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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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Category Archives: wildheart

Leaves Fall. And You Gotta Keep Raking Them. (And other metaphors for life).

This weekend I had my first experience with raking leaves. I know I know…I’ve been fortunate to have lived my whole life without ever having done yardwork.

But now that I’m in my new house, and I have both a front and a backyard with multiple trees, I realize that one must rake up that which falls.

So Saturday, I wake up early, knowing it’ll be sunny out, I write my list of chores I want to get done, walk in the garage to get my rake and gardening gloves and get to work.

Immediately I learn that raking leaves doesn’t look how I’ve seen it in the pictures or movies, with one big leaf pile, just begging for a kid to come jump in it with delight, but rather that raking is about having lots of little piles, all piling up in the section of the yard where those leaves fell.

I learned to be gentle with my rake so I don’t bring up the dirt and tear out the grass. I learn that some leaves can go at the base of the trees to act as mulch and some leaves need to go in a hefty bag and be taken out of the yard.

And as I finished with my first raking job, I felt proud. What was once a leaf covered yard is now a clean and clear grassy pasture. I could see the results. I watched it happen before my eyes.

And as I stood on my patio looking out at this grass I thought to myself “all in an afternoon’s work. Sweet. I did it.”

I went on about my day and woke up the next morning and looked out the window. And what did I see? Leaves everywhere. We had wind during the night and there were now more leaves on the grass than there were before I started raking the day before.

And I giggled to myself and thought…”yes…of course, because this is life!”

Just because we have one conversation, or feel like we’ve worked through a problem doesn’t mean it’ll never show up again. Just because I raked the leaves yesterday doesn’t mean I’ll won’t have to rake them tomorrow.

It just means that I’m engaging in the daily practice of what it is to handle the things in my life that need attention. And this applies to everything.

Relationships. Leaves. Mopping the floor. “Working it out” with our loved ones. But if we tend to the leaves and the garden, the grass remains alive, and that which we plant will grow.

Happy Tuesday friends. Happy Fall.

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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I started sweating as soon as I heard this…(on how to do impossible things)

 

Impossible Things- www.sallyhope.com

It was right after our two hour lunch and I heard some grumblings with some of the Master Kundalini Teacher Trainers.

It was more of a passing comment than a whisper, she was definitely not trying to keep it a secret. But what I heard sent me into a bit of a sweat and a slight panic.

These words might not mean that much to you (yet), but to me, I KNEW what was just around the corner when I heard “62 minutes of Sat Kriya.”

(enter terrified emoji face here)

Crap.

For those of you that don’t know, Kundalini is a type of yoga that uses body postures (usually held for what seems like an impossible amount of time), mantras (singing/chanting), mudras (hand positions), pranayam (breathing techniques), and bandhas (body locks…which basically just means squeezing a certain part of your body in a certain way for a certain amount of time) for the purpose of delivering you an experience of consciousness.

Some of you might be all like, huh? I don’t get it. And that’s totally cool because there actually aren’t a lot of great ways to describe what it is without using totally woo woo words like “soul” and “consciousness,” or without experiencing it for yourself. So for the sake of us talking about it, just roll with it and try not to let all those words throw you off.

That is all to say that Kundalini is a truth teller. It turns on the light to the dark corners of yourself. It uncovers the things that are hidden. Many say that it’s a way for you to truly meet your soul. This has been my experience. Things come to the surface that you can’t push down anymore, and it calls you forth to change and break the cycle of whatever is holding you back.

So here we are, after lunch, back in the yoga room and the Teacher says “62 minutes of Sat Kriya.”

Me and my Kundalini buddy look at each other with those knowing eyes of “oh crap…this is gonna suck.”

Sat Kriya is one of the most common meditations in Kundalini Yoga, and is known as the “everything Kriya” because it contains just about all the benefits of Kundalini yoga in one exercise.

Its main benefit is to excavate deep wounds from our early years and helps to heal mental and psychological imbalances. To learn more about it you can check it out here.

All this is great, but what that basically means for all of us in the room, is that we were going to be sitting there on our heels for 62 minutes straight with our arms above our heads, fingers clasped together, and saying out loud “sat” while pumping our naval in, and “nam” as we were releasing our naval.

This might not sound like much, but I dare you to try to do this for three minutes and see how it feels.

As the teacher was talking and the sweat was starting to drip from my brow, I knew I had a choice. I could complain and resist and make it easier on myself by bringing my arms down, or adjusting my legs, or I could commit and go for it.

