[1:27] Welcome to the Yoga Girl podcast, I am so happy that you’re here, tuned in. Wherever you are right now, I hope you are okay. Today is day 43 of lockdown for us over here in Aruba, or for me, Dennis and Lea Luna. We are definitely reaching a, a point in this pandemic where I’m staring to feel like maybe things are going to become a little bit lighter soon? I don’t know if that’s the general feeling everywhere in the world, but at least where we are here, now, we succeeded, I think, in what they called “flattening the curve.” So we were reaching about 100 cases of confirmed corona cases here on the island, which, you know, for a tiny little island with only one hospital and not a lot of, not a lot of resources, was a lot. And then we’ve reached this place now where no new people seem to be getting infected any more and every day the numbers just drop because people are recovering. So, right now there’s only twenty-something cases, active cases of coronavirus in Aruba. So for the first time now in, in almost two months, the government eased up a little bit on regulations, so we have a curfew, we’re not supposed to be outside after six o’clock, it was nine o’clock and now they moved it to six o’clock…or was it ten o’clock and they moved it to something o’clock? I…I’m home all the time [laughs] like I…it’s not like I’m out and about at night, you know. But they changed it, they eased up a little bit with the, with the curfew so we’re allowed out be outside like an hour or two more every day. Which says something, right? It’s moving in the direction of things easing up.
[3:03] So, I am really over here right now contemplating so many things: first of all, if things ease up now and regulations become more and more, you know, gentle and softer and we’re allowed to be out and about, and things start opening up again, we’ll be able to open Island Yoga again…you know. Doesn’t that technically sort of mean that, that we all risk just getting infected again? I, I have such a hard time kind of knowing how to feel about this because chances of, of coronavirus being completely eradicated, like a hundred percent gone from our entire country I think is very low, right, because many people are asymptomatic, especially kids, and you know, we know people can carry this virus without showing too many symptoms or it feeling like a light flu or a cold as well. So I think chances of that is very low, even though if that happened, that would be great, but probably not, right?
[3:56] So, Dennis thinks the reason they’re easing up now is because they maybe actually want more people to get the virus, so we can start to think about some sort of, you know, antibodies and herd immunity, if that’s, if that’s, if that’s a thing that works [laughs]. Everything is just a big experiment right now, I think, and every country’s really doing this in different ways. But we had to ask ourselves that question yesterday, you know, if Lea’s daycare opens back up, like will we, will we bring her back, you know? It would make her so happy, of course, to be able to interact and engage with [laughs] with kids again. She has not seen a child in 43 days…more, yeah, probably 50 days. She hasn’t seen another kid, right? So of course it would be a beautiful thing for her to be able to get back to some sort of normalcy, it’s be nice for us to have a little space in our day, and a little bit of a break. But, you know, I don’t know how I feel about that. Like it, it’s kind of like…I wish we could all just have a very mellow, calm, gentle, flu-like variation of corona where we all knew we were safe; we’re just going to be a little bit sick and then, you know, it’s going to pass and no one’s going to die and no one’s going to get respiratory issues, everybody’s going to be okay. And then we will all develop antibodies so we can’t get this thing again, and we’ll have herd immunity and everything’s going to be fine, and we don’t have to worry anymore about this virus, right? Like that’s kind of where I am now.
[5:16] I wish that was the case, and obviously we don’t know…this virus is affecting different people in so many different ways, and I’m taking in stories, like I’m listening to stories from people in different parts of the world right now. When I listen to stories from New York City, you know, I get really, really scared, it makes me feel terrified, like I don’t want to leave the house. There’s so many stories of people who’ve suffered incredible…incredible suffering just from being infected with the virus where things were really scary, and people of course who have died, like this is a, this is a real thing. Or if they haven’t, if they’ve survived the virus and, you know, been on respiratory support or been in the hospital for several weeks and no one wants to risk that, obviously.
[6:02] But then I go to countries like Sweden, I spoke to my dad for the first time in a couple weeks two days ago, or yesterday…yesterday. And his point of view was “you know, yeah, I went skiing with a bunch of my friends, and yeah, half of them had corona.” And it was like “What? While you were on this trip?” He said, “yeah, yeah. And I was kind of, you know, kind of excited to get back home because three of them, they got tested for to see if they had the antibodies and they did, which means they had corona at some point and now they can’t get it again, if that’s true, or at least it proves that they’ve had the virus already. And then a couple of them were, were like a little bit sick then, you know, so they think they were sick then, so I was excited to go back home and go get tested, you know, to go see if, like, do I have the antibodies for this? And I didn’t, so yeah, bummer, I kind of wish I had it.”
[6:46] And I just…my jaw was just on the floor listening to him talk, like “what?” That’s…you know, and he’s one person out of ten million people who live in Sweden…I don’t really want to generalize Sweden because Swedish people get really upset [laughs] when I do, but that…in his little community, you know, that’s been his experience and his life. Like “corona’s not something that we’re scared of,” you know, “and actually we should all try to get it in a mellow way,” and he was sharing like “yeah, I’ve seen a lot of statistics that the countries where it’s been really bad, it’s been countries where they prescribe…where they are really free in terms of how much they prescribe antibiotics, so that when they have been really sick, they’ve been super-resistant to different kinds of treatments.” Ao countries like Spain, where they are, I guess in a freer sense, they are more lenient with how they prescribe medication. This was one of his theories, obviously this is just a theory that my dad had. And in countries where there are high rates of smokers, and in countries where family members live together, so where there are chances of — you know, you’re living with your parents, you might even be living with your grandparents — that people have been infected in that sense, because people are living in community, in family.
[7:53] And in Sweden, that’s not the case, you know, Swedish people move out really early, like as soon as we get 18, we’re outta there [laughs] and we don’t have this — and I think it’s kind of sad — but we don’t have this generational care, this idea of, of having your grandparents move in with you, or living with your parents, with your family, for a long time, it’s just really…yeah, it’s just really absurd, like it doesn’t exist in our culture that way. So they think that’s why there has been less deaths, less panic, less ICU cases in Sweden even though Sweden kept the schools and the daycares open all throughout; restaurants, bars, cafes have been open all throughout.
