Be bold

Bold: (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

Be bold.  There are many adjectives that one could use to describe me.  I don’t believe bold is one of them.  Maybe a small facet of it.  But full on bold?  No.

I more embody the words of kind, passionate, hard working, passive, stubborn, indecisive, creative, personable, etc.  But bold?  Not so much.  Confident, yes.  Or at least a lot of the time.

How does one begin to bring boldness into their lives?  People say to dream big and be bold.  I can dream big just fine.  I’m pretty good at that.  But be bold?  I’m not sure how to really do that.  How do you be bold?  Not act the part, but actually be the part?

So we google it:

  • Stop hesitating
  • Do the unexpected
  • Pretend you are already bold
  • Be willing to say no

Ok……I can do that in my sleep.  I’m not sure… let’s continue….

  • Owning their flaws and strengths
  • Having a strong sense of self-awareness
  • Knowing what you want to accomplish and seeking it out
  • Speaking up
  • Accepting failure
  • Rock the boat

Ok – now we are talking.  We are talking about skills now that you can practice and develop and harness in.

I am not bold.  I am kind, almost to a fault.  But I’d rather be kind than an ass.  I am quiet, I’d rather listen.  I don’t usually see the necessity of joining in a conversation in which you don’t have anything to add.  I don’t like to lead – I can, but I’m happy to defer to someone who wants to and be a rockstar second.  I’m a daydreamer – dreaming big is not hard for me.  But perhaps acting upon it, and bridging that gap, is where the magic of boldness can start to develop for me.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
William Hutchison Murray




Bleeding out

I follow gymnastics.  And even if I didn’t right now, you’d have to be oblivious to the horrors that are finally being addressed (don’t even get me started here) in the sport.  And with that, more and more are finding their courage and their voice and their strength to speak out.  And among that, people are speaking out against coaches.  Claims of verbal and mental abuse.  And it makes you ask the very simple question – how does one person of power hold so much sway over a young person’s life and gymnastics career?  And then I must ask, is this specific to gymnastics?  How is that small piece of it any different than my experience in grad school.  So I ask the very simple question again – how does one person of power hold so much sway over a young person’s life and career?

I never claimed clarity with this blog.  I don’t pretend to understand what these women are going through.  But I can understand concepts.  I can understand the fear of speaking up about things that are so far on the other side of ‘unfair’ for risk of how that will affect your future.  Your career.  Your livelihood.  But how there is a system set up that does not provide a realistic alternative path to address matters.  All the power is with one person.  It’s twisted.  And to be blunt, it’s fucked up.  To put in hours of sweat and tears and hard work.  To be broken down by the people who on paper, should be the person who pushes you and guides you.  To be  abused by the person who is supposed to teach you.  That, I understand.  To take the thing that brings you joy, and to suck the joy out of it, to the point where you need space form it because it literally makes you sick when you think about it.  That, I understand.

There are many places where the balance of power is pretty much exactly not that.  There is no balance.  None.  And I can’t be the only one who struggles with exactly how to address this.  How do you create real meaningful change?  How do you do this without affecting those who still rely on the current system?  How do we speak out and be heard?



Words have meaning

I completed my yoga TT almost 3 years ago, and I’ve been teaching for just over 2 years. Last night during class, I was theming on how yoga can provide an hour away from life. Whether that’s the good, the bad, or the neutral.  I had my second unexpected crown in the last 6 weeks that morning, and my mouth and my spirits (and my wallet) were not feeling so hot. I was currently sick. And was pulling some extra hours at work to make up for my unexpected dentist trip. So I shared. I shared how when I stepped into the studio, my mood changed. I left my crappy day outside and I had an entire hour of teaching class to be present in a new space.  An away space. It’s amazing how much overlap there is being a student and being a teacher.

