Learn

One of the nicest things about yoga, and specifically a daily practice, is the invitation to put everything else out of your mind for that time you spend on your mat. You don’t throw up harsh walls and block everything out or even focus really hard on nothingness, but you acknowledge the wayward thoughts, the to-dos, the worries, and then you send them away. In a culture where we are expected to multi-task and where we’ve redefined the word priority into the concept of many priorities, it’s nice to turn off for a bit. I’m not always completely capable of it, but I usually find by the end of a session, I am genuinely zenned out.

Sometimes I feel completely crazy. I wonder if my perception of things is just totally off when something odd happens around me. I think Is this fucked up, or am I just fucked up? I don’t want it to be me that’s off, but that would make things easier because I could just tell myself to stop being a dickhead. I want to constantly check myself (before I wreck myself), to make sure I’m being fair, thoughtful, kind, open. If this situation were happening to someone else, what advice would I give that person? If this situation were happening in a vacuum, would I react the same way? Am I coming to whatever conclusion for benevolent reasons?

But, as my mom told me, “Crazy people don’t think they’re crazy.” She’s convinced that as long as I’m questioning my sanity, I’m sane. I’ll take that vote of confidence any day.

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Dulce

There are lots of sweet things in my life, specifically one man and three kitties, and for all of that I am thankful. I’m also thankful for the sweet ass ideas that Husband gives me on long walks that spark really fun scenes in my writing. This book, my dudes, I have so much faith in this book.

Today’s practice had a lot of “sweet massage” which isn’t really my jam. It’s not like I’m adverse to touching myself (trust me), it’s just that I don’t get much pleasure out of my feet being touched by anyone at all, myself included, and I really can’t illicit the feel-good tingles that go along with massage when I do it to myself on my temples or shoulders. I think it all spins back to the first time I heard someone say they had a “knot.” I figured out, after far too many years, that these are those hard or tight areas one might get in a muscle, and I suppose a “knot” is just a midwestern way to say that. But I am just not familiar with the whole thing. That isn’t to say I’ve never had sore muscles, I just always stretched til it felt a little better then rested it. Knot always made me think, “You have a knot under your skin? That sounds like it needs medical attention, not you grinding your fucking knuckles into it.”

Anyway, point is, I did everything Adriene said to do, but I didn’t like it. Well, I didn’t dislike it either, I just kind of endured it. No, that sounds like it was painful. I just sort of…experienced it? I tried to enjoy it, really, but it’s a no from me, dawg. Still, I’m happy about today because I indulged and had a cup of iced coffee in the morning and a cup of hot chai in the afternoon (after getting rained on during my walk) all in the name of sweetnesss!

I also bought the monster box of Ghirardelli brownie mix from Costco yesterday and intend to make some this weekend. They’re for a get together, but still you can bet your ass I’ll be eating two. I’m going to doctor them up a little, I’m thinking half the batch will be cheesecake and the other peanut butter. Hopefully the yoga this weekend will help me expend a few more calories than normal.

Reveal

Let me jump on the internet bandwagon here.

Left: Me in 2010, Right: Me at the tail end of 2018, so as close to 2009 and 2019 as I’m getting.

All that seems to have changed in roughly 10 years is the color and length of both my hair and the bags under my eyes. Oh, and I got contacts. It’s more of a dull but reliable LED than a glow up, I admit.

It’s moments like these I realize I should be very grateful for the greasiness of my skin because it’s transitioned from 20 to 30 pretty nicely which is to say its hardly aged at all, which may be the long-term benefit of the “short-term” nightmare that was borderline cystic acne from the time I hit puberty til I was legally allowed to drink.

I wore some makeup today for a Costco date with Husband and thought I’d take my current photo in that, then I realized that’s not really current me. I do throw on eyeshadow and lipstick from time to time for funsies, but bare-faced is just so much more honest to the effort I put in every day (read: none).

In Reveal today, Adriene asked us to spend time with ourselves instead of on ourselves. It’s a good thought experiment and helped me decipher what I need vs what I want. I want a bangin’ booty, but I need to be physically stronger and healthier. It’s all possible, but it’s good to know the difference and it’s even better to be happy with myself while I’m on the journey to either.

Grace

I’ve always been clumsy. I’ve spent a lot of my life bruised and scratched from knocking into the edges of things, and more of what I’ve poured into cups has ended up on the floor than in my gut. It could be a lot worse, and I’ve grown into an adult who is significantly more poised, but no matter how many times I cross known thresholds, I will still manage to bang into them on too frequent an occasion.

