Yesterday I called my business partner (sister) because our reviews on Amazon for our Mala Jewelry Line had suddenly dropped. In the business of Amazon that basically means your product sales will drastically dip. As I began to investigate, somebody had bought different bracelets and left bad reviews on each listing saying the exact same thing “DON’T BUY- it broke”. I’m not saying that elastic bracelets are unbreakable but in order for them to break you either have to pull really hard, get it stuck somewhere or wear it long enough until it’s the normal wear and tear (she had only recently bought the bracelets) and it could have happened to one but all of them? Sorry, that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

I always like reading the profile of the person who leaves a bad review. I’m not sure why I feel the need to know the person. I like to imagine how they look and what they are into. Every single review she had written was a complaint. Most people feel the need to share a bad experience and not necessarily a good experience, that’s human nature. But I find it very interesting that in my past research people that have left extremely poor reviews on our products leave extremely bad reviews on every product they purchase. And this really got me thinking- How much pain are people in.

We go through life focusing on our individual pain probably if you are not a narcissist on the pain of people you love - 5 people maybe 10 if you are really lucky. But we don’t consider the pain of every person that walks this earth.  The First Noble Truth usually is translated "life is suffering." but we interpret this as “I am suffering” My sales just dropped because of this witch that’s all I could think about. Not for a second did I consider that witch must be going through something hard to feel the need to leave so many bad reviews.

I’m not saying that we should justify people that don’t act in the best of ways. I’m saying that when people act poorly (sometimes that people are us) they are doing it from a place of pain and if we forget we end up just blaming others and taking on way more than we need. 

When I was 12 I had a “friend” that seemed to be out to get me. Spice Girls was always playing in the background music and the highlight of my life was walking the mall with my friends wearing cheap jewelry and colored sunglasses (we looked as ridiculous as it sounds) My "friend" would invite everybody to her house except me, her parents would host trips and I was the only friend that didn’t get invited (I considered maybe it was my smell or that my parents didn’t have as much money) I cried myself to sleep many nights feeling like an outsider and thinking something was wrong with me. Eventually, I changed schools and found other “friends” who funny enough ended up doing similar things.

But it wasn’t until much later in life when I reconnected with this girl. That I could see how much pain she was in. Her life seemed so perfect on the outside but she was having anxiety attacks, had never been in a relationship, barely had any friends, her mother had the ability to make her feel like she was less ALL the time. I’m sure that was only the tip of the iceberg.

I don’t feel better that she was (and still is) suffering but it does allow me to understand that her suffering has nothing to do with me and that the pain she inflicted was only coming from her pain and this is true for every human being. We are not compelled to hurt others when we feel connected and loved. We do this out of an empty space inside of us.

Some people are better at pretending that their space is not empty and that there is no pain in their hearts but I don’t think anybody can consciously hurt others if they are truly whole and happy.

So my advice- let’s recognize the suffering of others as we recognize our own. Let’s not take on more pain than need it by adding the drama and victimhood of our minds.





Every so often I find it really hard to sit. It’s as if my meditation cushion becomes a torture chair. Has this ever happened to you? Usually, there is something going on. Maybe an emotion we don’t want to feel, something scary or uncomfortable.

I wrote on the Facebook Private Group that days like that I dance/move like a crazy lady to my favorite song. It helps, it really helps. If you don’t have a meditation practice that is a great place to start. After many days struggling with my sitting practice this little story happened.


Sat with unworthiness the other day.

No idea it was still there after all these years.

Thought I had outgrown it

That self-love and self-care had taken care of it.

Didn’t notice it was just hiding behind the feeling of not fitting in and wanting to be seen.

It was there all along.

Felt it on the right side of my neck, from my throat to my shoulder like a muscle spasm, completely stuck.

“Seriously?” I said “I thought you were long gone”

I felt how my whole body clenched.

“Sorry,” I said “Should know better. Let me bring you some tea”

Knowing that tea was the right thing to do but secretly hoping it would leave afterward.