[8:27] So…[exhales] I kind of wish there was some sort of case study that we could just say “here’s how it’s worked in every single country, so here is exactly what should be done now,” but it’s just really clear and evident that that’s…that you can’t. Like every country’s reality has been so different you know, it’s been…there’s been a big difference in different states in the US, different cities as well, and Aruba, I think, is a total anomaly, because you know, we’re a tiny island in the middle of nowhere, like obviously we can’t treat Aruba the same way we would treat Sweden, you can’t treat the US how Sweden is doing it because it’s a totally different situation, right? So…I think it is going to be a hard thing when, if — you know, obviously this is kind of, I’m a little hopeful things are going to start to ease up soon, maybe they won’t, maybe things will take a turn for the worst, who knows — but it’s gonna, it feels like there’s going to be a lot of personal choices, right? Even if they open up the daycares, like “do I want to put my kid in daycare right away,” you know? “Do we wait a couple of weeks to see how things go?” You know, of course if we can open up Island Yoga again, have some sort of, some sort of opportunity for some sort of income to our local business here so we can, you know, continue paying our employees, like we need that so badly, but I don’t want to put anybody at risk also, you know? Is it, is it suddenly going to be okay to have yoga classes going again, with people in the same room? All of these questions that I just don’t know how to answer.
[9:48] The one thing I do know is it feels — at least here, now, as I’m sitting now — it feels good, it’s a bit of a relief, knowing that things are not getting worse, right? At least where I am at right now, things are not getting worse. So hopefully that means things are getting better, but what is that going to be? There are so many unanswered questions: what’s life going to be after coronavirus? And is it going to be like things, you know, ease up for a little while, and then there’s that second wave they talk about when the virus comes back again? And is there going to be a new wave of fear, and then what’s that going to mean? And, ugh…so, whenever I have those moments of “I just wish I knew more, I wish I had more control, I wish I could do more. I wanna take [laughs] the…take things into my own hands,” you know, and just “I wanna figure out a way through this,” but I can’t, right? I don’t have…I was going to say “I don’t have all the answers,” I don’t have any answers. [Laughs] I have no answers about how this is going to go.
[10:44] And, what I keep coming back to is when I go down that rabbit hole of “what is going to happen, what is going to happen, what is going to happen” — because it feels like we’re all, we’re gonna end up soon in a, in another moment of change, right? So we had that big…it was like were all thrown off a cliff, that, you know, main week when everything changed for everybody, and we all had that week at slightly different times I think, like off by a few days here and there, but you know that, that week when everything went to shit. Where we were thrown completely into the unknown and it was just so, so much change, so much transition, so much to get used to, so much fear, right? And then, we ended up in this place that felt like a new normal, like “okay, we just live at home now. We’re just at home, all the time.” Eventually that fear sort of eased up a little bit, and we started accepting that this is what our reality is now.
[11:33] So, if soon we’re going to find ourselves in another transition, the transition out of this, right — how do we exit, or come out of quarantine, if we’re going to be able to see that as reality soon — what’s that going to be like, like what’s that life going to be like? There’s going to be new questions to answer, new kinds of fears that are going to be coming up. I think in the US, you know, places like New York City and things like that, you know, I think it’s going to take longer. I think for us in Aruba, being so isolated, like a, a dream scenario right now, if I could wish for one, would be to know that Aruba as a whole was totally safe, that we could have some sort of local normalcy. I guess where the…I don’t think Aruba will be able to open their borders until the situation in the US, especially on the east coast, is totally stable, because all of our tourism, you know, 70% of the tourism, of people that visit Aruba come from the US, mainly the east coast.
[12:27] But at least if we knew like, “okay, our borders are closed, flights are not coming in and out, but we could have something that feels a little more like normal here, you know, for our locals.” Like that’s almost a little bit exciting, like “hey, what would this country be like if we, if we took care of each other, right? If we, if we didn’t have all of our resources focussed on catering to visitors and to other people who come and then leave? What if our businesses were more centred around the local population? What if our government was more centred and more dedicated to the local population? Oftentimes, things I don’t agree with about the Aruban government is, you know, they keep building…they keep, they keep destroying natural habitats and green areas on this island to build new hotels. They, they just build and build and build and build, even though the hotels that exist aren’t full, they just keep, you know, tearing down these beautiful mangroves, and beautiful green areas where birds nest, and like, really really special parts of this island to just continue developing. And developing and developing and developing.
[13:27] So it’s like, you know, everybody has the, the center of attention is always the tourists who might want to come visit. But what about us? What about the locals, what about the people that have been here, you know, generations and generations of families who just want to take take care of their own land, you know? So like, I, I’m obviously an immigrant here, but like Dennis who’s grown up, who’s family is from here, all of his people are, are from here, born and raised, like what would it be like if we just focussed on, on the locals for a change? Like it’s kind of a, kind of an exciting thought, you know? Maybe we could get some cool initiatives going for the local community. Like I would love to start a community garden, especially to serve the under-resourced parts of our community here. Make fruits and vegetables more affordable — it is so expensive. Like being vegan here, eating produce, it’s so expensive because everything is imported. So of course, the more under-resourced parts of our community, they end up eating a lot of junk food, a lot of fast food, you know. We have Taco Bell, and Wendy’s, and KFC, and Burger King, and McDonalds, all that, all that stuff here. And it would be so beautiful to be able to make healthy foods affordable to the local population.
