reveries at 105degrees


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Why I May Never Feel Like a Real Adult

(*I’m not entirely sure what “being a real adult” entails, but I am pretty sure it’s not me.)

Let’s get this out of the way: while I may act (or even look) like a perpetual 24-year-old, I am 33.  In fact, I am now closer to 34 than 33, so things like doing laundry, calling to set up appointments, taking care of sick friends, or finishing a Master’s degree and starting a tiny business should not turn me into a shivering ball of wide-eyed, snot-leaking, paralyzed fear.  I lived alone for a long time, and sometimes I wonder how I ever survived on my own throughout most of my 20s.  I killed all the bugs, went head-to-head with a rat larger than my dog, survived a neighbor almost burning down the entire complex, deflected the advances of many Mr. Wrongs, shrugged off a pretty scary break-in/burglary, and somehow managed to not burn the place down myself.  In the past few years, I’ve had to change my life and my plans to take charge of a pretty excruciating situation, comfort my mom when her dog passed away, and give a eulogy for my dad.  Sounds kind of like…an adult, right?

Wrong.  Small things send me into convulsions of tears and leave me exhausted and afraid.  I am notoriously underprepared, which I’m pretty sure is a difficult feat for someone so obsessed with lists and datebooks.  I procrastinate on the important things (doing laundry, putting gas in the car, paying bills) and frequently need to be rescued.  (It makes me feel loved. This may be odd.  I’m not sure. I’ll save further discussion for another post.) Not being a real adult seems to get me into a lot of trouble.  Staying up late to relive first-grade ghost stories by reading Can I Get There By Candlelight? is really not a valid excuse for being late for work. The trouble, though, is often outweighed by the fun, and the laughs, and the lessons.

The other day, I got a new mattress.  Since my parents purchased my old mattress when I was a junior in high school, I figured it was time to finally replace the thing.  I got it in place, covered it with a fitted sheet, and put the comforter back on the bed.  Whenever I left the room, I took care to close the door so that little chihuahuas would not be tempted to pee on the brand-new bed.  At one point, I guess I didn’t close my door all the way.  I returned to the room to see a puddle of urine on my duvet cover (which was covering a 100% silk comforter) and a guilty-looking Ezra (Ezra is a crazy rescue chihuahua of indeterminate age.)  Angry that I would have to do laundry again, I tried to gather up the edges to contain the pee puddle, so I could rinse it out in the tub before carrying it downstairs.  I ended up making it to the hallway, where I noticed a fresh little chihuahua turd (Ezra again) in the middle of the floor. I danced around it, trying to avoid stepping on it (the sensation of stepping on a dog turd with bare feet is not my favorite) but ended up losing my balance and tripping into the bathroom, falling into the vanity.  This graceful move achieved three things: I avoided the turd, but spilled the mug of coffee I had left on the vanity that morning (right on to the snow-white blanket) and effectively showered myself with the puddle of pee as I tried to jerk the blanket away from the dripping coffee.  I wanted to cry, but I laughed.  It was just a blanket.  I could take a shower.  The bathroom floor had seen worse spills than old coffee.  At that moment, I told myself that I would probably always be a bit of a mess, always be a bit late, always be kind of eccentric…and never fully grow up.  I also told myself that I would just start to embrace it…and that if anyone else doesn’t, well, I can just stick my tongue out at them.

P.S. against the blanket tag’s advice, I put it in the washing machine.  It is just fine now.

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Vanity, Thy Name Is…

Vanity.  If you read any contemporary pieces about so-called “westernized” yoga, you’ll run into that word several times.  It does make sense, but I never really thought about it too much.  I’m no stranger to vanity, but it’s one of those things that I just accept, deal with, and move on from, so I can focus on other, bigger things in life.  Yesterday, however, I found myself challenged in a way that left me wondering if I’m not a bit more of a vanity junkie than I previously thought.

