Well now I’ve gone and done it

horoscope

This was my horoscope this morning.

I don’t really REALLY believe in horoscopes.

But, you know. I like reading mine every morning.

I went to an info session for yoga teacher training. Turns out they were having a promotion I didn’t know about for people who showed up to the session. $750 off and a structured payment plan. I took it as a sign from the Universe.

So I stepped up to the desk and signed up. I start the last weekend in March.

The double life of a yoga teacher

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One of my favorite yoga teachers, Rebecca, likes to say that “in real life” she is a dental hygienist.

I’ve been talking to a lot of the teachers in the studios I frequent, trying to give myself the extra push to sign up for teacher training in the spring. Between that and social media, I’ve discovered three very distinct profiles of yoga teachers, and I’ve mentally been trying to bucket myself into these profiles (even though I already know exactly which profile I would choose, given the choice). Continue reading

The gift of generalized anxiety

Photo Credits: Alex Castillo Photography

Photo Credits: Alex Castillo Photography

A more somber post than usual, I’m afraid.

I had news of someone’s unexpected death today. He was someone who, while not very close to me personally, was close to many of my loved ones, and who left his family and friends much sooner than they were prepared for (as is always the case when just about anyone makes their departure, I suppose). He was a very good man and many people will miss him. I’m really sorry for his loss.

I’ve been hearing a lot about people’s passing recently. Enough to really catch my attention. At work, among my friends, on Facebook…. even in yoga this morning our instructor was telling us about the death of her dear friend who’d finally lost a valiant battle to cancer, leaving behind two nearly grown children who will no doubt miss their mother even as they move on with their lives.

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Open Your Heart (Chakra)

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Why can’t I reeeeaaaach?

For the last couple of years I’ve been working on opening up my Heart Chakra.

Yes, yes, I know most of you don’t really believe this ‘hokey’ Chakra stuff but for a second let’s pretend it’s just a metaphor.

My sister asked me the other day whether yoga has helped me control my emotions. I told her that yoga is not really about control – at least not for me. The kind of yoga I practice is about flow: letting things pass you by, float by you, without controlling or judging them. It’s mostly about making yourself vulnerable enough to let emotions in and let them out, without judgment, even at the risk of feeling hurt.

In other words, learning to recognize that pain is inevitable but suffering is always optional.

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A Tao of Me

This post was written in response to a series of questions posed by my friend at 1874 First Impressionist Exhibition. Go visit her blog!

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Me me me me me

1. What’s the best piece of advice on writing you’ve received?

Hmm. I’m not sure anyone’s ever directly given me writing advice – except for perhaps my 12th grade English teacher. When I graduated from high school I wrote her a book of short stories as a thank you gift. I had it bound and everything. I think mostly I just wanted the thrill of having published my own book.

Oh, but I digress….

2. How often do you write or work on writing (e.g. researching)?

If we’re talking about my own personal writing, probably 4 or 5 times a week since I began blogging again.

I try to keep my research to a minimum, so I only write about things I know about (which is why you see me write so much about me).

3. Are you an atheist, agnostic or a believer or something else?

Believer. I was brought up Catholic and still picture a guy in a toga and a white beard when I pray.

Interestingly enough I’ve had several experiences where I felt like I was being sent a message from a higher power. The one that stands out the most was on Christmas Eve of 2000. I was heartbroken over a guy who had been using me (although in retrospect I was more than complicit in that experience), and tired of hurting that evening I was well on my way to crying myself to sleep, wishing I knew how to let go of a relationship that was clearly keeping me from being happy.

In my head I was half praying, half indulging in a self pity-party when suddenly a prayer popped into my head. I’d heard it a million times – the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi – but it was not one that I’d recited or thought about very often. It floated around in my head for a while, until I eventually drifted off to sleep.

The next day I dragged my puffy-eyed self out of bed, probably closer to noon than to morning, and found one last unopened present for me under the Christmas tree. It was from my grandmother, who is now 95 but used to be quite adept at working with ceramics when she was in her 70’s and 80’s. She had made me a ceramic plaque as a gift, and on it she had handwritten the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Conclusion – either there is a God who was telling me everything would be OK, or I have psychic powers.

4. Do you think this affects your writing?

Indirectly. It affects my being, which affects my writing. Ultimately my writing is a reflection of what I’m experiencing, and much of my point of view is driven by the belief that there is an ultimate purpose propelling us forward.

5. What’s your favorite book?

Ack. Tough one. I used to be an avid reader, but not so much anymore. Most recently Eat Pray Love touched me, mostly because I see a lot of myself in the author and what she chose to do with her life. She wasn’t happy, so she had the balls to change something.

