The Connection Cure

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The N train that takes you from Manhattan into Brooklyn is pure magic–– between Atlantic Avenue and Canal Street the train moves above ground. It’s this epic opening from darkness into blue sky, grey sky, or rainy sky. During this time you’re gifted the most marvelous view of lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. I fall back in love with this crazy city every time I ride that train. It’s awe and wonder on a morning commute or a late night journey home.

Last week, I was riding the N train when I watched a small boy, no older than three years old, standing on the seat in between both his parents. He was fussy, irritated, and crying until that N train came out of the darkness. I watched his eyebrows raise and a sense of curiosity overcome him as the NYC skyline came into view. He turned to his mother who was looking down at her phone, grabbed her chin and pushed it upward to enjoy the scene, but she refused to look up. He turned to his father, poking him and pointing in the direction of the water, but his father was deeply engaged in his cell phone. So, the young boy just watched in awe alone, as the train retreated back underground.

This state of curiosity and connection to what surrounds us is part of our innate nature. We’re biochemically wired to notice, to experience awe and wonder and to connect with ourselves, with others, and with the world around us. We have evolution to thank for this. Long ago, our ancestors evolved to biologically benefit from connection­­––specifically, connection with those around us. Though technology does serve us in unique ways, there is nothing that can replace our bodies’ need to see and be seen. 

When we think about our evolutionary ancestors, their mode of survival was imperative to community. Without each other we would not have been able to protect ourselves from the dangers of wild animals or neighboring communities. Humans have evolved to thrive through connection, and what’s even more fascinating is how the human body has adapted to live longer, healthier, and more resilient lives just through face-to-face engagement and love. 

The science has shown that when we engage in genuine moments of connection, even moments that last just a few seconds, a biochemical cascade of positive hormones rush through us, slowing down our racing hearts, strengthening our immune systems, and increasing empathy, trust, and altruism. The power of seeing and being seen has been scientifically proven to help us heal our bodies!

Mind explosion! 

So imagine, what might be possible if we begin to look at every human being as an opportunity to help heal and strengthen our bodies? What if that person next to us in line at the coffee shop could give and receive from us a literal heart tune-up just with a genuine smile, or a meaningful conversation? Would we begin to look at everyone driving by as an opportunity for wellness? 

I think we should try. 

The human body has been designed to thrive, heal, and empathize through face-to-face engagement. When we direct our attention to screens instead of each other, our bodies miss out on increased oxytocin–the bodies’ feel good, “tend and befriend” hormone, which helps us read social cues and foster trust. As society seems to become more isolated, with nearly half of Americans feeling lonely, the time is now to prioritize our connections. 

As for me, I’ve just given up my home in Brooklyn (even though I will miss the N train) to travel to every state in the U.S where I am teaching workshops about the science behind connection. It’s a passion project, but also a personal healing journey– can I help heal my body from years of illness by engaging more with strangers, the earth, and ultimately myself. Just like that boy on the N train, I too am journeying to seek awe and wonder; to awaken my state of curiosity, and to remember to look up, and connect.

story by Lisa Daron - follow her cross-country journey of The Connection Cure here.

IF YOU EVER NEED TO TWINKLE

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“Was just letting you know the space is always open and here for you
if you ever need to twinkle in it, my starlight.”

The quote above is the actual words from my friend Jen. She talks like that - in pure poetry always and not at all trying. She is a poem, through and through. I texted her this afternoon and said “I’m sad and my insides are aching and I just wanted to say that to someone. Thank you for being available.” She responded with that ^. Annnnnd cue tears.

This weekend was a tough one for me. Conversations that were too long, words that cut too deep, emotions rising to an intensity that prevented two people who care about each other a lot from really hearing one another at times. I came home from a weekend away wrought with an indescribable exhaustion. Each one of my bones was tired. I could hear them. All of them. Begging for rest. For quiet. I cried like I haven’t cried all year.

You know when babies cry because they’re tired? I felt like that. Like I was weeping not only for my emotional pain, but for how unrelenting my exhaustion was and the distance at which rest seemed to wait. I posted a photo of my face swollen with tears saying not a whole lot more than “I’m so tired” and “I’m so human”.

