Posted on

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.

Posted on

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:

Posted on

Not a Great Day


“I am so angry now. I’m seething. My mouth is taut, teeth grinding. My fists are clenched. My 18 month old is screaming. Mostly because I don’t have it in me to show her affection right now. I’m not proud of this, but it’s the truth.”

That is all the more I wrote during the 2.5 hours I set aside to write this afternoon. Baby Girl fell asleep on the 10 minute drive to Big Sister’s preschool and decided that was going to be enough for her.

That’s not entirely true. She did eventually wear herself out crying and crashed on my chest. It took me another 20 minutes or so of chanting mantra before I was able to forgive her. I know she doesn’t understand. That’s just not always enough.

I spent the remaining hour screwing around with my work email. I worried about a lot of things when I started this business, but let me tell you. The technicalities of sending an email was not one of them.

The doorbell rang exactly one minute before I needed to leave to pick up Big Sister from school. Baby Girl woke up with a start and exclaimed, “Oh no! Door!” Oh no was right. Santa via Grandma via Amazon left four packages on our doorstep and one was the size of a refrigerator. So I frantically dragged the refrigerator* downstairs and hid it in our storage room while Baby Girl yelled and cried over the jolt awake.

And would you believe it? There was another big box sitting on the front porch when we arrived home from preschool pickup. I know I should be grateful for all the gifts. I mean, really, talk about first world problems. But I just wasn’t feeling the box stashing frenzy today. Especially when I’m tripping over all the crap we already have.

A cardboard dinosaur from a Chick-fil-A kid’s meal. Glitter pens missing caps. Five or ten or fifty Ziplock bags, each filled with 3-5 pieces of confetti. About 500 million pictures, artistic creations of Big Sister’s, each so special that we cannot get rid of a single one. Shiny rocks and dried leaves. Old Lego catalogs. An egg carton filled with sand. Miscellaneous barrettes and hair ties. Days old sippy cups and dry Cheerios. All of it just strewn about. Crap layered atop layers of more crap. Crap layered atop layers of more crap. #kids #toomuchstuff Click To Tweet

And to top it all off is…


My neighbor watched the girls for a couple hours later in the afternoon so I could go to yoga. On my drive there I thought about this post and how nice it would be to include a happy ending. You know, something about how yoga brought me back to my peaceful center.

Sorry friends. That’s not how this is going to play out. I just kept on feeling pissed. Pissed that we started off an Active Flow class with fucking neck rolls. The thermostat was set at 72 F and I still had to keep my sweater on for a third of the class.

The girls ate pasta with butter for dinner because the tomato sauce in the back of the fridge had gone moldy, and Baby Girl still felt greasy when I nursed her to sleep. Then Big Sister got out of bed because she just had to show me how she’d put two little Perler Bead fish in her crayon box. Then the temperature alarm on my husband’s fermenting home brew went off. Did I mention he’s out of town? I’m feeling a little burnt out. Oh, and then Baby Girl woke up.

Now I’m stress eating chocolate chips because that’s all the sugar we have in the house. That reminds me. I need to go grocery shopping.

I’m pausing here for a moment. “I need to go grocery shopping.” That would make a fine ending, don’t you think? Do I need to say something more profound to tie this all together? What’s the lesson here?

Not everyday is a great day. There’s always more to do. Don’t bother cleaning too much. Go to yoga instead. It’s okay to feel angry. Make time for yourself. And next time you go grocery shopping, remember to buy the good chocolate.

Don't bother cleaning too much. Go to #yoga instead. Click To Tweet

*No, of course it wasn’t actually a refrigerator.

Photo Credit: Thumbs down by Juhan Sonin is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Text added to original