Saturday, January 28, 2012

Surrender or Obedience

My yogi begins most of her classes by passing around a basket full of tiny laminated cards.  Each card has a word on it- I call them intention cards although some women in class call them angel cards.  Ho hum.  But they are what they are.  Tiny cards with dense words. Or good God fearing, yoga practicing Christian women, depending on which part of that statement you expected me to elaborate.  

Most of the time I get words like 'love,' or 'responsibility'.  You know, fun things on which to meditate during my practice.  Love.  Yeah right, I always think 'or lack thereof.'  Responsibility.  Hm.  Same thought runs through my mind... 'or lack thereof.'  But neither is here nor there.  Sometimes I get really interesting cards, words like obedience.  Obedience.  I was admittedly a bit huffy until I meditated about 'that word' for a while and finally came to a profound realization that 'obedience' equally applies to yourself as to others, if not slightly moreso.  In case the grammar of that last sentence was a bit high handed, let me hash it out a bit further.  I owe obedience, first and foremost, to myself.  We all do.  I owe obedience to nature secondly (depending on your belief systems, you may have a different rank for the first and second).  My own essence and then the essence of natural being; one of the many dualities of the universe.  Booyah.  Then somewhere down the list I owe obedience to a select few people or ideas, but I won't bore you with those details just now. 

But what about Surrender?  That was my word today.  Surrender.  


And with staggering profundity, I realized that tomorrow I fly to New Zealand for six weeks to pursue yoga, pleasure, healing, nourishment.  I fly to New Zealand for six weeks to surrender myself to nature, to myself, to those beings to which I owe the most obedience.  And surrender is exactly what I will do when I am there.  In attempting to inhabit myself, find my own unique space, and learn to love it there, I will surrender myself completely. 

To anything and everything good.  To all those ideas, concepts, people, practices that are good.  And I mean good.  Simple, perfect, good.  I will surrender myself to learning, to teaching, to growth and to rest.  REST.  It's hardly a term that I use or can apply to myself very often in any sense.  I am not by nature restful or at ease resting.  And this will be my most difficult surrender.  To the time I need to rest so that I may mend.  

Anyway, I love you all who read this blog.  I am honored that you do.  Namaste (the divine in me salutes the divine in you) for that and to you all.  I bow to you. 

But don't be surprised if you don't get a fresh one for a few weeks because I'm not sure about the Internet connection at an Ashram on the Coromandel Peninsula of the North Island, New Zealand.  

Until next time my darlings. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eat, Pray, Love this F*ing Book

I am one of those contrary people (surprise! contrary! Kate?!?) who generally refuses to do something, accept something, or embrace something, if it is even mildly popular.  My stubborn nature cheerfully and delightedly shines through when it comes to pop culture.

For example:

I do not like Tom Cruise- and I hate (which is indeed a strong word, especially for me) Top Gun.  Like with an unrivaled passion.

Ick to Angelina Jolie (although that may be feminine jealousy over her sex bomb lips).

It took me at least 20 years to figure out that I do indeed love blueberries and cherries- things I refused to eat mostly because my brother, early in our siblinghood, had declared his own passionate taste for them.

I did not read the Harry Potters until well after it was established that they are, in reality, good books.

Oprah's Book Club- YEAH RIGHT.

However- and it kills me to admit it- sometimes pop culture is right.  Sometimes the rest of the world can really be onto something.  And eventually, usually after much soul searching and internal debate, I will give a phenomenon a go.  See my previous blog?  Note that I LOVE books.  I ADORE books.  Everything about books, physical, page-lined books, appeals to my soul.  It is not just a preference, it is a spirituality.  Books are right.  And then I copped up to finally buying a Kindle.  That decision gnawed at me much in the same way going on antidepressants to clear up the much-muddied waters of my mind gnawed at me- to put this contrariness into all of its absurd perspective.  Yeah... Kindles and Antidepressants... I have a charmingly multifaceted array of clearly provocative issues.

Anywho, I recently embraced Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.  I had previously read her work on some nutso named Eustace who lives in sustainable solitude in the mountains of North Carolina and likes to spread the word of nature.  I will admit it, that one was fairly entertaining- but most definitely not her most famous work.  Then EPL appeared on EVERYONE'S list.  So, naturally, it disappeared from mine.

I regret that decision now.  I have marked so many pages in this book, mentally underlined so many passages, I have even had a conversation with the book.  Truth.  A night which began in insomnia ended in me talking to Elizabeth Gilbert, telling her my own (aforementioned) struggles with taking antidepressants, my own wishes to come off of them and be my Self by my Self.  Her self-awareness, honesty, and journey appeals to me on a visceral level.  I am gobbling her book the way she gobbles gelato in Rome.  While I still embrace every bit of socio-religious skepticism about prayer and God that we all know and love in Kate, I cannot deny that I love every bit of what this books means to me on a profoundly personal level.