 

I’ve been getting messages about it ever since.

 

“What’s going on? You ok?”

“I love you.”

“💛💛💛💛💛💛💛”

“Me too lately”

“Feeling for you”

“Hope everything is okay love”

“Are you ok? Do you need to talk?”

“Squeezing you with a hug from afar”

“You okay Stef?”

“I hope everything is okay Sauce! This too shall pass.”

“And beautiful” (in response to “I’m so tired”)

“Sendin’ you the lovin’”

“Need a chat?”

“If you ever need anything, I’m always around.”

“Sending you light!!!! Lots of shifts & shit happening in life due to eclipses and new moons & all that jazz. Hang in there and value all that you'll learn. It serves purpose.”

“Love you, Stef.”

 

Some of those are from my best friends and some of those are from people I hardly know and everything in between. The intention of the post wasn’t to trigger this response. I was more or less saying that I hadn’t been posting anything like I said I would and offering some indication (that I don’t actually owe anyone) as to why. But man, did I need all the love I got that night and the love I’ve continued to receive in the days that followed. Considering that this month’s theme is connection, it’s a lesson that is naturally - right on time.

It’s easy for me to forget how wide my net is. Leave it to a moment of such resounding humanity, something as universal as emotional pain to remind me that I am held in community. Everyone might call me Sauce, but it’s a tremendous gift to be tapped on the shoulder in moments of such searing discomfort, by the sound of my own name.

I tend to prefer not to be given advice in moments like this, and I tend not to offer it to someone else when they’re moving through their own stuff. My belief is that what we seek is so rarely a solution to our pain, but to just be witnessed in it. To have someone give a damn about your heart. Or to simply be reminded that we are equipped and strong. Or that we don’t have to be that at all and that there are couches to sit on and shoulders to cry on when that’s where we’re at. I needed that.

The day I got home I went almost straight to my friend Steph’s house. I called her when I picked up my car and she asked if I wanted tacos. I did. I loved her for that. For knowing me and not asking anything harder than “do you want tacos?”. When I got there her husband Joey had bought a giant cinnamon roll - he asked Steph what I liked for dessert. I loved him for that. For not needing me to say anything at all and just offering care and safety in the form of something as pure as a cinnamon roll. We watched The Office. I didn’t talk a whole lot. I just sat there and laughed when I felt like laughing and ate tacos and a cinnamon roll and let myself be held in my sadness by my friends.

Never underestimate your potency when someone else needs witnessing.

Never underestimate the power of tacos.

Or a cinnamon roll.

Or an emoji.

Or a couch.

Or connection.

Or a space for starlight to twinkle, if they need it.

Or love.


*PS. words in bold above are live links - click em.

The Language of Connection

The Language of Connection

You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy. When skies are grey.

You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.

I whisper those words into a scruffy black neck and watch his eyes softly open and close as tears come streaming down my cheeks. My eyelids are heavy dams that are breaking to allow the release of the salty waters of my heart. With my nose nuzzled against the familiar slopes of his forehead, I wonder for the millionth time if he understands these words I sing to him. A lullaby that tugs so violently at the strings of my heart to match the sensations of having been saved by being so tenderly and unconditionally known and loved. Melodies delivered from my lips into soft ears in moments of swollen gratitude for the gift of being healed by connection…


The Good Shit - Vol 3

The Good Shit - Vol 3

After four weeks of NON STOP rain here in South Florida, I am sitting poolside and drinking up every precious drop of sunshine I can scrape together. Seriously, how do people SURVIVE in places like Seattle? I would die. I would actually die . As a (basically) lifelong Floridian, I only know how to properly function when the sun is blaring and relief in the form of a breeze is non-existent. Whenever I envision a “happy” place - anything drenched in sunshine where I can be minimally clothed will do the trick to take me straight to bliss-ville. Dear sun, I missed you. Please stay. I’ll make you breakfast and sing to you and dance with you and just generally worship you. Isn’t that enough?!

continue reading…

WTF IS A COACH?

