Friday, November 4, 2011

Gratitude and 25 Years of Blissful Life!!

Hello Kitties! (See what I did there? Huh? HUH?!)

So, today's post is all about gratitude. I've decided to try to be more consistent in my blogging now that I am in a new city doing new stuff. But, today, all I can think about is how lucky I am to have the life that I have, to be loved so well and by so many, and to be able to share that love right back. One of the most wonderful things about the advent of social networking and blogs is that there is no end of ways for me to express my love, joy and gratitude! It's a beautiful thang.

Yesterday, I turned 25 and threw myself (I know, right?) a birthday party and invited basically everyone I knew and loved in Chattanooga. What happened is that people from all walks of my life showed up and sort of mingled among their respective "crowds" and it sort of did not turn out the way I had planned in my head. BUT, what was amazing about it was that so many people showed up to share in my joy and to be with me on my birthday, regardless of who they knew or how awkward it might have been. For that, I am truly, truly grateful. It's actually difficult for me to come up with an accurate description of how I'm feeling right now. It's some mixture of intense love, gratitude, flattery, and longing for moments like that to last forever.

When I moved to Chattanooga in 2006, I never could have imagined what my life there would become. I have met some of the most incredible people in the world here. I've gotten to act in plays. I've gotten to sing with all manor of talented musicians. I've made lifelong friends who feel like family. I've become attached to this town and it takes up a lot of space in my heart. Today, I'm struggling with saying goodbye and having to let it go. I sort of teeter between joy and sorrow and am right on the verge of tears every few minutes. Letting go is not something I'm great at; in this case especially. Mostly, because I don't want to let go of Chattanooga.

Which is not to say I'm not excited about recreating a life in Nashville, because I love Nashville and there is a great big part of me that is thrilled to be at home with my family. I just wish I could wrap all of the things and people I love in Chattanooga in a big suitcase and take them with me. Oh, that life were more like that!

But, returning to gratitude. I am so grateful for the effect this town has had on me. Had I hated living here, it would have been so easy to leave and I wouldn't have felt this heaviness on my heart, but I also wouldn't have gotten the joy of Sunday Fundays and Tuesdays at Tremont with the Misfits, acting and singing at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre with the most talented and loving people in the world, learning how to love and stretch my heart to fit it all in with the amazing yogis at North Shore Yoga, Paddleboarding with Michael and Jess, dance parties at Club Carmichael, Wednesday Night Pickin's with some of the coolest people you will ever meet, Adventures at Daisy with Jenn and Nick and all the associated hooligans, and even more fun things than I can even fit on this page. I have been so blessed to be here and I am eternally grateful.

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is as strong as death." Song of Solomon 8:6

You all, Chattanoogans, Nashvillians and all the other "ans" in my life have left a permanent seal on my heart and my love for you is eternal.

Lots of love

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This I Believe

Hello, long lost readers!

It's been months since I've written, but I've been feeling inspired of late and decided to give it a whirl again.

I've been reading a lot of "This I Believe" essays lately. If you don't know about "This I Believe," you should really look into it. The first segment aired in 1951 on NPR, hosted by the brilliant Edward R. Murrow. The task seems simple enough: write just a few hundred words outlining your personal credo; the beliefs that guide your life. Movie stars, politicians, social leaders, housewives, and Average Joes from all over the country have taken this challenge upon themselves and have submitted their personal narratives to NPR in hopes that their stories may be read and shared with the world. Some of them are typical "I believe in god," or "I don't believe in God because..." type stories, but many to most are poignant, thought-provoking and beautiful pieces of prose that awaken readers to a value system that they had perhaps never been exposed. Beliefs range from believing that God is real to believing that people should "Be Cool to the Pizza Dude (Sarah Adams)." They draw upon some value that is universal through experiences that are sometimes very personal.

Each and every essay I've come across has inspired me. So, I've started writing some of my own. And, I've decided to share them here. They don't necessarily follow the rules; are not necessarily in keeping strictly to the theme, but they are thoughts I enjoy committing to paper. Which leads me to my first "This I Believe" type essay: I believe in the written word.

I believe in greeting cards. I believe in letters. I believe in hand-written invitations. I believe in newspaper clippings, magazine clips and real books. Why do I believe in these, you may ask? Because I believe that although a picture may be worth a thousand words, a thousand words committed to paper is worth as much as anything worth remembering.

Although I live, as we all do, in a digital age that values WPM over elegant handwriting, Photoshop over dodge and burn, and word processors over dictionaries, paper and pens, I am an old soul. I collect greeting cards. I practice my cursive handwriting. I write thank you notes, send birthday cards, I miss you letters, and newspaper clippings by mail. I cut stories out of magazines to hang on to for a rainy day, even though I am well aware I could Google it later. But, most importantly, I save every card, letter, idle note and printed e-mail I've ever received.

I have mountains of birthday, graduation, holiday, get well and sympathy cards. I have the first love letter anyone ever wrote me. I have a silly note from my former roommate that she wrote me on a sheet of notebook paper before she went out of the country for a year. I have notes written by every castmate from every opening night performance I've ever been a part of. They are in boxes, tied together with ribbons all over my bedroom.

You may be saying to yourself, "Well, that girl's clearly an insane hoarder," but let me explain. When my grandfather died 10 years ago, my mother (and I, by extension) inherited photos, letters, drawings, rolodexes and all sorts of odds and ends that he had collected over the years. They were all meaningful in their own ways, especially the photos, but I found myself most fascinated with the letters. There were letters he had written as well as letters he had received. As we opened and read them, I began to feel a different kind of connection with him than I had ever felt with him before. I was seeing him through the lens of his own perspective. More than viewing his expression in a photo, I could have his thoughts explained, even with him gone.

I also remember going back into my boxes of cards and finding every card he had ever sent me, reading, "Love, Boompa." Now, I know my Boompa loved me. There are photos of him everywhere in my mother's house, smiling at me with that giant grin that expressed so many wordless emotions. But, when I look at those cards, I can touch the paper that he touched. I can see the precision in his penmanship (or lack thereof). I can acknowledge the time it took, and the intention that had to have been there for him to choose that specific greeting. I feel as if the words on the page are there just for me. Why? Because they are. We rarely take a photo with the intention of it belonging to only one person, but when we commit our thoughts of love, gratitude, joy, pride, sympathy and longing for another person to paper, we are intentionally creating a bond between ourselves and that one other person. We are saying to them, "This is a moment between you and me that you can keep forever; that you can feel in your hands; that you can be certain of the emotion that led to its being given." There is nothing like that. At least, not to me.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I will continue to write opening night messages. I will continue to send birthday cards, Christmas cards, hand-written letters of love and gratitude, sympathy and regret, in the hopes that maybe someday, when I am long gone, someone will pick up something that I wrote and feel comforted by my words, meant only for them. Feel the weight of the card in their hands and maybe smell my perfume lingering. Or even now, when someone needs something to remind them that they are loved, they can open up a letter or a card and know that they are so loved that someone at some point felt the need to take the time to write it down.