Sat back again breathing calmly, feeling all the layers of Unworthiness.

“Why?” I asked with a slight tone of defeat.

Unworthiness started laughing as if I had told it my funniest joke.

I froze didn’t know unworthiness had a sense of humor.

“Sweetie the why makes no difference- I exist in most people some might not recognize me, others don’t get scared of me but I’m not just yours to own and feel sorry for”

Not knowing what to say next I bowed.

Because that is my practice. To honor whatever shows up even what seems unpraised.



17 Reminders for 2018


1.     The most radical act of peace is to love yourself exactly as you are.

2.     Nobody knows what you are going through. You don’t know what anybody is going through.

3.     Never leave your bed without a sense of gratitude or a sense of humor.

4.     Embrace not knowing.

5.     Silence is golden.

6.     Healing starts with acceptance, followed by compassion, a good amount of trust, and a whole lot of love.

7.      Hold space for more than one truth.

8.     Constantly redefine your relationships with food, drinks, social media, family, friends and Netflix.

9.    Spend time in nature. 

10.   Be kind especially when it's not expected.

11.   Give up on trying to change people.

12.   Happiness is not a thing or place, it's the space between each in breath and out breath.

13.   Less "I" and "me". More "us" and "we"

14.   Be honest with yourself about yourself.

15.   Find your voice.

16.   The key to letting go is to let things be.

17.   Pause.



Thank you for Everything


While traveling I read something that inspired me by a nun named Ono whose daily mantra was “Thank you for everything, I have no complaints whatsoever.” I told my husband about this mantra and as the trip went on, we started using it. When we ate the most amazing Hummus, saw a rainbow as we walked by the canals or visited the Van Gogh museum. It felt natural to be grateful, to be able to experience such beauty.

Until we lost our flight and didn’t make the reception we were supposed to go to, or when the heater in the airplane broke and we were freezing, or when my knee and my husband’s back starting hurting. We didn’t feel thankful than but I kept making an effort to say “thank you for everything. I have no complains” because that’s what “everything” means. It’s not about picking and choosing between the good and the bad. Between when things go our way or when they don’t.

Being thankful for everything allows you to open to the experience in a different way. Maybe because you think things happen to you and not against you or just because by changing your perspective you suffer less. Personally, I’m a skeptic so at times “everything happens for a reason” is too much of a cliché let’s be honest some things just simply suck. But you can make something out of the suck and the only way to do that is from a perspective of gratitude, non-complaining, and opening to the unknown.

Can you be thankful for everything during this season? Even the traffic, family members and stress that goes along with December?  

I'm offering the last new moon circle of the year on Monday, December 18th at 7pm where I plan on helping you set your intentions and find a mantra that resonates with this moment in your life. Please RSVP since space is limited. It will be donation based and most of the funds will go towards bringing smiles to people in need.

If the time, day and place don't work for you. You can always make a Skype Session. 

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Preventing Yoga Injury

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Most of us think of Yoga as the solution to our aches and pains but can Yoga be causing you pain? The answer, in short, is yes.

During this interview with Lora Heiner owner and founder of Inhale Yoga, E-RYT500/E-RYT200 with over 4500 hours of teaching experience. Will be talking about her experience getting injured and learning ways to prevent injury during the yoga practice.

So if you are suffering from injuries and are a fitness enthusiast this episode is for you. If you are not suffering from any injuries and are pushing your body to the extreme this episode is for you. Because we only have one body and we need to take care and full responsibility of it. 

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The solution is not to stop exercising but to move in smarter ways. 

Episode Resources

Inhale Yoga and Fitness

Your Body. Your Yoga - Bernie Clark 

Katie Bowman- Nutritious Movement





Embracing Not Knowing

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Life has an undertone of uncertainty. We are not given assurance of anything in this world. Yet we resist not knowing, we try and get ground under our feet and view knowledge and certainty as for the most powerful tools we can have.

