Monday, December 30, 2013

Completion? Never!

A couple weeks ago, I posted this, which was supposed to be the last one in the first month of studying the yamas and niyamas of yoga a bit more thoroughly. Theoretically, I should have moved on by now and should be well into the second month of this study course.

I'm still sticking with this first month. Partially because of the holidays... it just seemed appropriate somehow to be able to tell yourself "you are complete in this moment" when dealing with the pressures of socializing and gift giving and all the foibles and crazy emotions that can surface this time of year. But also, this just seemed like a lesson I needed to stick with a little longer.

I just keep telling myself: You are enough in this moment.

Somehow, slowly, all the other stuff is starting to fall away. Bit by bit. Sometimes the stuff comes back and I have to let it fall away again.

But that's the thing. If you keep telling yourself "I am enough in this moment" eventually you start to believe it. So much of our mental monologues are exactly the opposite:
     "You could do so much better."
     "You are so fat."
     "Do you really think they care about anything you say?"
     "What are you thinking? You are so stupid."
     "That dream is stupid. Give it up, you could never do that."
     "You're so untalented."

You get to decide what that inner monologue says. Whatever you tell yourself, you'll believe. So why not tell yourself you are enough? Because you are. You are enough. You are exactly as you are meant to be in this moment.

And so am I.




Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yesterday I Faked a Good Mood with Caffeine and I'm Okay with That.

Of course, today I'm paying for it. I couldn't fall asleep last night, and once I did it was bad sleep and I woke up way too early considering I worked the equivalent of a week and a half in four days.

Four very long days.

I'm tired, yo.

Today I will not be using a societally approved substance to improve my mood. I'm just gonna roll with the crappiness and hope that it balances out over the next 24 hours.

Also, I am going to see the second Anchorman movie this afternoon. If that doesn't work, all is lost.


Stay classy everyone.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in a Few Easy Step

Preview: The Waking. This is the view from my brother's house at around 7:30am. All of the trees are still coated in ice. Shiny!

Introduction: Take a look and decide someone else can play Santa. Every Christmas haul should include windshield wiper fluid.

Step 1: Our traditional Christmas breakfast: blueberry muffins, tea ring, and biscotti. To be eaten while opening presents.

Step 1.5: Look down at the breakfast/present opening aftermath and say: who wants to clean this up?

Step 2: After breakfast is cleared out, bring out the appetizers.  Our traditional veggie platter and cheese ball, non-traditional spinach dip (it was a big hit), non traditional pesto and tomato puff pastries, and the very traditional cookies. Which are actually considered a part of every meal from Noon Christmas Eve until New Year's Day.

Step 3: The main meal. This year, it is a non-traditional yet extremely tasty brisket,  with mashed potatoes, squash, carrots, cranberry compote, "shiverin' liz", boiled onions and cider. The wine was consumed (by me at least) with the appetizers. 

Step 4: Somehow drive home, unpack everything, put on your new flannel pajamas and drink some hot lemon and honey tea in an attempt to digest steps 1-3. There is no picture for this because, let's face it you don't wanna look at that.

Merry Christmas everyone. May you find abundant happiness, health and blessings.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

How in the world did Christmas Eve get here? Didn't we just do this?! Man, this year has gone by too, too quickly.

When I look back at where I was this time last year, it boggles the mind. My boyfriend had just broken up with me a month and a half prior, and I was struggling to put on a brave face. While friends and family were secretly saying good-riddance, my broken heart was focused on all the good things, all of the things I loved about him.

My head knew that it was the right thing, but my poor heart wouldn't hear it. My head kept trying to skip ahead to forgiveness. It kept trying to tell me to let go of my anger and hurt, that it was no good to dwell on such things, because I was the master of my own suffering. All I needed to do was let go and my suffering would end.

But you know what? While that sentiment is true it overlooks a very important point: you can't let go of something until you first experience it. It's one thing to hold on to anger long after it serves your purpose; it's quite another to get unceremoniously dumped via email five days before your one year anniversary and tell yourself that your anger is pointless.

