A Journey to Liking Myself

Ten years ago I couldn’t stand to be alone. My kids were 10 and 12 and when they were in school I would go walking or shopping or call my mom. I didn’t like to spend time by myself. And if I WAS alone I had the TV playing or music on but never, ever just quiet.

Why would a person NOT like spending time alone? I mean really? When I am alone I can eat whatever I want without anyone looking at me funny. I can watch crappy, sentimental TV or dance around my house naked. It’s pure freedom!

I think the honest answer is that I didn’t like myself very much. I had everything a girl could want: A husband who supported me, two kids, a couple of dogs, the white picket fence. But I just wasn’t happy.  I was fat and lonely and the negative voice inside my head was loud and opinionated. She kept telling me what I “should” be doing. She yelled that I “needed to” be the perfect wife, mom and home-maker. I could never measure up.

I also didn’t know who I really was. I was just going along in life but I wasn’t really engaged. I was busy trying to be who I thought other people wanted me to be. I gave someone else all the credit for the good stuff and blamed myself for all the bad stuff.

Today I’m a hot mess. I’m a glitter-filled, bundle of energy and joy, who can’t wait to get up in the morning and encourage, uplift and sparkle on everyone I meet. I LOVE life and all of it’s possibilities. I can’t wait to find out what good stuff each day is going to bring and what I will learn from it.

But how did I get from there to here? That’s a really good question. It was a really long process. I started by taking care of myself. I used to be last on the list and that’s not a recipe for success. So step one was that I moved myself to the top of the list and started exercising and eating better.

Step two was that I started listening to the smaller voice that whispers inside of me instead of the loud, bitchy voice. And know what? The quiet voice had the best answers:

Go take a long, hot bath, It’s ok to take care of yourself for a change.

If you don’t want to do something say NO – don’t just say yes because you think people will judge you.

Start speaking your truth. If people really love you they will listen.

Stop apologizing for things you’re not really sorry for or things that you didn’t do.

It’s ok NOT to be friends with people you really don’t like.

Forgive yourself – yes, even the really crappy stuff you did.

Step three involved a lot of self inquiry. I asked myself really deep questions about what I believe, how I want to live my life and whether it was ok to be miserable all the time or make some changes that would lift me up. I had to examine everything that I had held true for over 40 years and come up with answers that truly reflect ME.

I wish I could have liked myself more earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time. But that’s what life is all about right? I am learning lessons along the way? Sharing those lessons with others? Being REAL and Sharing the uncomfortable stuff because we ALL have crap we deal with.

I hope if you’re suffering today with not really liking yourself that you can find some small thing about yourself to appreciate. That you can find a way to start taking care of yourself because NOT liking yourself is very lonely and it affects all of the people in your life.

I can’t wait to see you fall in love with yourself! You can do it!

Hugs, Dawn

How to Drive in SoCal

Did you know that there are new driving rules?  You won’t find these rules written down in your Driver’s Hand Book or online. You have to learn these rules by driving around in Southern California. Here they are in no particular order.

*These are not real rules. Just my frustrated venting. 🙂

  1. Drive as fast as you possibly can! Pretend this 6 lane highway is a video game. You can swerve in and out of cars, you can go 80 or more and there are no consequences for your reckless behavior! While waiting at a stop light please rev your engine and then peel out and race to the next light one block up and then slam on your brakes just before the intersection!
  2. When turning a corner you may turn into ANY lane you like! Normally if you are in the far right lane and you turn right you would turn into the far right lane in the direction you are going…but NOT here! Here you can change lanes at any time during your navigation from your original street to the next one. Have cars on either side of you? Pay them no attention….just move on over whenever you feel like it!
  3. Semi Trucks can go through lights of ANY color. Green Yellow, Red…who cares? Just go. You’re so damn big no one is going to stop you or get in your way no matter how long they might have to wait. (Especially if they drive something really small like a Mini Cooper!)
  4. Turn Signal? What’s that? We don’t use blinkers here in SoCal. Blinkers are for the weak and undecided. They don’t need to know where you want to go. It’s really none of their business anyway – Just GO. No room for you between cars? Don’t worry…just squeeze yourself right in there. They’ll make room.
  5. The following rule is two inches. Grannies leave several car lengths between their car and the car in front of them. REAL SoCal drivers leave only inches between their bumper and the license plate in front of them. You should be able to see what color eyes the driver in front of you has! Maybe if you get right up on their butt they will go faster?