People who have read the book criticize Elizabeth Gilbert for leaving a perfectly wonderful life for petty reasons, but her reasons are HERS and you can’t judge someone else’s existence through the lens of your own values. She was unhappy. And she chose to do something about it. Period.

6. Who is your favorite author?

I have such a hard time picking favorite stuff. I have several favorites: Paulo Coelho, Elizabeth Gilbert, JRR Tolkien are three that come to mind just off the top of my head.

7. What’s your favorite movie?

Again I’m going to cheat and list several. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. American Beauty. Amelie. Jerry Maguire.

There is just something about people who take the bull by the horns and do things that make them happy as opposed to doing what others expect them to do that is really appealing to me.

8. Who is the awesomest person you know (or know of) dead or alive?

My son. Hands down.

I may be a little prejudiced but he’s so kind and thoughtful (for a six-year-old) that I can’t help but smile when he’s around. Even when he’s having a temper tantrum or being a brat.

I look back on my life before he was born and I wonder how on earth I could have existed without him. Sometimes people ask me whether I would change anything about my past and my answer is always that I’d leave every moment – good or painful – exactly as it is. I wouldn’t want to risk creating any sort of alternate future that doesn’t have D in it.

9. How would you define creativity?

Creativity is taking random creative elements – words, thoughts, ideas, textures, materials, colors – and putting them together in a counter-intuitive way. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, it just has to be different.

10. How long have you been on WordPress?

Two months. I had another blog for about a year (about eBay if you can believe that), but it was on a different platform.

11. Do you write for a living?

Not yet. 🙂

It’s Happy Hour

The talented Diana from A Holistic Journey put out a call to action to her readers to describe their happiest moment in 50 words or less.

I’ve had my share of them, of course, not least of which was the birth of my son (which was a production onto itself). But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the constant, low key, underlying happiness I’ve been feeling over the last year or so, and wanted to convey a concept I’ve flirted with on my own blog but haven’t fully developed.

I’ve been toying with the idea that when you’re happy, truly happy, even the little things like the crisp air on a clear spring night or the thought of having dinner with your family can bring you to tears. Happiness doesn’t always have to be a major event – it can be a collection of little ones (day in, day out), fueled by the gratitude of knowing that our time here is brief and that while we may have obstacles to overcome, wonderful things always surround us despite our circumstances.

Much easier said than done, and much easier said in 200 words than in 50, but please find Diana’s happiness collection below. I hope you enjoy reading, and that you’ll visit her blog (as well as the others)!

PS: Those of you who know me may be surprised that it was actually one of the other readers who wrote about a moment in Nicaragua. How did that happen, you ask? The Universe, I tell you!

A Holistic Journey

It happened after yoga one night. The April air was crisp as we hadn’t fully settled into spring. My family waited for me at home, dinner on the table. My eyes filled with tears of contentment. I had come through years of debilitating anxiety and was fortunate to be alive.

Average Yogini

So here are my picks to the prompt: Tell me about a moment when you were happy, so happy you could hardly see straight. You couldn’t have been happier if you’d won the Lottery. Go ahead and visit one another, make friends. Enjoy.

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Tough choice: Is it the day I completed a 10,000-mile bicycle ride and met Peggy; or the night California voters approved an effort I had initiated to reduce tobacco use? One led to happiness; the other has saved an estimated one million lives. I’ll go with love.

Wandering Through Time and Place

One year…

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A Stint in Paris

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My friend over at 1847: First Impressionist Exhibition asked me write a guest post related to her tag line.

Given how big a fan I am of this lady and her adorable family, I happily obliged.

I was stumped for a bit about what to write, given that I her blog is not about anxiety OR yoga. Then for some reason while I was out for a run last night, my semester abroad in Paris popped into my head.

The Universe must have wanted me to write about that, because I’d written a couple of paragraphs already when I went to look over at her blog for additional inspiration, and she actually mentioned having lived in Paris in her latest post.

So, for a voyeuristic glimpse into a pre-anxiety me eating crepes and decidedly NOT working out during a stint in Paris, hop on over to her blog and check it out!

The Universe is Unfolding as It Should

578240_10151648358665437_965653965_nThose who know me well will tell you I’m practical to the extreme. I don’t get overly emotional about things. I don’t get attached to stuff, don’t fuss over small things, and generally reject things that put me or stress me out if I don’t view them as strictly necessary.

Cleaning is a good example of this. I don’t get too worked up about cleaning at home just because I’m “supposed” to. Any time we move, I prefer to throw everything out and start over than to hang on to baubles and trinkets we’ve accumulated over the years that don’t serve any practical purpose.

In college, my good friends teased me because my dorm rooms always had one characteristic in common: they were adorned by nothing else than the essential bed, dresser, desk and computer. The walls were bare. Decorating doesn’t really serve much of a practical purpose, so why bother? Continue reading