But as I try to speak and share with my classes, I find time and time again I underestimate my students. I judge them, if you will. I think they are only half listening to me. While in fact, based on our conversations after, they are fully present. They took my theme and applied it to them and their practice. 14 different souls all finding their own interpretation and embodiement of my words. They always listen. And it makes me time and time again appreciate the power of my voice and my words. To not underestimate them and myself.

I try to being an authenticity to my classes. I may not be the best teacher. I think I can put together a pretty good sequence and teach it fairly well. But I could theme a whole lot better and I struggle how to do that while allowing it to be real and not contrived. My playlists are complimented. And sometimes I lack confidence with names and assist and adjustments. Strengths.  And weaknesses. And places to learn and grow. But I try to do all of that with an authenticity to myself. And I think and I hope, that my students can resonate with that. That there are pieces of me that web themselves through my teaching. Whether that contributes to a strength or a weakness. I hope that at the end of the day, that is how I can connect and teach my students. And for me, not only is that me contributing to purely be me, but also trusting my words, and trusting that my students are there with me. Leaning and listening. And finding a piece of that moment to take as their own.



Oh Summer….you brought me mountains

Oh it’s been a few, but things have happened.  I went to the Outside Lands music festival/explored SF.  Ate good food and drank good beer.  Saw bands I knew and loved to pieces.  And found some new bands that I now have on repeat.  Danced in a park.  Explored the city and off the beaten path.  Had a glorious 6mi run through lands end.  Experienced Alcatraz.  Explored more of the Marin headlands.  And spent another weekend driving up and down the freeways of California.

Rafting some more on the American River – the middle fork was finally at a low enough flow to get on, thus completing my American river trifecta.  Had amazing surfs at Chili Bar hole.  Surfed a couple of new spots.  Had a fabulous run down chili bar and a relaxing afternoon by the water.  Enjoyed all the joy and wide eyed that comes with being on the river after high water/rains/floods.  Including a full rapid dump at the bottom of tunnel chute.  But it was the water – it was so clear!  I’ve never seen it so clear before.  Beautiful!

But….but.  I got to hike Mt. Whitney.  Not just hike.  Backpack.  3 beautiful days and 2 glorious nights on this magical mountain.  And a night at the portal.  With 2 other badass women.  There is a reason people talk about that place as being magical.  It’s absolutely stunning.  More to come, because I just lack the words to describe the awe inducing emotions that this place evokes.

Whitewater stoke

I just got back from a few days in Vancouver, Canada.  I went to visit a friends who is working there with my friend and her sister.  And we did a lot.  And we played a lot.  And we ate a lot.  And there are so many stories and moments to tell and share.  But, let’s talk about whitewater first.  We had the most wonderful opportunity to raft the Nahatlatch River.  Location somewhere around Boston Bar/North Bend, BC.  Getting there from Vancouver was beautiful.  We drove by these mountains covered in snow.  With these waterfalls cascading down like it was just commonplace.  Great big green pine trees were spotted all around.  Everything felt more massive and expansive.

We arrive, eat some food, eat some cookies (well, mostly just me, as usual), and gear up.  Believe it or not, it’s high water here too!  In fact, the trip almost didn’t happen because the water was so high.  But it simmered down just enough for us to be able to get on it.  But, still high water.  Which meant the whole high water shebang – safety kayakers, wetsuits (not that it was warm out), and in the case of this river, oar boats.  At high water, the Nahatlatch river becomes less technical, but fast moving big waves of whitewater.  It is continues, no pools, very few eddies, and those are small.

We get to put in, practice some paddling.  Amy and I snagged the front, with Kimberly right behind.  And I’m not kidding – this river was fast.  So fast.  I’ve never seen a river that fast before, much less raft on one.  Stoked.  And it reminded me a little of the Merced or the Dead river in Maine – continuous whitewater.  No breaks.  No breathers.  Just go.  Waves were massive and fun and splashy.  Walls and walls of whitewater.  This river was pure and utter stoke.  Pure laughter.  Pure joy.  And we just moved down the river at the speed of light.  On this river in this little canyon of pine trees, massive snow covered mountains in the distance.  Once again, so expansive.  So breathtaking.

