Friday, June 11, 2010

Bodies Change and I am Not My Body (rinse/repeat) and other Musings...

So as I was driving down the road yesterday I allowed a woman in a Buick LeSabre to turn in front of me, waving her along with a friendly smile and a "go ahead" hand gesture.  I immediately noticed her personalized license plate indicating its owner evidently had some basic core beliefs that were the polar opposite of mine. It triggered some little gears and wheels inside of my head...flashes of concepts of letting go, being open minded, compassionate, accepting, tolerant even.  The little message on the tag wasn't one of anger or was a simple little flower with a two word statement, that actually, was I to dissect these two words, there was nothing controversial or seemingly negative about it.  Together, though, this two-word-yet-complete-sentence cut right through a basic core belief of mine.  And being the socially liberal "live and let live" kinda girl I am, there's a part of me that just wants to shake someone who doesn't agree with my stance on this issue and explain to him or her why their belief is just not right. 

But really, is it liberal to have such an open mind that I would be angry or intolerant of those who didn't agree with me?  And is it even liberal to simply be "tolerant"...why would I need to tolerate?  How about just to accept and absorb the fact that each person has their own way of thinking, of believing, or being guided and shaped by their life and experience? 

So I smiled inside, a big inner grin..and I let go.  Sure, I physically allowed this woman in her Buick pass by me..and so you know, I am not rendering judgement on the Le Sabre...just mentioning it to add details to my posting...I actually own a '96 Buick Le Sabre and LOVE it.  I also began to let go to some old beliefs that I somehow needed others to agree with me.  It dawned on me that it's taken me a while to get to this point and that really, that need was not based in a genuine desire to help others in their journeys of enlightenment along with mine, nor was it to make the world a better place.  It was rooted in my own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. 

I'm not saying I no longer have those issues.  I believe most people wrestle with a lack of self esteem or self worth at times..some more than others.  I was one of the "more than others" types myself.  For a long time.  And it led to some pretty poor decisions and crooked paths towards where I really wanted to be.  But somehow, I ended up here.  And here is good. 

I'm currently 3 1/2 years into my holistic nutrition studies in what was supposed to be a 2 year program.  Granted, last year after I completed an intensive 200 hour yoga teacher training in Pranakriya Yoga (a lineage started by Yoganand (Michael) Carroll based on Swami Kripalu's teachings), I pretty much took a year off to hone my skills as a teacher and focus more on building up my Pranalisa Yoga studio and business.  I'm a firm believer that in general, there is no such thing as wasted time.  I do believe, however, that part of my procrastination, besides the usual fears of change or of going outside of my comfort zone, is an underlying issue of a feeling of inadequacy...of wondering..."what can I possibly have to contribute that is different or as good as what is already out there?" 

So today, my focus, and I do have one...kinda sorta.  Is to cultivate a sense of self worth...with that comes so much more.  The "good enough" feeling goes hand in hand with self worth, as does self esteem, confidence, and even a sense of knowing that it's truly an inside job.  It's about time...I'm about 3 months away from turning 45, and I am ready now to accept things about life and growing older AND growing up emotionally and spiritually.  For so long I worked from the outside in...and really it never worked.  I was kicking and screaming and stomping my feet in efforts to control and sway....other people's opinions or actions, outcomes and results, my body and mind, hell...maybe even the weather or other such things that truly cannot be least not by me. 

Today, I remind myself...bodies change and I am not my body.  Nor am I my thoughts.  And it has to start within me in order to evolve and mature.  It's an act of surrender and of self love and the knowledge that things are unfolding in the exact manner in which they are supposed to unfold.  Today I remind myself, especially as I teach yoga students, practice my own yoga asanas, meet with a practice client for school, and go about my day, that I indeed have something to contribute and am not being measured or compared to anyone...even myself.

Breathing in the possibilities...releasing that which does not serve me or the universe.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Sometimes I find when I'm walking or dreaming or engaged in yoga postures or some other sort of potentially (and hopefully) meditative state, my brain will go a mile a minute with all sorts of ideas, revelations, conclusions, and other ground breaking (at least they seem ground breaking at the time) thoughts.  And then, due to my own amnesiac mind, as quickly as they'd floated through my consciousness, my incredibly insightful, wise original mantra or amazingly funny joke or cutting edge invention or the answer to one of life's little riddles vaporizes back into the ether of my mind.  It's happened so often I am neither surprised nor disappointed anymore.

So I started this blog, in part, as a means to capture some of these little pearls before they slip back into oblivion, gleaming whatever it is I am meant to gleam and sharing it with anyone who happens to come across my writings.  I'm very humble regarding whatever wisdom I may have to impart upon myself and/or others.  I mean's not like I have extensive education or some sort of intuitive gift or healing powers or insight. I'm not from a long lineage of natural healers or yogis or especially sensitive or proactive least not that I know fact, I often step back in amazement at how paths take certain directions, mine included.

