THE CURVES AHEAD

I had wanted to do the whole professional yoga shoot for a while.  Since I’m saying hello to my fourth decade this year it seemed like the right thing to do.  I’ll only get older & who knows how much longer I’ll be able to do the poses that I can now do.

I document my son & much of my yoga life on Instagram publicly which doesn’t come easy to me.  I fall prey to comparing myself to other yogis on Instagram:  more flexible, more strong, & I’ll just come out and say it:  more skinnier.

As I waited for Chelsea on Alberta Street last Saturday, my hands were shaking.  My breath was jagged.  I stretched as best as I could, but felt very nervous & awkward.  Cars rushed by & a line of excited Portlandiers waited in line behind me at Pine State Biscuits.

I was so scared.  I texted this to Chelsea a couple times & she only was reassuring, it’s going to be fine.

My fear blossoms from many things: scared that people will see me & laugh at me, scared that I won’t be able to perform (pose well for the shoot), & most of all?  I’m afraid I won’t look ‘good enough.’

Because I’ve never felt like I’ve looked good enough since I was about 12 when I started going through puberty.  I was blessed with voluptuous curves & I had many friends that stayed flat chested & skinny for years.  Yes, the grass is always greener & I’ve known plenty of women who wish they had my bra size.  Believe me, I get that.

When I discovered yoga, I loved how it made me feel weightless & graceful.  It felt like the soul I knew I had deep on the inside was allowed to come out & play.  I felt beautiful.  I saw my insides more than my outsides.

I’ve always swung up & down with my weight, I’m one of those people who gains very easily.  Before H was born I was probably at my skinniest, dieting heavily before an AA retreat in Palm Springs.  Even then I felt far from comfortable in a bikini!

I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy & it has been very hard to lose.  I had to buy special high chested tank tops during teacher training (boobs + chaturanga = a very good view in a regular tank!).  When we covered the section on how to best teach those with extra weight, they practiced on me!

At 40 I am OK with the way I look.

Mostly.

I still have times when I cringe.  When my identity is too tied up with the way my butt looks during down dog.

When I wonder if bathing suit season will ever not make my stomach drop.

When I wonder if people look at me and think, she can’t be a yoga teacherShe doesn’t look like one.

But I am!  And I am not skinny.  Today this is okay.  I hope tomorrow & every day after that will strengthen any negative self image I have of myself.

This is who I am.

18402586_1713599875322562_9100114348785796578_n

18300992_1713595558656327_250369276866367741_n

18320826_1713594491989767_3568149403373916494_o

18342669_1713596658656217_2932625025003040869_n

18320502_1713598328656050_8588471426368574692_o

All pictures magically taken by Chelsea of Anything But Dull Photography.  Thank you Chelsea for making me feel comfortable.

The murals are clustered in the art district of Alberta Street in Portland, OR.  We shot mostly at the cross streets of NE Alberta & 20th through 23rd.  We also shot at Rocky Butte which makes for some amazing scenic views of Portland.

This was an emotional post to write & I hope all the young girls out in the world feel that their insides more than their outsides are beautiful & important.

Love to you all~

PANIC BEAR

cindy-chen-161348

Finally getting around to writing a bouldering post.

I always knew that I really loved that tree climbing part of my childhood.  We lived out in the country for many years so being out in nature, digging & climbing around was a normal activity.  We also went to the same campground Summer after Summer & I climbed many a tree there as well.  The memory of how I felt when I climbed has always stayed with me.  Similar to the peace I receive during vinyasa, my brain just shuts off & I find a deep purpose in just moving & being.

Outdoor rock climbing never really appealed to me, it all looked just too complicated & hard!  I recently started following different yogis who posted videos of themselves doing something called “bouldering” & I was instantly intrigued.   Most of these yogis do a lot of inversions very successfully so it seemed like a good way to cross train & build that upper body strength.  Here are some initial short observations:

*There are no ropes or harnesses.

*The walls are at 15 foot or lower.

*The floors are padded.

*You wear special shoes.

*You can do it both indoor at a bouldering gym or outdoors if you’re really crazy.

There had been a climbing/yoga gym on my radar because it was somewhat nearby, just a couple small cities over, & about a 15 minute drive from home.  It had been something that floated on the outskirts of my mind, but seeing it so much on Instagram made me get really interested in it.

That & a new student & I were talking about it & he had some extra passes.  That helped.

Starting a new adventure like this is scary!  Like the days leading up to my yoga teacher training program I found my mind filled with all kinds of doomful futuristic thoughts like, what if everyone knows I’m new?  Or, what if I fall on my ass?  And, what if I suck?  And much more of course.  Isn’t that how it always is with pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?  I see it a lot in classes I teach.  I’m always filled with a deep gratitude for students who walk in under a cloud of fear of the unknown.  I am always rooting for them because I know how it feels.

