My friend Solana left me a messege at 11:00pm Wednesday night:

“Hey, it’s late, and you’re one of the only people I know who stays up late, but you must be either sleeping right now, or watching Silence of the Lambs.

I wasn’t, but I took it as a compliment. Interesting people do sit around and watch horror movies… don’t they? I do. My husband doesn’t understand why you would purposely put yourself in a position (or pay) to have the bejeezus scared out of you. I have a theory: when you think about it, life is so fucking scary. There’s disease, car accidents, ignoramuses in charge of stuff and tons of senselessness and dirtiness. And watching a maniac in a flesh mask with a chainsaw chasing a screaming hippie chick around in broad daylight somehow makes it all OK. It breaks up the fear of it all, like adding oil to water, which has the effect of coloring all the other real life crap a relatively lively shade of cheerful. Horror movies are happy-makers. Hope for a rosy future. They offer perspective. Think about it: what could be so bad? At least you haven’t been impregnated by the devil thanks to the weird neighbors.

Phobophobia is the fear of fear. I didn’t make that up. The anxiety and terror of this strange ride toward nothingness can be alleviated by exposure to the most extreme version of itself. Because every evil has its remedy… That’s why everyone tells me to jump out of a plane to get over my fear of flying. Which I can tell you will probably never happen—but I am willing to watch a movie about someone jumping out of an airplane.

It’s almost October. I figure out the 31 scariest movies ever. Then I watch. Then I write. I’ve always wanted to do this. It’s not my fault. My father showed me The Exorcist when I was like, 10 years old. I’m guessing this will help:



(Nick-) John Lennon is Dead.

This is a real note from the sister of my brother’s best friend Nick from the night John Lennon died, December 8th, 1980. He saw it when he came home from a King’s game (which was a 4-2 loss to Calgary).

I couldn’t help but wonder what other bad news there was out there scribbled on scraps of paper and such. (Not to mention why Gella didn’t wait up for Nick and tell him herself, considering it couldn’t have been much past 10:30 at night when he got home.) So I Googled “horrible notes.” Which led to other stuff. 

A letter from English actor Rik Mayall to his wife Sarah. What a lucky lady.


I have to admit, I kind of want to meet this guy under that mango tree. I had to Google “doxology,” which is the name for a collection of short hymns of praise to god. “Am dreaming of you alone…” (awww) Damn I wish I had my old love letters….

love letter

Don’t say it: A man named James Harmon began wrote to a huge number of notable people—authors, academics, actors, thinkers, all of whom he admired—and asked, “If you could offer the young people of today one piece of advice, what would it be?” One response came from Ken Kesey, who wrote the very fucked up book  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I have no idea what your spleen has to do with anything here.

6471007667_34893b58eb_oDear James:

Here’s some advice I have been giving to just-marrieds over the last decade or so:

Don’t say it. It’s too hard to take it back. I’ve seen too many loves sundered by too much needless honesty. These psychological ding-dongs that tell people to speak their minds to their mates, to vent their spleens? What do they accomplish? All they produce is a lot of lonely self-righteous minds & ventilated spleens.

Ken Kesey

P.S. Faye & I have been married 35 years. KK

21-year-old Steven Morrissey had a Scottish pen pal in 1980 named Robert Mackie. Three years later The Smiths happened. I would make fun of Morrissey for being such a sad bloke his whole life, but if it weren’t for The Smiths I wouldn’t know how to be properly depressed. “I’m unhappy, hope you’re unhappy too.”


Keith Haring seems like he was awfully nice. Nice people write nice thank you notes on cool letterhead.

tumblr_leo8gq8gzw1qcdg4no1_500Speaking of cool letterhead…


David Bowie knew how to be nice.

4149914946_e5d90d8671_oFrom dailygood.org: In 1989, a little girl named Amy sent a bottle of colored water, oil and glitter to Roald Dahl, who knew right away that this was a dream in a bottle inspired by his book, The BFG. In response, the author penned this short note to his 7-year-old fan. I’m not sure this kind of thing would fly today. 

