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You are Magic

Updated: Mar 27



Just in case no one has told you today, YOU are MAGIC


I used to start all my newsletters with this reminder, and even though it’s fallen away - it’s still one of my most favorite sentences. In fact, it’s one that drapes over my front door - streamer styler - so I must enter and exit through this incantation daily. 


Recently, I was in the midst of a self-inflicted challenging moment: running sprints in a Monday morning workout class. First, I don’t run or sprint, like ever, so let’s visualize more of a slow jog - and it still sucked in the moment. After the first few laps, I knew I had to find a way through. So I added some sound effects. Each time I tapped the washer, I added a “boop” to my transition. It didn’t take too many more laps before I was smiling - which probably looked WILD to the other folks on that station, who were definitely lapping me with their serious sprint faces. 


In this moment, I remembered how I am in constant practice of choosing MAGIC and JOY as guiding principles whenever life gets weird/challenging/confusing - which maybe is almost always... 


I learned a new word, atmospheric river, while attending a workshop called “How to Live in a Chaotic Climate” through Tracee Stanley’s online membership platform The Radiance Subscription. Typically, this term is used in reference to climate and weather. This time it was used as a metaphor for the collective grief we experience with 24/7/365 access to live streamed violence, broadcasted acts of war, and normalized suffering intertwined with blatant racism, legalized homophobia and colonized gender ideologies.



Sample from M.A.S.H. as heard by me on the song “The Art of War” by the prolific and poignant Wu Tang:

Person One: There’s always a war going on. War is the world’s favorite spectator sport. 

But everybody knows War is Hell.

Person Two: War isn’t hell. War is war and Hell is Hell and of the two of them wWar is a lot worse.

Person One: Well what do you mean?

Person Two: Easy, tell me. Who goes to hell?

Person One: Sinners, I believe.

Person Two: Exactly, there are no innocent bystanders in hell. But war is chocked full of them. Little kids, disabled, old ladies. In fact, except for the few and the brass everyone else involved is innocent bystanders. 


For those wondering, what does this have to do with yoga, magic, or why should I even keep reading?


The yoga world is a microcosm of the larger macrocosm of the world: the issues that plague the world most definitely have their roots firmly planted in the yoga world. 


In fact, the yoga we know today started as a giant “eff you” to the hierarchy of the caste system in India who wanted to gatekeep these tools for the upper castes.


Tantra (simply, a rich system of tools that allow us to evolve and often includes chakras, asanas, pranayamas, deities, and rituals - I hold my hand to my heart and PROMISE this blog is coming soon where we dive into the myths and giggles surrounding this word and its history) at its core is a larger umbrella that holds the foundation to much of modern (and classical) yoga and is rooted in social justice and redistribution of power and resources.


These tools were never meant to bypass our current situations - both personal and collective - more so as a way through. And as a reminder that YOU inherently are MAGIC and don’t need an intermediary to connect to your own sparkle and radiance.


I find it necessary to name the truths that are deeply rooted in my continued practice of choosing MAGIC and JOY. In this current moment, it’s almost impossible to not notice that the world is on fire. The atmospheric river connects us to the tragedies and traumas as we are all breathing the same air. The wind currents connect our collective breaths across oceans and mountain ranges. I also acknowledge how drastically different my second-hand experience is to first-person witnessing.

 

It’s a privilege to read and hear about these tragedies from the safety of my own home, and it’s not sustainable nor is it useful for me to hold all the world on my shoulders and bones. It’s necessary to have a whole toolbelt + back up bag of tools in order to support oneself while still giving af about others.


If you are still reading, YAY!


You either already get it or are at least slightly curious about how to hold BOTH the truth of real-life circumstance AND somehow find a lil bit of MAGIC.


And now, my favorite tools to stay in my MAGIC and move from a JOYous heart:


  • Dopamine dressing - another new word for me that 100% matches how I approach my clothing purchases and daily choices. Basically, dress in a way that makes your brain cells release those feel-good brain chemicals. A college professor once shared that those of us who wear bright colors are often wearing our souls on the outside (quirky lil professor dude I had taken for both New Testament AND Symbolic Quest for Self - you can guess which class he dropped this gem in).  A quick glance in my closet is like a rainbow color-blast to the face with no shortage of sequins and/or iridescent materials. And if you know me irl, or have read my blogs, you know there’s not much I won’t openly discuss or share. My biggest hack for those meh days is to spice up my wardrobe and share the color-blast with the world. Correction: I almost always wear all the colors all the time. So why wait for the meh days to show up in neon rainbow bell bottoms?? 

