“It was a pleasure chatting with Allison Rose Ildefonso about the topics of life that can seem so elusive to myself and others. Through her keen eyes, dedicated to learning from all the experiences of daily living, we are given a glimpse into a new perspective that may be different from our existing identity yet playful to approach and experiment with. Her perspective involves asking small questions, trying new things, and being gentle with oneself. To read more of the work she manifests and curates, be sure to visit her site at TrueLoveLessons.com“
Octavian: I read a little bit about your stuff, your past, and these “love letters.” I understand you’re in this new stage of your life where there is a lot of transformation going on. I’d love to learn a little bit more about that, what inspired it, and your outlook on things.
Allison: Well, what inspired what?
Octavian: Your transformation, like up and moving? [To Florida, Thailand, LA, and NYC in a few weeks from now].
Allison: Oh my gosh, yeah. Well, you know what? A lot of stuff has happened even since… I’m not moving anymore!
Octavian: Really? What a curve ball!
Allison: I know, it’s crazy. Life is crazy. This mercury retrograde and the new moon is coming up, and I’m just like, “It is all happening.”
Octavian: (Laughs) Wow. If you’re not moving… what’s it like tuning into the planets, and to the stars? How did you develop your listening skills?
Allison: Honestly, I think that I try to practice gratitude all the time, and one thing that I am grateful for constantly is my relationship with All That Is. You know? Whatever you want to call it. God, spirit, the universe. In a sense, all of that has circled and found its way back to me, because when I was younger I was raised Catholic. I got my first communion, and my parents were Catholic, but when I was 13 I was like, “I don’t believe in this. I don’t want to do this and go to classes.”
And so to come back to this divine, spiritual nature through yoga and self-reflection and everything — which I haven’t done purposefully — I think as I deepen that I learn more about spirituality and all of the different facets of it, you know?
Spirituality is so multi-faceted, and in learning more about the world, the planets, the cosmos, and history — and my curiosity being more tuned into all of that — I found that synchronicity is a part of life. I think the more I lean into it and into that faith (in the universe, a higher power, in magic and everything) it becomes more obvious to me in my everyday life. As a result of that, transformational things, whether on a big or a small scale, have continued to arise.
That’s what sparked me moving originally, and what brought me to where I am now, which is not moving. Which is a very small part of everything that’s going on.
Octavian: You know, I am certain there are people that are inspired by [someone] who could plan to get up and go to these different destinations and go on a new path, and also be comfortable hearing, “Oh, wait, this is where I’m meant to go.” How would you guide someone that feels a little bit rigid, or they’ve been patterned a certain way, but they’d like to be open and not really judge themselves? Are there any practices that have helped you feel through this or could help others through [such an experience]?
Allison: Practices, yes. I’m going to set that aside for a second, because really my main thought is this: all of that “What will these people think of this, or what will I think of this”… It comes down to fear. You’re either afraid of something or you’re excited about something, really. Not to be like those are the only two emotions that exist.
Octavian: Jim Carrey is pretty certain that they are. You can live out of fear or out of love.
Allison: Yeah, it’s either fear or love. As far as practices, one of them for me is stripping things down to that. You know? I feel that there are a lot of people who can get caught up in the tangibility of some things, which is the attachment thing. For example, by hanging on to certain things and having attachments to them… Fear loves attachment. Fear is just like, “Yeah, so what would happen if this was gone? Or if you did this?”
So stripping it down to what it is, that’s a good practice. I [also] have some mantras that I work with sometimes.
For me, connection is what sparks change. Whether it’s connection with a human being, like the way we’re talking or the way you can talk to your friend, or your mind [making] that connection. It’s like the person who is 500 pounds and loses it naturally and becomes a body builder. That person could have done that at any point. There’s a shift that has to happen in your mind and spirit… it’s about having a mantra, about saying things until you believe them. And keeping it positive all the time.
Octavian: Yeah I definitely agree.
Allison: Like, this can be scary. But there’s positivity [in change].
Octavian: There’s a book called Shift, where a man was 300-350 pounds and he actually brought it down to 160. The way he did it was by deciding to eat more oranges, and not thinking that he needs to eat different foods, but rather eating them less, or in a different way. He’d talk with his chefs and stuff to make sure that it was prepared differently. I actually shared [that book] with someone that works at a dispensary and he said he wants to share it with his sister because she battles with weight loss. It was just so nice to be able to share that with someone and then find out that it would benefit them.
Allison: Yeah! I think a part of fear is that it puts up a wall. I’m sure part of what worked for that man is the shift in perspective from being like, “I weigh this much and I want to weight this much, and to get from here to there I’m going to need to do XYZ. And if I don’t, then forget it.”
Part of breaking down fear is breaking down those ideas. What if you took that away and said, “Actually, what if I didn’t have to stick to some diet and I could just eat less of this and more of this?” Breaking that down, it’s like chipping away at the fear. And then slowly but surely, your perspective has changed.
Octavian: I can see that you get a lot of clarity from being in tune with what the universe is bringing you, in terms of understanding yourself and others. You work with kids, so I’m kind of wondering about some of the lessons that they have imparted on you.
