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.