When I was in high school I started to notice I had no idea what I wanted to do in my life. Most of my friends were going to college to become Doctors, Architects, and Lawyers. Me? Well, it depended on what day of the week you asked me. I wanted to be everything and study none of it.

I felt so much stress around not knowing and this has been a theme in my life and what I see my clients struggling with as well. The uncertainty of birth, motherhood, death or even ordering from a menu. Causes contraction, anxiety, and stress.

So what do we do about it? How do we embrace not knowing? Which is a principle that is deeply rooted in Buddhism.

My experience has been by not judging it or labeling it as something negative. I once told a teacher I wasn’t sure if I should continue studying with her and she answered “that’s ok. You don’t need to know. Just stay with that” I had never heard a positive response to my uncertainty before. The idea that “its ok to not know”, that we don’t need to have an answer to every situation made my heart lighter and eventually allowed me to make a decision from a place of peace and freedom.

This concept of "not knowing" is something I began to admire most in teachers. The idea that a highly knowledgeable person is aware that no amount of knowledge will grant them with all the answers and the humility it takes to recognize it. 

It’s about cultivating don’t know mind as Frank Osterkaski wrote in The five invitations (I highly recommend this book) “This is not encouragement to avoid knowledge. Don’t know mind is one characterized by curiosity, surprise, and wonder. It is receptive, ready to meet whatever shows up as it is. Don’t know mind is an invitation to enter life with fresh eyes, to empty our minds and open our hearts”.

So we open up to the experience as it comes, like children encountering life. We learn more when we don’t know then when we think we know. Because in reality even if we think we know something it might not even be true.

As I personally continue to open myself to the practice of embracing not knowing. I have some changes coming my way. I’m going back to teaching a weekly Pilates/TRX class. I miss the physical practice, teaching in groups has always been a passion of mine. I moved away from this space because I wanted to help people in deeper ways and I’m moving back to this space because I underestimated the power of sweat, laughter and the awareness that comes from the physical practice. I will be teaching at Inhale Yoga in Del Mar Tuesdays at 5:30pm. So if you are in San Diego lets meet!

My Podcast Toolkit for Life will be hosting mostly interviews with incredible teachers some that might not even know are teachers and less of me talking. I want this to be a platform for people that are not necessarily spreading their word around social media to speak up and share their stories and messages. If there is anybody you know that you would like me to interview please, please send them my way.

My newsletters will probably start looking shorter. I don’t enjoy reading long articles so I won’t make you do that either. I will share with you what inspires me and some of the things I write along the way.  

New Moon Circles I’m standing in the “don’t know”. What do you say?

I also have a couple of really exciting projects that I'm working on. I will share with you once everything is settled. 



Silence is Golden

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I’m trying to find the words to tell you about my experience doing a silent retreat in Denmark. I’m sitting at my computer after many hours traveling wanting to give you every detail of what I learned and realized. A part of me wants to create bullet points and another part of me wants to leave this page blank because I think that would be the only way to convey what it is that I learned. I’m going to start by talking about the silent aspect of the retreat.

I was afraid of silence as I mentioned on the Podcast I consider myself a talker (I mean I host a podcast for love sake) for the same reason I think silence healed me so much. It felt like I didn’t need to hold on to that sense of my identity. I didn’t need to socialize with every person I encountered as I would normally do. When I sat down to eat, I could just eat and be with my food one silent bite at a time. I didn’t need to wake up and tell my friend who was sleeping next to me what a bad night sleep I had. I could keep my complaints all to myself. It was as if a part of who I believe I am switched off for a couple of days along with all my electronics.

My internal dialog didn’t really switch off. I could even dare to say internally it got loud. I could hear the judgment and resistance arise, my storyteller wanting to write and my self-righteousness wanting to help everybody’s posture as they sat in the chairs listening to the teacher.

Maybe they say “Silence is golden” because it shines brighter on whatever is happening on both the inside and the outside.

