About robinstremlow

Robin is a relentless, curious explorer looking for peace and beauty in a too-fast, too-everything world. She's determined to discover truth and life lessons through travel, both across continents and in her heart. By sharing these findings with others, she hopes to encourage understanding and compassion in all she meets. In her professional life, she's a writer and designer balancing cubicle-living and freelance. In her personal life, she's a yogi, gardener, dog-walker, painter, and wannabe vegetarian chef.

Dreaming, waiting. For you, for me.

What do I want? A man who loves and supports all of me, who is strong in his embodied and awakened masculine, and embraces the beauty of the feminine, that he adores, that I am — the playful, free, somewhat insecure and sometimes frightened self, that is also wild and a little impulsive and often impatience and has a tendency to run away from, or into, another.

..

And I see him…

Walking into the cafe, grateful to see me
eyes lighting up with recognition
but not rescue.

We prepare for bed, walking past each other
no need to swap shoulder space
so our bodies brush.

Some days, in the night
I may press my body against his. Some days no.
Some days, he will reach a hand
to hold my leg,
as he drifts.
Some days, he’ll pull me toward him.
Some days, his exhausted body
will lie flat on a broad chest,
with a cheek turned away
from his lover, his heart
staying open.

I see us sitting on the porch,
with a view,
laptops open before eager open eyes
fingers typing away,
talking to a world existing inside,
but far outside
our own.
A tea, and a beer or whiskey on ice
in a glass on the table.
Yoga mats, and a belt for his tight hamstrings
in a basket in the corner.
We each mumble something passing
about wanting
change of scenery, not to escape
our present picture, but to re-ignite
the recognition of true freedom
we worked hard to build
and to re-fill
our cups that actively pour
so much.
Of course I’ll squeal in excitement,
an adventure is always on my agenda,
and we toss around ideas
when, where, then we meet
glancing, knowing, and a smile
in the agreement that there is
no place we would rather be
than our place
near the playa
with the fire dances at dusk.

We haven’t yet brought little ones
into our lives, and
in our heads we think we will
in our bodies we’re not quite sure.
The gods still playing out moves
for us, positioning the pieces in a way
that works for all.

We aren’t always happy, and
we aren’t without fear, but
we are bonded, and trusting, of
the other body
sharing the bed
most nights.

When I crumble
in a way that doesn’t always look as such,
when I retreat, or busy,
or drop my practice, or pick up
a vice put to rest on many the
self-growth journey from before,
and today…
He notices, and cooks the meal,
books the massage and the class, and
looks me in the eyes
lays his hand on my own,
tells me he see that
I’m hurting, and tells me he
wants to help, wants to
lean into whatever is coming up
with me
if I am ready to step up, not down
to the challenge.
He sees my defensives —
shield lifting
warrior
shoulders rising.
He breathes into me with
powerful salt and sugar eyes and
I soften
ready to accept
the truth, and gift,
of the love
before me.
This partner of mine
sees my whole heart
that has walked many roads
in this lifetime
alone
and has lost far more
than anticipated.

When he loses sight of the path,
that looks a bit like fitting in,
putting his brain into the
blossoming of others
losing his focus,
with device distractions/addictions, and
demands of the society
in which we lived
before.
I soften
seeing his divine human-ness
smile with compassion
at my reflection, my friend
I notice, and cook the meal,
book the massage and the class, and
put on the sexy slipdress, and
look into his eyes
lays my hand on his own,
tell him that I see
he’s lost sight
of the light
of presence.
I see his dismissal
trying to deny the boom
of truth.
I breathe into him with
powerful salt and sugar eyes.
He softens
ready to accept
the truth, and gift,
of the love
before him.
The partner of his
who sees his whole heart
that has been around the thicket of love,
and loss, before.
That has swallowed the potential truth
he may be destined to be
alone
which was not quite what
he anticipated.

And here we are.
He and me.
Two warriors walking
the path of love
with oppenness
and bravery
and the learned and always known ability
to support,
to hold space, finally
for ourselves, and with the blessing
and continued practice,
for the other.

