I'm living yoga. Right now, sitting here, still sweaty from a great class at a new studio opening in Santa Monica, with a super and inspiring teacher and friend. I love my life and can't wait for what's next.
My life is in the toilet. Life sucks and I'm scared crapless, literally. I'm broke and have given up my cable, medical insurance and have now resorted to picking up groceries from the 99cent store and Food for Less where the Cantaloupe tastes like real dirt and the apples have so much wax on them, the look fake and not Pottery Barn fake but like, Michael's fake.
Which blog would you like to read? The first or the second?
From my last blog, I've already talked about choices. So, you can choose your own ending on this one. Like those books you read as a kid.
I'm going to choose to go with the first. It looks and sounds prettier.
Like when you go into Whole Foods. Yea, you know it's expensive, but you know everything is fresh, beautiful, nurtured, prepared well. You want to be around it, whether you can afford it or not.
It's actually proven, scientifically, that if you are shown, visually, colors, richness, beauty, you will respond in a way that is positive and happy.
If you are around fluorescent lighting, processed foods, dull, gray whatnot, you will respond accordingly.
When you are in and around things that are colorful and alive, you will feel colorful and alive.
We are all, all of us, given the same lessons over and over again until we learn them.
I teach yoga. I'm good at it. I can lead people to a place where they feel good in their bodies and minds. But what happens when they leave their mat? I'm not with them. My job is done.
But, is it? You see, I see my job being beyond the mat. You teach what you need to learn. I can make you feel good. I can feel good, but if I'm a freak in traffic and not present with my friends and family...if I fly off the handle and react instead of observe and respond in a way that's chosen - calm and present, well, what KIND of yoga am I teaching? What kind of yoga am I living? You can't teach it if you haven't experienced it on some level. I know I still can't do a handstand away from the wall, but I can teach you how to do it, because I do know how it feels. My body just hasn't supported that achievement...yet. But yours might. And I want to see it. And, I can take you there. That's my job. To see you get there and support you when you fall. And it's my job to see myself get there and support myself fall after fall.
And, I can't go in and teach a class that's just movement. I need to talk about life, what it offers us as challenges and see how we respond to those challenges as we are on AND off our mats. You can move all you want but what is happening inside? That's what counts. I can't see it all but I support it, seen and unseen.
When we are in yoga, we meet our ‘edges’.
That’s the place we can push ourselves mentally and physically. Like a marathon. In fact, I often compare life and yoga practice to a marathon. Because, you have 26 miles. That's a lot of time and a lot of response to feelings that come up. Sure you see the crowd around you, cheering you on and supporting you. You feel the adrenalin. You are in the zone. You have prepared for this. But what happens in the span of city space where there are no people? Perhaps the people you ran with for a mile or so have dropped back or moved on. Perhaps you have lost your zone and are feeling weary, unsupported physically and chemically from water or energy from food or mental energy from your own support.
Practice makes practice.
There's no perfect.
There's no control.
There's only the response to the moment that is offered and fueled internally and externally.
We meet our edge.
Mental is first.
That is the place that tells us, I can do it or I can't go on one more moment. It's often fueled by what's around us. I just lost my job. I just had a fight with my best mate or lover/partner. I just booked a guest-starring role on Modern Family. The cute guy from the Starbucks asked me out. I have a cushion in my savings account that can pay for my trip to India. I can afford Whole Foods.
Then, comes the physical edge. My hamstrings will tear if I reach for my toes.
I must listen to my body and bend my knees to touch my toes. OR, I will force myself to touch my toes and feel pain throughout my whole body. I will run with a cramp or chose to walk a half-mile and lose time at the finish line.
Then comes the emotional edge.
It's the seat of our intention. It is why we do anything. I want to finish the race. I want to touch my toes. Both things require a judgment that is so internal, that must be felt so inside that we have to honor the process of getting there. The thinking mind tells us, I must run three races to break a four-hour finish time. I need to come to 15 yoga classes to allow my muscles the memory of each class to take me further. The edge just beyond, just around the corner, is where we want to get. That is the finish line. That is the work and effort. The letting go when the work is done. The edge that is the core of our being. The nectar, the truth, the juice of who we are. It is the center of our being, the core of the earth. The OM that connects us to our mission (touch toes, finish a race) and connects us with each other, feeling the support to complete each personal mission in connection with those around us. It's the center edge that gets us anywhere and it is the place we find when we are in 'the zone'. It is that edge that will actually push us more than our muscles and will.
When we are in the present moment and nothing else matters.
