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What to do with “Little Troubles”

The Art Of Positive Thinking by Swami Jyotirmayananda  (Chapter: The Development of Will Power)

The Art Of Positive Thinking by Swami Jyotirmayananda
(Chapter: The Development of Will Power)

How We Roll & Why We Kneel


premiere planet


Actions speak louder than words…

Lucky #7 gets to 67,000 views

The seventh post on Go Ask Ella has turned out to be quite lucky after all… 

happy condom

When I began Go Ask Ella, my whole purpose was to address “things we don’t talk about but should” with a really warm, factual and honest approach.

My first attempt at a video way back in April 2010 now has over 67,000 views on youtube. Yowzah, I had no idea until today.

So glad I got over myself and went with my instinct to make my old sex ed talk have a close up. We all need to.

We will always have a thousand reasons to not act on an idea but perhaps today there are 67,000 reasons why you should.

Your unique genius, what you say yes to and do in the world may just be an idea written on your journal page today but what could you do to make it come to life?

Sometimes we think something as common as a “how to put on a condom” video isn’t worth our time because it’s obvious information.

Well if it helps one person know something or be less afraid, why not share it? Just do it!

Here’s to being awkward for the greater good,



New Year’s Gate

Happy New Year’s Gate…

I happily thumbed through Baba Ram Dass’ ever-present Be Here Now to a “random” page this morn while sipping on tea…

Hail the goer on this journey that is the destination.

hail the goer

I spent my final hours of 2013 writing a list of 100 things I’m grateful for and at around 60, I was stumped. Then my hand just kept blurring through to get to 100 without thinking, I listed things like “sleep” and “elephants” in addition to my long line of incredible people, experiences and what I’ve learned.  I was a little challenged to stop once I hit 100.  And you know what’s funny?  All night, all morning, I can’t stop with the appreciation notes that float next to my head like a cartoon text bubble.

I invite you spend your first day of this new year, new beginning, old ending being present to what you’re grateful for.  There’s no better way to be present and enjoy this beautiful life.

Happy New Year’s Gate my loves,




Beauty of Witnessing

So I’ve come clean and have often prided myself upon being comfortable within the uncomfortable but lately I’ve been seeing that I’m not so patient just sitting with it for myself by myself about my self.

Pain, agitation, discomfort can be like a hot cinder on your lap that you immediately go to pat out and extinguish, perhaps its even a hot poker right on your arse.  I’d venture to say most people jump when they get burned or feel like something is on fire, right?
Well, what about your emotional self or more correctly, the egoic self?


When we bring our attention and witness the ego, the emotions, the tendency to react/fix/attack/not react we become the magnifying glass and the sun on an ant instead of the ant.  By witnessing, a little bit longer than we are used to, we move beyond the itch and scratch to something new.  When we magnify the watching instead of the acting (even if its well intended non-reacting) and we go beyond our pattern, that’s when we get the bigger picture perspective and take things less personally which allows grace, presence and peace to take hold.

I had a profound conversation with a friend this evening where they reflected how thick and dense my stories are, like most of us. Who doesn’t love a colorful background, character development and detailed setting when it comes to telling a good story, especially our own?  However if you come at life with a book full to the brim with no room to write or color in, there isn’t much room for creation, let alone participation.  And so my friend shared that their first reaction to my story back in the day was to relate, pity or take action to help.  Then it came to just listening and finally after setting that standard, we both felt ready to listen and I was able to hear that by being so in my story at times, so in the me of it, taking shit so personally and feeling everything I would dance between the all and nothing but never sitting long enough to see past that tango.

I didn’t stand still long enough to see the dance floor, I often only saw two steps forward and one step back.

two steps
And the thing about stopping to look at our feet while dancing is we often fall out of rhythm, it ain’t pretty and it’s more often than not, a smidge embarrassing.
Reality check- we’re in a human experience to learn and feel freer to be our true selves and that comes easier by witnessing that which isn’t.  Witnessing others, othering and then ultimately realizing that there is no other, is quite a trip to the moon and back.  We learn more by stopping instead of mindlessly to and fro-ing no?

