This Is It

For one second., look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there's nothing else. It's here, and you'd better decide to enjoy it or you're going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever. -Lev Grossman.


If February is the breakup with winter, March is that horrible time right after. You know, that awkward phase where you're trying to convince yourself you're okay. Where you pack up Winter's things and hope to get them out of your space as fast as possible in hopes of moving on a little quicker. On the whole, you're getting better, but some days the rain and the tears set in, knocking you right back making it tough to even get out of bed. But it gets better. You slowly start to forget how awful it got, those bitter cold nights and relentless winds and start to look to the future of sunny days and flip flops. It's a tipping point in the healing process that you simply have to get through. On the other end of it, you know the flowers will come out, the salt will wash away, and your winter armor will be back in the closet where it belongs.

Hard-hat meditations

After a couple hours in viparita karani (legs up the wall) in a hard hat, this is what came out.

Maybe it has to hurt so I get to learn. Kinesthetically, of course. Maybe I'm just always going to learn the hard way. Maybe it's not so bad. Though I do need a helmet for my heart if this is how it's going to be. I'm trying to find a reason for why things are the way they are, and why they happen the way they do. So far all I've come up with are empty theories that do little more than help pass the time and drive me crazy. These include things along the lines of "maybe I'm still not ready," countered with my head thinking "but I feel ready. Don't I?" "I need to learn patience/a lesson/to be alone/to stick up for myself/what I want/who I am/some other topic covered by the millions of self-help books on the shelves." What if, maybe, just maybe, it just is. What if there is no greater purpose. What if there is no grand lesson to learn. What if it's not a test or a trial run. What if things just are as they are due to the culmination of events that just were as they were leading up to all this. But I don't like that theory. It feels too empty. Industrial, almost. I like to believe that the Universe has a plan, or some kind of idea about where all this is going, or happening for, or something. I like to believe the Universe is watching and listening. Taking careful note of our own free will and circumstance, adjusting and adapting as necessary to keep things moving at least somewhat to plan. I like to believe that coincidences might be coincidences, but they are happening for a reason. Believing all this gives me a little glimmer of hope that we're here, doing what we're doing, for a reason. That my life and all the hurdles, pot holes, and easily sprinted straight ways have some kind of maybe even just slightly greater purpose. I have absolutely no idea what that purpose is, but I do believe that if we listen real close and ask real nice (and clearly), we can have a say in what is happening. It's not just about asking for what you want, though that is a big part, but about being mindful of what effect that will have and why you want it. As they say, "be careful what you wish for."

I've spent virtually the last year figuring out what it is I want - from how I take my coffee (black, I think) to where I want to live, what I want to do, and who I want to be. Strangely enough. at least for now, I think I have most of it figured out at least within a narrow margin. The one thing left, though, that I feel most lost on is relationships. As soon as I think I'm ready for one, I second guess myself. I know I'm tired of being alone, but I'm not sure where to go from there. I don't want to be with someone just for the sake of not being alone, that doesn't seem right or fair to any party involved. The one person who I have considered being a ... potential? is already claimed and passes for a better Houdini than the man himself. Yet I can't seem to let it go. Part of me really feels there could be something there, and this isn't the first time I've had to wait and work to get what I wanted. That maybe it could be worth it. The other part of me is ready to throw in the towel, tired of getting my hopes smashed, thinking it'd just make more sense to move on.

In thinking about it, I've never been one for taking the easy way out. Most drive an automatic, I like a stick. Most prefer to go down stairs on their feet, I prefer head first. I sit on the floor in front of the couch, and I lift heavy because it's hard. I picked the hard classes in school because I knew I could ace them, and because I'd be bored with anything less. In the same vein, I pick the boys who routinely and almost systematically present a challenge. Because I think I'd be bored with anything less. But here's the question: is this smart?

Should I just accept that this is what I do because it's what I've always done? Isn't that samskara in it's truest form? What if I've been so focused on finding and maintaining a challenge, I've been missing something that's been right in front of me this whole tie. What if I'm doing it because it's safer, because it leaves me in control with a valid-anytime-fool-proof backup if I ever decide to back out. What if I'm now only doing it for the thrill of succeeding and "beating" the challenge? What if I'm doing it because it's the only thing I confidently know I know how to do. What if I'm scared of failing, or screwing up, or getting hurt, or somehow not being perfect at it and other people finding out. What if I just don't know how not to be the exception to the rule, the one who doesn't count. Is this the cycle I want to be stuck in forever? What happens when I decide I want to settle down? Am I ever really going to want to settle down? What does that mean, anyways? But I digress.

