26 April 2017

The Desire to Give Birth



Well, this isn't the first time I've desired to give birth.  :)

ha.

The first time was with a baby in mind.

This time it's with the desire to serve the world in the most meaningful way I can.

And shoot, I guess I have high standards for myself and big dreams for how I'd love to do that.

I'll just put the full desire out there: I would love to continue this work forever. Because I freaking love what I do. I mean, to connect with all of you, to feel community, to all work together to heal ourselves and bring that healing to our families and the world by loving in healthier ways. Not to mention, um, hanging out with so many of you in the Andes and around the U.S.!! Well, there is still nothing better to me. It has been beyond extraordinary - an experience of a lifetime.

But to continue it all, I needed to keep creating more and more. I needed to figure out ways for this effort be self-sustaining financially. (Because otherwise it would be time to get a full-time job, which obviously would dominate my time.)

It hasn't been easy making this happen. Maybe it sounds like it would be easy? But it hasn't been. Not at all.

In fact, I feel like I've figuratively been in labor for at least a year. :) This may have been harder than infertility!

OK, so what I want to say is this:

No matter what we want to give birth to, the more we want it and the more our worth is attached to it...

the more we will live with fear and anguish; 

the more we will sabotage our lives and our health. 

That is the truth, right?

And well, you could say I've been tasting that fear and anguish for awhile as we've faced many roadblocks in the last year.

And so I've had to <work> more than ever to accept what has unfolded (namely delays galore). I've had to <work> to surrender, surrender, surrender - including this entire meaningful endeavor, if necessary.

In other words, I've had to wrap my head around the idea that I could, indeed, be well and valuable and happy WITH OR WITHOUT this work continuing; WITH OR WITHOUT being able to host even one more retreat.

(Kind of like with or without a baby or with or without a husband...)

Only then can I stop sabotaging what I desire to give birth to.

Only then can the very thing I desire for myself come to pass. 

Only then can it thrive.

-------

This process of surrendering is the great work of my life.

This is the reason I blog and host retreats.

And, ok, some really cool news that has come out of all of this:

We are, indeed, moving this endeavor forward with a gusto.

With All My Love,

Mara

Tell me, are you working to "give birth" to anything at the moment? Can you identify if your worth is totally attached to this outcome - and how is that going? Share below, if you'd like, or just think on it.

P.S. If you would love to learn HOW to surrender something, our free 10-Day email series (which includes a video class and meditation), will be SO HELPFUL for you! You'll need to be on our email list to receive it. But you can sign up on our current sidebar. XOXO

(Photo is the door and gate outside our knitting co-op in Ecuador.)
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On the Brink of Our Re-Launch!


I think I forgot how to blog.  :)

But today I want to try.

Because our time in this blog space is almost running out.

My friends, I can't believe I just said that.

But yes, we will soon have a new on-line home. I know we've been hinting at it forever (and ever). We did, indeed, think it would be ready much sooner.

BUT IT IS *FOR REAL* LAUNCHING ANY MINUTE. ha. Maybe tonight? or tmw? That is how close we are.

The thought of it makes my heart beat, my energy revived, and yes, my hopes and dreams vulnerable.
It's like sending my kid off to kindergarten for the first time - and you hope it goes well.

And on this day as I think about it, I have a tiny tear and my heart is so full.

Because this space here - A Blog About Love - has been the greatest project of my entire life.

It's where I pushed publish for the very first time and sent my voice into the world - kind of shaking inside all through the night because of the sheer boldness of it.

It's where I've heard the words from thousands of you. Felt the eyes of millions of you. And felt so touched by your wisdom, kindness, and willingness to connect.

Many probably thought I was downright nuts to spend so much time here.

But the community that formed and all of you that have reached out or read along or attended our retreats around the world - - - well, it's been one of the most remarkable things I've experienced in my entire life.

I know I haven't been as present here for a very long time. (And it haunts me. It's like having a friend that you adore - but you've lost touch a little bit.)