Luckily my desire to try it outweighed my fears.  What I’ve learned in the past two months since I’ve been bouldering on a 2 to 3 times a week basis:

*There is a term climbers use for a person who gets caught at the top of the wall, unsure how to get down & very tired:  Panic Bear.  Yes, I’ve been a panic bear.  It’s not fun.  It’s either grind out the down climb or jump!

*You climp UP then you climb DOWN.  Rock climbers rapel down whereas boulderers (is that a word?!) down climb.  This takes A LOT out of you.  The days after I bouldered the first time it seemed like every single last cell in my fingers, hands, arms, & shoulders were gong to be sore forever.  I struggled to take caps off pens and any other tasks you use your fingers for.  Also many people will hop off of the wall after getting pretty low to the ground.  I’m turning 40 in a week & I don’t want a ton of forceful compression like this on my knees so I try to always climb all the way down, unless I’m being a panic bear, lol.

*Shoes are a major thing part 1:  I rented the shoes at first at $6 a session.  I wanted to spend some time renting shoes because I didn’t know if I would really love bouldering or not.  After realizing I did love it I started looking for climbing shoes online.  After realizing they were muy expensive I started to research used climbing shoes.  I found a seller on craigslist selling 4 pairs at various sizes.  Research online had told me that it’s common for climbers to size down one or two sizes.  Basically if I’m an 8 & a half I might try 7 & a half or gasp 6 & a half?  Ouch.  I guess climbers like their shoes to fit tightly so they can really…… okay uh, I still don’t get this whole part all the way.  Stay tuned.

*Shoes are a major thing part 2:  Soooo I got some 7.5’s & damn gina these hurt my tootsies to no end.  I started noticing people taking their shoes off in between climbs.  I wondered if everyone at the gym was suffering like me!  I kept researching & finally came across the absolute best online article (which I can’t find or I’d link it here) that said in part, why are all the climbers killing their feet?  Get shoes that just fit like a glove.  So this really resonated with me, I couldn’t even focus on climbing because of theses tight shoes.

*Shoes are a major thing part 3:  This is getting silly now, but for me finding the right shoes really made me feel more confident.  Remember that climber student?  He had told me about this mecca called Next Adventure.  OMG this place!  I loved it!  They had new stuff on the main level & all sorts of used adventure gear in their basement.  Climbing shoes galore!  So affordable!  Even kids climbing shoes if H ever wants to tag along someday.  So I got a great pair that fit like a glove & feet are happy.  I do take them off between climbs as they are still a wee bit tight.  Lastly, I’ve been playing around with sockless climbs.  It feels very gross but I do have to say I can ‘feel’ the holds a bit better.

*Still on the same subject of the feet, my feet that feel so nimble & graceful during yoga, feel like awkward, wandering vestages  during climbs.  What in the hell are my legs & feet doing?!  This is a thought I often think during climbs.  And, look here legs & feet, arms & hands are killing themselves here, the least you could do is be a little more graceful!  C’mon!  Nope.  They just kind of flail around sometimes.  Plus, I’m hyper focus on the area around my eyes as I don’t want to be a panic bear or FALL DOWN.  I have seen some climbers hold their feet against the wall or even get some traction with the rubber undersold of their shoes until the foot can contact with a hold.  These climbers are usually the ones looking like they are doing a quick climbing ballet up & down the wall.

*Bouldering is humbling.  One day I went on the side of the gym that is kind of hidden so I could try a V3 hopefully mostly unseen.  I fell off on hold 3 to 5 (fourth of the way up) each time.  What I decided to be a 13 year old girl walked by me and flew up it in 5 seconds flat.  It kind of feels good to be so humbled.  I’m a beginner & I’m mostly okay with that.  I still experience a wall of fear when I park in the lot before walking in.  Climbers all sit & rest in between climbs & if you don’t have your phone with you there’s not much else to do besides watch what’s right in front of you which is other people climbing.  So this has been good for me to face my fear of failure & to let go (but hold on, lol).

*I got climbers arm.  Two weeks ago I started experiencing a fiery pain in my right elbow.  Back to the internet I went & I learned about a plethora of injuries one can get from climbing.  A severe case of climbing arm can force you to stop climbing for months.  Many recommended a serious work out before climbing which I had not been doing at all!  I found some good techniques & now head over to the workout section of the gym & take 15 minutes to warm up before beginning to climb.  I had also been pushing myself too hard.  I wouldn’t rest that much between climbs.  I would sometimes only go for a half hour so would think that I had to get as much climbing in as I could.  The sweet spot for me is to allow at least an hour for a climbing session.  I warm up for 15, I rest a lot, & I get plenty of climbs in.