It is that which defines yoga - to its core. Yoga is not just down dog and plank pose. It is finding the edge that pushes us comfortably past the external ego, into the heart of the drive that makes us move, live and love in wholeness and unity, passion and yoga.
It is that edge that gets lost in technology, choices, options, failures, worry, confusion and the distraction of our modern age.
We lose it all, all of that momentum when external forces come out of nowhere to test us, including our mind...mess us up and question every reason we decided to do anything.
Get through all of that and you are at the finish line and sivasana. You are at rest while in motion towards your mission. You are in the real zone, where there is no pain and no question. You are through the external and back to the original state of being. The kid that has sand in their pants at the beach and doesn't give a crap.
I've panicked before. I've freaked out before. I've responded in ways that aren't yogic. I've reached externally to help salve what was going on internally, but my friends, you cannot get through anything unless you have felt it, fully, in order to move on.
I know that my life, as of the last two years, has offered me nothing but loss...and options.
And I have given up a lot to remain in my truth and passion.
When I am skewed away from that source of my truth - a guy cuts me off in traffic, I have a misunderstanding with a friend or co-worker, and I USED to let it set me off. Past tense. I would internalize it so that I would tense up. I would feel it in my shoulders, neck and abdomen.
My mother knows all to well as she was at the receiving end of many of those harried phone calls of panic. What am I going to do? I can't take it anymore?!
Well, I didn't take it anymore. I just gave it away. It didn't serve me.
It doesn't serve my mother or me... God love her.
She's there for me, but really, I'm over hearing it. So she must be over it.
I am never late. I always leave early with enough time to get anywhere. I learned that from my dad. But in LA, you just never know. So time and time again, I learn...to let it go. Whether you plan fully, plan to be surprised...for anything...and let it all go.
So my early can still end up late if they close off one, two or gasp, three lanes on Sunset or the 10 Freeway and I'm screwed.
How many people and schedules am I going to screw up being late? That trickle effect is alarming to myself and those around me. I start to feel the panic and stress. I respond accordingly and become aggressive, cutting someone else off, not on purpose but to maneuver another option for me to find passage to freedom.
But, what if, I made the call, calmly, that I was running late? What's the worst thing? What's the worst thing that could happen? I'm sorry. And still, there couldn't be anything negative in response to an apology. I have screwed no one. And if you really think about it, most of my privates live for a free pass to get out of working out. But, I digress.
For some strange reason, in the midst of losing everything, including every morsel of food in my cupboards and refrigerator, I have been forced with no other choice but to accept that this is what has been given...nothing.
And, I can either choose to respond negatively and angrily or just be grateful that I can write my blog, make a call to let my appointment know I'm running late, then share a meal with a pal off free coupons at an amazing restaurant. In the broad view of it, not a bad day. And in ten days, I won't remember the traffic jam, but the meal.... yum.
I've felt like shit and panicked. That doesn't get me anywhere.
But, what if I chose to feel, nothing. Feel, swaha, in Sanskrit, whatever. It is what it is. So hum. I am that and that is me. What is happening is happening. It affects people, yes. But if I respond in a way that is calm, those around me will react accordingly. Try it.
If I do that, there is no tension in my shoulders or neck or belly.
I spoke with my girlfriend today. She said she is worried about me. I told her, you have known me for two decades. What's going to happen? Am I going to jump off a building? Maybe, but I'd probably have a parachute and camera crew with me. I'm in my 30's. I know hard times. I'm still here. You - worrying is a waste of your time and mine. Let's talk about something good.
I think it scared the crap out of her.
I'm done. Aren't you? I wouldn't pay money to see a sad movie that didn't have a glimmer of hope. I'm a rom-com or action adventure girl. Hope, faith.
I'm done feeling bad and feeling down. You don't want to hear it and I don't want to tell that story.
If I feel down, I let myself feel it and get on with it. There's more to have. Like something sweet after a good meal.
I could clench my fists but if I opened up my fingers, my palm would be open enough to receive, shit, yes, but good too.
Open up your hand and let go so you can receive. Let yourself take what comes, good and bad.
Right now, for me, there is a lot of bad, however, I still have the most amazing family and friends and co-workers I could design, think up, desire and create.
I'm alone now, writing my blog and that's the way I want it. I'm still living in Santa Monica, for now, and that might change. But, ya know what, I don't think it is. I think I'm staying right where I am and I have no idea how that's going to happen, but I am pretty sure, it just is.
And I'm not hungry.
I wonder how I am going to pay my rent.
I've stayed up nights thinking about it.
