Tuesday, June 26, 2012

change is good

A yoga lesson from this Sunday's class - in what could be pages and pages of blog thoughts I had during that class, I just want to document this thought for right here & now:

Krista, my favorite yoga teacher, at the end of the 90 minutes of class, said,
 "remember where you were when you first came to class and notice where you are now."
It made me think:

Just the other day, a few days after writing my introspective 31st Happy Birthday post,
I read the blog from when I turned 29 .
Reading between the two of them, there's a change…there's a difference, and it's a good change.
{pause here to thank God for this online journal I've kept, these are the moments in which I'm most greatful for keeping a diary here, for keeping a record of me for me}

In between 29 and 31, I had a lot of shitty stuff, a lot of nights spend crying in my pillow, in my car, at my console, just crying cause I was hurt, confused, frustrated, angry...
I've spent a lot of time in these last couple of years: learning, hurting, bending, molding..(insert verb).

It made me think of a belated birthday card I just got from my oldest, wisest Aunt Esther, she wrote that 31 snuck up on me (you're telling me!) she remembers the first time she saw me at the hospital when I was a newborn, but she's enjoying watching me grow through all my life's experiences.

In all this reminiscing I've done lately and listening to the Universe, I'm seeing that despite how hard it seems some days, I am coming out on the other side and it's a pretty good feeling.
 I was commenting to a friend the other day that I sometimes feels stagnant, like things just don't progress, that  it's the same shit but different day.
Looking back, that's not the case. Change is gradual - occasionally sprinkled with moments of utter chaos and decisions that you make in a split second that seem to alter your universe, but mostly graudual.

In my post-yoga mental clarity, I literally compared my life and my own progression to the practice of hot yoga and getting from the beginning to the end of class:
It takes some heat, some sweat, some dedication, some mental stamina, some quieting of your mind, some focusing on your breathing, some practice over and over and over again, but slowly you make progress, you learn to streatch, you learn to push yourself, you learn to set goals, and with all those things working continuously, taking them one moment at a time, eventaully you see a change.


Change is good.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

B.A. Matador

I believe in things just coming together...
I believe in timing...
I believe in fate...

I believe that somehow, someway, in my struggle to stay awake on this long, long shift I volunteered for, it was just meant for me to stumble across this website, MatadorU travel writer's course, while I was just, simply looking for a travel quote. 

My friend and fellow blogger, Lynn sent me this article earlier in the evening.

Via email at 0029 hours this early morning, I responded to my admissions counselor about changing my major to a B.A. in  Business Marketing.

My co-worker, Kelli, was visting with me last night remniscing about her college-aged daughter's travels as a missinoary, blogging, writing, and photographing hospice patients and school children in Ethiopia.  "Kelli, if I could do it all over again, I'd be a travel writer."  I said those actual word less than 8 hours ago.

This is not a co-incidence.  This is another message from the Universe. 

Bucket list:  #46 and #54, I'm coming for you.

We will meet soon.

X.O. ~ Lo

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just be Honest

Oh Jason Mraz, you're in my head! 
I'm in lyrical lust with your newest album, Love is a Four Letter Word. 

This song:  Be Honest

Ok go, go hang your heart on, any tree, 

You can make yourself available to anybody, 

Cause every livin' person knows you are a prize, 

Whichever way you go I'll be easy to find, 
I don't ask for much, just be honest, with me 
I don't ask for much 

Think of this song as a promise you can do what you want, 

If you decide you wanna move into a new stage, 

Deleting me from pages in your mission statement, 
My love is unconditional, make no mistake, 
I don't ask for much, just be honest, with me, 
I don't ask for much, just be honest, with me, 

Who we are, when love is what it wants to be, 

We are free, and we are, having the best day ever by far, 

Being treated to the light, like a superstar 

I acknowledge you for what you do to keep strong, 
There's no dotted line to sign away your freedom, 
I'll always stand beside you, don't get me wrong, 
I don't ask for much, just be honest, with me, 

Who we are, when love is what it wants to be, 

We are free and, we are, having the best day ever by far, 

Being treated to the light, like a superstar 

If the picture that I painted wasn't very nice, 

My love is standing by you whatever you decide, 
I don't ask for much, just be honest, with me, 
I don't ask for much, just be honest, with me 

Who we are, when love is what it wants to be, 

We are free, and we are having the best day ever by far, 

Yes we are... Yes we are..