What if I let go of the urge to somehow manipulate the outcomes by changing my immediate actions. Maybe I can try simply being, taking things as they come and responding to them as best I can in the moment. Considering the outcomes of my actions, but not intending for anything beyond what the realistic effect of those actions really is. What if I take away the urge to control every aspect of my life and leave it up to the universe, focusing instead on making the best possible decision I can at the time. The, oh the infamous 'they', say we should live and let live. Maybe I can do just that, letting myself actually live rather than plan to live. So far, I've only had these fleeting moments of being able to do this. Moments where I set aside the drive to plan my conversations and listen instead. Moments where I acted on what I was feeling right then and there instead of on what I wanted to be feeling or saying. I'm not saying I want to act without thinking, but I want to act without an agenda. It's absurd to get frustrated that the people in my real life aren't playing according to the script I've written in my head. Yet this is what I seem to keep doing, never really learning my lesson, or at least not hard enough to stop me from repeating the pattern. But I think I can learn it. Even it it takes me to... eventually. I think I can keep trying at it until it becomes a little more natural, or until writing these scripts becomes a little more unnatural. Maybe I should write these plays out instead, putting those creative guns to work on something other than tormenting and exhausting my psyche. Or maybe I just need to move on.

Things I learned in 2010

  • Being single sucks sometimes, but being in bad company is indescribably worse.
  • Laughter really is the best medicine. Sometimes, it's your only choice.
  • South American dentistry is heavily underrated. Though they could stand to prescribe some stronger pain meds.
  • England was not my favorite, but I'm willing to give it another try.
  • Divorce and breakups are contageous. Don't believe me? Try 5 out of 5 in the family in under 10 months.
  • One morning you're going to wake up and realize you're essentially living your dream. You're also going to realize you're not happy. You're going to have to cope.
  • Giving up sex for a month was not an intelligent move. Neither was giving up cheese or coffee.
  • Being unemployed is scary. Being unemployed, taking on a pile more expenses to get yourself just a smidge closer to where you want to be, and being determined to live your dream and not settle for less is terrifying.
  • Crunching numbers and realizing that you will soon be able to not only break even, but save a little is possibly one of the biggest reliefs out there.
  • Losing someone forever is awful, and time doesn't make it hurt less. It just hurts different.
  • Before you buy a car that you're going to do a lot of highway driving with, test drive it on the highway.
  • Some boys are not ready to be useful. Or around. This will drive you crazy, but it might not be a bad thing.
  • Babies really are an excellent way to start people. Other people's babies are great to practice on.
  • It's totally ok to say no and walk away from bad jobs, bad people, and bad ideas.
  • Asking for Space is fine, but be prepared to get a whole LOT of it.
  • There are people in your life who will show up almost exclusively when they need something. Then there are people who almost magically show up exactly when you need someone, often before you even realize you need them. Expend energy accordingly.
  • It just might be true that everything happens for a reason. The universe has a plan. You might not know it, or like it, but you're gonna have to deal with it.
  • It gets worse before it gets better. Rock bottom is a lot deeper than it seems, but it does eventually, slowly, painfully get better.
  • I am a kinesthetic learner. Right down to relationships and emotions. I need to feel it hurt before I truly understand and believe that it will hurt.
  • Nice cars are great for other people to have. Turns out, boys who drive those nice cars fall into the same category.
  • Miami Airport still sucks.
  • If "he's too nice" is used a reason to not date someone, you really, really need to re-examine your criteria.
  • Demand honesty and accept nothing less. And for the love of all that is pretty, stop making excuses for other people's shitty behavior.

Dear Yoga...

Dear yoga,

I just found out my 11-yr old sister got a blackberry. I was originally cranky, thinking “what the HELL does an 11-yr old need a blackberry for?” I don’t even have one, and I live in the town that dreamed them up, developed and produces them. I was preparing some witty, backhanded comment about divorcing parents tossing money at their kids out of guilt, hoping to win them over in the upcoming custody battle from hell and to be the “favorite” parent in the match up between Mommy and Daddy. You know - to be the parent that bends the rules, lets you stay up late and eat ice cream for dinner while watching tv or whatever is “not allowed” for kids now. I was going to send out a message to my Mom and Dad letting them know that I’m still distraught from their divorce 18 years ago, and that Suzie sure could use a new Chevy Colorado - which I have more use for as a yoga teacher than an 11-yr old does a blackberry…. just sayin’.

But then you stepped in, with your extra perspective and understanding soul. I went and taught a class to some of my most awesome students (you all are - for the record). I then came home to a couple facebook responses to my “My ELEVEN year old sister has a blackberry” comment, including one from my Mom stating “how sad” (she was clearly not the giver of this device). Instead of being mad or upset about it now, I was thinking “hey - this ridiculous purchase is actually supporting my awesome little town.” It’s thanks to these financially over-privileged parents (and the millions of businesses and executives worldwide) that my this town gets to keep growing through a recession.

Now lets not get carried away, I’m not exactly beaming with pride that my eleven year old sister (and my 18 and 25yr old ones as well) is parading somewhere around Buenos Aires with a blackberry bolted to her hip. It still boggles my mind as I think back to what I was doing and allowed to do at eleven. But considering I went to teach this class with the urge to turn the blackberry-purchaser’s face into my own personal UFC training bag, I’d say that you worked some magic. You were able to turn my anger and frustration around to look at the more constructive side of things. Hell, I even want to congratulate RIM for somehow turning a pretty boring communication device intended for stuffy executives into something eleven year old girls are losing their minds over. Bravo on the marketing of that one!

