5/29/2014 (12:44am) 1 note

#TBT: Clearing Clutter

In clearing out my old drafts folder, I’ve found some writings that I never posted but now wish I did. They span from the last 4 years but it’s not too late. I just want them out in the universe. 

Part of my mission for this fall has been to clear out the clutter. I’ve noticed that clutter in all forms, physical, emotional, digital, energetic (and the like) can cloud our visions and can keep us shrouded in the past. I’ve done a lot of cleaning house and it has allowed for many positive things to enter into my life. It’s also been a walk down memory lane finding old parts of self, painful old ways of being and uncomfortable memories stored in computer files, captured in photos or lingering in old clothes. Not that life has been so horrible (AT ALL), but they were growing pains and egos get bruised.

I’ve also been working doing some full moon release intentions: writing down things I want to work on releasing in this full moon cycle. One piece is releasing guilt of what I deem to be poor decisions or about situations in which clearing clutter did not end well. I’ve been thinking heavily on the ideas that the past does not dictate the future (thanks sister Tisa for the simple yet wise reminder) and as the magnet on my refrigerator says: always make new mistakes.

I’m in the process of cleaning out digital files so I can open some new things in my world and I found some stream-of-consciousness poetry I wrote a lil’ over 2 years ago. I think it speaks directly to these ideas of jumping into things, learning from mistakes and not letting past (fear) dictate the future. These kinds of discoveries are part of the joy of taking inventory and dusting off the shadows. Perhaps our past selves sending some advice to our future selves.

This cleansing process serves as a reminder of how I’ve grown, changed, adapted and learned from making mistakes. I can say I had conviction in my choices even if they were absolutely ridiculous. I think that’s part of what makes living entertaining at least.

Freaking out
Intimacy is frightening
Testing the waters
End up open wide
That’s living, take risks
She says
Curbing verbal vulnerabilities
Just eliminate fear
Feel and release
Listen and hear
Can’t be the same pattern
I’ve felt before
And thought before
Bet on before
Deciphering illusions
Silencing noise
Sensitivity heightened
Anxious energy
Exhaled in rhythm
That’s my heart
It’s raw, scared
The pendulum swings
Blind hopes dashed?
High stakes
Each side pleads its case
What do I believe?


5/29/2014 (12:03am) 1 note

3 Life Lessons

Love comes in many forms.

K-Y is an excellent eye glitter adhesive.

Crying feels good.


3/19/2014 (7:12pm) 1 note

Viva La Vida

These days I’ve taken on a new gig as a blogger for Maxim Hygiene, an organic, 100% natural feminine hygiene product company based in New York. It’s pretty appropriate, eh?! I’m excited to be working with a business that not only is making sure that women have healthy alternatives to carcinogenic pads and tampons but also is committed to preserving the environment.
My latest piece reflects on my visit to La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former home and currently a museum in her honor. It’s been a dream of mine to go to this since the first time I visited Mexico City so it was an emotional and exciting day for me. I cried. I dunno, something about being in her garden and the woman singing as part of a theatrical re-creation of her life, and this older gentleman with a walker. The combination gave me chills and it was hard to find a place to cry without looking crazy. Her spirit is alive and well in that house and I think it gets stronger the more people go and see it. I learned a lot about her and became really inspired as a woman and as an artist. 

Here’s an excerpt:
The exhibit cited that she referred to her body as “less than perfect” because of the effects of polio on her body and near-fatal bus accident in her late teens. The feeling I got is that she wasn’t saying it to be entirely self-deprecating but more of an acknowledgement that her physical condition did not fit the ideal of what most people and society believes the “perfect” body looks like.
From what I see, hear and experience, most women today feel the same way about themselves regardless of their height, weight or physical ability: that we are less than perfect…or light years away from perfect. However, she chose to highlight parts of physical appearance that were deviations from the “norm,” from emphasizing her unibrow and mustache to painting several works about her physical challenges featuring rods in her body, casts and disembodied limbs.
I’m still processing this trip to Mexico City and all of the amazing art and architecture I experienced. I’ll get around to that at some point. In the meantime, check out this piece along with some of my favorite pictures from the visit. (Also, I’m thankful for my homegirl, Ray who joined me through this experience and helped out with her better battery life smartphone and reminder to take my time and enjoy.)

