Category Archives: Spirituality

Here We Go. Again. Cleanse.

A year to the day, my partner and I decided to give up refined sugar for a month. I had no idea that such a seemingly small goal would completely alter the way I eat and view food forever. Here we are, a year later, returning to that same goal to once again bring some heightened awareness into our diets. This time, however, our cleanse will be a modified Ayurvedic Cleanse, inspired by Deepak Chopra’s Perfect Health.

Over the period of a month, we will be eliminating refined sugar and alcohol (week 1), red meat (week 2), caffeine, dairy, all meat (week 3) and all sugars (week 4) to begin my Candida cleanse. Each time a food is eliminated, a more nutritional food or healthy practice gets put in its place (take out the bad, put in the good). In my experience, the first and the last week are the hardest. The first, because energy levels are low as your body is looking for that sugar rush it’s used to getting. The last, because the diet is so simple (and, ok, a bit boring really) that it becomes incredibly hard not to satiate the appetite with all the amazing foods we have available to us. And that desire to satiate myself with foods of all kind is EXACTLY why I’m doing this cleanse again.

I’ve had an enormous appetite since I was young- a true Pitta by nature. I once had eight jumbo tacos as a teenager and didn’t even bat an eye. After surfing for an afternoon, it wasn’t uncommon for my friend and I to share a gallon of Rocky Road ice cream before having dinner. During snack break in high school, my diet consisted of three chocolate chip cookies followed by a bag of cool ranch doritos to compliment my cup-o-noodles and lemon-lime Gatorade. And I wonder why I had acne? My skin was begging me to stop!

Gaining knowledge about the food/body/mind experience is an amazing process, but it’s not the primary goal of this cleanse. This time I’m focusing on my mental and emotional connection to food. One pattern I recognized during the last cleanse was my tendency to be completely unhappy and unsatisfied when I had wholesome, albeit boring, foods in front of me. At times I was so “over” eating rice and beans (the staples of week 4) that I would even not eat them. With a little perspective on the situation, I realized how privileged I am to have a plethora of delicious, organic foods at my fingertips. Being able to cleanse and negotiate what I can and cannot eat is in itself a privilege. On any given night I can eat Thai, Italian, Indian or whatever my taste buds desire. But when I strip my diet down the bare essentials, I never feel satisfied…

I force myself to think about how many people on this globe would bend over backwards for a small, healthy meal. People who dream of rice and beans but stare at empty plates at night. And yet I shun it, because I can. I guess I’m just not OK with that. So this time around, I want to do things a little differently. I’ve set intentions to begin a meditation practice. My goal is to meditate every day in the fourth week. I’ll be focusing on slowing down around eating practices (instead of my normal inhaling tendencies) and gratitude.

Do me a favor – remind me about gratitude in about two weeks?

P.S. I was thinking about my cleanse while driving on Flatbush Ave. and looked up and saw this sign. I laughed and thought to myself, “I know.”

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Filed under Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Cleanse, Challenge, change, Empowerment, Fitness, Food, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, Healthy Eating, Nature, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Refined Sugar Free, Spirituality, Yoga

YogaWorks

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things in ex-girlfriend analogies lately. This is one of them…

Since moving to New York I have been exploring new yoga studios because moving also meant breaking up with my girlfriend called Vital Yoga in Denver. I was spoiled by this girlfriend. She was fun, top-quality, reliable, just the right medicine for whatever my ailment was. Oh well. We’re over.

I decided to check out YogaWorks (for everybody). They have five studios in Manhattan and a sweet $1 for week of yoga deal. The first studio I went to was their Soho location (pictured above). The place is more like a spa than a yoga studio- three big yoga rooms, a huge locker room with slick mirrors, digital lockers, big showers and fresh towels. I have to say that showers are a big plus for me since it’s a long, sticky ride home that I don’t necessarily want to do covered in yoga sweat.

