Month: August 2016

The Pendulum of an Eating Disorder and Using Yoga and Meditation to find that Sweet Spot of Embrace and Acceptance

I have been thinner. I have been fatter. Many times. But, I was not satiated or happy any of those times. I did not have a sense of inner or outer peace. I did not feel beautiful or sexy or feminine. I felt as though I was walking around in an overdeveloped women’s body that was exuding masculinity. I was hard, rigid, tightly wound, stressed, and, bottom line, not happy. There was no joy, no satisfaction in attaining this shape. I could “do” all of the challenging asanas and I could run up and down trails without issue. I spent my precious life force energy obsessing about when and how I could get to the next workout – how much I could accomplish in a day – and how I could incorporate working out into everything I did. I did not stop moving. I carried weights around the house – struck a pose whenever I could – used my counter top in my kitchen as a barre – danced while cooking – walked while on the phone – and none of that included my “actual” workouts. I was burning calories left and right and eating well. I was thin, angular, muscular, and miserable. I had attained the outer form that I desired – at least I thought it was what I desired – yet, once there, I was left unsatisfied, strung out, burnt out, exhausted, and flat out suffering and tormented. I looked damn good but felt lousy.


I knew better though. After all of my years in recovery from a debilitating eating disorder, I knew that any extreme in either direction is a set up. A set up for failure in the continual search for happiness and acceptance. A set up for a set back in my progressive recovery. A set up for the potential to swing the other way. Over the years I have definitely hung onto this swinging pendulum and allowed it to take me up and down. I envision one of those massive pirate ships at amusement parks that nauseatingly swing from one side to the other with the crowd that is on the side that is heightened screaming wildly. There is a very brief pause in the middle before it swings to the outer side. That is such the analogy and visual of how I have lived most of my adult life. Those mid-cycle pauses have been only moments (days usually but the occasional week here and there) but they were all sweet, enlightening, settling — a much needed moment to breathe — a palpable time to regroup, reorient, and shift ever so slightly before the movement towards the other side begins. Of course, over the years the extreme conditions on both sides have lessened their grasp. It is as if my Higher Self could never let myself fall back into either rabbit hole.


Today I sit, on the cusp of my 42nd birthday, more balanced than ever – steeped in and devoted to my daily practices and the ever evolvement of myself as a beautiful, strong, courageous, open-hearted, and soft goddess; not trying to mold my inner or outer life into something it is not – into someone else’s reality. At peace most moments of most days with who I am in the world, how I look, and how I feel. I acknowledge with gratitude how my asana practice has morphed and matured as I have. No, I “cannot” currently do all of the crazy and wild arm balances that I used to be able to do, nor do I care to. As I continue to cultivate and authentically ground myself as a 40-something woman and mother, I find myself reaching towards the ground more. I move slowly in asana, holding poses deeply with a lot of breath and intention. I love a more yin style practice still doing some standing poses, but not harming my body and killing my spirit in the process. I crave meditation – nice, long, quiet sits in front of my sacred alter and I savor the opportunity to do a well-propped restorative practice. It is all medicine for me and continuously invites me into that sweet spot, that moment of pause on the pendulum, and the more devoted I am over the years the longer I remain in that landing; that deep belly breath, and the most potent connection possible to whom I truly am at my most beautiful essence. I have the choice with each of those moments, this I know and more and more I choose myself — I choose peace – I choose self-acceptance – and I choose to embrace life in all its glory and my magnificent womanly body in all its manifestations.



“Gearing up” for first day of 2nd grade for Kai!

This is the first year that I have been able to take Kai back-to-school shopping at stores other than thrift stores. This is the first year that my boy has gotten to go to “regular” stores with brand new clothes and accessories which all of the other “regular” kids are able to go to without batting an eye. For me, for us, this year was a big year. While it may seem trivial and superficial, unless you have been in the position in which all you could afford for your child was a $2.00 used backpack from the local thrift store, in which you convinced him to be excited about; you simply cannot relate. Telling me that you “understand” when you are living in a million dollar house and have everything that you need and then some; you simply cannot relate. Not at all will you be able to understand that feeling of not knowing exactly how you are going to outfit your child for the school year, how you will afford groceries, get by until your next day of work. And, it’s okay. I am not asking you to understand, I am simply requesting that you do not claim to understand. These words are not emerging from a bitter place. Not from a place of angst or martyrdom. Not from a place of hatred, longing or feeling sorry for myself. These words come from a sense of humble pride, a sense of true gratitude for all that I have attained and a place of perspective.