My favorite painting is above entitled Viva La Vida. I write in the piece why it inspires me but I also must note I also feel the juicy spirit of Yemoja/Yemaya in it and that makes me happy. Today as we head towards the first day of spring, I’m reminding myself of that same lesson: to viva la vida and soak up all of the joys, pains, successes and challenges with an air of gratitude and surrender. 

#Yemoja#Yemaya#Women's History Month#natural#Mexico City#Maxim Hygiene#history#herstory#Frida Kahlo#fashion#express yourself#Casa Azul#art#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#health#sexuality#sex#media

2/21/2014 (1:06pm) 2 notes

I Run With The Wolves

When my friend and colleague, Katie Milton, asked me to share a quote that has significant meaning in my life, I immediately thought of the above words by Clarissa Pinkola Estes from Women Who Run With the Wolves, my favorite book ever (my bible).

As women, we are socialized to be agreeable. To give of ourselves until we are depleted as to make others happy. To go along with what’s “expected” of us from family, friends, society. And when we don’t we are difficult. We are bossy. We are selfish. I’m over it. But nonetheless, I’m human and still get caught up in these thought patterns because it’s really easy to be a people pleaser. However it is also soul-crushing. This quote, and the book as a whole, reminds me that it’s okay to be criticized for following my truth and my “wild woman” intuition. I recommend this book to every woman walking this planet. I think there would be a lot more understanding in this world if men read it too. We are all held back by patriarchy. But I digress.

This quote was my answer to one of many questions Katie asked me as part of her ongoing blog series, “Traveler Spotlight,” and I did a bit of reflecting on my travels, where I’ve been and where I’m headed both geographically and personally. I hope you’ll check it out and visit the rest of the her blog…great posts and delicious recipes!

#Women Who Run WIth the Wolves#wild women#travel#Katie Milton#intuition#interviews#faith#Clarissa Pinkola Estes#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#health#sexuality#sex#media

2/14/2014 (7:08pm)

"Bodas Colectivas" & Valentine’s Day Wedding Crashing

It’s Valentine’s Day or el Dia del Amor y Amistad aqui en Isla Mujeres! I appreciate how the name directly translates to “Day of Love and Friendship” acknowledging more than romantic relationships.

For the last month of so, I’ve been fascinated by these signs for “Bodas Colectivas.” While I understand that literally means “collective weddings,” I was really curious. From the announcements I knew the date (February 14th), the time and place, the registration deadline and that it was some sort of local government sponsored civil ceremony. I figured that since it was a publicly advertised, I should go investigate.

This morning’s wedding festivities were held at the DIF Municipal Building which is the home of the “Sistema para el Desarollo Integral para la Familia, Isla Mujeres,” a state sponsored agency that deals with social services for children, the elderly, and vulnerable populations who need public assistance. It’s a brilliant white building that I’ve walked by dozens of times and often wondered about.

About 15 couples made their union official this morning. Under a pretty white tent with red chairs and balloons, couples of various ages with and without kids signed their wedding papers. The President of the DIF Isla Mujeres presided along with the official civil wedding registrant.

While the idea of this annual event is to promote family through a “traditional” legal marriage between a man and a woman, politics aside it’s a beautiful idea to have a communal ceremony for people who might not otherwise have one. If people want to get married but don’t have the means to have a fancy wedding, this was a way for them to celebrate themselves with close friends and family.

I admit I got a little emotional. Below are some photos of the lovely couples.

Happy Valentine’s Day/Dia del Amor y Amistad!

#weddings#Valentine's Day#Mexico#marriage#Love#Isla Mujeres#friendship#family#community#ceremonies#Amor#Amistad#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#health#sexuality#sex#media

2/13/2014 (1:18pm)

Day Trippin’: La Tortugranja

One of my favorite things about Isla Mujeres is the tropical climate and being in the midst of different types of plants and animals, especially considering the relentless snowstorms happening up north. Instead of dodging rats and squirrels, I regularly see geckos, iguanas, minnows and butterflies. For the record, pigeons and cockroaches are unfortunately universal.

Endangered sea turtles are also indigenous to the Yucatan. Particularly because of commercial shrimp fishing and a desire for turtle eggs(!), there has been a decline in population growth over the last forty years. In response, Isla has built a popular turtle sanctuary, La Tortugranja.