Yoga, please understand, while I like seeing the divine in all beings and I think it’s great to give people a little kindness and understanding, sometimes… and this might hurt to hear, sometimes I just want to be mad. But I understand, you’re simply doing what it is you do, making the world a slightly better place today than it was yesterday. So I’m trusting you to work your magic, and I’m doing my best to keep those punches to myself.

I’m sure we’ll be in touch.


PS. To all you readers out there living in the town where Chevy designed and produces their Colorado’s - you’re welcome in advance. My parents will come to their senses soon and realize that my emotional wounds are still bleeding fresh blood and I’m still on the fence about who I love more. I’ll be thinking of you as I drive my new truck to the studio.

I have a goal! ...crap.

On my way to the gym today, or was it on my way to class, or maybe on my way home from class… anyways - in the car at some point today I had this thought, “I could compete.” I’ve often toyed with the idea of being a figure athlete, setting a date and working my ass off towards it. I’ve seen covers of fitness magazines and thought “I can totally get those abs” (or on good months, “I totally have those abs”).

I know my way around a gym, haven’t met an oly bar I didn’t love (except maybe those broken ones with the sliding collars at the PAC back in the day). I know my way on a mat, around most injuries, I can navigate a grocery store with my eyes closed and rattle off more nutritional information and ingredients than is even possibly considered normal. I can cook my way around allergies, intolerances, and vegan adventures. So, I have the knowledge.

Do I have the time? I have a job that affords me tons of flexible hours and access to multiple gyms. It also has me connected to countless resources on training, fitness, nutrition, etc. I’m completely single, so I schedule for one, cook for one and sleep for one. So holy crap, do I ever have the time.

Finally, do I have the motivation? Why not. I’m already training pretty regularly as it is, why not make it just a teensy bit harder and work towards a solid goal. What’s it going to take? A regular program, solid dedication, a cleaned up diet, copious amounts of epsom salt baths, and maybe a boob job. Well, maybe not the last one. I’m still recovering from having my one wisdom tooth removed.

What’s this mean? Well, the more I think about it, the more I’m talking myself out of it. So before I manage to do that completely, here goes.

I’m going to be on the cover of a fitness magazine in 6 months.

Yep. You read that right.

Someone has to, why shouldn’t it be me? Now I just have to figure out how to get there. Crap. (If I fail at this, I’ll be competing in a fitness competition instead.)

On why my wrist says LIFT

Life Is F*ing Tough. In that sense that getting up every morning is a battle. That sometimes crawling out of bed is more than I can wrap my head around. It’s tough in that I have found more concrete walls to smash my head into than doors to walk through. It’s tough in that every time I turn around thinking I’ve got things a little more figured out, I find some new hurdle to bang my knees into. It’s tough in that every time I think I’m getting a little less sick, a little less “broken,” a little more normal, something else comes up and I have to start all over. It’s tough in that I spent the last four years hearing that I’m “broken” and I’m through with hearing and accepting that, but still trying to glue myself back together.

So I lift. I lift to get stronger, to get more prepared for the crap the world has to load on my shoulders. I lift to get better, to stay focused, and to stay at least a tiny bit ahead of the curve. I lift because no one expects me to, and no one is telling me to. I lift because the iron doesn’t lie, gravity doesn’t change. I lift because some days it’s the only way I know how to cope. I lift because I can.

I hope to one day, maybe someday, be able to add an “ed” to the end of my LIFT. To make it all past tense, and to maybe put a “so it goes” underneath it. I hope to someday put the constant head-against-concrete smashing behind me and to simply have it as a reminder. Because I really don’t want to believe that it’s always going to be this tough. Because the little dreamer still left in me really wants to believe that somewhere, at some point down the road it gets a little easier.

Until that happens, if that happens, I’m ‘lift’ing the best I know how. I’m making the most of my crazy, and doing what I can to enjoy it. I’m teaching yoga as my “job” (in quotes because honestly, I get paid to work in my pajamas teaching people how to move their bodies around on a mat – something I’d do for free) because I love it and I want to see where it takes me. I’m rattling around this big-tiny apartment with just my cat for company because I don’t want to live with anybody else right now. I’m contemplating going back to school because I don’t ever want to stop learning or divorce myself from academia; I love the challenge, the hoops, and the constant battle to prove myself capable. I’ve turned my back on this notion of joining the ‘real world’ for the sake of following my whims and passions instead, because right now I have nothing to lose.

Am I trying to justify my decision? Not at all. For all you know, I really wanted it to say “LEFT” and the inept tattoo artist goofed, which is likely what I’ll tell you if you ask me in person. I’m not in the business of justifying those decisions that affect me and me alone anymore. It wasn’t very profitable. This is just my reasoning, in words on paper because I needed to remind myself that it’s not there to remind me life is tough, that fact is plenty obvious, but to remind me of what I can do about it.