Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Being Alone

I am re-blogging something today because it has sort of hit home with me and my life as of late.


We have become a culture with a need of constant stimulus and entertainment. To a point, we need to have entertainment. We need to be able to relax and unwind and let loose. What I see happening, though, is that we have become afraid to be ourselves with our selves. Most people no longer take time to get to know themselves. How often is it that we find ourselves waiting for a bus, a train, a class and we immediately whip out our smart phones and start texting or facebooking or internetting? I am surely guilty as charged. How often do we see friends or family members who are single having dating problems? How often are those friends or family members stressed because they "should have a meaningful relationship already?" How many of us have meaningful relationships with ourselves? How many of us can truly say, "I know what I want and what I don't want and I am open to the needs and wants of another/others?" How often do we judge others for things that we ourselves are guilty of? How many of us have been or currently are that shitshow?

Being alone with ourselves gives us time to reflect. It allows us to get to know ourselves. It allows us to open our hearts and our minds to the wondrous world around us. Being alone with ourselves allows us to become friends with the parts of ourselves that we may not like very much (the same parts that we may be a little bit afraid of). It allows us to understand that we are all weird and to embrace our weirdness. It gives us confidence to expose our inner weirdo to someone who might be interested in being weird with us. Really, what is a meaningful relationship if not the ability to be comfortably open and weird with someone else who has the ability to be just as comfortably open and weird with you?

When, dear readers, was the last time you sat on a park bench alone and started a conversation with a stranger? When was the last time you were walking down the street and looked someone square in the eye and smiled at them? Said hello? Told someone they looked pretty or handsome or stunning or dashing and meant it (outside of the context of trying to sleep with them)? When was the last time you felt an actual, real connection with another human being? When was the last time you were genuinely kind to someone for no other reason than to make their day better?

My challenge to you, dear readers, is to be with yourself for ten minutes. Be completely alone. Turn off the tv and the cell phone and the computer. The panicking will end. You will be fine. I promise. Open yourself to your self and see what happens. Then go out and use what you have learned when you interact with people. See if you can make someone's day. This is a tall order, I know. Many of you will make excuses that it will be too difficult or you are tired or you are afraid. To this, my friends, I will make only one argument. Spending a tiny bit of your own energy for the benefit of another will allow you to reap rewards that you may not understand yet. You will be surprised by how uplifting a stranger's or loved one's smile can be. Furthermore, the Universe, similarly to Santa Claus, is making a list and checking it twice. The more good you do for others, the more good that will be returned onto you.

In closing, many of you will read this and think that I'm weird. I am. So are you. And on that note, I would like to leave you all with a quote from the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. "It never got weird enough for me." So go out and get weird this week. Do something that makes you uncomfortable, like making someone's day.

Peace and love,

P.S. I realize that I started out this post by telling you that you should be alone and finished it by telling you that you should go out and be with people. The logic behind this is this: By taking better care of ourselves, we can take better care of others. Being alone allows us to take better care of ourselves. Helping others also gives us a boost. By taking care of ourselves, we can better take care of others; by taking care of others, we can take better care of ourselves.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A New Journey Begins

Yoga Teacher Training: Weekend 1, complete. I have barely had time to let it all sink in. Life has been non-stop. And that has been interesting, but I would like to be able to just chill for a few minutes and contemplate the weekend.

Friday evening started at 6 pm. We all just sat together and sort of went over what we would be doing and did the introduction/ice breaker stuff. The energy in the room was palpable. You could feel that there were 20 something people that were excited to start a journey and who were all trying to rein in that energy. I was certainly one of those people. My class consists of 21 girls and 5 boys. One of the instructors, Quinn, mentioned that he was happy to see that there were more men in this class than in previous teacher trainings. Win?

Saturday started at noon. We opened with two hours of asana practice.  Then we sat and talked about yoga, meditation, and other things that go along with the life of yoga.

Sunday started at noon again. We did some asana practice, but it wasn't a class like we did on Saturday. It was more of a breakdown of Sun Salutation A. It was very enlightening and got me thinking about my positioning during my practice on Monday. Then we went on to meditate for a while and more talking about meditation and teaching yoga.

We are required to meditate for 30 minutes each day. I have been finding this difficult to do because I am more of a free-form meditator. I sit when I feel I should sit. And although I have been sitting everyday for a few months, it has been difficult for me to set a timer and sit for thirty minutes. I have been sitting for as long as I felt I needed to. When I was finished, I stopped. No timers. No rules. The regimentation of it has been tough for me to deal with. I'm sure it will get easier, but for the first time, I found myself not really liking meditation very much. Just growing pains, I assume. I still enjoy my meditations and will continue to do them. I'm just being a baby about it because now I have to. Clearly my distaste for authority and rules is coming to light. I probably just need to learn how to discipline myself. The funny thing about it is that I could certainly blow it off and just pretend like I have been meditating everyday. But I will not do that. I will throw myself whole-heartedly into this endeavor. For better or worse.