Um, yeah. Your anger isn't pointless, it is justifiable. Moreover, IT'S OKAY TO BE ANGRY. Feel it, revel in it. BE angry. After you've been justifiably angry, then you can let it go. Then you can begin to move toward forgiveness. But the thing is, you can't take the journey without going through all the shit in the road.

The journey has taken me the better part of the year, and I credit the yoga teacher training with helping me through the vast majority of it. It was a solace, it challenged me, and it got me up and out when I wanted to hide away. It helped me see that while letting go of that which no longer served was the goal, our emotions were given to us and to do anything but experience them to the fullest was to deny a gift from the Divine.

So after a year of slogging through the shit, I feel I can truly say I am on the other end this journey. I have forgiven and moved forward with my life. I am grateful for the journey, and I am excited to see where I am going to go in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Bright Blessings



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Beauty in Chaos

You don't "scrape" this kind of ice off the car. You crank the heat, turn the scraper over and hammer it off. Took me about 40 minutes to get most of it off.










Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blessed Icy Solstice

Yeah, that storm is still rolling through. It let up for a while during the day, but the worst of it is coming through tonight and through most of tomorrow. Many places already have up to a half-inch of ice. I haven't looked too hard outside since the sun went down, but I'm sure we've some as well. I've still got electricity, but I'm sure that's going to go out at some point tonight.

I find it kind of interesting that this powerful storm is raging through tonight, and is almost sure to send a large portion of us into the dark. Tonight, the longest night of the year. The Winter Solstice. It's a time to slow down, to go inward. To finish what needs finishing and to welcome the start of something new.

How ironic that we are being told by well, every official in the states of New York and Vermont plus every local weatherman to slow down, to stay in. Mother Nature has decided that we're all going to celebrate the solstice here, whether you want to or not.

With the Christmas season having gotten so out of control, it is nice to be reminded that there is this time set aside that doesn't have to be so insane. Even if you're not a Yule person, surely an evening set aside for yourself, to complete your goals, to settle your inner universe appeals. There doesn't have to be any gifts, or a special dinner, or anything (although you certainly could if you wanted). Your Yule log could be as simple as a candle keeping the dark at bay.

And as the electricity is slowly taken out of the picture for many of us tonight, more and more candles will be lit. More and more people will slow down. The televisions won't work, anything that needs charging will slowly cease to be useful, and it will just be people, families, huddled close for warmth and comfort, being with each other and waiting for the light to come back into the world.

Blessed Be.



Friday, December 20, 2013

Ice Storm

As in, they're calling for one in my area this weekend. There is a freak weather event this weekend where half the state will be warm (like, into the 50s) and have torrential rain. The other half of the state will be in this weird limbo where some will have rain, some snow, and some ice.

Yeah, I live in the area where they're calling for ice.

I'm kinda freaking out. A LOT. I have electric heat so when that goes out (and it's an ice storm, it will go out) I am essentially frakked. My main hope is that the power stays on tonight and the outages are relegated to a few hours Saturday night or in to Sunday.

I am woefully unprepared. I have exactly one candle and one flashlight. I have some batteries charging and some food I don't need to cook (hello PB&Js), but if the power goes out for an extended period of time, I'm looking at the possibility of frozen pipes.

The last time this area had any kind of ice storm was back in 1998, and it ravaged the area. They were cleaning up for years after that, and some forested areas haven't been the same since. You say "ice storm" to anyone who lived through it the last time and they look at you like you've just said "Voldemort". I was just out of the freeze zone last time; I don't think I'll be that lucky this time around.

I have to go in to work tomorrow. Oddly enough, it will probably be safer in the ski town than where I live. There is a lull in the weather tomorrow morning and I will go in early just to be safe. I will probably stop at a hardware store on my way in and stock up on candles etc. I will also look to see if they have any battery-operated heaters. Does that even exist?