You move too fast.

– My mother

She’s right. Even though I talked about my penchant for sloth yesterday, when I am doing things, I tend to try and speed through unless I really don’t want to do it. I think this is heavily influenced by nerves, especially if I’m around others. I get anxious and just want whatever I’m doing to be over. I’m sure I fell in front of some mean kids who made me feel terrible or something when I was little and I’ve carried that over into the rest of my life, but here we are. The nice thing about yoga is that it reminds you to slow down. I’m still working on carrying over these lessons off the mat, but subconsciously some of them have sunk in.

So I associate grace with slowing down. There are some things I will probably never do slowly like walk down a sidewalk or use a public restroom, but it’s worth it to attempt in other areas. But how? Adriene’s quote at the end of today’s session struck me:

The winds of grace are always blowing, but it is you that must raise your sails.

– Rabindranath Tagore

That suggests grace is something you can capture from the world rather than bring out from the inside. For a person who feels interminably clumsy, whose need to rush is second-nature, who was born pigeon-toed and near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in the other, this is a huge relief. It’s out there, and accessible, I just need to call to it.

Graaaaaaaa-AAAAAAAAA-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace, where are you???

Space

The final frontier.

Well I got my goddess pose, and it was great, as always. Today we were reminded to leave room for opportunity and ourselves, and to take up space because we’re worth it. I think I’m doing that. I personally also need to remember to not leave dead space. I am really good at wasting time. Like gold-medal good. Some people hate sitting still and doing nothing. There are times when I’m like that, but for the most part I really enjoy being quiet and alone and passive. That’s great for like a short amount of time on occasion, especially for busy people, but I am pointedly not a busy person, and I can lose myself in that. Of the seven, I am most guilty of sloth.

But I can combat this by drinking coffee. It used to be that caffeine didn’t really do anything to me, but in the last five-ish years, I lose my goddamned mind when I get some. I just had six ounces of light roast and holy shit, I think my heart is going to burst out of my chest, and just sitting here is excruciating. Like, I’m happy that I’m typing and getting this out and being productive, but fuck me do I feel an intense urge to clean the entire house. I’m in the middle of that already, I was just thinking, okay, take ten minutes to write a little of a post then get back to it, but I am really itching to get back up and move furniture.

So I got a new (to me) dining table from my mom (hence the need to move furniture). It’s about 100 years old and was made by the mother of a friend of my grandparents (so like, the generational equivalent of my great-grandmother, and I’m a 31 year old lady whose grandparents were born in the 20s). I think it’s especially cool because it’s woodworking done by a woman in probably the 1930s, and I like the look of it–it reminds me of a viking hall which is the feel I’ve always wanted for a dining room. I also grew up around this table, I had birthday parties around it, put together puzzles on it, played house underneath it, so it’s admittedly sentimental.

The only issue is we already have a dining room table that we got a few years ago off Amazon. I got a counter-height, square table that we really loved for the time we had it. It did come damaged from the warehouse, multiple edges chipped, so when I advised Amazon, I got a deep discount on it (since there was no way it was getting shipped back) and that made me love the table even more. Over the years I’ve done a number of crafts on it, so there are some gashes and paint stains and hot glue globs stuck to it, and remember it started out banged up, so it’s not in the kind of shape that most other people would want, so I’m in the process of figuring out what to do with it and its chairs (too high for the new one). I do not like to hoard, so things must be useful, or they must go.

I’m a fan of space, but not of waste.

Curate

I really feel like I’ve been creating a new me, or rather, a slightly improved me, over the last couple weeks. Truly, new year, new me. Annoying but honest.

In yoga, I think my biggest breakthrough thus far has been finding my breath. I heard about it for the past three-ish years, but I always had trouble breathing, and that’s one of, if not the most important, parts of yoga. I’ve improved somewhat, but I still hold my breath in certain poses or sort of gasp for breath when I shouldn’t be winded, but something about yesterday’s practice spilling into today flipped a switch.

When you breathe in, inflate your belly, when you breath out, compress it–Adriene focused on that yesterday, and I paid close attention. Somehow I’d been doing the opposite. I focused on the right way yesterday, constantly correcting myself and pausing to get it right, and then today it just came naturally. I expected breathing to come naturally with time, as you’d expect, but what it really took was me taking responsibility.

