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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Days 12, 13, 14 and 15: I suck at blogging.

Y'ALL! I have fallen down on the blogging job this weekend!

It'll be difficult to really recap the last 4 days on account of the fact that they have been very eventful and also because I am twelve and a half seconds from passing out, approximately. But, I will do my best.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving at home in Nashthrill with my family. We at lunch at my Daddy's and "watched" football (by which I mean I slept on the big chair while everyone else watched football) and then we ate dinner at my mom's. Then I passed out with my clothes on at about 8:30pm. (I am truly pathetic.) But, I am always so happy to be home. I love my family so much and my heart lives there. I didn't manage any yoga on Thanksgiving or the day after, but what I did get to do is sing! Dressed as Dickensian characters, Andrew, Lisa and I wandered the North Shore singing Christmas carols much to the delight (read: confusion and mild fear) of passers-by. It was fun, albeit cold. Then, we sang at the Theatre Centre party for the Grand Illumination. It was really a fun night, capped off at Andrew and Mitchell's, laughing and laughing and laughing some more. I've said it once and I'll say it about a gazillion more times: I am so fortunate to know and love the people I know and love.

Saturday was a yoga extravaganza, though! I woke up feeling basically like crap on a cracker, with a snotty nose and a fat turkey-belly (read: marshmallow-belly). I almost let myself sleep in, but I got up and took Perry's class, and really got to wring out some of the garbage in my system AND excitement of excitements, I managed to convince myself to try to hop my feet into handstand at the wall and totally did it! I am now obsessed with doing that! It's so much fun and it makes me feel so strong and balanced! Following that, I ran down to see BJ at the Tremont, which was so nice, because I very rarely get to see him anymore and I am always thankful for time spent with friends I don't often get to see. And it also reminds me that sometimes people fall to the wayside and it's more than worth fighting to keep them present in your life. I need to remember to make time for old friends who aren't as accessible as others. I love BJ and was so happy to get to spend that short time just sitting and chatting with him.

Following that, I went to the Partner Yoga workshop at NSY with Matt FJ. It was so much fun! I love the ability to use another person as resistance or strength to help you deepen postures, connect with that person and even to fly! We really did have fun and Kendall and Brantley are wonderful teachers. I'm so glad I gave myself the gift of that experience and I'm so grateful to Matt for being my partner when I would otherwise not have had one. It meant the world to me and he was a great partner!

The day ended with dinner at Meeting Place (pumpkin martini? yes, please!) with Matt, Kelsey and Jody and Jason, which was super fun and enlightening. I love learning about people and deepening my relationships with new friends. It's really fun!! And then Matt, Jason and I headed to Market St. to see Moon Slew play. It was also Allison Foster's birthday so we got to celebrate with her, which was fun! It was such a wonderful, uplifting day.

Sunday, I woke up feeling crummy again and once again, had to force myself out of bed to head to Lisa's class. It was sort of tough to melt into any posture as my nose was running like a faucet, so the yoga was to try and sit with that without worrying that people would be grossed out by my pack of tissues or the sound of me sniffing and to let go. I heard someone say once that if you feel bad, you're going to feel bad whether you are laying on the couch or getting some exercise so you might as well exercise. And I did. I sweated and I blew my nose 40 thousand times and I got through and you know what? At the end of class, I felt better. I went to Sunday Funday with the whole gaggle of Misfits and had a blast laughing and singing in the cold with my Chatta-family. I love them.

Today was a long day. It started with work at the studio, where I was faced with information that made me really think about my priorities in life and how I treat the people in mine. It became apparent to me how fortunate I am to live the life I live and to have so many people in my life that care about me and are there for me if and when I need them. I am so lucky. And I am so lucky to have had very little tragedy in my life. But, tragic things happen to people every day and we have to deal with that. It's a reminder that our time on this Earth and with these people we come into contact with is precious and fleeting. We have to take care of and dedicate time to our relationships with the ones we love because we could lose all of that in a moment. It was a somber thought to start the morning, but it made me feel more responsible to my relationships and actions. I took Lisa's class this evening and at the end, I sent up a prayer. I prayed for good health and peace and joy for all the ones I know and love and those I love and am yet to meet and for those I love who don't love me and those I love who don't know how to love. We all deserve that love and why wouldn't I extend a gesture of love to every heart in my field of energy? That's my yoga for today: learn to love everyone, so that you never waste a moment of your life on negativity and cruelty, because I guarantee that one day, you will regret every little slight, every unkind word, every argument. So, limit them. Make your life about joy and love and let them sit with you without expectation of reciprocation. It may not come back to you the way you want it to, but it always comes back.

Alright, kitties, I am too sleepy to continue, but I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday!
xoxo and I love you,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Days 10 and 11: I am THANKFUL!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

I am writing you today from the living room of my Daddy's house. So far, I have eaten about 12 Sister Shubert's cinnamon rolls/pigs-in-a-blanket, smoked turkey, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, congealed cherry fruit salad, and marshmallow fruit salad (that I love, but my Daddy thinks is disgusting. He's clearly wrong.) and I still have dinner at my mother's house to look forward to. If I don't throw up today, it will literally be a miracle. It's been a lovely day already, what with the eating, watching Good Morning America (highlight: when Juju said "Now, the cookie is turked..." Gah-leeee. So funny.), Dexter and Parenthood with my mom and Noah while Daisy had a global kitten-spaz and spending time with my Daddy, G, Aunt Kathy and Pop.

I just love Thanksgiving.

This is due to all of the things listed above but also because I can't think of a better idea than an entire day dedicated to family and reflecting on all of the things in our lives that we can be grateful for, as there are certainly a lot. So, today, I am going to bore you with all of the things I am thankful for, hopefully distracting me from eating another giant mound of marshmallow stuff.

I am thankful:

