Category Archives: Friends

Why I’m Glad I Stayed…

Yesterday I had one of those days…
I went to my friend’s magical island.
I didn’t have my phone because it crashed that morning.
What I did have was a swimsuit, a dog, and a willingness to receive the day.
I felt groggy and had a headache from too much wine the night before.
My heart knew though, I needed the island and the friends there.
I needed to say fuck it to getting my cell phone set up in time.
Of course the normal panic of “what if so-and-so tries to contact me?”
I even went through all the texts I would miss out on that day.
The missed opportunities to post on Instagram and Facebook.
Missed opportunities to check in on what my friends were doing.
I made an intention to surrender.
I surrendered to feeling naked without my phone.
I surrendered to cherishing time with my dog and the people around me.
I am an introvert so after paddling and hanging poolside with the group, a little panic started setting in…
I immediately wanted to jump off the island and swim to shore, to my car, and go home.
But I couldn’t. For one I had a dog. And two … all my stuff?
My body felt tired and creaky and in need of rest and space and alone.
Alone, alone, alone.
I just wanted some time alone. I felt it deeply.
I meandered up the path to the tea house on the hill.
Perfect: yoga mats were draped over the porch banister of the tea house.
I took one and set it down on the floor.
Daisy the dog circled around the porch, watching birds and passersby on sailboats.
I liked to think she was also keeping watch, for me.
Bikini-clad, I felt the breeze against my skin.
I began to move in a way that felt natural to my body in that moment.
I moved, I sat, I breathed, I moved, I sat some more.
Daisy came and went, licked my feet when I sat.
Finally, after who knows how much time had passed, I laid down.
I draped my sarong over my shoulders and torso, unfurled my arms and hands by my sides, and gently closed my eyes.
I slipped into sweet slumber while the sounds of Daisy’s pitter patter on the porch and the chirping of birds lulled me in and out of this state.
I heard the motor of a boat every so often.
It didn’t bother me.
I welcomed it.
Here I was – so free.
No one knew where I was. No one could reach me. No one could find me.
No one, except the two little girls on the island that day.
They were 3 and 5.
I started feeling the thump thump of their running feet coming up the stairs of the tea house.
One of them squealed with delight: “Oh it’s Daisyyyyy!”
And I was tickled with delight to be brought out of my slumber by such dreamy innocence.
So I stayed.
I stayed on the island when my introvert-self screamed to get out and hide and be alone.
It’s like what we learn in meditation: when we stay, the real work occurs.
When we stay, we allow the softening to happen.
When we stay, we are more able to receive each moment as a gift.
AND when I stayed I got to go for a sunset sail with friends and Daisy.
I’m so glad I stayed.

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An Education: Thoughts on Closing CT Bowspring.

As I write this I am in the midst of a transition. Although it could be argued: aren’t we always in transition at any moment of our lives?

 

I moved to CT in November 2013 and was eager to find my new yoga home and community in Fairfield County – a place that felt so familiar to my childhood and adolescent self but as an adult felt like new territory.

 

Through mutual friends I was introduced to the owner of a new studio in Westport. We clicked and I was hired on the spot.

 

And so began my teaching career in CT. I soon took on up to 6 weekly classes at the studio and found my way into my first yoga home here. As some of my students there liked to say, I found my church.

 

Eight months later, August 2014, I learned that the studio had less than a month left before it would shut its doors. My heart sank. I lost a job and would miss the students, the ritual and routine that helped me make the transition to my life in CT.

 

I felt stranded until I found myself at a beautiful barn-like studio in Wilton. October 2014 I took my first Bowspring class and haven’t looked back since. It resonated so deeply with all the shit I was working through with body image and healing the residue from my eating disorder. I dove deep into the practice, immersed myself in a new community, and adopted this practice in my teaching. I even had the fortunate opportunity to teach at this special space.

 

It was a short ride before I learned in May 2015 that they too would be shutting their doors. Bummed didn’t even begin to describe the way I felt about this loss. It felt sudden and I was afraid because not only were we losing the space but my two teachers announced they would be moving.

 

In September 2015 CT Bowspring made a brave attempt to resuscitate the community and provide a space to practice. We prayed we would retain students and somehow – it sometimes felt as if we’d need a bit of magic – attract new ones. We, perhaps naively, had the vision that we could show the world how innovative and effective Bowspring was. At least I did.

