It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.
Ok, I'm kinda cheating with this one but why have rules if you can't break them sometimes? Miles and I met when he was officiating a wedding of someone I didn't know in the Berkshires of Massachuests. I was a guest of a friend of the groom. While officiating Miles had everyone Om, meditate, and he even played the harmonium. I knew immediately I had to be friends with this sweet hearted kindred sprint. I know you'll love Miles as much as I do! Enjoy.
Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. I was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Raised in Bogota, Colombia during the 80’s and early 90’s- the Escobar years. Needless to say, growing up was interesting. We partied like it was 1999 since I was 13 because we had no idea if we were going to make it back home.
My dad grew flowers and my mom is a writer and interpreter. And my sister is an avant-guard writer and performance artist who has spent years refining the stories that are hidden in our bodies.
I’ve already filled a bunch of different skins in this lifetime: horseback rider, rock climber, actor, real estate agent, straight person, gay person and then just- person. It is fluid and ever changing. Even though, who I am seems pretty simple when it boils down to it. All of those are words that give you an idea but they have more to do with the outer shell than the inside.
I care about other people. I want to leave things better than when I found them. I want to connect and live the fullness of this life that has been granted to me even if it means I’ll have a few dings in the end.
I’m a transplant, in New York. Living with my two dogs and my incredible love. I love to move, I love to travel and love stories and music, but most of all I love to laugh and eat chocolate.
Q. What is your work?
A. I teach yoga. It’s only part of what I do though. Mostly, I hold space for people. I help people remember who they are in the deep essence of their being so that they can go out into the world and do the things they need to and do some good.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I'm always working on a bunch of different projects. I work with film and make music. I write. But currently the thing I’m daydreaming about is getting a little cabin outside of New York City. A place that can be a hub for me and my people. Where I can leave a key and let all my people know where it is in the event they ever need a place to crash or think. A place of healing, laughter, food and love. Where I can spread out a little bit and run amok in the woods.
Then there’s teaching my classes. I always love working with people that way and watching what develops. I’ve known some of my students since I started teaching ten years ago. It’s kind of amazing. I’ve seen them through all sorts of times in their lives. That just means the world to me.
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Lately, I’ve been asking people I care about to stop calling me sister, lady or girl and that I prefer to be referred to in the male pronoun. I’ve been playing with it to see how it feels. It’s new territory. The plainest way to describe it is that I’m transgender since it’s a word that is now in the mainstream and people understand a tiny bit about it, though it’s very lackluster. I prefer the Native American term “two-spirited”. It seems more appropriate since I’m not trying to migrate from one side to the other like a train, I inhabit both and they are both in me and a part of me. I’m letting the side that has had less play, breathe. It’s truly terrifying because everyone has reactions to it and opinions about it and it is unchartered territory for me. I’m not even sure how I feel about it yet for myself or where I am in all of it. But I like the discourse it provides when people can show up even when it feels challenging and I think the friction generated by having to navigate difficult subjects can be interesting and show you a lot about yourself and others. I have to say it does make me excited when people try it out. It makes me feel seen and loved.
I’m slowly edging along my way like the turtle and learning. It’s not something I started to understand until a few years ago. I’ve always walked my walk the best way I’ve known how and that has made people around me feel more comfortable with being who they are. So I am tallying forth and allowing myself the space to discover and fail and see what is there and how it wants to be expressed. It’s clunky and awkward and I’m ok with it. It’s an adventure totally worth taking, even if it is scary. I don’t really have a choice in the matter anyway. It’s something that’s long needed to be looked at. And it’s sexy and great. That’s there too, so that’s pretty sweet.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not what's stopping you?
A. I am in love with my work. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. That said, we have come to a crossroads as a culture with this election and in the world in general with everything that is hitting a head. We’ve reached a spiritual crisis or perhaps an identity crisis. We don’t recognize ourselves anymore. Something big is shifting.
I’m taking some time to talk to as many people as possible about what they perceive: their fears, their dreams, their hopes, their frustrations, and listening in an attempt to try to figure out my next big step in all of this and how I can be of use. It no longer seems appropriate to let be and to let my work speak for itself. I feel some greater action has to be taken, but I am giving myself time to figure out what that could be. I imagine it will be greatly connected to my work since my work is the work of the spirit anyway. But this very moment, I am not sure yet what it will look like. My heart says that waiting for a moment and listening are what needs to happen. So that is what I’m doing.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. I’m not sure. Things have developed organically and beautifully. I think I did a great job throughout all of it. I wouldn’t want to say anything that would change that kind of innocence. It is such a gift.
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. No one can take that which is yours and most good things in life are given, not taken.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. I ask my self what I need. It can be quite different depending on the situation. A lot of the times when I loose my creativity or feel flat it is a sign of burn-out or fatigue. So I nap and putter and chill. I listen to podcasts, or read. I’ll watch a series or a flick or go to the museum, or walk across the park or do something I’ve never done before to try to shake up and stir my nervous system. And yet, sometimes, sitting with a friend, or calling someone I love can be just the thing.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. I’m really struggling with full wheel right now. I had a bad accident on my motorcycle a year and a half ago and was off my mat for a year and three months. I used to be a crazy deep backbender but as I’ve been getting back on my mat, this pose has seemed nearly impossible. I’m finally starting to break through again, and it’s been very cool and humbling really to appreciate a true beginner’s mindset. So I’m having strong flirtations with it and a bizarre love affair.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I say yes to things and people when they present themselves. I put down my phone so that I can connect. I pay attention to my sweetheart, Caroline, who has really mastered the art of living joyfully and abundantly and I let her remind me not to be such a grouch. I sing every day. I eat something sweet every day. And I thank my teachers every day as part of my gratitude practice.
I highly recommend checking out his blog here http://milesyoga.com