1. For my family. They are the people who know me better than anyone in the world, and love me anyway. I've said before that you don't get to choose your family, but if I could, I'd still choose them. They are the funniest, kindest, most encouraging, supportive, loving, wonderful people in the world and I would not trade them for anyone. Not even Johnny Depp. And that's a bold statement.
2. For April. The Thelma to my Louise (or the other way around. I didn't really think that metaphor over in depth...). She has been my friend for 5 years now, but it feels like 5 lifetimes. I am so lucky to know her and I miss her constantly. (Dear Chicago, thanks for stealing away my best friend. You suck. Love, Hayley)
3. For Gail. I love her better than cheesecake, and you know how much I love cheesecake! Gail is my Chattanooga mom, my go-to hang-out person, the Queen of Sunday Funday, my confidant, my support, my favorite photographer, my friend. If you don't have a Gail Lindsey in your life, I feel sorry for you. I wouldn't be the same without her.
4. For The Island of Misfit Musicians. My Chattanooga family. These are the people I love more than my luggage. They are the people I spend the majority of my free time with. They are the people I love and who I can depend on to love me. I can always count on them to be there for me and I hope they all know that the reverse is also true. They are what keep me in Chattanooga. They are the people I "come home" to. I love you guys.
5. For Butch Ross. My lunch/dinner/breakfast companion. My cheerleader. The person I can depend on no matter what. The Sonny to my Cher. Ellie's dad. You deserve more gratitude than I can begin to express. You mean the world to me. Thank goodness for your presence in my life.
6. For Sara, Kathryn, and my North Shore Yoga family. For giving me such a happy place to work. For putting a smile on my face every day. For making me feel loved and healthy and strong. For supporting me and allowing me to be who I am and helping me to learn to love that person. For being my sanctuary, my joy, my peace. Thank you for changing me and giving me a clearer picture of what I want out of life.
7. For Katie, Pamela, Robyn and Stori. The greatest friends a girl could have. My high-school best friends. The prettiest, silliest, sassiest, most brilliant, kind, compassionate, creative and loving women I know. I miss them constantly.
8. For Rachel and Allison. My sisters. I miss you ladies so much and am so proud of you and can't believe we've been friends for almost 18 years. It's amazing and I love you both so much.
9. For my Chattanooga Theatre Centre family. My first home in Chattanooga. The place that I go when I'm feeling dramatic. The place I get to be someone else. The place I get to be creative. The place that lets me dance and sing and act. The place that makes me laugh. The place where I laugh and laugh and laugh and then, I laugh some more. The place where I get to see some of my favorite people in Chattanooga being brilliant onstage and off. I love you all.
10. For Olive and Daisy. The best kitties in the whole entire world!

11. For all the amazing people in my life mentioned here and those that I am forgetting. I love you. You all make me who I am. You give me a reason to wake up in the morning. You make my heart swell with joy and gratitude. I am better for knowing you. Thank you for being you.

I love you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I am also thankful for: love. yoga. sunshine. smiling. Hello Kitty. live music. photographs. laughter. memoirs. tv on dvd. nicknames. dance parties. ice cream. silliness. snail mail. old friends. new friends. facebook. children. NYC. the beach. airplanes. diet coke. scarves. fresh flowers. kindness. charity. honesty. opportunity. open-mindedness. change. growth. beauty. joy. peace. gratitude.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Days 8 and 9: Why isn't the sun awake yet?!

Welcome to Wednesday!

The reason I am only now writing about Monday and Tuesday is that by the time I got home on Monday and Tuesday, it was all I could do to manage getting my pajamas on before I fell into my bed and passed out. If you've never seen really intense pillow-face, come to my house next Tuesday morning. You will not believe it!

I started my new internship at Williams Web on Monday, which I LOVE, but which also leaves me with very limited time. So, I had no choice but to take 6am yoga. (Seriously, no choice. I would never choose to take 6am, unless I had to. It's early.) Let me tell you, waking up at 5am is no picnic. In fact, I didn't even realize there was a 5 in the morning until now!! Waking up before the sun makes me a little off-kilter. But, fortunately, I got up at 5 two mornings in a row and went to class and I am so grateful to have given myself that gift. I am dedicated to my practice and well-being and I am proud of that. I am also so grateful to Kelsey and Sara for teaching beautiful sequences and for waking me up and energizing me for the day.

Here's what I'm learning from 6am yoga:
Your body is not always ready for everything you want to throw at it. But, you have to learn to adapt to it. When I practice early in the morning, my back and hamstring are tighter, my arms feel a little less powerful, my balance feels incredibly different, and yet, the practice of opening my body in that way, preparing for the day ahead is very freeing. It allows me room to grow that I don't necessarily get from an evening class. It's a very humbling practice. I can't tell you how many times I fell out of even the simplest postures yesterday morning. But, I steadied myself and started again and I think I'm all the better for it.

This morning, I had intended to also go to 6am, but my body told me no by way of not waking up until 6:30. Oops. (Sorry Kelsey and Katherine! I lied!) But, sometimes, our bodies need rest and I do teach two classes on Wednesdays so, though it's not an excuse, I will still be tired later At least there's that!

Plus, once again I had rehearsal for the Grand Illumination party until 9 o'clock last night and stupidly headed to the Tremont thinking I would only be there for a few minutes to say hi and get hugs from my favorite people and then go home. Duh, Hayleyface. I ended up being there for about an hour and a half and came home and totally collapsed in a heap of exhaustion (after I updated my Facebook status, of course. Priorities, people!) I also ran into the undesirable former friend who makes me sad, so I was itching to get home and put it out of my head, but it's hard to let people go. Especially when they are people that you love. I'm trying super hard, but it's unavoidable that I will run into him and at this point, it hurts every time, but little by little I am hoping it will dissipate. I'm trying to be strong and keep my frustration and sadness over the situation in check, but it's not easy. Not easy at all. I am strong. I will get past it. I am strong.

So, I "slept in" this morning (It's almost sad to think that "sleeping in" means 6:30am...) and I don't feel bad about it. My body feels more ready to face an active day and I am looking forward to expressing my gratitude to each and every person I come across today. I love you all and I wish you a happy Wednesday and a BEAUTIFUL Thanksgiving!!!!


But, I digress.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 7: Sunday Funday!

... Or, in the case of today: the day that Hayley gained 45 pounds in 24 hours.

Today was not so successful. I went to bed last night with the intention of getting up to go to yoga this morning. (Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I should clarify that "went to bed" actually means "fell asleep on the couch watching a Lifetime movie and woke up at 3 only to drag myself to my bed and fall asleep in my makeup. Without brushing my teeth. With the lights on." I looked like Elvira when I woke up this morning. Sheesh.) But when I finally woke up at 9, I just had no motivation. So, I literally sat down with a big bowl of leftover beans and rice and preceded to spend the next 5 or so hours watching the current season of Dexter.

I sat around and ate beans and rice and pumpkin cake all day long and then I drove back to Chattanooga, snacking on candy, only to go to Sunday Funday with the Island of Misfit Musicians and eat chips and chili. I don't know why I always feel like it's o for me to eat that way when I've been home? Maybe my house makes me hungry? I don't know, but I do know that today was a giant failure in the "willpower" department. But, I am not going to beat myself up over it, because failure is a part of learning and I could keep putting myself down for it, or I could let it go and allow tomorrow to be a new day. And that is what I'm going to do. I'm gonna get up and go to 6am yoga, work at the studio from 8-2, work at my NEW internship (I GOT HIRED!)..... (Ok, people, this is the part where we celebrate! Get on it!) and then I have to get to the CTC at 7:30 to practice for the Grand Illumination party. It's going to be a long day, but I think it will be happy!

Wish me luck and if you see me eating something that you can't find in nature, slap me.

I love you all. Thank you for taking the time to read.
7 days, 33 to go!!

Days 5&6: Competition killed the cat... or... something...

Hello darling people,

It's been a crazy but fun couple of days, which is why I haven't gotten around to posting until now. And, even now, I am multi-tasking by blogging and watching Parenthood (which, by the way, makes my life happy. Watch it. Seriously. I mean it.)