At the end of the day, you see, it (as in the big IT, LIFE, LIVING, etc., not the book itself) really is about the journey to find one's own space in one's self.  And then find love in that space and love that self with all of your being.  And then open that space up even more to welcome others into it so that they can experience your grace and love with you.   And so that you may experience theirs with them.

I know, I know, I am getting a bit dodgy there.  But I challenge my readers to locate that space in themselves.    Then eat with it, pray to it, for it and with it, and Love it.

Hot Damn, Liz Gilbert.  Will you be my Guru?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Self Vegas

As my trip to New Zealand draws closer, I begin to collect and I continue to think.

Let me begin at the beginning- I am traveling to New Zealand for six weeks.  I leave on January 29th, commencing this journey which has been my flotation device of sanity for the past 4 or so months- basically from the moment I decided to move on this scatter-brained idea.  In New Zealand I will spend 25 days in an intensive yoga program, living in an ashram, learning and, I hope, healing.  By the completing of my intensive I will be able to certify myself with the Yoga Alliance (the international standard bearer for western yoga) as a RYT-200.

C and I on Stewart Island during my 2010 trip to New Zealand
But before certification and official-dom comes play.  Because I then get to spend another two-ish weeks or so prowling about the North and South Islands with my best friend, Carissa, and myself.  Or my Self.  I will try and keep myself, and Self, out of trouble but I cannot and will not make any promises.  I established in an earlier blog that I feel spiritually eviscerated every time I break a promise I make to myself (Self). So no promises here.  Just good old fashioned travel- except slightly updated to include a kick ass Nikon P500 and a Kindle (yeah, it happened).

Once again, I digress.

I am slowly starting to sort out my packing- do I need this pair of shorts or that?  Do I bring this guide book or that one (or both)?  And I am slowly starting to get just ever so slightly excited.  But with excitement comes nerves.

Because in the back of my mind, in the back of everyones' minds, the same sets of questions tumble around.  What if this doesn't work?  What if something happens to me (her)?  What if I have (she has) a panic attack worthy of Guinness World Book?  What if I come (she comes) back worse than before?  What if I (she)cannot heal?  WHAT IF I CANNOT HEAL? 

And when those questions take hold, all of the progress I have made over the last few months begins to circle the brain drain.  Fear that I truly will never heal takes hold (because I never go from a to b, but always from a to EXTREME).  Despair and loathing set in and I start collapsing in on myself.  Like a giant star dying.  The demons that I exhaust myself trying to bargain with come tearing out of negotiations and assert themselves like the forces of nature they are.  It is difficult to write this, knowing who will read it and how their reactions will vary, but fear and nerves, loathing, are with me constantly.  My oldest companions.

The upside here is that I, too, am a force of nature.  On my worst of days I can do as much damage as the demons because I am as combative as they are.  I am a hurricane.  Sometimes I am a hurricane of sadness, sometimes grief, sometimes hellacious bitchiness and violent anger.  But sometimes I am a hurricane of renewal- the kind that cleanses the air and earth and skies and brings the best of its nature to bear on... well... nature.

I will certainly check in before heading to the Ashram.  But I wish all of you happy hurricane thoughts.

Until next time, Cheers Friends.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Oh Insomnia, Oh Insomnia...

The absolute worst part of sleeplessness is the hope that inevitably accompanies it.  The hope that you will indeed fall asleep... soon.  It never happens.  Ever.  Instead sleepy hope fades into sleepy desperation as the minutes tick by and turn into hours which then turn into reading time instead of sleeping time.

Oh Insomnia.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On The Go 8

I believe that is the name of my most current iPod playlist.  On the Go 8.  Not very creative, I'll give you that, but it gets the job done.  And does it well.  It currently stores everything from 'Peach Plum Pear' to 'Einstein on the Beach' to the ultra pretty and ultra sad 'Keepsake'.  All of these are worth looking into, trust me.  I would not have mentioned them otherwise.

The first song on the list is Brandon Flowers' Only the Young.  So bittersweet, so beautiful, and almost touching in the Las Vegas way only he can do.  It is hopeful in a way that is utterly hopeless, a ponderous conundrum.  And it has recently become my theme song.  I am not sure at what point one is no longer young (and that's not the point of this blog anyway), but to hear Flowers sing it, only the young can break away.  All I think about, every time I listen to the song, is how much I would like to break away.  Far far away.  Wouldn't it be nice to start the new year by breaking away?  By just fleeing the holdovers of the old year and being free from worries, trouble and woe?

I suppose I can't really complain because in a way I am breaking away.  By fleeing the country, continent, hell, even the hemisphere, come January 29th.  I will run away to another place and try desperately to be better, really and truly better.  And I will hope against all hope that it will work; that I will work. I'm like a little worn patchwork doll waiting to be put together, stitched up, and set right.

The thing is that I am the one who has to put me together, stitch me up, and set me to right.  Which is why you must listen to 'Only the Young.'  Let yourself be captivated.  Then ponder putting yourself right.  One playlist at a time, I suppose.

Cheers, Friends.