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Let me tell you how a good story works:
*PSA - I did not make this shit up - a smarter human than me named Donald Miller of Storybrand did. Read his book. And then read his other book.

A hero,
has a problem,
and meets a guide,
who gives them a plan,
and calls them to action,
that ends in success,
and helps them to avoid failure.

Every single time you’ve been activated in a story, you’ve been a part of some form of this journey.
“What does all of this have to do with the title of this journal entry?” you might be wondering by now…

I recently became aware of a very important fact - I haven’t been telling you a great story. Which blows my ego to shit because I’ve considered myself a good storyteller. High five for always learning!

Here’s what you need to know:
My real name is Stef, but everyone calls me Sauce. The reason why isn’t as epic as you wish it was and I will eventually make up a sick story (lie) to feed you all about it. I’m a coach, writer and yoga teacher. I do rad shit. I help creators/leaders/entrepreneurs/real humans figure out who they are, tap into their gifts, and tell their stories so that they can live fully expressed lives.

But like, WTF is a coach?

It was about three years ago and my career with lululemon was in its infancy that I discovered the answer to this question myself. My manager (such a lousy term for who these people were for me) had just gotten back from Global Leadership Conference (an EPIC lulu thing) and returned with a sheet of paper the size of a bookmark with questions on it that said “Put Me In, Coach” in bold red letters at the top. They were all inquiries someone could offer in a moment of holding space for someone else. They allowed the listener to hold up a mirror to the other so that they could find their own way towards whatever resolution they were seeking. In all of my time at lululemon, none of my leaders - my coaches - ever answered a single one of my questions. They always just asked me another question. This gift in this was that I learned that I could trust my own wisdom, and that I just needed a space where I could rebound my own processing. Coaching and consulting are often used interchangeably, but here’s the difference:

A good consultant gives you good answers.
A good coach asked you good questions.

My job is to inquire. Listening with my head, heart and body sensations to pull out the questions that you need to hear so that you can forge ahead with confidence and a strong intuitive muscle. And my job is to be a guide in your story.

Every epic movie you’ve ever seen or book you’ve ever read (and in a ton of other ways you don't even realize) has led the hero to their unique victory in this way. Harry had Dumbledore. Katniss had Haymitch. Luke Skywalker had Yoda (I think, right? TBH I’ve never seen Star Wars so I probably should have left this out to avoid hate mail). The hero, in order to emerge triumphant, needs a guide. I myself have guides. Guides are fucking awesome. We need them. All of us.

You are the hero of the story. Not me. You. If you’re feeling or have ever felt stuck, or in transition, or ready to shift the energy and direction of your life, or have some big, epic shit you know you’re here to be up to, and if you want to feel more authentically, fully and freely expressed as your absolute whole, real self - then I am here to be your guide.

I’m not a guru and I’m not going go “fix” you.
I am a guide.
And I’m going to reach out my hand for you and say “let’s fucking do this shit”.

I’m going to give you a plan. It is going to look like this:
1. You’re going to tell me your story
2. We’re going to unpack that story and find out what’s holding you back, what unconscious patterns you’re in, what you don’t even realize that you believe and what bullshit you’re buying that is in the way of YOU.
3. We’re going to create a human strategy using the best of who you already are - your unique and potent gifts - and leverage those to shift you into the expansion that you are ready to own.

This plan ends in success, but first you have to do one thing - act. You’re being called - right now.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign - this is it, amigo. This. Is. It. *insert neon sign here*

I’m ready for you.

*psssst - now you click the button

The Good Shit - Vol 2

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Welcome back to The Good Shit.

TBH, Volume 1 was way more of a hit than I expected - which lets me know that a) content that gets to the point in a more immediate and less cognitive or emotional way is a welcome breath of fresh air as far as how I've been doing things around here, and b) you're probably just in it for when I talk about sex podcasts and donuts. Which I totally understand.

