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Motorcycle-riding renegade life coach and leader of the Wildheart Revolution. Loves: Hot-pink lipstick, puns, guns, crosswords, two-steppin', and french manicures.

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Am I still pretty?

Love Yourself. Live Wildheart. www.sallyhope.com

This weekend at graduation from my Kundalini Teacher Training, I got a comment from my friend’s boyfriend that made me feel all kinds of things.

I saw him on the street after the graduation ceremony ended, at which time, I had already taken my white turban off and let my hair down which was flowing in the afternoon wind. Correction…my turban had fallen off during a hug, and I never put it back on.

(Side note: In the Kundalini tradition, yogis wear head coverings, often turbans, but really anything that covers the crown of your head, for holding your energy in and creating a sense of focus during meditation as well as other things you can read here. I do it because it I feel like I have more focus during yoga when I do, and because it makes me feel like I’m being reverent to the practice. Also wearing white and the turban is something I don’t do in any other part of my life, so putting it on feels like a sacred practice. Just so you know…if you decide to take Kundalini classes from me you aren’t required to wear white or turbans unless you want to. :) )

This was significant because the entire time I was in this training, all seven months, I don’t think I ever showed anyone my hair. I had it wrapped from day one until the last day. And what he said was such a reflection of some feelings I had had throughout the entire training.

When I ran into him he said, “Oh wow! You look GREAT!! I mean, [my girlfriend] told me you were a really beautiful girl but I had only ever seen you in the white get-up.”

In this moment, a whole slew of emotions rushed to the surface. Emotions that I myself grappled with the entire time during training.

Which was…am I still beautiful without all the “things” that make me “beautiful.”

All the hair and the makeup and the accessories and the successful business and my rock n roll days, traveling, motorcycle riding, Wildheart history and the “outfits” and nice clothes. Am I still pretty, am I still worthy, do people still want to be my friend if I’m just…me. Do people want to get to know me if I have nothing other than my quiet presence, heart, and spirit to show them?

This whole process of teacher training has been an interesting one. I decided, going in, that I was going to go in bare, blank, and as “slate-wiped-clean” as possible. I showed up on the first day at 4:45 am, in all whites, a turban, and no make-up. No jewelry. No accessories. No “outfit.”

This experiment started a bit before the training started. I was wearing less or no make-up already and questioning when I felt the need to put it on (when I thought I looked sad or tired or wanted to impress people or be thought of as cool or beautiful or when I felt insecure). And continued throughout the training, where I let my leg and armpit hair grow out, and almost never wore make-up, and where I tried (and succeeded) in doing a 40 day cleanse/diet where you eat only green foods.

This stuff might all sound weird. Or hippy. Or woo woo. But to me, it was all an experiment about what it feels like to get to ground zero. To know what it feels like to do something I’ve never tried before. What my body feels like with the hair on it that was intended to be there by grand design? What does it feel like to not lead with all the “cool” and “great” things I’ve accomplished. What does it feel like when I eat foods that have not been processed in any way shape or form, or to not eat any animal products at all. To have no caffeine or alcohol (not a huge drinker so this wasn’t an issue). And what does it feel like when someone sees my hairy leg or armpit or goes out to dinner with me and I order broccoli. How am I loving myself in these moments?

All of this experimenting called me forth to learn a few very important things.

To learn to love and value myself no matter what, put my ego aside and stand behind my decisions no matter how weird or strange they seemed to someone else.

I’m not surprised that this has been such a theme for me. I feel like the last few years have really been bringing me the lesson to love and honor myself no matter what. And I should have known this seven-month journey would be peppered with these lessons when on the first day of class I was waiting in line for the bathroom, and one girl pushed right passed me to the gorgeous 20 something in front of me and said to her, “wow you are really beautiful. I’m just such a lover of beauty and I had to say something.” And then she looked at me and looked away.

In times like this, whether they are real or imagined, we must learn to see our own beauty and self-worth that has nothing to do with the way we look. The beauty that lives in our spirits, our souls, our hearts, and our “cosmic twinkle” (as my dad, the pediatrician used to call it).

That beauty that can’t be measured by a good outfit or a shining smile with perfect, white teeth. The beauty that where you know, deep down, that you are lovable, worthy and wonderful whether or not you have a flat stomach, and a wrinkle free face, or whether or not someone just broke up with you.

I think Yogi Bhajan said it best: “You do not understand your features. Your features are not your beautiful nose, your beautiful cheeks, beautiful lips, and so on. These are not your features. Your features are your beautiful behavior, your beautiful character, your beautiful health, your beautiful spirit, your beautiful advice, your beautiful wisdom, your beautiful inspiration.”