Finally, in the spirit of writing it down. I love you. All of you. You are loved. You are loved. You. are. so. loved.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Goodbye Love: A Final Farewell to RENT at the CTC

Less than 24 hours ago, we put on our final of 10 sold out performances of RENT. I have a show-hangover already. You know the symptoms; you've seen the signs: pouty lips, incessant desire to wear a large shoulder-padded purple jacket and bright green Doc Martens to the grocery store, crying when someone mentions the time, eating ice cream at 10am. It's a problem, and I'm here to make the problem worse, by being overly sentimental and telling you all how much I've loved this show. I don't care if it gives you a show-hangover as well. If I'm going down, you're all going with me. Get used to it.
I am so blessed to have been cast in this show. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that I chose to audition for this show and to spend my summer working, singing, playing with and loving this fabulous group of people that I can now safely call a huge part of my Theatre Centre family. I have been doing shows at the CTC for a while now and I have a great family there, but it is greatly enriched by the presence of these people. If you saw the show, you know how exceptionally talented this group of singers and actors are, but unless you know them personally, or got to be a part of this experience, you cannot know what stellar people I got to spend the last 3 months of my life with, night after night. I always consider myself fortunate for the people in my life, but these people have made my sense of gratitude skyrocket. They are the most beautiful, talented, kind-hearted, loving and dedicated people you will ever meet. Anyone would be lucky to know and love them, and Lord knows, I definitely am that.
Now, Iesha wrote a sweet note and did a bunch of shout-outs, which my fingers may not hold out to do, but I'm compelled to at least mention a couple of people specifically.
But, in the interest of it getting said:

Scott Dunlap: You are incredible. And by incredible, I mean that absolutely nobody does what you do. I don't know how they could. This show was a gift, and it was a gift that you, singularly, gave all of us. I know that I speak for everyone when I say that I could not be more grateful. Everything you touch has a special beauty. You make even the most stereotypically ugly things shine and have such a grace and purpose behind them: from the graffiti on the walls to the "people on the street." And, as always, thank you for being in my corner. Your faith in me means so much more than you could ever know. I love. Love. LOVE. you.

Joanna and Laura: You girls blow me away. I mean that, sincerely. I can't imagine the stress of going through all those cues night after night and you two pulled it off beautifully. I don't think many people realize how much work must take place behind the scenes for a show to be what it is and that is due to the seamless effort you made every single night. You are both incredible and beautiful and this show was 100 times better simply because of your involvement in it.

To the rest of the cast: Know that, as an overarching point of telling you I love you; I love you guys. This has been the best show experience I've ever had and I can't begin to thank you for making it so much fun! You all shine so brightly and I can't wait to do another show with all of you. You are light and love, and I cherish you with all my heart. I am going to miss dancing on tables with you. I'm going to miss laughing in the wings with you. I'm going to miss Iesha spitting at people in the audience. I'm going to miss hearing people gasp when Morgan moons everybody. I'm going to miss the collective cheer when Angel comes out in that caution tape dress. I'm going to miss watching Mimi die (she just does it so well!). I'm going to miss Cody grabbing my butt on the way offstage in Act 1 (yep, just called you out. It's ok, though, I'd give it all for you. But, I won't give you that catfish thing. I HATE THAT.). I'm going to miss Seasons of Love and the platform Trifecta. I'm going to miss dancing backstage with Terrance. I'm going to miss Maureen's crazy dead animal hat. I'm going to miss Sonia's mom voice. I'm going to miss "SPEAK! beep!" I'm going to miss hearing the strange things that sometimes get said during "Contact" (Y'all know what I'm talking about.) I'm going to miss Thaddeus' acrobatics. I'm going to miss fighting at Halloween. I'm going to miss the awkwardness of the MoJo exit from Halloween. I'm going to miss Collins in his Samuel L. Jackson costume. I'm going to miss beaming at you all during the finale and that glow I feel knowing that we pulled off another amazing night. I'm going to miss it all. And, it's all because of all of you. Thank you for making this experience so magical. You all mean the world to me.

A thousand sweet kisses,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spotlight on: Amazing Friends

Hey folks! Welcome back from blog-hiatus to me!

So, I'm going to tell y'all an embarrassing story so that I can explain why I felt compelled to write this blog. Today, I got a severe blow to my ego and just totally fell apart. And, to be honest, I'm sort of prone to this. It's not one of my personality traits that I'm particularly proud of, but I can at least recognize and admit that it happens, which, I think, is the first step to overcoming it. Anyway, as I was walking into a yoga class, a lady yells across the room (in front of several other people) and asks how many months along I am. My mind raced, my heart sped up and I could feel my heart sink down to my toes. I was totally humiliated. And, in an effort to save face, I simply said, "Um, zero." She began sort of uncomfortably laughing and apologizing and I just kept saying "It's fine. Don't worry about it," when, in fact, I felt far from "fine." I felt like crawling under a rock and never coming out.

So, as is also in my nature, I cried and went home and posted a cryptic message about the incident on Facebook. I got a ton of replies from people who were ready to come to my defense: with baseball bats, fists of fury and quick-witted slights. It was both, hilarious and touching. And, it was what I really needed in that moment.

What I was fortunate to see in that long list of offers to knock people in the kneecaps was that I am so loved and that is all that truly matters in my life. It's very easy for me to get caught up in the bullshit of what I look like and how I compare to the women around me, and it makes no sense because what I am ultimately wanting is love and respect and I have that in spades.

There is no end to the gratitude I feel for the people in my life. They are beautiful inside and out and I am incredibly lucky to know them. They'd go to the mat for me and I hope they know that if the tables were turned, I'd do the same for them.

I love you all so much and am so blessed by your presence in my life. Thank you for making a day that could've wrecked me instead lift me up.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Musings on the morning after the storm

Good morning!

I am so grateful for this morning and I should be SO grateful for this particular morning because I can say that I weathered the storms of last night and I know that so many were not so lucky. Tornadoes were the theme of the day yesterday and our neighbors in Ringgold are devastated as many of their homes, businesses and family members/friends are gone. In an instant, people went from planning their summers, planning the days ahead to trying to figure out how they are going to pick up the pieces. It's terrible and sad and I am sending out so much love and hope and prayer to those who are suffering this morning, even as the sun shines so brightly this morning, masking the darkness that is lingering in these hearts and hearts of people all over the Southeast.