This week, apparently the unofficial theme is apps, because there are four of them on this list that have been genuinely useful (unlike Fandango which just sits there for the 1x/year I see a movie). There's also some other stuff with no real theme other than that I'm into it right now.

Let's get this show on the road.

The Good Shit - Vol 2:

  • Okay who also totally forgot that the Big Tymers had some fucking BANGERS?!
  • That one time where I was like “I want my own straw” and days later my friend Sarah Claire just casually offers me a fresh rose gold straw like this one from a package in her backpack. I have arrived.
  • wo things that are major 🔑 when it comes to getting down (yeah, like that):
    • Condoms from Sustain
    • Organic Coconut Oil - I always have a stash right next to my bed that I’ve transferred into a glass preserving jar wide enough to actually fit my hand in. Nothing makes sexy time unsexy like trying to scrape the last bit of coconut oil from the bottom of a jar that your fingers will never reach. A handy hack whether you’re going at it alone or with company. Do the right thing.
  • The Classic - lost mine in Mexico. I was only like, two years in. INFANCY in the world of Rainbow Sandals which could legit last you your entire existence basically. New Rainbows, who dis?
  • This app for tracking my cycle. I haven’t been on birth control for almost ten years (save for a very brief stint a couple of years ago when my wonderful new boyfriend got to see me lose my absolute shit in a hormone infested nervous breakdown - sorry, Carl), and my cycle has been pretty crazy for the last year and a half. I love Flo because it gives me insight into each phase of my cycle and how to care for myself through the unique aspects of all four phases. It includes info on what foods would be particularly nourishing based on what’s happening in your body, journal prompts, movement recommendations, root causes for your symptoms, etc. I’m not trying to conceive, I’m for sure trying to NOT to that while also not skipping out on the activities that result in conception. This is a helpful tool along with the aforementioned barrier method ;) 
  • My best friend built this app along with an absolutely incredible team of designers and developers. About a year and a half from ideation to launching the iPhone app on the App Store this week. I’ve personally contributed to the formation of the identity/story of this brand from internal strategy to the world-facing copy and I could not be more proud to see what Nick has built and to have gotten to collaborate with my best friend. This is your new note-taking app, kids.
  • I cannot fucking stop watching this YouTube show for the love of god. Someone help me. 
  • This app for editing photos. I’ve been a dedicated VSCO user for a long time but I was led to A Color Story after reading that my friend Drea uses it. I find that I have more freedom with A Color Story that I do with VSCO presets and that there are many more options for edits that keep the original “realness” of the photo. I wind up with a shot that’s often just more vibrant and crisp without looking so doctored. Me gusta.
  • This book is next on my reading list bc I am fan-girling HARD over Peta Kelly 
  • Speaking of books, this one has changed my fucking game. If you have your own brand or are in the business of marketing/copywriting/storytelling/branding - buy this immediately. 
  • My adrenals are chronically fatigued and I find that increasing my protein intake throughout the day really helps to keep my energy levels more steady. Since I’m not often hungry in the mornings, I’ll do one of these Fro Pro bars to get myself going in the AM, or as a mid-day snack. Mint is my fave, and if you live in West Palm Beach, go to Celis and order a Chocolate Funk with one of these bad boys thrown in for some Mint Chocolate Chip vibes. You’re welcome. 
  • One of my yoga students loves John Mayer so I made this playlist for class and I am obsessed. I also get a real kick out of puns, so…
  • Coveting thisthis and this to teach, practice and basically live my entire life in.
  • The Autentic Sex podcast by Julie Allen is my favorite for her candor, brevity (she gets right to the point without too much fluff) and her wisdom on sex, relationships and tantra. Two of her most recent episodes have zeroed in on current happenings in my life. This and this
  • Taught this heart opening yin sequence this week with some tweaks. 
  • This blog by Hayley Wood
  • Not pretending that I WANT to interact with someone if I don’t. I’m FEELING that. Honoring your truth is the shit. There's no link for that.
  • If you haven’t watched Sens8 on Netflix I don’t know what you ARE doing with your life.
  • This past Saturday night friend Matt showed up at our friend Steph's house this week with one of every dessert from our home girl Sandra's new restaurant, Mazie's. You would be a fool not to go and implement this exact strategy. A fool.