I can honestly say that most of the time, I did not FEEL beautiful during the training. I did not FEEL attractive. And when that happened, I had to dig deep down and feel my own self-worth despite those feelings. To truly see and love myself no matter what I looked like. Or how sad or tired I looked or how introverted I felt. And in doing that, I felt proud. I felt proud knowing that I wasn’t leaning on my old “go-to” to feel popular, and likable. I felt proud knowing that some people could still see my spark. I felt proud that I never wavered from my commitment to myself even when my friends made comments about my turban or couldn’t really look me in the eye when I was wearing it.

In life we are often faced with scenarios that make us feel less-than. Where we compare ourselves to others. Or where we feel invisible or brushed aside. Where we feel unseen or unvalued. And it’s in those times, more than any other, that we must find our own light and our own beauty.

Because at the end of the day, no one else will ever be able to make you truly feel something that you don’t already believe to be true. (Tweet This)

So this is the call to see where in your own life you are feeling small, invisible, and not wonderfully perfect and beautiful, and examine it. Maybe you want to try an experiment of your own to find that love inside yourself. Maybe you want to wear less make-up too. Maybe you want to try to strip it all back in your own life too.

But mostly, I want to hear from you. Have you ever felt like this? Less beautiful than other people? Less worthy? Invisible? If so, tell me in the comments below. I’d love to know:

When have you ever felt this way?
What did you do to move through it?

I would also like to make a request. If you know someone who would appreciate this message of self-love, acceptance, and worthiness, please forward this article along. I truly believe that the world will be a better place if we all start loving ourselves a little bit more. Help spread the love by clicking the “share” button at the top/side of the article.

XO
Sally

P.s. I’m doing something NEW!! Soon I will be opening an Online Kundalini Studio with live, streaming, yoga classes. It’s gonna be rad. Promise. Get on this list to make sure you’re in the loop when that goes live.

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When you complete something

www.sallyhope.com

 

Seven months ago, I was at my friend Wendy’s house, washing my hair at night so I didn’t have to wake up an extra 30 minutes early to my 3 am alarm that was to be going off in a few short hours from that moment.

Wendy’s house. The place where I moved to about ten years ago when a rock n roll band from LA plucked me out of my Santa Barbara life, and gave me the stage to bloom on.

The place where I lived until after the band broke up several years later. The place where I wrote and recorded my very first song. And where I grew from the girl who played the game of life, to the girl who was the conductor of the game of life.

So it’s not surprising to me that here I am, 7 months later, writing this to you from Wendy’s house. In my old room. A 250 square foot pool house, with views of the bird fountain, pool, trees, and spanish villa style courtyard.

It’s not surprising to me that on this day, another major moment is about to happen.

This weekend, I will graduate from my Kundalini Yoga training program. I will get recognized for all of my hard work, and my sweat and my tears. For all 7 trips back and forth to Santa Monica, the sleeping on couches, the waking up at 3 am to get to Sadhana on time, only to give it everything I got not to fall asleep during the whole thing.

For all the times I pushed through 30 more minutes of a yoga posture I thought I couldn’t do for one more second. For showing up even when I was sick, sad, upset, exhausted. For constantly putting myself out there even when I felt like I wanted to hide.

For learning, listening, singing. For learning a new language. For packing a lunch when I was on day 35 of a 40 day “eat only green foods” cleanse. For making a new soul sister friend. For sharing my tears when they showed up.

For becoming a yogi. For becoming the type of person who can no longer turn a blind eye to the truths inside myself. For becoming…a teacher. A vessel through which these teachings will now come through.

I will be recognized for completing something life changing and challenging. And it feels…amazing.

There have been so many things I’ve learned these past seven months. And learning about Kundalini is only one part of that.


I think when you learn something new, and are a complete beginner, you are humbled. And I was. Walking into the yoga studio seven months ago, felt like the first day in the dorms in college. Small fish in a very big and unfamiliar pond, without any fish friends to swim around with.

And then the more you swim, the more you know how to survive. And then you realize, that you’re actually a big beautiful fish after all, and that you always have been but never knew it.

Tomorrow, I will wake up at 3am. Put on my Kundalini white clothing (Kundalini yogis wear white to be “neutral” and also because white expands your auric radiance at least a foot according to some schools of thought), put my hair in a bun and a white head covering on. I will show up with no make-up, no matter how tired I look. I will get in the car and drive 45 minutes in order to make it to Sadhana in time at 4:45 am. I will be in Sadhana for two and a half hours. Chanting, meditating, and doing physical postures. I will then let the leaders take the day where it needs to go until 6 pm, including rolling burritos and feeding the homeless in downtown Santa Monica.

