Stop the Ride I Wanna Get Off

The never ending soundtrack of my life used to be I'm fat...terrible...unathletic...not as good as her...or whatever horrible thing that pointed out how different and unworthy I was.  Hello Anava Mala and Mayiya Mala for those yogis in the know.

Don't worry if your tongue just tripped over those words.  They're just a fancy way of saying I felt unworthy, not good enough, and cut off, separate, different from most everyone else in the world.  And therefore deserved to go eat worms because nobody liked me everybody hated me.

But now that I've lost 70 pounds, started keeping up in the Tuesday/Thursday practice (for the most part), and pretty much love the skin I'm in my self talk has shifted to something I've never experienced before.  Karma Mala.  Or that nagging feeling of not being able to do enough, have enough, finish enough, oh my gosh why am I even taking the time to type this right now when there's so much else I HAVE to get done enough.

Something I used to be too fat, lazy, and unworthy to even consider.  Sort of hard to worry about doing when you can't even get going.  But now that I'm going.  And oh am I going.  On any given day I have about three million irons in the fire.  Studio stuff.  Cate stuff.  Personal stuff.  Blog stuff.  Family stuff.  Friend stuff.  Boyfriend stuff.

Stuff.  Stuff.  Stuff.  And all stuff that I need to do.  Have to do.  Must do.  Or else.  Stuff that people want from me.  Need from me.  Have to have from me.

So in an attempt to get it all done I've developed a whole new way of being which often includes skipping breakfast.  Eating only an apple for lunch.  Sucking down a heavy dinner because I'm starving.  Staying up too late.  Ditching my morning meditation.

Washing.  Rinsing.  Repeating.

Which is radically different for me.  Because for last 26 years I pretty much did as little as I possibly could and then sat and ate ice cream and cried about how little I was doing.  And forget skipping meals I stocked up on extra just in case.  But then I went to therapy and grad school and found some friends who pretty much kicked that right out of me.  So for the past two years I've been building up some speed.  Speed that helped burn and transform some nasty patterns away (thank god because if I kept that up any longer I was going to have to buy stock in Ben & Jerry's and Prozac).

But it's built others.  And now I can't seem to stop them.  I'm flying down the hill no brakes hands off the steering wheel.  And any minute I'm going to crash.  Spontaneously combust.  Fly off into space never to be seen or heard from again.  Because rocking body and soul that I now got they still aren't strong enough to hold the constant doing.  Moving.  Going.  Even God needed to rest on the seventh day.

I need a brake.  Break?  I'm just not sure how to safely stop the ride because I've never been on it before.

I need someone to flag down the conductor like my dad did when I was six and my cousins talked me into getting on the Siberian Sleigh ride.  My tears and screaming something even 23 years later I haven't be able to live down.

But it's hard to flag yourself down.  To press the stop button.  It's easier just to keep going.  Even through the tears and screams and threats of vomit.  Because if I get off the ride.  Say no to things.  I might let other people down.  And then we're right back were I started-eating worms because nobody likes me everybody hates me.

But I think back to what one of my very wise teachers once told me, "Saying no to one thing is saying yes to another."

So I'm saying yes to slowing down.  To stopping the ride.  To pausing.

At least long enough to eat lunch.

But for now I gotta go! ;)


Wishes for a New Year

On the eve of my 29th year I'm feeling like some what of a fraud. I'm a yoga teacher who doesn't have time to properly plan her classes. A counselor who often takes work related calls during dinner. A wellness coach who routinely skips breakfast and doesn't sit down to a regular lunch. And an adult who rarely has more than a grocery bill's worth of money in her checking account.

And while I have accomplished a lot this year...
5. Learn how to cross country ski
11. Teach a regular yoga class
16. Lose 50 30 15 pounds
17. Learn how to knit
31. Become a yoga teacher
47. Learn to be bien dans ma peau
63. Finish all the house projects (not my house, not my problem anymore!)
94. Graduate with honors
117. Quit my job
139. Learn how to hula hoop
142. Model for Dr. Sketchy’s (or rather fully nude for the Teton Arts Council numerous times)

It's time to get down to business...

First by becoming waaay more competent with money than I am.  Because no one wants to be 30 and still broke.  So numbers 56. Have a fat savings account of at least six months living expenses
and 57. Pay everything off are my top priorities this year.

Followed closely by 34. Own my own business (The Joie Revolution).  Since you know that will help with 56 & 57.