Peace and love,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Things that inspire me Part 1

Warning: This post will take about 45 minutes to get through if you are going to watch all the videos.

Spoken word poetry:

Sarah Kay happens to be one of my absolute favorite poets on the face of planet Earth. I have a huge internet crush on her and hope to be able to see her live at some point. Maybe I will go to NYC one day and see her at the Bowery Poetry Club (if ever in NYC, I will make it a point to go there).

This next one reminds me of my sister, who also inspires me, more than she will ever know. It is another piece by Sarah Kay.

This is Taylor Mali. He is a badass and makes me wish that I could be young enough to be in his class.

Next up is Buddy Wakefield. I saw him perform this piece live once whilst on mushrooms. There were two other performers with him at the time, but it was similarly moving and amazing. Also, it involves Sarah Kay (see above for my thoughts on Sarah). "Pretend you live for a living."

The last piece I will post this time is the piece that really made me interested in spoken word poetry and hip-hop. It is a piece called "Mullet" by a gentleman called Sage Francis. I have heard/read this piece called a lyrical history of hip-hop from (a year I forget) to (another year I forget). It is awesome as a spoken word piece, but it also has some absolutely sickeningly good beat boxing involved.

These are some of the pieces that I regularly go back to on youtube because they move me. I hope you liked at least one. If you feel like lovin' me, if you got the notion, send me a link in the comments!

Peace and love,

Bonus video because I love you all that read this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life, Death, and Rebirth

A friend's mom passed away recently. It has gotten me thinking about death and life. Mostly death. What's more, I just finished reading "The Wisdom of No Escape" by Pema Chodron. In it, she speaks of death as a privilege. It is weird how these little coincidences have been happening to me more often lately (friend's mom passes while I am reading a book that talks about the privilege of death - co-inkydink, savvy?). But coincidence is not at all what this post is about; it is simply what brought it about.

We have all lived a couple different lives. Even if you only see your lives as your progression from child to teenager to young adult to full on grown-up, you can see that you've lived more than one life. Some of you will look back and see different chapters of your life as different lives you've lived. Either way, you will recognize what I mean. We have all been through a birth, life, and death cycle at some point. Sometimes, these cycles are really difficult to deal with and we sink into a deep depression. Sometimes these cycles are uplifting and we rise to our full potential.   I guess the point that I am trying to make here is that I do not look at death as morbid and frightening. I look at it as something to learn from, a way to better myself and help those around me.

I will argue that after death comes rebirth. After you have moved on from one thing, you start another. Death and rebirth. After you are given the privilege of a death, you are given the privilege of being born anew. I am in the midst of a re-birth right now. My life at the Board of Trade is over. I gave it a shot. It didn't work out. I have been reborn into something that gives me peace: yoga. From death to re-birth. And so it goes.

I spent most of this weekend around people I love, doing things that I love to do. It occurred to me how privileged my current life is. I don't mean from a monetary perspective (trust me), but rather, from the perspective of the caliber of person near whom I have been allowed to spend my time on this planet. It occurred to me as I looked up at the end of the day on Saturday, to see the moon completely full, that I was truly living just then. I just stopped and stared for a minute or two.

Peace and love,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The best routine is to have no routine at all

The transition to my new job has been interesting. I haven't waited tables for somewhere around five years and my body has forgotten what it was like to be on my feet for extended periods of time. I very simply haven't walked around for five or six consecutive hours for a very long time. And even though I have gotten back into a daily yoga practice, my body aches. My hamstrings are tight and sore when I wake up. My shoulders are sore and I find myself having to remind myself to roll my shoulder blades down my back. I have to be MUCH more aware of my posture. This is all weird to me. Is it possible that I have gotten so used to feeling great due to yoga and diet that I have forgotten what it is like to feel like shit? I'm thinking/hoping that this will only be temporary until I get used to being on my feet all the time again.

My old routine for dealing with all this was to go to work, make some dollars, American, then go out and get as wasted as possible before the bars closed. Go home to sleep. Wake up, repeat. I am certainly not going to fall back into that routine. My thought has been to avoid having a routine at all. Things will stay more interesting that way. It will allow me to be more present. It is far more difficult to worry about the future if you are uncertain of what the future will bring.

On that note, I decided to pick up a morning shift tomorrow (with the condition that I could come in late enough to get a yoga practice in beforehand). That's not selfish, is it? I scratch their backs, they scratch mine. Seems fair enough. Post it in the comments if you disagree. I haven't yet figured out how to post comments to my own blog, so I may not be participating in the discussion (or maybe I will be).

Peace and love,