La Tortugranja is a small aquarium in the Sac Bajo area of the island run by the Estacion de Investigacion Pesquera (E.I.P.). There are 4 large outdoor pools for grown turtles and about six indoor pools for the babies and young turtles, giving them a chance to grow up until they can safely be released into the wild. The aquarium’s walls are lined with tanks containing various marine wildlife such as lionfish, sea horses and lobster.

The highlight is the tank in the back of the room that’s kind of like an aquatic petting zoo. A wonderful and knowledgeable older gentleman who works there will let you hold some of the animals. He will pick up the conch and show you the animal inside the shell, put a starfish in your hand and tell you to touch the horseshoe crabs. He even lets you hold the turtles. I was admittedly a little freaked out…I didn’t want to hurt it! But it’s evident that he really cares for the animals.

The aquarium is set on the shore with an accessible dock for tourist boats from Cancun or elsewhere in the Yucatan. Admission is only 30 pesos (a little less than $3 US). Please, TIP THE PETTING ZOO GUY. He told me, after I tipped him, that gringos and Europeans don’t tip him but that Mexicans are great tippers. Then I watched it happen with my own eyes. I got real pissy seeing him spend time and care with a big group and get no monetary thanks. Tourists, you can do better…a little bit goes a long way. People here do not exist to serve you. Pay it forward.

La Tortugranja is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You only need about an hour there and then you can walk along the shore to Playa Tiburon for sun, swimming and cervezas. There’s no detailed website for La Tortugranja but you can learn more about Mexico’s conversation efforts via Mexperience or National Geographic’s Explorers Journal.


#wildlife#turtles#travel#tortugranja#sea turtles#nature#Mexico#Isla Mujeres#endangered species#conservation#aquarium#animals#adventures#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#health#sexuality#sex#media

2/12/2014 (8:00pm) 1 note

So Wait…Why Are You in Mexico?

A statue of IxChel, the goddess of Isla Mujeres, at Punta Sur. 

I turned 34 a few days ago and have been doing a lot of reflecting on 33, sometimes known as the “Jesus” year, which certainly embodied the spirit of death and rebirth. Much of this reinvention has been around my desires, priorities and certainly my career. The most tangible part of this (ongoing) process has been my decision to trade a snowy and frigid New York City winter for a lush, tropical, beachy winter in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Well played, self.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions: how did I make it happen, why Isla Mujeres, when am I coming back to New York, where’s your stuff?! A lot of serendipitous things happened really quickly and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Cancun literally leaving the snow behind.

Okay, so like what?

Picture it. The sticks, Flatbush Brooklyn, October 2013. 
Life was pretty normal. Normal at that point meant spreading myself too thin, as freelancers often do when work is (thankfully) busy. I got a nasty cold that laid me out at the top of the month. Once I slept it off for a couple of days straight, I was again “ready” to handle my PR projects, prepare for a burlesque road trip to DC and be a present board member. Even though these were/are things I enjoyed and chose to do, I couldn’t ignore my physical and mental yearning to do things differently. I was unhappy and faking the funk.

I wanted a new career where I didn’t have to be immersed in everyone else’s opinions or feminist bickering. I wanted to feel the joy of being an artist again without the stress of selling out shows and writing media advisories. I wanted to have idle time to bullshit. Time to lay around with my dude watching Netflix without worrying about missing an email. Time to play Wii with my goddaughter and BFFs without thinking I should be out networking. Time to enjoy the wisdom of my parents and my aunties, and to laugh and play with my cousins.

As much as I yearned for this, my actions were in complete contrast. I was on the hamster wheel and saw no way to get off. My body had the answer. Illness. One that attacked my skin vanity so I’d really listen.

That weird cold I got in early October never really went away. Then I got an intense case of eczema with itchy, oozing, scaly sores all over my face, neck and breasts that weren’t healing. It was miserable. I’ve never had it before but found out that stress is a main cause. While I wasn’t surprised, I vowed that I would never again stress myself out to the point of being sick.

