Thursday, October 27, 2011

Story of My Life

Stay with me here: more than once lately I've been walking the dog or through the hallway of a hotel or down a sidewalk by a cafe AND I'll hear someone laugh at what another someone has said and say: "You're telling me the story of my life." Last week, a lady dropped a huge box of papers accidentally out of the back of her car and the kind stranger who was picking up pages that had flown farther while walking up to help, said, super affirmatively, "Story of my life."
Not a huge eavesdropper typically, I've been tickled to hear people connecting on the story of their lives with PERFECT strangers so much lately.
It brings to mind one of my favorite phrases my teacher uses: "turn it over."
If you've got a recurring thought, if you're wandering down the aisles of a super-market looking for the jelly, if you can't believe whatever just happened just happened again: turn it over!! Chances are its happening to someone else too, or just by asking "Where's the jelly?", YOU find it.
Enlightenment is often defined as when one only see ONENESS, when there's no longer any separation between you and me, that cat or the table, the leaves and the open sky. If YOU'RE open and allowing, you may find little reminders of this everywhere. Maybe even all the time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flies When You're Having...

Gosh I've been having such a good time lately: getting along with my mom, riding my bike, freaking out about the gorgeous leaves, making new friends, hearing from my ex-boyfriend, meditating at the Shambala Center. Woah woah woah. Wait wait wait. What was that second to last one again? Oh yeah. Hearing from my ex-boyfriend. THAT goes on the fun list?
To be honest, at first I was like "OH NO!!! HALLOWEEN IS EARLY THIS YEAR!!! SPOOKS IN THE CANYON!!!!!". Don't get me wrong, I LIVE for Halloween. But I also love being in control. Paying-to-go-into-that-haunted-house-type-of-I'm-in-control.
I hadn't talked to this guy since we broke up over two and a half years ago. And I had been afraid of it because...because I don't even know why.
Sometimes the strong thing to do in situations like these is not respond. And sometimes the strong thing is to recognize an old teacher from the past and greet them and without fear: to re-engage. It is from re-engagement that you see how things have changed. Old fears ALMOST NEVER apply to right now. Time can go fast but it can also heal deep.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Memento Mori

Usually if there's one thing I'm really good at it's sleeping. Not so much lately. I'm a little too excited to sleep. Last night I took an herbal supplement to help me pass out. Nothing serious, but one of the ingredients is something called Skullcap. Ok maybe it's a little serious. I woke up today thinking about death. Death is actually a really great pointer for me because I have a hard time making decisions. Lately, I've been asking myself, "Well what would I do if I knew I was going to die in 10 years?" The answer is always the choice that inspires me more. Tell him I love him, quit my job, move to a new town, get an iPhone, go to Zumba for crying out loud.
Y'all know I'm not the first person to mention the idea of a list of things that scare you and then do them. Have you done it? Its also fun to come up with a list of so far your 5 favorite things you've ever done and do them as much as you can too. Trouble for me is one of my five favorite things I've ever done is sleep.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Thing About Path

A few months ago, I created my first ever facebook note. Its aim was to tell anyone who wanted to know about my plan. Fun Fact #1: My stories and jokes are occasionally long. Fun Fact #2: I get stressed out about plans, even baby ones, like where we're all going to meet for dinner. Fun Fact #3: I was totally nervous as I sat there and wrote that freaking note. To help myself feel better, at the very end of my story, I included something one of my favorite teachers Alison Cramer taught me a long time ago, "When you make a plan, God laughs."
I followed through with the first 3/4 of my plan: I taught my last few classes in the city, I packed up my stuff, I moved it to Boulder, Colorado, where I was going to move too, and I traveled for about 6 weeks. In those 6 weeks, I went to a lot of places, to name a few: Memphis, Lawrence, Los Angeles, Seattle, and a little town I had been to before in Northern New Mexico called Taos. The difference between all of those fine cities I mentioned and Taos, is that I haven't been able to stop going BACK to Taos. I've been there 3 times in the past 3 weeks. The second time I was there, people started to recognize me and ask me if I was moving there, my answer, to my surprise, was "Yeah! Maybe." The third time I went back I looked at apartments. One landlady liked me so much that she lowered the already very low price of the place I was going to take anyway!
The first time I was there, I was walking down a sidewalk with my best friend, Melissa. She stopped and pointed out a quote of Joseph Campbell's that had been taped up on the window of a card shop: "If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why its your path." I walk down that sidewalk every chance I get.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Road Trip Altar #2

"sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara asevitah drdhabhumih"

"When practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable, and solid foundation."