Thank-You-Note-Roald-DahlBut creativity is meant to inspire. Just ask Janet.


Or this “whore.”


At least The Night Stalker could draw. This is the work of Richard Ramirez, the devil-worshipping serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles during a mid-80’s crime spree. I seriously don’t even want to touch my computer.


It was included in this exceptionally nice letter to 18-year-old Serra from Ricky in 2012 in what I can can only imagine would be the crappiest cell in San Quentin. Serra lived in Oklahoma. Maybe she just didn’t know about the extent of his antics or the “hail, satan” drawing on the palm of his hand. And again, what happened to decency and manners like these? And sweet sea horse drawings? 



It helps to be cocky. The Zodiac Killer is still out there.


Consider this goodbye.


(Nail Polish)

Along with racehorse names like “Tradition,” “Whistlejacket” and “Better Than Ever,” I love nail polish names for their nonmeaning. Why bore your nails with pink when you can walk around with a color called “Sugar Daddy?”

Here are 15 doozies that are cool, and weird, and horrifying.

15. “No Means No.” It’s purple, which kind of means yes.

14.”I’m Not Really a Waitress.” Yeah, ya are. It’s dark red, but nowhere near the greatness of Chanel’s “Vamp,” the best nail polish ever.

13. “Where’s My Chauffeur.” Up your ass. It’s light easter-egg blue.

12. “Taint.” It’s brown. Swear to god.

11. “Porn-A-Thon.” Bored, are we? It’s a buttery yellow, which makes no sense.

10. “Jail Bait.” It’s bright orange. And young.

9. “Spaghetti Strap.” It’s light pink. It slips off your shoulder.

8. “My Silicone Popped.” Does it matter what color? Gross.

7. “My Button Fell Off.” The color of slutty.

6. “Scallywag.” Sounds like a pirate. It’s bright blue, which has nothing to do with pirates.

5. “Gobsmacked.” You’ve been slimed.

4. “Starter Wife.” Light pink. What a nice wedding shade. I’d actually prefer “Trophy Wife” or “No Pre-Nup.” (Actual colors.)

3. “Today I Accomplished… Nothing.” It’s brown and kind of spackley. 

2. “So Many Clowns… So Little Time.” …Said no sane person ever. Oh, and it’s whitish. 

1. “Uh-Oh, Roll Down the Window.” What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

Diane Hudock: “The ego is not the master.”

Reposted from the Black Dog Yoga Blog from October, 2015.

I used to see Diane on Wednesday mornings, when I was working the desk and she would teach her class. Her students would rush into the studio at 9:00am, and I remember their faces, their body language and their light when they walked out. As a teacher, I would wonder: damn, how did she do that?! And as a student, I wanted whatever that yoga potion was being passed around in that red room.

Diane and I chatted over Facetime on a Thursday afternoon. We gave our hellos, and I told her how beautiful she looked. If you know Diane, you know this as fact.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Fairfax. Virginia, and I’ve lived in New York, London and Los Angeles.

How long have you been teaching?

I started yoga in the late 80’s after a severe knee accident abruptly ended my competitive gymnastics career. I have been teaching yoga since 1994—a milestone, as this marks my 20th year teaching.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 8.31.52 PMDiane has had eight knee sugeries. She was a competitive gymnast when she was young, and she was training for the Nationals when she blew out her knee during a regional competition. She was 16 years old.

More knee stuff came about—another blown knee, sugeries, an infection and she almost lost her leg. She believes it was a time of deep karmic cleansing.

Let’s talk about your class.

I teach an advanced class, and I have a lot of devout followers. And there are others who come and say, “I’ve heard about your class, and it’s really hard, and I’m just gonna stay in the back and not disrupt anything.” They’re afraid of messing up the flow… But I feel like you should never be intimidated by yoga; you should be inspired. Everyone is invited to my class. No exception.

We line up Mysore style, where students are in two lines, and we face the center. It’s a commitment toward a community effort to be self-supportive and self-honoring, and it creates a strong heart-centered energetic coherence. I invite that person who wants to be outside of the energy field to join the group, and get some of the love! No one is judging you for your lack of experience or your level of practice.