*I’m afraid of heights!  When I get to the top of the wall at about 15 feet high, whether the route is easy or no, my heart starts beating fast, fear sweats the chalk off of my hands, & I start shaking!  So sometimes I don’t even go to the top.  I just suss out that I can get to the top hold then I head down.  Maybe this will pass, but it’s a thing right now.

I’m sure there’s more, another post or threaded into a different post later on.

Oh yeah, I got a new job!  It’s at the bouldering gym!!!!!!  I’ll teach Fridays at 7pm, I’m pretty stoked.  Climbing & yoga go together like peanut butter & jelly so I’m excited to teach there.

Wishing/hoping/vibing that all of you out there on the interwebs find a way to face a fear or embark on a new adventure soon.

Peace, love, & namaste~

JUST A NUMBER

I turn 40 in a couple of weeks & to celebrate am traveling to Spain at the end of June.  I’m not one of those people who dislikes getting older.  I found sobriety at 31 & ever since then, my life gets better & better.  I was a pretty unhappy lady in my 20’s (which I spent a fair amount of time in rehab), so there’s no wishing to go back for me, only forward.  I do however stroke into a big cringe upon remembering what it was like sometimes.  As it says in the “promises” portion of the Big Big on page 83:

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

I’m not there yet.  I’m good with the door to my past staying cemented shut UNLESS it will help someone else.  Maybe I’ll get to a better place with the cringe worthiness of what happened, but for now I will be consoled that at least if I share in a meeting or with a newcomer the mess I was compared to what I am now, it will give them hope.

I did steps 3 & 4 this past month.  Our sponsorship group had to compress them because none of us could meet last month.  I had never realized before how well the two steps intertwine.  If I manage to trust my HP fully I will turn all of my resentments over faster.  If I turn them over faster with more willingness my pain decreases leaps & bounds.  Step 4 is all about the work for me, the writing out of grievances.  I dislike the thinking about doing it, but I start to feel relief & am delivered of resentments right when I start writing about them.  It is both an Ahhhh & Duh moment.

I’ll meet with my sponsor next month to tell her all about my resentments, big & small.  When you do the work in the steps in AA life only gets better.  When we meet we’ll talk strategy about resentment patterns (most of them don’t change at least with me).  She’ll thankfully offer solutions that I’d never think of.  My HP will work through her.  I’m excited because I’m doing a little extra work on a subject I really have a hard time with.  I feel ready.  Well to be honest, I actually feel scared, stubborn, AND ready about it.  So we’ll see where it actually goes.  It takes what it takes.  I heard someone say in a meeting, time takes time.  I thought I’d heard all the sayings but I had never really heard that one before.  Works for spiritual growth so well.

We went to the Gilbert House in Salem a couple months ago, pics below.  We have to get very creative with stuff to do with all of this rain!  This rain lover is so ready for a big block of sunshine.

DSC04933DSC04937DSC04940DSC04943

DSC04945DSC04947DSC04949DSC04956

My newest set of gentle yoga classes that I recently started teaching are going really well.  A year ago if someone would have asked me to sub a gentle class I would have either said no or panicked.  It feels really good to have done the hard work of sequencing, trial & error, asking for help (from teachers & students), & just showing up.  Now I am experiencing an ease with teaching the class although I’m not 100% comfortable.  Today I taught a free mini class & noticed that many of the people seemed more of the gentle variety & it felt pretty damn good to give them what they needed instead of only teaching whats in my comfort zone.

H & I are in a good spot, I feel comfortable turning 40, I’m looking forward to bright sunshine & Spain, yoga teaching is going really well, I’m in a really good place.  Oh yeah & I celebrated 9 years sober.  I can’t believe I remembered to mention this until the end of the post, but for me sobriety is a miracle each day although I do love to gather a couple of chips & speak at some meetings.  I’m just really, really grateful today for my whole life.  I don’t think I could say the same if I would have kept drinking for the last 9 years.

Wishing all of you & the world a sense of ease & forgiveness with your own pasts no matter how old you all are.

~Namaste.

 

 

THREE

My little guy is 3!!!  Can’t believe it.

The taco theme was a really fun one to do:

DSC04958DSC04959DSC04960DSC04961

DSC04963DSC04964DSC04965DSC04968

DSC04970DSC04971

DSC04972

This cake was relatively easy to execute, just cut out layers of rolled fondant & cut slices to resemble pinata layers.  That’s a taco truck topper if you can’t make it out!

DSC04974

IMG_6126

Photobooth.

IMG_6104IMG_6074IMG_6080

IMG_6243

Whappity-whap.