A bit of history: I grew up hating every physical part of my being.  I’m not talking about “teen angst” or puberty or the expected “UGH, I hate my [fill-in-the-blank here].”  I’m talking real depression, missed school, begging for a nose job at age 12 (and no, I never did get one), severe eating disorders, and missing out on most of my 20s due to a refusal to leave the house because I felt too absolutely disgusting in my own skin.  (I still have days like that, and I’m still not “over it all,” whatever that means.)  My first Bikram yoga class, at the age of 23, was excruciating.  Not because of the heat, not because of the postures, not because of the teacher excitedly shouting…but because of the mirror.  I was supposed to stand with my legs touching (a sensation I still despise, to this day) and watch myself the whole time?  Oh, no.  No, no, NO.

Over the years, though, I’ve come to depend on that mirror.  Like an unsatisfactory, unhealthy relationship, I both love it and hate it, crave it and avoid it.  I’m often called upon in certain postures (Eagle, I’m looking at you) to bring my eyes down (I stare up at the reflection of the box heaters where the ceiling meets the wall instead).  I look at the floor when I shouldn’t.  Some days, I look at myself and repeat under my breath, “pig, pig, pig” as I (hopefully) surreptitiously squeeze the skin on my arm or thigh until it bruises. Then I try to throw that focus into the next posture.  It’s all I know how to do, the only way I know how to deal with it and move on.  I have friends who refuse to try Bikram with me, again, not because of the heat or the skimpy outfits, but because of the mirrors.  And while I disappointedly sigh, I get it.  I hate that mirror, too.  But I love it.  And I need it.

At least, I thought I needed it.  Earlier this year, my studio announced that they were offering some informal outdoor classes, for fun and to raise money for charity.  I immediately put the down in my datebook.  Extra yoga! Extra challenge! Why would I say no? As I got ready for outdoor class yesterday, though, I began wondering exactly what the hell I signed up for.  To say that I got into my car begrudgingly is an understatement.  As I pulled up to the park, I realized my biggest reservation about the whole thing: I wanted my mirror.  I wanted to see myself, to watch.  I was suffering from vanity withdrawal.

The lack of mirrors was not the only thing grating at my nerves.  The yogis were set up on the grass; for some reason, I was expecting to practice on the concrete, next to the lake and fountains.  For those of you who consider me a nature girl…well, don’t be too fooled.  In many ways, I am, but grass=bugs and I am just not into bugs.  Also, I despise the scent of grass.

Despite all this, I unrolled my mat, thinking to myself, “well, I can leave after this is done and go do a regular class later this afternoon.”  I stood on the lumpy ground, looked around, and began.  Here’s a breakdown:

Pranayama breathing: I really hope I don’t inhale a bug.  If I do, I’m going to hawk it out and I don’t care who hears me.

Half-moon/backbend/hands-to-feet: This thing crawling on my toe looks suspiciously like a tick. *Flick it off.*  Okay.  Better.  Wait, ugh, I smell mud. It smells like tomatoes, gross. Does mud smell like tomatoes, or do tomatoes smell like mud?

Awkward: I am surprisingly balanced on this uneven ground.  And not distracted by what is either slight waviness in the mirrors or a totally asymmetrical hip alignment.

Eagle: I HATE YOU, EAGLE POSE. In fact, I am planning a blog post devoted entirely to you.

Standing head-to-knee: No mirror? I will fall. Oh, god, I will wobble and fall.  Wait. I’m doing it. My head is on my knee, no mirror at all. I can do this. This means I can compete.  I’m DOING IT!!! (Competition post coming soon.)

Standing bow: Pssh. I don’t need no stinkin’ mirrors.

Balancing stick: I see we have an audience. (A man and a little girl are watching.) The audience is growing.  Wow, the teacher practicing in front of me is cute from the front and from behind.  I realize I have only ever stood in a non-front row during my very first class (as required), and immediately migrated to the front. Hmm.

Separate-leg stretching: Holy crap the storm is coming. The sky is black. The wind starts to blow. It gets chilly. Some people leave.  I will get rained on. I will be the last yogi standing! I love storms. I am excited. 

