A Love Note To Wanderlust Hollywood
As many of you will know, for the last four years I have been sharing Soulstrology Soundbaths at Wanderlust Hollywood.
It is with a heavy heart that I share that my public Soulstrology Soundbaths have come to an end as Wanderlust Hollywood is closing in the next two weeks, on May 30th.
The last time I was at Wanderlust was March 6, 2020. Covid was beginning to take its grip on the world and we were days away from realizing the full force of the virus and the global implications. Unbeknownst to me, Los Angeles was just ten days away from being shut down.
In my pre Soundbath lecture I offered my usual cosmic consciousness, but as always, I took into account current events. I touched upon Covid and its significance in relation to the forthcoming Virgo Full Moon – the importance of hygiene and the triumvirate of health being mind/body/soul, how mindfulness and not succumbing to the Virgo worrywart tendencies was of utmost importance and how I was trying to practice what I teach as a #virgorising.
I cracked my usual jokes (humor is healing and anyone who knows me knows it is part of my MO) and tried to offer reassurance and infuse healing and peace of mind amongst the souls who joined me that evening. I told everyone I would see them next month and gave my usual hugs without abandon.
Days later I began to realize how serious Covid really was. Los Angeles was soon shut down and there was a collective realization that we were facing a global pandemic.
In the weeks that followed like many of you, I began to realize that life as we knew it, was over – at least for the short to mid-term. As the weeks turned into months, I began to realize that things were also going to dramatically shift in the longer term. Destruction, loss and endings were inevitable.
In my gut I knew it was highly likely that this news coming, but I am personally devasted that Wanderlust Hollywood is closing. And it isn’t simply for professional reasons. My relationship with this sacred space is so much more than a regular gig, or income stream. It is where I truly came home to myself and has served as an alchemic anchor for the last four years.
The first time I offered a Soundbath there was in January 2016.
The studio had officially opened in late 2015 and was hosting an event so people could get to know the new space and also to promote one of their upcoming festivals in Oahu. Thanks to Joan Hyman a yogi who was teaching there, I was invited to share a short Soundbath at the end of the yoga class. As I sat on the stage playing my gongs and bowls, I knew that this was where I wanted to share my Soulstrology Soundbaths.
At that point I had been playing Soundbaths for a year at home. When I say at home, I mean in my lounge. I lived in a one-bedroom apartment which had an open plan kitchen/lounge/dining area. I had been holding monthly meditations from mid-2014 but once I bought my first gong and bowls this morphed into monthly Soundbaths. I started with one gong and two bowls, within months I had three gongs and five bowls and soon enough expanded into seven gongs and seven bowls. My Soundbaths started with five people and within months I was at full capacity of seventeen which was actually over capacity with people lying in the hallway and on my kitchen floor, another couple sat upright against my front door, just so they could join it. I donated my couch (which had doubled as a bed for guests) and my ‘living area’ became dedicated to private healing sessions and Soundbaths.
For months I knew my work had outgrown my space. An opportunity popped up to be able to share a few soundbaths at a local furniture store which was a huge warehouse type stuffed full of the most beautiful pieces of furniture from across the globe and rugs as carpeting. Alas, they had a leaking roof after some particularly (rare) heavy rainfall and this was no longer an option, so I continued at home.
In my heart I had a very clear desire. To move my Soundbaths out of my home, allowing me to retain some modicum of personal space and share and heal people in bigger numbers than I was able to due to physical constraints.
The first time I sat on the stage in the aptly named ‘Greatest Place’ and played a Soundbath I knew I had found the greatest place for my Soulstrology Soundbaths. With its wood floors, brick walls and an abundance of natural light, there was a certain energy that inhabited the space that made it both healing and expansive. Within a couple of months, I held a series of lunar workshops with Soundbaths which were held in the smallest room in the building. Six months later I was back on the stage, in the Greatest Place.
The rest as the saying goes, is history. My Soulstrology Soundbaths became a regular monthly fixture and an expanded Soulstrology Soundbath community was born. The group grew in size and regularly hosting a Soundbath of 50 plus people wasn’t uncommon. Soulstrology Soundbaths began to garner momentum, were recommended in Vogue, and have since been shared at events for Goop, Soho House and for many private events as well as at WellSpring in Palm Springs, the only festival I managed to make during my time with the Wanderlust family.
Wanderlust took a chance on me. A gal who had been offering Soundbaths for only a year, an unknown in the wellness world, with no real social media following or online profile to speak of. And that chance they took on me literally put me on a stage in the spotlight. Suddenly I had a platform for my work which allowed me to flourish and find my unique voice and place in a wellness world that often feels over-saturated and where the more introverted of us can often get lost. Wanderlust served as my expander and in doing so allowed me to serve so many more others than I ever could have done had I continued my work at home, as well as opening doors and bringing so many new opportunities my way.