I got up this morning, still without power, and decided I would head down to Chattz to take advantage of internet and power to charge my cell phone. On my way in, I passed through North Chattanooga where every streetlight, every home, every business was dark. It was eerie. There's something about the lack of light that is really sobering. It's a hopeless feeling, this darkness and the physical darkness is just a tangible reminder that not all is well and it's terribly sad. I can only hope and pray and hope that the darkness subsides quickly.

I also recognized during the storm what it really means to be alone. I live alone and while I enjoy it most of the time, being alone during something like that when my phone and power - my connections to other people - were not working properly was terribly scary and painful. I always think that I am perfectly happy living my solitary existence, but in those hours when the wind was whipping and the lightning struck, I felt more alone than I ever have in my life. Fortunately, I know and am secure in the fact that I have so much love in my life and so many people that would be there for me in a minute if I needed them, so I could hold onto that, but the lack of physical presence of another person was more difficult than I had ever anticipated. It just reminds me that we are not meant to wander this planet alone. We are meant to share our lives and our love and our presence with others. We are meant to be tied to other beings. It makes us human. It makes us beings created in love. It makes us whole.

I don't know much, but I know how much more whole I feel when I am with all of you and I am so very grateful. I hope everyone is safe and sound and I love you all dearly.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Check your ego at the door

Sometimes, when the universe is sending you a message, it send it really loudly so it's sure you're hearing it.

I like to think that I'm not an ego-centric person. I like to think that.

This past week or so, however, I have been constantly reminded that I am not that great.

Now, I don't mean this in a self-depricating "nobody loves me" kind of way. I mean that when we start to let our ego mind take over, our level of personal greatness seems to skyrocket in our own minds and we start to lose some amount of humility and humbleness. And, I'm pretty sure, I was starting to let my ego mind take over because I can hear the universe telling me, loud and clear, to "WAKE UP. You're not that great!"

How am I receiving this message, you may ask? Well, the first is that I have done something terribly unpleasant to my wrist? How? Well, as Travis put it, I was "showing off." When he said this to me, I immediately became extremely defensive, but upon further thought, he was probably right (though I hate to admit it. There goes my ego again.)! I was jumping from Down Dog into Crow when I heard my wrist snap. I had been attempting it several times and I had gotten tired and knew I was done, but I was so determined to get it that I kept pushing until my body pushed back. But, what was the initial motivation? Was I attempting to develop my practice further, or was I hoping to "best" the people around me? Though that is never my outright intention, I have a feeling that my ego was lurking under the surface of my motivations.

Then, I entered a photo in a contest for a contest in Yoga Journal in which the winner gets to be a model for the magazine. Why, you may ask? Ego, again. And, it's not as if this egocentrism is unique to me. About 3,000 people sent in photos for this contest. But, what I was struck by was not how badly I wanted to win, but how badly I wanted others not to win. What is wrong with me?! Am I so competitive and egotistical that I can't stand the thought of someone being better than me at something. Do I care so much about looking good that I honestly want the people around me to look bad? I mean, there are so many beautiful people in my life and in this world that I would be happy to see gracing the pages of my favorite magazine and I am so lucky to know them and to experience their beauty first-hand. Why would I not be excited that they, too, have an opportunity to realize a dream they have? How selfish and egotistical am I?

But, the universe showed me. I went to the site and saw that I had somehow uploaded my photo sideways. I think somehow I knew that my motivation was not pure and I blocked my own path. It's funny the way things happen.

So, my goal for the week is to really observe where my ego gets in the way of my decision-making. To really find a way to be ok with being who I am and not worrying about being better than anyone else, including me. I'm going to catch myself in moments of ego and stop, take a breath and let it go. I'm not saying that I am not still going after the things that I want and believing that I deserve them and am the best for them, because that's confidence. That is saying that something I dream of and believe in myself about is within my reach. But, it's allowing me to distinguish that from wanting something because it will make me look good or be better than someone else. Because that is not what life's about. I've got to check my ego at the door.

Sleep tight kids!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I really can't even decide what to say in this post. I am literally close to speechless and feel tears rolling down my face as I write this. I just finished watching Conviction, a film about Betty Ann Waters and her fight to free her brother from a life sentence in jail after being wrongly convicted of 1st Degree Murder. She managed to get a degree and then a law degree so that she could fight the system herself to free her brother after 18 years serving time in prison for a crime he did not commit.

It's an incredibly difficult and complex story to watch unfold onscreen and also merely to process as I sit here. I have so much rolling around in my head. How does this happen? How do we as a society forgive ourselves for allowing something like this to occur? How can we ever give this man back any of the time that was stolen from him? He missed watching his child and his nieces and nephews grow up. Betty Ann's fight ruined her marriage and took 18 years of stress and struggle and incredibly hard work, which is so incredibly admirable, but also sort of tragic in that she was caught in that sense of imprisonment as well. She was locked in a fight that changed her entire life as well. How do they get that time back? How do they deal with that now? How does someone find the strength and courage to fight like that? It's truly incredible.

I guess it's just hard to wrap my head around something like that. And, of course, the system is not perfect. We know that. But, I still can't help but think that something must be done. There must be a way to prevent this sort of thing from happening. There must be some way to repay them. It's horrifying and heartbreaking and I just can't stop reeling from it.

There's no real moral or end to this post. I just had to get some of those questions out. How does someone love so deeply? It's truly amazing and awe-inspiring. I am going back to speechless now. Carry on.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I'm angry. There, I said it. I'm angry. I'm angry that I have so little time. I'm angry that I have so little money. I'm angry that people unapologetically step on my toes and pull the rug out from under me. I'm angry because I'm lonely. I'm angry because I'm not more educated. I'm angry that once a day someone asks me where they can hear me sing and I have to tell them "nowhere". I'm angry that I feel like I am called to do something bigger and greater and more important and I don't know what that is or how to go about doing it. I'm angry that my dreams are eluding me. I'm angry that people I believed in are letting me down.

But, all these angers are selfish. They are about me and they are things that I have to let out and let go of. Because anger is destructive. It takes the beauty in our hearts and turns it black. But it's there and it's valid and it's meaningful. If we didn't have anger, we wouldn't feel so wonderful when we resolved it and found joy and peace. Anger is an important emotion and I think that sweeping it under the rug, as it were, does not resolve it, but makes it collect and fester and grow, so I won't hide it. I am angry and I am dealing with it and that is ok.

And, in the interest of doing that, I have to tell you that I am angry at people who use religion and the bible as justification for being nasty to other people. For taking a tragedy and celebrating it as a "fulfillment of prophecy" or some kind of lesson being taught to the world about how they should love god or else.

