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

Play

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 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 an abusive dad (at least in the comics, which I realize is a completely different universe). And Iron Man had daddy issues too 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). 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

Play

February 16, 2015
by Sarah
0 comments

Five Birthday Gifts Every 30-Something Woman Really Wants

As I write this, I’m less than 24 hours away from my next birthday. Yes, the earth has traveled around the sun yet again since the day this Aquarius made her first appearance.

If you’re anything like me, you know that birthdays can trigger massive attacks of nothing less than full-on panic. Especially when you stumble across videos of kids trying to make sense of an old school Game Boy (which was released in 1989, by the way – and that means you’re as old as shit).

It’s easy when another birthday roles around to find yourself comparing your life to the lives of the people you will inevitably stalk on Facebook when you wake up at 3am in a cold sweat, freaking out because you’re going to be 40 someday and your career is at a stand still and all your eggs are shriveling into dusty little raisins.

But instead of getting down on yourself, make your birthday – or any day, really – an opportunity to give yourself the gifts that will help you step into your power and thrive.

1. Knowledge of your awesomeness.

Have you seen the trailer for the new teen movie The DUFF? From what I can tell, it’s basically Pretty in Pink for the Pitch Perfect generation.  It’s about a girl whose classmates have ruthlessly labeled her a Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Her mission is to transform herself into someone considered to be “dateable.” To that end, her supportive guy friend reminds her, “You need to realize, you’re only as awesome as you think you are.”

This is actually pretty sound advice.  Most of us spend our twenties trying to be what we think the world wants us to be. And this makes sense. We’re on our own in the world for the first time, and we’re trying to live up to the cultural and familial expectations that we’ve internalized. But by the time we reach our thirties, we’re finally starting to understand who we are beneath all those layers of conditioning and oh-so-adorable neuroses. For many of us, our thirties are the first time we can really allow ourselves to start believing that we’re amazing (and totally dateable) just as we are, damn it!

2. They’re called boundaries.

What?? You mean you don’t have time to stay late at the office because you have to go to your son’s soccer game, bake two dozen cupcakes for your daughter’s class, and write the next installment of your popular yoga blog?

It really is okay to say no sometimes. It doesn’t make you a bad employee, a bad spouse, or a bad fill-in-the-blank.  You are just as worthy and valuable as all the people you bend over backwards trying to keep happy – so act like it! Showing up for the people you care about is important, but you’ve gotta make your own self-care a priority, too. Otherwise you’ll just be running on empty, and that’s not good for anyone. If you feel like you’ve given all you’ve got, don’t be afraid to drop the mic and walk off stage.

3. Faith in the process.

We live in a culture of go-getters. We’re all supposed to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get on with the business of becoming wildly successful. And while there are definitely advantages to that way of thinking, it can make us feel like pathetic failures if there comes a day when (God forbid!) we don’t have all our shit together.

By the time we reach our thirties, we’ve probably been through enough crap that we understand that life doesn’t always go as planned – and maybe we’re even starting to suspect that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing! It’s a good idea to have a general idea of where you want to go, but don’t be afraid of detours. Remind yourself that even when things don’t go as planned, there’s most likely an important lesson you can learn which, if taken to heart, will help you build a life that’s even more amazing than the one you were so certain you wanted.

4. Body love.

I can’t even. I could talk to you for literally hours on end about the travesty that is the media’s representation of female beauty and the ways in which it makes us feel like we have to diet ourselves into oblivion just to be considered acceptable human beings. We start to believe that unless we conform to ridiculous standards, we aren’t worthy of love or happiness (umm…let me refer you to the first item on this list).

The truth is, you are inherently valuable, just because you’re a human being! The number on the scale has nothing – I’m going to repeat that for emphasis – NOTHING to do with your value. So stop hating on it and show it some love. Whether it’s walking, hiking, jogging, yoga, playing with your dog, whatever – find a form of physical activity that you love and be grateful for all the amazing things your body lets you do. Get a massage. Try out a new hairstyle. Oh, and allow yourself to enjoy food! Good food nourishes the soul as much as the body, so don’t cheat yourself out of that experience.