Planning this party taught me the value of tissue paper.  This stuff is like gold!  It’s also super inexpensive gold at that.  You do have to love detail to work with it.  Pinatas proved to be pretty forgiving projects, the taco pinata was especially easy if not time consuming to make.  There are so many online diy tutorials that really just guide you through it.  I used this one which also inspired much else in the party.

I found this party to be an all around crowd pleaser for adults & kids alike.  I mean c’mon, it’s tacos.  Where can you go wrong?

My favorites (other than eating tacos) was the story reading by my step-dad who is an epic book reader.  I often walk into a room when he’s reading to H & he always deviates from the plot & makes stuff up which is pretty entertaining.  For this party he read, Dragons Love Tacos which is such an awesome book!  I love this illustrator & author, H also has their book, Robo-Sauce.

Second fave, watching toddlers hit pinatas.  They just do a light whappity-whap, they don’t quit get the bashing in part just yet which is pretty darn adorable.  H has some older cousins luckily who do get the bashing in part & thus the candy flowed freely.  H even asked me a couple times to hit it for him.

Again, ack!  How can this kid be three?  We’ve negotiated a rough patch over the Winter but now our souls, like the Spring time weather seems to be in a warm & sunny place.  Motherhood has taught me so many lessons, right now it’s all about a ton of prayer & learning how to be really easy on myself.

Wishing the best for all of you out there as the Spring time buds unfold!  See additional party credits below.

Peace & namaste~

***Taco wrapping paper for photo booth:  Rowhouse via Etsy.  Cactus cookies on tier:  Lux Sucre Desserts.  Taco Bout a Party gold foil balloons (which are reusable): My Unique Party via Etsy.

PROFESSIONAL YOGA DRIVER

I went bouldering (will have to write a separate post on that subject!) yesterday before I was to sub a class at the Y.  My head was in the clouds as I typed in a search for the YMCA in the town I teach in.  I drove there feeling very full, mentally, spiritually, & physically satiated, a feeling that I’ve been getting a lot of lately.  As it was, my mind wasn’t so much on earth as in the clouds.  I may have not been paying too much attention to anything, including where I was driving.

Low & behold I had chosen the search for the Y’s office instead of the actual gym.  The anxiety hit, I was in North Portland & I was going to be late!  For some reason at every veerrrryyy long stop light I kept applying more & more of the essential oils I keep in my car (had to do something, right?): patchouli & lavender.  I usually dab on a few drops before class, I always liked it when my teachers smelled like essential oils.

I arrived only 4 minutes late, luckily there’s a dance class in the same room prior & it always takes about 4 or so minutes for people to shuffle on out & shuffle on in.

It’s a big class, 20-30 usually & I didn’t have time (or forethought) to remind about props which added to my irritation.  I just put on the mic, the music, & started rolling with it.  This class is unusual for me too because they are used to being split down the middle.  What is that, you ask?  I instruct from the center side of the long side of the rectangular room.  Yogis on one side of the rectangle face inward.  Yogis on the other side face inward towards the other yogis.  So, split up into two parts, each half of the room facing towards the middle.

This usually ain’t too big of a thing, but this particular weeks sequence called for many rounds of facing towards the back of the room, or in this case, backs of their mats.

Biggest issue in a nutshell:  Once we made this flip, one half of the room couldn’t see me.  I’ve been on that end in a class before & it sucks to be the one in the front whom everyone is watching now since they can’t see the teacher.

I was already feeling pretty flummoxed being late & seeing some wild looks towards me added to my feeling of nervousness.  Thankfully I’ve experienced these types of situations before teaching, so I knew where to go.  Slow down Liz.  Slow down class.  Everyone into childs pose.  Everyone through this flip flop sequence again, this time SLOWLY.  This time with a bunch of cues.  This time with me switching from each side of the room, of course so they could see me.

They got it.  & then I was thrown again briefly.  Where’s the fun if teaching when it’s super easy, right?!?

During another childs pose resting sesh, a student popped right up, walked over to me & whispered furtively, Can you like turn the scent off?

Me:  The scent? 

Her:  Yeah, it’s like there’s a Scentsy or something being piped into the room. 

Me:  It’s me.

Her in disbelief:  No.

There wasn’t too much to talk about after that standstill so she went back to her mat.  Remember all of those essential oils I had been washing myself in nervously during stop lights?  I went on teaching, flip it on back people, flip it forward, you got it?  Me too, & yes I do smell like a giant Scentsy product alright?  Alright.  Breathe.

Back to anxiety fueled driving, there is this length of street in Long Beach south of downtown called 4th street.  Lots to do & see on 4th street, also it’s really difficult not to hit an actual person while coasting down this stretch.  My room mate at the time & I started referring to it as the, ‘obstacle course.’  Did you know that in Long Beach (other places too, I’m sure, this is just the only place I’ve seen this happen) it’s perfectly acceptable to walk into oncoming traffic?  Yes, yes it is.  Pedestrians have the roads, the roads are owned by them.  Many times I would haltingly stop in from of one to watch them meander, yes slowly walk across and if I was really lucky they would shoot me a look as if to say, what?!  At which I would of course smile & nod & wait patiently for them to get out of the way.