Allison: Oh my gosh, it’s so awesome. I think this is why I’m so excited to be a mom. I love, as we all know, how kids have a “wonder” about them. They’re brand new. Kids don’t have an idea about things until someone gives it to them really; [and then] they decide how they feel about it. So one thing that I’ve learned is to question everything that I already think, all of the ideas I already have about things. And to question things more, you know?
Kids question everything. Not all of them. But in general, a lot of children are just curious. They’re like why is this, and why is that, and how does this work? It’s really cool to look at everything that you think you know with a totally different lens — a brand new, squeaky clean lens that you’ve never looked out of before.
Octavian: That’s so easy for kids to do, but after they’ve been kind of, like you were saying… introduced to it, that’s how they learn something like fear; whether it’s being introduced to it by touching this [stove] and burning their hand, or their parents being afraid [for them].
How do you think people could undo that? If they’ve been so programmed? How can they regain their childlike energy and magic?
Allison: Right. As an adult… Start small. Start trying new things.
Octavian: What new things do you think we’d benefit from, if we all tried them?
Allison: Oh gosh, don’t even get me started…. Everyone needs yoga! But I have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to try yoga and love it. There are so many different types of people in the world, so keeping in mind reality, I think that in general just try something you’ve never done before, every day in some way, shape, or form.
If you usually take one way to work, take another.
Just little things like that, or if you —
Octavian: I got up from this same spot you’re sitting in one day, and I walked to the fridge over there backwards because I decided I wanted to activate my brain a different way, which is so funny that you’re saying it from right there!
Allison: Yeah, totally! Right, like try wiping with your other hand.
Octavian: (Laughter) That’s a hard one. No, I’ve never… wow.
Allison: Or when you clasp your hands one way, clasp them the other way!
Now my body is pretty balanced, because this is what I practice the most (gets into lotus position), but when you cross your legs, cross them the other way. Simple stuff like that, or things that you would normally do with your dominant hand, do it with your other hand. If you walk by a store and you have time, and you wouldn’t normally do so, just go into it. Little things like that.
Try new food. Try new fruit that you’ve never tried before. If you stick to apples and oranges and bananas, try strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Just little things. Because all of that [change], none of it is going to kill you (hypothetically). Why not try little things to get out of your comfort zone, even in the smallest way?
Octavian: That’s a great question, because you said ask yourself questions — and I feel like that’s such a great takeaway.
Allison: This is so good, thank you (points to chai).
Octavian: Yeah, of course! And that takeaway, asking yourself why you’re not trying things a little bit differently.
Allison: Right! Like, “What am I scared of?” Yeah!
Octavian: I feel it’s almost like everything happens in waves, like breathing, brain cycles.
Allison: Everything happens in waves, yeah. It’s cyclical.
Octavian: Let’s say you’re kind of low, your awareness isn’t high. Then you start to utilize these [practices], you’re questioning things, you’re doing things differently… I personally peak out.
For example, my peak occurred, in terms of meditation and yoga, last year. It happened to the point where I went from “I’m going to have a good meditation so that I can have a good day,” to “I’m going to have a good day so that I can have a good meditation.”
So I was doing all of these different things, but then [I stopped]. What do you think kind of pulls at us and drags us in the other direction? Little questionings of yourself might help you build awareness, but once you’ve got that, why do we lose it? How does that wave process work?
Allison: Well I mean, if you lose it, have you ever really gotten it? I don’t know how I feel about the use of the term “peak.” Because personally, I feel that there was a “peak” at the beginning of the year[for me]. It was probably the start of the most extensive part of my spiritual journey, and I thought I had hit a “peak.” That was the first instance for me. Since then I feel like I “peak” every new moon cycle.
Do you mean once you find that awareness initially?
Octavian: What do you think causes people to up and drop out of it? How do you think people can bring back what they feel that they lost, especially when it’s already within the self?
Allison: Part of that is acceptance. I truly think that with life being a wave, you have to ride the wave. Just like there are cycles of the moon, and we are constantly in motion being on earth… Just like there are cycles and movements out there, there are cycles and movements in here, in our lives. Otherwise nothing would ever change, and we would all be the same. We would just be on [top of our game] all the time, all of us.
Part of it is understanding and acceptance that we’re human. One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever gotten when I was going through a rough time was to be gentle with yourself.
I always try to think that. Whenever I’m beating myself up because I didn’t do something (and I can be really hard on myself) I would just think, “Be gentle with yourself. Just be gentle with yourself, as you would with someone that you care about, the person you care about the most. Be patient with yourself.” So yeah, [it’s about] accepting that there’s no rule saying you have to be a certain way all the time.
The challenge, and the test, the determination… All of the best things come out when you lift off the ground again. However many times you need to do that, do it.
A good metaphor for me is running. When you start running, it’s hard. Just as it’s hard to stay on a consistent level of balance and being grounded, killing it at work, and killing it in your social life. It’s hard to maintain that balance.
Running… You just have to do it more. You have to practice those things more [and take things slowly]. I’ve found through practicing that and taking pressure off that it has given me the freedom and the space to grow.
It’s about practice and consistency. Practice, consistency, and not judging yourself when those things get really hard and you have to take a break.
Octavian: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for your kind words of wisdom for everybody, really. I’m so glad to be able to be a vessel for your voice and record it, it’s really beautiful.
Allison: Thank you.