I'm sorry... wait, no I'm not. I won't apologize for what I'm about to say, because I believe it fervently. I cannot believe that there are people in this world who justify cruelty and bigotry and hate with the Bible. John 13:34-35 reads: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." God calls us to love as he loved and his love is perfect. God's word is that we are to love one another. To me, that is what God is. He is not this vindictive Creator who punishes us for our shortcomings because he made us in his image and we are imperfect. If he had wanted us to be perfect beings, he would've created us as such. But he created us, he saw it and decided that it was good and he gave us free will so that we could choose the manner in which we lived and served and believed in him. I can't fathom a God, that extolls love and kindness and mercy would want people to suffer. I just refuse to believe that. My God is love. And I, as an extension of God, am love. And, so as a person who embodies love and the love of God, I have to reflect love on the world and I believe that of all people, so when I hear people preaching hate and vengeance and that some people are lesser than others because of their religion or ethnicity or whatever(!), it makes my blood boil.

And that's my challenge. Yes, I am angry at these people. Yes, I want to change the hardened, cruel hearts of these people. I want to hate these people. But, wait. That defeats my argument. My work becomes squelching anger and intolerance toward the angry and intolerant by fighting back with love. Loving even those who have no love for me. Loving people that I will never understand or feel naturally kind toward. Loving in spite of a boiling anger. That is my work.

I encourage you all to find love in your hearts, both for those you fervently believe deserve all the love you can give, but also for those you fervently believe do not. Because, honestly, those are the people who need our love the most.

I love you all and I hope that the work of our deep, god-reflecting love continues and the light in our eyes can begin to be reflected in the hardened hearts of those who have extinguished that light in themselves.

And I hope to resolve my anger soon. And I will.

I love you all. More than I can say.

Friday, March 4, 2011

We. Are. Human. Period.

As many of you know, I am currently in a production of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later at Grace Episcopal Church. This powerful show is about the horrific murder of Matthew Shephard and the impact in the community of Laramie, Wyoming ten years after the hate crime occurred. Obviously, with a show this difficult, there are a lot of thoughts running through my head, none more-so than how we treat people and why people are drawn toward hating one another.

I have never understood how a person can so easily hate another person, especially a person they know nothing about, save one particular facet of their being, i.e. their sexuality, race, gender, etc. I believe that we are called to love one another no matter what. It is our obligation as human beings to love and respect one another despite our differences.

Tonight, we held a talkback after the show and there was a lot of talk about how we make a bigger impact; a louder voice; reach beyond our community to the nation at large. I heard a lot of "we, as gay people" or "we as Christians" and I kept thinking to myself "why do 'we' have to define ourselves in those terms to make a stand?" Why do we always want to define ourselves so narrowly. I like to think that I am a sum of all my various, unique parts and that I am not defined by: woman, caucasian, heterosexual, blonde, actor, singer, yogini, etc. I am all of those things and therefore I define myself as human. I am a human being, with flaws and individuality and I should be an advocate for other humans with flaws and individuality. I should stand up for the rights of all people, because they are human and I am human. Period. Just because you are gay, or you are a man, or your skin is dark, or your eyes are blue or whatever, doesn't mean that you are a totally different person from me and I can't relate to you so I shouldn't stand up for you. I can relate to everyone because they are human and I am human, and we have that shared connection. So, I should stand up for your rights just as I would my own, because we are brothers and sisters in humanity if nothing else.

God calls us to love our neighbors. He does not place conditions on this love, so why do we give ourselves permission to do so? We should fight for equality here on Earth because we are all equal in the eyes of God. And God made us who we are, in his image, and He is perfect, so we are perfect in his eyes, no matter our sexuality, gender, race, creed, religion. I think we would do well to remember that. God loves us, so we reflect his love. Let us love one another. Because it is what we are born to do.

I love you all.
Sleep well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love is all you need

In case you are currently living under a rock, yesterday was Valentine's Day. I always have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day. As I am perpetually single, I often want to dislike it, but I am also someone who loves to love and what better day than one that is dedicated to that exact activity?! It's fun to see people expressing their love to one another without inhibition on this day, as it seems to often be difficult for many to do often. But, then I think, why do you need a day dedicated to love to make your love known?

We have a beautiful opportunity each and every day to express our love to one another and I think it's a really important one to seize. I am always so grateful and taken aback by someone telling me that they love me. It means the world to me. I love to love and to be loved! And, though most are not as outspoken about it, I know that most everyone else feels the same way. It is marvelous to have love in our lives. It's what we live for. It's what we die for. It's the emotion that drives the majority of our actions, and yet, sometimes it's incredibly hard to express it.

I implore all of you today to make it known that you love the people that you love. It will mean more to them than you can possibly imagine. Believe me. I'm overwhelmed with feelings of love just left over from yesterday, so I know it's the truth.

I love you all and am so grateful to have you in my life. Have a beautiful, love and light-filled day!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inhale. Love. Exhale. Peace.

Good morning, lovely ladies and gentlemen!

I've had a particularly unhappy string of days recently, for whatever reason, and I've been really struggling to feel at home in my own life. But, this morning, I woke up and I headed to yoga, as I have the last two mornings, but something was different. I had a headache and wasn't sure I was going to go but I was already up and dressed and my head said "go," so I did.

I got to class and there were 16 people - in a 6am class! Something felt alive in this dark, rainy morning. Something immediately spoke to me. So, I practiced, as I always do, and as we began in child's pose, I lifted my heart up and prayed for God to grant me peace. That's right, I was praying on my mat. And as we began to practice, the rotten bits of my discouraged heart started to melt away and my thoughts began to drift off and in that hour, I began to feel... peace. Just like I had asked. It was amazing.

As we came into Savasana, I let my body sink into the mat and I felt my heart sink into my chest, nestling in the joy and peace of this morning, and the collective energy of the people in the room. It was an incredible feeling, knowing that I had given myself this gift, simply by getting up, getting on my mat, and letting go of all control. In yoga, we call this relinquishing control Ishvara Pranidhana or "devotion to a higher power," and it's an integral part of the practice for me these days. It gives me the freedom to let go and to do exactly what it is that I need to do.

I am so grateful for this morning and for Kathryn and for the other students in that class and for myself; for getting up, for believing, for opening my heart and for giving up control. I. am. so. grateful.

And I hope that joy and peace that I felt this morning extends to all of you. Love love love and light. Happy Tuesday.

I love you all.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Love your enemies.

I have had the loveliest weekend. I'm not bragging, but my weekend was probably better than your weekend. :p hee hee. Just kidding. But, it was super awesome. I won't break down every little awesome facet for you but I will light on one specific bit of awesome.