 

And now here we are just 2 days short of officially shutting our doors.

 

I feel sad, frustrated, angry, hopeless, and defeated. Admittedly I also feel relief because the path to this difficult decision was so murky and exhausting. I feel responsible for not being able to hold it together and for not being able to provide a house of belonging for our students.

 

Our student base is modest in number but deep in connection with each other and I wish I had a magic want to house that connection for them. (Someday though…)

 

My ego is also a bit bruised by the fact that in the three years I have lived here I have been involved with three studios that have shut their doors. And with each one I feel more and more vested – especially this last one. AND I trust that there is no better education than experience. I have learned so much working with the partners and teachers of CT Bowspring. Sometimes we all got along and sometimes we were at each other’s throats – often brought on by the frustrations of 8 people with 8 different visions, trying to run a business together. Live and Learn.

 

Ultimately we all shared the same passion to explore and SHARE how the body moves through space with each other and our dear students; even if it meant we looked like weirdos to the outside world. It is not uncommon to twerk in slow motion in a Bowspring class.

 

In keeping with the spirit of my love for all things cheesy, I want to share this with the teachers and students of CT Bowspring:

 

You held space for me to grow. You held space for me to stand up for myself. You held space for me to be angry and frustrated. You held space for me to experiment (and dance) in class. You held space for me to be more open to the way I was so hard on myself for years. You held space for me to soften when I saw YOUR hearts softening. You held space for me to see how strong I am when I saw YOUR strength. You held space for me to slow down and be gentle. You held space for me to feel like I belong.

 

I feel like we (where we = anyone who has taken a deep dive into Bowspring) are all in on this crazy secret. Bowspring. And it’s not just the alignment that we’ve been privy to, but the encouragement to be our own badass authentic selves – the dark AND the light – and to embrace who we are and what we’ve got rather than trying to fit a mold of what we should be.

 

You teachers and students of Bowspring WORLDWIDE remind me to do that every day. And even though we may not have a dedicated space (for the moment) here in CT we still hold each other accountable to keep up the good work.

 

Let’s keep up the good work, ok? 

With deepest love and admiration. MC

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Forgive and Let Live

“Forgiveness clears out the old weeds and lets the sunlight in.”
– from friend and soul teacher, Josh Kane

My friend was sharing with me about his recent reconnection with an ex-girlfriend, or in his words a “past love.” I prefer his term past love as it holds more reverence and respect.

His experience was such that he felt a genuine joy from talking to this woman who I am sure at one point or another hurt him in some way. But he expressed that because of his ability to forgive her, he was finally able to derive joy and learning from the simple experience of reconnecting and hearing that she was on a much better path. He felt happy not only for his past love, but also for himself.

There was no filter, no ulterior motive, no agenda. What existed in its most pure and powerful form was forgiveness.

It got me thinking about my own experience with past loves. About how I can’t reach out with an open heart until all has been forgiven. And it’s not that I feel compelled to remain best buds with my exes (believe me, I have tried and failed), but should the occasion occur where we are prompted to engage in casual conversation, or perhaps call upon one another for a family tragedy, it’s nice to know you can interact with integrity and respect. No agenda. No ulterior motives.

I want you to think about how it feels to hold a grudge. Come on – we’ve all been there, I know you’ve done it. I have! When we hold a grudge, when we hold onto the way someone hurt us, when we hold onto the OLD STORY, we perpetuate and live in the old patterns and habits. Even if we have found a new partner, new friends, or a new career. When we hold a grudge we are doing ourselves the greatest disservice: we are depleting our own energy (and time!) by festering on what might have been instead of relishing in what is.

How can we appreciate the person, the love, the compassion that is presented right in front of us when we are stuck churning over past pain?

I don’t want to discount experiencing feelings to their fullest. In fact, I realize the necessity to feel our full spectrum of feelings in order to be able to forgive. When we suffocate the hurt and pretend we are hunky dory, that’s when forgiveness can seem to be eons away. We build ourselves the proverbial “wall.”

Every forgiveness will not lead to a restored friendship or even an amicable relationship between past loves. Sometimes all it means is that you forgive someone in your heart and let live. You let them live their life and you go on living yours.