The best part of the retreat was nothing that was said but what was left unsaid. We had daily exercises where we would gather in small groups and hear each other speak. Normally this is the type of place where I would feel an urge to give advice or comforting words as I saw tears, fear, sadness, and anger emerge.

But I tried to take this time as an opportunity to hold space in my heart for every person that spoke. I felt a type of healing happening not because I was doing anything but because I noticed how we all want to be heard and how silence is at times the most genuine humbling thing we can give each other. In a way listening without judgment is the ultimate act of kindness and the black belt of meditation.

There was specifically an older man with who I felt a connection. I could sense his sadness in my heart so when the session was over I saw him reading a book and went over to try and hug him. When I touched his shoulder he turned around to look at me with a blank stare. I felt intimidated so I smiled and walked away.

The last day when we shared the most important takeaway from the retreat.  When it was his turn to speak he said "One day when I was reading a book feeling under the spell of my thoughts, an angel touched me and smile breaking the spell and making me realize the compassion in people’s hearts and that I can have that compassion with myself" I was about to cry not because somebody thinks I’m an angel haha but because I felt firsthand how healing it can be to hold space for somebody in my heart and how a gentle touch and truly listening can help a person self-heal more than words could ever do.

So I guess that’s the tool for this week. Less of the talking. More of the truly listening. I skipped the podcast aspect of the post in honor of silence



Accepting many Truths

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One of the things I have been experiencing lately is that there can be more than one way. More than one truth. That what we think is the right way doesn’t make the other way wrong. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Chogyam Rinpoche was a leading Tibetan Buddhist teacher I remember when I first heard about him. A friend was telling me that he was a great teacher but he was openly drinking, doing cocaine and sleeping with some of his students. I felt completely discouraged to read his books or learn more about his brilliant legacy. Recently I did a course and one of the required books was his book “Cutting through Spiritual Materialism” and my view completely shifted. It was not either or. He drank and was a great teacher. Why couldn’t he be both?

I think most of us have a hard time with this concept of accepting many truths. This happens usually when we feel very passionate about something. But what if there is no right or wrong? Just something in between.

Our partners are the best teachers- because we are constantly right and they are constantly wrong and there is only space for one truth in the table.

My husband and I have been talking about having children. He doesn’t want them yet for a number of reasons. All those reasons sounded like excuses to me and what was real for me was the fact that I’m getting older.

I have done a ton of internal work around it. So much so that I can share this with you today. I did Tonglen, the practice of breathing somebodies pain and giving them our love for like a month. Being open to breathe in his reality has shifted and given a depth to our relationships we didn’t have before. I remember once sitting just listening to him talk, which is pretty unusual because as you can imagine I'm the talker and when he finished he hugged me and thanked me so much for listening. I really hadn't listened to him before that day.

 I have created space in my heart for both of us. One of the things he believes is "the world doesn’t need more people, we are very happy and don’t need anything else in the world" and I believe "we are so happy we should share our love and the world needs more good people" (which is what I hope we can make) 

But what if we are both right? As I give this space in my life to hold more than one truth and trust deeply. I’m sure things will settle the way they need to settle and it just doesn't feel as painful anymore. 

So my invitation today is to create space in your hearts and minds were two ideas that might contradict each other can hold a place. Try skipping the labels.



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Wisdom of the Body

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Today’s episode is all about the wisdom of the body and how we can calm our mind by using our body as an instrument.

You will learn:

-          How body movement began for me

-          How to quiet the mind using the body

-          Using the body as a tool for insight and wisdom

-          Getting to know the body to aid the mind.

Practice: Play a song as loud as you wish and start moving your whole body, you can dance, jump or act like a crazy person. Whatever feels good. When the song stops playing, stand and freeze there dropping into your body if something comes up just acknowledge it. Don't try and analyze anything. 

If you try it out send me a comment. Love hearing from you guys. 

