If You Give a Hug a Hot Spring
Updated: Jan 17
Hi there! I’m Ashley, the newest member of the Homestead team. I’m so grateful to be here, practicing, reflecting, and building with all of you. For this first blog post, I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce myself.
The first thing you should know about me is that I have very expressive eyebrows. (Thank you, I grew them myself). Along with my surprisingly long arms, which I use primarily for hugging, they are perhaps my most notable physical feature. Furrowed or wide, my eyebrows are a dead giveaway for how I’m feeling and, most of all, whether I have a question.
The second thing you should know about me is that I usually do have a question. I’m very curious and I like to get to the bottom of things. At times in my life, this has gotten me into trouble (because as it turns out, life is not a multiple choice exam with only one right answer). I’ve had to continually practice opening up my mind (and my brow) to greater wonder and awe, and this inner work has become one of the most meaningful aspects of my adult life thus far.
Given my own analytical tendencies (did you know “analysis” comes from the Greek roots for “to break apart?”), I’m hesitant to list off the labels that I’ve attached to my own name over the years. They are too easy, they are utterly incomplete, and this is about wholeness, after all. Nonetheless, some context may be helpful, and if you promise not to put me in a box, I promise to keep being a spiral.
I’m a lawyer and a yoga teacher. I work as a law clerk to a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals, reading legal briefs, researching case law and statutes, and writing memos to assist the judge in writing criminal and civil opinions. I know that the judicial system impacts peoples’ lives in big, tangible ways and I’m deeply humbled by the work I do. Along with the big-hearted and bigger-brained folks I work with, I try my best to get to the right result. And, the law often falls short. My own pursuit of justice is complicated by my observation that human beings will always overflow our best attempts at order. You may hear me reflecting more on that paradox in posts to come.
I also teach yoga - primarily at the court. After graduating from the first Whole Heart Homestead YTT in January of last year, I started a twice-weekly yoga and mindfulness program at the appellate courts called Just Be. I never thought that I went to law school to become a yoga teacher, but when I am barefoot and guiding a deeper breath in my marble-clad government building, I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Whether judicial officers or support staff, my colleagues work so hard. It feels really good to help remind them of who they are underneath the robes, accolades, and stress levels, and I think that helps the work as well.
In my life outside of work, I’m a spouse, dog parent, and friend, with an unexpected love for both budgeting and hot springs. I actually believe that the most important roles I play in my life are personal, rather than professional. I remember discovering during a particularly stressful season of law school that if being a lawyer meant being short with the person checking out my groceries, I didn’t want to be a lawyer. Of course, as with everything, it’s not an either/or situation, and I am super lucky to know many whole-hearted attorneys who make a positive impact in both their work and their personal lives. But, I learned where I wanted to make the most impact, should I be forced to choose.
And so, here I am! Practicing. I aim to make the world a better place by asking good questions and making good connections (with people, with a sense of place, and best of all, between seemingly disparate issues and things). I love to learn about myself and about the world by peeling back layers one at a time, like a smelly, delicious onion (that is always worth a good cry). I’ve found that there are many portals into presence - meditation, breath, community, therapy, and others among them - and vulnerability is my favorite form of strength.
Here on the blog, you’ll see me riffing on self and society and everything in between. Over the next year, I’m embarking on an enormous journey - a year of travel with my partner - and I’m determined to greet the world with the same curiosity, compassion, and commitment to the process that has brought me to this point. I can’t wait to continue sharing about the unfolding taking place within and without. Thanks for having me here! Let’s keep walking the path together.
With love and a long-armed hug,