The big difference however is that when you live your life you no longer carry the old story, the resentment, the anger, or perhaps even the fear that a wrong-doing will happen to you again.

You are OK with the fact, with the plain and simple truth, that it’s highly probable someone in your life will hurt you again. And again, and again, and again.

Forgiveness benefits the other person, absolutely. But when we forgive we are actually giving ourselves a beautiful gift. We are giving ourselves permission to proceed forward. It is not that we forget those who have crossed our paths, loved us and hurt us – no, they stay with us like a dear old shoe. But we can move forward with grace, so that we can approach that person with respect and truth. And so that we can treat ourselves with utmost respect and truth.

It is in this way that when we enter into new relationships and friendships we recognize what our values are. So that we can surround ourselves with the best possible people.

For some reason I keep thinking back to a particular past love. Let’s call him Tyler.

Tyler and I had what you would call a whirlwind romance. We fell in love hard and quickly. The relationship lasted about two years and seemed to crumble just as fast as it was built. Of course in retrospect, I see that it was built on very dissimilar values and a lack of truthful communication.

In the end there was so much hurt. This was the first time I really felt that sensation of my heart being ripped out of my chest. Torn into shreds. And then stomped on by angry elephants.

Tyler and I reconnected about a year after our break up and of course we hurt each other again. Or really, I hurt him. Why? Because I had never forgiven him. What followed was a slew of who could hurt the other person more, with him finally coming out “on top” with a mean email to beat all mean emails in life. An email that made me feel like a worthless piece of shit. The communication stopped there. Right in its tracks. I realized that responding to him in a similar manner would do me no good. Would only perpetuate the hurt. But then what? What was next?

It has taken me nearly three years to realize that what is next is the process of forgiveness. Forgiveness that can happen even though Tyler is no longer in my life. We no longer communicate in any form or function. We haven’t in three years.

I will sometimes sit at my computer, compelled to write him an email letting him know “I forgive you.” But I realize that’s not what is important. I am not looking for a response. I am not looking for an explanation. I am looking for a sense of relief, of letting go of the hurt that has rested and made a home in my heart.

As the hurt is let go and as I continue my process of forgiving Tyler, I start to open new opportunities, new doors for love in so many different ways. I also realize how I can start to forgive in other relationships and friendships. I notice the price we pay when we hold onto our hurt.

If it happens to be a past love – or present – allow yourself to feel the hurt. To get angry. Maybe even write it all down – as if you would present this in a letter to that person. But find your way to release it and to enter the process of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is power. Forgiveness is freedom. Forgiveness is a gesture of absolute love.

It is the magic potion that clears out the weeds and lets the sun shine in.

Check out Josh Kane and incredible yoga teacher Jennifer Buckman at Pop Up Yoga CT this summer – Yoga + Live Music = LOVE! 

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Upcoming Event: Bundle Up Hike/Run/Walk!

Bundle Up Trail Journey

I love finding new places to run and hike, so when I was introduced to the Norwalk River Valley Trail (thanks Erica!) I was beyond excited.

Now, I get to share this wonderful space with YOU. I will be teaming up with lululemon athletica Westport on December 13 for a serene (and free!) journey through the Norwalk River Valley Trail.

We will start with a short meditation followed by a 2 mile walk or run through the trail.

Bring the kids, the dogs, and yourself!

There will be coffee and hot cocoa waiting for you at the end – provided by Coffee Barn of Wilton.

Saturday December 13 – 9:30 to 10:30am
(Please plan to arrive early)
Parking: Please park in the commuter lot next to Orem’s Diner.
We ask that you kindly RSVP to maggie.converse@gmail.com.

We want to raise awareness of the trail and we also have a goal to raise $1,000. We are already halfway there!

There is a suggested donation of $25. So that we know it is for the Bundle Up event please enter “BUNDLE UP” in the comments section when you make your donation of any amount. We will announce the total amount raised on the 13th.

Donations can be made by clicking here. Don’t forget to use the code BUNDLE UP!

We will see you on the 13th!
Bundle up run (1)

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URF (also known as – “Ugly Run Face”)

My URF post is in part inspired by one of NYC Running Mama’s recent Facebook posts, a reminder that not all race photos are smiles and happiness. I share with you my URF photo from last weekend’s Newport Half Marathon.