Triangle: Oh god, my feet are on the grass and the mud.  Oh god. How many tiny dead things am I standing on?  Childhood fear of hookworms resurfaces.  Wow. My alignment feels good.  This is okay. I can do this.

Standing separate leg head-to-knee: Rain is definitely coming.  Instructor asks if we want to stay. I am staying. I don’t care if it is only me. Most people stay.

Tree/toe-stand: I want it to pour.  

Savasana/transition: Instructor announces that we will move quickly with very short savasanas.  I can barely hear. I stare at the sky. Pour, damn it.  POUR.

Spine-strengthening series: Light rain on my back. Gross, I smell the mud and grass A LOT.  Yuck.

Fixed-firm: We are now doing one set of each posture in an effort to complete the class and still beat the storm.  The rain hasn’t really started yet.  I hear the birds still singing.

Tortoise/Camel/Rabbit/Spine twist/final stretching: My mind is blank. I have arrived.

Final breathing: I survived. I still don’t like bugs and grass.  I’m not sure I’ll do this again.  Nope, next time I’ll stick to yoga indoors, and things like hiking outdoors. 

I can’t say that the experience lived up to the hype I created in my own mind. It was a far cry from the rooftop vinyasa yoga class I used to attend, one which overlooked a trendy part of the city (and was practiced on concrete–no grass there).  I can’t say that I felt like I got out of it what I usually get out of my practice.  I missed the mirror, the constant “check” of my progress, the constant reminder that I have improved, but am far from perfect.  I missed the structure of class, the feeling that even though my life is changing in big ways, one thing will remain constant.  But I did get something different.  And that, I’ve decided, is what it was all about.


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Yogurt Fail, Yoga Win

This post won’t discuss my dietary habits or the labels I assign them. I’ll save that for later.

This post will discuss a quest for more sustainable living, and how I turned a yogurt fail into a yoga win.

Since deciding to add sheep/goat yogurt back in to my daily diet, I have spent a lot of money on the stuff.  Case discount aside, I can spend anywhere between $6-12 on yogurt each day. I am extremely active (therefore hungry!) and the stuff isn’t cheap.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will always have an enormous grocery bill, but I do always try to find little ways to save money and waste less (all those plastic cartons make me cringe).  So last week, I decided to spend forty hard-earned eBay sales dollars on a yogurt maker from Amazon.

When it arrived, I excitedly ran to Whole Foods to purchase yogurt-making supplies: goat’s milk (low fat-$4.99 for 32oz, and whole-$7.99 for 64oz) a bottle of goat’s milk kefir to use as a starter culture (all yogurt starters on the market are made with cow dairy or soy, neither of which I will touch) ($6.99 for 32oz kefir) and a can of powdered goat’s milk ($11.99 for 12oz) because the recipe book that came with the yogurt maker suggested it as a thickener (and runny yogurt is just sad). The powdered milk freaked me out a little–is this even natural?  I was, however, excited about getting to eat goat’s milk yogurt again (the only commercial brand available in my area uses tapioca, which I also avoid, as a thickener).  Even more excited, I went home.

Oh, wait.  I had to purchase a meat thermometer, because apparently, milk won’t make yogurt unless you first heat it to 160-185 degrees first, then cool it down.  It made zero sense to me, since the milk is already (unfortunately) pasteurized, but I bought the damn thing anyway  ($7.99).

Attempt 1:

Get home. Unpack supplies. Measure out and heat milk.  Prepare mixture of kefir and powdered milk.  Let milk cool.  Mix milk with kefir and powder.  Slowly blend whole mess in Vitamix, pour into little glass (yay! no plastic!) jars, and lovingly place in yogurt maker. Set timer.

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(pretty!)

11 hours later, put lids on jars, refrigerate, be impatient for another 8 hours.

Finally, try yogurt.

It was…well, not thick. I had made a batch of kefir.  Wonderful probiotics.  But not the texture I wanted/needed.  Still, I consumed all ~34 ounces of it.  The taste was amazing, but I prefer to eat yogurt with a spoon…not a straw.