My apartment lease was ending as well. Although I moved 3 times in the last 2 years, I no longer wanted to live far from a train in Middle Earth, Brooklyn in a perfectly-priced but poorly maintained apartment. I wasn’t feeling sticking around for another summer fly infestation. The idea of looking for another apartment in NYC gave me agita. I couldn’t process that idea of shelling out my savings for another crapshoot. Plus there was nowhere that I wanted to live…even if money wasn’t an option. Burnout.com.

At some point in my pus-filled feverish frustration, I reached out to a friend I met in Isla Mujeres at the 2013 We Move Forward conference to ask about living there. She’s an American gal on a similar journey that had been living in Isla for a while and suddenly it felt like a real possibility. It was exactly what I needed to get out of the rat race and to commit myself to myself. Within 3 days, I had an apartment sublet in Isla Mujeres for December and January, and a one-way ticket out of dodge.

As I was prepping to leave, I got better by eating a relatively strict vegan diet (with a couple of highly-recommended colonics) along with setting boundaries with work and life expectations. I put myself first. It’s not about being selfish but self-care and honoring own our needs. And most importantly, taking the time to identify those needs. It’s simpler to shirk personal responsibility and to let life happen to you. I realized that I’m the creator of my life and that being a martyr is not my responsibility. It is an ongoing life lesson.

I moved out, put my stuff in storage and prepared myself for a new chapter and new adventures. Now I’m in Isla Mujeres. It’s the greatest act of self-care that I could have ever gifted myself with.

The assumption is that I’m living it up, beaching all day and partying all night. In fact, I do pretty much the same stuff I do in NYC: answer e-mail, binge-watch TV shows online, talk on Twitter, grab a drink or bite with friends, take long walks. You’ve seen me on Facebook. I’m just in a naturally gorgeous island with a cheaper cost of living and slower pace. It is allowing me to regroup and rebuild without the pressures of big city life. I put in my work but trust, I do get my beach time in and I am LIVING. I am blessed.

I will be back in New York in the early spring. I miss my boos. My quick birthday trip back confirmed that “home” for me is about being around my true blue family and friends. I can enjoy any place as long as I am with my community. The friends I’ve made here in Isla are for a lifetime, no doubt, and have given me “home” here. But now I also know that within New York’s relentless motion there exists a world where I am comfortable and connected.

Other lessons: 
It’s easy to blow money anywhere. Pandora.com doesn’t work down here. I depend on the Internet a lot for entertainment. Pan dulce with queso Philadelphia is Isla’s equivalent of a bagel with cream cheese. I make a lot of judgments about people. Bumber cars in Spanish is “carros chacones.” Most importantly, I am a writer and always have been.

#We Move Forward#twitter#travel#transformation#self-care#NYC#New York City#Mexico#Love#Jesus#Isla Mujeres#home#health#career#Brooklyn#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#sexuality#sex#media

2/7/2014 (12:25pm)

Transformational Travels: Celebrating International Women’s Day on the Island of Women

I’m very excited to report that my first travel writing piece is up on GoGirlfriend.com! I wrote about my experience of celebrating International Women’s Day 2013 on Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, as a part of “We Move Forward,” an amazing and healing women’s conference and retreat. Thanks to Julia Rosien for posting and to Janeen Halliwell for being the visionary behind this wonderful annual event. 
"All this amazing scenery, food, music and culture is the perfect backdrop for a conference that is all about living your best life and connecting with your passions. It wouldn’t have had the same impact if I was sitting in a hotel conference room in New York City, or Minneapolis, or Denver. They are all great cities but there’s something significant about the beauty of Isla Mujeres that allows for introspection and transformation. The calm rubs off on you. Things that seemed so serious before you got here seem manageable. Not in an escapist way but the nature and pace opens your perspective once you allow yourself to go with the flow. That’s not easy for a speedwalking and speedtalking New York businesswoman who earns a living following the 24/7 news cycle and Internet chatter."  
See more at: http://www.gogirlfriend.com/reviews/international-womens-day-isla-mujeres-29540#sthash.1oGcXi77.dpuf
There’s still time left to join us this year! Check out WeMoveForward.com and take steps forward to successfully living your passion! 

