June 23, 2015
by Sarah
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Spirit Sandwich Podcast Episode 3 – Abra Snow Adams

In this episode, I interview Abra Snow Adams about her powerful coaching, and the ways in which bringing mindfulness to the experiences in our lives can help us to feel happier, healthier, and more accepting of ourselves.

 

Music:
I by Kendrick Lamar
Kids by MGMT
Worthy by Jacob Banks

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June 9, 2015
by Sarah
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Life is Strange and Beautiful..and it Takes You Off Guard

Has there ever been a time in your life when two completely opposite experiences have hit you right in a row?  That happened to me a couple of weeks ago. On an uneventful Tuesday, I found out that my aunt – who was very vibrant and whom I was always close to – had passed away suddenly.  I flew to Ohio for the wake on Thursday, then on Friday, I traveled to San Diego for the wedding of one of my dearest friends, in which I was the maid of honor. By the time I made it back home to New Jersey on Sunday, my head was spinning.

My aunt’s passing was completely unexpected. She wasn’t sick. She hadn’t yet reached that age where loved ones begin to emotionally arm themselves for what they know is coming. She had a great group of friends and was very active. And she always went out of her way to show up for the people in her life, filling her already overstuffed schedule with favors and dinner dates.

That’s what made her passing such a shock. I had never experienced losing someone in this way. I lost my grandparents when I was in my teens, but they had been ill and, although it was very sad and we all missed them dearly, we had seen it coming. There had been time to prepare. With my aunt, she just suddenly wasn’t there. It was like I couldn’t process that she had actually passed away – she was just missing. To think of my aunt as no longer being alive – it just didn’t compute. It still doesn’t.

It had me feeling very mortal. In the hours and days after I learned of her passing, I remember experiencing a sense of urgency about my life. All the things I was afraid to do or was putting off until the time was “right,” I told myself, just needed to get done. I needed to start living my fullest, most authentic life now because it’s true that we really don’t know how much time we’ll have.

Fast forward to the wedding. The bride was one of my closest friends, and I was overjoyed for her because she and her husband are so great together. And I’m not just saying that because it’s what you’re supposed to say about newlyweds. In his vows, he actually called their love a “miracle.” I was so sure I was going to swoon, I felt like a southern belle in need of a fainting couch.

The ceremony was lovely. It was held on a secluded corner of the beach, near the water. It was by far the most intimate wedding I’ve ever attended. We all stood in a semicircle around the bride and groom, as if we were participants in the ceremony, not just witnesses. It felt like we were watching something greater than a single wedding ceremony – like what we were seeing was a manifestation of love in the cosmic sense, Love with a capital L. This is, of course, the effect one always hopes for when planning a wedding, but with all the kerfuffle over flowers and cakes and decorations, it sometimes gets lost in translation.

The reception was a lot of fun.  Wonderful people, excellent food, and live music played by some very talented friends and family members. Being a part of their celebration was truly nourishing to the soul.

Oh, and it was a costume wedding…I was dressed as Arwen ;)

The juxtaposition of these two events had me thinking a lot about, well, life basically. There are moments that are wonderfully happy – and there are those that rip your heart out. The goal isn’t to try to avoid the hard times. It’s to stay open to the lessons the challenges have to teach you, so you can fully appreciate just how profoundly beautiful the good times really are.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter whose turn it is to take out the dog, or whether you did exactly the right thing at work. What matters is that you allow yourself to really feel the love you’re receiving from the people you care about, and that you love them back. It matters that you’re present enough to take in the moments you have with them, and that you don’t just let those moments slip by because your mind is somewhere else, maybe composing that email to your boss or going over the next 10 things you have to check off your to-do list.

It matters that you live your life according to what you believe in. That you don’t  keep waiting until you’ve got all your ducks in a row to start living authentically. Listen to your intuitive wisdom. Do what you know in your heart to be right, even if everyone else in your life thinks you’re a total nutcase. I know, saying you need to follow your heart is a cliché – but that doesn’t make it any less true. So start doing it today.

Life is short (#YOLO!). It’s hard, but it’s also incredibly beautiful. Don’t run away from it. Don’t get so caught up in the minutiae that you forget to truly experience it. Feel all the feels. Let people in. Don’t allow fear to hold you back. And live well.

May 25, 2015
by Sarah
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Spirit Sandwich Podcast Episode 2 – Brandon Waloff

In this episode, I interview Brandon Waloff about his work to expose the importance of drinking and finding access to juices (especially green juices) that are truly fresh. It’s an awesome conversation about how being aware of and mindful about what we’re putting into our bodies can totally elevate our lives.

You can learn more about Brandon’s work at therawjuicealliance.com.

 And you can listen to or download the podcast below, on SoundCloud, or on iTunes. Take your pick!


Music:

Juice by Chance the Rapper
Where It’s At by Beck
She’s the One by Ray LaMontagne
Fever by The Black Keys

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May 21, 2015
by Sarah
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What Avengers: Age of Ultron Can Teach Us About Life

iron manDisclaimer: The following blog was written largely because I have a major celebri-crush on Chris Hemsworth. Thank you for indulging me.