My first class in the Soho studio wasn’t that impressive. I got a few good instructions on pelvic adjustment but the teacher was a bit snooty. She even bossed her “assistant” around and told her who to adjust and how. Seemed strange that she wouldn’t just do it herself. I did, however, get a nice little tour of the place from a cute boy at the front desk who also walked me through the schedule to recommend good classes (which I obviously needed).

The next studio I visited was their Union Square location. This space was a lot more down-to-earth than the Soho location- two restrooms (and long lines waiting to get in) and a few curtain rod dressing rooms. Apparently there is a shower in the back of one of the restrooms but they don’t really want people using it unless there is no line. There were two studios- both with big windows and one with cool Union Square views. How I got the SAME teacher at this location, I have no idea. Maybe the universe was trying to teach me a lesson. I enjoyed this class better than the first, but was still determined to find someone better.

Since it was now the last day of my $1 week trial I decided to do some research on the teachers before just popping into a class. I found a woman named Elisabeth Neuse. Ok, anyone who does a nine-month, 1,100 hour training has my respect. I decided she was worth my last go at it.

Her class was full but she moved graciously around all of us, offering clear adjustments and excellent cues to keep us breathing as we moved. She played some music, which I love. I was in the back in the classroom so I could soak in the whole room and at one point this sweet, electronic-esque song came on a bit louder than the rest. Her soft voice faded a little from behind the music and I found my groove. I felt a little choked up, like maybe I had found a new girlfriend, or at least someone I’d be willing to date.

Later we returned from savasana and sat quietly with our palms touching in front of our hearts. The room was silent, peaceful. Then from outside came the sounds of loud, long New York style honks. I let out a little giggle just reveling in the irony of it all. Here we were all zen, sending good vibrations out to whoever and getting quite the response in return.

When I left class I made sure to say thank you to my teacher. She was talking with another student but I said a quick thank you. She turned her head so she could catch my eyes and gave a soft “you’re welcome.” After I walked out I realized that she had these bright, beautiful eyes that I had not noticed until then. Yogi eyes I call them. They are those sweet, inspiring eyes that come from someone who has a beautiful soul. When I came across her website later I saw them again.

She’s one I’ll go back to…

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Filed under Empowerment, Fitness, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, Motivation, Mystical, Mysticism, NYC, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Travel, Yoga

Mojo Consultant Gets Over 1000 hits!

Dear Sweet Blog Readers,

Yesterday marked the day of 1000 hits to my blog! I started this blog while doing some deep soul searching. I wanted to figure out what I have to offer to the world, but more importantly, I wanted to figure out what the world needs of me. With the advice of a dear friend I began writing…

Since then I have shared many stories with you- and you with me. Some of those stories are wrapped around my three greatest passions: yoga, communication, and food. Others stories are random- little mystical bites of my life’s travels.

I have promised myself to continue writing and sharing my thoughts and stories with you. It is even more important now as my life begins to focus and what the world needs of me is slowly revealed. I hope you continue reading, enjoying and interacting with me. Tell me what you like, tell me what you hate. Tell me if there is ever something I can do for you.

Love and light,

Jojo

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Filed under Action, Challenge, change, Empowerment, Food, Goals, Health, Motivation, Mystical, Mysticism, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Yoga

Recollections of a Despondent Dream

We were at some kind of amusement park that offered elephant-drawn carriage rides. Each carriage was pulled by two elephants. The passengers were loaded into the carriages two or four at a time, after which the elephants would bolt off, causing their passengers to grip the rails of the carriage with white knuckles. We were in line, or maybe just watching. One of the carriages rushed off. Suddenly there was a loud crack as the chains that held the elephants to the carriage broke. The carriage stumbled off. One of the elephants fell forcefully to the ground, landing hard on her side. A pool of blood eventually surrounded her.

I got to her first and screamed at someone to call for help, but I knew she wouldn’t make it. One set of ribs had punctured through her insides with the impact of the fall. I knelt by her head and rubbed the soft fur between her eyes. Elephants don’t have soft fur between their eyes, but in my dream she did. I had never been so intimately close to an elephant before and when she moaned and shook her head in pain I wondered if she might hurt me. But I continued stroking her soft face and said sweet words to comfort her.