[14:41] You know, it’s such a…it’s like a shift pf perspective, I think, for everyone, you know? Individually, we’re shifting our perspective more to home, like “what do I need, really? What does my heart crave, what does my soul want out of this life?” But to also be able to start thinking about this on a, on a community level, right? On a national level, where you live as well. Like how can we, as a society, come a little closer to home, take care of ourselves? And maybe, really, live more of a local life. Like it’s, it’s been something that Aruba, you know, where I live, we’ve never been able to contemplate that because the entire economy is built on tourism, so there’s never been any option. And now, I think for the first time, everybody’s eyes are opening a little bit: “okay, so what are we without tourism?” You know, “what can we create here? What can we source here? What can we manifest? How can we come together to serve our own community?” Like that’s a really beautiful thought to even, to even begin to ponder that. Like if there’s some positives that come out of this time — and there’s going to be a lot, there’s going to be a lot of negatives, a lot of challenges — but there’s also silver linings, right? And this kind of thinking, I think, definitely, definitely is one of them.
[15:51 — Commercial Break]
[17:17] So, on a, on a personal level, [laughs] honestly…like I really wanna do…[laughs] I really wanna talk about my garden a little bit [laughs]. So obviously I wanna do a community garden, we spoke about this — we did our 30 day challenge of free yoga classes on yogagirl.com, and I’m still teaching live classes every Monday, every Friday, 10am, I’m teaching live classes on yogagirl.com, it’s so much fun — but we had a big talk about this where we really had a task…one of our themes for the day, one of our tasks to contemplate for the day was “how can I serve the community?” Like, “how can I be more of service in my local area?” And one of the things that stood out really clearly for me out of that was I would love to farm; I would love to support, in some way, a community garden, a community farming project here, like that’s such a…such an exciting thing for me to even think about. And of course I feel that way because I have this big, sudden, [laughing] fresh passion for all things Earth, for all things growing, for all things gardening right now, and it’s been such a beautiful thing to sustain and nourish throughout this time.
[18:27] And I have decided I’m going to invite an expert to have on the show, to come on the podcast, just to, like I…I’m obviously a total beginner, like I’m winging it every single day. I’m learning as I go. But so many of you have asked questions about, you know, “how do I get started?” And, “I live in an urban area, is it possible there?” Or, “I live in an apartment, how can I grow something here?” And I don’t know how to answer any of that, so I’m going to have an expert on the show, just to have a completely dedicated gardening episode. Or, actually, an Earth episode, just on how we can all, in our own way — you know, because we all have different circumstance — just come back to Earth.
[19:04] And something that I, that I really realized around this garden, like this gardening project that I’m now, that’s now my entire life. I kid you not, you know that feeling like the night before Christmas, or the night before your birthday…okay, please don’t tell me I’m the only one who feels this way, but the night before Christmas, I still feel like a child, like I still, I still get those butterflies. The night before my birthday, same, like I get those little butterflies of excitement, of like “it’s Christmas tomorrow!” You know that feeling? I have a little bit of that feeling every night before I go to bed [laughs]. Okay, don’t laugh at me [laughing] I feel like a child just saying that. But that’s how much excitement, that’s how much joy this garden brings me. I can’t even put it into words, it brings me so much joy…I dream about this garden. Like every day I’m out there problem solving, figuring things out, planting new things, like some things just aren’t working and I’m learning from that, like I’m not…I don’t feel hopeless, even when I have a lot of problems. And I have had a lot of, [laughing] a lot of obstacles in this garden. From everything from, you know, an army of lizards that ate all my stuff, to my dogs digging up all the garden beds, to Lea trying to pull things up by the roots to replant them in other places, to, like, weird bugs that I’m trying to deal with now…there’s alway going to be something, right?
[20:23] But even though, like I don’t feel deterred at all, I just feel motivated and so excited, like this is the best thing ever. And it’s really made me realize how, how distant and separate I have been from this part of my life. Because here’s the thing: by, by not bringing any awareness to Mother Earth in that sense, like of course I love being outside, I love nature, but I haven’t been involved in that process of creation, right? So when I see a pretty flower growing somewhere I’m like “oh, that’s beautiful,” right? Like I can appreciate that. But to take part and create space, like holding space for Mother Nature to do her thing, you know, sustaining that and helping her along the way, having my hands like planted in the dirt, in the Earth every day, just being separate from that, it’s actually kept me disconnected from this very, very important part of myself.
[21:24] Like we are so connected to Mother Earth — we have nothing without Mother Earth — and I just wasn’t, wasn’t raised in that way. I don’t know, I was trying to really think back, like how…because I have friends who grew up, like, on a farm, or they grew up in the woods, or they grew up, you know, and they kind of had that….Like we were city kids, like my whole life I lived in a city. I can’t remember, like at any of our houses, at home, us ever growing anything. I can’t remember even feeling excited about that. I remember my grandmother, on our country house where we would go, like all of my cousins and aunts and uncles, and everybody would kind of unite for a couple months a year at this, on the countryside in, in the south, southeast side of Sweden. In Västervik [laughs] if there are any Swedish people listening.
[22:09] My grandma, she had, like, a little — in Swedish we call it like grönsaksland which is like, like a little vegetable patch, I guess — where she grew herbs and she had some veggies, and she had some flowers…she had roses planted everywhere, she really…she was gardening. And she had a compost. And I remember being really little…so we would put all the scraps of everything, of coffee and veggies and you know, potato peels and all that stuff; it would go in a little bucket or a little bowl on the kitchen counter. And then once a day, she would take it out and we would go with her, and you had to hold this thing and put it in the compost. And the compost was a little smelly, it was a little weird, and it was also kind of exciting, and then sometimes she would ask me to come with her in the evening when we were cooking to go cut some chives, or to harvest some herbs for the dinner. And that is really my, my one like big memory of anyone in my family, you know, in my immediate family, in that sense, gardening like that.
[23:08] Now, I have family on both sides, on my mom’s and my dad’s side who are hardcore farmers. Like on my mom’s side, my aunt and the whole family, like they have a big dairy farm with tons of cows and cattle, and for me there, they also have like, they have a big strawberry farm, they grow a lot of strawberries and they have apple trees and things like that. And for me somehow, I don’t know why I wasn’t, I wasn’t…called to that, you know what I mean? I was always allergic to animals, to farm animals — any time we went to visit it was like a hard thing for me, because I would always get a little bit sick, they had so many dogs and cats and animals everywhere. But i just can’t remember ever being, yeah, interested in or asking like “how do you grow this? Like how do you grow this stuff, like how does that work?”