I’m sure there are more rules that I haven’t learned yet. I’m doing my best not to be angry when I drive but it’s a challenge! Hope you got a little chuckle out of these rules. Only three more months and I’ll be learning the Georgia State Driving Rules! Have a great day y’all!

 

Trying On Guard!

I get sick EVERY time I fly. It never fails. With the enclosed space, the re-circulated air and 150 bodies – some of which are carrying nasty bacteria – I’m usually a goner. Within a few days of flying my throat gets itchy, my eyes water, I start sneezing and the misery sets in.

About a month ago I had a flight planned from California to New York for Valentines weekend. My boyfriend was being trained for a new job and he wanted to show me the big city! The problem was that he had been sick for a few days and I was really dreading coming down with his bug.

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(That’s me in the middle being overrun by two BIG guys on either side!)

As a Yoga Instructor and Health/Wellness Advocate I always try to use products that are holistic and pure which is getting more difficult these days. I don’t like it when I buy cough drops and there are ingredients that I can’t pronounce on the label! I want to use products that are pure and simple and effective! It’s the same principle as clean eating – no chemicals, no by-products and simple ingredients please.

So I decided to try something new. I bought some On Guard from a friend of mine. On Guard is an essential oil that you can use topically or take internally to boost your immune system and I was willing to try anything!

During the trip I used On Guard like perfume. I dotted a little under each ear, on my wrists and at the base of my neck. I used one or two drops each application. My boyfriend and I hadn’t seen each other for far too long and with the extra incentive of Valentines Day I knew there would be at least some Kissing!!!! 🙂

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(Proof of kissing.)

The trip was wonderful. I loved touring New York City even with the rain and snow. Even my flights went smoothly – which is a feat when flying all the way across the country! I returned home and began waiting to see if the sniffles would set it……and I waited……and waited……and waited…and almost a month later I still haven’t been sick!

So, if you’re like me and you are prone to picking up every sniffle going around, if you work in a school or daycare environment, If you are a nurse, If you fly a lot, If you have kids who get sick often, give On Guard a try. It worked better than I imagined. It’s the newest item in my arsenal of Good Stuff!

If you are interested in learning more about On Guard or any of the other doTerra products please visit my website and have a look! If you find something you like, you can have your choices shipped directly to your home! There are several On Guard products that can be used in your laundry, to sanitize your kitchen or even brush your teeth!

https://www.mydoterra.com/dawnjex/#/

I Love America.

Occasionally you have one of those moments. A moment that catches your breath and makes you stop in place. A moment that cuts through everything that is going on in your world. A moment that stops time.

The first thing I saw as I walked up into the main concourse of Grand Central Station in New York City was our American flag. It literally stopped me in my tracks. My heart caught in my chest and all of a sudden, I felt a wash of pride for our country.

I was rather surprised because I haven’t been feeling all that proud lately. I’ve been feeling rough around the edges and bruised.  I’ve started avoiding the internet and news channels. My intention is not to stick my head in the sand but to maintain my sanity.

It’s scary that we have allowed our differences to divide us so deeply. We have allowed fear and anger to separate us into warring factions. Our frustrations are being channeled into name calling and I believe we have lost sight of how great our nation truly is.

I believe that we have much more in common than we realize. And I believe we all want the same things. We want to feel safe. We want freedom to pray (or not pray) as we see fit. We want the chance to create a life of opportunity for ourselves and our children. We don’t want anyone to tell us who we can love.  And we all want to be heard.