Yesterday was day 5 and I was again unable to practice, but this time due to an overbooked schedule. It shouldn't be an excuse but I literally was running around all day long, from working childcare in the midst of a glass-shattering incident, to getting my ears lowered, to getting HIRED (!!!!) at Williams Web, to making sparkly sunglasses, to having dinner with fabulous friends, to going to see Elton John (!!!!) with the amazing Amber, Stephen and Lisa. It was a crazy day and, though I am somewhat bummed to have not gotten to practice, I wouldn't have traded a great day like yesterday for anything. So, maybe that was the yoga for yesterday: being content to... be content. Sometimes, maybe taking care of yourself and being kind to your body and soul means allowing yourself the freedom from guilt that sometimes accompanies not quite accomplishing the goals you've set out for yourself. So yesterday, I gave in and gave up being frustrated with myself for missing my practice two days in a row. I let myself know that tomorrow could be a new day and I could start again. And it came, and it was, and it was wonderful.

I woke up early this morning and drove into Nashville, hoping to take the 10:00 class from Gillian at Steadfast and True Yoga. So, I got to the studio at 9:30 and realized there was no 10:00 class. I was super bummed and could not bear the thought of not taking class and I couldn't wait until 11:15 so I hopped in the car and drove to Sanctuary to take a Vinyasa Level 2/3 with Daphne. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled to be there because I had my heart set on taking Gillian's class and for whatever reason I just felt intimidated by the studio. So, as I walked into the studio, I wasn't feeling super confident or energetic. But, then, as I sat there, other students started trickling in and I found myself getting irritated by the students who clearly were regulars to that class who were flying into handstand again and again and doing other things that felt very show-offy to me. And as I started to feel myself getting irritated over this silly thing, I thought to myself, "I'll show them." How terrible is that?! And yet, I know that to be true of me a lot of the time. I am competitive. Sometimes to a fault. What were those people hurting by playing on their mats before class started? I do it, too. But, I am so competitive, that the faults I see in myself make me totally crazy when I see them in others. And watching people in their competitive zone makes me dive right into mine.

So what was the lesson? Well, I was still in sort of a funny, doubting mood when class started, but then Daphne led us through a beautiful, flowing practice that I just loved. Time moved so quickly and suddenly it was over and I felt so grounded and peaceful. And that is why I went to class in the first place, right? I go for the sense of joy yoga brings to my life. So, why would I care what other people can do on their mats. I can't gain or lose anything by what other people can or can't do. It literally does not affect me. So that's what I am trying to learn. How to wear blinders on my mat. It's hard, but I can do it.

Finally, tonight I went with my Daddy to see the Blue Men and it was INCREDIBLE! If y'all ever get the chance to see them, you HAVE to go! I'm obsessed. What a fabulous way to end the day!

Hope you all have a beautiful Sunday!
6 days down, 34 to go!!
I love you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

News that will SHOCK you!

On today's episode of "News that will SHOCK you": I have a pathological need to be liked.

I know... you are floored. It's really beyond belief, as I am clearly unaffected by peoples' feelings about/toward me. *sarcasmsarcasmsarcasm*

(Today, I chose to actually listen to my body and take a rest day from practicing. Not to mention the fact that I got home at 3:45 and accidentally took a 3 hour nap. Oh well.)

So, because I did not get to take class today, the yoga for me was confronting the experience of being in the presence of someone that does not like me. ! I mean, I am sure you are thinking, "But, Hayley, you are just rainbows and sunshine all the time, so how in the world could someone not like you?!", right?! *sarcasmsarcasmsarcasm*

Well, children, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, certain people don't like you, and that's ok. My yoga for today was to be in the presence of someone who I know dislikes me and to be able to be content with that and allow myself the freedom to be unaffected by it. I reminded myself that the only thing I can control is my own behavior and emotional response to a given situation and despite any effort I may make, I cannot control those factors in another person. I can only treat that person the way I would anyone else, with love and respect, and let go of any attachment. After that, if they like me, they like me. If they don't, I'm no worse off than I was before. I am no less because of one person's negative feelings toward me. If anything, they have less because they are short a good friend. I am still the same happy, loving and loved person, regardless of anyone who doesn't want to contribute to that happiness and love.

And, you know what? They may not get to be a part of my love and happiness, but I will send them love and joy every day anyway. I will open my arms and embrace them when and if they decide that they will accept me into their hearts. Because I am loved. Because I love in spite of hate. Because I know how it feels to be without a friend. Because I know what it means to let negativity overcome positivity. Because when we love, we win.

And, mainly, because everyone deserves to be loved. Even the ones who can't reciprocate it.
I love you all.

P.S. If y'all have never seen Grayson Capps, you do not know what you are missing! That man is a B.A.M.F.!! Also, Channing Wilson rocks my face off. Ok. Done. Bed, now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They don't call it IcyHot for nothing....

Today has been... interesting. I am currently sitting with an incredible stinging sensation from the pound of IcyHot I just put on my arms. I mean, I know it's called IcyHot, but seriously, they are not kidding folks!! The reason for the lovely menthol scented death creme is that I managed to totally wreck my arms in Trapeze on Monday and I'm having trouble extending them from the elbow or using my shoulders in any way. I actually had to leave work because I was totally useless in the "doing stuff" department so I just decided it was best to cut my losses.

... and therein lies the yoga for today.

It's day 3 of my 40 days and the lesson and meditation for the day has definitely been to listen to my body. Sometimes, what our bodies really need is rest. And this was my meditation this morning as I prepared to go to 6am yoga. My arms were throbbing and I could hardly get my clothes on and yet, I was determined that I would go to 6am. But, with just enough time to get there, I sat on the edge of my bed, closed my eyes and asked myself what I really needed. The answer was: a little more rest. So, I sat and read my book and readied myself to greet the day. I knew that I needed rest and it took everything I had to allow myself that time, especially considering my dedication to my practice of late.

So, I allowed myself rest... for a bit.

It turns out that I may be too hard-headed and competitive for yoga. I taught my 4 o'clock class to Laura and Josh, which was a really beautiful practice to watch, as they are both pretty regular power-goers and it was beautiful to watch them slow down and really sink into the postures of the Slow Flow. Afterwards, I was still feeling a lot of pain but I was craving the heat and movement of a Power Yoga class, and against the advice of Amy and that little voice in my head, (and because my competitive streak took over when Jody told me I needed to "man up." And you know I love a challenge) I took Lisa's class.

Today, I am thankful for legs.

I am thankful for legs because being limited in the use of my arms, I was forced to really work my legs and belly tonight, avoiding the use of my arms. It might have been the most frustrating practice I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, the flow was beautiful and in any other circumstance it would have been the perfect class for me: lots of arm balances and binds. But, tonight, I took child instead of down dog. I kept my arms down in Warriors and lunges. I kept my hands at heart center for every standing posture. I did not take bows or dancers or eagle arms. I sat in squats, rotated in twists and sinking into child, seething and frowning at my inability to lift my arms with my heart or roll my shoulders down and back or extend them out in front of me.