I didn’t remember my brother being in my dream before this moment but suddenly he appeared next to me. Knowing just as I had that these were her last moments he gently spread his body on top of hers and wrapped his arms around her enormous middle section. He did all of this with such gentleness and love- a stark contrast to his usually rough and brute ways. She thrust her head around once more and then laid it back on the dirt in surrender. Eventually her eyes closed.

I don’t remember much of anything else. The whole episode felt like a scene from The Fall. It was sad, sweet and depressingly magical. I rarely ever remember my dreams but this one was more vivid than most. My brothers gentleness is still with me. I wish that piece of it was not a dream…

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Filed under Mystical, Mysticism, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling

Adventures at Discovery Kingdom

My sister has wanted to work with marine animals since she was just a little tyke. I remember her crying in the bathtub when she heard that one of the killer whales at Sea World had died in an accident. My sister married young and eventually became a title manager for a real estate company. When the mortgage crisis got the best of that job she was laid off. She took it as a gift and decided to go back to school and pursue her dream.

Before we knew it, she was working as an explorer guide at Discovery Kingdom (formerly Marine World) in Northern California. Not even two years later, she’s a full-time aquarist and is loved by everyone she works with. She recently took me and my family on a tour of the park and got us a back stage pass that included some personal time with Merlin the dolphin.

I have never swam with a dolphin before. I thought maybe I’d get to touch him a little and feed him fish. But when his trainer told me to swim out into the pool I was ecstatic! I got to ride on his belly and do a fancy little trick called a foot push where he pushes one of my feet and sends me flying forward. He was smart and gentle and just an amazing creature- he even knew cobra pose. I couldn’t believe that for some people this is “work.”

The best part of my day, however, was seeing my sister in her element- listening to stories of her swimming with the sharks and feeding the alligators. I couldn’t have been more proud.

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Filed under Challenge, change, Empowerment, Entreprenuer, Fear of Death, Mystical, Mysticism, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Travel, Yoga

The Brooklyn Bridge


Every detail of the Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John A. Roebling, but when he died unexpectedly in 1869, the reigns of this magnificent project were handed over to his son Washington who was only 32 years old. Washington carried out his father’s vision with absolute integrity, following every aspect of the design with unadulterated perfection. Except for one very important detail.

Below the towers of the bridge are the caissons (ˈkā-ˌsän, -s) or “feet” of the bridge. They are huge structures that are sunk to the river bed and then dug into bedrock. The men working below the water in the caissons experienced caissons disease, or what we now know as “the bends.” Conditions were harsh and several men died because of this. The caisson on the Brooklyn side was successfully laid in bedrock but to complete the same project on the Manhattan side would have meant years of additional construction and the projected loss of a hundred men.

Washington was then faced with the greatest decision of his intellectual and, I would imagine, spiritual life- continue to dig the caisson on the Manhattan side until it reaches bedrock, or allow it rest in the unconsolidated soil above. In the end, Washington decided to let it rest. And so he build the Brooklyn Bridge upon a foundation half grounded in bedrock and half grounded in sand.

“What does it mean if foundations vary in their solidity? Can something as shifting as sand, or fading memories, or third hand stories, or remembered writings still support something of this magnitude?
. . .apparently, yes.”
~Rachel Livingston Ahalt, Architect


~ Inspiration drawn from Ken Burns’ documentary Brooklyn Bridge

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Filed under Challenge, change, Empowerment, Entreprenuer, Fear of Death, Motivation, Mystical, Mysticism, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Yoga

Be…

sweet succulent music playing in my head
soft air cool and damp against my skin
am i really here, again?
so far traveled
only to be home
is this home, my friend?
wouldn’t know if you asked
but you wouldn’t ask if you knew me
doesn’t really matter where i’m at
because wherever i’m at
i’ll be…

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Filed under Mystical, Mysticism, Personal Growth, Poetry, Prose, Spirituality