We ran the same section twice.  No issues either time.  Just stoke.  Pure stoke.  Waves of whitewater.  Skirting around holes.  Face fulls of icy cold glacial melt whitewater.  There is truly nothing better and more alive feeling.  So much laughter with friends.  After each rapid, I’d just look over at Amy and Kimberly, and was just met with grins.  Big, whitewater induced grins.  Our cheeks hurt so hard from smiling.

While the North Fork, and the South Fork as well of the American was high water and more technical, this was big and bouncy and never stopped.  That is one of my favorite things about rafting different rivers.  They are all different.  Sometimes you are surrounded by rolling hills.  Sometimes you are in a deep canyon.  The style of river is different, and it’s never the same.  This river was pure joy.  Pure whitewater bliss.


Run with Joy

Sunday was the 2017 RnR SD half marathon.  I called it the coming out party for my hip that I injured back in fall.  It was one of those races where I wanted to capture each moment – but almost unsure if I should try to grip and hold onto the details of all these memories.  Or just slowly let the details fade away, and hold on to the emotions and the feelings – joy, pride, grateful, elation, freedom, strong, nerves, bliss, badass, inspired.

I went into running happy place right at the start, and stayed in it the entire race.  The sort of dream status for a race if you will, but usually there’s an ebb and flow with it.  Or I pop out around 8-10, and then that’s that.  But nope.  I had moments of doubt and nerves – I may enjoy the races, but I’m not immune to such feelings.  But quite often they do occur under a umbrella of joy.  And I think that idea is what confuses people who I talk to.  When I do these things – push yourself, find goals, train, etc.  A big part of the process is to feel uncomfortable.  To suffer.  To be uncertain.  To push through mental and physical barriers.  And the is not always there.  Or clear.  But.  The umbrella of it is there.  Sometimes it takes time or that perfect run or a step back to see it.

But 13.1 miles and my hip felt great.  It felt good to run a race again.  I love this race.  I feel as though sometimes it gets a lot of slack, but it has such a San Diego city feel to it.  And a big highlight was running into my friend at mile 11, and running the last 2 miles with her.  What are the chances?!  Last year I was cheering her on at mile 21 of the full, so this just felt full circle.  I love seeing the city come out to support.  Instead of being frustrated that their street is closed and there is early morning noise, I see people bringing their coffee and breakfast outside, to cheer, to support, to observe, to be a part of it all.  From a single person on the curb, to entire front yard parties.  To simple signs, to full on banners and costumes.  I love this city and I love events that bring out the best in people.  It really is true what they say – if you need to find some inspiration, just go watch a marathon.  All of the people….ALL of the people…will inspire.

The finish line was wonderful.  And there was a wonderful joy of being able to walk home, shower, and then walk back and enjoy the festivities.  And to watch Michael Franti and Spearhead sing.  I’ve love his music for a long while, and it was such a joy for me to be able to experience him live in such a close proximity, at the end of an event that already had me pumping.  His music is love and joy and passion and peace and fills my soul.  The good vibes were flowing, and the people were dancing.

It was a good day to run.  It was a good day to be.  2017 and beyond, I’ve still got some big running plans for you.




First river trip 2017 – the mojo was flowing

I just returned from 3 days of camping and rafting 31miles of beautiful high water whitewater.  For me, this is the start of summer.  The first time back camping.  The first river trip.  I love it so dearly.  There is something so simply marvelously and wonderful of it all.  I love the simplicity.  I feel so in touch with me.  And it forces me to be a little bit afraid and uncertain.