To take my point here a little further- a star doesn’t know it is beauty or beautiful, it is the witness of that star that deems it so and therefore perspective gives us the freedom to define and expand our understanding of pretty much, well, everything.



“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

By experiencing our Self separately we free ourselves and remember peace by being in that greater awareness.  The drug of humanity is connection and being “understood” so if we give it to ourselves, pulling our nose out long enough from our own autobiography we may just have enough to remember we can rewrite just about any trauma, woe or suffering.  Thank you K.S. for the listening.

In awe of beauty and feeling like listening to this song again (thank you time and space of 1997)…

Starlight, star bright,


Timing and Three Months Late Birthday Cake

Falling in love with timing really lets you let up on life and let it treat you better than you’d imagine.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- expectations and attachment to the way things should be is a surefire start to a drop into the boo hoo blues.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to myself.

Bless the Rolling Stones forever for that sanity reminder.  But when DO you try and what does it look like to get what you need?

Friends, lovers, family this year have had their moments with me where they’ve wondered – where did Ella go?
We’ve all been somewhere we’ve not wanted to be out of sheer duty or obligation, right?  Well, if in the first ten minutes of arriving that doesn’t change ’tis a sign that something does need to do just that.  So I do my best to honor what feels right (not always comfortable) and check with what is ultimately in alignment with who I want to be. Sometimes I miss the mark, sometimes I disappoint folks by not being available but I do my best.
Case in point, sometimes what you want doesn’t happen when and how you want it to and this is actually a GOOD thing.

That brings us back to time being on our side and yet another favorite Rolling Stone’s song but I digress…

Sometimes what you need is birthday cake three months late.

As most of you may know, my family has been really going through it this year keeping their hopes up that the FDA will grant access to my stepmother so she has a chance at life.  Well, the week my dad and step-mom moved to Palm Desert and her brain tumor symptoms became aggressive and severe was also my birthday time.  With all the shifts and concern, they forgot my birthday which was totally understandable and I canceled dinner and outing plans with friends to help my family at a crucial decision making time (to radiate or not to radiate, never a fun question).
I never said anything because my birthday at that point really wasn’t important.  In my mind, I’ve had a lot of celebrations over the years and what was more important was to be with them, take care of them and treat myself that way.  In my past, I’d always looked forward to birthdays so I could have a little extra cash and stay out of the red or get a new something.  Well, instead of needing a check or new iPhone, what I really needed was snuggles with my family which I got in spades.

It was a great feeling to not need and to really let go, putting what really mattered first and get over my Sixteen Candles self that I’d been in the past. I was in a place in my life that I could afford to treat them to every meal and take one less worry off their list.

Last week I went to see my parents for a little post-Thanksgiving family time and my stepmother had requested I stay out of the kitchen.  Her new “thing” is cooking since she’s now “retired”, has dietary restrictions to offset the tumor growth and the kitchen is small enough for her to weeble wobble out of without too much strain.  She asked me to patiently wait at the table for her to present her culinary efforts after a long day.

“It may take me awhile to set it up as I’m moving slow but don’t you open your eyes and ruin the surprise!”

When I was granted permission to take a peek at the table, I found a cake before me along with a whole bunch of birthday paraphernalia.

“Happy Birthday, oops we forgot” was sung and we cut into Liza’s first-ever homemade birthday cake.

I cried.

“We can’t believe we forgot you birthday and you never said a word. I’ve been celebrating you for half your life and I didn’t want to miss out this year.”

bday card

It was a strange experience to have a wave of joy and sorrow all at once.  I kept saying “I didn’t need you to remember, I don’t need anything.” And they just kept bringing out more stuff the more I said not to.  I’ve definitely said “no thank you” due to good manners but to fully receive at a time least expected was overwhelming.  It made me realize how much pressure we put on making certain days special when in fact, it’s the thought that counts and letting go of how or when we’re inspired to do things for each other, makes the gift ever sweeter.

So here’s to birthday cake at Christmas time and getting what we really need.

May your deepest wishes be granted by unexpected and timely deliveries.
Timing isn’t always appearing to be on our side but it will find a way to give us what we need when we most need it.

