Scribbling Dame

Preposterous Pondering.

January Mindfulness: Maximizing What Is! January 1, 2015

I am nearing the last month of my yoga teacher training and can very much say it has been a life changing experience, which is so big I am still processing and can’t even begin to fully articulate. Like being the first woman in my family to get a college degree, I find myself having gone through such a complete transformation that I am a bit between worlds–my old self and new self trying to figure out the best life structure to accommodate the latest iteration of my genuine self. More on that later…

One of the practices I’ve happily built up is more awareness about nearly every damn thing. I’m so aware I feel like I can hear a squirrel crack a nut in Africa. Ultimately this awareness is going to take me some pretty amazing new places. For now I sort of feel like Spiderman when he first experiences his spidey senses. I’ll just be walking along or driving and then suddenly see every individual blade of grass glittering in the sun like a trillion diamonds. I’ll be going about my business and become struck by the most beautiful things I have ever seen–because I’ve never really truly seen them before. It’s pretty insane and I know I am so a rookie at this still…

One of the major themes of my practice has been acceptance. I spent much of my life fighting all kinds of things. I was feisty, and had to be to survive and surpass my life circumstances. So, it served me well for a time. Now that time is over and it serves me better to be more accepting, less judgmental, kind, grateful and even sentimental. So, mindfulness and meditation as part of that, are a tool on my path towards better understanding of this life.

This is very long backstory to share that I will post a monthly mindfulness topic–just sharing what I’m thinking about and noticing in the world or myself.

So with the January trend of being resolutionary, and the February reality that only 8% of people actually follow through on those resolutions, I got to thinking. I have a lot of experience with the science of goal setting and the reality is, when we focus on what’s missing, or what’s wrong, we rarely achieve anything but disappointment. I decided that, following my theme of true acceptance, I would create goals that focus on how I will leverage a strength to achieve anything I want throughout the year.

In other words, whatever your goals and dreams, there is something that you already have or do that will help you in getting to that new milestone. You would not even think to set the goals you have if you did not already have some sort of connection to it. So why not leverage what you already have to take it where you want! Accept that you are not starting from ground zero!

You've already got it all baby!

You’ve already got it all baby!

Here’s a sample:

Resolution: Stop watching so much T.V.

If your goal is a scold, your anxiety about this is now going to make you want t.v. even more probably–or at least that’s what happens to me.

Nicer: Leverage my curious nature to take some classes and read more books.

You don’t even have to give attention to the thing you don’t want to do (t.v.). You can just nourish your naturally curious self and the goal will unfold.

I’m just personally a fan of wanting my goals to feel good, and I know the more I focus on what I have, rather than what I don’t, the more I can break free from my fears and anxieties and downer stories.

So what strengths or qualities do you already have that are going to help you live the life you want in this beautiful year of 2015? I bet there’s a lot once you get to thinking about it…

 

Am I Turning Weird? October 1, 2014

Filed under: Almost a Yogi — Scribbling Dame @ 10:57 pm
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I think this question, which I recently asked my husband, pretty much sums up where I am in my yoga teacher training experience.

I will try and articulate what it’s like, and will definitely not come close to fully conveying the experience of being in this process.

It’s kind of like being in grad school in that I’m reading a lot of books–my mind is wide open and full of stuff like bone and muscle structures and the fact that we hold our emotional baggage in our hips and how the sound “OM” is God and how putting your hands on someone as a yoga instructor should really be a seriously conscious decision. I’m dreaming in Sanskrit.

I’m exhausted, my FINGERS are sore (today), I’m not eating much and yet more alive than I’ve been in a while–probably not since giving birth and then grad school before that.

Calling poses and adjusting people feels like a verbal doe coming onto its legs for the first time. I know this stuff but it’s coming out all wrong–after all, how does one articulate a feeling they’ve memorized in their own body, to another body?

Swami

And then there’s the emotional and ethical/moral gutting. There’s the yamas and niyamas that, in a pretty straightforward way, call out where I am seriously off track and suffering for it. Or the variety of scenarios in which I have found myself in tears and sometimes even sobs dealing with something I didn’t even know was there, until it’s really fucking there. It is a simultaneous emptying of garbage and replacing it with softer but more sustainable materials.

And I’m doing my best to be a good student and really sit with all of it, and, well, experience it full-force. I’m all in, and I’ve already found myself moving from thinking about farts during meditation to asking a deep  question and getting an answer from what I’m pretty sure can best be described as my “true self” or “soul” or whatever name you want to give it. I’m finding myself consciously deciding to interpret other people’s actions from a different, more loving perception and respond accordingly.