[23:53] And on my dad’s side, like my grandma, she, she bred horses, still has a ton of horses, like she’s — God, how old is my grandma? She’s going to be…okay wait. I have to always calculate from my dad. My dad is kind of young [laughs]…okay wait….So my mom is 53, which I know is correct. That means my dad, he’s three years older, so he’s 56…oh wait, is he four years older? He’s four years older. Man, my dad is 57, he’s going to be 60 soon. Which is still young, like I know I have young parents, my mom was 20 when she was pregnant with me. So he’s 57 and his mom and dad are only 18 years older than him. Okay, so my grandma and my grandpa are like…they’re 75. [Laughs] I’m so terrible, should I know this? I feel like this is a sign of like I’m very disconnected from my, from my Swedish family right now. I did speak to my grandma yesterday, but, yeah, okay. Yeah, sorry Grandma and Grandpa if you’re listening to this.
[24:47] Yeah, so, she’s still to this day, like she’s 75 years old and she’s up at the crack of dawn, feeding the horses, you know, lugging huge bales of hay around, like, like my grandma’s like a hard core, like she’s, you know, healthy and, you know, goes for like four hour walks with her dogs every day, like they really are kind of, you know, country people.
[25:06] And we just didn’t grow up that way. Like we were always in the city, always in the city, all my cousins always used to make fun of me and my brother, we were like the “city rats”, they would call them, it’s like stadsråttor in Swedish, like were like the…we were city kids. So that’s what I knew. Like we lived in the inner city, I went to those schools, I only hung out with people who lived in the city, we didn’t have a garden or anything like that. And I, and I was just really thinking back of like “man, like it is, it is late for me to make this connection.” I mean obviously timing is perfect right now and I wouldn’t have been able to make this connection if it wasn’t for all the weird, and terrible, and hard things that have come my way over the past years. Like if I didn’t burn out, if I didn’t get sick, if I didn’t question my whole life, if I didn’t put my whole life on pause, and then on top of that this pandemic happened? Like I would not be here, wouldn’t even the space or capacity to think about gardening, right? Like even though obviously I have this passion, I think it’s been inside of me all the time, my life has not been set up in a way that actually supports the kind of life that I really want to have.
[26:08] And this is a big thing, and I’m wondering if anyone else out there who’s listening has experienced this same thing: so, the kind of life that I truly, truly want — and I would come back to this again and again and again, even in my most hectic years, even in the years where like, I had a book release, and traveling all over the world, and teaching and like, the most hectic years where I worked the most, where I felt like I never had a day off — even at that time, if you would’ve asked me “what is my dream,” like “what is the life I want to live?” The answer to that is “I just want to be home.” The answer was always like “I want to live a slow life.” Like, “I wanna…” I always had this, this, this passion for baking…so many times in my life did I start like, brewing kombucha, and pickling things, and baking and stuff. And then I would, my life would get out of hand and I would lose it, right? And I wouldn’t be able to keep up, I wouldn’t be able to stay present.
[26:59] For so many years, I have been buying plants for my house that I have killed. Like for so many years. I would get in this frenzy of like, “Dennis, I want to be surrounded by more green. I want to really have this house where like we’re full, where like nature’s inside, in our patio outside, I want to have beautiful trees, and these and these…” you know, I’d keep going into these things where like, “here’s a project, let’s do it,” and then six months later, everything I bought is dead. Or, you know, totally neglected. And the other day, I just went to all the plants that we have on our patio: they had never been repotted, and I think we’ve had them there for, I don’t know how many years. You know, most of them were totally, totally brown, like dying from the inside, so neglected but they’re like, clinging to life out there [laughs]. It rains twice a year in Aruba, like that’s what they’ve lived on, you know.
[27:46] It’s been, it really bizarre that I have this longing to be connected to the Earth, to garden, to be surrounded by plants, to have this slower lifestyle, but my life has not supported, my pace of life has not supported what I actually want. And how insane is that? Like how fucked up is that? Maybe that makes sense if like, if you’re, you know, working for an employer that dictates your hours, like you don’t have a lot of choice and option in terms of how much you work, or how many hours you work. Obviously most people have that kind of employment, that’s different, right? If you’re struggling to make ends meet, like obviously, like we all have different circumstance and of course it’s going to be really hard to have energy and time left over for those things. But in my personal circumstance where I am super privileged, super blessed, make my own hours, like have my own business, I decide how busy I am, and still I haven’t lived a life that’s been in alignment with what I actually want. Isn’t that bizarre? Isn’t that insane? I think it’s like, like I’m in shock.
[28:47] I’m doing this, I’m calling it “bathroom floor sessions” where I invite guests to join me on the bathroom floor to talk for 20, 30 minutes and I’ve had some really interesting people come on that show, it’s just on Instagram live. And every guest so far that I’ve had is, has had this same kind of sense of shock, of like “yeah, I’m so appreciating this slower pace of life.” Like everyone has found some major silver lining of “here is something that I really love, and I always wanted that, but why didn’t I do it before? Like what kept me from doing that, you know, pre-corona time?” It’s, it’s really bizarre. And I think what I’m kind of getting to, at least in my own personal circumstance, is I had so many years of moving at such a high pace, that even when I thought I was slowing down, I wasn’t. I mean even, even when I thought I was taking a break, I wasn’t. Even when I, you know, felt like, “okay, here I’m like, taking some down time,” that wasn’t downtime [laughs]. I was still going 180 miles per hour doing a thousand things at the same time; building crazy stuff, coming up with new projects, new ideas, launching this, launching that, a hundred employees to take care of, like always a problem of some kind, always something to deal with, always a fire to put out…even in my calmest moments, like things were not calm [laughs]. Like really.