I see us as a great big family!  And our beautiful American family was on display this weekend in New York City!  A Mennonite family in home-made dresses going to see the Statue of Liberty. An Italian man surrounded by his playing grandchildren. A born-and-bred N’Yawka holding a door for me. A man on the subway playing his guitar and singing about politics. Men in long, heavy dreads sloshing through the snow. A Jewish family riding home from a protest.

As a family it’s our responsibility to take care of each other. Sure, some of us are loud and irritating. Some of us are shy. Some of us always want to wrestle and fight….and some of us are peacemakers. We all have a place in our family. No is left out. You belong, I belong and we all have to do our part in this family so we can feel proud of what we accomplish.

This country was founded by a group of determined, intelligent bad asses who weren’t going to take no for an answer. They knew we were great before we knew it! They knew our ideals were worth fighting for. They knew that “WE the People” had strength and a common purpose. Our flag represents all of that hard work, our heritage and our history.

We may not always agree how to get there – but we will figure it out together. We have survived rough patches in the past. We have made mistakes – we all do. We have apologized. We have fought and given mercy. We are strong and mighty and have the power to kick ass.

So, today I’m proud to be an American. I still feel a bit shaky but I love us. I love who we are and who we can be. I love our beautiful land. I love our many colors but most of all I love our hearts. Because we all want what is best for us – we just sometimes disagree on what that is.

As I rode the subway out-of-town I couldn’t help but start to sing quietly that old Woody Guthrie song.

“This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.”

Happy Valentines Day America!

My Birth – DAY on the Sea.

Okay, I know, I know!!! My birthday was last month! No, I’m not trying to drag out my birthday into another month but I do have something really important I want to talk to you about. It’s Balloons.

Most of us purchase balloons for our children’s birthday or maybe even to “let go” at our wedding shower. I see them in the grocery stores, the flower shops and even at restaurants sometimes. They are everywhere – Unfortunately.

After our last sail from Catalina Island to Ventura, California I will NEVER purchase another balloon. We saw at least 15 balloons floating randomly on the surface of the ocean and were able to save only six. I will say, it kind of felt like The Universe was saying “Happy Birthday DAWN!” because I have never seen so many balloons in the water.

But balloons don’t belong in the water. Fish try to eat them, birds get the strings wrapped around their necks and choke to death. Turtles get stuck in them. This is not a happy event for them!!!!

I know balloons look pretty and I know it’s a “thing” we human do to celebrate….but I KNOW we can find something else. I know we’re smarter than this! In fact,  If you are reading this,  I’m going to ask you to be bigger than balloons. I’m going to ask you to find another way – buy a cookie or a big cardboard sign or ANYTHING.

These oceans are OURS and we have to do what we can to try to keep them clean, to keep the fish healthy and to stop polluting our fricking home!

Because this:

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Is NOT worth this:

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P.S. We found a Mylar balloon in Joshua Tree as well 😦 Below is some more info for you. Please do your part to help. Namaste.

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/

Mt. Rubidoux – Riverside CA

My friend Sharon knows the truth about me. She knows that I will go hiking and that I have the ability to do a strenuous hike but she also knows that I don’t really LIKE hiking. I love getting to see the view from the top. I love the camaraderie of hiking with a group of friends and I also love what hiking does for my body. But for some reason it’s just not my “go to” form of exercise.

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I am first and foremost a yogi. I practice yoga for about an hour each morning at home. It helps me be more flexible, it gets my blood flowing and my brain active and it also helps me be in a positive mood. After my yoga practice I like to do something else that is complementary to a healthy/happy lifestyle. Sometimes I ride my bike or paddle board. Sometimes I swim or go to a Zumba class. Today I hiked Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside, CA.

I guess it’s not really fair to call what I did today “hiking.” That word brings forth images of climbing over rocks and roots, needing to use my hands to pull myself up higher and I certainly didn’t need to do that! The trail at Mt. Rubidoux is a gentle up hill walk. The 3 mile trail is wide, flat and paved. I was there at 8am and already there was a steady stream of people. I saw folks running, moms pushing strollers, groups of ladies visiting and even a guy walking his gorgeous Iguana!!!!!! That was a first for me!