If you can do this, then you can take all the energy and life force that you may currently be using to obsess over Dannon Lite nutrition labels and start channeling it into more worthwhile and life-affirming pursuits like building healthy relationships and following your creative passions. You have so much to offer the world, don’t hold yourself back!

5. Trust in your intuition.

During our twenties, most of us haven’t really grasped the fact that we all have a secret superpower called intuition. But by our thirties, we’ve begun to see what happens when you ignore that nagging voice in the back of your head. You know, the one that tells you that the guy you’re dating may not really be long-term-relationship material. Or that the job you’ve just been offered – which would require you to move 3,000 miles away – might just be one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to you.

There is a time and place for making pro-con lists. And it is often important to ask for advice from trusted friends and family members. But most of the time, our inner wisdom will tell us what’s right, if we can silence the mental chatter long enough to listen, and resist the temptation to endlessly second-guess what we know in our hearts to be true. Maybe you’re not even sure why you think something is right or wrong for you – and that’s okay. If you know something in that still, quiet place deep down, trust that!

So there you have it, ladies! Some of the best gifts you can give to yourselves. Now go out there and make me proud!

January 4, 2015
by Sarah
2 Comments

Do You Have the Resolve to Resolve Not to Resolve?

It’s 2015, people! I hope you all had a lovely celebration (and a minimal hangover). So, did you all make your resolutions? I didn’t! And I’ll tell you why. Because most of the time, resolutions just end up making me feel like crap. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have goals. Of course, goals are super important. And I do like the idea of starting the new year with a sense of purpose and optimism.

But that’s not what resolutions really are. For must of us, they’re just another way to remind ourselves of our shortcomings. All the fantastic things we’ve thus far failed to check off the ol’ bucket list. All the reasons why everyone has their shit together but us. So essentially, resolutions are like your Facebook newsfeed – except self-imposed and without the pics of fancy cupcakes that look like they were taken in the 70’s.

Here is a non-exhaustive and non-chronological list of some of the resolutions I’ve made over the years*:

  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight
  • Learn how to make a real pumpkin spice latte
  • Find a better job
  • Find a boyfriend
  • Lip sync with Jimmy Fallon
  • Learn to love spreadsheets
  • Learn to cook
  • Find a boyfriend
  • Star in a hit show on the CW where I save the day as a grown-up, crime-fighting Penny from Inspector Gadget. It would be called Penny Saver.
  • Thumb wrestle The Rock
  • Become a master at krav maga
  • Find a boyfriend

Have all of these come true? No. But some of them have – and not because I made resolutions.

Benchmarks are important. They help motivate us as we’re trying to make positive changes. But there’s something a little unforgiving about the word resolve. It doesn’t leave space for the unexpected. There’s no room in a resolution for you to adjust course if you find the path you’re on isn’t quite right for you, after all, or that it might take a little longer to get where you’re going than you’d expected. Resolve is good if you’re Scarlet O’Hara vowing never to go hungry again. But if you’re like me, resolve just doesn’t have enough flexibility, because life is not black and white.

So what’s the alternative? Well, one way to go is to just stop trying already and accept the fact that you will never accomplish your dreams, that life is just a series of pointless and monotonous days, one indistinguishable from the next.

OR…you can set goals for yourself while also not being a perfectionist. You can have a clear picture in your pretty little head of what it is you want to accomplish, but know that your best truly is enough.  Make a game plan, but keep in mind that you’re setting goals for yourself because you want to live your best life, not because you have to demonstrate your worth to other people (or to yourself). You are inherently lovable and valuable, exactly as you are – even if the only thing you ever achieve is the Guinness World Record for most episodes of Scandal viewed in one sitting.

And any time you start to doubt whether it’s really okay to be who you are, remember these timeless words from Eleanor Roosevelt:

I’m a bitch, I’m a tease
I’m a goddess on my knees
When you hurt, when you suffer
I’m your angel undercover
I’ve been numb, I’m revived
Can’t say I’m not alive
You know I wouldn’t want it any other way

 

*I did not actually make all of these resolutions.