I knew that the former would be painful. Like really painful. And hard. And challenging. And frustrating and annoying and boring. But I also knew that I was in this class to become a teacher. Someone who would 1) Know what it was like when my students were going through something painful; 2) Someone who does the hard work herself; and 3) Someone who walks up to the edge of pain and fear and discomfort…and then keeps walking.

So I chose the latter. I chose to commit. In that moment, I decided that no matter what (unless I was seriously going to give myself an injury) I wouldn’t bring my arms down.

So the timer starts and I raise my arms above my head. The first few minutes weren’t that bad. “I can do this” I thought. But by what I assume was minute 5 or 6, the terror sets in. The pain starts. It’s the first real wave of “I can’t do this” hits and then the thoughts start rolling like “I have 55 more minutes of this, how am I ever going to get through it,” and “I hate this, how much longer?”

I watched these thoughts happen, as they have many times before in these meditations, and I made a choice with these too. I figured I could either spend my time wanting this to be over, and resisting the experience, or I could spend my time just accepting it and finding the small ways to enjoy it, and at the very least, the small ways to not hate it.

So I switched the thoughts from “I hate this” to focus on the words “sat nam” (which basically just means “truth is my identity”) that I was saying during the meditation. Instead of fighting the time, I sunk into it, accepting it.

I know how this sounds. Even reading my own words back to me, I am reminded of every yoga and meditation article I’ve ever read…. “breathe into the present,” and “be here now,” and “accept where you are and feel the bliss.” And I’m rolling my eyes at these articles and myself at how cheesy they sound. But yet, sometimes there just aren’t other words to describe exactly what’s happening.

There were so many moments where I wanted to cry. Where the pain was so much that I didn’t think I could get through it. But every time that happened and I did get through it, I had the understanding that my pain isn’t in charge of me. And it’s not as permanent as it seems like it will be. And once you walk up to it, it disappears. And yes…even though it comes back, if you keep facing it, it keeps disappearing.

This made me wonder how many other things in our lives are like this. How many things we want to avoid or turn away from, or how many things we don’t do (that we know we should do) because we’re so afraid to be in pain. Or how many things cause us pain, and we want to do something to fix it or alleviate it, like in this case, put your metaphorical arms down or eat that metaphorical carton of ice cream.

And this questioning reminded me of something one of our Master Trainers said, which was that the way through any block was to go right up to the biggest pain that you want to run away from, and breathe in one more breath and on the other side of that breath is freedom.

Bliss is on the other side of challenge. (tweet this!)

I don’t know if I can fully get on board with the word “bliss” yet (even though conceptually I think it’s rad), but freedom is something I understand. And in this case, I got it from keeping my arms up for 62 minutes. I got freedom from being a victim of my own pain. Freedom from my beliefs of myself that I’m a quitter and I don’t see things through. Freedom from the thought that “this is too hard and I can’t do it.”

And even though my arms hurt like hell, that freedom was well worth the pain.

There are so many lessons learned when you do things that are uncomfortable. When you walk to the edge and know you’re ok to keep going. And perhaps one of the things I appreciate the most about Kundalini is that it asks the question: How do I respond when things in my life hurt?

For me, every day is different. Sometimes I hold my arms up the whole time, and sometimes I collapse in a sobbing heap. Sometimes the answer is to rest and be kind to myself, and sometimes the answer is to commit and keep going.

But no matter what I choose, I have a sense of satisfaction knowing that for those 62 minutes, I did something I thought was impossible.

And that makes me know that all the other things I think are impossible, just aren’t that way.

Thank you for reading this far. It is my goal to share stories that show real life. The down in the dirt moments. The victorious moments. The moments where you were so embarrassed you thought you wouldn’t survive. Or so sad you thought you’d never recover. But then you do, and you live to tell the world about it. That’s what this is all about. We’re not alone.

So now, what about you? Have you ever gotten through something you thought for sure you couldn’t get through? Did you come out on the other side better, happier, clearer? If so I want to hear about it in the comments below.

What did you get through and how did you do it?

And as always, if you like this article, please share it with your friends and if you aren’t already on the mailing list, make sure to pop your name and email in the box below.
XO

P.s. Here’s a pic from the day after Sat Kriya. Back at it at Kundalini class.

sally kundalini whites - www.sallyhope.com

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