[30:06] And how can I know that now? Well because I’m sitting here now, experiencing actual calm. Right? I still have, like, shitty days, I still have days where I feel overwhelmed with stuff, and I can still experience stress, it’s not like “I have found enlightenment now, and now life is perfect,” like no. But, thanks to all of this that just came my way — thanks to this burnout, thanks to being sick, thanks to cancelling everything, thanks to pandemic which was like the cherry on top of all this weird stuff that really forced me to stop — thanks to all of that, I’ve now been able to, I think for the first time in my adult life, or for the first time since I was like 18, 19, I am able to experience actual calm. Like actual calm.
[30:52] And immediate, the first thing that happened when my pace is slower, when I’m more grounded, when I’m here, is that I can feel my connection to the things that really lift me, the things that really bring me so much joy. It’s like this connection to Earth — the gardening for instance — I haven’t been able to feel it. I haven’t had the mental and emotional capacity to actually connect with that side of myself because I’ve been too busy all the time. And now, I can connect with that, I can feel that. I can feel that passion, and it means, like watering my plants every day, which felt like a chore a year ago, like the thought of like, watering a bunch of plants every day, like “ugh, I don’t have time for that. Jesus, like someone else has to do that, like I can’t do that. I can’t be bothered with that, like I have more important things to do.” Now it’s like there’s nothing more rewarding, honestly, than knowing that every morning I get to go outside, the sun shines and I get to go to this garden where everything that grows, I planted from seed. And I get to nourish and sustain these plants, and feel this connection to Mother Earth.
[31:50] And it’s not even about like harvesting things, which is, that’s a nice, that’s a nice little, like, bonus, like a little reward or a little treasure that you get at the end, like harvesting vegetables and fruits, like of course that’s amazing but that’s not the point, right? I’m not growing things because I want more food, like obviously that’s beautiful too, but it’s the process that I’m enjoying so much. Because it allows me to be totally in the moment, it allows me to be so absolutely present with what is, you know, I don’t have to…I don’t feel distracted or stressed or like it’s something I have to tick off a To Do list — it’s just something that I enjoy. And it’s been a while, it’s been awhile, like I’m gonna say a couple of years since I’ve felt that childlike excitement to do something that I just enjoy for the sake of just enjoying it. Isn’t that insane? Like, isn’t that…totally wild and crazy and insane?
[32:47 — Commercial Break]
[34:23] Like for me, this is a major, major epiphany that I’m having about so many things in my life, and also this ability that I have to find something that I encounter that I enjoy, and then I turn it into work, like I do that all the time. Like if we’ve ever have a vacation planned somewhere or we’re going to travel somewhere just for fun, I’ll be like “oh, I’ll teach a class over there!” Or, “oh, I can take that meeting with that person because they live over there,” or, like, I’ll take something that’s supposed to be space and enjoyment and just vacation, and I’ll make it into work. Or I find like a new, like a new little passion of whatever, like yoga is a good example: yoga was something that I, that I just loved for myself, like I just loved practicing yoga, yoga just filled me up, you know, and there was nothing else connected to that than just pure…a pure sense of nourishment.
[35:10] And then taking this step to wanting to teach yoga still came from that same place, like it was just something I was so passionate about, and then something I was really good at. And then all of a sudden, you know, it became work. Which is totally possible, you can have a passion and then make a living out of that, and it can be so beautiful because you get to do the thing that you love every day, like that’s this massive, amazing thing that is, you know, not everybody has that privilege to be able to do that, or hasn’t taken the step to do that. And then for me, I have definitely had moments and years over the past decade where I lost that sense of joy, right? Where it’s been like “okay, if I’m teaching a hundred retreats a year” — okay, obviously I’m not teaching a hundred — but I’m teaching, you know, 25 weeks of retreats and trainings a year, I’m not going to feel as excited to teach every one of those classes because it’s something I have to do all of a sudden versus something that I enjoy, right? When everything is pre-booked and preplanned, when there’s money involved and you know, suddenly it’s like a commitment and there’s pressure around it and it feels stressful because I have a kid and I don’t have enough hours in the day and…you know. And I always enjoy teaching, but I lost that, that, that childlike feeling of “oh, I just love it. Like I’m so excited to wake up and I get to go teach in the morning!” Like I lost that. Absolutely I lost that.
[36:29] And now, [laughs] you know, just from this different, different pace, just being able to, to sit here and feel, just from having actually, actually been able to slow down and now I’m teaching twice a week and it’s the best thing ever. I mean, it really is the best thing ever. Like, I, I feel so excited. Obviously it’s just online so it’s like I can’t make the physical connection of saying “hi” and hugging people, but it doesn’t even matter. Just the fact that I get to wake up tomorrow morning — like I’m recording this on Thursday, tomorrow’s Friday, every Friday, 10am, I teach this live class online for the community. And a bunch of people join me from a bunch of places all over the world, and it’s the best thing ever.
[37:14] And normally I don’t like demonstrating poses, like I like walking around, I like, you know, adjusting or connecting with people, or being present with the room. Like normally I don’t teach and move at the same time. Also like, normally it’s hard for me, like if I’m teaching a fiery class, to do everything in that class and keep my voice really steady, so normally I don’t. And I’m doing that now and it’s great, like it’s the best. It’s so lovely to be in my body [laughs] and feel into my body, and breathe in my own body while guiding other people to breathe in theirs, like it’s so easy, it’s the easiest thing. It’s like it’s not work, at all, there’s nothing about it that feels like a job, no! It’s just…it’s just amazing.
[37:50] And all of this, it’s like what I’m getting at is we all have that thing or many of those things inside of ourselves that we have been disconnected from. Like we all have that kind of life that we want to live, but somehow the life we’re living doesn’t align with what we truly want. And yes, to a certain degree it’s gonna be because, yeah of course we’ve got to put food on the table, of course we’ve got to make a living, of course we’re always going to have to do things we don’t want to do, it’s not like running a business is a terrible thing. What’s bad in this is the pace we’ve been moving in. Or personally, for me, and I think a lot of you relate because I keep hearing this again and again from so many people: what’s hard about this is the pace that we’ve been moving in. And the fact that the time where, you know, where we have had dedicated to actually slowing down, or to being at home, it hasn’t felt like that, right? It’s been like “okay, I’m working nine to five and then I come home, and I have all this shit I’ve got to do and, you know, I’m trying to squeeze in this little time I have to connect with all of these people, and to go to this outing, and to run this errand, and go to this party, and have duh duh duh duh duh…” and it’s like what do we really want, you know?