My class is a mindful, spiritual, fun and challenging vinyasa practice—drawing from the tradition of Ashtanga and all it’s strength building attributes, combined with all the creative and alternative paths I have learned through my teachers over the years and through my own direct experience. It’s a well rounded class that embodies asana, conscious breath, clear intention and heart-centered meditation. These elements, when applied with integrity and concentration, are tremendously enhancing for all aspects of our well-being and can literally transform us from the inside out.

“We are perfect in our imperfection.”

Is everyone advanced?!!

It’s an advanced class in that we get the opportunity to explore more challenging poses, sequences and flow that require a certain level of strength and stamina to sustain. However, if you have the fundamentals of Surya A and B down, it’s a perfect class to push the envelope, be inspired and deepen your practice.

I get “intermediate” level students all the time, and they love it knowing everyone is always encouraged to modify, rest when needed and do what’s right for them no matter what. Having the awareness to make self-honoring choices is the real yoga I’m interested in cultivating in my class, whether you have been practicing for six months or 20 years.

What teachers have influenced you?

My greatest influence is my guru Yogi Raj Guru Nath. He doesn’t teach asana; he teaches “Kriya Yoga,” a yoga of action, of transformation and of internal ascention. He’s taught me what “real” yoga is about. A lot of people can put their leg behind their head, but they still will cut you off on the road. There’s an incompleteness or a misalignment to their practice, because there’s not the spiritual, the mental or the emotional attributes. They can say “yeah, I can nail a hand stand, but am I leaving more light in the room than when I came in?”

How do you bridge the gap between that person, and the same person one who eventually wants more from their practice?

It’s about intention, and what you want to get out of yoga. Are you doing yoga so you can get in shape? To heal from any trauma? I think yoga provides ample tools for your own self-healing. There are scientific studies and medically-backed studies that show with conscious breath, we can actually change our physical structure for the better.

What do you love about Black Dog?

I love the studio’s palpable positive energy, the integrity and its openness to all styles and paths of yoga. The students at Black Dog are the most amazingly dedicated, gracious and open-hearted yogis. They make my job so rewarding, meaningful and down right fun!

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 8.31.44 PM

Can you give me ten-ish things about yourself we’d like to know? Give us something juicy…

*I have a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology.

*I am a happy and proud mommy and wife.

*I won the school talent show for being the best breakdancer (My name was and is forever “Automatic”).

*I’ve been the face in over 50 national commercials.

*I am a closet wannabe Top-Chef and wine lover. A gourmet organic cookbook in the works? Maybe. Maybe.

*I broke my tailbone giving birth which changed the way I approach backbends forever.

*I’ve traveled to the highest point in the Indian Himalayas with my Guru.

*My greatest loves vocationally are inspiring people and making people laugh.

*I’ve been to the annual Christmas Party at the White House and kissed the president.

*I’ve jumped out of airplanes, swam with sharks and co-piloted a Cessna.


A few words here from three of Diane’s students:

“Diane radiates light, both through her teaching and her practice alongside us. Her classes, which she often calls “Ashtanga with Spice,” always begin with a surreal yet grounding Pranayama practice that both alerts and grounds her students. Then she casually opens the mind and challenges the body with unique and fun asana, combining traditional and modern techniques to create clarity of body and mind. Namaste Diane!” ~Corey Fox

“Diane focuses on the three main things that make a yoga class more than just a class where the teacher turns up the music and you check out. Breath, Bhandas and Drishti. Diane makes you tune in as opposed to out, and keeps the class challenging but accessible with humor and grace.” ~Aly Steel

“I’ve been taking Diane’s class since the first day she began teaching at Black Dog (about four years ago, I think—or was it more?). Diane is such a knowledgeable, fantastic, well-rounded teacher. She always begins class with a little led Pranayama to get us centered, teaches strong asana, gives great adjustments and shares her extensive studies of yogic philosophy and spiritual psychology. Diane isn’t afraid to push students out of their comfort zones with extremely challenging classes, but she always encourages us to move mindfully, using the breath and building poses with intention. What makes her classes especially unique is her knowledge of and passion for spiritual psychology. She often shares a passage or experience with the class. Her presentation is so genuine and authentic. She truly ‘walks the walk.’ You often leave class with some new valuable insight into life that you can apply off the mat.” ~Erica Kleinman

(And now, for the question we ask everyone…) What’s your favorite Beatle’s song?

