Mandatory unemployment

It’s like a sick twist of fate that my last day of work as an Auto Damage Adjuster at Geico ended in my own total loss. An ambulance rushed me to the hospital wearing my Auto Damage polo; the irony was not lost on the paramedics or policemen. I still cannot believe I survived, but the shock has subsided. I don’t cry all the time anymore. I still replay the event, but that’s just what happens when you go through something like this. It could have been so much worse. I’d already put in my 2 weeks’ notice in preparation to start my new job as an English teacher at an afterschool program, but the car accident put an abrupt end to my stint in insurance and subsequently derailed my plans to teach. Spending 2 months in pain debilitates a person in unexpected ways. It was not part of my plan to have all this free time. Yet again. It’s

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Arhanta Yoga Ashrams 50-Hour Yin YTT: an honest review

I completed the online 50-hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training from Arhanta Yoga Ashrams in September 2018. Arhanta Yoga Ashrams has physical locations in India and The Netherlands, but I completed the 50-hour Yin yoga teacher training through their online yoga academy. Their online program purports to be identical to their in-person training. Prior to this training, in 2016 I completed a 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in India, and I have been practicing yoga since 2013. I have experience teaching at studios and private settings. Yoga is my passion and I chose to complete the Arhanta Yoga training to further my yoga education and dive deeper into my personal Yin practice. I am also in the middle of developing a free DIY 300-Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training, so I thought this 50-hour training would be an excellent inspiration! And it was 🙂 . It also gives me the official title of “Certified Yin Yoga Teacher.” This is my honest and personal

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My favorite kitchen essentials

My husband and I–ok, maybe mostly me–are in a perpetual process of eliminating things we don’t need, especially in the kitchen, where we tend to accumulate appliances and gadgets. It feels like our apartment is a revolving door of Goodwill boxes and Craigslist ads; downsizing can be addicting. It’s taken some time, but we’ve finally gotten our kitchen down to (mostly) just the essentials. We still have a waffle iron for that occasional craving, and that pasta machine for the day we finally attempt to make gluten-free garbanzo pasta, but below are the things we use on a regular basis. I’ll update this post if/when things change, but here are our must-have kitchen essentials that have both stood the test of time and will not be seeing a secondhand owner any time soon! MY FAVORITE WATER FILTER We could not live without this! The Big Berkey Water Filter was my favorite splurge of 2017. After researching filters for hours, I concluded

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Some thoughts after almost dying

On Tuesday, July 24, a man fell asleep at the wheel and his 5-ton tow truck hit me at 65 miles per hour while I was parked in my 2-door Toyota. It’s the closest to death I’ve ever come. Look at this picture of my car. Chilling. I’d been waiting for my husband to come to change the flat, something I didn’t trust myself to learn to do over the phone on the side of the freeway. When he finally arrived, I was already in the ambulance. The impact caused my car hit a chain linked fence on the left. The pole dislodged from the earth and impaled the windshield, protruding above my shoulder, inches from my head. On the right, I slammed into a huge wood electrical pole. Glass everywhere. Airbags deployed. Steering wheel bent. Blood. Ears ringing. My brain tried to catch up with reality. It’s hard to describe the total shock. The tow truck driver dragged me out.

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Free DIY Master of Arts in English

In the age of the Internet, I think it’s backward to pay outlandish tuition, constrain yourself to unrealistic time commitments, and cut through the unnecessary exclusivity of graduate programs in English literature and creative writing. Who has the time, money, and energy for all that? I don’t, which is why I set out to create my own master’s curriculum. While the following program does not conclude with an accredited or official master’s degree (I emphasize this because it’d be a real bummer to do all this work expecting something like that!), it does include all the components of a traditional master’s program. And more. What is a DIY MA in English? A DIY MA in English is a curated course of study that uses a combination of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), books, and other online resources to deliver a high-quality education for a fraction of the cost of a traditional university. Courses range in length and intensity, so while