Sunday…I will graduate. In the presence of my fellow teachers and our loved ones and families. I will grab a certificate and look at it knowing that I just completed something I’m really really proud of.

Something that fed my soul, softened my edges, and made me even brighter and lighter than I was before. Something I committed to and stuck with.

It’s hard not to be a little sad that this chapter is over. There will never be another Level 1 teacher training for me. I will never again be required to do 2.5 hours of Sadhana in the morning for 21 days. I will never learn this stuff for the first time ever again.

I have no idea what’s next. But my heart is so full thinking about it. Thank you for reading these words and being on the journey with me. I imagine that there will be a lot of fun stuff that will come out of these trainings, but for today, I am sitting here in pride, and if nothing else ever comes of these trainings, that is good enough for me.

I did it. Congrats to me.

And what about you? Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the most difference in our lives. Are you trying a new morning routine? Are you completing something you’re proud of? Even if you’re not, I want you to find something and share it in the comments below.

Fill in the blank: “One thing I am proud of today is _______”

XO

Sally Hope

P.s. One of the next things I’m committing to is virtual online Kundalini yoga classes. It’s gonna be rad. Promise. Get on this list to make sure you’re in the loop when that goes live.

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Happiness. Revisited.

How to be happy. www.sallyhope.com

The inspiration is just not hitting. And I don’t like anything I’m writing.

You know how sometimes you’re just in the creative flow and sometimes you’re just not? And when you’re not, trying to be creative is like trying to drag a 13 year old to a city hall meeting. It’s boring. And you hate it. And you want to throw a tantrum. And leave. And flip your parents the bird and be like “I’m outta here!”

As I write this I feel like that 13 year old. Kind of over it. Kind of irritable. Definitely ready for a nap or to watch TV and just do something else other than sit here and write.

And then I remember that I made a commitment to you five weeks back. A commitment that promised that I would write to you every week. That not only was that important for me to be connected to you again, but it was important for me to be connected to my creative self again, after taking what felt like a forever-long hiatus.

And then I remember something I learned in Kundalini Teacher Training, which is that commitment is the first first step to happiness.

And then I remember how resistant I’ve always been to that word, as though commitment meant shackles and tying me down to something I can’t get out of. Being stuck without options. Or…just stuck in general.

And then I remember all the times in my life where I broke my commitments, or never did things where I had to actually stay committed. Things like turning down the lead in Wizard of Oz (Dorothy, yes) after I worked so hard to get the roll. Or turning down the only girl spot in a very special hand-selected mentorship in writing one summer in high school. Or how I said yes to the Master’s program at Cal Poly in marriage and family therapy (after spending over 8 months trying to get in) only to then say no so I could pursue coaching.

And how those things always gave me such pride. As though I was taking the road less traveled. Which is true in some senses, but in my life, the road less traveled would actually be the one in which I honor the commitments to myself and others.(For the record I’m happy with the choices in my life thus far.)

And so I sit here, writing to you even though I feel like a 13 year old, who doesn’t feel like it. Humbled from it being day 23 of a 40 day commitment I made to myself to do a specific Kundalini yoga set and meditation every day. And feeling happiness because I’m doing what I said I would do.

There is something to be said to keeping your word. To being in integrity with the decisions that you make to yourself and other people. And maybe, just maybe my Kundalini teachers are right that commitment is the first step to happiness.

There’s a certain amount of freedom within structure. 

I definitely feel happier typing these very last words to you than I did 15 minutes before when I was ready to throw my computer in the pool while thinking to myself “they probably won’t notice if I don’t write this week. I’m sure it’s fine.”

But it’s not fine.

Do what you say you’re going to do. Be in integrity with your commitments to yourself and others. Experience happiness. (TWEET THIS!)

Note to self.

How about you? Have you had a rocky relationship with the word commitment? Have you been able to find happiness within your own commitments to yourself and others?

If so I want to hear about it in the comments below. Answer these questions:

“My relationship with commitment is _________” and then “One thing I want to commit to this week is ________.”

And if you know someone who needs to hear this message, please “like” and “share” it with your friends by clicking the little buttons on the sidebar above. (You rock, thank you.)

Your sister in happiness (and commitment),

Sally

P.s. One of the next things I’m committing to is virtual online Kundalini yoga classes. It’s gonna be rad. Promise. Get on this list to make sure you’re in the loop when that goes live.

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When you think you’re no good. But then you are.

Don't let your song die in you - www.sallyhope.com

“Why don’t you just play something and I’ll sing along,” he said. Which was something in our ten years of knowing each other and 4 years of being in a rock n roll band together, had never happened.