Since seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron a week ago, I’ve been experiencing a mild obsession with the Marvel Universe. I’ve never been a comics geek, but I think  maybe I’m quickly becoming one. I’ve been a Star Trek nerd since grade school, so it’s just the next logical step, really.

I’ve come to realize that one of the reasons people love the Avengers so much – both the movies and the comics – is that the characters all have pretty challenging back stories, yet they’ve managed to overcome their pasts and reinvent themselves as superheroes. I mean. Black Widow was trained as a kid to be a professional killer. Captain America had a major inferiority complex. The Hulk – anger management, obviously. Thor had to learn to take his hubris down a notch or two. Hawkeye had a pretty unusual childhood as an oprhan growing up in a circus. And Iron Man had some daddy issues that, in my humble opinion, led to his narcissism, which is probably hiding the fact that he never felt like he was good enough for old Howard Stark. Plus, now there’s Scarlet Witch, who endured genetic testing/being a mutant with a mom who dies young and an absent dad, pick your back story (although if the movies follow the plot of the comics, Scarlet Witch’s triumph over adversity will only be temporary). And then there’s the Vision, an android whose whole creation is kinda messed up.

So with that in mind, here are a few lessons from the movie that we could all stand to take to heart.

Don’t let fear make your decisions

Okay, spoiler alert folks. There’s a scene in the movie where Hawkeye finds Scarlet Witch cowering in a mostly destroyed building while Ultron’s robot army is basically killing everyone in sight. It’s a critical moment for her – she’s deciding if she wants to play it safe and hide or pick herself up and fight. Hawkeye says to her, “[If you] stay in here, you’re good.  I’ll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger.”  Man, ya gotta love good melodrama.

A beat later, SW is outside kicking robot ass, and by the end of the movie, she’s a full-fledged Avengers inductee. It really is true that when we make decisions based on fear – when the avoidance of any potential pain is our guiding motivation – we make ourselves and our lives smaller.  But when we take risks and strive to reach our fullest potential, we can experience amazing things we never would have imagined.

Stick with the ones who stick with you

At another point, the Hulk goes on a very dramatic rampage in the middle of the New York City – there are news crews present and everything. So the public clearly witnesses the extent of how violent he can be. Eventually, Iron Man has to remove him from the scene. But the Avengers make it clear that, despite the incident, they’ve got the Hulk’s big, green back. In particular, Black Widow’s feelings for him clearly aren’t diminished by the events. The lesson being this – we all have dark nights of the soul, but that’s okay. We don’t need to hide how we’re feeling from the people who care about us, because the ones who love us will show up (and if they don’t, that’s on them, not us). Pretending everything is okay when it’s not only puts distance between ourselves and the people we love.

Learn from your mistakes

Ah, personal growth 101. SW and her twin brother Quicksilver start off the movie as allies of Ultron, eager to take a bite out of Iron Man. They hold him responsible for the deaths of their parents, who were killed by weapons developed by Iron Man’s company, Stark Industries. But as events unfold, they come to realize that they’ve made a major error in judgment (um, to put it lightly) by teaming up with Ultron, and switch allegiances, fighting instead with the Avengers.

So, don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Don’t be consumed by regret over the things in your past that, looking back, you’d do differently. All of our missteps have something to teach us, and that’s a crucial part of growing into your most authentic self.

Have patience with your process

In the earlier Iron Man movies, Tony Stark (the man inside the suit) has to come to terms with his narcissism. It’s arguably in part arrogance that gets him abducted in Iraq. Hubris that allows him to believe he’s the only one with the skill to build an Iron Man suit. And ego that leads him to drunkenly wreck his own home during his birthday party. But he always seems to get it together, and even allows himself to be vulnerable enough to demonstrate to Pepper Potts, his assistant, that he loves her.

Yet in Ultron, he’s still plagued by hubris – which is largely what gets the gang in trouble in the first place. He thinks he can singlehandedly save the world by creating Ultron, a robot who unexpectedly turns out to be sentient and murderous. Tony has come a long way from the self-absorbed playboy we see in the early scenes of the first movie, but he’s still working on this issue. And that’s okay! We all have challenges and soul lessons we need to learn in life, and they’re a major part of each of our journeys. We don’t have to learn these lessons overnight – we just need to do the best we can, and keep taking the next right step.

And there you have it! Everything you need to know in life, you can learn from superheroes ;)

May 7, 2015
by Sarah
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Episode 1 – Joani Blank

It’s episode one of the Spirit Sandwich podcast! Yay! In this episode, I interview Joani Blank, activist and founder of Good Vibrations, the chain of sex-positive, woman-friendly sex toy shops. She has some really great insights about our relationships with our bodies, and how that impacts our sexuality.

You can listen or download the podcast here, or find it on SoundCloud, if that’s your thing.

Music: Nasty, Naughty Boy by Christina Aguilera, I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred

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