Love and birthday candle light,



P.S. To support my family’s efforts to save Liza’s life, check out the interview on CBS here and sign our petition.  Many blessings of good health and gratitude to you and yours.  <3

Respect, Seats Back and Tray Tables Up

Today is the final day of Diwali, the festival of lights celebrating the Hindu New Year.

d26_20763081It falls on the tail of the darkest new moon with an eclipse to boot which is why I have been inviting myself and others to really take a stand for their own divinity, reflecting on necessary changes and acting with honour.


Honouring the aspect within us that quietly and brightly shines its truth is a necessary and often overstepped practice.


Never mistake an open, beautiful heart’s giving as being weak.  To love all is a noble effort but this must be tempered by compassionate wisdom and respectful parameters.  Hence our need for a little soft side with holsters approach sometimes (thank you Frida).

Frida Pistola

Frida Pistola


What I mean to say is…


Pretend you’re a golden 747 bad ass brand new airplane.

avionescol02_09You have this palace of awesome and of course you want to share it with everyone because who doesn’t want to have a luxurious adventure?

BUT If you just let everyone and anyone in, take them anywhere they want to go, have anything they want to have, you’re going to find yourself covered in stains, with sticky floors, bites eaten out of your cushions because someone brought their poorly trained dog, an empty tank, and your pretty little plane will be in all kinds of disarray.

Fancy right? Not for long if you let the whole dang world party up in here!

Fancy right? Not for long if you let the whole dang world party up in here!

You’ll not have anything worth flying and the opulence of that generosity will just be gone, gone, gone and folks will just go to the next carrier.

This is why there are security check points, rules of admission and necessary proof of allowance at airports.  What are your regulations?


I’ve had an open door policy most of my life, as I fully believe relating through transparency is one of the best platforms to learn, grow, connect and be a better person.  This won’t change but how I hold standards to who has certain kinds of access is.


What are the qualities of character you want to embody?

Apply that question to your friends, lovers, work, home…


Respect and boundaries are the guards to your heart.  We all are love underneath it all but that doesn’t mean you hang out, make out or loan out to everyone.


Temple of the Sacred Heart by Tania Marie

Temple of the Sacred Heart by Tania Marie

Honour your life as your temple and see what action begets admission.


Bhai Bij is TODAY, the final day, which symbolizes the society’s respect for all women. The day gives every man the noble outlook to consider other women as their mother, sister or daughter.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T?  Get it!


With love and respect,




Of the ages, when are we?  

Standing beside a scoffing twenty something last night, I kept hearing her mutter again and louder again “who brought the school bus? Pfft kids!” Apparently ageism doesn’t just swing up but down low. You see, there were about 12 kids in the pit with retainers and cute little awkward frenetic bobbing.

bat shit cray

Let me paint a fairer picture, you see there were sixteen year olds from the local arts high school going understandably bat shit crazy at a seminal concert experience: James Blake, Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Waving their hands in the air, waving like they just didn’t care and gawking at every song, which was their “OMG, it’s my SONG!”

I had to chuckle.  It was as if the moat of cool beside the stage barricades was being soiled by teenagers and all the sophisticated purveyors of the scene should get their mosh money back.  But you can’t mosh at James Blake so I’m not sure what the fuss was all about.

Additionally, after the show an acquaintance of mine gushed about the show wowing and appreciating it but quickly quipping that “he’s only 24 years old, he doesn’t know heartbreak yet like mine.” I don’t know about that.  Firstly, he’s now an old man at 25 years old now.  He’s an insane talent and I don’t think one can cause mood and sway like he does without some vast understanding of what lies beneath.  Yup, definite baby face but rich and textured heart, see my case in point:

WOW WOW WOW right?

So at lunch the next day, my jazz singer chanteuse friend and I began to discuss when someone is “old enough.”  Old enough to sing a song, old enough to appreciate good music and have taste, to write, et cetera et cetera.

She was often told what she could or couldn’t sing when she was a young lass.  For instance she was given some serious eyebrow raises for wanting to sing a haunting Billie Holiday song about bruised and battered eyes when she was 14.  But she did it anyway.