That is part of the beauty in rafting.  The uncertainty.  The moments where you feel both nervous and exhilarated, but know that at the end of the day, the river makes her own story and you are just grateful to be a small part of it.  I had been waiting years to be able to raft the 10mi stretch of the North Fork of the American.  Years.  Just to be in this canyon was at treat.  To be on an absolutely free flowing river.  A wild and scenic river.  The water color was this gorgeous aquamarine.  Clear and crystal like – so untouched by people.  Pure snowmelt.  The canyon had this mystery like to me. Maybe because so few people have been in this spot.  I love being in awe.  And when you can share these moments with people who appreciate it all just as much, it just enhances the moment and the magic.  Untamed.  Undamed.  Magnificent in all her glory.

Our first big rapid was Slaughter’s Sluice, about 5min into the trip.  River was at 2000cfs.  And it was here that I found this river was no joke.  It was like a mini cherry creek.  Beautiful technical whitewater at its finest.  Quite intimidating.  We came around the river out of Slaughter’s right into the top of Chamberlain Falls, and saw 7 little heads in the water, and an upside down raft being surfed over on river left.  But Chamberlain Falls deserves every little bit of talk that it gets.  It is a delight clearly when run beautifully, but we could also see the other side of this rapid floating right in front of us.  All we well.

The next big class IV+ rapid was Bogus Thunder.  Of which I tried to pay a little more attention to what was happening around me.  But I got popped/launched across the boat, and ended up half in the water across the raft, face first.  To be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve had an unwanted, unpredicted swim.  But here I was, face completely in the water.  And I thought I was going out – I was sliding further in for sure. And in my mind, I had already accepted it.  I had already formulated my plan, knew I was swimming, and had gone into self-rescue calm mind mode.  But while you can never underestimate the river, you should never underestimate your friend – who had gripped her arm around my waist, and that gave me the little bit of leverage I needed to get myself back into the raft.  I know we are all always between swims, but I was quite grateful to have avoided that one.  But I got close, and it was yet another reminder of the power and strength of the river.  That she has the final say.  But it’s always nice to know that when things heat up, my mind goes into a calm take action mode.  It’s something I have come to count on.  My reactions on the water.  My instincts.  I have grown to trust them.

Staircase rapid was the last big one of the day, and it was simply marvelous.  We paddled.  We hit whitewater.  It was long and pushy.  And I loved it.

The rest of the day brought a riverside lunch.  A beautiful class II/III stretch of whitewater.  A magnificent canyon.  Mini trickle waterfalls.  Lots of good company and laughter.  Always a good day on the water.

Dinner and drinks outside with live music.  A sound sleep in a cozy tent to the sound of the river rushing by.  These are the moments that I live for and that fill me up.  The river is my place.  I don’t have cell service.  I can’t check emails.  I don’t get texts.  I don’t know what major things happened in the world.  And I can’t share the current moment with anyone other than the people I’m with.

And what a treat to be able to run the entire 21 miles of the south fork American the next day at 6000cfs.  I’ve never seen such waves on this river.  The haystacks were just waves rolling off the sides of the gorge, going on and on and on.  The hills were still plenty green.  And I barely recognized troublemaker.  The entry into meatgrinder was my first clue of the difference of the high water.  That and chili bar hole was no where to be found.  Somewhere under the river to be found later this season.  Satan’s to me looked like Satan’s Cesspool of memory, but perhaps just bigger and stronger.  Full of power, but familiar.  Styled through it.  Joy.  Paddle high fives.

Love you river.  Thank you for allowing me to come back and experience your magic season after season after season.  Until next time.

Hi.  My name is Jillian.  I’m not completely sure what I want this to be, and I’m hesitant to define it anyways.  Perhaps just see this as the musings of a girl, post-grad school, trying to currently navigate the in-betweens of life.  Of someone who loves science, and loves the mountains.  Of someone who enjoys living in a city, and craves being on the water any chance she gets.  I love having a place to call home, but I crave adventures, mountains, camping, and the river.  I see this as a space to capture feelings and moments.  That perhaps may fade away with time.  Of adventures and planning for adventures.  Of fear and accomplishments.  A space to put down dreams and watch them ebb and flow into reality.  Who knows….let this evolve! 🙂