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Mt. Rubidoux is just short of 1400 feet in altitude but from its peak you are awarded a 360 degree view of the surrounding neighborhoods, downtown Riverside and the mountains nearby. The terrain on the mountain is very different from what I am used to in the Pacific Northwest. Here it is very dry and brown. Big rocks poke out of the earth or stack on top of each other. Small scrubby bushes cling to every centimeter of earth in search of water.

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The thing that I loved the most about my walk today was how happy everyone was! Many people said hello or morning as we passed. One of the stroller moms gave me directions about how the trail worked. I gave and received exuberant high fives from several people running down from the summit and another person even stopped to help me pick trash out of the bushes! It was definitely a peaceful community feeling.

This is what exercise and being in nature does for us humans. It gives us a chance to remember that we all have a hard time walking up hill! That we are all on this planet together. That we are trying to be healthy and fit. That this is our community, our park and we should work together to keep it clean. And that it’s a good thing to cheer each other on!

I hope you are able to find a little peace in your life today.

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Pop Up Yoga in Ventura California

I’m lying on my back in Savasana. The sun is making glowing orbs on the back of my eyelids and warming my face. I can feel the bumpy ground beneath my body and the wind is tickling my toes. A mole is popping his head out of the ground. I can hear him nibbling on grass nearby. I’m surrounded by 40 happy souls and I feel peaceful, relaxed and grateful for Ventura Pop Up Yoga.

I found out about Pop Up Yoga by looking online. They host classes all over town in parks, at the marina and even at a winery! Pop Up Yoga is not connected to any particular studio. Multiple teachers share the instructor role and they offer a practice every day of the week. The coolest thing is that you pay for the class by donation! They believe that yoga should be available and accessible for everyone. So they just ask you to pay what you can afford. Isn’t that great?

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(Getting our stretch on!)

We visited Ventura, California this past weekend to dog-sit for some friends. We spent the weekend wandering main street, tasting beer, walking the pier, watching kite boarders sail across the water and we even paddled in the Harbor. But by far, my favorite part of the weekend was yoga at The Cross in Grant Park overlooking the city!

 

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I arrived early and found my spot on the uneven ground. Someone mentioned that they were trying to find a flat spot. And I thought, “Good luck with that. It’s uneven and bumpy. There are small smooth patches, some rough, some dry, some moist. Kind of like life! Is it ever totally smooth? We try to find balance between work, home life, vacation time, spouses, kids, commitments. This ground is a perfect metaphor. You can try to find a flat spot but it’s not likely to happen!

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(The view from my spot! It was a little hazy in the morning.)

Our Instructor today is Margeaux who has just opened a new studio called Yoga Casita in Santa Paula. As she leads us through the practice I can’t help but notice how tall she is! (A model maybe?) I’m guessing she is about 5’11” and looks very athletic – I bet she surfs! I know, I’m supposed to be focusing inward but I can’t it. This is my monkey mind at work. I also notice she’s very good at holding space for quiet. That’s something that I struggle with when I teach. I always want to fill the quiet time with talk – but not Margeaux. As we hold poses for five breaths she is quiet – allowing us to focus on ourselves.

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(Can you say Trikonasana?)

Most of all, what I loved about today is this: There we were – about forty of us, all different sizes, shapes, skin colors, religions and backgrounds and yet for this short moment – one hour of our day –  we were One. We moved as one, breathed as one and radiated peace and harmony out into the world from our hill top aerie. I had at least five people say hello to me and smile and say welcome! Yoga does that. It brings people together. To breathe, stretch, love each other, look inside and BE.

So here I am….having the ultimate California yoga experience. I am on a hill, overlooking beautiful Pierpont Bay and the white sandy beaches of Ventura, California. I feel welcomed. I feel happy. I feel Yoga. Welcome to California Dawn!

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