When we fell in love
terror, lack of trust,
mostly in our selves
that we could really love,
another, as we didn’t really know
if we could truly
be loved.
Yet this time, something was
different.
We both knew
we didn’t want to be alone
our phenomenal bodies and
our power-house minds ready
to give, fully, our gifts
to a world
to a self
to another
so needing them
We both knew
there was a whole of life
to understand
in the pairing of people
owning their essence
as honestly as we were.

We were hurting, but
we were hopeful.
We’d made progress, but we still
had pitfalls on the path.
We were wise, but still full
of childlike wonder
that continued to call us
toward the light
of understanding, and into
the serenity of stillness
only found in our most aligned when
grace gives embrace
freely
to our human hearts.

We saw
a reflection of ourselves
in the other, and we wanted
to give ourselves
to the other, as we saw
a softness,
a strength,
a respect
in the kind eyes
and true smile
of the other, that was intimately known to be
the self.

We danced with the mind
for some days, still stuck in old
patterning, sabotaging tactics.
We kew that the
allure of love’s raptures was
worth the risk
of opening
yet again.

We timidly tip-toed, then said
fuck it
and deep-dove into the
cosmic creation crafted eons
before our this-birth bodies
could connect and capture
the blessings
of partnership, being presented
to us.

We realized then,
after finding safety, simple surrender,
and unconditional
non-co-dependent
support
in the arms, and the eyes of
each other
our selves,
that the pain from
our prior lives
was necessary,
and the pain
that inevitably will accompany
our path together, will also be
necessary for the prolonged
joy, and purpose,
of presence in
each other
our selves.

So as we sit on our porch,
with the view,
laptops open before us
with the priviledge to partake
in a beach hut in paradise
we smile in the realization
of our co-creation
in which we build for
each other
our selves.

So we continue to do the work
in these days, months, years
before we meet,
enjoying our humanness
offering our talents
elevating the vibration
of the world
of the self
of the anothers
so needing them,

And we wait until the day
when we will slip
into
the Buddhahood
and bedsheets
and eternal each other, self in the other
with gratitude
for the now
that is now
until the day…

Pure partnership dreams and fantasties do fill me, now, as I realize that this life, of independence, and universal support, that is solo travel does give me growth, and seeing, and knowings, more than most other times in my life before. But yet, shared experience is what I crave. Shared experience with my forever partner, of the indefinite forever, that is, is calling me.

When it lands, I hope to be ready. Until then, I enjoy, and I do the work, and I practice patience. A few months ago, as I meditated and danced in silence, and surrender, and sexy whispers, the god in my prayers told me, “Be patient, dear girl. You’re not ready yet.”

And so, here I am
patiently
waiting.

 

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If your eyes are still open [poem]

If your eyes are still open
when the birds begin to sing
stay awake
pour the tea
open the book of love songs
and poetry
wrap your shoulders in a shawl
sit outside
on your balcony
watch the sun change
the sky
from muted gray to lavender and peach
to soft faded blue
and notice the fir trees
and mountain paths
and terraces of wheat and rock
and prayer flags fluttering
in the barely moving wind
and hear the dogs beckoning
each other
to join the bell-wearing donkeys
and the day
and sip, sip, sip
it all
in

Sunrise Selfie in Dharamkot April 27 2017

Sunrise selfie at my hOMe in Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh, Northern India. April 27, 2017

Do not ask for a heart made of different clay [poem]

Moon child, my curly-haired moon child, Lay your self open, bold and full of breath, alive, on that still-warm concrete roof, between the Ganga and the hills, and ask me what it is you long for…

But do not ask, ever again, for a heart made of different clay. For I poured my Divine Self into your being — I wanted you this way.

I wanted you to cry those tears, to surrender then resurface, to dance in most pure ecstacy, despite your person’s fears.

I wanted you to find your comfort in the trees and on the shores, to climb up into mountain meadows when you couldn’t hear me any more.

I wanted you to lose it all, to break and say goodbye, to the life you thought you lived, full of fantasies not made for freedom, that couldn’t help but make you cry.

I wanted you to dive so deep into your darkest blues, and only then get a glimpse of Self, in the will-less space of softened ego, without that name, without that mind, without much of what you thought you knew.

I am pleased that you’re still with me, crawling onward toward the light, but now, accept this grace, embrace pure courage, burn what lingers of fictitious flesh still keeping you afright.

Stop resisting, my dear moon child, trust the flow you feel. Release into this moment, for what is is mystic magic, a story sage and seer know as real.

But you’ll breathe it into life solely when you fall in love, with that not-so-broken human heart made of cosmic clay, that needs you to stop doubting, start freeing, and fully soar above.

You have the power, you carry the light, each moment has prepared you. So take one final surrendering pause, then release, my curly-haired moon child, and with love become the truth.

So do not ask, ever again, for a heart made of different clay. For I poured my Divine Self into your being — I created you this way.

….. Rishikesh, India. April 2017.

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I question the ‘Why?’

Tonight, I feel soft.
Feminine, in my curves and my tears and my whispering voice.
Tender, and a tad alone.

Not lonely.
Alone.

A few close friends have left tonight.
… always the hardest part of being on the road—the goodbyes to your new chosen family members, which are, as heartbreaking as it may sound, often (and for me usually) harder than the sustained goodbyes to your long-established blood family at home (they’re always there, as we’d like to believe at least, and we’ll know it’s “when” I’ll see them again, rather then “if” as it comes to pass with the heart tribe of a backpacking clan…).

The sky has been raining for over 24 hours straight.
And I’m living in a cloud, that I can touch, for once.

I’ve just watched a movie set in my beloved northwest.
… my most recent chosen ‘home’ in the ‘home’land, that was my original ‘home’ in the ‘home’land, that I still feel more amazed by and intrigued with than all the latter ‘homes’ that have found space in my heart. (although, that one resembling a mitten and full of magical creatures with flesh and fur and fallen leaves makes me lose my breath, and pause my beating heart, I know, when I visit her in my mind…)

My face is scabbed from the thorny tree limb that violently ripped flesh while I flattened myself atop Marie, the albino quarter horse mix , who perhaps wanted me off her back just as badly as I wanted to remain on hers. forever.

Messages from a confused friend land in my inbox. One. Another. Another…And I move them to the Keepsakes/Loves Lost folder. For safe keeping. And indefinite ignoring.

And here I am.
Alone.
With the memories.
The motives.
The longing.
The sadness.

Tonight, joy isn’t at my side.
She’s succumbed to an emotion greater and grander, in all its glory-filled richness, which casts depth, dark shadows, on the fantasy feelings I oft choose to cling to.

Joy is resting, soon to return.
…she always does, that rascal, in her own due time, which is always surprising yet expected, and most times welcome. because what child doesn’t like the light?

But what I feel is beautiful.

What I feel is painful.

And what I feel is real.

It’s the emotion under the others.
The emotion that’s silent, and still.
Waiting for my moments to settle.
For my mind to stop, to stay in.
For my heart to welcome her power.

Alone.

At 30 years old, with a warrior for a body and a gypsy for a spirit and a ballerina philosophizing poet for a mind, I question myself: ‘Why?’

Why must I continue onward, down this path of unknown tomorrows?
Why must I make things difficult for the child inside who craves to know who her friends will be the tomorrow ten days from now?
Why must I walk farther and farther away from love, into the arms of impatience?
Why must I chase adventure, adrenaline, and awe, instead of sweet surrender into the soft stillness of a simple home and a simple life?
Why must I open my heart to strangers, shielding my soul from the souls I want to choose?
Why must I insist on a planless plan, without promises, or purchased plane tickets?
Why must I fight the soft girl within who wants to say ‘I really just don’t know…’ to everything, because she doesn’t, with too-cool confidence and capability and sass-filled sarcasm and smarts?
Why must I keep leaving, arriving, leaving, and let those who love me never know how long I’ll be around?

And…

Why must I carry my sword?
For which battle am I fighting?
For whom?

Self-inquiring, I ask, ‘Are you sure you’re not running from something?’ and ‘Are you sure you’re doing the right thing for you?’ and ‘Are you sure you couldn’t be living a life just as full and just as fitting, across the oceans and in the pines, with your dog and your car and your practice and your art and your music and your smoothies and your … home?’

The answer I give others is ‘Yes, I’m sure.’
in not so many words.

But the real answer,
the one that persists if I let myself be honest with myself,
is ‘no.’

No.

‘No, I’m not sure.’

I like to believe I’m living what I’m creating, what I’m designing, from my unmanifest dreams.

But that wouldn’t be entirely truthful.

My dream life is much like this life, but it’s also like that other life I lived once, and the one before that, and before that… And it’s got so many bits included from the lives I’ve yet to live but that I’ve imagined, I’ve prayed for, I’ve called out to God for while lying face down in the dirt, tears inside my eyes, and while lying face up in the grass, eyes locked inside the eyes of a lover.

Do I know what I am doing? No.
Would I say that this life, with all its beautiful blessings, is worth the possibility that the dream life I write romance novels and fairy tales in my mind about, that I tell travelers and soul sisters about, that I cry about, on planes on buses and in burly bear-man arms, won’t ever be, because maybe I won’t ever find myself in one place long enough to establish this vision, or let the Universe meticulously compose the bits, one by one, so that it grows into something greater than I could ever have conceived? No. Could I fathom that this life, my moment to moment now, is evolving and transforming into that dream life? Not really.

But I do know there is no certainty.
And I do know that I trust, deeply, in life.
And I do know that I am living the only life I could really ever live.
And that all the pieces are coming together, or falling apart, exactly as they should, simply because they are… and so it is…

But I am alone.
And I am ok with that
tonight.
And I am ok to still be asking ‘Why?’ after all these years.
And I am ok holding my shield, my weapons, my books.

And I am ok
also
throwing them into the pyre.

When it’s time, take me.
Lift me up and show me what’s next.
For my life. for this life. for…

And I will be ready.

Until then, I rest my head upon a community pillow
used before by believers, businessmen, runners, space-holders, stamp-chasers.
And I’ll eat pancakes in the morning.
With Turkish coffee and turmeric.
And I’ll write a story, on the art of doing nothing,
and the magic that creates.

And I’ll live myself into yet another tomorrow ten days from now
and see who shows up to be friends with the child inside
and see for whom I’ll measure the weight and worth of my shield
and see if the question remains
but I know, I believe,
it will.

…. Odem, Golan Heights, Israel, November 2016.

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“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them. And that is the point, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

The charm of Florentin

It’s hard to leave a place, a people, you enjoy…

Even if it’s just been a week, I really have fallen for this sliver of life and community in Florentin — super hip neighborhood in Tel Aviv — but now, I head north. …

Goodbyes suck. So much. But they’re also part of the beauty of being human, and being a girl on the go.

I’ll be seeing you again Miss Loca, you beautiful puppy sister soul and soft body to hold, and I’ll be seeing your family again. And your English graffiti-covered fashion boutiques, and full-body pillow stores, and way too bright lighting stores, and furniture construction shops blowing sawdust in my face, and knockoff Havaianas selling for $11 a pair, and street corners blocked by mountains of cardboard boxes, and mini supermarkets filled with food packed in Hebrew-laden plastic that I purchase without knowing what I’m buying because I suppose that’s half the fun, and the Italian restaurant on the corner that served me mozzarella and lemon shrimp, and the coffee kiosk of which I’m a regular already, and the fine AF Mohawked men, and the curly girls who look like me but never say please or thank you, and the electronica in the pharmacy staffed by gay Israelis too-cool to show me where the earplugs are, and the charm… The charm of Florentin.

Mmmmmwah! I’ll be seeing you again.

Sharing: Aliveness and Serenity in the buzz -jerusalem-

Keeping it real. This moment. Sharing: I’m really fucking happy right now. Cheesy pop plugged into my ears, fellow travelers bumping elbows and pint glasses with my own, a jam session about to begin on the stage before me… I sit here with a smile, a sigh, and a head shake of pure ‘what the hell is this beautiful life?!’
 