Until I just fell asleep.
And, when I opened my body up to rest, guess what happened...I slept.
And I woke up...and the journey and questions began again, but I detached myself from what 'could' happen and just lived best in what I could create and what happened around that creation.
We can't control...anything. I mean really. You can't even control your bowel movements. They just come when they give you the signal...and you go, right?
If you focus on the shit, think about the shit, worry about the shit, life will be shit. You will vibrate that shit. You will hold on to that shit and it will hold onto you. You will gain weight and not fit into your skinny jeans. You will continue to eat chips because you feel like shit and then you will get muffin top and feel worse and think so much about the shit that you will no longer be able to shit. You will become sick and your skin will look ruddy. You will feel bad about yourself and start to smell. People won't want to be around you and you won't want to be around you and you will continue this until the shit backs up so bad that it hurts, physically and mentally. Oy, that sucks. That's shit. A lot of shit.
If you don't think about the shit and just move in your space and do your thing, the shit will come, but so will the stuff that fuels the good shit. And really, there is nothing like a good shit.
Take it in and let it go. Feel light, skinny, shiny and happy. Have people notice and ask you if you just had a massage or Restalyn. And be happy that they even thought you would go under the needle 'cause all you did was rest and eat Brussel Sprouts as a snack. You didn't go to the dark hairy place that vibrates at such a low level that no one wants to be around you. People will want to be around you so much that you will have to turn down plans and chose to be by yourself with a glass of wine and write your blog while listening to pandora.com.
You CHOSE to respond in a way that is positive no matter what kind of crap gets thrown your way.
I literally, just decided this.
No matter what, I respond positively to the shit. I stand in the sand and let the waves hit me and watch my legs sink deeper and deeper into the sand with each hit only to realize that I'm getting more grounded, getting firmer into the sand. Each hit makes my limbs waiver less. I open my fist and feel the release of my muscles and let go and yes, maybe need to go to the bathroom.
I'm in the present tense and it's tense and then I let it go. I do.
In a matter of weeks, things have gotten worse. I've cashed in my IRA and my savings has been depleted so I can just live, survive, eat and pay for gas. There are no extras. No manicures, no waxing, no movies, cable, no health insurance. I'm such a liability!!
It's all gone. There are no chips. There is a lot of silence and candlelight.
And lots of laughter. And smiles. And there are people on the street that ask me how I get my skin to look so good.
Sleep and cardio.
Rest and run, on the beach.
I don't need a lot.
NONE of us do.
But, we are given so many choices and options and feelings of need for this and that to be happy that we don't realize that really, like Buddha, it's all just f-ing there.
Where we stand, in the sand or sit, on the toilet...or with a pal and laugh until you pee your pants.
Or meet someone that changes your life and sees your dream and supports you.
The damn/dam of shit will be released eventually. It is the law of the universe, if you will.
There is no way physically and cosmically that we will remain constipated.
We will go to the bathroom. The lanes will clear on the 405. We will get to where we need to go, if we let the fuck go.
Life is grand.
I want that story.
I want to read that story.
I don't want to hear myself bitch.
I don't want to hear you bitch.
You think, you feel, you are.
You reach your edge...
Push past it...
Take care of your ailing husband or father and you see you can do it.
You can clean him and feed him and you are amazed you made it through the day.
You can keep your arms straight and kick your legs up into a handstand. You can stay in equilibrium on your hands away from any support but your hands, even for a moment. And you are amazed you made it.
You can stay true to what you want, more than anything in this world, believe it, have everything you love taken away from you and still have faith and you are amazed you are still here and still passionate, creative and in love with love and life and what you can do, on and off the mat.
And if you are smiling through it with gentle thoughts, a soft mind and an even temper,
You will be amazed.
My life sucks. There is no food, no boyfriend, no family near, no cable...just bills and worry and what am I going to do next.
My life is amazing.
I am inspired.
I have great friends, male and female, great people to work with even if I'm not making millions.
I am not hungry.
I have the best family in the world that I can call on the phone and a bed to sleep in at night.
I go to sleep with a spoon.
Because rest is desert.
I wake up and I don't worry.
I am anxious only to turn the page and see what's next.
It's not what I planned.
It's not in my control.
The only thing I can control is the smile on my face and the excitement for what's next.
And, hold on one second.
I need to go to the bathroom.
Ahhhh, there's nothing like it, letting go.
I feel good.
I am amazed.
I want that story.
I want to read that story.
I want to hear about that.
And I'm free for dinner if you wanna take me out.