Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Maybe it's just a recurring theme in my own consciousness, or maybe there really is a prevalence of the what I call the "pendulum of feminine" lately, but I've decided I don't want to swing anymore.

It seems to me the world has carved out neat little compartments for where a woman of my age and experience should be and I don't like any of them and have deliberately chosen to discount them all.

I'm not a perfect Pinterest mom with projects at the ready and crock pot recipes planned but I am proud when some creative juices flow and have snapped a pic or two of a meal that impressed me. My kitchen counters are clean for now because we were out of town all weekend, and there are some hefty dust bunnies under the love seat and what irks me about this isn't the dust, it's that I've allowed the dust to keep me from forging friendships and inviting in laughter.

I'm not a badass because there are still times fear stops me in my tracks and that doesn't make me weak or submissive, it makes me human. There's beauty in the ebb and flow of emotion, relation and communication of a woman and you can't appreciate being, or being in the presence of this beauty if it's in-your-face to prove-a-point.

I am not a poster child of perfect calorie consumption nor do I sweat the daily recommended requirement consistently. After years of different food plans and exercise ideas my thighs may still curve wider than my hips and my skin may be dimpled but  when I look in a mirror I feel love.

I'm 2nd runner up to the world's worst thank you card writer and I don't have a Norman Rockwell family but I'm not defined by the things I don't do, if I were, this post would never be finished.

In today's Instagram society we put our best face (or meal, or workout, or ______) forward then chase our own face ...never stopping to think it's not a race.

What would happen if I  just stop to be human. If I just usher in the unremarkable.
And SHARE the unremarkable...because it's those moments that are truly remarkable.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

...all is coming

When I (re)started my Ashtanga journey in February 2012, every day I set my mat in front of a little sign that read "Practice, Practice Practice. All is Coming." As a beginner to Mysore, I believed the "all" was the ability to complete the Asanas in the Primary Series and beyond...all = all asanas.

In the beginning, my struggle with Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana taught me the benefits of being stuck... but I moved on in the series.

For a year now, I've been working on Marichyasana C...yes, for a year.
I haven't moved on in the series.

Nothing is coming.
Ah no... ALL is coming.
I've redefined all.
Today, "all" appeared on my mat, right under my toes, in my fingers, across my lats...it was all there.
All is coming, like the ability to move through asanas I previously thought were impossible.
All is coming, when did the pain in my wrists go away?
All is coming, hey, I can move from Chaturanga Dandasana to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana with my legs off the ground...repeatedly!
All is coming, mmmm, that's a deep, full bend in Padangushtasana
All is coming, not only do I know where my lats are and what they do...but  I can feel them move as I am intentional about how to use them in a posture.
All is coming, HOLY CRAP I lifted my body up off the ground in Uth Pluthi!
All is coming...so eventually the Primary series will come, or it won't.
All is all...what all have you missed in your search for All?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Breakdown, Go Ahead...Give it to me

Alternate title: Reminders of Recovery.

It's hard to believe it has been 4 years since I confidently stepped onto the road to recovery. Confidently? Well, I was scared - paralyzed with fear most days - but yes, confident because I knew I was ready to see my journey through to it's completion no matter how uncomfortable it was.

In 2009 I was clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder, 307.50 according to the DSM-IV, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Who knew the actual diagnosis would feed (no pun intended) the belongingess issues that encouraged the disorder to begin with; I mean I didn't even belong in a labeled diagnosis.

For years, decades, I didn't allow myself to feel; feelings were scary and overwhelming and best left buried. Even "good" feelings were too much for me, sometimes even moreso than "bad" feelings. It took some searching but I finally found a fantastic therapist. Together we named my disorder, both clinically and personally, and after a year and a half of individual and group therapy I felt confident referring to myself as recovered.

The two biggest happenings that grew out of my therapy were my ability to evict Joan from my life, and my willingness to allow my feelings to flow without fear.

In my practice, I'm still working on Marichyasana C. I'm not at all bothered (anymore) to be working on the same posture for months, it's given me the opportunity to give love and attention to the 62 asanas/vinyasas that lead up to it. Once I let go of the need to "conquer the posture," things started opening up for me nicely.

This week I'm back in the Shala after taking a month away due to my conference schedule; it was so nice to be back in a familiar place with faces that lit up when we made eye contact. My first day back was a bit more hurried than I would've liked so I took practice through Marichyasana A, closed with finishing postures then scooted off to work. Two days later I was back with plenty of time to spare and took the time to move through all 5 repetitions of Marichy C. I took the first two on my own and Krista said she'd be around to assist for number 3.

Twisting my body around the first time, I focused on keeping length in my spine and released all worry over clasping my fingers together, I breathed deeply into the stretch and it felt gooood; the second side was just as refreshing.

Vinyasa. Second set, first side... as I unwind I feel it, I don't quite know what "it" is exactly but it's there, it's a feeling and for a moment a flash across my eyes warned it could be scary.

Vinyasa, Second set, DEEP inhale, second side...I know it's going to be there, I don't know what it is, but I know (for whatever reason) I'm safe; I unwind and there it is again, a bit of an internal oozing. I've had a similar experience in this posture before and it left me aggravated for the rest of the day, like I'd unlocked something that was pissed off.

Vinyasa, Third set... I see Krista standing next to me from the corner of my eye and motion to her to get a little closer, as she leaned in I somehow mustered up just enough breath to say, "I'm not sure what it is, but somethingfeeling is creeping out each time I unwind" and I pointed to the area around my 2nd Chakra. (Funny, the mission statement for this Chakra is "I Feel.")

We moved through the 3rd set and I completed 4 and 5 on my own. I had to stop and let stuff leak out of my eyes for a while in between, but I wasn't afraid to finish.

A choir of angels is singing in my head at this moment because this truly was a breakthrough moment. I knew, in advance, that I was unlocking a feeling. I even had a premonition that it might be scary, but I kept going. The old me most definitely would NOT have kept going, heck the old me would never have become a Shala member to begin with.

I worked my way through closing series, breathed in my closing mantra and prepared for savasana.  I laid down to close my eyes and the yogi practicing next to me tapped me on the arm and said "You're not alone." We've never met before, he and I, but those 3 words reaffirmed I am safe, and I belong.

I didn't resort to old soothing behaviors, I didn't even think of them. I forged through a feeling even as I knew it was happening and would most definitely make me cry, in PUBLIC.

I spent the rest of my day documenting other ways I know I've healed those old wounds and developed healthy coping strategies.

A breakdown can be a breakthrough...it's all in what you call it.