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7 hard lessons I learned from 3 years running a not-for-profit private label yoga mat business

***If you are reading this, FlowMats yoga mats are still for sale on this website. Keep reading to find out why that’s about to change.*** This month I’m officially winding down FlowMats, the not-for-profit private label yoga mat company I’ve owned and operated for the last 3 years. I’ve learned a lot over the last 3 years, and now that I have officially decided to close shop and move on, I am ready to share my experience. This article is for anyone interested in private label marketing, social entrepreneurship or starting their own business. Everything I am about to share is based solely on my personal experience, so I urge you to do your own extensive research if you’re considering a private label business. I am not an expert, I don’t have a business degree, and this is not explicit advise. It’s simply my story and what I’ve learned from my experience and perspective. The FlowMats Story (abridged) It was

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Body Wisdom

“Perfectionism: Having an extreme need for external order to cover internal chaos.” -Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom I love that definition of perfectionism because it highlights that suffering is the root of desire. That is, our internal chaos is the root of our need for external order. Or maybe Buddha is right and desire is the root of suffering. We’re all grappling with that elusive, deeper understanding of ourselves. Perfectionism is the crutch some of us–myself included–use to escape the internal chaos of being human. Perfectionism gives us an opportunity to feel the allusion of control by influencing and fixating on external circumstances. Among obsessively making our bed each morning, arranging my yoga props just so, and drinking exactly 3 cups of tea before I can feel like my day has begun, I also have a habit of Googling graduate programs I’ll never complete. I also have a habit of applying to them. I even took

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Acts of Service as Habit: why I made a love language calendar

I recently discovered a way to make household chores fun. “Serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13 It’s rare that I read a book that fundamentally changes the way I live. Earlier this year I read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, a book given to me by my mother-in-law. The Five Love Languages has panned out to become perhaps the most inspiring and life-enhancing book I’ve read so far this year (here’s my 2018 reading list, if you’re like me and always looking for book inspiration). Chapman says we all express and experience love in at least one of five ways, and if we can learn how to best communicate and receive that love, our romantic and personal relationships will deepen. I highly recommend you read his bestselling book to learn more. Acts of Service is the fourth love language, the others being Quality Time (my #1 love language), Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Gift Giving. After reading his book

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A lesson in stress management

“Struggles are the fertilizer for spiritual growth.“ -Joyce Rupp, from her excellent memoir, Walk in a Relaxed Manner: life lessons from the Camino After suddenly throwing up at the shop this morning–my 3-month anniversary at work–I decided to go home and take my first day off (unpaid, since I’m less than 6 months on the job and apparently 90 days isn’t enough to warrant paid sick leave). Since the middle of the first week of training, I’ve also been experiencing a moderate psoriatic response that is now growing in severity and taking over my eyebrows and entire scalp. It’s embarrassing. But stress has serious health consequences, some more visible (and itchy) than others. As the rash dominates my hairline and undermines my confidence, I’m forced to confront my (in)ability to manage chronic stress. Work presented the kind of frustrating issues this week that would normally inspire me to quit, the recent popular solution for many of my colleagues, and my personal

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A new era of biking

I have a memory from when I built my bike in 2009. My friend Matt–the bike mechanic behind this operation–and I were sitting on the floor of the mudroom I rented. We sat excited, scrolling through eBay listings on a brand new mini Acer laptop that I’d return to Best Buy later that day. We were looking for rims worthy of my Trek carbon fiber frame, which had been found by “Captain,” our homeless friend, in a dumpster behind an abandoned gas station in Salt Lake City, Utah. On this particular day, we were stoned and $800 seemed like a reasonable price to pay for a set of like-new wheels. Building this bike felt like the ultimate DIY project at the time for a few reasons. First, Matt would do all the actual work, meaning all I had to do was supply the cash to get the job done. Second, it meant I could sell my 1970’s steel-frame Nishiki 10-speed

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