PS. What is ALSO Good Shit is my teaching schedule in West Palm Beach this week. Here's the shakedown:

  • Tuesday 5/22: 6:30 PM Sip + Stretch at Studios Etc inside Granview Public Market
  • Thursday 5/24: 7:00 PM - Rest + Restore at Sozo Wellness
  • Friday 5/25: 9:00 AM - Slow Burn at Little Ocean Yoga

This Is a Post About Money That Isn't About Money

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Alright homies, let’s talk about money. If you’ve been following me a while, you’ve been let in a bit on my “stuff” in relationship to this particular form of energy that I am so perpetually annoyed by. If you know me personally, you’ve seen into the deep wounds I hold around this thing, and seen up close how very much I hate talking about it and how much pain I experience in my tireless work to heal. Money, I’m trying really hard to love you but I have a lot of junk to work on before my first instinct ISN’T to hate your guts.

This post isn’t about money. It’s about how whatever our STUFF is makes us feel and what do to with that information.

My stuff is money. I have PLENTY of other stuff but money is one of my real big ones. Whatever your story about 💸💰  is - fellow human, I’ve been there and may very well be there right now. I’ve had too much, I’ve had not enough, I’ve felt safe and secure and I’ve felt absolutely paralyzed with fear. What you might notice about those sensations  though is that none of them are exclusive to money, you feel me? Insert any of your own shit into the blank to be filled in here “The sore spot in my life is __________” and you could follow that up with any of the aforementioned feels. No matter what that is for you, it’s just a mirror. The “thing” isn’t the thing. It’s us.

This morning I opened my laptop to pay some bills. One tab opened to my bank, another to my car insurance, another to my phone bill, another to an invoice to be paid for coaching (your girl needs a coach too), and instantly my chest started to tighten. Right on cue, there is less oxygen flooding my lungs. Without fail, tension creeps into my legs. My body is responding to the experience of what I fear most - even though all of the resources are available to do what is needed. I am not in the kind of abundance that I’d flaunt in a music video like I watched on 106 & Park when I was a kid (yes. yup.), but I’m not in lack either. There is enough for what I need and still my body responds. WTF do you do with that?

You feel, man. You lean into what you’re experiencing. Between your ears, on your heart, upon your flesh and far beneath. This morning I’m asking myself what it is that I’m really scared of when I send money away - what’s the primary need that my subconscious is concerned about? Where did that story come from? The answers might not materialize instantly, but I allow for their incoming and tell The Universe that I’m open to receiving this awareness when I’m ready. I don’t fucking know when ready is but I trust that to be realized intuitively. That’s what this process is. Allowing and Trusting.

Most importantly, I give myself permission to just have the moment. This whole “spiritual bypass” thing makes it sound sexy to “just think positive” or whatever the fuck and totally skip over the actual experience. Bypassing what you’re feeling because it doesn’t feel “good” (intentional steady use of air quotes here because these things are all bullshit) is actually low AF on the vibrational scale. Pretending everything is great when you don't authentically feel that that isn't honoring the truth - and what we're interested in is the whole truth and nothing but. What IS high-vibing is not running from your stuff. Welcome to the cool kids club boys and girls (and gender-neutral identifiers)! What that could sound like in terms of a you, yourself and you conversation is: “I am feeling anxious right now. I’m feeling this way for a reason that I’ll understand in time. Until then, I am having this experience and it is okay that I’m having this experience.” Then journal about it, move your body, sit with someone you feel safe with and be heard  - when it comes to a method of processing, the adventure is yours for the choosing, my friend.

Whatever your “blank” is, if you’re ready to be free of that shit, I'm here to walk you through. The little button at the end there is for your clicking pleasure. I’ve been there, done that, and will some day sell the T-Shirt that says:
“Dear money, I hate you. JK I love you. Not really. A little. Barely, though. Let’s try just being friends first. Coffee, sometime? You’re buying. Love, Stef.”