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

in the last few days, weeks, and couple of months:
 I got honest with myself and with someone else
appreciated what it's like to have someone stick by you
realized the importance of just letting go
embraced trusting that what will be will be 
made a lifelong commitment to remember to just take it one breath at a time
I got this birthday message from my dad: 
"Happy Birthday.  May that young man (          ) see the riches of your person, not to pass by.  
Love, your DaD"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

just {.......} breathe

in this blog, this Karma journal of mine,over the course of four years, I have labeled no fewer than
33 blog posts with "just breathe"
working out, sifting through heartache, taking chances, enduring hot yoga...no matter what the cause, I've found myself, my inner, small, sweet voice, my own Jiminy Cricket, at times that loud Scarlett O'Hara, saying ...just breathe...just breathe...just breathe...

@ noon, on my birthday, just a few days ago, I walked in with a handful of pictures, and idea, and told the artist what I wanted.  He drew it up, put the temporary stencil on my arm, and when I saw it, I loved it.  I took one breath, and said "ok, let's make this thing fly"

...just breathe... my motto, my mantra...

and anchor: to remind me who I am, where I come from, and Who made me

a bird: to remind me that anchors are not weights, they're place markers, beacons, and while you can be anchored, you can always remember that you can take a deep breath, exhale, and then take a leap and spread your wings and fly

Friday, June 15, 2012


and so today is my 31st birthday...officially 7 minutes ago
although I was actually born at 2:18 in the morning 31 years ago

I've been more than contemplative lately and this stroke of midnight was no exception

What has changed since last year?  What more or less have I become?
not much I started to think...but then I stopped that thought and it all started coming back to me
so, of course, I came here, like I do when I'm listening to my heart

I turned on the music to keep me company and of course by some manner of mind trickery, Adele radio was playing and this song was the first that came on - if I could have made the record scratch, I would have...oh, it's funny actually.  It is.  I'm finding myself chuckling and rolling my eyes at the irony.  The Karma of it all.

but, let me not get sidetracked -  onto to the ever important 30 > - < 31 in the dash moments 

In the last year, I have:

} finally gotten my space, my freedom, my own house, my independence
} lost two dear friendships and let go of my relationship with my father - during that process I also let go of a lot of anger and hurt, there are still streaks of it there, but they don't rule me like they used to
} gained a great appreciation for someone who was always there, but I never saw until recently, I literally drove from one great friendship to the next in the matter of hours...one of my favorite memories
} over all gained more new friends than I "lost" for true friends are never really lost, sometimes you just have to part ways for a while
}saw my brother cross a 4 month finish line, I watched him turn into something that I never knew he had in him
} took a call that has turned out to be a career defining - in this moment, I can say that, if by some misfortune or lottery moment, I handed over my headset tomorrow, I could walk away knowing that there was "that" call that I knew I had meant to step into this profession for nearly 15 years ago
} have felt the call of somewhere else that is calling me "home" but it's just not revealed itself yet...but I hear it more distinctly than ever
} decided to change my major to Business Marketing, something I never considered until it hit me that it might push me in the direction of finding my career passion - I'm looking forward to updating this next year
} lost a dear, sweet love that I called family, an end that we knew was going to end all too soon, but never knowing when that might happen
} opened myself up to more relationship possibilities than I have in all of my 20's...none were right, all were lessons, nothing's broken me, I'm still learning every day, right now every hour, I'm working really hard on the relationship with myself and my life and being thankful for all that I have to share with someone else
} planted two garden beds that had been on my list for three years
} completed 3 competitive runs, including a mud run, things that I always wanted to do, but never imagined I could
} joined yoga, bootcamp, a new gym, and a new appreciation for marathon running and outdoor adventure
} felt more comfortable in my skin than I have in previous years
} started a new venture 
} went under the knife, and out to the world for my first time, and then 6 days later for my second
} survived
} grew my hair out, brought my waist in, and saw myself through someone else's appreciative eyes
} spoke my mind without regret
} started mending fences 
} wrote...and wrote...and wrote some more - I'm looking up now at the words above this bullet point and I see my life, my journey, my hopes, my sorrows, my dreams, my hurts, my wishes, my love, my hate, a girl who wants her dad, a kid who wants her best friend again, a woman who is learning what it is like to open her heart and not fear getting rejected, and a public servant understanding the bind that is an oath