This morning I went to church with my mom. Now, that may seem insignificant to you but we haven't been to church since I was a teenager. We went because we found out that our favorite minister is now preaching at a church that is no longer GUD (geographically undesirable for those not in the know) and we were thrilled. He's a master storyteller (literally) and a brilliant and compassionate man who believes in and preaches peace and love for all people. He is truly one of my biggest inspirations. So, I went two weeks ago when my mom was out of town and was so moved and she wanted to join me this week so we went together.

There are so many things about religion that trouble me and it makes it hard for me to feel compelled to go to a church service, but I could sit and listen to Rev. Michael Williams preach all day long. My mother and I both were moved to tears this morning (which, in all fairness, is not really an uncommon thing for us, but this was different.) as we sat and listened to Br. Michael speak about how we react to those who treat us poorly. He spoke of loving our enemies and of working to not multiply the hurt in the world by reacting to violence and injury with more violence and injury.

It's a beautiful lesson. We cannot extinguish our pain by inflicting pain on others. There is no relief, only more pain. And why would I condemn someone for being cruel as I perpetuate a cruelty on someone else. It just doesn't make sense. As Michael said this morning: Do we want to be the smashers or the healers? I personally hope that I can be a healer.

Granted, I do my fair share of smashing. I know that I have the ability and the occasional inclination to be unkind when I feel slighted, but I intend to treat everyone with love and respect no matter how they treat me. It's an extension of God's love for me, when you think about it. When I screw up, God does not cease loving me. When I curse him for the injustices in my life and in the world at large, he does not fight back. He extends love to me, because that's when I need it the most. And I think we, as human beings, are able and expected to do the same for one another. When people are cruel and injurious, that's when they need the most love. And it's hard to want to extend that love because we are injured and angry, but as we release for others, we feel relief and love for ourselves. And we can move on. And I think there's definitely something to be said for that.

I hope that in the week to come, we can all love each other a little bit more. And I hope that when our neighbors slip and cause us pain, that we can love them just as much and not reciprocate that injury; multiply that hurt.

I love you all.
Have a VERY happy week!
:) Hayley

Thursday, January 13, 2011

She is love.

I have a tendency sometimes to repeat patterns in my life. Especially patterns of self-deprication, self-inflicted loneliness and depression. Now, don't start to get worried. They're not self-destructive in the sense that I would physically be harmed by them, but they are destructive in that they make me sluggish and sad, angry and hurt. And, often, they make me feel this way for very little cause. Small things can bring these patterns on, like someone slighting me in some way or a relationship, romantic or not, not meeting my expectations.

So, I tend to withdraw when these feelings occur. I start to lock myself away, both literally and figuratively, and sink into this dark place in my mind. It's as if my heart, that is so powerful and full normally, decides to shrink and let my overworking mind take its place in the order of things. It's not a happy way to live.

And I honestly don't experience it super often, but when it hits it can feel overwhelming and I've had bouts of it in the last few weeks. Tonight, I had a bit of that feeling early on, and I considered wrapping myself up in blankets and hunkering down for the night, wallowing in self-defeat. But, instead, I decided that I would put on my big-girl boots and go out to see my beautiful and talented friend Megan play a set at the Tremont.

Thank goodness.

I was reminded as I arrived there of why my heart is so full and why it's so incredibly ridiculous that I ever feel anything but joy. I have some of the most wonderfully kind, beautiful, loving people in my life. Megan, Ryan, Mike and Gail are rocks in my life. They are people who make me smile. They are people who give me so much without ever having to make an effort. They are honest, they are fair, they believe in me, they believe in each other, they care, they worry, they love, they laugh. And I am better for knowing them.

I just kept thinking as I sat there that I wouldn't rather be anywhere else in those moments. I love being with those people. I love that I never have to be anyone but who I am with them. That is the mark of true friends; people who love you for who you are, flaws and all. And I am just so terribly grateful. And I am no longer of weakened heart. My heart is full and when my head hits the pillow I will sleep soundly knowing that I am so well loved and that I have so much love in return to give.

Gail, Mike, Ryan, Megan: I love you guys. Thank you for being a part of my life.
To everyone else: That goes for you too. :)
I love you all.
Happy Thursday!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowpocalypse, shmopocalypse... or something...

So, as for my mood at the current moment, perhaps you can decipher it from my most recent iTunes purchases:
Elton John, Norah Jones, Gillian Welch, Ingrid Michaelson, Dev feat. the Cataracs, Teitur, Parachute, Jay-Z, Rufus Wainwright, Florence and the Machine, 2Pac, Switchfoot, Ben Harper.

... maybe not.

So, Chattanooga is hunkering down and getting ready for the Snowpocalypse. I have to say, this city is slightly insane when it comes to weather guessing and preparing for the worst. My lord. I, on the other hand, would love to not have to go into work at the crack of 8am of course, BUT being snowed in means sitting on my butt all day long doing basically nothing and going completely stir crazy. So, I could really go either way. But, I am set up with about 12 pounds of hummus and all sorts of yummy fruit fit for smoothie making so I can weather out the storm if need-be.

This weather reminded me of the idea that if the weather weren't bad sometimes, we wouldn't truly be able to appreciate when it's beautiful. We would have nothing to compare it to and then would likely take it for granted, like we do with so many other things in our lives. I feel the same way about my life at the moment. There are certainly things that I am not thrilled with at the moment, but I have to appreciate even these bits of negativity and pain so that when my life is going well, I will laugh and smile and be extra grateful for every happy moment spent. Sometimes it takes something really bad to happen before you realize how wonderful your life was to begin with. I, personally, don't ever want to get to that point. I hope I can appreciate each moment of joy in my life without having to compare it with pain, but that is not always the easiest and I know that. So, tonight, if it snows and I am stuck in my house (pouting, no doubt) I will try to turn my thoughts on how lovely it will be when I get to see sunshine and walk in the outdoors without freezing my bazzinga off. And when that time comes I will smile and really be exceptionally grateful for that day and that opportunity.

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is." -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I hope that you can find that lightness in the dark as well. I wish it for us all.

I love you. Have a happy snow day!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Light my fire.

This week in my class I talked about fire, inspired by Brother Michael's sermon on Sunday. I've had "lighting a fire in my heart" on my mind a lot this week. Michael talked about the properties of fire: heat, light and aiding in sustenance, as well as the ability to burn. He asked how we could light a fire without burning. One of my resolutions for the new year was to do more for other people. So, my thoughts have been centered on how I can do and be more for other people without burning them or myself. I think it's an incredible symbol to meditate on. In yoga, we talk about building fire in our bodies, firing up our breath, etc. etc. We use fire as a symbol of strength and power and endurance. But, most of the time we overlook the burning, or injurious quality of fire. We have to allow ourselves the option to rest and back off; catch our breath. You may think of this as giving oxygen to the fire so that it may sustain itself. The sustainability of the fire allows us to draw on that energy without burning out or injuring ourselves. This can be applied in life, I think. I think that if we take a moment in our lives to breathe, slow down, allow ourselves some space from the things in our lives that burn us, we fan the flame that sustains our ability to help ourselves and others. We allow ourselves more energy to be a light and a source of warmth for the world around us.