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What we do matters

Every decision we make from the moment we wake up, to the time we go to bed is a vote towards something. It says I stand by this. Where we buy our clothes, the food we eat, the television we watch, where we exercise. Every decision as small as it may seem is supporting an industry.

Think of the fact that Walmart carries organic produce. They do this not because they are concerned of the food we eat but because we voted that organic is important.

The singers that say I wouldn’t be here without my fans, they’re absolutely right. The music we listen to supports the artists. The tv we watch supports the actors. We need to ask ourselves- Who we are supporting?

Instagram influencers are a great example because brands pay them to “influence us” and what are they influencing? What to wear, what not to wear, how to take a selfie, how to travel in style, how to do a Yoga Pose while standing on a train track.

So what if instead, we voted to follow the healers, those that teach compassion and kindness in areas of the world where those words are unheard off. What if those were the “influencers” of our time and brands would pay them to go and help.

There is a quote by the Dalai Lama that says “if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”

Because we have a vote and our vote matters. The way we live our lives needs to align with the way we want to the world to be. Before we go to bed we should ask ourselves – Did I do something to make the world a better place? And maybe that means not watching tv, recycling a bag or using a bike to get to work



Yoni, Heart and Mind Power

The beautiful Elise Carr is on the Toolkit for Life today! She is the voice behind Stella Muse and the pioneer behind "Yoni, Heart and Mind" Awakening from within through Sacred Guidance, Sacred Sexuality, Spirituality & Soul. 

On this episode we are talking about:

- What is the Yoni?

- How we can awaken our power

- Healing the space of the Heart

- The cycle of giving and receiving

- Pure Love- what it is and how to access it 

- Attracting people that meet us where we are  

- A practice for clearing our chakras

- Putting down our shields

- Sitting down with our feelings 

- A centering practice to opening up and creating a channel of conversation with ourselves 

And much, much more

To learn more about the work of Elise you can find here:

Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I'm so grateful to have you here and would love to hear your thoughts on this episode you can leave me a comment below. If you liked this episode, please share it with someone you know that might benefit. You can also support me by leaving a 5-star review on iTunes so more people can learn about Toolkit for Life. 



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Couldn’t be more excited to have you join me for Season Two of the Toolkit for Life Podcast! If you are new to the podcast game, let me change your life. A podcast is basically a radio show that you can get online, so you can listen anytime you want.  You have two options: You can listen to a podcast through the website (by clicking on the link) or you can listen on your smartphone (which is super convenient to do while driving)

If you have an iPhone use the Podcast App it’s a purple app (it actually comes installed on newer devices). In the Podcasts app, you search for Toolkit for Life and then hit subscribe.

 If you have an android or tablet download try Stitcher app from Google Play.

Some of my favorite podcasts are:

-          Optimal Daily Living

-          Dear Sugars

-          On Being

-          Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert

-          Toolkit for Life (thought I should mention myself)  

During this first episode, you will learn what’s a spiritual trap is, how we get caught up in the fixing and seeking and the power of pause.

Pause exercise

Take three mindful pauses during your day where you stop what you are doing and become fully present. Use your senses- what do you hear, see, smell, taste.

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Being Human

I wonder if the sun debates dawn
some mornings
not wanting to rise
out of bed
from under the down-feather horizon

if the sky grows tired
of being everywhere at once
adapting to the mood
swings of the weather

if clouds drift off
trying to hold themselves together
make deals with gravity
to loiter a little longer

I wonder if rain is scared
of falling
if it has trouble
letting go

if snow flakes get sick
of being perfect all the time
each one
trying to be one-of-a-kind

I wonder if stars wish
upon themselves before the die
if they need to teach their young
how to shine

I wonder if shadows long
to just-for-once feel the sun
if they get lost in the shuffle
not knowing where they’re from

I wonder if sunrise
and sunset
respect each other
even though they’ve never met

if volcanoes get stressed
if storms have regrets
if compost believes in life
after death

I wonder if breath ever thinks of suicide
if the wind just wants to sit
still sometimes
and watch the world pass by

if smoke was born
knowing how to rise
if rainbows get shy back stage
not sure if their colors match right