I am admitting to myself more now than ever, that my heart is open, it's feeling and seeking all the time, not as closed off as it used to be - torn open by sorrow, hurt, and loss, but being washed by tears and the kind of laughter that only comes when you've gone through the worst of it, and not around it, not over it, but straight through it, stuck to your decisions, your words, or taken the high road, the humble road and made amends.

next year...in "32", what will have changed?  What will have occurred?  I don't know...the older I get, the less I realize that I have to let life happen organically, not planned and executed according to my plan but according to my Creator's.

today, I am 31 years young and I know that the best is yet to come

Thursday, June 14, 2012

smile, breathe

Yoga 1 week later, same circumstances, didn't leave the house all day, it was hot outside, I was feeling down, but 10 minutes until it would have been too late to leave for class, I just convinced myself to go because it just does me so good (so, soo good) and Krista, well she is just such a great teacher it made my  decision that much easier.

It was 96..7…8...9* degrees outside on this June afternoon.
The room inside was just as hot.

Vinyasa, for all intensive purposes it means flow.
Imagine, move and hot, move in hot, then move and hot, and then more move in hot: 
an imagine puddle of sweat was happening.
It started quickly and progressed from a plop..plop..plop, to a constant stream. 
 My mind chuckled recalling wanting to be in a pool just the other day and realizing that I got my wish:
I was in a pool...of my own sweat.

Krista, she told a story to set the intention for the class - she spent the earlier part of her afternoon in the Mission District, and having to use the restroom, found the closest one in a seedy bar a few doors down the block. The bathroom walls covered in ink and graffiti, the messages scrawled not to be repeated in class save one: Smile, you never know it might change someone else's day.
I haven't been smiling a lot, really at all.
I took that message as personal and to heart.
Another reminder: with the good, the bad, the ugly, let it all out, get through it, open your heart.

"Bow to your practice, bow to your friends,
and from an old lady, when you find real, genuine friends, keep them."
Oh that message, the message of clinging to, treasuring, and holding your friends close,
that one spoke straight to the heart of me.

It was a really tough class. I felt really strong and then I felt really weak.
It was a battle, but that was fine today because warrior pose is my favorite
and there was a lot of warrior flow today.

Standing there, feet planted intentionally, arms outstretched, staring down my arm towards my fingertips like I was staring down barrel of a gun, watching the sweat glisten off my arm, over my shoulder, past the tattoos, rolling to my forearm, and then dripping down off my elbow onto the floor.
I felt strong standing there like that.
As we came to the end, she said this is a special class "my lambs, because this is my last for this time slot."

I sunk a little bit.

She said "it's too hot and I am too old to keep teaching in this hot of a class, my mother was younger than me when she passed and I have to listen to my body."
I can understand that.
When I looked up, I noticed 3 or 4 other women crying, and I know what that feels like,
'cause I come to yoga for the same reasons they do.

Much to our comfort and to stop our tears, Krista assured us she would still be teaching Sunday, Mellow Flow. Church Flow, that's what she calls it, and that's what I call it too.
It'll go on, they'll be another great teacher for the midafternoon class and I'll keep going to Church Flow,
but just when I thought this class would be an easy go of it, it never is.

Be with your breath.

Just keeps reminding me of the birthday present that I am going to get and all of the moments in life when you have to remember to breath, and that really if you can't breath, you can't live.

If you're heart stops beating, your lungs stop pumping.
Even while you're heart can still pump, your lungs can stop breathing and although we've found ways to work around that, lack of breath is lack of life.

It's the painful and deliberate consideration of compassion family members have to make when they have loved ones at the end. Do we let them live on machines?
What kind of quality of life is that?
We've had those conversations in my family,
more frequently now as the older generation continues to get older

Very, very recently, I know what the pain of that decision looks like, what it feels like, what it does to a family. The decision to "unhook" the machines and let the last few breaths come
slow, unsteady, but natural until the last one.