Today was a big day for me. Today was a big day for Kai. Today was a big day for Kai and I, as a unit. We outfitted him for school at real stores with new, sparkly items. We put together an ensemble of clothes that felt great to him which he tried on in real dressing rooms where other kids were choosing their ensembles for the first day of school. We went to a real store where there were brand new backpacks galore and my kid actually had the opportunity to choose a new backpack from rows upon rows of backpacks. There were choices. Kai was lit up in a way I have never seen before. After selecting the brand spanking new items to adore himself with, we went and got a real, professional haircut. It is not as if he has not had brand new items before, not by a long shot. My child is privileged and is spoiled rotten by some adoring grandparents. Today was exceptionally different as it was just Kai and I and guess who paid for every single item??? I did. I paid for everything all day long. I had the opportunity to, for the first time in Kai’s 7 years of life, to treat my child to what he desired. To items that have boosted his little battered self-confidence and to assist him in feeling excited about starting a new school year when school has been a less-than-positive experience for him. I did it.

And, I would not give up our experiences of having to shop in thrift stores. It is actually one of my all time favorite ways to shop…it is an adventure…a creative endeavor…a scavenger hunt. I love it. Kai loves it. I am happy that I have gifted Kai in his young years an appreciation for “things”, a deeper understanding of the cost of much of the excessiveness of today’s society, and a gratitude for when we actually do have the money to buy nice things and eat at restaurants. I believe that Kai will never take things for granted. My heart assures me that I am instilling some progressive values about money, true abundance, and attainment. I feel really enlightened about the path we are on together on every level and would not change a thing. I am grateful for everything we have; we are truly abundant as we have a beautiful roof over our heads, beds to sleep in, and vibrant and plentiful food in our fridge. It has not been without struggle yet I know in my heart of hearts how blessed we are.

Today was an important day, a special time of acknowledgement, repair, and bonding. It was celebratory of sorts…both of us feeling pride in each other. Both of us feeling the exceptional ease of the day, the joy in our mutual attainment, and shear bliss in feeling as one unit. Bonded through our progression of life thus far…together. We have been partners for these 7 years, just Kai and I in our mutual solitude and authentic partnership. We are bonded for life, a rare and unique connection and relationship… the most unique, challenging, heart opening, and humbling partnership of our lifetimes.

As featured on YOGANONYMOUS: 5 Tangible and Embodied Reasons to Meditate Daily

I am a busy single mom. For the past year I have been waking up before my son (and often before the sun!), dragging myself out of bed and finding my way to my cushion in front of my alter. I light a candle and meditate for 30-45 minutes. It has made a tremendous difference in my life and in my entire being. If I can do it, anyone can.

We all know that countless studies have proven the benefits of meditation but here are some tangible and embodied reasons that I have found through my own practice:


  1. Deeper connection to your body: This includes better digestion, improved posture, and palpable awareness of heightened sensations through rooting down into your sits bones and rising up on the cushion. Couple this with intentional breath and there is the opportunity to feel a profound sense of embodiment.
  2. Improved coping skills for living: One gains greater opportunity to respond to what life throws at you from an embodied and integrated place. With a regular practice you cultivate the ability to come back to your breath and respond from that place of ground and empowerment when life throws less-than-desirable situations at you. My experience is that it simply becomes more natural to do so, with less effort. You are essentially re-patterning your entire way of being.
  3. Feel more confident and empowered: Stepping out of the space of allowing the mind to dictate your life is very empowering. You start to see all of the many, many choices available to you and are able to discern what is truth and ignore the deception of the mind; or at least shift how you respond to what it is telling you.
  4. It becomes a sanctuary from the chaos of life: When I first began it did feel like yet another obligation that I had to endure, but now, I look forward to it and crave it. The outer quiet and stillness allows me to drop into myself in a unique way. There is something very important about doing so first thing in the morning rather than in the evening. The sanctity of the time when the sun is just rising, our minds and bodies are empty after a nights rest is conducive for a profound time of connection to self. What my ego named as a chore all those months ago, has become my temple and the stillness and quiet that I crave before jumping into the chaos of motherhood and the varying tasks ahead.
  5. Calms the entire system: The technique that I use is that of focusing on a single point. I use a candle and a simple mantra. I fluctuate between several including: So Hum (I Am), Sat Nam (I Am Truth), I Am Worthy, I Am Love, I Am (you fill in the blank as to what serves you). The single pointedness gives my busy eyes something to focus on and the repetition of the mantra gives my overly active mind something to grasp onto. It is a win-win.0094