We weren’t a “jam” type of band back in the day. We were a band that had songs already brought to the table (from him) and then the rest of the band would learn to play them.

Which suited me fine at the time because I thought he was brilliant, and I didn’t think I was very good at music. I didn’t know the scales. I didn’t know how to riff. I couldn’t tell you what key we were in or where, other than the basic notes, my hands were on the fret-board. I knew how to be in a band, but I didn’t think I was any good at writing songs.

I’ve always played music differently. By heart. By ear. By feel. And that was always good enough for me, especially when I wrote most of my songs alone in my bedroom.

So when he said to “just play something” I immediately got a rush of old familiar feelings. My cheeks got hot, I felt like a 13 year old with braces going to the junior high dance for the first time. I froze. And felt like I didn’t know how to play. And all I knew wasn’t good enough.

But then…..I just played something.

Something I thought was a stupid song I’d written around the time I joined the band. A stupid song that I thought had stupid lyrics and that I sounded stupid singing. So stupid that I didn’t even want to sing the lyrics because I thought they were so embarrassing.

I thought for sure he would be like “ehhhhh….can you play something else,” but instead he sat up straight on the couch, pointed his finger straight at me, and in his cockneyed brittish accent he asked “WHAT IS THAT! It’s beee-UU-iful.” Then “it’s so heartbreaking and so….real.”

Shyly I said “it’s my song. I wrote it forever ago. It’s not very good.”

He didn’t agree.

We spent the rest of the night, finishing the song, which he barely tweaked. We added some harmonies, he added a verse, and it turned out so beautiful that I thought he might both cry and also kick me out of our newly formed band-for-fun for not showing him this song sooner, and so beautiful that I looked at him shocked, like I had heard it for the first time.

Last night…we played it again. And again. And again.

And it was that bittersweet feeling when you are so so happy that you are doing something so fun and fulfilling but also so sad that you spent so much of your time thinking it/you weren’t any good.

I’ve lived with the stigma for almost 15 years that I wasn’t very good at music. I knew I was great at performing, and good enough at playing bass, but somewhere along the line I picked up that I wasn’t very good at guitar or songwriting.

And it made me shy to play and shy to sing and shy to share. And as I’m playing now, although I’m no Joni Mitchell, I’m actually a lot better than I thought I was. And I can hold my own. And I can write songs dammit! And I have great ideas.

And I would have never known if I hadn’t picked up the guitar again and just played something.

Once you play music it never leaves you. And much is the same in life in general. Who we are, deep down, is always there. Even when you’ve sold all your guitars and sworn that you would never play again. Even when you’ve packed up your fringy leather skirt and sparkly sequined shorts into your parents storage unit next to your baby blanket and your 6th grade diary.

Even when you bury yourself so far down that you hardly remember you existed, you are still there. The embers burning below, just waiting for you to break out the song you never showed anyone before, so you can set the rest on fire.  

And this reminds me of how many things in our lives are like this. How long some of us go thinking we aren’t any good, or we’re too embarrassed to show our art and creations because we think they are stupid.

And then I’m reminded of what a shame this is.

What if the next hit song is buried inside you. (TWEET THIS)

Or the next revolution. Or the next charity that helps millions of people. What if you’re the next Mother Teresa or the next Steve Jobs. What if you’re the next best selling author, but the world will never know because you’re too shy, embarrassed and scared to just start playing something.

So this is the battle cry for us all. The cry for us all to truly learn how to love, honor and SEE ourselves as beautiful, creative and wonderful beings who have an arsenal of amazing things to share.

Here is your permission to JUST START PLAYING…something. Will you?

And now I want to hear from you. Do you feel like there is something that you haven’t been sharing with the world? Do you feel like you’ve forgotten how amazing you are? Do you look at your life and say “I used to be so awesome?” If so…what do you do about it and how do you find that greatness inside again?

Leave a comment below and give me allllll of your insider secrets. :) And if you like this article, make sure you like it (at the top left of the page) and share it with anyone you think needs to hear this message today.

“Don’t let your music die in you.” – Wayne Dyer (TWEET THIS!)

Just. Start. Playing.

XO ,

Sally

P.s. One of my next things is virtual online Kundalini yoga classes. It’s gonna be rad. Promise. Get on this list to make sure you’re in the loop when that goes live.

P.p.s. Wanna hear the song?? Check out this old recording I did.

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What’s on the other side of something you didn’t want to do

amiabadyogi- www.sallyhope.com

Today is day 9 in a row of my 40 day “sadhana” (pronounced SOD-NUH) which, to be honest, has a different meaning to me every time I say the word. I looked it up in my Kundalini Teacher Trainer’s book and at the simplest form, a “sadhana” is a daily spiritual practice. 