And yet, I felt my eyes well up in tears during Savasana, not because of mere frustration but also out of gratitude. I am grateful to know that this was a setback in my practice today. It will not last forever. In a few days, I will have my arms back and because of this day and this feeling of frustration, I will feel immense gratitude as I lift my hands high to the sky and salute the sun. I will relish in each downward-facing dog and shine my heart open as I twist, binding the arms behind my back. I will thank my body for allowing me this ability again and I will smile at my good fortune: I am fortunate to have these arms that do so much for me and that I often take for granted. I am thankful. I am thankful. I am thankful.

Time to rest, now.
3 days down, 37 to go!
I love you all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

40 Days to a happier, healthier Hayley :)

Hello, beautiful folks!

If you've never been to my blog before, I typically use this as a vehicle to express my gratitude for various things. I still intend to do that but for the next 40 days (well, 39 technically), I will be writing about my personal 40 days program.

A little back story: 40 Days to Personal Revolution is a book by Baron Baptiste that we at North Shore Yoga use in our 40 day program that we've done a few times since we've been in existence. I did the first one and it really did wonders for me on a number of levels. It helped me gain confidence and strength as well as helped me lose some weight and gain energy. In our program at the studio we ask that students meditate twice a day, practice in the studio 4-5 days a week and at home 1-2 days a week, taking one day to rest. We also ask that students complete the excavation questions in Baron's book and follow the dietary suggestions. They are expected to keep a log of all of this to track their progress.

I decided to do a personal 40 days yesterday for a number of reasons. Although I am probably happier and more confident now than I have ever been in my life, I still have room for improvement and lately I've felt a little lost and anxious, which makes me yearn for something to quiet that chaos in my mind. It also happens that yesterday was exactly 40 days before Christmas Eve, which to me is a powerful symbol. In our 40 day program and, thus, my personal 40 days the goal is to change your life in some way, small or large; some sort of re-birth. Christmas, of course, honors and celebrates the birth of Jesus, the Christian savior, who came to Earth to save humanity, allowing us the opportunity to be washed clean and reborn. It's powerful symbolically, and for me, as a person who does not consider herself very religious, gives me a spiritual connection to the holiday beyond what I usually gain from it.

So, over the course of the next 40 Days, I hope to find myself changed. Maybe it will be so minute that I will be the only person who sees it, but it's a way to nurture myself anyway, so that's ok. I've decided, however, to share this 40 days with those of you who choose to read about it because: a. It holds me accountable. and b. It gives me an outlet to encourage other people and express my gratitude for the people and experiences in my life that aid in the nurturing of my spirit through this "journey" (Mom, that was for you. winkwink).

Anyway, I guess , in the interest of keeping myself accountable, I will tell you that yesterday I did not do the two five minute meditations, however, I find more clarity and peace in a yoga class (meditation through movement, dontcha know) than I do sitting quietly attempting to meditate. So, for yesterday and today, I am going to count my practice as my meditations. I took Sara's 7pm Power class last night after a foray into Trapeze and Aerial Hammock left me feeling like I was going to totally collapse and it was brilliant. Matt Fields-Johnson assists that class and he really loved on me and just made me feel yummy and lengthened and I am so grateful to both Matt and Sara for bringing my Monday to such a beautiful close.

Tonight I took Sara's 6pm Power class, despite the fact that I spent all day nursing yucky trapeze bruises and arms so sore I could barely lift them above shoulder height. I had almost let myself stay home and nap instead of go to class because of soreness and also because I had a falling out with a friend that came to a head this afternoon and made me feel incredibly sad and angry. But, as I sat on my bed sulking, I thought about how much joy yoga brings me and I popped up, threw on the nearest pair of stretchy pants and headed out the door and THANK GOODNESS I did, because I feel so much better! My muscles feel a little bit less sore and my head feels a little more clear and my heart feels so much more open. And, like I said, I get such a beautiful meditation from my practice. In that hour and fifteen minutes, I managed to stop holding anger in my heart for my former friend and sent him love and then... I let him go. I'm not angry with him anymore. I'm still fighting a little bit of hurt, but I am generally ok with letting him go with love. If he someday decides that he needs and wants me back in his life, I will welcome him with open arms, but until then I will be content to nourish my relationships with all of the other people in my life that I am lucky enough to love.

And, once again, thanks to Sara for a beautiful close to my evening. My soul has been fed.

Two days almost down, 38 to go!! Bring it on!!
I love you all and am so grateful for your taking the time to read.
Love love love,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hello, grateful people!

Hey y'all,

I have totally fallen down on the grati-blog job! Oh, well, there's no time like the present! That being said, I am grateful for the present. I am also currently thankful for the following:

1. New beginnings.
2. Mistakes. That's how we learn.
3. Living in the moment.
4. Letting go.
5. Belief in my potential.
6. Hope for the future.
7. Peace
8. New friends.
9. New opportunities.
10. Detoxing
11. Paddleboard Yoga
12. Zuddhi Yoga and Jessica Ewart
13. The Island of Misfit Musicians
14. My family
15. Inspiring moments that happen every day!
16. Two good legs
17. One full heart
18. Loving and being loved
19. Hugs
20. YOU!!!

I am so grateful for this life that I live and I hope that you all know how much you mean to me!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Be happy. It starts with a choice.

Hello, friends.

I have a pressing issue to address. It's called a lack of joy and it seems to be all around lately. I keep reading and hearing about people who are just in utter despair. They are stories of hopelessness and desperation and it breaks my heart to know that so many suffer so greatly.

But, I also hear stories of great hope. There are people in this world who are working tirelessly to bring hope and joy and peace to their lives and the lives of others, even in the midst of their own personal turmoil.

Now, on a large scale, change is difficult, but fortunately, joy can be found in the smallest of things. It starts with a choice. I will choose to be happy. I will choose to find joy in even the most frustrating and sorrowful moments of my life. I will look for something to be thankful for, and there is always something.

I'll give you an example. Last week my car wasn't stopping the way it should. I would jam the brakes and it would still roll forward. So, I took it into the shop and paid $650 for things that clearly needed to be fixed, but I was not happy to pay so much. I was even less happy when that did not solve the problem and I had to take it back and pay another $390 to fix the actual problem. Let me tell you, my potty mouth was uncontrollable that day. Not to mention the face that I had to leave my car overnight and beg rides off people which I hate. Then, when it was fixed, I had to walk 45 minutes in 100 degree heat to get it.

If you know me, you know I pretty much despise sweat and heat in general. So, I was basically miserable and pissed off as I walked to the garage. But, as I was walking, a song came on my iPod that goes "Where there's a will there's always a way. Keepin your eyes on that mountain top. One step at a time, don't ever, ever stop. Keep going when your mind says quit. Keep dreaming til you find you're living it," and I thought to myself "This is my mountain at this moment and I have a pair of good legs that can carry me where I'm going. I am able to get where I'm going despite the fact that it's inconvenient." And suddenly, a lot of my frustration went away. I hit the repeat button on my iPod and I smiled and walked a little faster.

The point is, I could've allowed myself to dwell on all the little things that had gone wrong, but I didn't. I didn't want to poison my thoughts with negativity and make myself miserable. There's a quote by Francesca Reigler that says "Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable or happy. The amount of work is the same." I think it's a perfect quote to tuck away in our pockets. If we have to work hard anyway, we might as well enjoy it.