I am the product of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrant grandparents who produced my parents: a depression era WW2 veteran dad, and a mom who never even finished high school due to family issues that she has never really completely divulged with me.  My parents were in their 40s when I was traveled, mom didn't drive, and my 3 older brothers were nearly all adults.  I was a 1965 baby raised like a baby boomer in some ways, though really, I always felt "in between" generations.  Too old to be Generation X...whatever that is...and too young to be a real boomer kid.

My parents didn't know what to do with brothers were raised in a different era...the 50s and 60s...and here I was, the little "princess" my mom had hoped for one day...who became a wild hippie-disco-punker-grown-up-wannabe by about the age of 12.  Definitely not what they'd bargained for.  By the age of 13 or 14, most my friends were in their late teens, even early twenties, and I was enjoying the club scene of Atlanta in the 1970s.  Age 15, my beau was 24...graduated a year and a half early in 1982 at the impressionable age of 16, moved in with the beau, and began college a month before my 17th birthday.   I was a little chubby, frizzy haired Jewish girl who dropped out of Hebrew school by age 8 or so, battled with body image and food issues from as early as I remember, and always felt displaced somehow.  If I had to pinpoint an overlying feeling from around age 7 to my mid teens, it would be that I just wanted to hurry up and be a grown up.  So that's what I least to some degree.

To spare the reader (are you out there...anyone?) all the (sometimes/often sordid) details...somewhere along the way, I went from this kid acting out and hanging out with all the "old" 20 something year olds to being a middle age woman with an adult kid in college living a pretty simple and, for the most part, a calm and quiet, non-drama-filled life.  Just as my parents probably thought, as I was going through my wild years, "where did this kid come from?"....I often wonder, after my own tumultuous (at times) past and my many less than optimal decisions, how I ended up with the amazingly intelligent, level headed son who has graced me with his existance.  I do have a feeling my wonderment has a bit more of a positive slant than that of my parents.  If my father was still alive, I'm sure I'd feel compelled to express my gratitude for his patience and support as well as seek ways to make amends for all those gray hairs I am certain I helped produce. 

So here I am...officially a "grown up"...nearly 45 years old.  Being a grown up, and actually acting like one, of course, are two entirely separate matters.  I admit it...while I may not throw tantrums or whine or cry or obsess over things as I may have done as a child...often my first thought IS to do those things.  Luckily the "grown up" status hits me, and all the events, thoughts, decisions, and experiences that happened to this point, help me to actually act more prudently or at least come from a place of awareness and miindfulness.  I may be compassionate and patient today, at least more often than not; however, it's not always my first thought.'s not even always my second or third thought either.

In the past several weeks, I have witnessed the birth and growth and departure of baby robins, spent time with my son for what felt like a nanosecond before I said goodbye to him as he left for Europe for the summer, enjoyed all the lovely blooms of hydrangeas, rhododendrons, mums, gardenias, lilies, peonies, bee balm, asters,  the shared organic produce from my friends next door, had a very negative and somewhat scary altercation in traffic with a very large male county worker, taught a lot of yoga classes, enjoyed my friends' wedding, made progress towards finishing my studies towards my holistic nutrition consultant certification, said good bye and, to be honest, with all due respect, good riddance to a housemate, and adopted a beautiful orange tabby cat whom I named Leonidas (also the name of some amazing Belgian chocolates).

My story is far from unique or unusual..other than the fact that it's mine and no one else's.  And during the flow (hence the title for this blog post...flow is both a noun and a verb in this context), a few themes have cropped into my mind....not necessarily original or new and definitely not especially wise or ground breaking...just helpful to me in the moment. my current facebook status recently stated: things just always seem to work out...even when it doesn't seem that way at the moment.  Another, when a situation comes up that is unnerving or upsetting, rarely is it a lasting feeling or really more than a "blip" once it can be simply observed...this is what I experienced after the traffic situation.  Still another...if I actually practice the act of compassion and patience, I can view someone in an entirely different light. Again, in regards to the road-rage incident...I discovered this employee was retiring about an hour after we had our heated interaction.  Evidently, he was a live wire and had many years of frustration and energy to dump...I happened to be there at the time and really, it had little to do with me.  I wish him the best...I really do.

A couple more pearls before my amnesia sets back in...worrying is a worthless medium, anger is not productive (though acknowledging it, processing and releasing is imperative in order to move on), and a smile can change the world.

Oh yeah...for today...I AM enough. see if any of the blueberries have ripened in the aftermath of a rainy and sunny weekend. be continued.....
Alex (in the booth) and a friend in London 
Leonidas: here a week and thinks he owns the place.
he does
 a few days after being born and before flying away...happens so fast!
I think one of these babies is residing in the backyard.
loveliest hydrangea I've seen in recent memory