I wonder if lightning sets an alarm clock
to know when to crack
if rivers ever stop
and think of turning back

if streams meet the wrong sea
and their whole lives run off-track
I wonder if the snow
wants to be black

if the soil thinks she’s too dark
if butterflies want to cover up their marks
if rocks are self-conscious of their weight
if mountains are insecure of their strength

I wonder if waves get discouraged
crawling up the sand
only to be pulled back again
to where they began

if land feels stepped upon
if sand feels insignificant
if trees need to question their lovers
to know where they stand

if branches waver at the crossroads
unsure of which way to grow
if the leaves understand they’re replaceable
and still, dance when the wind blows

I wonder
where the moon goes
when she is in hiding
I want to find her there

and watch the ocean
spin from a distance
listen to her
stir in her sleep

effort give way to existence


by Naima of Climbing Poetree



How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument

Every time I visit my mom in Mexico City she insists that I clean out my bedroom to which I respond “Let's throw everything out! If I didn’t need it for the last 10 years I’m sure I won’t need it now” but something stops her.

My mom and I are very different when it comes to owning things. She has trouble getting rid of a sweater she wore in 1990, while I can basically throw half my closet without blinking.

While going through my books I came across “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. This book was part of a sales workshop I attended during my time working for American Express Publishing. I never read the book because the title sounded to me like “How to be a Fake and get people to do what you want” but on this occasion, I opened it and to my surprise couldn’t stop reading. This book is a gem. One of my favorite reads is when he lists how to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument [pgs. 148-150] He writes this from a business context but imagine if we could use this as a tool with our partners, family or friends. Thanksgiving Dinners would change forever.


  • Welcome the disagreement – Remember the slogan, “When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.” If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake.
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression – Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.
  • Control your temper – Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.
  • Listen first – Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build higher barriers of misunderstanding.
  • Look for areas of agreement – When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.
  • Be honest – Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.
  • Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully – And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: “We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.”
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest – Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.
  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem – Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions: Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration? Will my reaction drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have of me? Will I win or lose? What price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?




When we are served shit.

 Sculpture by Jose Sacal

Sculpture by Jose Sacal

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional”

At some point in our lives, we get served what we didn’t order. How we connect and react is the only thing that's in our hands. Let me share with you a story.

My uncle has recently diagnosed with ALS a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the body. The disease began in the tongue so he can no longer speak or eat and this is only the beginning of a long journey.

This man is more than words could ever describe he is a sculptor, artist, family man, world traveler and somebody I personally admire. On Friday I sat next to him, he has an iPad and writes short notes. I was about to fall apart, I could barely hold my tears. That night I didn't sleep thinking what I could do, how could I alleviate the pain that they are going through and suddenly it hit me. 


I could do nothing and that is one of the most frustrating feelings. When we have nothing to do or give to the people we love. It feels as if we are given a plate full of shit when we ordered the fillet mignon and our reaction is to say- FUCK No! Why me? why him? This isn't fair! How can I fix this?!? Tell me what to do!! NO! NO! NO!

And the angrier we get, as the frustration raises and we push the sadness away. The deeper we dive our head into the shit and we can stay there even get used to the smell, feeling sorry for ourselves for others, swimming in a sea of despair. Living our lives trying to change the situation which is by definition suffering.


We can get our head out of the shit. Creating space for the sadness as well as the joys, for the filet mignons we ate, for the family we created, the words we spoke, the kisses and laughter, not hanging on to memories but seeing our life as a mural.

We can become more compassionate for the pain of others, without feeling sorry for them. We can understand “oneness” by letting go of our arrogance and self-absorption.

Life has changed. No, this is not what we asked for but let's get over that part. So we can rejoice in the little things, we can appreciate life in a different way, find comfort in the simplicity, in the love that surrounds us. We can turn it around, we can use this shit as fertilizer to grow in new ways.