But, it turns out that every. single. day. we've been working on creating something new for you all.

Danny and I both have just poured our lives into this new creation. It has consumed our conversations, our mornings and afternoons, our late nights, and our thoughts.

I'd like to tell you more about the process.

But today, I just wanted to say hello. And say that we care deeply about all of you here. And we are SO excited to show you the massive "renovation" of this site.

I look forward to what this new chapter will bring. You are a part of this and I hope to make you proud. Thank you for the encouragement to take this all the way.

Yours,

Mara

P.S. We have the most amazing 10-day email series launching as well!!! We hope this can make up for some lost time. It's all free and contains a video class and everything (it's some of our best stuff). But you'll need to get on our email list to receive it. You can sign-up now on our current sidebar. XOXO


12 December 2016

The Time We Ate A Pig In The Andes



One of our favorite people in Ecuador is Rodrigo (above). He is a leader in his indigenous Quechua community. And he's dedicated much of his time and life to continuing traditions among the Quechua people. 

Rodrigo speaks English perfectly, so he's been able to work as a local guide for many English speaking people. We've been fortunate to be able to see Rodrigo a few times a year, as he works as our guide at Body+Soul Camp. 

For the last retreat, he picked Danny and I up at the airport, which is always a treat as we get to chat with him for the next 1.5 hours until we make it to the lodge and hear about all his latest endeavors and local happenings. Though this time, he asked us if we wanted to go have "fritada" with his family. It turns out we didn't exactly know what it meant to have "fritada." But we were SO touched by this unbelievably kind invitation!

We drove many miles up higher in the mountains to the home where Rodrigo grew up. His mother still lives there.

We walked into the kitchen and saw this...a full blown fire next to the kitchen sink. And corn drying overhead. 


The women were working away and chopped meat and cooked food for hours in HUGE caldrons on the fire. All the women were in skirts. The dogs watched every move. 

(Danny played wooden tops with the kids, a super popular game here.) 



Abuelita stirred the pot with a stick. (Check out the strength of her arms.) 


And she chopped meat with a machete. Even the dog was standing back. 

(I was holding the camera just behind her, dodging flying bits.)


Everyone there was sooo enjoying eating the freshly cooked rolls of pig skin. 

These doggies sure wanted some, too... 


This guy could wrap the top with string in seconds. 


Cousins.

Technology.


Mote is one of the favorite dishes among Ecuadorians. This mote was likely retrieved from the dried corn hanging above. 


After all of the family and guests were served in the living room, the Abuelitas finally sat down in the kitchen to eat their meal. I stayed with them as it was so cozy next to the fire. 


I took a picture of one of the main cooks and then she said, wait, wait...


Apron off. Indigenous clothing and gorgeous hair piece now featured.


I noticed some of the doggies had some blood on them. And then I looked up...


Dinner.


We're deeply grateful to Rodrigo and his family for sharing this tradition with us. They prepare a big fried pork meal like this for special occasions. And it was, indeed, so special for us. It was actually one of the most authentic Ecuadorian experiences we've had to date. 

Mara

P.S. If you ever need a guide in Ecuador, absolutely email Rodrigo Flores. He can be your driver and guide in the Otavalo / Cotacachi / Peguche / Intag area. 

29 November 2016

10 Things I've Learned Recently About Being a Woman



1.

It feels down right healing to see lots of men, women and even children standing up for women in light of so much blatant degradation. I notice it, I feel it in my core, I am comforted by it as a woman, and I thank you all!


2.

I recently got to experience a massage technique called Mayan Abdominal Therapy. (A woman from our blog community was so generous to offer a treatment.) It's great for connecting with your body and it actually helps to correctly position your organs, which affects blood flow and lymph flow. (What?! Your organs can be repositioned?) Yes. And the whole thing was so fascinating - it was like nothing I'd ever experienced! I could feel the effects of it for days after. This certified practitioner I know is from San Diego and if you'd like her info., let me know (she is amazing and one of my favorite women.) Otherwise, see if there's a practitioner in your area. I highly, highly recommend this for all women.