Blackbird. And I love the Cirque Du Soleil version.

Thank you, Diane! Check out the Strong Flow class Monday mornings with Diane, 9:00-10:25am. Her web site is alchemyofselfmastery.com (a work in progress).

The Interview: Diane Hudock on Yoga, Spiritual Psychology and the True Self

Reposted from the Black Dog Yoga Blog from November, 2014.

The conversion started on a Thursday in October.

I love talking to Diane. If anyone has a hunger for knowledge and a passion for the transformative power of yoga, it’s her. She’s one of the most insightful people I’ve spoken with regarding the practice, the theory and the application of yoga. It’s pretty impressive [obvious understatement].

What started as a little Q&A with her for this blog became something much bigger. I could have asked her the ol’ standby “so, what’s your favorite yoga pose?” but any answer she could have given seemed pointless for this interview considering a) I already knew she doesn’t have one, b) it wouldn’t really matter anyway if she did and c) there’s way more stuff to talk about.

In August, the girl from Fairfax, Virginia earned a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

What can you tell us about Spiritual Psychology?

The teachings within Spiritual Psychology involve the application of principles and practices which are designed to dissolve the barriers that keep us from really experiencing who we truly are, so we may awaken into the realization of who we truly are. As we begin this deeper self-inquiry, we ask ourselves three important questions:

*Who am I?

*What is my purpose?

*How can I live a more meaningful life, be of service, and make a more meaningful contribution to the world?

When you really align those within your heart, there’s a level of enlightenment a way deeper awareness that takes place, because we realize it is no longer just us at the wheel, but that co-creation is only that when we CO-operate with Spirit. Then, we experience a sense of knowing, instead of merely believing. We literally transform our inner dialogue from one of self-potentiality to one of self-actuality—of living into the fullness of who we are and who we came to be.

There are the five senses [sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch]. The sixth sense is intuition. The seventh sense, which has to do with enlightenment, is direct knowing. It’s such a “buzz word,” but it encompasses everything I want to teach, and that’s Self-mastery.

The proof is in the pudding. Thats where the “practice” comes into play. It’s experiential—because in order to know it, one has experience it for oneself. For example, I can tell you what a particular pose in yoga should feel like, but to really know it, you need to experience it sensorially in your own body for yourself.

There’s nothing to believe, and everything to know. And once you know, you can get out of the doing, and move into accessing the bigger picture. You start seeing things differently, because your outer reality is a reflection of your inner reality. As your inner reality shifts, your outer world reflects that back to you, and how you literally experience life, transforms.

Like on the mat?

It depends… What are you coming to the mat with? Every experience and trauma is held in the body. We practice yoga so we can release negative thought patterns that cause contractions—a stoppage of the breath, anything. That contraction could be from an experience in traffic or something much deeper and painful.

Whatever it is, there is the opportunity for healing. Over time, if not addressed, there’s a lack of energetic flow and that causes “dis-ease.” Yoga is a brilliant self-healing mechanism, because it helps us release fear in the mind and the body which create the contraction/trauma in the first place. Where there is fear, there is no love—for fear and love cannot co-exist in the same space. Our thoughts affect our body, pure and simple.

We have to remember we are living in two dimensions: physical world reality and spiritual world reality. If we don’t have a spiritual perspective on things, we have a tendency to judge things or events as being terrible, as in “there is no god,” or,“there is no purpose.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 8.08.13 PM

Little detour here: This piece of art, “La Drape Rouge” from Rene Gruau was hanging on the wall behind Diane. It’s so beautiful.

The first three skills you learn in Spiritual Psychology:

* Seeing the spiritual essence

* Heart centered listening

* Freeing yourself from limiting interpretations of reality

How would I know I’m on the path toward knowing my “true self?” Or if I’m just showing up at yoga because it’s a good time of day and it’s only an hour?