When do you get validated as legit? When you’re legal?

I think I was way more dark and creatively sparked when I was in my teens and early twenties.  I certainly had a wrenched heart ten times over by the time I was James Blake’s age.  Wow, that made me feel and sound oldish.  However, at 31 years old  I personally can’t wait to be a sexy grandma.


I guess some things remain the same.  What’s cooler than being cool?  Being ice cold and nay saying.  Better to be a Dorothy Parker super Debbie Downer than an applause giver I suppose but I’m just not.  I’m a gushing thumbs up high fiver when I like something let alone when I love it.

Let’s revisit some applause worthy youths of yesteryear:

  • Fiona Apple began creating Tidal tracks at 17.
  • Lykke Li killed it with her debut album Youth Novels at 22.
  • Jeff Buckley recorded one of my favorite albums of all time at 27 and still is haunting me.
  • Billie Holiday discovered at 18 years of haggard, hard youth.
  • Frances Bacon started his four decades of brilliance in Parliament at the ripe old age of 24 (in 1584).
  • King Tut
  • Napoleon II
  • John Keats (passed away at 25)
  • Buddy Holly (died at 22)
  • James Dean (lived to age 24)



Do I really need to list all the artists who were well loved and a part of the 27 Club?
To name a few who bloomed and left us too soon:

  • Jimi Hendrixrobert-johnson
  • Janis Joplin
  • Basquiat
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Jim Morrison
  • Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Robert Johnson (pictured right —–>)

Historical Notable Youths:

1) The most notable over the years aside from Shirley Temple’s Oscar worthiness would be Wolfie Mozart as he began composing as a tot pre-adult teeth.


2) Malala of Pakistan, (pictured above) the latest nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize at gasp, sweet 16 and she’s one of the most well-spoken and profound hearts I’ve heard speak. Watch This Incredible Young Woman Render Jon Stewart Speechless.
3)  Marie Curry discovered two unknown elements: polonium & radium at 20 or just shy of it.
4) Alexander the Great (although he was majorly in the category of “I know everything already”) founded his first colony at 16.
5) Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein at 16.
6) Joan of Arc got all God talky and led the French army into victory as a teen with barely budding bubbies all before turning 20 years old.

In a time where most of us LOL and hashtag while we text “cuz cant talk now, TTYL ” perhaps we may not be as literate or accomplished but hearts need no date of birth to be rendered useful or feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, Marianne Faithfull’s As Tears Go By has way more weight in her twilight years and Nina Simone seriously sauced it up after some years of spicy lovemaking.  It seems to me that age is still JUST a number and doesn’t offer legitimacy as far as artistry and deep feeling/thought goes.

Just sayin’…

Feel it all,


P.S. I’m standing up in the bleacher seats with love for a Kiwi teenager who is bringing it down and brilliantly. Lorde.  Peep her here on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (MBE is my bible essentially).

Can We Be Lovers & Not Have Sex Appreciation


Please enjoy this expression on Elephant Journal today from Brentan Schellenbach along with her use of ampersand in the title…


My only Go Ask Ella edits would be to add that we should aim to RISE in love and most definitely not fall.  We can love all by being authentically ourselves and not everyone can have a home in our heart, set up camp there and have access to you however you can always come from a place of love.  Love is the basic, love is the foundation for all interactions and sex does not love make nor vice versa. Here here, touché in the literal and figurative sense.

Can We Be Lovers & Not Have Sex

I want a life of a million lovers.

I want to love you.

I want to love you if you are male or female, young or old, single or married…

When I see you we will embrace and hold a hug long enough to glimpse some insight from each other’s heartbeat.

When we walk down the street we shall link arms, pause frequently, and turn our toes and noses towards the other to speak directly without modesty.

I would like us to share the couch together, rather than creating a “do not cross” line where we may as well be sitting on brick blocks seated four feet away. Give me your knee, your foot, your thigh—let your body dangle on top of my body so I can know you the way litters of kittens know each other.

I want to show up to you and look into your eyes instead at your eyes. I want to feel your hand and be consumed by it until the rest of the world ceases to exist. I want to be in your presence and be in want of nothing.