A year into sobriety my beater car broke down & I rode the bus for a couple of months.  I didn’t want a car payment but I was over the bus after those months so I broke down and made it to the Toyota dealership.  I purchased 2004 Toyota Corolla with 1400 miles on it in 2009.  Said car below:

FullSizeRender(9)

Best car I have ever owned, it now has 130,000 miles on it & is still going strong.  Which is great since as a yoga teacher I do A LOT of driving.  Which my all my driving around the obstacle course in Long Beach really prepared me for.  Now, I just have to lay off the oils.

Will post pics from H’s 3rd birthday on next post!

Hoping everyone out there in blog land is doing well.  Keep rolling with it.  Keep it up & things will always shift if you need them to.

Peace, love & namaste~

 

PALATE CLEANSE

H’s sickness finally cleared & we have been feeling like normal again.  My new gig works out great as I can check him into the child care area while I teach (!).  We drive on a curvy road in the woods on the edge of town & I always appreciate how the purity of nature cleanses the palate of my soul.

There have been day long breaks in the weather so that has been very helpful, allowing us to get out & explore & play.  Must haves in the toddler world.

dsc04898dsc04899dsc04902

Routine always makes me feel more sane.  Recently I began to go back to the women’s meeting I used to go to all the time.  I also added a new noon meeting.  In sobriety I’ve never been the type to go to the same meetings all of the time.  I will find a meeting I love & go to it for years, but I also find it helpful to switch things up from time to time.  Sometimes you just need it.  Palate cleansing as well.

dsc04903

dsc04904

I love my yoga gigs & I’ve been subbing A LOT, which is great.  I remember yoga teachers mentioning to me when I first started teaching that burn out is inevitable.  It made me feel sad hearing that, like c’mon I’m just starting out here, & it also felt very far away.  Some classes, as I call out the trillionth vinyasa it can feel that way, overly repetitive, or even meaningless.  Some weeks I’m tired & I don’t ‘feel’ like teaching (which can be true of any job, I’m sure!).   At the worst times I feel like I’m letting students down, or that my classes aren’t good enough.  Or those classes where 2 people show up & instead of not even noticing it, it bothers me.

I luckily don’t feel that way to often.  I can usually remember that every student HAS their own specific yoga practice.  Their soul tells them what they need, if they listen, & it’s not up to me to be yoga for them.  Yoga is yoga & I’m just a guide.  I know this as truth because when I go to a class it takes a rather lot for me to dislike anything the teacher does.  I have my own personal practice so the teacher’s cues are always filtered through that first.  I try to remind students of this, for them to do their OWN thing.  It’s their practice & it’s a sacred thing because it’s so unique.

dsc04906dsc04907

Just yesterday I went to breakfast with another teacher who happens to be my friend, & then I also went to Portland to meet two teacher training buddies.  We took a Hatha class & then went to get some desert.  Yoga + friends + desert.  Good combo, right?  I should make a t-shirt.

As I strive for balance as a single mom, making time to hang out with friends is never a priority.  I have to fight for it tooth & nail, fight my schedule, fight for child care (thank you endlessly parents), & the biggest fight is with myself.  To remind myself that I need some time with my buddies.  I need to speak.  I need to hear.  I need to laugh!

We had such a good time.  It feels so good to have people in your life that you don’t feel defensive around, you can say something silly & everyone laughs instead of judging.

I had that in Long Beach with so many sober women.  The biggest change is that most of my friends here are normies.  It’s definitely different but good.  I do have a couple of sober women I am close with & that’s okay.

This cleanses my palate too.

dsc04912dsc04913dsc04914dsc04916

It’s a big accomplishment for me when I can follow the route of self care.  I know it also makes me a better person/mom/friend/daughter/ect.

Looking forward to more of it while grateful living in the present.  Wishing some self care to all of you, especially if you think it’s too hard right now.  You need it!

~Namaste.

OF RACE & GENDER

When I was 21 I asked my mom if she would help me get into rehab.  This was in 1998.  I had been only drinking for about five months but I was a messy mess right from the start.  Every time I have ever taken a drink there has never been enough. Those first drunks (& drugs!) were no exception.

My mom had me on greyhound the day after I asked for her help.  Three days later I was completely panicked & calling her from a payphone. Please, I begged, can I just come home?  She refused & I eventually got with the program & stayed sober till 2004/2005 before relapsing again.  I stayed in this rehab (in all different locations) for 2 and a half years.  It was a faith based rehab & we never attended AA meetings.