I think the greatest feedback is how you feel. If you are feeling unhappy, there’s something you’re resisting. You’re probably resisting cooperation with spirit, with understanding and acceptance. Whatever happens to you is all for you, to transform your consciousness into Divine loving.

But it’s a process, and it can be very confrontational at times. To me, true yoga is confrontational because it literally forces you (if you choose to take the invitation!) to shift. I guess I could say yoga is a practice of self-correction on the path of self-remembrance. And it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. But for those who are ready, the unfoldment is there to experience.

There are five fundamentals of yoga that exist to get the most out of your practice:

* Practicing the posture (in right alignment)

* Practicing the breath—the pranayam—conscious, sustained breath

* Meditation—for the sake of inner ascension and transformation

* Intention—for it fuels your action, which determines the outcome. Every posture is a reflection of that intention.

* The element of repetition—so that we literally create new patterning in the mind and body to support aging in a graceful, enhancing, and self-honoring way.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 8.08.25 PM


Do you link poses to this ideology in class?

Yoga becomes yoga when we get out of the way. So when I teach class the first thing I do is get them, my students, connected to their multi-dimensional system by simply, but carefully, and in a focused manner, turn their attention to the breath. Ultimately, yoga is not about the seen, it’s about the unseen.

Traditionally speaking and in the words of my guru, YogiRaj GuruNath, “We do yoga for the sake of pranayam [extension of the breath, or life force], not the other way around.

The breath is like a wire, and the prana is the electricity that runs through the wire. In yoga, through proper practices in pranayama, we set ourselves up so the wire rests in it’s proper place and then the energy can flow through. And we know empirically the positive effects of applied conscious breathing—even if it’s just for five minutes a day.

When we slow the breath down, we know medically and scientifically there’s a shift in the prefrontal cortex, which gets lit up. The prefrontal cortex is all about being connected, feeling oneness, coming into a sense of peace, inner knowing and all those attributes that are important to help us access the bigger picture, the Self—our essentiality.

The second thing we do in class is we set an intention. For example, “let this be for the highest good or something greater for all concerned.” It’s something larger than this encapsulation of body. The intention we set gets funneled through the heart, not the head. You see, the ego is interested in the familiar, and what’s comfortable. The ego doesn’t want to do what’s for the highest good.

If you’re saying, “I’m doing all this so I can learn how to do a handstand” my guess is that’s just to get something. It’s not giving over and letting the Divine enter in. Yoga at it’s deepest is practiced when we allow ourselves to be given over to something greater than ourselves. That’s why Iyengar said “all my poses are prayers.”

It’s human nature to look outside yourself for answers. We find our way through personal experience, and we can only access our essential self through direct experience, where the vessel of our heart is completely open, to receive that blessing of knowing who we are. You can’t find it through the head, where it’s being funneled through your limited perspective, interpretation, or perception of things. The gateway is the heart.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 8.08.30 PM

What would you do if Krishna showed up unannounced, knocked on your door, and told you everything you’ve been studying the last 20 years was a result of an acid trip gone wrong, and he’s so sorry you bought into it, but it’s all drug induced nonsense, including mantra, yoga poses like Utkatasana (Chair Pose) and the Bhagavad Gita?

First, I would say, I know you are not Krishna because I have never experienced an acid trip (laughing)! Secondly, I would say, the only limits we have are those we believe. And I would know it all to be true, based on my own experience. You may try to convince me otherwise, but what I know is only charlatans or those “posing” as Krishna, try to convince me of false truths.

I always want to grow. I’m a perpetual, consummate student. I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and I have a lot to give. I’m so much more humble now, because I realize how much I don’t know and how much there is to know, and that I’ll never know it all. And that’s OK. ~DH

Thank you Diane!