I turned to Google.  A basic search told me that the general consensus is that goat’s milk will always produce thin yogurt, but cow’s milk will thicken.  Well. I don’t eat cow dairy, so that was out.  A further search revealed that I could buy agar-agar, a seaweed that acts like gelatin.  I also considered that using kefir as a starter may have thinned out my yogurt, so I decided to try a cup of sheep’s milk yogurt as a starter for my second batch.

Agar-agar: $8.99.  6oz cup of sheep yogurt: $3.19.

Attempt 2:

Boil water to prepare agar-agar mixture.  While milk is heating, boil and simmer agar-agar.  Realize that it looks like snot.  Transfer it to jar for later use. Wait for milk to cool.  Notice something on counter that suspiciously resembles the stretchy glue used to attach beauty product samples to coupon cards or magazine pages.  Realize it is spilled agar-agar.  Peel it off the counter and toss it in the trash.  Realize milk is down to 112 degrees and pour in the agar/kefir/powdered milk gunk. Dump it all in the Vitamix, mix it up, pour it in the jars, set the timer, wait. Clean agar-agar from pan.

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(this is the agar-agar i peeled out of the pot I used to simmer it.)

This time, the yogurt was thick. Some cream on the top (the way I like it).  Halfway down, though, I felt like I was eating yogurt mixed with a beanie baby, or eating my microdermabrasion scrub.  I thought back to the agar-agar. It felt like plastic, and looked like glue. I was reminded of my one unfortunate attempt to eat kelp noodles (which had the exact taste and consistency of those plastic things used to attach price tags to clothing). Disappointed, I rinsed the rest of the jar down the drain. I considered my ridiculously picky digestive system and researched agar-agar.  Apparently, it is GOOD for digestion, in the same way chia seeds are good for digestion.  I cannot tolerate chia seeds.  About an hour later, I started to feel ill.  Damn plastic-y gunk.  I sadly wrote the entire thing off as a loss, went out and bought a case of Old Chatham sheep’s milk yogurt from Whole Foods, and decided to use the remaining ~24oz of goat kefir-agar bead soup to feed my dogs.  The result?

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(ezra loved it.)

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(satchel went for it.)

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(piper: what is this sh!t? DO NOT WANT.)

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(oh, wait..you mean this is all i’m going to get for dinner? okay. i will try it. oh. this is…GIVE ME MORE!)

Result of the yogurt maker experiment:

yogurt maker: $40

goat’s milk:    ~$13

powdered goat’s milk: $12

thermometer: $8

kefir/yogurt as starter: $10

agar-agar: $9

~64oz of (thin, gritty, ultimately inedible) yogurt: $92

Case of six 16-oz containers of delicious, cream-on-top, no-thickeners added sheep’s milk yogurt that requires no prep time or kitchen mess, $36 minus 10% case discount: 96oz for ~$32.50

It seemed like a good idea at the time. (Famous last words, right?) I spent a day being sad about the money I spent and the failed experiment, but after the day’s yoga class, I realized something.  Sometimes, “sustainable” and “simplicity” aren’t mutually exclusive.  In my current quest to reduce my material possessions and simplify my life, I am learning that depending on the situation, less can be more and more can be less.

I am currently trying to sell my yogurt maker, and practice the yoga of letting go.


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what you get out of it…

When I was in junior high, my walls were faux-decoupaged (read: covered in magazine cut-outs that I haphazardly Scotch-taped in place).  My favorite piece was an Eastpak backpack ad with the text “what you get out of it is what you put into it.”  I still think of that (almost cliche) little quote almost every day, especially in the yoga room.

