well-being category too. We can throw anything in there.”

I reminded her that you’re supposed to pick a niche when you start blogging. “But if we’re not focused enough that could hurt our search engine performance. Or we could lose readers. I keep saying I’m going to offer tips about running and stuff and I keep not doing that.”

And then she reminded me, “We did pick a niche. It all fits. Besides, people need to know that sometimes you go to a yoga class and all you do is go through the motions. It isn’t always peace and zen. People need to hear that it’s normal and actually okay to lack motivation for exercise. People need permission to feel proud of themselves when they DO get out there. These things are more important than choosing the right pair of running shoes.”

Right. I felt a lot better after that conversation.

But then I started worrying about the Race My Toddler Virtual 2K coming up on 2/18/17 and I told my boss as much. “I was really hoping this race would help us branch out beyond my personal network, and it’s just not working out that way.”

“That’s okay. It’ll still be fun.”

“But we have to expand our reach if this business is going to be viable.”

“And we will.”

“97%! 97% of my fans are friends! I can’t just try to sell stuff to my friends. People don’t like that, you know.”

“Laura. We’ve been open for 2 months. This is going to take time. You need to chill out.” I had to admit she had a point. “Maybe this business really takes off and we can work at it for years. There’s still a lot to try. Or maybe it doesn’t. That will be okay too. Just trust that if you listen to your gut and follow your heart, whatever takes shape will be right. Didn’t your Mom ask you to meditate on trust for her? Now would be a good time for that. Oh, and while you have your mala out, tell everyone what it’s about.”

“You mean write about it.”

“Why don’t you make a video?”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! That’s way too scary!!!!!” I said this in my head.

Actually this whole conversation was in my head so I guess I just ignored myself and went on, “Make sure it doesn’t look like you tried too hard. You know, do it with your phone in poor lighting and switch around the picture orientation.”

“Okay… but just so you know, this makes me feel really uncomfortable. I’m pretty new to this whole mantra, mala, meditation thing. I don’t know if I’m qualified to explain this stuff. It’s also been awhile since I took a shower.”

“Include the kids. You’re an expert compared to Big Girl. And they’re cute. That can’t hurt.”

“Okay. But fair warning. I’m going to forget to mention that you don’t even have to use the mala for meditation. You can always just wear it as a necklace or bracelet.”

“Laura. Stop talking to yourself and post the video.”

Sanskrit mantras for your reference: