A Virtual Virgin (kinda of)


Bringing life to a new blog and unleashing my inner Anne Lamott (my favorite non-fiction autobiographical writer). Been a long time coming, but technological bloopers blocked me from blogging. Tonight, I bite the bullet … overcame my fear of WordPress, and decided to just go for it, and write with reckless abandon. Just getting my writers feet wet here, but one must start somewhere in the VIRTUAL WORLD. A virgin in the virtual world! Hopefully, not for much longer. I think this is my coming out post, to get www.loribethallen.com PUBLISHED.

Here is my favorite coming out photo, why I choose to post this one in particular is because I  traveled to a foreign land, and overcame long held fears that have stunted my relationships professionally and personally. Banishing these demons through daily diary sessions- cheaper than therapy, yoga classes, Balinese cultural excursions, dance parties (we yogini’s know how to get down in a villa owned by musician Michael Franti), and female bonding amongst new friends while swimming in the Indian Ocean, drinking wine, hiking, shopping, or admiring a sacred Hindu temple. It’s been almost 2 years since I went on that retreat to Bali over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012. Through that process, I conquered an anxiety about traveling abroad solo. I pushed the pause button on my life of teaching fitness classes at several Southern California gyms during a busy week when I could easily pick up teaching more fitness classes to increase my weekly earnings, as most regular instructors were off on holiday vacation.  I left my familiar traditions of Thanksgiving celebration dinners with family friends, my Aunt Yetta, and visiting with out of town friends from high school or college…to share in the nontraditional Balinese “Gratitude Feast” with a group for interesting women from different walks of life many miles away from our homeland. Besides my yoga teacher Jen Pastiloff, we also teach fitness classes (she, yoga. me, Pilates and other sweaty  stuff to elevate the heart rate) at the same gym together in LA, I virtually knew no one prior to getting my passport issued to join me on this trip. However, that was the point of going away to create some new memories and meet new people from across the globe. We may not have all stayed in touch, but its nice to know when I reflect back on this life changing experience that others can share in the bliss of Bali as well, near and afar. The major significance to this self-journey yoga retreat was that I truly made peace with situations from my past that did not bring me luck in the love department. I wrote letters of gratitude (hence the Thanksgiving theme) to old romances of what once was and fully accepted that it will never be a lifelong thing with any of the men I dated, slept with, and loved at this point in my 32-year-old life.   It was heavy but I left all the blues about my broken heart out on a rice paddy. Letting go felt so cleansing, and I felt renewed to learn that these lessons were a push in the right direction for spiritual growth.  Saying goodbye to the emotions and attachments was not an easy task. Yet to truly forgive all who I felt hurt me and accept my responsibility of being an imperfect partner in the past was no easy task, but in hindsight, it was the biggest blessing ever to peal off the bandages of those long term wounds to embrace true healing.

I also manifested a new relationship, different than the ones I had ever experience before, and with someone who would share similar, but different characteristics of what I found most attracted to in a man. Well, 8 weeks later, lo and behold, the universe brought this man back into my life after meeting 7 and 4 years prior. Whaaaat???? Sometimes the person who you are searching to meet, may have been standing next to you in a picture  at your friend’s wedding in a photo album, collecting dust on your coffee table for the past 4 years. The funny thing is, I am not sure if divine intervention played a role in re-acquainting us or third time was really the charm of finally clicking chemistry wise– in the OFFLINE world. Life is funny that way and keep reading my blog to find out about the many things and one person who now captures my heart. Or at least how listening to that “gut instinct” or “little voice” inside the head  really does work. My mind and heart for once, in years of dating, were aligned and repeatedly said, “GO FOR IT!”  when being courted. Until the next time, I am propelled to jot down some more thoughts, I am going back to my offline world, speak with my love in person, because human contact between man and woman is very necessary to sustain a relationship in the modern age, and try to not get too overwhelmed with navigating all this virtual insanity of uncovering the ‘blogosphere’ world. Night y’all!!!

P.S. My grandmother or “Nana” Millie (Mom’s mom) was from TN, so sometimes I like to say “ya’ll” to pay homage of her upbringing in the South.

Being Bold in Bali at a Manifestation Yoga Retreat in 2012.

Being bright and bold visiting  a Hindu Temple at a Manifestation Yoga Retreat in Bali. Thanksgiving Weekend 2012.