I’m starting to live and think like a yogi and it’s a very foreign land for me, but I’m definitely going to hang here a while, because it feels like it’s right for me. So I guess I’m on the journey, even if it does mean that I’m eating Tofurkey at Thanksgiving this year…

 

The Goonies Approach to Yoga September 15, 2014

Filed under: Almost a Yogi — Scribbling Dame @ 10:10 pm
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So I am in it. I finished my first week of yoga teacher training and it has been exactly what I expected–it’s like grad school but adding in a tired, sore body (think armpits and behind the knee-caps soreness kind of tired), and then memorizing terms in foreign languages for positions, spiritual beliefs and body parts, and then trying to articulate out loud with words a feeling you have memorized in your body. Fucking complicated.

I do not have any idea how this connection came into my mind, but I really do feel as if there are a lot of parallels between the Goonies and myself and classmates in this process.

First, we’re underdogs. The first night of our training we each had to share our biggest fear about the training.  Almost everyone had a fear that they would not be “enough” for their students–good enough, choosing the right poses, looking like a yoga teacher, and even being able to be in front of a large group with all eyes watching. I had no idea that most yoga teachers apparently feel this way. Yet we have banded together to do what feels like the impossible in the moment. Goonies.

Some days I feel like a living Truffle Shuffle on the mat. Some days my limbs are too long and heavy, or waaaay too short and there is nothing graceful about what I’m doing on that mat. In public, no less. I sweat like a hooker in church and pant like a dog in heat and I have to remind myself that at least I am there, working hard, and progress rarely looks pretty.

There will be a dead body. Seriously–the other night my instructor said she’s trying to arrange for us to see a cadaver as part of our anatomy section. Wasn’t. Expecting. That. The alternative is we might watch a video of a dissection happening, since there is apparently a shortage of cadavers for study right now. Yay? I am still processing this one.

Even though I was physically exhausted and mentally and spiritually overwhelmed, I had a moment where I realized I just walked into the cave with the pirate ship full of treasure to explore, and will most certainly come out of the experience to a very different life than when I entered, and I take solace in the fact that no matter how hard it gets, Goonies never die, and so neither will I.

Did you say cadaver?

Did you say cadaver?

This is basically my face reading Sanskrit.

This is basically my face reading Sanskrit.

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Almost a Yogi September 8, 2014

Filed under: Almost a Yogi — Scribbling Dame @ 9:23 pm
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Well hello, old friend. I’ve thought about writing you–often. Then I get tired and fall asleep instead.

But here I am and I signed up for my 200 hour yoga teacher certification. I’m a goddamned hippie. Even better, I have to go vegetarian for my training period, which is funny since in my last post about yoga I was all like “nobody’s touching my bacon.” They got to me!

Can I tell you how totally insane it is for me to sign up for this? I’m not that advanced in yoga–I literally cannot even touch my heels to the ground in downward dog. I’m probably 30 pounds larger than most yoga teachers (15 lbs of which is pure boob) and I’m not entirely sure that teaching yoga is a goal for me. Did I mention I work full time and have two kids under age 7. And a dog. And I’m going to be vegetarian over the holidays (no Christmas crab!). FML.

Despite all of that mumbo jumbo, I still felt freakishly compelled to sign up for it. I’m sure it’s going to break me and I love that. I love being a student and it’s been a long time since I got into something where I felt lost and nervous and exhilarated and liberated. I’m ready to be new at something and probably a bit goofy at it like a deer learning to walk or something. I’m pretty sure that’s how I’ll approach headstands.

Plus there are a couple of really important things I need to learn like, how not to laugh like a middle school boy at the inevitable class fart, and find out why I’m not supposed to do an inversion when I’m on my period.

Let me give you a sense of what my “hobby” entails:

–Learn a new language (Sanskrit)

–Learn and understand most of the muscular and skeletal make-up of the human body

–Read 6 books (many of which are philosophical) and write a report on one

–Learn and do most of the poses by going to at least 12 hours of yoga classes each week

–Eat nothing with a mother

–Meditate

–Find enlightenment and let go of my ego

All in approximately 12 weeks time. And this is what I do for fun. Did I also mention that I sweat profusely when doing power vinyasa?

Namaste people.

I'm pretty sure this is what I might look like doing yoga.

I’m pretty sure this is what I might look like doing yoga.

 

 

 

The Gift of Stillness December 24, 2013

I love Christmas and always have. I have successfully turned my oldest into a Christmas enthusiast as well, which only makes it even more fun for me. I was always raised with the experience of Christmas magic, even when I was so poor that my family received the food drive donations from my school. However, all these years I could not really pinpoint exactly what was so magical about Christmas.

Presents are fun, but as you get older, of course, these are few and far between and become a lot of work to acquire and wrap. Parties and get togethers can be joyful, but also a lot of work, especially if you are trying to haul your kids to them and hope the fact that they’re sugared up and haven’t been to bed on time in who-knows-how-long doesn’t make them the living argument for birth control.  All those things can be fun and provide momentary joy.