For years upon years I have been running on fumes, in survival mode, barely dragging my ass out of bed in the morning, feeling completely unresourced and definitely not ready for the day ahead….much less any inspiration for anything other than just getting through the day. I was tired, exhausted to the bone, and honestly felt much along the lines of dread at the tasks that lay before me. Overwhelm, depressed, longing for things to be different, angst at all that I was faced with….amongst some of the many feelings and emotions that I was dealing with on a daily basis as the solo parent to my high-need little boy. Life did not feel fun. We all know that parenting has its moments and they do not always want to make you jump for joy. But, I have observed that most parents I know counter those less-than-fun moments with adventurous and life altering experiences with their kids…be it camping trips, taking their kids skiing, merging with other families and doing dinners, vacations….I think you get my point. Being a single mom that has not been my experience at all. It is rare that we are asked to join in with other families on fun expeditions. I have always questioned is it because I am not partnered, my child is just too much to handle, or perhaps because I cannot afford what they are doing. Whatever the reason is, my experience of parenting Kai has been a lonely arduous one with very little fun and relief. I have not been able to take him on vacations or for expansive getaways for many reasons. Financially it has not been feasible, and quite frankly it is more work for me to keep Kai happy and it has felt ‘easier’ to just stay close to home. Until now.


A couple of months ago I committed to myself that I was going to start meditating daily (I meditated but always very sporadic and usually at the end of the day when I was exhausted and all I wanted to be was horizontal and passed out!) in the mornings before Kai woke up. My son has always been an early riser so I knew that this was going to take some serious will to make happen and to sustain. I started setting my alarm for 5 or 5:30 (depending on how early I got to bed) and I would drag my bum out of bed and plant myself in front of my alter, light the candle, and sit for 30-45 minutes. For the first many weeks, this was challenging and I had to wrestle with the voices telling me to turn that damn alarm off and stay in bed…I needed the rest or whatever bullshit my mind was telling me. But, I pushed through and have continued this practice – I can honestly say that I love it and actually look forward to it. It is an amazing way for me to start my day. The stillness and quiet of the morning and just checking in with my breath, my body, my mind, my heart; feels magical. I have taken it a step further and head to my computer and my notebook after meditating and continue in this quiet space of contemplation by reading inspiring blogposts (I really like right now), writing, doing rituals through my intentions and words. It has served me so well and I believe has strengthened my capacity as a woman and as a mother. I feel my life accelerating, I feel my embodiment deepening, and overall I feel clearer and more present for my days…no more dread. I am not saying that my shit isn’t coming up but what is happening is that things are moving through me quickly. I allow myself to feel whatever it is, and then it moves; sometimes with tears, sometimes with movement in my body, sometimes simply breathing deeply into my heart in midst of it. Everything is energy. We have the capacity to shift our energy at any moment and there is no doubt that when we do, those in our lives do to. Sometimes through exiting as our vibrations are no longer in sync, sometimes matching our rising and meeting us where we are – perhaps inspiring others to do the same.


My path has been unique, as I know all of ours are. I have been in the absolute depths of despair, truly unable to see any light at the end of any tunnel. I am not there anymore and I never, in those moments, imagined that I wouldn’t be. I am stronger, clearer, and more grounded in who I am and how I show up in the world than ever before. It takes work, it takes consistent effort, and an undying belief in oneself. Life will not stop throwing curve balls and challenges, but we must strengthen that muscle of coping. We must choose life as it is precious and short. There are no accidents. Everything is unfolding in its own divine timing and as soon as we start believing that, believing in ourselves, and let go of the resistance; amazing things can unfurl and life can become much more fun.