I’m reflecting and integrating, finally, the glorious mess and hella beautiful madness of the last two weeks… (Goodbye Michigan and Michigan loves, hello and goodbye San Francisco and Emerging Women, Path of Love — whhhhaaatt???!!!, a ‘work’week in Tel Aviv, the weekend of wonderful and sweet what-the-fuck?, and now Jerusalem.)
It’s just beautiful, this thing, this life. The ups, the downs, the what-the-hell-am-i-doing, and the what-the-hell-just-happened… All of it.
 
Starting and ending each day in gratitude, in raw gratitude, helps make my moments a bit more powerful. I realize, again, that life really is a game. The one I’m – you’re – living is, is just one option… There’s always another option. And another. And another… Say yes to that fella with the pomegranate juice? Another. Say no to that tour of Tel Aviv? Another. Say yes to your family’s holiday proposition? Another. Say no? Say yes? So not now? Say not ever? All options… You’ll – I’ll – never know what’s ‘best’ and truthfully I don’t want to know. I just want to keep riding the train and seeing what’s around the bend…
Meeting an intimidating artist gypsy from Berlin and a pair of far-too-handsome but far-too-shy Swedish fellas and an aging redheaded Norwegian sister soul help me connect more deeply to my own heart, my own triggers, my own ‘flaws’, my own values, my self…
I am SO honored to be in this human experience right now. I recognize the trip I’m on — the highs, oh the HIGHS (that are so very far from the lows so close I can feel them creeping up on me many a moments…) with their bliss and their enchanted bewilderment. I feel my own energy, the oft-frenzied movement within my mind — ‘Can I lie here a moment longer? Linger, last, just love this second? mmmm No, I cannot… there is a day to seize and a body built to move and a city and sensation to experience. I move… Not sure where to go, but knowing a move must be made. Start with a toe… An ankle… A calf dance… Then, I’m up and asking God for the gift of another day. — and I feel the burning on my tongue seeking a taste of passion and passionfruit and pissed off rage exploding from within… The back and forth and in and out, and the artist inside saying ‘I’m done giving a fuck if I’m crazy, the most crazy, or sane, the most sane in this bunch of crazies’ and the practical/fearful adult inside saying ‘Hey sweet girl… Calm it down, and take a rest, there’s too much here, now, and you’re going to break if you run so far, so fast…’
 
It’s all there. All of it. I feel it all.
 
Yet, this game of life gives us a choice. And, gosh… At this moment, I choose to LIVE in the most YES way I can. There is a fire inside me, that was put there for some reason, OR that lives there without reason at all, but I love it. I do. And I am SO grateful for the moments in my life where I really experience the depth of MY experience. I remember the gray days, I remember the hours spent hiding in fear — so recent, just a handful of months ago — taking a xanax at 8, and another at noon, and another at 3 or 4… just to get the courage to share space with those who have loved me since birth… I remember the terror I felt, the freezing terror that overcame my physical body and hollowed my mind, when I realized I hadn’t eaten anything substantial in days but felt, deep within my core, that I couldn’t attempt to eat a single thing. I remember trying, sitting at a diner with my father, to stomach a soft omelette with my favorite vegetables, and having to spit out the chewed protein into a napkin just so I wouldn’t uncontrollably vomit on the table… (I reflect now, WHO WAS THIS? I realize, THIS WAS ME. This is me when things are out of alignment, when I have denied the power of love and respect of intuition and divine guidance for far too long…)
 
So, I am in a high moment right now. And I am respectful and honoring of life’s flow that, for me, can be just as terribly painful as it is ecstatically beautiful. And for some humans here, I realize that the lows are not worth the highs. But, for me, I suppose I’ll take the gray days that god has for me, knowing it means I get to also experience the psychedelic richness and depth of emotion that I am experiencing now.
And in my body? Tight belly that is riveted with excitement. Arms and fingers full of energy, ready to do work (and put them to work, I am — writing writing writing away). Head that is a little busy and dizzy (mucho movement in this day and lots to do and take care of in the coming days). And a heart that is full (holding space, for others, creating space, for my own). Some loving souls, with truly my best interests at heart, may say ‘feel what you’re feeling, but bring it back to this moment…’ And to that, I say, ‘This moment is all things. Madness. Softness. Serenity in the buzz…’

It’s all good. Fucking a’ man, it’s all good.