We were with one another A LOT.  Rather-we were in each others faces all day long.  I had never been raised to see race, or to think that one racial group is more superior than another.  My grandpa made some racist remarks when I was growing up, but I didn’t understand them until I was much older.  We lived in a small rural area that was predominantly white with a small Hispanic group.  I attribute this blindness to my mother who was our sole caregiver until my step-dad entered the picture.  She never ever once said anything disparaging about another race.  Not once.

So when I entered this rehab which was a melting pot of all races, I didn’t blink.  I didn’t try to hang out with all the other white girls.  I was overly naive, I didn’t even know that was a thing.  I made friends without discrimination.  I think it helped too that we were all broken.  We had reached the end, for the time being, of our addictions.  I’m sure there was pride, but there was a whole bunch of humility too.

Not only do I think my own color blindness remarkable, but also their love for me.  I learned so much from them!  I learned about growing up in the projects.  I learned how to make different foods.  I learned their stories.  Some were rich & some were poor.  But we all needed help.

So now, as I ponder this current political climate I can’t help but scratch my head.  You are going to keep people from coming here, just goes round & round my head, and, you are going to make things even harder for the weak?   

After marching in the women’s march a couple of weeks ago I was equally baffled by the responses I saw on social media.  Anger was a common thread.  It’s amazing how polarized the two sides are, if one was to say they love chocolate peanut butter ice cream, the other is sure to insist that chocolate peanut butter ice cream was sourced from Hades.

So that was such a loopy comparison, but what I want to know in all of this is:  Are we all humans in this together?  Do we all have our own versions of what makes the United States (or shock, the whole wide world) amazing?  Can we at least say we want what the best for ourselves?  If you saw someone sick, would you try to help them?  Can we go back to those basic questions?  I also had a random brain wave the other day, the censored version is, we are all imperfect humans.  This can be applied to all of us in varying degrees.  Our imperfections seem to be on display right now.  This for some reason made me feel a little bit better & I need that little bit of better deeply.

fullsizerender8

2000 or 2001?  Snapped after one of many church functions.

 

& what does it mean for me to be a female?  I can say that growing into was hard.  My body, the one I relied on to climb trees became weighted down by curves too soon.  It felt wrong,  like someone had reversed gravity on me.  Periods were a wicked joke, blood baths, & being preyed upon & sexualized was the norm.  I remember so many times thinking that it was normal to be treated a certain way, like nothing more than an object, & I’m so glad I don’t believe this anymore.

It’s different now, & a big change in my mindset has come post pregnancy (not that you need to have a baby to realize this, it’s basic anatomy!  Just my personal experience).  It makes so much more sense to me why we are the way we are.  Not just baby makers, but exquisite machines with exquisite parts.  Bodies that MAKE HUMANS.  How can we ever be kept down?  How can anyone think they can keep us down, make us different, put us in corners???

For me the march was all about that.  I won’t lie either, I feel as though the current regime is oppressive, that it targets the weak, and I marched on behalf of everyone who feels vulnerable.

No matter what color your skin is, no matter what kind of parts you carry, no one will every no what goes on inside of you.  Evil comes in all colors & so does goodness.

It’s hard to blog right now because I feel like I can’t blog about the stuff I normally do.  I have to get this out.  I thought about writing this post so much more than any other post I’ve ever written.  I hate to open myself up like this, to possibly become a target.

But what the heart wants, the heart wants.  & this is what my heart wanted to say today.

Wishing/dreaming/standing up for more opportunities for all of you out there, that we can have that American dream & all together as one.

~Namaste

SNOW DAZE

When I moved here under 3 years ago it had just freshly snowed.  Don’t worry, a woman from the rooms said.  It only happens like every 7 years.

This particular Winter that little snow flake has shown up on my phone over & over.  It’s like looking at another persons phone, someone who lives in a snowier state.  It’s always shocking to see it for this native Californian & even more shocking when fat flakes start drifting forth!

dsc04821dsc04822dsc04823dsc04825

dsc04826dsc04827dsc04830dsc04835

dsc04836dsc04837

dsc04838

THIS CACTUS IS LIKE, NAH.

dsc04840

dsc04843dsc04844dsc04846dsc04848

I left home yesterday with my camera & just walked & walked, taking pictures.  I didn’t tell my parents how long I’d be.  From the caged in feeling I had the last major time it snowed, I knew I’d have to find ways to get out.  Last night I got rides to the meeting, the one that’s 5 minutes drive from our house.