I would like you to leave our time together feeling loved and free and full of your most vibrant and luscious hue of you-ness.

Please do not get confused: I do not want to have sex with you—whether you are male or female.

I have no sexual agenda, as you know, because we laugh at the freedom we feel to speak to strangers for reasons other than because we have to or because we’re hitting on them.

For me, sharing sex with someone requires a certain alignment, and I do not take that lightly. My sex requires that I can possibly foresee living with a person and combining all my stuff with all of their stuff (and I mean physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual stuff—the stuff that just feels heavy if it’s not the right fit, but feels buoyant beyond imagination when it is). It is delicate, it is careful, it is not presumptuous or impulsive.

And I do not think that our connection is somehow weakened because we do not share our bodies with each other.

For love is love is love is love, and that is what I want.

I only want us to fall in love.

{*I would add, rise in love, LET’S RISE IN LOVE. xoxo Ella}

Now I realize that at some point, either you or I may change our minds and crave sexual expression with each other.

For I am human—as are you—and we have wants that change and grow.

But if that desire should spring upon one of us, I hope that we will talk about it, the way we talk about the universe, cultural tropes, the nature of depression, what makes a good cup of coffee, and how your day was yesterday.

I hope that that topic of conversation is no more avoided than talking about the latest episode of Doctor Who or how to effectively clean one’s mouth from Oreo breath.

I would like you to share yourself with me—every stitch of you—so that I may be warmed and nourished by your tapestry. And I would not like you to worry that some of your threading is inappropriate or uncomfortable to share with me, because I am only here to accept you exactly as you are and to take interest in the way you step through life.

So lay on me your doubts, your troubles, your faux pas, your suffering, your sadness. Lay on me your hopes, your dreams, your excitements, your curiosities, your guilty pleasures.

I want to see you how you see yourself.

And while you tell me all of this and more, I would like to rest my eyes upon your eyes, and take my hand upon your back, and laugh up to the ceiling as you divulge, because it is in these moments of pure exposure that I bask in the ever-so-specific you, and I become the ever-so-specific me, and even though you’ve never stepped into the tides of the pacific and I’ve never ridden a skateboard, I am more sure than I’ve ever been that we are the same.

I don’t care if I see you everyday or if I see you only just the one time when I happened to be in that coffee shop and you happened to be making my drink (which was delicious, by the way, and thank you for not rolling your eyes when I asked if your only non-dairy milk was soy)—I want to be your lover.

And I will have the lover whom I share a bed with, and it will be none the less—on the contrary, that love will be all the more—because I take on another million lovers.

So if you’re ready, let me see you and let me love you.

My insides, my arm, my couch, my laugh, my eyes, my toes are all for you.

I hope that is enough.






Labor and Delivery.

Life and Death.

Liza and David/ Lyze and Dad


L&D means a lot of things to me but when I came across the wedding present pendants I gave my parents, I knew I had to listen to my friends’ suggestion to write.  I took this picture and being inspired I wrote, I deleted, I walked away and I came back to write this.

Being a doula for me has always meant honoring both sides of the gate.
When you’re sitting by the door of life entering, you’re acutely aware of the exiting and how that shift is but a thin, beautiful, divine veil.
I just didn’t realize how much this year would play out the death/life dance with me.  Five funerals, lots of serious illnesses and many births. In short, life.

The story we tell, the clock that chimes, the falling down and feeling like a puddle of helpless, the heat rising on your back with desire, the disappointment, the longing to be seen and to see, the rhythm of standing, eating, sleeping, making love, taking pills, breathing, driving, resting -it’s a practice of witnessing and participating.

I witnessed an incredible birth this summer. I watched as a mother surrendered to her wisdom, communicating with her daughter inside of her and without medication, redirecting the concept of pain into intense waves.  After the initial crowning, the little one opened her eyes even before she was all the way here, outside of her mama, and she looked at me.  In the space of that moment, I felt nothing and everything because it was life looking back at itself.  I was speechless in mouth and mind. My eyes couldn’t weep because they were just empty and humble. I saw her.  I knew her and I honored her, her family and was grateful to bear witness to her first hour of being.