Then there are my I'm not really a yoga teacher because I can't goals that I need to strike off...
1. Hold Bakasana for an extended period of time (I'm soooo close on this one!)
2. Kick into Handstand on my own (Not so much on this one)
12. Finish my RYT-200 (even more important now that Anusara is in the toilet)

And since I'm still not sure where the wind will plant me I'm fairly certain these two might just happen out of necessity...
77. Throw out everything that I don't adore
26. Drive cross country with an important boy and see silly things

And if that important boy is smart he'll help make this one happen...
27. Ride in a hot air balloon
and this one...
4. Eat at the crazy french fry place in Boise

Then they're are just some fun ones...
68. Go on a yoga retreat
95. Make (gluten free) biscuits, pancakes, and pie crusts by heart

And a tedious one...
106. Back up all my files, clean my computer, update my software, get a freaking battery! (because my god I can't go another year fearing I'll lose everything I'm working on because the magnetic.  MAGNETIC power cord gets pulled loose.  Most brilliant and stupidest Apple invention ever.)

And one that quite frankly scares me...
137. Write a book  
But if I had a dollar for every person who told me I should do this, well then I'd have $5 dollars.  But those are five very important dollars given by five very important people.  And since I wrote this list years ago it finally feels time to give this one some serious thought.  Ok make that six dollars.  As the important boy reading over my shoulder just threw his 100 cents in.

So it seems like I got my work cut out for me this year Internet.  But if this one is anything like this past one I'm fairly certain the planets will align and I'll get it all done.  No seriously.  The planets will align.  Huffington Post said so.

I'm also fairly certain this year will bring me things I can't even imagine.  Because I'm typing this in my boyfriend's house in Idaho.  IDAHO.  Didn't really see that one coming.

So I can't wait.  Really.  This year's going to be amazing.  Especially since I have you.

Thank you for everything you do.  My life wouldn't nearly be as wonderful without you.

So much love,

Walking the Line

"Sometimes you walk the line
and sometimes it walks you."

Dear Internet,
Noah opened the weekend by telling the story of Shakuntala.  For those of you not familiar with ancient Indian myths I'll give you the Reader's Digest version below.  For those of you who are you can just skip this next part.

Shakuntala was out wandering in the woods, as young beautiful women in these kind of stories are apt to do.  Meanwhile King Dushyanta was out with his army hunting and killing things, as men in these kind of stories are apt to do.  He sees her and immediately has to have her.  So he asks around about who she is.  Finding out she's the daughter of a sage he's bummed because having her is a big no no.  Some caste system thing.

Heart heavy he decides he'll focus on killing deer and rides to the ashram in order to get permission to kill said animals on the sage's land.  Some ancient custom thing.

And lo and behold who's there?  The girl from the woods.  Who upon further inquiry turns out not to be the real daughter of the sage but the ADOPTED daughter.  Thus making his lust perfectly ok.

So they meet and instantly fall in love and birds begin to sing, and flowers bloom, and they get married and all is well.  Except the King has kingly things to do and must ride off and go kill more stuff leaving Shakuntala alone at the ashram.  As a promise that he swears he'll come back for her, he gives her his signet ring.

While he's gone Shakuntala is sooooo in love she doodles hearts and Shakuntala and Dushyanta Forever all over everything and can't really be bothered to properly do her job.  She forgets her duty and slights a very important guy.  In return, he curses her (of course).  The curse is that the object of her thoughts will forget her and will only remember upon being shown a personal token he's given her.  Shakuntala blows this off because she's got the ring she's good (you know where this is going don't you).

Soon she gets tired of waiting for her slow poke husband to come back for her and sets off to find him.  Along the way she loses the signet ring in a river.  Yeah.  Not good.

So she winds up in King Dushyanta's (her husband) court a stranger, pregnant, and claiming to be his wife.  Riiight.  Like single pregnant ladies have NEVER pulled that one before.  So even though she pleads, "Remember you saw me in the forest and we fell in love and got married and you pledged you'd come back for me and I sang Shakuntala and Dushyanta sitting in a tree so many times," he doesn't recognize her.  You know because of the curse.  And the fact that she up and lost the ring in the river.

So she gets thrown out of court and has to make a go of it on her own.

A while later a fisherman gets hauled into court and accused of stealing because he's in possession of the King's signet ring.  He says, "Wait a minute I just cut open a fish and inside its belly was this ring."

Upon seeing the ring, the King instantly remembers Shakuntala, rushes out of the palace, finds her, and they live happily ever after.

Yay.  Love and flowers and hearts.

Now for the moral of the story.  This part you can't skip.