& if you can believe it last weekend it snowed too!  This snow melted fast, turned into slush, & allowed for road travel.  My friends (old & new, about 7 of them) came out to stay on the Tualatin River for a couple days.  They came to my yoga class, had dinner at our house, went to my home group, & then I stayed with them for a couple nights.  My mood lifted significantly while I was there.  I told my one old friend that I want to wear a shirt that says, I Hate Everyone.  Whoa!  She responded.  Her tone was shocked but also filled with humor.  Aren’t our friends (the good ones) like mirrors?  They allow us to see ourselves for who we truly are without lecturing.

I was single & childless last weekend, my old friends being there strengthened that old definition of myself.  I could get food without worrying about getting food for my toddler first.  I could sleep in.  I could stare my friends in the eyes & really hear them without being constantly interrupted.  I could simply focus on having a good time.

I’ll interrupt this string of thoughts with the fact that I really dislike writing stuff like this.  I also dislike writing fake & happy stuff too.  This place is a optimistic place but it has to veer towards the truth too.  I guess it’s been months, ever since the potty training debacle that I just haven’t felt like a happy, grateful MOM.  I feel resentful.  I am depressed.  I don’t like the label of depression.  Once I sought counseling because I was bummed about people dying in AA all the time.  Forever, that word was on my rap sheet at my hospital, it says here that you have suffered from depression…?  Me:  Yeah, when people OD & shoot themselves in the head, it can be rather sad…

& I think I’m just tired of lying to myself.  We are working on step 1 in my mini sponsorship group & it has been easy to see where my life is unmanageable & where I feel powerless.  I already did the work.  I don’t feel any better.  I keep doing the deal, going to meetings, meeting with sponsor family, praying, giving things up, but I don’t feel any damn better.

The women that shared in the very first meeting I went to, April 15 2008 said some knarly things.  They were broke, had cancer, had kids that died.  They stayed sober.  They laughed again.  Things made sense again.  I shared at the meeting last night that when you go through something hard it just doesn’t make any sense.  AFTER you feel totally different.  You are different.  I feel like I’ve been in that space.  I don’t get it but I keep trying to do the deal.  Higher Power has a sense of humor because the whole meeting last night was about children, young & old.  People came up to me after the meeting said so many encouraging words.

I just can’t analyze it anymore.  I have to just keep going.  Today the clouds cleared away & the sun was out in full force:

dsc04853dsc04854dsc04856dsc04857

dsc04859dsc04864dsc04867dsc04869

It was really good to be with & see my friends.  I’m hoping they make it an annual trip.

Yoga is going well!  I was in the stinkiest of all moods last Tuesday as I drove to my new gig.  I thought, this is going to be a bad class!  It turned out to be one of the best I’ve taught in a while!  I feel myself getting used to the new space & like chatting with people after class.  My longer gig’s fitness room is under renovation so the classes have been pretty light.  I’m looking forward to that being finished.

So here’s to truth, even though it’s not what I always want to see in myself.  Thinking of all of you out there & hoping you can keep it real too.

~Namaste

PALM TREES FOR CHRISTMAS

Christmas seemed to stretch out long in either direction, we had an early celebration with one side of the family right after Thanksgiving.  Decorations were up, I finished shopping early, carols were being played on the daily.  The season crescendoed into a week long visit down to San Diego, and a flight out of that most southern city on Christmas day.  We were pumped:  THE SUN, palm trees, other people cooking for us, & I was going to take a quick jaunt to Long Beach to go to my old home group.

I let some people know I was maybe coming, we went back & forth trying to decide which meeting to go to.  Someone mentioned a women’s meeting.  A lightning bolt thought crossed my mind:  that’s the first meeting you ever went to!   So I was doubly pumped.  The parents had agreed, our flight was getting in with plenty of time.

& then it got delayed.  I held onto the hope of making it all the way until we took off, 2 & a half hours after schedule.

We arrived to rain.  We had been checking our silly phones for weeks gloating over the tiny suns we saw there.  Now?  Four days of predicted rain.

We arrived at our turn key exhausted.  We rallied only because we needed food.  Silly smart phones deposited us at a most hipster grocery store, we wandered around like zombies picking up packages of food.  I capitalized on my parents drugged out states & sneakily slipped in some unhealthier types of items.  My son even managed to stick a full bag of onions in our cart even while being safely sanctioned in the cart seat!  Luckily my mom saw at check out & we were able to fish them out.

I don’t really remember the rest of that day, we were all really tired.  Silly how hanging at airports, delays, & only a 2 hour flight can exhaust you?!

Hands down the next day was my favorite.  I missed my son, his other grandma took him for the whole day since she lives close to SD.  But holy wow, was it so great to drive around with my cousin all day.  Do you want coffee?  She asked.  What do you want for lunch?  Do you want to go anywhere?  My brain had a hard time computing all of these questions.  We ran her errands too.  She had me at coffee really, I was happy to just go along for the ride.  We went back to her & her girlfriend’s new place & watched t.v.  Perfect day.  She brought me back & H was dropped off later.  I ran outside to get him.  His face lit up when he saw me.