I could end the story there with a heartfelt note about my gratitude. It would be sincere but it wouldn’t be the full picture. And as I said at the outset, there is so much more about my relationship with Wanderlust than what it did for my career.
In January 2016 I was at an odd point in my life. I had been living in Los Angeles for four years and it had been a rough ride – personally, professionally, spiritually – on every single level. I was finally more settled having secured my green card and mostly recovered from various autoimmune disorders and a life crash and burn which took hold of me for two torturous years from 2012-2014. However, I knew that I wasn’t my healthiest self and part of this was a huge disconnect from my physical body. I had fallen out of love with Bikram yoga in 2014. It had helped me get through the worst of some of my illnesses but then just didn’t feel right. I had tried a few flow classes, but they never really flowed. I was hiking but I knew I needed something else.
I had established myself as a wellness practitioner with a busy practice but I had also lost myself in service of others. I told myself I was doing good as I was helping others, but deep down I knew I was busying myself healing others so I didn’t have to look too deeply inwards. This was a disservice to myself and I knew I needed to invest in reconnecting my mind, body and soul.
I became a member of Wanderlust and committed to doing yoga twice a week. I scheduled it in my calendar and blocked these days off as either half days of work, or, shock horror – actual days off so I would actually give myself some much-needed downtime.
I attended the classes of Monica Ross (now Hartz) who frankly changed my life. She not only got me pushing beyond the boundaries of what I thought my physical body was capable of while enriching my understanding of yoga, but also she modeled to me what it meant to be a true teacher and have personal integrity in a wellness world that frankly at times can get quite egotistical and for want of a better expression, a bit icky.
Monica became and remains a good friend and she is one of many people who I encountered at Wanderlust who touched my life in such a deep, profound way and played an important role in my evolution of mind, body, soul and the life I am now leading.
Which leads me back to the title of this post.
The Wanderlust motto is Find your True North. As an astrologer I liken this to finding and aligning with the North Node in your chart – your destiny in this lifetime.
And this is what the last four years of Wanderlust did for me. Through regular yoga, delicious healthy food, the incredible events I attended, the events I provided, the friendships I formed and the conversations we had, the TIME I gave myself to slow down – to take a breath, to go inwards and re-connect; I nourished myself – mind, body and soul. And this nourishment had an enormous positive knock on effect on the rest of my life.
As a result of my practice I threw caution to the wind and morphed my professional offerings to accommodate my changing life and needs. I closed certain chapters so new ones could begin. I learnt to have healthy boundaries that were not walls to keep people out, but bridges to freedom and healthier relationships of all kinds. I learnt to truly practice what I taught and was reminded not to worry about how things appeared and that personal integrity is EVERYTHING. I found my voice sat on a stage with a live audience, which is not my comfort zone, but I pushed through and discovered that I could be myself, and share insights in my own unique way (more often than not with a joke thrown in) and that this could be healing, informative and inspiring for people. I finally realized I didn’t need to ‘be’ a certain way – whether in appearance or demeanor – in order to be successful if that ‘way’ didn’t feel right to me and wasn’t authentic. And perhaps most significant of all, I learnt to love in a way that my heart didn’t know was possible. As I wandered around in the juicy shavasana of my Soundbath waving incense, beaming reiki and spritzing each soul with my custom aromatherapy sprays I would tune into what I felt was happening for each person. I would pray that they would get what they needed at this precise moment in life, sometimes with tears streaming down my face in the dim light of the Greatest Place. In those quiet moments when grown adults slumbered like babes, I felt my heart burst with love for a stranger that reminded me of our oneness and the real purpose of this wellness journey as souls walking each other home on this earth plane. To even write about this in the past tense brings tears as I type.
Over the last four years like many others I have experienced ups and downs. I met and married my husband in a warp speed rom-com esque courtship. I also mourned the passing of my beloved Dad who departed the earth plane just weeks after I wed, teaching me that beauty and brutality co-exist in life and you can be both deliriously happy and incredibly sad all at the same time (often on your mat). I learnt to surrender to the unknown on my fertility journey which over the course of eighteen months saw me have two surgical procedures and four failed fertility treatments. Yet against the odds, and because of my practice,I learnt to love my body even more and to trust my mind/body/soul connection in spite of the circumstances of my external reality. Wanderlust served as my anchor throughout all these experiences. As I would pull up to 1357 N Highland avenue, I would audibly exhale and feel my shoulders drop as one does, when one comes home.
