I am inspired by the divine power in all human beings to create the world they live in. The only reality is the reality you create through love and appreciation. The greatest gifts I can offer are joy, love and devotion to my friends, family and students, to see them learn more about their true Self……and a snarky sense of humor.
The short(ish) version: I’m a foodie, a traveler, a writer, a marketer, and an activist. Like many people, I have experienced great joy, immense tragedy, disappointment, wins, failures, love, and heartbreak. And for most of my life, people have confided in their worst fears, their darkest secrets, and allowed me the honor of bearing witness to their suffering…I think, maybe, because I’m a pretty good listener, with a whole lot of empathy…or maybe because I’m a pretty decent cook who uses food as a way to express my love, and healing. Who knows…whatever it is, I’ve taken all of it, good or bad and processed it, then put it into my writing…more often these days, though, I’m in the kitchen…meditating on what we can do to create equity for all. One last thought…even though I don’t judge others for their pain, or their life choices, I also won’t put up with bullshit and fakery.
The longer version: While I received a quasi-formal education in Marketing and Business Management, the truth is hardship, gratitude, and love taught me more about life than anything I would get from an overpriced college education. Straight out of high school, I skipped going to college and started working three jobs to make the rent. Then, I was lucky enough to land a job that would turn into a life-long passion…in the advertising business (of all things), planning and placing media when television used to get the lion’s share of an ad buy. Plus, I was lucky enough to work on an all-female crew and learn the ropes from a woman who started her company at time when women were strictly relegated to role of “housewife” or “secretary”. She spoke to men as an equal…which, in those days, made her plenty of enemies and caused me to feel pretty damned inspired.
When she retired, a new woman assumed responsibility for the agency and would have the most profound impact on my career to date. She is not only tough, but her EQ is through the roof. She taught me to be assertive, instead of intimidating; how to coach people, to lead them in a way that they wanted to follow; and she was there for me (for all of us who worked in the company) not only when I succeeded, but when I failed. She set the bar pretty high, so it begs the question…why the f**k did I leave that agency after 11 years?
Well…in 2007, my mother had a bone marrow transplant, after battling CLL on and off for 10 years prior to that. I took time away from my career to be her caregiver, which drastically changed my perception about what was truly important in life. In order to cope with the stress, I was practicing yoga, meditation and studied what the Buddha has taught on suffering throughout that time. Shortly before her transplant, I had also started teaching yoga as a hobby. After her recovery (and I thank GAWD every day that she recovered), I left my successful career in 2008 to teach yoga full-time because I thought I would be doing something meaningful with my life…AND it would be totally rad to pretend that I was 21 again.
For next two excruciating years, I managed a couple of the largest yoga studios in Denver, led too many teacher trainings, and literally had my soul sucked out of me. Once the LSD in the Kool-Aid wore off, I rid myself of a company that believed first in money and second in “speaking your truth” — so long as it agreed with “their truth” because “their truth” can kick “my truth’s” ass! Being unemployed during one of the worst recessions in history gave me the chance to both travel and go to college…you know, that thing that I decided not to do after graduating from high school…
During that time, I processed a lot of grief and learned more about myself than I think I ever wanted to know, but I also discovered that I really love writing (probably because it helped me process all of the bundles of poo I’ve been carrying around since childhood). It’s not the kind of writing that is overly eloquent, but it is from an honest place, which is really the only way I can live with myself. Double bonus! I fell head over heels in love with food. Trust this: when you’ve tasted food that is served straight from food to fork, without all of the pesticides, hormones and crap, you’ll never want anything else.
When I finally returned stateside, I found my way back into advertising by co-creating the “We Are Straight Allies” campaign, dedicated to the expansion of the Human Rights Ordinance to protect the LGBTQ community from employment and housing discrimination in Jacksonville, FL. After 5 years of work, it finally passed in 2017 – during which time I moved from one side of the country to other, then back again.
These days, I just try to keep it together…what with a pandemic, social unrest due to long-overdue, needed and necessary changes to overcome systemic racism in our country, a terrible person leading our country straight to bottom of the exceptional list, climate change, and the economy bottoming out. I know I’ve seen some terrible shit in life, like many of us, but there have been some really bright, shining moments in there, too. It’s the writing and the cooking, our collective humanity, and someday the ability to travel again, that gives me hope about the future.
Whew! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin, shall we?