#We Move Forward#travel#success#retreat#passion#Mexico#Julia Rosien#Janeen Halliwell#Isla Mujeres#International Women's Day#GoGirlfriend.com#conference#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#health#sexuality#sex#media

5/6/2013 (10:31pm)

Looking Out For Love

A couple of weeks ago, I checked another goal off my concert-going bucket list: seeing Fleetwood Mac live. Clearly I have a love for Stevie Nicks and her goddess-y presence but I will say that Lindsey Buckingham was giving everything on stage. Not only was the chemistry with him and Stevie palpable but my friends and I were joking that he could get it for a viejo. I won’t front, the closeups of his nimble guitar-strumming fingers on the jumbotron were pretty sexy if you’re into musicians or that sort of thing…

Anyhoo, one of the unexpected highlights was Lindsey Buckingham’s solo song called “Big Love.” I’ve always thought the song was cool but he introed the tune by explaining that when we wrote the song, it was about him putting walls up against love. He was looking out for (romantic) love because it was something dangerous and hurtful that he needed to push away and run from. He said that over time the song became a reminder that he no longer needed to look out for love…love wasn’t outside of him, it was within, always there available for him to access.

It reminded me of my own journey, and what many of us humans are going through. It’s so easy, perhaps ingrained, to look outside of ourselves to others for love and approval when really the most important loves are self-love and the love of God/dess, the Universe, Creator, our higher self or whatever you believe in. This love is always accessible because the spirit lives in us. Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual realm in that way, we can AND must unapologetically be our own best lover/supporter/cheerleader, and when we are comfortable doing that then we can best share love with others. It radiates from us effortlessly.

After a long while of putting up walls like Lindsey, I am looking for my own “Big Love,” one that’s more joyous and reciprocal than what Buckingham is singing about. One that is bigger than anything I’ve ever imagined and dreamed for myself, or anything I’ve been sold by Disney or tradition or my own restrictive expectations. And on this road, there came a point where I was so lost that all I could do is surrender to forces bigger than me and seek comfort in God’s love and learn to harness it to love myself for real. Not just when I felt pretty, people liked my writing, I said something “smart” or I got some attention from a cutie but truly love myself unconditionally as I have loved others. I broke down and was rebuilt. I work on growing this love every day and sometimes it’s a struggle but it gets easier with practice (and for me, meditation).

Here’s the lyrics to the song because I only caught the tail end of the song on video. I found the pain, surrender and vulnerability in his voice to be an incredibly potent juxtaposition to his erratic and frenetic acoustic guitar. I almost cried but that’s nothing new :) Take a listen and soak it up. (Yes, listen since the video from the nosebleeds is less than stellar.)

And no post about a Fleetwood Mac Live show would be complete without “Landslide” live and direct from Newark’s Prudential Center because Stevie is divine. Enjoy. (And yes, that’s us getting hype in the background at the beginning.)

#surrender#Stevie Nicks#self-love#self-esteem#Love#Lindsey Buckingham#higher self#God/dess#God#Fleetwood Mac#Disney#Creator#Big Love#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#health#sexuality#sex#media

3/3/2013 (2:16pm)

"After ‘Pro-Choice’: What’s Next For Our Messaging"

After being frustrated by the coverage of Roe v. Wade’s 40th anniversary and the term “reproductive justice” being thrown around with no context or critical discussion, I decided to write about mainstream media’s challenges in talking about reproductive justice, and what our community can do to change that. Sally Kohn, Fox News commentator, said to me at a WAM! NYC mentoring event that it’s much more fun (and productive) to funnel your anger publicly via commentary rather than yelling at the TV. Message received.

Thus, I wrote this piece and interviewed some of my favorite badass activists and advocates to see what they thought about how we can use reproductive justice frameworks now that “pro-choice” is passe. Thank you to RH Reality Check, especially Jodi Jacobson, for giving me the space to write this; and to Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, Andrea Plaid, Eesha Pandit, Miriam Perez, Shanelle Matthews and Jasmine Burnett for their words, thoughts and conversation.

Here’s an excerpt but you can read the full piece here:

"This debate reminds me of how liberals scoff at the irrelevance of the GOP, with its narrow platform that doesn’t represent our diversifying country. The reproductive rights, reproductive health, and “pro-choice” movements could take a note from that critique."

#Roe v. Wade#RH Reality Check#reproductive rights#reproductive justice#reproductive health#pro-choice#media analysis#women#feminism#womanism#goddess#love#goddesses#spirituality#health#sexuality#sex#media