So that's my goal for 2011: be a fire without being a burn. (or something. It's getting late.)

Have a beautiful Sunday! I only wish I could be at West End UMC again tomorrow, but I suppose I'll get to attend next week! I'll just hope they post the podcasts soon!

I love you all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's the little things that make me smile

I've been caught off-guard lately at the funny little things in my life that bring me so much joy. When I think about it, some of them are really silly, but they really do make my day brighter. Maybe you feel the same way. I'm going to share a few of them here:

Pinkish, purplish sunsets.
Genuine, cuddly bear hugs.
Spontaneous and platonic kisses
90s rap songs.
Giggling with good friends about nothing in particular.
Grilled cheese sandwiches (they remind me of the Sutler and my Boompa).
Receiving flowers, especially surprise flowers.
Fresh flowers, generally.
Fake flowers, generally.
"I love you."
hello kitty anything.
Meaningful song lyrics.
Spoken good intentions.
Cuddly blankets.
Car rides.
Car dancing.
Text messages just to say "hi" and "I'm thinking about you." and "I love you."
Making plans.
Toddlers and all the silly things they come up with to tell you.
Singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" with said toddlers.
Toddler hugs.
Baby smiles.
The smell of clean skin.
The way the air smells before it snows.
Thoughtful discussions.
Any and all things ridiculous.
Family time.
Live music.

There are a million other things that make me smile, but these were on my mind today.
I love you all and hope your smile is bright always.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: I resolve...

It's a brand new year and although it has already begun terribly and we are less than 24 hours in, I am hopeful for good things in 2011. I have grand plans of changing my life for the better and seeing light and joy in all things in this upcoming year. So, with that being said, I resolve:

1. To love. Everyone. Unconditionally.
2. To receive and embrace love.
3. To forgive.
4. To let go of all judgments and pre-conceived notions.
5. To be tolerant.
6. To fight the battles that I need to fight and not run away from things that are hard.
7. To take the GRE.
8. To consider continuing my education and decide what that means for me.
9. To set 1-year, 5-year and 10-year goals.
10. To learn to play an instrument.
11. To try to write songs.
12. To have a functional relationship.
13. To take better care of my body.
14. To quit drinking alcohol.
15. To drink more water.
16. To work harder and intentionally toward becoming a paid performer.
17. To live within my means - manage my money better, budget and pay off my credit card.
18. To do more to help others.
19. To stay in at least one night a week - clean my house and eat in.
20. To learn to cook... something.
21. To visit my best friend in Chicago.
22. To visit my friends in New York.
23. To visit my friends in Portland.
24. To visit my cousins in California.
25. To spend more time with my brother.
26. To be less reactive.
27. To love myself.
28. To be a better friend, daughter and sister.
29. To make a difference.
30. To find joy and gratitude in all things.

I wish nothing but joy and love for all of you in the coming year. I hope that you all appreciate each new day as if it were just that: a brand new day. A brand new chance to start over. A chance to remember that the past is past and that this moment is all that we have so we might as well be happy.

I love you all. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I sort of lost touch with my 40 days by the time Christmas began to roll around, so I'm sorry if you've missed my musings on life. (har. har.) I will do my best to be better about writing in the New Year.

Today, though, I just felt like writing. I wanted to write about my meditation for the week. I've been meditating a lot on forgiveness. I'm struggling with it lately and it seems strange to me because I am someone whose natural instinct is to forgive, mainly due to the fact that I would rather look past whatever unkindness or mistake that someone has made than to lose their friendship. But, I've faced certain situations lately that I've found very difficult to find forgiveness in my heart, and that kills me. I'm wrought with frustration and anger and it literally tears me apart.

So, I've been sitting with this idea of forgiveness a lot lately. And then, as if by some sort of divine intervention, I stumbled upon a sermon on the internet by Br. Michael Williams in which he talks about forgiving your enemies. He quotes a book in which the author likens refusing to forgive to drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. This image really hit me like a sack of bricks because through all the frustration and anger and hurt I've been feeling lately, I know for a fact that the people who are hurting me are feeling nothing as a result. I'm not hurting them by holding on to all this pain in my heart. I'm only hurting myself. So, why do that? They are going to be no worse off by my not forgiving but by my forgiveness I can release myself from the pain I am feeling and they, in turn, are receiving positive energy that maybe they need to be better, kinder people and I want that for them. I want my enemies to learn compassion and love. Because, it is the right thing and because maybe through learning loving compassion they will cease to cause conflict and return to a place of kindness in my life. But, that's a maybe and I can't count on it so I am simply going to wish them well and forgive and let go, regardless of what the return is. I will love and wish joy on all my enemies because they deserve it just as much as I do and maybe need it more than I do.

Because it is the right thing to do. Because it is all that I can do. Because if I don't, I am hurting no one but myself. Because everyone deserves love and forgiveness.

So, I encourage all of you on this New Year's Eve to search your soul and consider what grudges and pain you're holding in your heart toward and because of another person or even yourself. Breathe in a little peace and send out a lot of love as you exhale. Forgive, and start 2011 with a heart that is free from the heaviness that lies there and give love to all. What better way to start a new year than through love?!

I love you all.
Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Days 19-28: Awww, y'all, I got busy!

Seriously, y'all, I am a total blog failure! It's been over a week since I last posted! Eep! Sorry! But, there has been a TON going on and not a lot of time/internet access to reflect on it here, but I've been keeping track of the days on paper. So, getting right down to it!

Day 19 (Friday):
I had one of the coolest yoga experiences I've ever had! (I say this keeping in mind that I spent the summer doing yoga on a paddleboard so you know I am serious!) Jessica Ewart, Maggie White and Theresa Rodriguez (the fabulous Zuddhi/Community Yoga Meetup ladies) held a Slackasana: Slackline Yoga Party at TBA. What an awesomely fun and challenging practice! We began with a 30-minute warm-up on the floor and then took to the slacklines to see what we could do. Though I was skeptical (mainly of
my ability to do anything but fall on my face and look like the klutzo that I am), it turns out there is quite a lot you can do on/with a slackline! And what's even better is that it's crazy fun! You're supported by crash mats underneath, which helps with the fear of falling, and then you just go for it! We played with thelines as support just as we would the wall, but we also worked balance postures like crow, dragonfly, and lotus.

Here I am working scorpion with the use of the slackline. Thanks to the beautiful Emily Thal Griffith for the photo!