I spent my 20s thinking (and believing others who inferred) that I was a lazy good-for-nothing, an underachiever who wouldn’t “amount to anything.”  That was a far cry from the ambitions and expectations that followed me through high school.  Something changed, though, right around my senior year.  I decided early on that becoming a doctor or climbing the corporate ladder just wouldn’t make me happy and in fact would make me very unhappy, and paid for that decision by enduring an onslaught of relatives’, friends’, and acquaintences’ criticisms.  I knew that I was giving about 20 measly percent at my jobs, and I knew that I wasn’t lazy; I just didn’t care enough, and couldn’t figure out what I would care enough about to give more.  

I found myself giving 100% to yoga and to writing things no one else would ever see.  I would work for eight hours, hating life, then go spend two hours in the yoga room, finally feeling at home.  That was great while it lasted.  Then, something happened.  I started to believe the others, the ones who insisted that there must be something “wrong” with me.  Since I didn’t measure my worth based on job titles and credit scores, I was a bad human being. 

I am still fighting that belief.  Just when I think it is almost gone, it comes back.  Lately, it has come back to me in the worst place ever–the yoga room.  I convince myself that I am lazy if I don’t do two classes a day, that I am a slacker if I sit out a pose when I feel exhausted and start to see dancing black spots instead of my reflection in the mirror.  On days like those, I have to remind myself of a few things:  what I put into it is always 100%, but 100% changes from day to day; and there is nothing wrong with me for choosing to throw all my effort into things I actually care about, instead of wasting it on things that I don’t.

Last fall, I did something that surprised even me: I started (and finished) a project that I wasn’t sure I could successfully pull off. I’m probably more proud of it than I should be, but when I start to believe that I’m just a useless slacker, I look back to this and realize that that just isn’t true.

I wanted a unique and special gift idea for someone–something personal, not just a thing I could buy and decorate with a bow and gift label.  I thought for a few days, and remembered this old table I had languishing in my basement:

ImageI had rescued this poor, ugly thing from a thrift store a few years back, thinking “someday I will do something great with this!”

I began sanding, re-staining, and painting.  This took more time and effort than I had originally thought it would.  Everything I did gave me a new idea:  paint the underside! Stain the parts the original owner missed! I kept working, and a less-ugly table emerged:

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ImageI even added felt “feet” that matched the red paint. (This was difficult.  Finding this color of red felt in December is not a task for the weak):

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Here comes the “personalized” part.  I had done some research and asked some questions, and spent quite a lot of time scouring eBay for articles and posters and cut-outs to use to decoupage the tabletop.  The last cut-out came in the mail on a day when I was so sick I could barely stand, but I was so excited I started to work immediately. I spent an entire night pre-treating, placing, and ModPodge-ing.  The next day, I applied a final coat of polyurethane.  This is the final result:

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It isn’t perfect, but I’m extremely happy with the way it turned out.  The result, though, was only part of what I was so excited about.  The entire process, from developing the idea to shopping for the supplies to doing all the physical work involved (sanding…LOTS of hand sanding) was cathartic.  When I was sad or anxious, I worked on the table.  When I was bored and impatient, I worked on the table. Stress? Table.  So what I got out of it wasn’t just an amazing gift, but some realizations:  the process matters; don’t focus so much on only the end result.  And I’m not a talentless, lazy underachiever. 

There isn’t anything wrong with saving your 100% for the things you truly care about.  In fact, I’m pretty sure there is something very “not right” about pouring all that effort into anything that makes you unhappy.  Every day, I’m closer to feeling more comfort and less anxiety about the freedom that comes with focusing on what I love, instead of focusing on what I think I should love…and I can’t help but think that if everyone worked toward that, the world would be a very different place.

 

 

 


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stuffed with stuff

I used to write a fashion blog.  I read through it the other day (before deleting it) and noticed myself repeating one word over and over again:  Why?

I’ve never denied that I have an addiction to stuff. Buying stuff, getting stuff, selling stuff, giving stuff away.  I could go into a psychological analysis about my family and my childhood, try to explain why stuff can be love and comfort.  I could talk about marketing, and discuss how new stuff=a new beginning, a “new  you.” But I won’t.  That’s all been done, it isn’t exactly new or interesting, and it’s not even particularly important to me right now.