Diane has been teaching yoga for nearly 20 years, having studied and received training in Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Anusara and Kriya Yoga. She has led retreats and workshops all over the world, and has a thriving private practice in Los Angeles. She has been voted one of the Top Ten Yoga Teachers in L.A. by LAYoga in 2010. Diane has a Masters in Spiritual Psychology and is a fervent student of “A Course in Miracles” and the MSIA discourses. She is currently working on her first book and a brand new website (in the works) soon to be published: http://www.alchemyofselfmastery.com

For more information on Diane, direct inquiries, upcoming events and teacher trainings for 2015, you can contact her at: yogacreate@aol.com

Eight of the Best Quotes Ever (Are All From the Same Person)

“Someone sent me a letter that had one of the best quotes I’ve ever read. It said “What is to give light must endure burning.” It’s by a writer named Viktor Frankl. I’ve been turning that quote over and over in my head. The truth of it is absolutely awe-inspiring. In the end, I believe it’s why we all suffer. It’s the meaning we all look for behind the tragedies in our lives. The pain deepens us, burns away our impurities and petty selfishness. It makes us capable of empathy and sympathy. It makes us capable of love. The pain is the fire that allows us to rise from the ashes of what we were, and more fully realize what we can become. When you can step back and see the beauty of the process, it’s amazing beyond words.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

“Ghosts can haunt damned near anything. I have heard them in the breathy voice of a song and seen them between the covers of a book. They have hidden in trees so that their faces peer out of the bark, and hovered beneath the silver surface of water. They disguise themselves as cracks in concrete or come calling in a delirium of fever. On summer days they keep pace like the shadow of our shadow. They lurk in the breath of young girls who give us our first kiss. I’ve seen men who were haunted to the point of madness by things that never were and things that should have been. I’ve seen ghosts in the lines on a woman’s face and heard them in the jangling of keys. The ghosts in fire freeze and the ghosts in ice burn. Some died long ago; some were never born. Some ride the blood in my veins until it reaches my brain. Sometimes I even mistake myself for one. Sometimes I am one.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

“My life has taught me that true spiritual insight can come about only through direct experience, the way a severe burn can be attained only by putting your hand in the fire. Faith is nothing more than a watered-down attempt to accept someone else’s insight as your own. Belief is the psychic equivalent of an article of secondhand clothing, worn-out and passed down. I equate true spiritual insight with wisdom, which is different from knowledge. Knowledge can be obtained through many sources: books, stories, songs, legends, myths, and, in modern times, computers and television programs. On the other hand, there’s only one real source of wisdom – pain. Any experience that provides a person with wisdom will also usually provide them with a scar. The greater the pain, the greater the realization. Faith is spiritual rigor mortis.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

“Ignorance breeds superstition.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

“At home I used to walk through emotional wastelands where the lines on craggy faces were so deep that the wind whistled through them. People fell in and out of my life, but it was the places that really mattered. Even now I can feel them tugging at my sleeve and spinning around in my head. All the old stories have it wrong, because it’s not the ghost that haunts the house; it’s the house that haunts the ghost. I feel lost out here, and everything reminds me that I’m not quite real. In the end it’s always home that damns us.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

“Any friendship that is worth its weight is like a dark and secret place where you hide bits of yourself. The door can be opened only by the two people who have the key, and you carry it with you wherever you go. Magnify that by a billion, and you begin to get an idea of what marriage is like.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

“When I try to picture heaven, I see a place where it’s always December, every radio station plays hair bands, and every time I check my pockets they’re full of Hershey’s Kisses. There’s a Christmas parade on every street, every day is my birthday, and the sun always sets at 4:58 p.m.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

“The thing I like most about time is that it’s not real. It’s all in the head. Sure, it’s a useful trick if you wanna meet someone at a specific place in the universe to have tea or coffee. But that’s all it is, a trick. There’s no such thing as the past, it exists only in the memory. There’s no such thing as the future, it exists only in our imagination. If our watches were truly accurate the only thing they would ever say is now.”
Damien Echols, Life After Death

imgresI just ordered this. Can’t wait to read it.

Read: Freedom After Fire Ants and Tumult: “Life After Death,” by Damien Echols

You Are All (Stardust)

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements—the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life—weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.” ~Lawrence M Krauss