Bottom line, committing to a regular meditation practice has opened my life up in immeasurable ways. I am a believer like no other and am on a mission to inspire and support fellow mama travelers on this wild and rocky path of motherhood.

If I can do it, you can.  IMG_0388

then there came the day….

and then there came the day when i stopped trying to get rid of myself and started truly embracing myself — warts and all…stopped exercising incessantly…stopped sticking those headphones in and forcing the repetitive motion of my legs on an elliptical….stopped telling myself stories of ‘needing to’ and started checking in about what i really ‘needed’.  what was my body actually asking for?  what would feel really damn good?  what kinds of movements would nourish rather than punish?  what foods would feed not only my body but also my soul?


i stopped relying on the mirror to bring me happiness and i chose to find it within…no matter what that damn mirror said.  i stopped listening to that loud voice that was so comfortable with punishment and suffering — that incessant voice of defeat and negativity — and i started allowing the voice of loving kindness, compassion, wisdom and maturity to be at the forefront.  true acknowledgement of the role that the latter has had on my 40 years of being….i needed her to survive….but, now, she is getting in the way of me living my truest shining light of a life and i do not need or want her around anymore.  it is with the deepest compassion that i bid farewell — honoring the past and the incredible journey we have taken together — finding gratitude for the lessons and opportunities that she has provided me….and, now it is time to release and allow the space of transformation and genuine power to emerge.  that which has been bubbling.  that which has been on simmer for many years — is finally really ready to come to a boil — she cannot be contained any longer.

so it is with the utmost respect, love, and courage that i lean into her….with trust, faith, determination, and an undeniable belief in myself and the power to self-heal. ~Alison Rothman 2015

Body Image and Embodying Myself.

I grew up dancing from a very young age.  I was in recitals and competitions; dressed in tight leotards and tutus performing in front of people.  I was aware of my body.   I was especially aware of my body in relation to others.  I can remember in 3rd grade being weighed by the teacher and our weights being posted on a board.  As I was taller than most at that time, I also weighed more.  Humiliation.  First real step towards the development of the eating disorder which eventually plagued my life for almost 20 years and which will live within me for the duration of this lifetime.  Thank you to Mrs. Hirsch, my 3rd grade teacher.

So began my lifetime journey of disconnect from my body and my undying search to reconnect.

At 40 years of age, I am committed within myself to live from an embodied place.  I am committed to finding my breath in the toughest of moments.  I am committed to returning to a place of love and compassion for my body even in those moments of wanting to flee the scene.  I am committed to residing from my heart, tapping into that endless flow of energy at the center of my being;  especially when I want to shut down and get as far away from that space as possible.  As this does sound like a simple and doable way of being, I know firsthand of the complexity of this process and do not take it lightly for a moment.  15 + years into my recovery, I still struggle with my own personal embodiment.  And while I am high functioning, there are many days when I am so triggered it is hard for me to “land” in a grounded way in my body so that I am equipped to respond appropriately.  This has improved greatly and 90% of the time I feel awake and present to what is alive for me and able to differentiate when there are old triggers and how best to approach the situation.   I am becoming more and more aware, as a woman with a lifetime of eating disorders, that I have always felt like my embodiment needed to only be when I was thin or not eating much.  I could not be embodied when I was a little softer and relaxed.   I only gave myself permission to be in my body when I was working out obsessively, running up trails, doing hours of yoga or dancing.  I am realizing more and more that that is literally the polar opposite of embodiment, and to me, is “false embodiment”.  There is no veracity to that way of living.  There is no level of authentically  embracing oneself.  This way of “embodying” involves living from a spurious place; lacking in connection to the truth of who you are.   Embodiment is when we can actually surrender to what is;  how our bodies look and feel without wanting to change them or alter them.

We must be embodied in order to make good choices and live from a centered place. As women with disordered eating patterns and dysfunctional ways of nourishing and living; quite often we are habitually numb to our bodies sensations, our buried needs for true nourishment, and the multi-layered cries for what we are really hungry for.  We are unable to differentiate what it is we are undoubtedly seeking in life; which is showing up as an obsession with food as the metaphor for it all;  be it love, acceptance, touch, or connection amongst copious other unmet needs.  We must be willing to ‘go there’;  to really acknowledge that it is not about the food and to find the deepest compassion and holding for that place of ourselves that has so many longings that the food has tried to meet for us with painstaking lack of success.  Just by honoring that alone, there is so much potential for healing, growth, and finding true peace in ourselves and in our embodiment.