I have a current goal to clear out at least two-thirds of my possessions.  This will still leave me with too many things, but it’s a start.  Deciding which things must go and refraining from buying new things are equally difficult.  Some decisions seem easy (Do I really need enough dishes to serve 8? Not a chance), but become impossible (but my dad gave me those). Some seem tedious (how do I choose 50 dresses to sell or give away?) but are surprisingly easy (I never wear this, this just doesn’t look right, this fabric is itchy, this is UGLY and I have no idea why I bought it).  Sometimes I toss things into a “donate” or “sell on eBay” box, and days later pull it back out, thinking, “In the future, I will regret getting rid of this.”

ImageThis is just shameful. It’s not even a quarter of it.

And why not?  I have an old joke about how if I were an artist, my self-portrait would consist of a painting of me, standing at one end of a fiery bridge, wearing a mixed expression and holding a gas can and a box of matches.  It seems that I can walk away from situations and jobs and people, using the same rationalization that I use when buying more new stuff that I really don’t need: It’s a new start. I am a new person. This all belongs to someone I no longer am.  But to quote an old friend….”LIES!”

The problem with this idea of “starting over” is that it ignores (or worse, denies) the fact that we are who we are as a result of a culmination of experiences.  Everything we see, experience, do, and live through shapes who we are.  The idea of getting rid of your past in an attempt to become someone else operates on a kind of fallacy: that you can become a blank slate.  You can’t.  And besides not working the way you want it to, this desire to completely start over has two common side effects: a sudden need to buy ALL THE NEW STUFF to start your “new life,” and/or a serious case of regret.

I’m not advocating becoming a hoarder.  Simplification is a good thing (I would even say a necessary thing).  I am still on a quest to reduce.  I even asked some friends for advice, noting that I have many regrets about things I gave away in the past. (Why did I give away that dress? It would have been perfect for this event.)  Someone mentioned that once something was out of her life, she didn’t think about it.  I thought, “I wish. I have a list of regrets.”

Last night, though, I visited my mom, and found a box of old things in her basement.  Things I thought I had donated to charity; things I regretted giving away.  I immediately grabbed three shirts from the  mid- and late 90s (possibly my favorite time, clothing- and music-wise, ever) and ran home to see how I could re-incorporate them into my wardrobe.

As I tried them on, I realized some things.  This isn’t how I remember…too big. Too itchy.  Too…something.  I thought back to the energy and time I wasted being upset that I didn’t still own that one particular thing and just laughed.  Really? I’m using minutes of my life to be sad about how I don’t still have a t-shirt with Felix the cat in space on it, the one I wore to a club called Fallout when I was 15?  I spent the next five minutes remembering why it was all such a big deal–remembering sitting on my friend’s roof at 5am, tossing pebbles into the dumpster, laughing until we couldn’t breathe because she said “beaver shot” (which is incredibly funny at 5am, trust me).  I didn’t miss my outfit at all.  I missed laughing like that.  I missed living in such a way that my biggest worry was how to get a ride to the next free concert.  I missed having a friend like that.

I’m trying to remember that logic every day as I work on this daunting project.  It still won’t be easy, but the fears of guilt and regret have faded to almost nothing.


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return

I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve decided to return to blogging. This means that I have many comebacks, and also many “quits.” The excuses for quitting are varied but typical: not enough time, not enough inspiration, no organization, loss of interest in the topic. Many times, the verb “quit” was too strong; I just let blogs fall to the wayside. Blog abandonment. I’m guilty. Still, my love for writing conquers all, and I always return.

Returning to something you love but abandoned for some reason is challenging and affirming and humbling. I can still remember my first Bikram class after a 4-month hiatus. I had been practicing for about 5 years, and something (I can’t even really remember exactly what) made me decide I needed a break. Maybe even a forever break. I continued to practice vinyasa yoga, attended a Pilates teacher training course, continued to go to the gym, but I didn’t set foot in the Bikram studio for months. Then, one day, I wanted—no, needed—to go back. I anticipated the worst—a combination repeat of my first class and my worst class, at the same time. I got to the studio and found that my most challenging instructor was teaching. (Her cadence! Too abrupt. Her speed! Too varied. Her voice! Too loud. I wanted to run screaming.) Instead, I scribbled my name and unfolded my mat. And it was one of the ten best classes I’ve ever had. I felt amazing—I melted into postures, found new edges–and somehow, that teacher became one of my favorites.