I hear the words echo in my head from a memorial service I just attended a few weeks prior:
"It was my privilege to be there for my precious baby to take her first breath, and it was my privilege to be there, on Mother's Day, to hold her in my arms as she took her last."
The end of breath is the end of life.
Well, life here, in this body, as we know it tangibly.

Still thinking, of all the times you're nervous and someone said to you, your mom,
your coach, your trainer, your best friend "just take a deep breath"

All those times I've said it, hundreds.of.thousands.of.times now over the.course.of.my.10-year.career:
"just take a deep breath"
"just calm down and then answer me"
"just remind them to breathe"
"are they breathing?"
"can you feel, see, or hear any breath coming out?"
"just keep monitoring their breathing and let me know if anything changes"

Labor, bringing life into the world, what do they teach you?
Breathe, you have to breathe, breathe through the contraction, breathe through the pain.

So any question I had about my birthday present has been put to rest.

Just breathe.
Smile and just breathe.

everything old is new again

I've started a new project, a marketable challenge, I'm only 2 posts in, and then I screeched to a halt...
what am I doing?  A new chapter?  Out with the old and in with the new?

this blog, my Karma blog that I started in 2008, the one that's seen me through so much, my life raft, my safety harness...am I abandoning it?  Fracturing it into little pieces or new volumes? Recreating an old classic?

am I fooling myself into thinking that if I start one with a new title, I'll...what, exactly?
be braver?
what am I hiding? ...what are you hiding?...

I'm not.  I'm not hiding, but this (the marrying of the two) is like leaving your diary unlocked and out in the open because you don't want your secrets to be secret anymore.  It still has a cover, but it's not bound.  It's there for the reading, if the reader so chooses.

this space will always be mine, it was once only mine, and like any good relationship, it takes time to reveal itself...these 300+ posts are my heart and my soul, my love and my hate, and they will always be here, to anchor me, to remind me where I once was, to keep showing me how far I've come.  I'm not done writing this volume either, but, as I look back, these stories they have to be told...they just need a new platform

so, slowly...slowly, I'll dust them off, shine them up, and put them out on display...because everything old is new again

and that's just another part of my beautiful mess

Details in the Fabric

This song, another love at first sound...music is saving me again.  The weather has finally cooled, I'm well past my bedtime, my eyes.are.tired...but I can't pull myself away from the computer screen, from the keyboard that fits so well underneath my fingers.  This is my safe harbor these days.

Jason Mraz, this make three.  Three nights, three songs, three sets of lyrics that pull me in. 

Calm down 
Deep breaths 
And get yourself dressed instead 
Of running around 
And pulling all your threads and 
Breaking yourself up 

If it's a broken part, replace it 
If it’s a broken arm then brace it 
If it's a broken heart then face it 

And hold your own 
Know your name 
And go your own way 
Hold your own 
Know your name 
And go your own way 

And everything will be fine 

Monday, June 11, 2012


under pressure


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Why Georgia Why?

Four more exits to my apartment but
I am tempted to keep the car in drive
and leave it all behind

Cause I wonder sometimes
about the outcome
of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, why Georgia, why?

I rent a room and I fill the spaces with
wood in places to make it feel like home
but all I feel's alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
or just the stirring in my soul

Either way, I wonder sometimes
about the outcome
of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, why Georgia, why?

So what, so I've got a smile on me
but it's hiding the quiet superstitions in my head
Don't believe me
Don't believe me
When I say I've got it down

Everybody is just a stranger but
that's the danger in going my own way
I guess it's the price I have to pay
still "Everything happens for a reason"
is no reason not to ask myself

If I'm living it right

Am I living it right?
Why, tell me why
Why, why Georgia why?

~ John Mayer 

God knows I'm tough enough

It is a struggle for me right now to not to cannibalize myself with introspection.  It applies to everything I feel, see, hear...I find myself just reminding myself to breathe.  It's a whisper...just breathe, just breathe, just breathe. 

Sitting here catching up on email, checking up on my friends, debating if there's anything else to say that I didn't say two days ago, forcing myself to get out of bed for the day after finally getting some sleep.  The wind is eerie, it's too quiet in this house.  For all those years, I just wanted my own space, I just wanted to be able to think without interruption, now it's too quiet. It's lonely quiet. Just the clacking of the keyboard that sits on my lap and the clacking of the dog's nails on the hardwood floor.  Thank God for her, she keeps the best company, I love that dog.