Have you ever judged yourself for not being more emotional?  I used to be quite a stream of water works. It’s a funny switch when you’ve got the space to watch your feelings and make the choice or just experience being unattached to them. Moving into a more devotional space and less reactionary, I’ve felt strange in the course of this year that my eyes don’t tear as much and I feel like a watcher.  It’s like the story I’m watching isn’t mine and yet my perspective is entirely unique and mine.  To behold the birth of a being is so humbling because it’s not about you and your story, it’s about listening to what’s needed from a quieter, stronger, less heady and more rooted place. So it is with all things, birth and death serve as bookmarks, reminders, grabbers to behold your attention.

I’m witnessing now the other side of the veil as we come into autumn.  It’s gentle, it’s warm, it’s sweet, it’s a deep surrender as well.
My second mom was diagnosed with an incredibly rare brain cancer in April and in the course of these last few days her ability to talk, walk and even swallow has become limited due to the pressure of the growing tumor in the stem where her nerves live.  She has incredible courage and is just doing everything to take care of herself and not give up hope.
We agree that her state is one of healing and our little team mantra is “Liza is healing.”  Her tumor acted as a little buddy of a wake up call for her to be present for her life as the one she was “living” wasn’t fulfilling her.
My father is full time being her caretaker and she’s care taking him to remind him to be present, watch his energy and move from doing all that needs to be done but also laughing and living.  It’s a delicate balance between doing all the “stuff” to “get better” and to also just straight be here and enjoy life.  We’re in limbo between knowing if she’ll be accepted by the FDA as a clinical trial candidate for alternative therapies that have had great success.  Two weeks we’ll know. However, in this past week her functionality is in question and we’re looking for how to approach the next chapter.

My dad and Liza met sixteen years ago.  She has continuously spoiled me with love and brilliance, she’s been a great teacher and friend, sharp as a tack and a fighter for virtue.

aruba D&L

The woman ran a health care service for seniors and those in need in the Bay Area, she was on call to people all the time in addition to being a lawyer, a web designer, award winning tennis semi pro, wife, dog lover and speed racer who arguably has lived her life in the fast lane. In short, if anyone can overcome this little buddy and invite him to leave, it’s her.

The level of commitment and care that my Dad and Liza have for their partnership is profound as they wobble in the unknown.  They’re just in it, they’re bobbing and weaving, shaking and rolling, no matter where the dice land.

Our parents are our first teachers.  And today, they are teaching me about grace and human-ness as I hold them.  There are moments that are awkward and moments we’re grateful to find our flow again.  Errands feel amazing.  Deciphering her words reminds me, gives us patience and gratitude for the moments of clarity.  The ability to speak, swallow and giving up the steering wheel, literally and figuratively is a daily unraveling of knowing what you can do and can’t do.

Surrender has a whole new meaning to me, again and again and again. It’s strange to watch a person know when to ask for help when she’s so fiercely independent.

I haven’t spoken much about my family nor my life of late because I’m just in it and taking time to watch it.
We are all writers, writing our stories every day and I’m finding more and more that I’m the space between the telling and more and more I’m the listening.
I’m the prayer in action, I’m the tender and I have less to say.

Liza’s quality of life is changing, it’s less comfortable and it’s unpredictable just like birth.
She’s so present, it’s beautiful and in her fragility she is grace and is so committed to life, giving it all she has and simultaneously accepting that this may be her time to leave this body.

I can’t control what happens, I can only be here and offer my heart just as I did the wee one that came through in July.

I’m grateful to live my life, to make choices that honor the life I’m getting to live and remembering that showing up sometimes just means working from your computer while eating snacks on the couch.  An hour makes a difference. Smelling and hearing your loved ones tinker about the house is something I’ve sorely missed.  This modern world offers skype for connection and texting, which is great, but I’ll take real face time over FaceTime and emoticons any day and it takes big effort to make that happen.

Take the time to use your words wisely this week, our speech is a gift.  Be grateful for the minutes you spend with those around you, it’s your life you’re giving and sharing with them.