[38:56] And it’s really hard to go from that high level, frantic, never ever stop kind of energy and all of a sudden really shut off and tune into Earth and feel like “what do I need right now? What sustains me, what nourishes me? What lifts me?” Like that question…I, I haven’t even been connected to the question, you know, nevertheless the actual answer there. Like I haven’t even…mmm…no, it’s…this is a big, this is a really, really, really big thing. And whereas before, like a couple of weeks ago, I felt a little bit of fear just because there’s something inside of me now that is clicking so deeply to, you know, everything I said for our intention setting ceremony on January 1st this year, like everything I declared to the world last year that I was going to do in 2020, like “2020 is my year of space. 2020 is my year off. 2020 I am not working.” And I said this a hundred times, “I’m going to be home with my family, I’m going to take care of my kid, you know?” I didn’t say garden because I wasn’t connected then, but I said “I’m gonna bake, and I’m gonna cook, and I’m gonna take care of the house, and I’m just gonna do yoga and read books, like I’m just going to take care of myself. This is going to be my year. Who knows if I can ever do this another time, like I’m able to this year, so let’s do that.”
[40:11] And then 2020 started, and it didn’t happen [laughs]. Like, it didn’t happen. Yeah, I was, I was marginally less busy because I didn’t have retreats and trainings, obviously that made a big change, but I was still launching new projects and in meetings every day, and, you know, clearing out my inbox with 300 emails every day, and like still, obviously, very, very obviously still working, still on, still in the same frequency of busy-ness, even though, you know, I had less engagements planned for 2020. Still in that energy of busy-ness, right?
[40:48] And then, you know, this pandemic hit. I had people who wrote me like “did you create this?” Like, “is it…is this…did you [laughing] manifest this pandemic? Because you knew this is what you needed, and the only way to get you to actually stop was to stop the whole world?” Like people were joking with me that way. But, like, be…and I said, you know, “be careful what you wish for,” because this is everything I wished for came true in terms of last year what I said, the kind of life I wanted, suddenly “boom, here you go.” Obviously it came along with immense suffering and immense fear and stress from the fear and all of these things, and I think I said in a another, a couple of episode ago, “yeah, I wish I could have got here without the pandemic. Yeah, without all this suffering, without any death, without anyone losing their jobs, without any economic decline, without us losing team members, like people who are family to us, like of course, like man, obviously. Obviously. It’s not like I’m sitting here like ‘yay! Coronavirus, great!’ No. But would I have been able to get here if it wasn’t for things playing out exactly the way they did? Probably not. Probably not.”
[41:54] And this is like a hard thing to sit with. And everybody I have on the bathroom floor sessions that I ask this, it’s like “why…what is keeping us from doing these things that we are now finding, finding are so important to us?” Like I had Tara Stiles on the show yesterday, and she said “you know, like we had a kid because we wanted to spend time with our kid. Like that’s why we decided, made the choice to have a child, and then we had a child and it’s like..yeah, all of a sudden it’s like daycare, and finding a babysitter, and making, trying to get time away from our kid and making sure we can still work and duh duh duh….” Like, life becomes around, “how can I keep everything together,” where like “hey, yeah, I had a baby because I want to be a mother, because I want to be home with her.”
[42:35] Not everybody has the kind of reality where there’s any other option than having our kid in the maximum hours of daycare, you know, of school, of, of, of having a babysitter or a nanny if we can afford that. Like that’s a super privileged…and I haven’t acted on it, right? Like I spend a lot of time with my kid, her first two years of life, I…I struggled so immensely because I had so many commitments, so much work, so many things I had to do, this constant shuffle between me and Dennis of “who’s going to be with the baby so I can do this? Are you going to be with baby so I can do that?” And I don’t want to live that way. I don’t.
[43:13] And a couple of weeks ago I had this kind of fear of like, “am I going to slip back in all those old habits when this is over? Like are we all going to…what if we all end up where we were before?” And, yeah, probably for society as a whole, there’s a risk that, that we go back to things that weren’t great. Hopefully not, hopefully we’ll make some real good, solid, sustainable changes for our society, for our local community, for this world as a whole, but from a personal standpoint, like where I am right now, I don’t feel that fear any more. I really feel like every day I spend actually immersing myself in those things that bring me real joy, every day I spend allowing myself feel and experience this slower pace, like actually living that slower pace, it’s like…it’s like I’m remembering, you know? It’s like I’m remembering, like, “this is what life is supposed to be.”
[44:11] This is what life is supposed to be. I don’t think we were put here on this Earth…to work. Like, I don’t think we were put here on this Earth to work 80 hour weeks, to kill ourselves, you know, for some job that maybe we don’t even like. And that’s not true for me, like I love my job, I always, always have loved my job, but the pace I’ve been moving at has not been sustainable, has not been good for me. It’s not been good for my team, for my employees, for my family, for my friends…like it has not been a sustainable thing. Like I don’t think we were just put here to do and do and do and do and do, what, to, to what?
[44:50] And for me, it’s not, my motivation has never been money, like for me, the motivation has not been this financial thing, which I know…I also think it’s a generational thing, which I know is a big, big draw for a lot of people, like “I want to make enough money to be comfortable for the rest of my life.” Like I…I don’t know what’s in my bank account, I’ve never been that kind of person because that’s not what drives me. But I’m realizing now what’s been driving me has been this idea of success, this idea of “I have to do, like if I do, I am worthy,” right? “If I succeed, I…I’m loveable. I’ll be accepted if I’m great, like if I’m the best at something, if I really…like I have to prove myself every day.” That, like that feeling, I’ve had that kind of motivation of “every day, I gotta prove myself. Every day, I’ve got to keep going. Every day I have to match, you know, my actions with this kind of frantic, stressed feeling of not being safe inside of myself,” which I have felt my whole life.