So, I am encouraging myself and anyone who may be reading this to try to find one small thing to be grateful for today. What can you turn joyful by making the choice to find gratitude? If nothing else, just know that I love you and if I can give you any ounce of joy, you know I will!

Love and light,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The ego has landed

Hello cats and kittens,

I'm back.

Today was a total shit-storm for most of the day. Let's recap, shall we? I overslept, having my boss call me (waking me out of my coma-like slumber) because fortunately she was there to check everyone in. So I run like a maniac to get there and forget my security tag for BCBS, where I was subbing a class. So, I borrow Jessica's (as I have a million times before) but I get stopped at security for having on someone else's badge. They call the head of security and I proceed to have a nervous breakdown. Then, I take my car to the garage because something is wrong with the brakes. I get there and am told I also need new tires about a month ago so I should get them now. $650 later, I have new tires, rotors and rear brakes. Well, at least I won't have a fiery car crash from bad brakes. :/

So, anyway, to get to the gratitude portion of the post (after all, that is supposed to be the point of this blog, you know) I get to my class at the RUSH tonight and I am totally run down and sort of depressed but I am determined not to make my class suffer so I suck it up and teach, making positivity my mantra for the class. Afterward, as I am leaving, the girl at the front desk says "Are you Hayley?" And I think to myself "Oh, shit, what now?", but respond "Yes, why?" She says "This guy just told me that you're awesome and he put a note about you on the bulletin board. You should go read it!" So, I go to the bulletin board and he's written a note that says "I have been taking yoga for the last 5 months and Hayley is by far your best teacher."

Now, I know that I should take my ego out of things, but after a day like today, being paid a compliment like that seriously made my day. Plus, it reminded me that I do something that I really believe in and it actually means something to people. I was so proud and grateful in that moment. I'll probably fall asleep smiling about it tonight. It really meant the world to me.

Anyway, I'm off to bed now. A long day deserves a long night's sleep. I love you all.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Small victories

Today I am thankful for small victories. Perhaps that's not exactly the best way to phrase that, but it seems like a succinct and generally useful phrase, so I'm going with it. Sorry.

It's very easy to take for granted the little things. It's also amazing how something small can make a big impact. I was so taken aback today by something that happened at work. A lady that comes into the yoga studio pretty regularly had come in Friday with her children, unaware that we had cancelled childcare for the day. She was visibly upset when she found out that we didn't have childcare and so I offered to watch them while I worked so that she could take class. It didn't seem like a big deal and I like kids so, to me, it was really no problem. We sat on the floor and drew pictures and giggled and had fun in our own little world.

Today, she came to take class and handed me a card. It expressed how grateful she was for me to have been willing to watch her children so that she could take class. She has had a lot going on lately and said her practice has been sporadic and she really needed to take class that day and it meant a lot to her for me to agree to watch her kids. It really touched me and reminded me that I may not be a traveling mercenary or some kind of amazing philanthropist, but I can help people and touch their lives in some way, no matter how small the gesture. It was an amazing moment of awakening. We can give someone a gift simply by being in the right place at the right time. We can give someone a gift simply by being. It's the small victories that lead to big changes and learning that lesson today was a small victory but it's giving me an opening to make bigger efforts to bring smiles to peoples' faces.

I am thankful for today. I am thankful for sweet little boys who kept my drawings because they had fun playing on the floor of the yoga studio. I am thankful for life lessons. And I am thankful that each sun rise gives me an opportunity to grow.

I love you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Love and marriage and Wade and peace

The last few days have been amazing, in a number of ways both good and thought-provoking. Let's start by talking about Katie and Gordon getting married (!). Katie and Gordon were married yesterday in a beautiful service at St. Peter and Paul in Chattanooga. It was followed by a fun reception at the Grandview and a late-night snack for me at the Terminal with Pamela, Robyn and Josh, her boy. It was such a special and weird time for me. I am so incredibly thrilled for Katie and Gordon. They are beautiful people that I adore and I am so excited that they have committed to be with one another forever. It's amazing. I think it's so beautiful and extraordinary and at the same time, terrifying. They are definitely different people than me. I am sort of freaking out about having married friends. I don't feel like I'm old enough for that. I also had the striking sense of being left behind while at the wedding. Not that I didn't enjoy myself. It was fun and I loved all of Katie and Gordon's friends but I had the distinct awareness that I was one of the very few single people there. I sort of feel like I'm behind in some way. It's a little bit scary. But, then, I think to myself that my path doesn't include another person at this point in my life and theirs do. It's just a different way of living. I have to just keep reminding myself that right relationships come with time and that I move at my own pace and live my life with my heart open and that's ok.

Second of all, I have to talk about Wade Morrissette. Wade came to teach at NSY on Thursday and I have never been so inspired. Wade is incredible and he really filled my heart. I love him and am incredibly grateful for that. I also had the pleasure of getting to spend two hours in a car with him driving to Nashville and he is hilarious, totally down-to-earth and unpretentious. He is someone that I absolutely admire and will seek out for inspiration and influence from now on. I am so lucky to have gotten to meet him. I have so many more things to say but I'll have to edit later because I am literally falling asleep. :p

I love you all and I'm grateful for you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends

There's not a lot I know for sure, but I do know that my life is made infinitely better by the people I am fortunate enough to spend it with. There seems to be no real rhyme or reason in life but, I am convinced, to love. Our tangible worlds are just that, so it seems that the only infallible possession we have is love. Now, you may argue that people lose love all the time; they fall out of love, they die, but I would have to disagree. Love lives in our hearts always. Sometimes, relationships change and that love changes, but it's always there. We love because that is what we are made to do.

I am fortunate to love and to be loved by a lot of amazing people. They are people who pick me up when I am down; people who sing songs; people who smile and laugh and hug and tell foul jokes. They are the ones I would walk through fire for. They are the ones who make my life worth living.

To those I love, know that I am always grateful to you. I am indebted to you for all the times I felt like giving up and I found you smiling at me or hugging me or simply existing in my mind, reminding me of what I have to go to if I need it. I love you and I am honored and overjoyed to be loved by you. You are why I wake up in the morning. I love you.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Nashville, my home.

Last week an unimaginable tragedy struck my hometown. The sky opened up and, as Chicken Little foretold, fell. Innumerable people lost their homes, cars and/or other possessions. A few even lost their lives. The photos are distressing and the reality is devastating.

I am so grateful that my family was fortunate enough to avoid any damage. But, some of our dear friends have lost everything. My mom's best friend, for example. It's heartbreaking and what hurts the most is knowing that it's out of your hands. There was nothing that could've been done. Mother Nature chose for us in this instance. We were helpless to defend against this tragedy and we're left feeling numb and lost and powerless.