Newport Half Marathon 10.13.13

Newport Half Marathon 10.13.13

Normally I would hide this out of shame that I am not smiling, beaming, laughing, and looking my absolute best. But something has shifted and I realize a photo like this perfectly summarizes the theme of Sunday’s race: being comfortable with being uncomfortable. We are talking every moment past mile 5 fearing I was going to hit the wall,  wanting to vomit, crazy ridiculous uncomfortable.

But do you want to know something? The discomfort was totally completely worth it. I had a silent goal for this race that only a few people knew about: a sub-2 hour half marathon. I kind of feared that if I started blabbering to everyone about this goal that I wouldn’t reach it but do you want to know something else? I did it! My net time was 1:58:45. This came after over a year of hovering in the 2:02-2:05 zone and also after Ironman. (In case I haven’t shared this with you yet, Ironman has kind of made me feel like I can do anything which is both a blessing and a curse.)

I held on through the discomfort, kept my goal in mind (ok I totally obsessed over my pace and time the entire race), held Clara in my heart to keep me going for those last few miles, and shrieked when I saw the clock at the finish line still reading below 2:00:00. Bottom line: I embrace my Ugly Run Face! In fact I think it’s rather gorgeous.

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Where am I? Why am I here?

Someone asked me what they should do about nerves for their upcoming first NYC Triathlon this weekend. Should they have a drink? Is there a magic pill they can take before the race? It made me think about what helps me when I get nervous before a race. It reminded me to listen to my own advice!

Here’s what I told him:

This is really where the mental aspect of triathlon and all endurance sports comes into play. Yes a drink or a supplement can help calm us down but what it really comes down to is finding a place of calm within ourselves. Especially amongst the external noises and distractions. Whether it’s by taking 5-10 deep breaths, by reminding ourselves “I can do this”, or visualizing a positive race experience.

You go through a kaleidoscope of emotions the days leading up to race day and of course the hours and minutes leading up to the start of the race. And I’m sure you are familiar with this already. The fear and the nerves are healthy and provide you with an extra burst of energy. But it’s also helpful to divert your mind away from the nerves. Imagine the crowds, the course, the feelings you will encounter along the way. It might feel like the hardest thing in the world at certain parts and at other times you will feel elated.

The first year I did NYC Tri was my first year doing triathlons and I was terrified of the swim. I had a moment of panic in the water but then got my mind on track  thinking about “Where am I? Why am I here?” That year it was my uncle who passed away from cancer that brought me there. So think about your personal reasons. What inspires you? What motivates you to do this?

This is your day. Your experience. And you are going to rock it.

I wasn’t expecting an answer to my questions but here is what he got back to me with, and I think it’s perfect:

Thank you. All my teammates are inspirational to me.

We lift each other up, people!! Sending all the best to my friends and teammates who will be racing NYC Triathlon this weekend.

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What makes for a successful fundraiser?

What makes for a successful fundraiser? My original goal was to raise my first $1,000 and I had my sights set on that.  However, I quickly realized on Friday that there is something else that makes for a successful fundraiser.  I know this is going to sound majorly cheesy but … it’s good people. I found myself surrounded by incredible people on Friday night who made the trek to Williamsburg (or down the street for the local folks) on a cold February night to support me. I’m sure the talented DJs, free PBR, and incredible raffle prizes were also a major draw – ahem, you can’t say no to a signed copy of “Sexy Librarian”!

I have to give some major thank you’s to…

  • Passenger Bar for letting me host the event there
  • DJ AnjO – or Angelica Olstad, creator of PopUp Yoga NYC
  • DJ Pumpkin Patch – or Michael Saltsman
  • PBR for their generous donation for our open bar
  • My friends who were so kind to donate items and services for the raffle
  • Sarah Coulam and Suzanne Canon of CTF’s NF Endurance team, without whom I would not be doing an Ironman nor would I have sold as many raffle tickets

Thank you everyone! I have said this before but … So. Much. Gratitude.

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Thanks Sarah for encouraging the crazy

Winner of Maggie's one on one yoga

Winner of Maggie’s one on one yoga

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