This is a process of ‘waking up’ our bodies and tuning into the plethora of sensations within us.  From that place of aliveness we are empowered to cultivate the ability to differentiate between it’s varying needs, which are ever-changing moment to moment.  This ‘process’ is a deep and profound one and requires an infinite amount of courage and support as it involves unleashing many feelings and emotions that have not been palpable to us throughout our lives.  It requires patience, perseverance, compassion, support, and a rooted belief in our own capacities to heal.  This path is not for the faint or weary.  It has the potential to ebb and flow depending on where we are in current life and how much we are able to allow to move and flow.  We must titrate our experiences as this process of embodiment is serious business and is not to be taken lightly.  To ensure longevity of the recovery and unearthing of our true selves, pacing is key and approaching all of it with gentleness and a willingness to be brought to your knees over and over again;  each time finding oneself closer to the truth of who you are at your essence.  It is from that place of empowerment where we are able to persevere and continue forward on our path with another layer of determination unleashed.

So, as I am fine tuning my own process with myself, my heart, my body, and my relations;  I want to keep that gesture of possibility flowing of holding onto the highest good for myself — I do not need to turn back to old ways of comforting…unless I need to. There are no rules and regulations with this process and we all need the reminder that it is just that….a process.  There is no point that you get to where you are complete.  It is ongoing, constantly shifting, revealing layers upon layers of yourself in perfect timing, and, I can promise you, if you stick with it there is true peace and grace at the end of the tunnel.  No matter how many years it takes to get there….there is unequivocal light and love at the end awaiting your arrival. IMG_1989

Postpartum depression and the gift of repair

I don’t even remember a solid 9 months of my life after Kai was born. I had no access to me – I could not locate myself. I could not get to my breath, feel my body, tap into any aspect of who I had been in what felt like a previous life. I no longer knew who I was and the woman I was left with I did not like very much. I was unrecognizable both on the outside and on the inside. The eating disorder that had plagued my teens and young adult life, but had been in remission, reared its ugly head with a vengeance. I was disconnected, disenchanted, and depressed. Everyday for me during this time was a miserable existence of which I dreaded…AND, I had a very small being that needed me. This little unsettled and feisty being needed my every breath, needed my life force to find his…yet, I had none to give. Getting through each day felt like a feat in and of itself, barely at what would be considered a functioning level. This was survival of the fittest and I was not fit to survive.


Yet, somehow I made it through. By some miracle or many miracles I made it. I survived despite the odds stacked against me – I stepped through and out of the hell I was in…intact…with my little boy by my side, in my bed, in my arms, and in my heart – buried deep, but I always knew he was in there. I always knew that we would resurface someday – altered forever – imprinted always from that hell realm that we had resided in. I had to. I willingly stepped into the world of single mamahood shortly thereafter my first step of re-emergence and I had to make some shit happen for myself and my then 1 year-old little boy. We were on a mission of liberation and there was no turning back.


That was 6 years ago. 6 long, strenuous, challenging, fateful, heartful, empowering, and strengthening years. Transformation at the core of my being – I have reached to the absolute depths of despair over and over again these many years – yet there has always been something to carry me on. I come to my mat and find my breath and feel my body again. I sit on my cushion and access the deepest wisdom inside of myself while breathing deeply and tapping into that well of true love within – that source of all life. I feel it – I hear it – I breathe it – I soften to it – I open to it and miracles do happen, every single day.


And, now, my baby is 7. He is a beaming young boy and we are infinitely connected. I still have moments of disconnect – moments when I just cannot land in that soft place of mamahood – and, he will cry out in desperation: “Aren’t you going to take care of me?” – and my heart breaks every single time as I am snapped immediately back into the present moment – immediately into my heart and I remember my role with this being. I couldn’t always show up for him – but I can now and it is never too late for repair. It is never too late to hold my baby and ease his woes. It is never too late to bond with my baby.

photo-7It truly is never too late to fall in love.