3.

Mascara mystery solved: I have "hooded eyelids" and that's why my mascara usually doesn't stay on very well (as my lashes touch my skin.) Who knew that there was a name for this. Oh, what you learn from Google.



4.

I've thought more and more about Heavenly Mother over the last few years - something near non-existent in my upbringing and church experience. My friend, Rachel, is a scholar and once boldly spoke at a church women's event about some extensive research she did on the topic of Heavenly Mother. Her research felt trailblazing as it's a topic hardly spoken of - usually in hushed voices, with no elaboration, let alone celebration. I love the idea of a divine, feminine source - and the practice of openly aligning with that power. I'm thankful for the other women in my life who have claimed this relationship with the feminine divine and showed me the way. How about you? Do you feel a connection with a divine feminine source? What does that look like?

5. 

With a one-piece bathing suit on, when you go pee, you can just pull the suit to the side. haha. Say what?!? Never ever once thought of doing this. And then a bunch of women I know said they do that all the time. I guess it's never too late to learn something new. Is this news to you, too? Please tell me I'm not the only one.  :)

6.

This book with a shocking name is actually one all women should read ASAP. This interview with the author will convince you. The book is called Pussy: A ReclamationVery fitting for these times. Don't be scared! :) This book is sooo good and uplifting for women. It's about learning to be radiant and free and giving more honor to your feminine, despite a world culture that devalues women. I can't recommend this book enough.




7.

Sitting in a patriarchal church meeting where only men preside and claim to have authority over me - and where men are celebrated nearly 100% of the time feels increasingly more uncomfortable to me as a woman. It no longer fits in with the way I view women in this universe. I'd love to hear what that experience is like for you. Have you experienced any shifts lately? Sending love for anyone who has...as I know it can really rock your core. Though, to me, it's liberating to see the inequality - because seeing it opens up completely glorious possibilities - ones that you would not trade for anything.


8.

Pantsuit Nation remains a beating heart in America right now. It's a "secret" Facebook group with nearly 4 million people. You really just have to witness this and see the floods of American stories, mostly from women. Let me know if you'd like an invite.


9.

There's a Facebook gem called Aspiring Mormon Women and it's for women in the workforce or in school, or considering either option. The discussion group provides support, encouragement, networking, and mentoring surrounding educational and professional pursuits. I have a Mormon friend here in Cuenca who was a recent single mom with two young children and is in grad school. She was saying this forum is her favorite place on the internet. I, too, can't get enough of it. I just love seeing women supporting women in pursuits. And I looove seeing women pursue their dreams!!


10.

8 ways to take care of yourself while the patriarchy loses it's shit. So good.


--------------------------------

There you have it! Thanks for the sisterhood here all these years. I think we will need sisterhood more than ever in the years to come. As always, would love to hear any of your thoughts or comments. And, what have you learned recently about being a woman?

With Love,

Mara

Registration Open Now For Love Boot Camp: 
Santa Cruz, CA - 1/28
St. George, UT - 2/4
Provo, UT - 2/11
Washington D.C. - 4/22
Atlanta, GA - 4/29

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24 November 2016

What I'm Thankful for This Year


What are you thankful for this year? Sending lots of love to all and hope you have a meaningful holiday - one that is good for your soul.

Mara

23 November 2016

Ladies Thanksgiving Football


One year in Brooklyn, some of the church ladies decided to have a "Powder Puff" Ladies Football Game on the day after Thanksgiving.....

And it was AWESOME!!!




Granted, many of us had never really played football. And most of the women at church weren't into it. But, enough people showed up that morning in Prospect Park that we were able to pull together two teams. And we had an absolute BLAST. 




Some of the husbands and kids were on the sidelines watching and cheering and taking photos. A couple of the guys volunteered to be our coaches and gave us some play ideas.  