God. Thank you.
 

Kichari on the Go! Ghee it, girrrrl… [recipe]

Most of you know how much I love good food — I geek out in produce aisles, I pause my entire day to make huge lunches for me and my family, and I spend most of my paychecks at co-ops and restaurants and never think twice about whether that farm-fresh butter is worth the price or if I’ll be ordering an appetizer at a new restaurant…

But cooking… Cooking! Dreamworld. If I’m living in a space with a kitchen (which, ha!, truth be told is a rarity in the last several months), I destress and delight myself as turmeric-stained fingers hold a chef’s knife and the fridge overfills with kale and beets, parsley and cilantro… I. Love. To. Cook.

One of the things I miss most about being ‘home’ is just that… The chopping, the experimenting, the feeling of sitting down before a meal that my hands helped to create (with the help of the divine of course, for providing the ingredients/the tools/the ideas… all of everything that ever was or ever will be, seriously).

But now? I’m traveling — in Israel — and I’ll be on the road at least another few weeks but most likely longer. So how can I get a cooking fix, nourish my body, and save on my budget while bouncing around hostels? Kitchari.

KITCHARI!!!! 

This is a staple food for yogis — Ayurvedic food for the soul — which is a perfect protein, is easy to make and to digest, and tastes delicious. It’s a warm porridge-like concoction filled with Ayurvedic spices to pacify the doshas (lord knows Vata gets a bit cray cray when you’re on the move like I am) and to create a nourishing healing space within the body and mind. And, let’s be real, it is something I can chow down on without guilt that doesn’t make my body feel disgusting after (because I’ve grown up. Done with that nonsense. I’m almost 30. I’ve had enough bread and nutella on my travels before to know the gut rot that comes from eating just cheap carbs and chocolate nut spread…).

So, here is my quick and easy kitchari recipe that you can make anywhere! If you need to, you could do this with one pot, one spoon, and a hotplate. (I hear Shiva Rae packs her tools in a suitcase so she can always get a kitchari fix.)

Quick and Easy Quinoa Kitchari Recipe

Two servings:
– Begin with equal parts quinoa and split mung beans (could use red lentils of regular lentils or whichever kind if you don’t have split mung beans — they are the easiest to digest however and don’t aggravate vata dosha as all other lentils/beans do). About 2/3 cup each, maybe more 😉

Combine quinoa and beans, and rinse thoroughly 3 times until water drains clear.

Add mixture to pot, add around 4 cups water, bring to boil stirring gently (I added some salt and some dried ginger to water — optional). Once it boils, cover and bring to low simmer and let cook until quinoa is soft (these mung beans will pretty much dissolve into the mixture, but if using other lentils make sure they’re very soft).

– As that cooks, heat 2-3 tbsp (or more) ghee in skillet/frying pan on medium high heat until it melts.
Add 1/2 tsp+ cumin seeds until they sizzle (don’t burn them).
Add 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds.
Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
Add 1+ tsp minced raw ginger.

Cook and blend about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
Add 1/2 tsp curry powder.
Add 1/2 tsp coriander powder.
Add 1/4 tsp (or less) ground black pepper.

Stir and heat until thoroughly blended and set aside until quinoa/lentils are complete.

– Drain the quinoa/lentils, leaving some of the water.

Add quinoa/lentils to spice mixture and mix thoroughly.

Add pink salt/sea salt to taste, and add more ginger and black pepper as you like.

All done! Makes two pretty hearty portions.

Yummmmm…. 🙏🙏🙏🙏

Adjust the spice amounts as needed 😘

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