It was a BLAST and I felt like a kid on a playground! I didn't want to leave! And, to top it off, at 11pm, Racing Death ROCKED OUT in the gym for a bit of post-slackasana-ROCKASANA! I went home on a cloud that night!

Day 20 (Saturday):
Believe it or not, I awoke to an even more exhausting, albeit AWESOME day on Saturday, as it was Mainx24 - my favorite event in Chattanooga. Who doesn't love a 24-hour party?! I started the day in Sara's class at NSY, where I worked outmy Slackasana kinks and got my body and mind prepared for the long day ahead. It felt good to cleanse my body before a day of totally running it down. Mainx24 was amazing, though. I sang at CreateHere, where I was touched and elated to see some of my favorite/the sweetest people in Chattanooga come to support me. It meant the world to me and you all know who you are and I love you so much! I also have to give a special thanks to Butch for being my saving grace, accompanist, defender and my biggest and most constant supporter. (Sonny, I love you more than I can say. Love, Cher) After that, I hopped around and celebrated Gail's birthday, watched buskers, ran into fabulous people all over the place, racked up hugs, generally had a ball, hung with Stephen and his friends and saw Amber, Noah, Christian, Bohannons, Racing Death, Mark Holder, and Gerle Haggard perform! I even got to sing a song with MoonSlew at CreateHere and then again later at Tremont (for the anniversary)! It was super fun! Though, I will say that I may not have made the best decision in going to the Tremont but BOY was I having fun!

Day 21 (Sunday):
That being said, we won't talk about Sunday. ;) Except to say that, as always, I am so lucky to be a part of the Island of Misfit Musicians. They make my life so much more fun and happy and cozy, and they take care of me when I don't feel at my best. Sunday Funday for the win! 3 pizzas, 24 tacos, marshmallows, cake, pie and a movie with all of us piled on top of one another in Gail's living room = family dinner. I love it!

Day 22 (Monday):
We were lucky enough to host Ashley Turner again at NSY and I got to attend her class for the first time. I am SO glad I did! What an inspiring and informative teacher! We talked about the 5 kleshas that hold us back from truly reaching our potential and peace. It really hit closer to home for me than I even like to admit, but I found myself feeling so empowered by the revelation that everything IS, regardless of the ripples of my life. I can always be content to be, because there's nothing else for me to do. I can't change the past or predict the future. I can only be here, right now, enjoying each moment of my life. And I choose to do so.

Day 23 (Tuesday):
I woke up in Nashville, having driven up right after I left Ashley's class, and hopped on a place to New York. I really love visiting that city (and I fight with myself over wanting to live there). I got there and and headed into midtown, where I met up with my amazing and wonderful host, Andy and grabbed tickets to see A Little Night Music with Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. Y'all. Seriously. Bernadette Peters is one of my heroes. I mean, I've always loved her, but I've never had the opportunity to seeher perform live before. She is even more incredible than I could've ever imagined AND I got to meet her after the show and get her autograph! (I didn't get a picture with her though, as I am a big, fat chicken.) But, I'll never forget that and am looking for a frame for my autographed Playbill as we speak! She's beautiful and amazing and sweet enough to stand in the freezing cold and sign autographs for every single person there. She is a STAR.

I have to mention, though, that Elaine Stritch is bat-shit crazy. (I find it funny that spell check has no problem with the word "bat-shit." But, I digress.) Seriously, she is definitely hilarious, but the woman has been in the show for months now and has literally no idea what her lines are. It was almost painful to watch as she constantly grasped at straws trying to come up with something to say. At one point the stage manager even had to call down a line for her. It was crazy. Though, I will say, the woman IS 85 years old. When I'm 85, I'll probably be lucky to remember where I put my teeth.,so I probably shouldn't criticize. It was just super bizarre. (Plus, when she finally finished a line, she'd laugh at herself with this big, weird grin on her face. SO bizarre!)

Oh, and another note - Bernadette's "Send in the Clowns" seriously broke my heart. It was so intensely beautiful. I was completely awestruck. Here's a little clip:

Day 24 (Wednesday):
Andy and I headed into the city early to grab tickets to La Cage aux Folles and then headed uptown to visit Jonathan at work and to go to Strawberry Fields to join the mass of people there paying tribute to John Lennon on the 30th anniversary of his death. It was really neat to see all those people huddled in the cold singing Beatles songs and leaving flowers and letters and lighting candles. What an impact he had to still be so well-loved 30 years posthumously. It was extremely moving to be there.
Here we are at Strawberry Fields on the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death. It was a very cool experience.

From there we went to see La Cage, starring Kelsey Grammar and Douglas Hodge, who was absolutely BRILLIANT! The man is INCREDIBLE and I will love him forever. I was in awe, yet again. Plus, I totally love drag queens and the warm-up queen was HYSTERICALLY funny.
The Warm-Up Queen. Amazing.

The evening ended for me at Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Lord, but what an insanely ridiculous show. It was so bizarre but I still loved it, can't lie. But, yeah, way psycho-crazy. I can't even really put it into words. I headed back to the apartment that evening and experienced a bit of a frightening moment on the subway as I watched two crazy dudes almost fight. I waited about two stops hoping it would calm down, but when the one crazy guy grabbed his backpack and started yelling "I'm gonna kill you, motherfu**er!" I decided it was time to change trains. Ah, New York. You are so weird. But I love you.

Day 25 (Thursday):
This was yoga day. I started the day off at Om Factory yoga with a really fun and different vinyasa class. Om Factory is a really nice studio on the 17th floor of a building on 37th ave. The teacher talked about John Lennon and his attempt to bring positive energy in the face of negative energy from the paparazzi by displaying the peace sign whenever he as photographed and so we used "John Lennon mudra" for the rest of the class, as she played Beatles songs and taught a kick-ass class. It was very cool.