As you drive along the streets, you see peoples' soggy possessions piled up in their front yards, waiting to be hauled off. It's incredibly surreal and it makes me wonder about the lives that have acquired these things. How do they go on now? How do they look back and not see a gaping hole where there used to be a home? How do they keep from crying when they reach for the photographs that are ruined and the knick-knacks that are collecting mold? It may not be my reality but my heart aches for those people and it makes me seriously think about what's important in my own life. What can I stand to give up? What would be too much to lose? As I survey my small but happy life, I see a plethora of things I could lose without too much strife but I can feel my heartstrings snap at the thought of losing others. What would I do? How would I overcome that sort of hurt?

I am thankful for my life and my family. I am thankful for all of the things I am fortunate to have and all of the memories I am fortunate to hang on to regardless of the "things" that are perishable. But, I'm still heartbroken for those whose "things" are gone and who rely on those to remind them of their memories. It's beyond my understanding what that must feel like. My heart goes out to each and every one of them and I am profoundly humbled by the community that has come together in Nashville to support one another. It's beauty in the face of sorrow. I love my town.

I love you all,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pain and Promise

Hello, all.

Today I have a lot of things on my mind. I know I call this my grati-blog, and I have things to be grateful about today, as every day, but I also need to just get some things off my mind.

First of all, I am so thankful for repaired friendships. Thursday night, I spent a really long stretch of time chatting with a friend that I've in the recent past had a strained relationship with. We were in some sort of freeze out and I think the world of him so it had really bothered me. He's someone that I love to sit and talk to. He's kind, smart, talented, interesting and just fun to be around. I totally love bouncing thoughts back and forth with him, so when we were having our issue, I was really bummed. But, Thursday night, we got back to where we were. It was so awesome. I'm really grateful that things have a way of working themselves out.

I have also reconnected with someone that I so love and that has had a rough go of it in the past year. He's trying to work out his life and I'm so happy for him but it breaks my heart to know that he's doing so without me. It's really killing me, but I want more than anything to see him happy so I have to just forget how I feel and put my energy into being happy for him and hoping for the best in his life. Mine will be fine. I know that. I just really miss him.

I'm also very thankful for all of the people I'm lucky enough to spend my time with in Chattanooga. They are people who love me and take such good care of me. They are people I go to when I'm sad and who make things fun for when I am happy and who help heal my loneliness. But, it's getting harder and harder to be here. I love my life, but there are so many things that I miss about home and so many opportunities I'm afraid I may be missing by not moving on. Chattanooga was always supposed to be just a stopping point. I was never supposed to stay and now I'm starting to fear that if I don't leave soon, I never will.

I am also extremely frustrated with a certain aspect of my life in which the people involved seem to have no faith in me, whatsoever. I feel like I am being constantly doubted and scrutinized and it's suffocating. It makes me feel incompetent and inadequate and it tempers an aspect of my life that used to bring me so much joy. I hate that it's ruining that source of happiness. And what really hurts is that I keep choosing to let it happen; to stay in that situation. I am too worried about the uncertainty to move on. I should just suck it up and let go of what makes me unhappy but it's really really hard and there are a lot of things I do love about it. Who knows. But, to give it up would most likely mean giving up a lot of other things and I don't know if I'm ready for that yet. Who knows.

Finally, I am so happy and thankful for Enchanted April and the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. No matter what the problems are in my life, when I get to the theatre I have two hours to be someone else. Someone who doesn't have my problems. Someone who makes me forget what it means to be me. I love that feeling. It's the greatest escape ever.

I have to go now. I love you all.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Change and Happiness

Good morning!

So, this has been a strange year so far. I say that because I feel as if my life has been in a constant state of change. Comfort and ease have taken a backseat to upheaval and struggle. Not that I'm complaining. Some changes have been wonderful. But, some naturally have been hard and have brought a touch of unhappiness and stress. Fortunately, however, I am blessed to be able to look at the sunny side.

I have so many opportunities and chances to do great and fun things. I am fortunate to have friends who support me no matter what (canceling out those who do not care what is best for me as it would inconvenience them in some way). I have the best family in the world, who, although they want to hang onto me forever (and I them, really) support my choices and are my biggest cheerleaders. I'm very lucky in that way.

I was thinking about change because of something I read recently. The author was speaking about his life as if he had to change his life to make him a better person or a more acceptable version of himself. He also talked a lot about doing so for the sake of his religion, which I won't address further here, except to say that it drives me crazy that an institution that is supposed to be about love and grace and peace tears people down and makes them feel somehow less content and happy in their lives. I don't care if I'm a sinner. I am and I accept that. And, I would like to believe that God loves me anyway. He created me in his image and I am flawed, so why would he punish me for that? It just makes me sad to see people beat themselves up for not being perfect in the eyes of the church because the church, in my opinion, does not tend to reflect what I believe God is. Anyway, moving on. I was thinking that it was sad that this person felt he needs to overhaul his life to be a "better person" and happier somehow. If you have to force yourself to change in some unnatural way, are you not lying to yourself? It's a false sense of peace. You aren't happy with your life and yourself because you've forced yourself to become someone you are not. Can't we just learn to love ourselves as we are? Can't we be thankful for the being that we have become through pain and mistakes and love and laughter? I choose to be me. I am definitely flawed and definitely have work to do to improve myself. I'm not saying there is no room for improvement, but I don't think changing the essence of yourself to accommodate this ideal is good.

So, today, I am thankful for being me. I am thankful for my life and the person that I have become. I am thankful for my flaws as well as my talents. I am thankful for the love I have and love I have lost. I am thankful for each sunrise and sunset. I am thankful. I am thankful. I am thankful.

I love you all,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A happy weekend amidst the chaos...

Hello, loyal friends and readers! Happy Sunday (almost Monday)!

I cannot sleep despite being exhausted, so I was laying awake thinking about my weekend and feeling so grateful! Despite a few unpleasant interactions, I had a really wonderful weekend!

Friday night, Moon Slew played a party for Hill Craddock at the Chattanooga Nature center, which was super fun, as it was a beautiful night and singing is always fun! Plus, Jim and Rhonda were there, and they are some of my very favorite people! Also, I am counting my blessings because as I was leaving the Nature Center a deer ran out in front of my car and I stopped short and managed to not hit him. I am SO incredibly thankful for that and was also in awe of how sort of majestic the sight of the deer was. I don't know that I've ever been that close to a deer before. It was beautiful.

Saturday was a lovely day. I spent the afternoon with BJ up on Lookout Mountain. We went to Rock City so that we could be tourists, and then we spent some time out on Sunset Rock singing and just being. It was really amazing because it was such a beautiful day and that is my favorite point in all of Chattanooga and BJ is such an amazing musician and sweet soul. It was really a great day. Then, I got to go and meet my Katie-did and her Gordon at Hair of the Dog where we got to sit on the patio and enjoy the Spring Equinox air. :) It was lovely. They are some of my favorite people and I love when they are in town. They are going to be married in June and I am so excited for them and feel all the while very afraid that having married friends means I am officially a grown-up. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I am grateful to have friends like them, married or not! :p

After that, I headed to the Mudpie where I got to chat with Mike and Gail for a bit. I know I have mentioned them before, but I really can't stress enough how much I love them. They are two of the most wonderfully kind, generous, fun people you will ever meet and I am so lucky they have sort of "adopted" me. Gail has become my confidant and champion and I love her so much for that!! I am grateful, grateful, grateful for Gail and Mike!