[45:45] And what I’m realizing now is like, that energy is not the true me, right? That frantic, stressful, like “I gotta do, I gotta do, I gotta do, I gotta fix, I gotta save, I gotta create, I gotta manifest, I gotta succeed, I gotta, I gotta, I gotta.” Like that’s not who I really am. [Exhales] And when I say that, that like makes me take a breathe because it’s so fucking true: that is not who I really am. That’s who I was confused thinking I had to be to survive a lot of horrible shit that happened to me in my life, especially in my childhood. That’s kind of what life conditioned me to believe, that that’s the energy I have to match to make it, right? If I stay really busy all the time, then everybody’s going to stay alive, right, if I, if I keep working really hard at everything all the time, then everybody’s going to be safe, right? It’s that hyper-vigilance of like, “if I keep my eye on all the balls all the time, and I don’t miss anything, then nobody’s going to abandon me, then nobody’s going to leave me.”
[46:46] Like that’s, literally that’s been my motivation. I haven’t been aware of it, of course not, of course not, hasn’t been conscious, you know? It’s been like this super fun thing. Like we have a lot of amazing things that have been created along the way. We’ve helped a ton of people along the way, it hasn’t been, you know, it’s not like I started like a cigarette company and I’m doing something horrible for the world, no, we’ve done amazing things. Brought beautiful tools for healing for so many people across the world, like we’ve done amazing things. but my motivation in creating underneath it all hasn’t been from that true place of who I really, really am. And that’s just…it’s been a hard truth for me to swallow, but it’s really true.
[47:28] What I realized…so I’m still in therapy. Some people were asking, I’m still in therapy, I have a session every single week, it’s helping me immensely, I’m wondering also like “why didn’t I do this earlier?” [Laughs] But, timing is alway perfect, and what I have realized is whenever someone asks me, you know “what’s the…what was the best time of your life? Like what’s the time or year you can remember as like the best year?” A year that always comes to mind is the year I left Sweden. I was 18 years old, I left everything behind and I started a new life, moved to Costa Rica and spent a year and half living very similarly to how my days are right now.
[48:08] And that’s also, like, another big insight for me is…that was the first time in my life, like I had all of these epiphanies, all of these realizations for the first time, found meditation, you know, found community, found spirituality, found yoga, like all, everything in my whole life changed. And realized that this is the kind of life I want, right? And what kind of pace was I moving at then? A really slow one, right? Where I woke up every morning…I was up at four every morning because I really wanted to be, and I sat on the beach and spent an hour in meditation, like that was the energy that I was aligned in that year, right? I was barefoot all day, in the rainforest all day, like picking my own vegetables all day, like learning, reading, on the beach the whole time, like alone with my thoughts, you know? Really, without a phone, without a commitment, without pressure without fear, without stress, like that was my one really, really, really slow year.
[49:03] And when I look back at my life, like why is that year the one that stands out? Because that’s the year where I was the most aligned with who I really am. The person I really am is this, this…this version that I feel like I’m getting a little closer to every day now, where watering your garden is easy, right? Where like baking every day feels wonderful. Where I have time to just play with my daughter without feeling stressed because I have to be somewhere else. Where also I can work, right? It’s not like I’m not working and giving, giving up on everything, but I work at a pace that feels sustainable to me, right? Where when I feel like “this is overwhelming,” I can feel that and say “no. Actually, I should…I don’t want to book all of these things,” or “actually, no, that’s too much for me in a week.” Or, “actually no, that doesn’t resonate with who I really am.” Right? Just having that space to feel, like that moment…it’s everything. That moment, that little moment of intuition, actually being able to hear it and then act, game changer. Life changer, you know.
[50:05] So, I feel more and more confident that this is not, this is not going to end and then all of a sudden I’m, I’m back working ten hour days on the year I said I was going to be off [laughs]. How ridiculous is that, how ridiculous am I [laughs]? And sometimes I go like, you know, you guys were, you’re listening to this podcast, following along…you know, you must think that I’m totally insane [laughs] like I’m a total, total fucking hypocrite. Like here I am, announcing these big, sweeping declarations of how I’m going to change my life, and then the first person’s promise, the first promise that I break, you know, is my own.
[50:45] I’m really good at, you know, upholding my commitment to other people and staying true to my word to everybody else, but the first promise that I break everyday is my own, right? How quick was I to, to take this year of space and turn it into work? [Laughs] And then, you know, Universe was like “wait a minute, there’s an opportunity here.” There really is. There’s an opportunity here.
[51:04] And what’s been so cool for me to realize this connection between that year when I was 18, 19 and everything was slow, you know, and how in tune I felt every day, to what’s happening now is, there was a moment there after I moved, after I moved to Aruba when I’d been in Costa Rica when I met Dennis and we were living this amazing life…like I look back at that, that was probably like the year, the year I started Instagram, the year a bunch of you, if you were with me then, like 2012 or 2013, and I started teaching yoga just because I loved it, right? Just because it filled me up so much. And I would go to bed with this feeling of like “I’m gonna get to teach a yoga class tomorrow!” It was that feeling of like, Christmas Eve feeling. And, you know, just home with my dogs, like making a home, making a life, like spending so much time with Dennis in the sun, talking, like we didn’t have that feeling of like “I have to do, I have to make something out of myself, I have to succeed,” like I didn’t have that.
[52:00] And then, and I talk about this in my book if you’ve read the book, but I won’t get into it too much now because we’re at the end of this show, but then a major trauma came my way. A big one, a big one. A trauma involving my family, like a really, really big thing happened. And I almost lost Dennis at the end of that, you know, I can’t remember what chapter this is of the book but I shared this very vulnerably. It was hard for me to write, hard for him to read, hard for us to heal from, but we did. But this major trauma came my way, and that, for me, I’m able to connect the dots now, was the end of that slow life, right? That was the moment where I went “uh oh, I gotta, gotta keep my eye on the ball now, right? Gotta make sure nobody dies, gotta make sure no one’s lost, gotta make sure no one leaves me, you know. Gotta, gotta, gotta pick up the pace. Hey, hey, hey, Rachel, wake up, stay alert.” And all of those old wounds inside of me kind of awoke again. And I started taking those things that I just did for enjoyment and I made then into something I was supposed to succeed at, right? I took the being out of it, and it became doing.