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.14

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Frown Upside Down

I spent the weekend in Seattle studying a kind of therapy that I have been in for years called B.E.S.T.
Part of B.E.S.T.'s philosophy is there are 6 choices that we make, all the time, every day, that establish our level of health:
1. What we eat
2. What we drink
3. How we exercise
4. How we rest
5. What and how we breathe
6. What we think
Catch is: Number 6. is more important than the other 5 combined.
I'd like to take this time give a BIG shout out to yoga and the fine book that explains yoga, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
After many years of practice, I am able, some of the time, to be aware of my thoughts. And, the crazy news is, sometimes they are pretty darn negative. The fine people at Morter Health Systems (who invented and continue to do research in the field of B.E.S.T.) have studied the intense effect of negative thoughts on the body. To be super-big-time-brief, I'll do some math:
negative thoughts+the perfect machine that is our body=defense physiology.
a prolonged state of defense physiology=SYMPTOMS of ill-health.
Now I'm going to freak out again:
I love you, the Yoga Sutras, I love you, I love you.
Yoga sutra 2.33: vitarkabadhane pratipaksabhavanam. To remove the negative, reflect upon the positive.
Do you have a negative thought that plays over and over and over again in your mind?
I'll give you an example from my head:
I will fail miserably.
Flip it upside down and bring it into the present moment:
I am a huge success.
Your ego may find this cheesy. Sometimes mine does too. Your spirit, however, knows it works.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Makes You Happy

waves of indecision about living in Boulder + fears of disappointing my mom =
I choose wisdom from Liz Phair

"But don't worry, Mom
I met him in a restaurant
And all this time, I've been getting to know him

He's got an ex-wife in Pasadena
And sometimes she's a mess
To deal with
But mostly, we've been living here uninjured

There's a silence, and she says,
"Listen here, Young Lady
All that matters is what makes you happy
But you leave this house knowing my opinion won't
Make you love me if you don't care to"

I'm sending you this photograph
I swear this one is gonna last
And all those other bastards were only practice
I feel the sun on my back
I smell the earth in my skin
I see the sky above me like a
Full recovery

"Listen here, Young Lady
All that matters is what makes you happy
But you leave this house knowing my opinion won't
Make a difference if you're not ready"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Log in the Middle of the Road

Did I mention my best friend and I got a $500 parking ticket? It wasn't our plan to return to Santa Fe towards the end of our trip but we wanted to go to Parking Ticket Court rather than pay $500. Judge Ann is a big jovial woman, a direct descendant of the Nurse from Romeo and Juliet. She laughed at our story and flirted with us but she did not let us off. We were sentenced to 25 hours of community service. We'll split it, it'll be fun. Parking in Santa Fe is a very big deal. If you've ever driven a car in New York and you're used to something called "standing", I suggest you forget all about that. Weigh the consequences of every time you slow down and maybe want to get out to go somewhere, these are choices! "Intentional" is the word Jude Ann uses for every time you stop your car. And forget all about those lights called "hazard". No such thing!
After our sentence, we didn't so much feel like parking anywhere else in Santa Fe, so we got the hell out of dodge. Usually we made decisions to visit places because of friends there or because at least one of us had never been. We scrapped that and headed north for Taos. A place where we had both been, both loved, but didn't have a friend to visit. On our drive there, we spoke in one of my favorite languages, superlatives: our favorite pet, most unexpected turn of events, favorite town that was new to us. We decided pre-meditatedly that Taos was our favorite town that we were returning to.

Folks. We were dead on. Taos is not a town, its a hug. We made new friends, I took one of my all time favorite yoga classes, we went dancing and to see the very popular Taos Bob Dylan cover band. We stayed one extra day more and have already been back once in the past week and travel plans will take me there again next week. Yesterday, I spoke with one of my teachers about my pull to Taos and she laughed, "Follow those surprises," she said, "when you're walking along and a log falls down in the middle of your path, you have to look at where its pointing you to go".