I realized though, that the real gift of Christmas (or the holiday season, however you celebrate), is the forced stillness that comes with it. Eventually all the presents are purchased and wrapped. Most of civilization is closed. The parties are done and the food eaten, and you are left with the people around you and nothing to do. This is the magic of Christmas–a moment to just be, with the person/people that mean something to you, with no need to achieve or accomplish or work. This stillness gives the opportunity to reconnect to our hearts, our gratitude and our families and memories, and experience the awe and wonder and warmth that is our lives in the here and now. The Silent Night is a waking meditation.

I hope you all find peace in the stillness of the season and enter the next year rejuvenated.

IMG_2109

 

Embracing Woo-Woo December 9, 2013

I do not know where this term came from, but it is the perfect term for what I used to envision as hippie granola-kinda-crazy-but-always-sweet healing type stuff. I have always loved people who love woo-woo, because let’s face it, they are downright nice people who generally like helping others or at least listening to them. Still, for years, I have strongly identified as non-woo-woo. In fact, I would say I strongly identified as the opposite of woo-woo, which I perceived to be bitchy, kick-ass, step on anyone’s throat with a stiletto if I want, get-shit-done kind of lady.

I am stubborn and kick-ass and I do like a challenge. I’m not easily intimidated and I am confident, but I am not as anti-woo-woo as I once thought. Or maybe I’ve evolved.

woo.jpg

The truth about me is I’m really quite gushy inside. I cry at the thought of others’ pain and I can also tear up at the wonder that is the beauty in people and life. I like yoga and puppies and shit and I don’t even own a pair of stilettos. I have no desire to prove anything to anyone anymore. What a fucking relief.

Some of this softening is definitely due to hormones and childbearing and science, but the rest is most certainly due to a respectable quest for more fulfillment and my own definition of happiness in my life, and embracing more woo and woo-bringers. This quest has resulted in shedding a toxic work environment (for me), downsizing a house, making decisions without considering money, and trying all sorts of healing practices like acupuncture (no likey), meditation (still working on it), yoga (love, and still working on it), Body Talk (can’t even explain what that is) and only spending time with folks who not only say they care, but actively show they care (no fakes).

I have replaced so much of what didn’t fulfill me with better people, less stress, more gratitude, feeling free and generally being a nicer, happier person. All via woo-ness and woo-dom and woo-dwellers.

So, as long as it works and you’re not out there killing babies or something, go for it. Embrace the weird and the woo-woo. If you want more official word on this Deepak Chopra totally backs me up in this article.  

Also, as a fun aside, when I googled “woo-woo” this really awesome drink recipe came up, which you should also embrace.

 

 

I’d rather be in Savasana… December 2, 2013

This is how I know I’ve become a yoga nerd.

I was at a lovely dinner at a friend’s house and I don’t even know how, but the subject of yoga came up–and, before you think me too sophisticated, we also definitely talked about farts as a part of the subject. Anyway, before I knew it I was talking about how tough it was to break my pinky toe because I had just started getting good at articulating my individual toes. I’m sipping cocktails after a gourmet-style feast, sitting on a leather Italian designer chair under installation art and I’m proudly describing how I have actively worked toward moving my toes one at a time up and down.

Yoga nerd.

This is most definitely a final confirmation that I am about 97% of all things described on Stuff White People Like. My gun-toting Republican relatives have forever lost me to all the liberal hippie jib-jab nonsense that comes with living in the Pacific NW. Except being a carnivore. I will never give up my bacon, even if I do prefer to know who farmed it.

Holy sh*t!

Holy sh*t!

Back to yoga. I first started it in college when I figured it’s what rich white ladies do, and so in my aspirations to be said rich white lady, I tried it out. I liked it. I did it off and on for a few years and every time I told myself “why’d I stop doing this? I need to do yoga all the time.” It was a great stress reliever and always made me stop to realize just exactly how tightly wound I was.

Now I’ve been doing yoga at least three times a week for the past year and since I’ve had the flexibility to fit it into my lifestyle I am addicted, precisely because I am about as connected to my body as E.T. phoning home. I know it’s out there, but I just can’t seem to get it to communicate. Or more appropriately, I am teaching myself what it feels like to listen to it.

It has told me my hips and right wrist are fucked up and I’m about as flexible as a concrete wall. My blossoming lotus is more like a venus fly trap. And as my body tells me these things, I am supposed to be kind and accepting of “wherever my body decides to be today.” This is the exact opposite of my nature.

And that is exactly why I am hooked. Almost everything about yoga is the opposite of my default mode; slow breathing, singular focus, acceptance, balance, heightened awareness, connection with my physical self. I am doing this on the mat, after driving to yoga while eating fast food in my front seat, checking email on my phone mostly at red lights and throwing food to the caged animals I call my children in the back seat.

I am really on a path to enlightenment. Except if you fart in class, then I am seriously laughing at you on the inside.

 

 
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