During the January 4 2019 Soulstrology Soundbath which was a full house (eclipse season gets everyone needing their sound tune up) I felt weird uterine twinges and thought it was a sign my period was coming which meant I could finally start our first round of IVF. Only to find out three days later that I was in fact pregnant with a miracle baby who was naturally conceived, against all the odds.
I kept my pregnancy secret for a few months and attended classes having whispered in the teacher’s ear (Monica had by now left the regular schedule) that I was pregnant but it was early and I knew I needed to be ‘careful’ with my practice, but I also really needed to practice. Each week I would meet another pregnancy milestone, and slowly the weeks became months and soon enough I found that this little soul growing in my body was strong and healthy and would be coming earth side at some point. My yoga practice kept me sane during those uncertain and vulnerable times and I am so grateful to each different teacher who discreetly adjusted and held space for me.
Soon I was able to celebrate and unveil my burgeoning bump to all. We got a lot of love from all Wanderlust which felt particularly special to me given that when I had joined in 2016 I was steadfastly single and had actually been celibate for two years. The fecundity of my time at Wanderlust touched every area of my life.
I continued with yoga for as long as baby and I felt comfortable to, which was to halfway through my pregnancy. But I still got my Wanderlust fix by popping into the café weekly and with my monthly events, which to my surprise continued throughout my pregnancy. All my fears about not being able to perform Soundbaths when pregnant turned out to be utterly fake news I had been telling myself. My last Soulstrology Soundbath before delivering was at 8 months pregnant and was a beautiful experience. It’s funny as my baby is now 8 months old and he loves Soundbaths just as much as I do.
https://alchemywithambi.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/WL-Soundbath.m4vI loved my monthly events at Wanderlust so much that one of the first ‘work’ things I returned to post baby was my monthly Soulstrology Soundbaths. Looking back this was slightly insane as I was six weeks post- partum and not fully healed from the wear and tears (literally) of delivering my little (large) boy, but I wanted to be there as I knew it signified me once again coming home to myself after a big life transition. I still want to be there. And my goodness do I need to be there now more than ever. On my mat, and offering Soulstrology Soundbaths.
And yet here I am now. Here we all are now. In a new decade which has been a fireball of destruction so far with all of us trying to catch our breath in the aftermath of the smoky ashes.
Yet in spite of the pain I feel – the sadness, the loss, the grieving process I am going through and that the entire Wanderlust community is going through, I trust that this too is part of each us continuing to find our true north.
As we all probably know (but perhaps need the reminder right now) our true north is not a destination, but rather an ongoing journey.
Full disclosure – right now I don’t have a road map for moving forward with my Soulstrology Soundbaths. I don’t know what will happen. I can’t imagine in a post Covid world how it will all work in the short to mid-term future. Or where. However, what I do know is that even when I don’t know the exact destination, even when my dreams are seemingly dashed, and the world seems dark and full of despair, I musttrust the process.
The end of the last decade proved this to me as one of my life’s dreams – which I was beginning to think was perhaps not meant to be – came to fruition with the birth of my son.
And the first year of this new decade will see me achieving a dream I’ve had since my twenties that I had pretty much given up on: becoming a published author (my first book Chakras and Self-Care is being published with Penguin Random House later this year).
Both of these huge miracles and all of the ups and downs of the last four years have taught me that along this crazy journey called life trying to achieve our destined dreams we will experience continual disappointments, ‘failures’ and endings we don’t want, but we can choose to let go of how we think things should be and surrender to the currents.
Finding my true north has taken me from a lawyer and on-air expert in my twenties, to a healer, astrologer and spiritual teacher in my thirties, to now becoming a Mama and author in my forties.
I don’t know exactly what is next but I do know that losing the anchor of Wanderlust Hollywood feels like losing a limb in many ways and is a profound and painful ending. But while the physical ‘home’ may be closing, it will never be energetically closed in my heart. My time there will continue to fuel my soul on my ongoing journey to come home to myself.
I just wish I could practice yoga in The Greatest Place one more time, perform one more Soundbath, kiss the floor that held me and so many others, hug every person and fixture. But I can’t. And as painful as that is, I am trusting that this too is part of the divine plan.
I have the utmost gratitude, so much love, a few tears and the biggest virtual hugs for all of you souls who crossed paths with mine over the last few years. Whether it was on our mats, at an event, in the café, or a Soulstrology Soundbath – you touched my heart and your sweet faces are forever etched in my spirit.
And as much as some of you may feel I healed or helped you, please know you did the same for me.
As Ram Dass said, “We are all just walking each other home”.