We've all been Shakuntala.  So in love, so stirred by our heart's desires, so full of lust and desire and want we've forgotten our duty.  What we're supposed to do.  We've let things slide.  Wandered off the path.  Not washed the dishes.  Not followed through on projects.  Dropped the ring.  Because doing what feels good is often more fun than doing what's right.

"Sometimes you walk the line and sometimes it walks you."

Because let's face it walking the line is hard.  Our hearts are powerful organs.  They want things.  Desperately.

Sometimes those things are good and true and right and they keep us on the path.  And we are thankful for that burning desire that keeps us glued to the straight and narrow.

Other times though, our hearts want things that are bad and false and wrong.  And we get pulled from the path only to find ourselves wandering around the in woods lost, alone, and without a king to rescue us.

So our practice becomes distinguishing between the two.  Between figuring out what is actually good and true and right and what is bad and false and fattening (as my heart usually wants Ben & Jerry's).

But we're not always good at that.  Sometimes it takes us a while to recognize that our choice wasn't the best most authentic life affirming one.  Hopefully though, like Dushyanta, something causes us to remember.  To wake us up.  To move us back to the path.  And we start walking again.  One baby step at the time.  One shaky foot in front of the other.  One breath to the next.  We walk the line.  Even when it's hard.  Even when our hearts desperately want something else.

Because that's the only good and true and right thing we can do.


PS-I won't pretend there aren't threads of what's currently happening in the Anusara community in this.  There are.  My hope is Anusara can find its way back to the path because right now it's so lost and alone in the woods and it really needs a King to rescue it.

D: All of the Above

Dear Internet,
This month marks the halfway point in my internship and the beginning of my existential crisis.

When I packed up and moved across the country to live in the back of a yoga studio I never expected to love it.  I thought I'd do my time.  Learn some things about running a business.  Get some experience teaching yoga.  And let my mind reset from two long years of intense graduate school work.  Then I'd move back east and get on with my life.  Like a normal adult person.

But no.  I had to go and fall in love with this place.  Not to mention find someone who I like more and more each day.

Which presents a problem.  A big glaring one the post office hammered home when I updated my forwarding address information earlier this week.  "Do you ever plan on living at your old address again?"

Do I ever plan on living at my old address again?  Ha.  Why not just ask me how much I weigh?  Or what my political beliefs are.  Or what color underwear I'm wearing.  At least those, while personal, I could answer.

But that one.  The one about where I'm going to live.  How exactly do I answer that Internet?  Because well maybe, who knows, it depends on...doesn't exactly fit into the yes or no box I had to check.  Much like most of my life really.  Except what I currently own.  I could probably get that into a box.

But this.  What I'm doing.  Where I'm going to live?  Who I'm going to live with? If I'm moving back home?  If I ever plan on living at my old address again.  How I'm going to make a living.  Not really yes/no box material anymore.

What I do isn't neat and tidy.  I don't punch in at 9 and out at 5.  I have many boxes that I juggle on any given day.  Daughter.  Friend.  Employee.  Yoga Teacher.  Counselor.  Intern.  Blogger.  Figure drawing model.  Girlfriend.  Skier.  Really terrible broomball player.

This isn't third grade anymore.  I can't just check a box and hold hands at recess.  Relationships.  Jobs.  Life.  Isn't as easy.  There are consequences to your checks and I's dotted with hearts.

Boxes now have meaning and weight.  Sometimes they are hard to hold.  They're heavy (Student Loan Ower, Broke Intern) and you'd like to huck them off the side of a cliff and never see them again (Student Loan Ower, Broke Intern).

Other times you have so many boxes checked you have to go to bed and start over in the morning because you can't hold them all (Intern, Personal Assistant, Counselor, Girlfriend, Sane Person).

But then sometimes you don't have enough.  And those boxes you want to check (Successful, Financially Secure) seem just out of reach and you wake up anxious about how you're going to pull everything off this month.  How you're going to pay for your gluten free, vegan soup AND mortgage.

Others are so easy they help lighten your load (Girlfriend, Friend) until they do something annoying like dye their hair or don't return your calls.

But none of them are simple.  Are yes/no and forget about it.  They all take work.  They all have repercussions.  And your checking them or not can hurt.

And I'm not ready for that particular hurt.  So, I let that yes/no where are you going to live box hang over my head.  Let my mail be on temporary forward.  Let what my permanent life looks like be on hold.

Because I honestly don't know what to do.  Which box to check.


And I have plenty of others to tend to (Intern, Personal Assistant, Counselor, Girlfriend, Friend, Daughter, Sane Person).