Today was perfectly nice as well, even though one might not guess it. I spent most of the day waiting tables at PF Chang's. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and I think that is certainly the case for me with the Chang Bang. I love the people I work with there and I had a relatively easy shift where I walked away with a not-too-shabby little cash roll. I am very lucky and grateful to have stayed on such good terms with Chang's that they let me pick-up when I need to. This is officially the 5th year I have worked for them and I am happy to be there!

After that, I had dinner at the Terminal with Butch, who has a tendency to be annoyingly right about a lot of things. I give him a hard time, but I genuinely love him and am grateful to be his friend. He has stood by me and been on my side and listened to my trials and tribulations and been very patient and supportive for many months now. I may get annoyed with him periodically (read: every day. wink wink) but for the most part I am totally glad to have him in my life.

Finally, I had play rehearsal tonight, which is like going home. The CTC was the first place in Chattanooga that I ever felt like I belonged. It is where I feel comfortable and safe and whole. I love every moment I spend there and am so grateful to be in a show with such an amazing and kind and funny group of people. I am also blessed to be working with Br. Ron again, who inspires me every day to look beyond the obvious and reach out to those who need love and support and encouragement. I don't know of any other person who inspires me more. And finally, I love Mitchell McCain. He has been nothing but a source of love and fun and friendship for me since we met and I just love him more and more by the minute. He is a prominent member of my Chattanooga family and getting to see him night after night in rehearsal is one of the best parts of being involved in this show!!

Anyway, long story longer, I am so grateful to know all the people I know and love all the people I love!! I love you all!! Have a happy Monday!!!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today, my gratitude has been a bit of a struggle. I feel extremely conflicted about many of the aspects of my life today. I don't quite know where to go or what to do or how to feel or who to be. It's extremely frustrating and I spent my drive from work to home today in tears because I just feel totally lost. But, I am thankful for those quiet moments in my car and the tears because they give me a chance to release all that is bound up inside me and to just rail at the world without the world railing back.

I am also seriously missing my former Nashville life lately, which is a huge part of my state of conflict I think. I just need to be with my family and my friends at home sometimes and as I become a person who is not moving forward but is growing into this one place, it becomes increasingly more difficult to go home. But, again, I am thankful to have "families" in Chattanooga who love me and who I so love, who give me hugs and tell me I'm being crazy or awesome or stupid or whatever. I am also lucky to have a home in Nashville and a life in Chattanooga. I was reminded yesterday that "home" for some does not exist, so I am incredibly grateful to have a home at all. It's a blessing that we often take for granted.

Anyway, this blog was a little less happy than my usual tomes but I just needed to release some of that frustration and sadness and remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for!

I love you all!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crash, bang, boom!

Well, this is going to start out as a rant, but there IS gratitude involved, so bear with me. Yesterday, I woke up and left my apartment to go to work, only to find that some ass-hat had hit a car which then hit my car in the night. I knew this because the car was still in contact with my car when I found it. Great.

There's more story to tell, but I won't continue. Suffice it to say that we found the ass-hat who hit us and they will now be paying out the nose to fix two cars and is slapped with a citation for leaving the scene of an accident. So, she can suck it.

So, anyway, back to gratitude. I was reminded yesterday that I am very fortunate in this situation. I got home at 2am. Had I been much later, I might have been in the car when she hit it... on the road... or had circumstances been different she may have hit someone else (while she was undoubtedly drunk). I am grateful that my car isn't totaled. I am grateful that she didn't hurt anyone.

I am also so grateful for the people in my life. I've had so many people call or give me hugs or just generally give me love for my icky day and I'm just so proud/happy/lucky to have them in my life. I love you all.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I love a challenge.

Today, I am thankful for challenges. It's very easy in my life for me to freak out when things don't go my way. Lately, some things in my life are definitely not going my way. BUT, here is where the thankful part comes in. Because things have not gone right for me now, I have a thousand doors open to me. Because I am not tied down by the demands of one of my missed opportunities, I am now at Liberty to do anything I want, move anywhere at any time. It's extremely liberating and, between you and me, I feel like a change is gonna come that is better than I can even expect and soon. It's exciting! Sort of. It's also scary as hell, but I'm thankful for the opportunities yet to come anyway.

Love you!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Sorry I have been so bad at keeping up with this blog. It has been a very hectic beginning of the year, let me tell ya!!

But, hey, I am overwhelmed with gratitude today because for the first time in what feels like an absolute ETERNITY(!) the sun is shining and there is only a slight chill in the air and it is absolutely beautiful and is just making me smile from ear to ear!

I worked this morning for Blue Coast and I spent the entire two hours I was out walking to my various stops. It was amazingly serene, even though I was working. I got to enjoy the sunshine, get a little exercise and help promote my new place of work! The only downside is that I kept getting honked at, which actually is a little bit of an ego boost despite the creepy factor! What a great morning!

I also took a walk to the bookstore on Frazier Ave. and after I passed the Mudpie I had a text from Travis asking if I had just passed the Mudpie! So, I got to spend the lunchtime with Travis while we listened to Jordan play and then I got to go to the bookstore (one of my favorite activities) and buy a book I've been wanting!

All in all, it's just been a lovely day so far. Plus, I have been feeling so much love lately, I am just beyond words. I can't even adequately describe how much I love the people in my life!

Special shout-out today for Gail Lindsey, who just makes me feel like the coolest gal in town and who is so amazing and supportive not only of me, but of everyone in our little circle of musicians and artists and friends. She is at the center of a really wonderful group and I just love her and am so grateful to have her in my life!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day! Get out and enjoy the sunshine! Or at least open your blinds!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Namaste, y'all!!

I am SO excited to announce that I am officially a yoga teacher!! Yesterday I received my certification from Dolly Stavros and I could not be more thrilled! I am so grateful for this goal to be realized! Dolly rocks and my teammates rock and I am just beside myself with joy and gratitude! I love you all!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Opportunities Abound

I know it's been a minute since I last posted, but I've been a busy girl! Plus, I had to put myself in time-out for a little while on account of sometimes a Cruzan bucket makes you say stupid things to people you are attracted to. :p Aaaaaaannnnyyyywwwwaaaayyyyy, I am so thankful for several things today.

First, I am so thankful for my band. We had a BLAST last night playing at Lindsay Street. I am so proud of what we are doing and I just love my band more than just about anything. They are my family and I am absolutely so lucky to be a part of that group!

Second of all, I am so thankful for opportunities that have begun to present themselves. I have a tendency to overthink and overplan my life and sometimes things crop up and remind me that I am 23 years old and I have the ability at this moment to take advantage of those opportunities. It's easy to think "Why do I not have some fabulous grown-up career?" or "Why don't I have some fabulous grown-up boyfriend?" or even "fiance" or "Why do I not know where I want to live and work and love?" But, all of those things mean that some part of me would have to settle down at this moment and I am at an age that makes me able and free to explore and go on adventures and that's awesome! I am so fortunate to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want and have to answer only to myself and my sense of adventure. It's kind of exciting, really.