Which sounds simple enough until you keep reading. When you keep reading, you find out that the most recommended way to do this particular Kundalini Sadhana is that it is not only a “daily spiritual practice,” but also one that they recommend starts before sunrise, at the same time every day, and happens right after you take your cold shower and put on loose fitting white clothes. (In an ideal world, of course).

I don’t know about you, but when it’s still dark outside, and I’m just awakened early from a cozy sleep in my bed, the last thing I want to do is take a cold shower. BUT, that’s what they recommend to get the circulation going.

I have to be honest, just getting up before sunrise and trying to get on my mat at the relatively same time every day is quite a feat for me, so I feel like throwing the cold water in there might just be a bit “putting the cart before the horse.” Or rather, might be making the horse want to go back to bed without ever getting the cart from the stall at all.

I try to be a “good yogi” but I sometimes resist it. Or rather, I question it. Like “wait…why am I doing this again?” And “if I’m not dedicated to doing this 10 hours a day for the rest of my life on top of a mountain is it even worth it?” And what does “good yogi” even mean anyway?

And even more than that…when do I push through what is uncomfortable for the sake of transformation and when do I go back to bed because I could use the rest?

So…I peeled myself out of bed after a few snoozes this morning. The first 5:30 am alarm was, for lack of a better word, alarming. That kind of alarm that shakes you awake suddenly and abruptly from delicious deep sleep to wide awake panic. There was no easing into it. No warning awake moments. It was straight up dream and then straight up awake. And so I snoozed a few times to give myself some time to decide whether or not I was going to uphold my commitment or not.

By 6:00 am I decided that yes, I was going to uphold my commitment of my morning sadhana. And so I get up and start the shower and wait for it to warm up. Feeling proud for getting up, and a bit bad for not wanting to do a cold shower, again, but then I got over that real fast. One step at a time I tell myself.

Get into the groove. One change at a time. The only way to build a house is “brick by brick.”

After the shower I towel off, put on my sadhana outfit, which basically looks like my yoga outfit, or my walking outfit, or my “I’m not putting on a full outfit so I can sit on the couch and do my work for the day” outfit and I get on my mat.

I begin the kriya (the yoga “set” for the day…or rather, the completed set of actions that go in a specific order for a specific amount of time for a desired outcome). And I blast the song “I am Happy. I Am Good” from my little computer speakers while I begin, and a little smile upturns my lips. I can feel it in my cheeks. Uplifting them.

It is literally hard to be in a bad mood when there’s four minutes straight of “I am happy I am good” coming at you.

And for a brief moment, I look out the french doors that are draped with bougainvillea and look out into the yard with the bird bath fountain, and the trees, and the pool, and beautiful rose bushes…and I feel peace.

I hear the chirping birds, the cars pass by. And I feel happy. And good. And all the stress, worry, conflict, struggle, decisions up in the air, drama, and feelings I woke up with, just weren’t there. Not in that moment they weren’t.

Even though this moment did pass, it was still imprinted into my psyche. It showed me that it’s possible. That shuniya state, or state of calmness, stillness and presence and where peace is possible. And that indeed I can be happy and be good even when things are hard, sad, or tough. Even if just for a moment. Which is better than nothing. And I’ll take it.

And this made me remember why we wake up at 5:30 to get on the mat. Or do anything we set out to do. Or uphold any of our commitments to ourselves. Because enough moments of doing that, enough moments of busting through the blocks, enough moments of allowing yourself to see peace, make you realize that in fact, you are happy and you are good. And the more moments you realize that, the more happy and good your life is in general. You are calm and you are peaceful. Deep down in your core if you let yourself access it and get quiet enough to see it.

Not everyone has to get on a yoga mat at 5:30 to see this. I truly believe that we all find our own ways to happiness, and no way is better than any other.

But do consider that perhaps a slice of yours lies right on the other side of something you didn’t think you wanted to do.

What might that be for you right now? I want to hear about it in the comments below.

Have you ever done something you originally didn’t want to do and it added value to your life? Have you found a moment of happiness in a least likely place? If so I want to hear about it blow.

See you tomorrow at 5:30 am.

#sleepyyogi

Sally

P.s. Just wanted to make the note I don’t think there is such a thing as a “good” or “bad” yogi. I was just running you through my thoughts. I feel that as long as we are acting in alignment with our best selves, doing the best we can everyday, and loving ourselves, we’re winning at life.

P.p.s. There is no one way to do sadhana or do life. Find something, one thing, that you want to try, and try doing it. That’s Wildheart.

 

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