It rained again the day after that.  The rest of the trip was a blur.  Car rides, scheduled (slightly unscheduled) dinners & lunches.  Wrapping paper.  More rain, even hail.  It was rushed & stressful at times.  It was still good to be with & see family.  Loud voices, dance offs on the Wii, food, so much food.  Hot tubs, strong coffee, so many dogs, & of course millions of palm trees.

Our turn key was on a hill overlooking the airport.  The planes landing whooshing next to us seemingly every five minutes but stopped around 10pm.  They started landing again around 6:30 but when you have a toddler that doesn’t bother you.

My other favorite was H’s face Christmas morning.  Me:  I think Santa has been here, should we go look if left anything?  His face lights up again.  This is new of course, last year he still didn’t really get it.  This year he does.

At home:

dsc04724dsc04727dsc04728

dsc04731dsc04735dsc04737dsc04741

dsc04747dsc04748dsc04767dsc04768

SNOW:

dsc04776dsc04778dsc04779

San Diego:

dsc04787

Turn key didn’t have a bath but luckily he loved this.

dsc04791dsc04792dsc04794

dsc04802dsc04803dsc04805dsc04808

More on yoga news next post.  I’m grateful to get back to routine & dig into my new classes.

Wishing/hoping/dreaming the best last day of the old year to you all!

~Namaste.

A MOVEABLE FEAST

As Christmas day approaches I feel increasingly grateful. The latter part of 2016 has been tough. Things haven’t gone as planned & my expectations of people, places, & things have been skewed & off the mark to say the least. I feel all that still, but I also am having moments of real contentment. Almost like I’m in a moveable snapshot as an active participant, but also able to look in from the outside with appreciation & stillness.

My son has started spouting off measurements of time, 2 seconds Mama! Mama, I look for backhoe ALL NIGHT! He says the all night thing a lot which I find funny because he’s comatose all night, although according to him LOTS of things are happening all night.  All night!  Ten more minutes Mama!

Even funnier I asked my parents to return a Red Box movie since they were headed out that direction.  I kept trying to shove the movie in, my mom said.  It wouldn’t take it!  We walked to the other one because we thought that one was broken!  Finally we asked someone & they told us to push return.  It slid right in!  My mom has an Iphone & compared too most her age is very tech savvy.  But I still found this story hilarious (it’s funnier when hearing them tell it too, of course).  How different my son will be from both generations as he already knows how to manipulate screens all by himself at 2.

I got the job at the new spot!  I’m both excited & nervous as I know it will stretch & hone my teaching skills.  It’s gentle so I have to slow everything down.  That big chunk of vinyasa during class is my foundation, when it’s removed what will be left?  Will I still be able to be me?  I have a lot of fear & wondering if I can do it.  I’ve been carrying my book (full of lessons) everywhere & have been obsessing over it.  Last night as I was falling asleep I realized I was trying to come up with verbal cues about poses without even consciously realizing that I was doing it.  Is that possible?  Unconscious yoga teaching in your head while (mostly) awake?!  It’s kind of like over studying for a test.  It’s time to put the book down & take a long walk/bath.

We leave in a about a week for San Diego to have Christmas with cousins & friends.  A different kind of Christmas, a break in the gray, & the beach!  Also, faces I’m excited to see, stories I’m excited to tell & listen to, food I’m excited to eat, & a hot tub I’m looking forward to sitting in.  I’ll have two checked bags & one of them is already sitting here next to me filled with wrapped presents.  I’m grateful to be flying with my parents, three adults to one toddler is a great ratio.

Only two pictures, I cannot find my camera!  Outtakes from last two Christmas cards:

dsc03518

dsc04716

2016

Love this kid.  So grateful for him!

I’m slated to teach a big class New Year’s Eve & I’m thinking of having students set some intentions for 2017.  I’ve thought a lot lately about how much more the spiritual things are worth than the just things type of things.  But sometimes I think the things that are physical (like a house) have many spiritual & emotional connotations.  Give a poor person some shoes when they have none, & I’m sure it will feel like a spiritual experience.  I want to define my happiness so many times, but happiness comes on the sly instead, it’s suddenly unexpected & strangely rewarding.  It’s something I didn’t ask for but it’s there.  It’s a moveable feast, mostly spiritual but sometimes physical.  It’s not what I’ve asked for, but what I needed.

Lastly & completely off topic (it’s that sort of post), I’m going to get a lotus flower tattoo in early 2017.  Yes.

Wishing/hoping/vibing/dreaming all contented things the rest of this December.  May you hold those you love close.

~Namaste