My second class of the day, however, was not so cool. I hate to say it because I had such high hopes, but I had a really unpleasant experience at Yoga to the People, and I'll tell you exactly why. I went to the Hot Vinyasa studio on 38th and got there early to a locked studio. I wasn't really surprised as I assumed the teacher would have to unlock the studio as it's small. So there are about three of us waiting in the stairwell when the teacher, a little blonde 20ish-year-old girl, stalks past us to open the door, not acknowledging us in any way, not even with a smile or a hello. She opens the door and just walks in as if she doesn't even see us there. So, fine. I go in and change in the changing area and then go to pay my $5 and rent a mat. I hand her the money, get my mat and she again, says nothing to me. Ok... so I set my mat up and wait for class to start as the room begins to fill. The room was totally full by the time class started, so we were mat to mat, which I don't mind as we have large classes at NSY. It was strange though, as almost every person there was about my age. It was a very young crowd, which is not a criticism, just something interesting to note. Anyway, so the last person comes in, the teacher locks the door and then walks to the front of the studio and barks out "Ok, child's pose." I though, "Um, ok." So we go into child's and she tells us that this is a posture we can come back to if we need rest, yadda yadda and then we go immediately into down dog and begin. No centering. No meditation. No intention. Just asana. Granted, she was obviously well-trained in alignment, as she never EVER (stopped talking) cueing alignment, but it seemed very rehearsed, as if she had memorized the sequence and the cues to go along with it. The class was fine and I got a good sweat session out of it but, when we finally went into savasana, she immediately told us that we could stay as long as we like but if we needed to leave we could, then she said "I have a quote:" then read the quote, hit a gong and then walked to the back of the room and began loudly talking to her friend about whatever she had to do that night. I was so irritated. Way to kill the buzz, there, sister. It was very disappointing as I am a huge fan of the Community Yoga/ Donation-based yoga idea. But, I guess sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

But, the experience made me very thankful for the "Community Yoga" scene we have in Chattanooga. What Jessica Ewart and Maggie White have created is just as nurturing and lovely as any studio class, but it happens to be donation based and it's meant to be out of love for yoga and about giving people an opportunity to experience that. That girl at YTTP obviously was not there for the love of yoga, rather, the love of a paycheck. I just was really turned off by her attitude and energy. I will probably not take another YTTP class when I'm in New York in the future, though I hate to say it. :(

That evening, I met up with Jonathan and we headed into the city to have dinner and enjoyed some $3 margaritas and fun chatter. I miss him and I miss Andy and am so impressed with their New York life!

Here we are drinking $3 margaritas. I love these boys.

Day 26 (Friday):
Another yoga day. I went to a vinyasa class at Om Factory, which again was lovely. I liked it too, because even though the room wasn't heated and the class moved fairly slowly, I sweated my rear off anyway and had a really awesome class! It reminds me that I don't have to have a "power" class to work hard! I followed that by staying for Anti-gravity yoga which was really neat. In a lot of ways I don't like it. It's not the most comfortable, but there are a lot of things about it that are really fun! And, let me tell you, savasana in a hammock is the BEST!

This is me doing Anti-Gravity Yoga. Cool, huh?!

That evening, I got to have dinner with two of my very favorite people from high school who now live, work and play in NYC, Reigan and Morgan (and Reigan's hilarious friend)! I was so happy to see and talk to them. I am in awe of both of them in very different ways. They are both really incredible though and I miss them a lot. It was so fun to listen to their stories and to laugh with them!
Here I am being really happy with Reigan and Morgan (and Reigan's friend from work)!

Day 27 (Saturday):
I am trying to block Saturday out, as it was a hellish day of travel (to say the least) but I'm gonna spare the long winded details. Let's just say I went home and I am very conflicted about it. Staying with Andy and Jonathan made me really wish I were living there as well. It made me realize that it's not so crazy to imagine myself doing that. It was hard to say goodbye to the city, BUT at least there were about 25 guys dressed as Santa on my train out of Astoria. Ah, SantaCon. Seriously, I'll say it again, I love New York.

Day 28 (TODAY!):
So, I made it to today. If you got through all of this writing, you are amazing and I don't have any idea why you have chosen to suffer through my epic blog post but I am eternally grateful that you have. It is snowing in Chattanooga and it's beautiful and I am going to sleep like a baby. I love you all and I will write again soon (I swear!).

Until then, goodnight! I love you all!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Days 16, 17, 18: Sloooowwww Dooowwwwwnnnn

Hello, fellow travelers,

(Well, that was even cornier than I thought it would be. Well done, me!)
Yes, it has been 3 days since my last post. No, I am not sorry. Well, I am, but I'm not. Does that make sense? (Answer: no.) Anyway, welcome to the land of too little sleep and too much nervous wreckage!

I'm currently overwhelmed by all the things I have going on; so much so that I can't even really come up with much to say tonight. What I will say, however, is that I've done a lot of good for myself this week. I think I'm growing up. I had a free evening tonight and you know what I did?! I went to yoga and then... stayed home. I didn't go out and spend more money I don't have just so that I could be out. I didn't call all of my friends to see what they were up to. I felt worn down and quiet and I allowed myself a break from one more thing I have to do. Because, the fact of the matter is that a lot of what makes me so tired and run down is self-inflicted. So, tonight, I decided to do nothing but take a warm shower, order a pizza and watch a movie and that's what I did and it felt terrific.

I've also been struggling this week with reactivity. Sometimes, your brain is a bit off-balance and that reactivity is sort of inherent, however, I have control over that. I can choose to stop and breathe and let go of whatever it is that is pissing me off in a particular moment. I can choose not to judge people harshly or snap at someone when I am feeling easy to goad. So, I've been fighting with that this week. I am trying to breathe through people who tailgate me, computer problems, rude customers, backhanded compliments, unreturned phone calls, and any other little slight that I face. It's definitely a work in progress.

As an example of being reactive and a segway into the next topic, yesterday my RUSH class had me steaming mad and I did not hide it well, which is not the best example for my students. It starts at 6:30pm and some guys were doing some sort of circuit work in the Group X room. So it gets to be 6:30 and I walk in and say, "Um, it's time for my yoga class." to which the guy (a STAFF member) says "aw, sorry" (he looks and sounds like some moronic meathead cartoon character - in my memory anyway) and then precedes to leave the room leaving the floor covered with equipment that I end up having to clean up (with the help of my students). Then, already 5 minutes into class time, we go to get started and these two other guys come in and start doing ab work, so I ask them politely if they'd like to stay and take class because we are about to start and they say no, they'll just stay and "observe". At this point, I'm livid because they are intruding on the sacred space I am trying to create for my students, but I get started anyway and they start to talk more loudly over my music and I finally got fed up and said "GUYS! I am starting class now. You need to leave." So, they did but later, ANOTHER guy just wanders right in and starts trying to use the room while I'm teaching. I had to again ask that he please leave.

This leads to my question for the evening: why are people so disrespectful?! Are they just not paying attention or are they stupid? I try not to let things like that bother me, but sometimes I am astounded at how thoughtless people can be. But, I digress. I'm trying to be less reactive and here I am, venting to the void. But, it IS frustrating.

So that's the work for the week: allowing these stressors to cross my path without pausing to react. Just allowing it to roll down my back. It's hard but, that's why it's called work and not "super happy fun".

Anyway, off to get some zzzz's. Big week ahead starts tomorrow with the Slackasana party, the Tremont's 4-year anniversary partay, Gail's birthday, Mainx24, Sunday Funday, Ashley Turner and then NYC, where I plan to go to as many yoga studios as I can! I'll report back on which ones I like the best.

I love you all. Sleep well.