[53:04] And that was…seven years ago [laughs] right? So, for, you know…so I’ve had a year of this, this new phase of my life, but easily…say I had six years of, of kind of living a lifestyle that matched that frantic energy of fear that came my way. That was ignited — reignited — inside of myself through that trauma that came my way. And it’s kind of beautiful to tie all of this together right now, because then, you know, I was — how old was I then, 22 I guess, 23? Twenty three maybe — I didn’t have those tools, right? I didn’t have the that I have now, I didn’t have the inner learning that I have now, I didn’t have all those years of trial an error, like everything I had to learn along the way, including motherhood, the biggest learning of my life…like all of that had to play out exactly the way it did so that I could sit here, this year, exactly now, with all of this as it happened, when this pandemic came my way. To be able to actually unfold into this learning that’s led me to this pace, to this slower place of life.
[54:15] And, being here with this now, really present, like really conscious, but you know, it’s like “whoa. Whoa. I’m not prepared to let this go. Not for anything. Not for anything.” And life threw me a big curveball last week, just something wild and, and sad that that happened to us, and…where my first instinct and reaction, you know, probably would be anger or fire or “fuck this,” like I either have that or I go to “yeah, okay, take it. Take whatever you want, I’ll give it. I’ll give all of myself, walk all over me,” like I’ve never had a middle ground, you know? I have all the boundaries, or no boundaries. And now, my instinct is “whatever path allows me to keep my peace of mind, that’s it. That’s where I’m going to go.” Whatever allows me to feel calm, whatever allows me to, to, whatever allows me to stay with this feeling of peace inside, like that’s the way we’re going to go.
[55:18] And that doesn’t mean I’m letting people walk all over me, oh hell no. What it really means is that beautiful line of doing no harm, but taking no shit, right? Where I can practice compassion and kindness and stay anchored, but nobody walks all over my space, right? Like there’s that beautiful, that holding on and letting go, like there’s halfway path that, that I’m learning to walk right now. And I know for you, you are in this place in your life too, you know? Obviously our specific circumstances are super different, but you are in this place in your life right now where you are on the cusp of something massive. Where you are learning or unlearning something that you waited your whole life to get to. And what if all of the weird and crazy things that have come your way over the past weeks, months, years, led you here to this moment right now because this is where you’re supposed to be? And if it wasn’t for those hard things, you wouldn’t have have this learning right now.
[56:17] And I can look back at myself from seven years ago, like, “ugh, I wish I had, I wish I had other tools, like I wish I could have dealt with that trauma in a better way so I didn’t have to lose all of that peace and I didn’t have to run so fast,” yeah, but it also brought me a lot, right? It also brought me a lot of beautiful things. It also built a whole business, you know, it also created and carved out a whole career that’s like, this massive blessing. And if I was here now without that, maybe I wouldn’t be able to anchor into this peace now, like everything happens the way it’s supposed to, at least for me, in this moment.
[56:49] So, as we get closer to some sort of transition happening again, if it’s transitioning to something new after this pandemic, or, you know, different regulations and other change coming our way, maybe soon we’ll be able to hug our loved ones again, like we’re going to feel and find transition again, I want you to hold on to these things that you’re learning right now. Like the big ones, the ones that are like “whoa, this is massive, this is important for me. I need this in my life.” If it’s a slower pace or more intimate conversations or connections or something that you’ve stopped doing, right, that coronavirus took away from you that you realized like, “man, I don’t want more of that.” Or if it’s something you’ve been gifted now; you hold onto this for dear life. Because even if things go back to some sort of normal in terms of, you know, what the rest of life looked like, you don’t have to go back to what wasn’t working. Like this is really, really your sign that if you want a new life, like this is it. And it’s up to you, right now, to make those choices every day that put you in alignment with the kind of life you really want.
[57:59] And I, right now, have a garden. Before this pandemic, I had no garden. Like there was stuff growing, I wasn’t present. I wasn’t there, I wasn’t growing it, I wasn’t watering those plants, like, you know? We had a garden there, but I have a garden now. I have a fresh loaf of sourdough on my kitchen counter, waiting for me. I have pickled onions, cucumbers in my fridge right now. I have two sourdough starters. I have kombucha and ginger beer in my fermentation station, like…and I have space. Time. To actually do those things, you know? And what was keeping me from doing that before? Pain. Trauma. You know, being totally out of alignment with my own inner space.
[58:53] So whatever struggle we have seen now, it’s like this beautiful opportunity to put us back in alignment with what we actually want. And you know, what this sourdough means for me…like you have your own sourdough. Like whatever that is for you that really lights you up, that really brings you back home, brings you back to peace, like make sure that you don’t lose sight of that. Don’t lose your sourdough [laughs]. Don’t lose your garden, don’t lose your baking, don’t lose this time with your kids, with your loved ones. These intimate, honest conversations, time you’re spending reading, creating, dancing, drawing, you know…don’t lose it. Don’t lose it.
[59:30] [Exhales] I want to thank you for tuning in. Always always so grateful for you. If you want to practice yoga with me, I’m teaching yoga every Monday and every Friday, 10am EST, so that’s 7am Pacific time, and it’s 3pm UK time, 4pm if you’re in Sweden. So if you want to come practice with me, they have been so far like really fun, a mix of fun kind of sweaty Vinyasa style classes, and we’ve had some restorative, calm, juicy classes. But we cry in every class [laughs] there’s something, something about these times, man. We cry in every class, so it’s a safe space to just come and breathe and feel and cry and move and…mmm, it’s yummy, yummy yummy. So I’ll see you on yogagirl.com and I’ll be back next week.
[60:20 - End of Episode]