First off, thanks for reading. I’ve had this little site going on two years now. I have no clue how to advertise, except sharing with my friends on Facebook (thanks for indulging and embracing). The only part of this that feels natural is writing. I genuinely enjoy expressing parts of my life and ultimately the hard truths I’m learning as a very fallible, but earnest human being. Perusing my archive articles shows me how much I’ve evolved, how much more honest I’ve become, for better or worse. I can release this content into the digital universe and feel good knowing I was truthful and I aimed to provoke thought, laughter, hunger, insight, joy, enthusiasm or encouragement. My intention was and still is positive. I certainly hope that comes across.

So the photo I included (and will ultimately use to trick people into reading my writing) is from this past weekend when I was visiting my family in North Florida. I always love going home, but every time I go back it’s different. I feel so much more removed, no less close to my family, quite the opposite in-fact, but I feel more at home where I am, in Chicago, with my little apartment, my delicious man and my cooky dogs. I feel so much happier, monumentally happier, calmer, kinder and more at peace than I’ve ever felt in my life.

I was able to see one of my oldest, dearest friends in the world. We’ve known each other since the age of 4. My first and longest friend. Growing up, we were polar opposites, in appearance and personality. We grew apart and back together over and over, but who we are now has merged so beautifully together, like I have more of her and she has more of me. We’re very yin and yang. She’s always had such an amazingly open, compassionate heart. And I’m enjoying feeling more like her, more open in heart, less trapped in my head. Maybe I’ve just softened, she’s probably just as awesome as she always was. But we’d both agree in being smarter, more confident and more happy than we were in our younger years.

So now that I’ve given myself permission to be who I want to be; vulnerable, expressive, open, kind and trusting, funny but not acerbic, honest but with tact, my experience of life has transformed. Before, I saw my flaws, my negative traits, my guilt, my doubt. I saw the exact same thing in others. Now, I’m still aware of the negatives, but I’ve recognized and devoted more attention to the positives, including following a career path that may not be financially lucrative, but is beyond rewarding for my mind, body and heart. That choice has made my relationships better, brought truly awesome people to me, and provided a mirror into relating to myself.

Sounding schizophrenic? Stick with me. I realize now that as a young adult, early to mid-twenties, I felt very defined and glued to my labels, to my past personality and interests. I think moving, changing your life and your surroundings majorly helps thrust this change into high gear, but it is totally within the confines of us all to choose a new path for our future. If we want to be happier, we must be willing to change and to accept change. The only thing that never changes is change! It’s true. No bullshit.

I’m observing how annoyed and often bitter I used to be toward people I felt didn’t deserve their lot in life, for whatever reason. All that did was served to poison me twice. There will always be some who are better, smarter, hotter, richer, slimmer, worse, dumber, uglier, poorer and fatter than we are. No, we will not always like these people, but that doesn’t mean they should get a stake in our happiness. Fuck that. Then we’re stuck in this angry, irritable, negative state all the time, closing ourselves off to our potential and to perfectly good people who are out there, not complaining, who choose to be the reason they are unstuck, happy and grateful to have a life to live.

It’s helpful to remember no matter how great or grim our current circumstances, this, too, shall pass. When we accept and embrace change, we learn to roll with it, instead of swimming against it. Again, the only constant in life is change. Embrace the ebs and flows, the highs and lows, the monumentally ecstatic and the gravel below. Something in you must give comfort in hard times, bad days, tough experiences. There is a strength, an intelligence in you that is an unwavering calm amongst any storm. Simply recognize it.

So, what’s in a pose? To me this pose and photograph represents overcoming fear of the unknown. My hand and foot was sinking. I’ve been practicing for 10 years and only recently have become comfortable in this very challenging balance. It was a posture I resorted may not be in my future, for any number of reasons and excuses. Even just a couple of years ago I’d be so critical of myself that even if my mom suggested I do a yoga pose in my bathing suit in front of the water, because the setting is beautiful and it inspires expression, like a big open smile of a posture, I’d avoid it.

Now, I don’t give a shit. I feel strong and more balanced inside, and if I can express my inner joy and my appreciation for being alive outwardly, then why not? There will be people who don’t like it, think it's indulgent (which I can understand but I still don’t care), egoic, or ugly. Who knows? It’s not my business what others think of me. I concern myself with me and the better I am to myself, the better I am to others. It’s just worked that way. I’m surrounded by breath-taking people, they fuel me to keep growing.

Apologies for the cleavage, that pose isn’t entirely gravity resistant. Once I surrendered needing to achieve this specific pose, I nailed it when I was relaxed, inspired and just enjoying the moment. Valuing who we are inside will always project out, it is a force that cannot be stopped. Enjoy it.

The further we sink into the sands of our soul, the freer we are to expand in all directions. Be whoever the fuck you wanna be and give those around you the same permission. Life will be exuberant, the tough times will rattle you less, and the exciting times will encourage you more. Go with the flow, try something challenging and be willing to fail, embrace all that you are and you’ll take yourself far, enjoying the journey much more along the way.

Please feel enthusiastically invited to check out my articles on MindBodyGreen, to connect with me via Twitter and Facebook, and to join me for classes in Chicago or on retreats around the globe in 2013.