That small, quiet voice inside me said, "turn on the music Lauren"... After all, I made a pledge to make it my best friend again.  Music has saved me so many times.  I forgot about it, but I wrote a speech on the power of music in college.  I got an A.  It wasn't hard to talk about, it wasn't hard to bring the audience into my enthusiasm I had for it.   What exactly did I say?  I don't know, but whatever it was, it worked.  

So here I am, trying to find some balance in my mind, and then {this Jason Mraz song} comes on. I've heard it here and there for the last few months.  It's beautiful, not over orchestrated.  The first time I heard it I was in my bedroom putting away clothes, it came floating out over the speakers that are in the bathroom - yes, I put speakers in the bathroom for one reason and one reason alone - singing in the shower.  It's awesome, but I digress.  As soon as I heard it, I knew that this song would make the list.  To my ears, it was love at first sound.  

Despite the title of this song, it's not a song about broken or empty promises, trying to desperately breathe life into a love lost, falling in love with a dream, or wishing on shooting stars. I picked out the lyrics that spoke to me.  Just me individually.

I Won't Give Up On Us

Hmmmm ... Hmmmm ... Hmmmm ... Hmmm ...

When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it

No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not
And who I am

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
Still looking up.

I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

How old is my soul?  Older than it should be? Maybe not.  I've heard this time and time again for years now.  "You have an old soul."  I don't always know what that means, but I know it's a compliment.  I know that when I tell people that about myself, they smile back at me, and the ones that have their own old soul, it's unspoken between us.  The smile that you get in your eyes that says "Yeah, I got it, I got you." 

I am still looking Up.  I am.  I always know I can, even when I'm doing my own navigating and I find myself lost.  Trust.  It's my biggest struggle.  Trust that I'm doing the right thing, that I'm headed in the right direction, that the things I need to do that petrify me I can do if I trust enough.  Trust that things happen for a reason, that they end up the way they were always supposed to, that some day it will all make sense.  

Navigating - its a shitstorm out there sometimes.  Ultimately, I have to do it all on my own, I have to be happy and content in myself, with myself.  I think that's why so many relationships fall apart, dependence on someone else to make you happy.  Navigating comes easier by the way of family, good friends, confidants, people that you can relate to, that let you know you're not the only one out there trying to find the way.  That's where words hold their power, where writers who can express emotion by way of a phrase can make words simply priceless.  That's where lyrics speak louder than anything.  The "ah-ha!" moments when you hear something that speaks to everything you're feeling and thinking that you thought no one else could relate to.  

We do have a lot to learn - and by we, I mean I.  I have a lot to learn.  The older I get, the less I know.  The more I think I know, the more I get proven wrong.  I'm learning something right now.  I don't know what it is.  It hurts whatever it is.  It's numb sometimes, overwhelming other times, it comes out in tears, in sobs, in distance stares out of the window.  

And in the end you're still my friend.  This is the one lyric that is not about me.  And when you read this, and you will, it is everything about you.  In the end, we will always be friends.  It's a friendship that is always evolving.  Not static.  It's already changed so much, it simply can't be what it was before, but it will always be there.  Even when there are no words between us, there's that quiet confidence that I know that we will always be friends.  If you sense that someone is thinking about you and hoping you're safe, and happy, that'll be me, even if you don't hear me say it.  All the lost navigating that you saw me through, listened  to me wonder about, gave me advice on which way to steer the rudder, unassuming, I don't think either one of us knew it at the time, but you were exactly what I needed.  I don't know if I can repay the favor.  I know true friendship doesn't keep tabs, and that's not what this is about.  I can't be the friend that you need me to be right now though, and that makes me hurt.    It makes me hurt because I know I should be there to listen to you now.  I should be able to tell you that things you're terrified about, you shouldn't be.  I should be able to tell you that it'll all work out the way it's supposed to.  That sometimes it's not about taking the risk, or finding out if it's worth it in the end, but it's what you learn about it in the in between, in the journey of taking a risk on something that is terrifying.  I should tell you that when it comes down to it, listen to your heart.  I should ask you to promise me that whatever happens, you won't settle for being underwhelmed.  Don't take the easy way out.  Don't settle for anything less than butterflies.  Take the best piece of advice I have when it comes to these things that are terrifying.  Find someone who knows your dark secrets, doesn't think twice about your imperfections, accepts you for everything you have been, everything  you are, and everything you're yet to be.  Don't "settle" until you find that person who you can be completely, comfortably yourself with.  The person who makes you want to be the best you that you can be.  Promise me that?  Please?

Learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got
And what I'm not
And who I am   I'm tenacious.  Despite this never ending stream of tears, I don't break easily.  I know who I am.  I know who I'm not.  I know what I want out of this life.  I know  what I won't compromise.  Despite knowing all those things, there is still a lot for me to learn.  I used to call myself broken and hollow.  I was never broken, I was just bent.  Finding something that you can bend without breaking it, finding someone that can bend along with you without breaking what relationship you have...I'm learning these things the hard way in the last few years.  I'm learning what  is truly important.  I'm learning what the consequences are for not setting boundaries, not putting myself first, and I'm learning about timing.  Timing is just another adjective for trust.  Trust, like love, is a verb.  

God knows I'm tough enough - this one should speak for itself.  They say that God doesn't give you more than you can handle.  Right now I know of people who have been given more than their fair share.  But that's from my perspective.  Children should not leave this life before their parents do.  No one should get cancer, especially those who still have their entire lives ahead of them.  When I stop the spinning top that's spinning inside my head and consider them, it helps put things in perspective.  It's so hard to focus on what I think I don't have, what I'm missing, what I want desperately, that I forget to stop and appreciate what I do have (another just breathe moment) and be thankful and grateful for that.  For the mounds of things that I've amassed over the years, for the whittling down of acquaintances to true, lifelong friends, for a family that loves me, for a job that I love to hate but still pays my bills and keeps me healthy, for not doing what I'm most passionate about anymore, but knowing that it's out there still and when I find it, it will mean that much more to me.  

It's taken me the better part of 2 hours to write this.  I've listened to this track at least twenty times.  The tears have finally stopped.  I'm breathing without a reminder.  I'm not entirely numb.  If you've managed to make it to the end of this post with me, thank you.  Thank you for reading.   Thank you for taking the time.  Thank you for being my audience, whoever you are.  I find peace and solace in breathing life into my words.  Into putting my heart, my dreams, my hurt out into the world, outside of myself to be seen.  It's not always easy, but it's one of the things that saves me.  It's the vulnerability that makes me stronger.   


good friends
my sister
zz top
the blues
john mayer
a guitar song

that combination forces you out of bed, numbs the pain, distracts your mind, plays in chords what you feel, doesn't bat an eyelash when you lose a tear in your wine glass, makes so you hear the words in lyric form instead of just in a constant stream in your head

it's not a cure, but it's a bandaid, and right now i'll take what i can get

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 8, 2012

Daily Overview for June 8, 2012 (Today)

5/21 – 6/21


Make an effort to see things from a new point of view today, and you'll find peace.

It's disturbing how accurate my horoscope can be at times.  Today is bittersweet.  Not the first of those kinds of days, surely not to to be the last. 

Peace, you have the permission to find me all day and all night. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

back in the saddle

Hot Yoga ...it is my church these days.

Unlike church, spandex and piled high hair is the outfit and showing off your tattoos is the way to make friends with your neighbors, not turn them off.  Body art is the norm, it is the expression of you.  In this setting, it is a conversation piece and a nod of approval.

I go for my mind, for my body, and when I most expect it and when I least expect it, I end up being there because my heart needs it the most.  It's hard these days to quiet your mind, to focus on anything.  It's hard to be still and quiet enough to hear the sound of your own breathing, of the sound of your own life.  I go for the quiet, for the dim light of the room, for the escape from the cell phone, for the heat, for the pressure, for the encouragement, for the practice of doing something simply for me.

In a slippy towel/downward dog "incident", I injured my shoulder in class about two months ago and hadn't been back until today.  Interesting that my yoga, my practice, my church was missing from my life for the last two months, and oh so much has happened in that time frame.  When I stepped into the candlelit room, I instantly knew that every little bit of the Scarlett O'Hara that told me to get up, get dressed, stop moping around, and get back in the yoga saddle, was right.  My inner Scarlett O'Hara knows what's up and she doesn't mess around.