I am considering heading to my mother's to ride out the storm. Even though she is considerably closer to the Canadian border than I am, the way the weather is going at the moment, it will actually be warmer up there than where I live, so the rain will probably stay rain.

What I should do is head down to my friend's house in the southern part of the state. Just straight rain. If it would stick to just rain or just snow, I could deal. I am seriously freaking out.

It's times like this when you seriously wish fireplaces were the main source of heat. You don't have to worry about the power going out... just having enough wood.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Completion

This week marks the last week of the first month of my ongoing yamas/niyams project. If you've missed these, you can look at Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. These exercises can be found in this book.

For this final week of exploration of Ahimsa, the yama that means "non-violence", my exercise is this:
For this whole week, pretend that you are complete. There is no need to expect anything from yourself or to criticize or judge or change anything about you. No need to compete with anyone, no need to be more than you are (or less than you are).
This one floored me. It actually stopped me in my tracks and I think my jaw dropped a little bit. Me? Complete? OK as I am? Since when have I ever been okay as I am, with no need to judge or change anything? Me, who felt like I made a grievous mistake this past weekend when I made hot towels for work and another therapist decided to wring more water out of them then I would have. I felt like a failure for not making hot towels the same way as someone else. 

Last week I thought it was going to be interesting because my exercise was to not run interference on other's lives. But to not run interference on my own life? Where did I pick up these impossibly high standards I hold myself up to, and why do I expect others to claw to a top I can't even find?

Whenever I make a mistake, I feel guilty. I have failed as a person on some basic level because I goofed up. I have Let Someone Down. You would think that after all this time of not living up to my own expectations, I'd have given up and embraced the life of an under-achiever. Nope. I'm still chasing that elusive, impossible goal of Doing Everything Right All The Time, Every Time.

What if I let go? What if I was enough, with all my faults and flaws and quirks and foibles? What if I simply allowed myself to be?

Maybe I'll have to sit with this one for more than a week, 'cause holy shit this one brought up some stuff.

The masks we wear, pretending to be something other than we are...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snowy Days Mean You Should Bake Something

We've got maybe six inches where I live, although I have friends who live outside my area with considerably more. Still, I'm using the snow as an excuse to cozy in and just make of day of relaxing.

Oh, and baking.



Even I'm surprised this is what I ended up making. It's based on the recipe for Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook. Although I didn't quite have all the ingredients (or a pie pan. Ahem.) so I had to make do. As a result, once you try to serve it, you end up with essentially a roasted apple crisp. But hey! It tastes AMAZING.

Noms.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Storm Preparedness Level: MASTER (or fool, depends on how bad this actually gets)

Our first major snow storm of the season is upon us. In just a few short hours, the hills will be alive with the sound of plow trucks.

My plans for this evening have been cancelled (driving 2 hours one way to perform in a show just didn't seem like such a good idea under the circumstances), so I have done what every self-respecting Vermonter does when faced with a snow storm. I stocked up on the necessities:

Let's see... wine, chips 'n dip, chocolate, mineral bath, Buffy on DVD... yeah I think that
covers the necessities. The Bailey's is if things really start going down hill.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dreams

Gotta love 'em.

Last night I dreamt I was in a car trying to get out of a parking garage. I kept following the signs for the exit, but every time I arrived at an off-ramp, it turned into stairs and then a wall so I was stuck in the parking garage.

Pretty telling, eh?

So apparently I either A) need new signs or B) need to ignore all the ones I'm getting.

Which is kinda not the point of getting signs, isn't it?


Monday, December 9, 2013

Just Call Me Lucy.

I believe I've mentioned before that my kindergarten teacher once told my mom that I reminder her of Lucy from the Peanuts, because I was always telling everyone else what to do. Now, she and my mom were friends and it was not said in the spirit of meanness, and frankly we all thought it was funny. Mainly because it's true.

I am a bossy girl.