Finally I am so thankful for my health and my life in general. I have recently been rocked by the reality of health problems. I keep reminding myself that I am so incredibly fortunate to have a body that can do just about anything I ask of it, I am healthy and strong and I have people who love and support me. That is so important and we have a tendency to forget, I think. It's easy to forget how important good health is until you don't have it anymore.

In closing, as always, life is good and I am so thankful for every moment of it.

Light and Love,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A quiet night at home

Today I'm thankful for being able to do nothing all day long. Now, I could be sort of bummed that I did basically nothing all day but it's been nice. I spent the morning chatting and laughing with my mom and then I came back to Chattanooga and watched a Big Bang Theory marathon, talked to Christian and made some plans. It was lovely to just sort of veg out in my sweats. So, this may not be the most exciting bit of gratitude, but nonetheless, I am thankful. I love you.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!!!!

Enter 2010!

And I entered it with a bang! Last night was amazing. I got to be in Nashville. I went to a party with Ape. Then, I chatted with Butch for a while on the phone, went to Riverfront park and watched the guitar drop, ran into Mikey B. and Tosha on the street as everyone cheered and sang and the fireworks lit up the night, walked to the Ryman because my cell phone died and I was afraid I'd not be able to find Jamie and Bryan and I ran into Geoff, met up with Jamie and Bryan, went to Rippy's with Jamie and drank and laughed and had a generally awesome time just hanging out, saw Patrick M. and Jamie-Jam W., got hit on by a hilariously creepy dude, and then passed out for a bit at a hotel downtown, got up to get my car at 5:30am, drove home where mom had locked the deadbolt so I slept in the car for two hours and finally got in. All in all, a rockin' good night!

I am just so thankful for a New Year, I can't contain myself! Not that 2009 wasn't a wonderful year for me but I am just grateful to have a new year to have big adventures, big accomplishments, failures to learn from, opportunities to fall in love, people to befriend, songs to sing and have more love to share.

This posting will have two parts: I'd like to start it by recapping why I loved and am thankful for 2009 and will end with a little list of my goals for the year 2010 (or resolutions as you may call them).

2009 was an amazing year for me on so many levels. Sure, there were stresses and setbacks, sadnesses and disappointments, but for the most part 2009 was extremely good for me in that:

1. For the first time in the three years that I've lived in Chattanooga, I began to really begin to enjoy it. I finally found my place in this town.

2. In February, I got to be a part of "Company" at the CTC. This was such a blessing for me in that it got me involved at CTC again, which I so missed, and introduced me to some of the people I would come to love deeply this year: Brother Ron, Mitchell, Andrew, Anne, and, of course, Scott. These are the people I go to when I need a little love and who I have love for en mass.

5. Around March/April, Jessica finally invited me to come and play music with her, effectively beginning Moon Slew. I am SO incredibly thankful for Jessica and for Moon Slew on so many levels, especially in that they have become my Chattanooga family. We are literally like brothers and sisters. I love having them in my life.

Being a part of this band and the music scene in this town has been such a joy for me. I get to do something that I absolutely love and I have made some of the best friends in the world! It's also really given me the opportunity to become extremely involved in my community. I know so many people now that I almost never go anywhere alone. I almost certainly can expect to see someone I know whenever I go out. It's really incredibly cool and comforting. It's been amazing to watch my lonliness sort of disappear.

On a personal level, it has also done such wonders for me in terms of self-confidence and love. I have had such a hard time in the past with being self-deprecating and shy and this year has given me so much confidence and comfort in my own skin. It's truly amazing.

6. In June, I got to play Diana Messerschmann in "Ring Round the Moon" at the CTC. I loved every moment of it. It was the first play I've ever done and it was such fun! And, once again, I made some incredibly close friends in Joanna, Jonathan, Chad, Lisa, John, Shanelle and, of course expanded my love for Scott, Br. Ron, and Mitchell. It was an amazing experience.

7. Also in June and July, I interned at CTC and got to spend every day falling more and more in love with the theatre and becoming involved in every aspect. It was a really fun experience. I am so fortunate to live in a town with such a great community theatre.

8. For 4th of July we went to Moon Slew. I have all kinds of things I could share about this trip, but I'll keep it to myself. Suffice it to say, it was enough fun that I felt I needed to mention it.

9. In August I graduated from college. I have never been so relieved in all my life, but it has been a scary transition. I'm thankful for all of the potential I have, though. I can literally go just about anywhere from here once I take that first step and it's exciting! I'm thankful for that.

10. Also in August, I went to the beach with mom and the Twinkies (which is always fun) and then started working at North Shore Yoga. NSY has been such a blessing in my life. Despite what it has done for my body and my spirit, it has also introduced me to a slew of wonderful, kind, beautiful people who I now count as my friends. I love being a part of that community. It's been a life-saver in more ways than I can even disclose.

11. In September I started Yoga Teacher Training with Dolly Stavros. It's truly scary taking such a risk but I am so proud of what I've accomplished so far and I count Dolly as one of my greatest role models. She is unnaturally cool. She's not even of this world. I aspire to achieve some iota of her coolness someday. There just aren't words for how much I admire and love Dolly. Plus, I am training with a group of the strongest, most beautiful souls I have ever met. They are amazing!

12. In October, I got to go to New York with Scott and Stacy. It was an eye-opening trip for me. I won't go into much of it because I have so much to say about it, but I will highlight the best part. Scott and I went to see Hair on Broadway and it literally changed my life. I have never loved a show as much as I loved Hair. It was literally the most incredible theatre experience o my life. AND Scott and I danced onstage with the amazingly talented cast. It was UNREAL. I will never forget it.

13. I turned 23 in November. No big deal. Although, my birthday party was FUUUUUNNNNN!!!!

14. Finally, December has been lovely. Moon Slew played a gig or two, I sang at Butch's Xmas show and got mentioned in Casey's column (how cool?!) and I got to come home and spend a week with my family and best friends. Really really lovely.

All in all, I have very few complaints about '09. I am happy.


I have a few Resolutions to share: (Well, I have a lot of resolutions but I'll keep most of them to myself. I just feel like mentioning these because I think they're the most important.)

1. Actively pursue my dreams.
2. Smile as often as possible.
3. Laugh every day.
4. Love everybody, but don't allow myself to be hurt by those who don't love me back. Protect my heart.
5. Tell someone every day that I love them.
6. Hug someone every day.
7. Forgive myself for my shortcomings.
8. Forgive those who have hurt me.
9. Sweat once a day. ;)
10. Be content with being alone, if necessary.
11. Dance as often as possible.
12. Be a light in the lives of others. Don't inflict darkness.
13. Take more risks and be content no matter the outcome.
14. Practice yoga as often as possible.

Those are just a few on a long list of very specific things. These are more abstract and meaningful to me.

I hope you all have a wonderful year! I love you and am so thankful for you!!