I remember laughing so hard and just thinking: THIS HAS TO BE A YEARLY TRADITION. It was that good. And it was the perfect thing to do after Thanksgiving. 





Also: I'm not the most sporty kinda girl (unlike some of these ladies who were pulling some impressive moves!) But it didn't even matter. It was just so fun to get together.



Hope you all have the BEST Thanksgiving!!!

Sending all my best wishes for peaceful gatherings around the table!  :)

XOXO,

Mara

P.S. Have you ever done something unique for Thanksgiving?


22 November 2016

Random Thoughts of the Day

                   (Photo by Linsey)
1. 
Danny & I have been shopping in Cuenca lately for the Pop-Up Shops for the blog's #HolidayServiceProject. We're hoping to have a few new items soon! Also, I've been super inspired by all the people out there doing hugely compassionate things for humanity right now. For example, check out this sweet ACLU Bake Sale With Kids in Brooklyn. Of course, there's loads of horrifying stuff going on in our country, too, which makes my heart heavy. But I'm trying with all I've got to stay focused on this quote: "Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can."

2. 
We've been working on our plans to move back to New York. We've had big decisions before us (do we stay in our condo or try to get a new place...?) We've been working on all these logistics to see what's possible. And it's been rather agonizing trying to figure it all out (especially from another country.) I'll let you know once things actually unfold. Though I've noticed our plans have rarely been solid for the last 3 years. When you don't have traditional jobs or kids, life doesn't get pinned down as usual.


3. 
Let's talk amazing eyebrows. Is it just me or are you in awe of so many thick eyebrows these days? Check out this amazing photo of Jordan Ferney. I just gasped when I saw this. So stunning. I've been trying to see if I could grow out my very blond, not-so-thick eyebrows a little. :) Oh, my. lol. I probably won't get much action. But I read that exfoliating them with a tooth brush or dry brush is great for hair growth. And you can use castor oil and rosemary essential oil on them to promote growth as well. So I'm giving that a try (minus the castor oil as I can't find any.)


4.
I'm going to the Women's March on Washington January 21!!! I've never done anything like this. But it feels really important to go. My best girlfriends from Brooklyn are going, too. And we're going to stand tall with the diverse women from all over the country. Why march? To come together as women who value love for all of humanity above all else. To send a message that racism and sexism and continued insults to human beings are not ok in this country. To send a message of solidarity and love to the targeted groups that are living in fear right now. To feel that much feminine energy in one place. To give love and to be loved. To feel community with likely over a million women and supporters. To experience an unbelievable force of good. To say: HEAR OUR VOICES - there is no true peace without equality and respect for all!


(photo from MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963.)
5.
We recently watched Les Misérables again, aka our favorite move of all time! We usually watch it when we need some major inspiration or grounding, so you could say we've needed that lately. It turns out that watching it in this current environment in our country was such a profound experience. It's a story about political unrest, unjust systems, the mistreatment of women, poverty, forgiveness, redemption, the pervasiveness of love & compassion, and taking on a new identity. I highly recommend watching it soon! #DoYouHearThePeopleSing #WhoIAm #IDreamedADream



6.
We decided to decorate a bit for Christmas this year. So I got some lights. And Danny taped up a tree on the day after the election. We also put $3 worth of red ball ornaments in one of our house plants. So it's going to be really simple around here. But we'll try to fill our mantel and staircase with eucalyptus leaves, from some nearby trees. And we've been diffusing oils of cassia (the best), pine, wild orange, clove, vanilla, and cinnamon bark. So we might feel a little Christmasy this year after all!



If you have any thoughts, it's always fun to hear from you! I'll see you in the comments! XOXO

With Love,

Mara

P.S. Buy your embroidered blouse from Ecuador HERE!
Reminder: Love+Happiness Mentoring Sessions between now and Christmas will send $150 to a refugee camp.



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