(My picture of the day: the yoga scene in the middle of the room, it brings a soft focus to my practice)

The teacher, Krista, when she turned around, smiled at me, walked right over, told me how good it was to see me, and then she gave me a hug - a real, genuine hug, a lingering "embrace" - dare I say she held me? Dare I say I haven't been given a hug like that in a long time? I remember a hug from last Summer in a humid driveway that lingered, I've replayed that one in my head many times over.  I remember an embrace from last month in a church before the start of a memorial service by a man who I looked up to as a father figure who simply held me close and through choked up words thanked me for always holding his daughter near and speaking her name freely. I remember two years ago almost exactly, my father holding me tight in the living room of our shared house after I blew my lid for the umpteenth time and stood my ground about how our relationship was spiraling down and out of control and he promised me that he'd work on it. Hugs, embraces, being held, they don't come often or freely in my world.  Sad?  Maybe.  At least I'm not clueless to it.  Note to self: work on that.

It occurred to me after class, as I sat sweaty in my car how much we need human touch and that it's ok to need it.  It's ok to be someone that needs, it's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength.  Holding everyone at bay, the world at bay, an arm's length away, it not right, its not healthy, its not love, its not life.  I had this exact conversation with a friend the other day about how it's ok to need someone else, their love, their strength, their touch.  There is a difference between being needy and needing someone.  The lines get blurry, but the need to be held should never be criticized.

There are always a series of mantras, reminders repeated throughout the class:

"Why are you here?"
"Remember your breath"
"Soften - listen to all those parts of your body of your mind that you need to soften and let them"
"Let go of that which does not serve you"

My mind wandered, and it came back, and it wandered, and it came back again...I was sweaty and hurting and not able to keep my balance, out of practice, and out of step, struggling to maintain my composure, forgetting to breathe. Not unlike how my life has waxed and waned over the last few years.  But I kept on going, breaking when I needed to, catching my breath face down in the mat, coming up to laugh at myself when I looked back down again and my own Shroud of Turin was painted in sweat -  the outline of my face soaked into my orange yoga towel - eyes, nostrils, big exhaling lips, and the outline of my heart shaped face, all in a sweaty shilouette.  Even in struggle, sweat, and self-reflection, there is always humor.  Always.

Finally towards the end of class, in pigeon pose, which I am paying for dearly, and with this hauntingly beautiful song reverberating off the walls, I let it go. I let it all out.  This song was another "love at first sound" song - another piece of music that moved me instantly.  Just a few notes in, I found myself not quite sobbing, but face down into my forearms, choking on my breath.  I just cried.  "Let go of all that does not serve you" echoing quietly in my mind.  I knew what was not serving me, what was taking up my thoughts and my worries and my fears.  I knew that I had to do something about it.  I knew that it wouldn't be easy and that something had changed.  Call it intuition, but I knew that I had to "let it go".

So, skipping the grocery store, and the to-do list for the night at home with a good friend, I ended up still sweaty in my yoga clothes, in front of my computer, unintentionally, but knowing that it would not be a short hello, and started the conversation of what I knew would end up being some kind of letting go.  THE conversation as it's been so aptly named.

Had I have not gone to class, I might still be needing to have that conversation, but having gone to class, it was a reminder that I have to be in the practice of letting go that which does not serve me.  Fear, anxiety, words unspoken, hate, loss, curiosity, unanswered questions, regrets, remorse, I have to let them out.  I have to let them go if they're ever going to be replaced by things that are their opposite - bravery, calm, peace of mind, love, clarity, thankfulness, and forgiveness.

I don't think we are ever truly rid of the people that come into our lives.  I don't think that I've seen the end of that conversation.  I don't think that you can be impacted by someone and forget about them. Even if they leave this life - like my sweet Catie girl.  I will always remember her for all the sweet, quiet, calm lessons she taught us all every single day.  But in this moment, with the current circumstances, there are something that I have to let go.   They do not serve me now.  They may serve me down the road when there's more time, more clarity, more peace - when trust proves that I did the right thing by listening to my sweating, sobbing, distractedly clear heart.

"Let go of that which does not serve you."