I’m familiar with the cliché that goes something like, “things in your past are in the past for a reason.” Recently, I realized that that “reason” doesn’t always have to be that it is something that permanently belongs in your past. Over the years, I’ve “quit” and returned to hair colors, clothing styles, furniture arrangements, dietary choices. And those are just the little things, the ones that are inconsequential to the big picture. Sometimes, it feels right to return to something. Whether the return is all positive or all negative doesn’t matter. It was once a worthwhile experience, and it will be one again. There will be things you remember loving, and things you remember making you grit your teeth. There will be new things that surprise you, and new things you can predict. You might decide to abandon or quit or slowly step away again, but you might not. You won’t be repeating history; you’ll be making a new one, and possibly making a new future. In the past for a reason? Maybe. But maybe that reason is to inspire you to courageously try again.


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what this is all about

Have you ever unlocked your front door at the end of a long day, hugged a friend, fed a pet, watched a sunrise—done anything, really—and suddenly realized, “I take all this for granted”?

I have. Many times. I don’t mean “take things for granted” in an unappreciative way. I mean that we don’t realize how much things become parts of us, how much we rely on other people and pets and activities to make up our lives and contribute to who we are. I have moments of awareness, days or weeks when I’m conscious of the makeup of my life and the sheer power I possess to change the parts that just don’t work for me. Then, other things and thoughts get in the way, and I start to forget that life isn’t just happening to me. I get by on autopilot until the next time something makes me stop and think, “Wait…I’m here, right where I am right now, because of choices I made. And most of them were good.” The words currently on your screen are the indirect result of a choice I made years ago; I had no idea that one decision would change my life.

January 2004. After a few years of semi-regularly practicing yoga at my gym, I decided to search for more. I wasn’t exactly sure what “more” meant; I only knew that I wanted it. I spent my afternoon searching the Internet, and came across something called “Bikram yoga.” Cardiovascular? 105 degree room? Sweating? It sounded like my kind of yoga. I kept reading. Silent room? Rules? “Etiquette?” The rebel inside me told me to click the “back” button, but I was intrigued. Terrified and unsure what to expect, I went. And I went back the next day. And the next. I came home a week later to find my apartment burglarized and my valuables all gone. I called the police and told them to come; when they did, I told them to “just shut the door” behind them as they left, because I couldn’t be late for yoga. I could go into detail about how yoga changed my life and continues to do so every single day, but I won’t—not immediately, and not gratuitously. Because this isn’t a yoga blog.

I mean, it is a yoga blog in a way, but most posts won’t focus on specific asanas (postures) or yoga equipment or yoga clothing or news about the yoga community. Before (many, many years before) I ever set foot on a yoga mat, I was a writer (something else I often take for granted.) The yoga room has become one of the most inspiring places for me; I often dash from the room after class to record ideas before I lose them. If an idea finds me in the hot room, I’ll write about it here.

I do practice yoga almost every day, and if I skip a day, I can feel the empty space left by the lack of practice. Writing is my other practice of becoming more aware, and I hope to get back to feeling like something is missing if I don’t write every day, as well. I’ve been letting fear stop me from combining these two activities; this is my attempt to toss that fear aside.

 

kind of unrelated, but I found this plant in my garage by the trash. I brought it inside, gave it water and sun, and told it to keep growing. It still doesn't look awesome, but it's so much better, and it's trying.

kind of unrelated, but I found this plant in my garage by the trash. I brought it inside, gave it water and sun, and told it to keep growing. It still doesn’t look awesome, but it’s so much better, and it’s trying.