I admit it. I've known practically all of my life. I come from a long line of bossy ladies, and let me tell you when we all get together it can get interesting.

I try to mitigate it as much as possible, but I've come to learn the hard way that while I might display certain leadership abilities, I have yet to figure out how to keep my more negative bossy tendencies out of the game. Which is why I've never actually made it to management in my careers, mostly of my own choosing. I've had spectacular managers (I have one now and she is truly amazing) and I've had wretched managers; I know myself well enough to know that while I strive eternally for the former I have the tendencies of the latter. So, I don't let myself be in management.

So I find it ironic that on my Third Week of exercises in my book The Yamas and Niyamas is this:
This week, watch where you are running interference on others' lives. Are you a worrier? A fixer? Discern the difference between "help" and "support." Notice what you might be avoiding in your own life because you are so interested in others' lives.
I am so very guilty of this. And I feel guilty that I do this. I try not to, but sometimes (especially if I am stressed about other things in life) I start being picky and over-controlling of other's lives. Which is ridiculous. It is going to be an interesting week, and I look forward to maybe learning a few things about letting go.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Always Speak Your Truth. Unless You're on a Date. In Which Case, STFU.

I have been doing the dating thing way longer than I care to admit. In all of my experience, I have yet to figure out a way to graciously get out of seeing someone else again.

I'm not talking about "we've been dating for x-number of weeks/months/years/decades and it isn't working out." Because that is its own level of suckiness and there's no getting around the heart-ache that goes with it. You just gotta suck it up and do it and deal with the fallout.

I'm talking about that date that we've all been on: you hang out for an hour or two and you talk and maybe there are a few okay bits but overall you're just not feeling it even though they've done absolutely nothing wrong and they're perfectly fine as a person but there's just nothing there and it's pretty obvious (to you, at least) that there's really no point in a second date.

Except as you say good-bye they ask "so... do you wanna do this again?"

And this is where I falter. Because I have an inability to say "no, not really" directly to this poor guy's face. It's mean. And you can't say "it's not you it's me" because it has become so cliche that it now means it has everything to do with them. So, I end up saying sure and then do this passive-aggressive dance of never being available until they get the hint.

Which is also mean. And unfair.

And yes, I've had it done to me. In fact, I have been on the receiving end of every crappy dating avoidance method to which I've resorted. After all, turn about is fair play.

It's best to ponder escape methods and avoidance protocols with a good martini. 

If I could say "You're nice and all, but I just don't think there's a connection between us" without it sounding like "I've judged you and reject you", I could probably finally date without feeling guilty about not wanting to see this person again.

And yes, I do realize that there is a certain amount of projection happening on my behalf. I am assuming they'll feel rejected, which may not be the case at all. It may be they feel as ambivalent as I, yet they feel they have to ask for a second date so as not to hurt my feelings. Or, you know, not. Maybe they felt something I didn't and then my reply would feel like a rejection. Because, again, I've been on the experiencing end of that too.

Sigh. Now I know why arranged marriage was so popular for so long.


UPDATE: I ended up sending an email apologizing for the mixed messages and generally acting like a high school junior. I've owned up to my actions and spoke my truth as gently as possible. It's really all I can do. Hopefully what I learn from all this is to say what I mean and not what I think they want to hear.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Balance

Last week, the challenge was to explore your own courage by doing something you wouldn't normally do, and/or something that scared you.

Overall, I think that went pretty well. Although most of it was "small potatoes," sometimes just having an attitude of positivity (sure, I'll do that) makes huge changes.

This week, the challenge is to listen to your body and discover what it needs to find balance.

So far, it's needed a ton of sleep one day and a ton of caffeine the next.

I don't think I'm doing this right.

Well, now that I've swung from one end to the other, let's see if I can't land in the middle somewhere.


Today, You are Ten

Well, as far as we know, anyway. We're not sure of your exact birthday, so we use your "Gotcha Day" instead. You've been...