Fun fact: all of my pairs of black pants (yoga + flowy) were gifted to me by friends. 


  • Sound effects make everything better - true story! Not just running sprints, but almost any situation can be enhanced with a well-placed sound effect. If you have taken my yoga classes, you are fully aware of the magic of a “swoosh” in an active twisting chair sequence or the release of an overexaggerated exhale. And yep - same rules apply in real life. A lil skurt-skurt while driving makes the ever growing Charlotte traffic slightly  more bearable. But so does…


  • Create playlists that make you boogie - I have several, thanks Spotify, with my main one called “G$ Pump Up Mix” and it’s full of twists, turns, and sing-a-longs that lift my mood. I 100% recommend you make your own version. Before this playlist, I resorted to pre-made playlists, and this one time I spent around 2-weeks listening to only 90’s throwbacks. I even had a friend reach out and check in based on my spotify habits. (I’m giggling now thinking about it, what a good friend!)

Sidenote: feel free to make other playlists to match your mood. Sometimes, I just need to cry it out and there’s definitely some songs for that too! I like a wide range of music depending on my mood and it’s been fun to create those spaces for her to be too. 


  • Take a break - like a real one! Whether it’s 3 breaths or 3 minutes or 3 days, you deserve a break. My favorite reset is Yoga Nidra, most often facilitated by Tracee Stanley in The Radiance Subscription, which admittedly becomes a sleep-sleep more often than a yogic-sleep (sleep that is aware). One of my morning non negotiables is to take a deep breath as I step outside (I said hey) - ok so it’s more like 3 breaths but I do often hear these lyrics when I step on my balcony (what’s going on). I am learning to tell the difference between needing to push through and needing to rest. There are many times where it’s obvious my brain is tired and no matter the effort my work will just not be what I want it to be and quite honestly isn’t worth the effort. Taking time off helps me be more efficient when it’s time to work, and I’m also pretty stubborn and still think that pushing harder will lead to better results. And it’s not all about productivity, I deserve stability and rest no matter my contribution to a capitalistic society.

Sidenote: I originally wanted to write “take a walk in the woods'' and then realized that this may not be easily available or accessible for all. As I write these words, I am nursing a back/hip/walking too many miles in the wrong shoes injury so the thought of walking in the woods feels like a hard pass. Also, one of the benefits of living in Charlotte, NC is that the city has taken care to preserve some pretty large areas of natural forest AND it’s pretty easy to get tf out of town and into the mountains (anywhere from 30 minutes to Crowder’s Mountain or 2ish hours to Asheville/Boone areas). And for folks without easy-ish access to breathable air and walkable trails - it’s still possible to pause. 


  • Forgive. That shit is heavy and weighing you (me) down. This one may be the most challenging (and least exciting) in practice but also the most freeing. Holding onto anger and the past has the potential to become poison. There are more than a few times that I have felt wronged in relationships - both business and personal, and sometimes both at the same.damn.time. I am the type to seek understanding and closure, and I’ve learned that sometimes even with acknowledgement and an apology that forgiveness is all about the person holding the emotion/grudge and less about the person who did the thing that hurt us. 

My favorite lesson here comes from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz particularly the second one: Don’t take it personal. 

Addition: even when they make it personal.  

When people hurt us or name call or blame - it’s never about us, it’s always about them. Hurt people hurt people. So why hold on any longer than simply to learn the necessary lesson?

(admittedly, I’m still in the learning → mess up → try again phase of forgiveness, and also just like healing there appear to be layers and levels).



Again, these tools were never meant to bypass our current situations - both personal and collective - more so as a way through. So call your representatives, vote for folks in alignment with your values, donate your energy and resources to people and causes that are moving the world in the direction of love and justice, and always believe in the magic of kindness (and neon rainbow bell-bottoms).

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