I did a bunch more pages in my bullet journal (or “bujo” which I pronounce “boo-hoe” from years of high school Spanish) today, and I am obsessed, so I’m going to show them off to you like a kindergartner asking you to put her scribbles on the fridge. Bear with me, I haven’t made something pretty in ages, and I’m fucking bursting.

One of my future logs, basically for big and immobile things. Blurred out the birthdays for anonymity lol and you’ll see both that I made a mistake on “ten” in November and that I don’t know the exact date upon which Husband and I had our first date, but it was in November!
These are my BIG goals for the whole year with plenty of room for more. I made them lofty, (well some of them–I don’t know if I really have 20lbs to lose, but the idea is get fit, and 1000 followers is just a nice, round number, ain’t it?) but if you don’t shoot for the stars you’ll never eat moon cheese, right? I also plan to read this year. I know 12 is not a lot of books for 365 days, but that’s my minimum. They’ll get added to the page as they’re finished, and The Color of Magic is soon to be added.
This is the spread I’m most excited about: it’s for my writing projects. I’m going to list them as I tackle them this year, and tick off the stages the stories are in. Lots of room here as I’m expecting to have a very productive year.
January monthly spread. I noticed when I looked at examples of monthly spreads that they had calendars, but a lot of them didn’t seem to do anything with the calendar? They had lovely lists next to the calendar of important days but…why? Just put it ON THE CALENDAR! I wanted to make sure I could mark things down especially since it will come in super handy in the future when I need to know when we did a certain thing. Also great for period tracking! I added a habit tracker to the bottom too that I promptly fucked up which is why there’s a line through the “reading” habit. I don’t actually know which days I read in the past two weeks and which I didn’t, but I accidentally copied my blogging days there…womp womp. It will be right going forward.
Finally, here’s a look at the week coming up. Like I said, I am going to track appointments and to-dos, but I want to kind of use this more retroactively to jot down some feelings or record activities about the day at its end.

I’m feeling this thing hard, I just need to make sure I stick with it. It’s quite pretty, so I hope I want to look at it every day, and I can’t do anything to it unless I do the things, so it’s like cyclically motivating! Finally, I’m making me.

Courage

Today we flew! Crow, or bakasana, is one of my favorite poses mostly because when I first saw Adriene demonstrate it and then turn to the camera and expected me, at home, to do it too, I was like “WTF, you want me to do that? But I’m a beginner!” But after a surprisingly short time I actually found that I could do it. Not well, mind you, and still today I am super shaky and fall over quite a bit, but it’s a posture I’ve gotten better at exponentially and, seriously, is there a better family of birds than the corvid? No.

This year, I’m getting more organized, which is something I say every year, but this year I bought something I’ve been kinda pining after for a while: a bullet journal. But let me be absolutely clear: I do not intend on doing the whole like key for tasks thing, moving them forward and backward and basically any of the actual bullet things. I just want a pretty notebook that I draw calendars and doodles in. And look at the start I’ve gotten to:

Just a note: I searched on Pinterest for examples of cute doodles and things, so none of those images are original from my head, but I did freehand them all. I used to draw and doodle quite a lot, but it’s been ages, so I needed a kick-start.

I actually just got the journal today, so I’m starting to fill it out in the middle of January which is making me feel some misplaced–but predictable–stress, but I’m determined to back fill the month! I had another planner that I got in November and used in December as a sort of test, but the paper is SO THIN that everything bleeds through. It was also a ringed binder where one can add more sheets to which I thought was a great idea for someone like me who would inevitably rip mistakes out and have ideas and want to add new things in, but it’s just too bulky–I couldn’t take it on our trip at Christmas, and I was bummed out about that because I wanted to take some notes while we were gone, so I think the portability of this notebook will be key.

Ultimately I want to use this to track my habits, especially writing, and keep track of appointments, but mostly as a sort of journal where I can mark down special things that happened. Less for thoughts and feelings and more for recording activities and, well, I guess my thoughts and feelings about those. I just want, at the end of the year, a lovely little book that sort of encapsulates 2019. So many little things happen to us and then they’re gone, especially, I think, in a world where we take so many photos but almost never print them out or even look at them again. We live through our lenses just to record moments we won’t revisit, and I want to find a way to circumvent that. Now that we have a printer, I think I’ll actually print out some photos and add them to my journal through the year too. So I guess it will be a sort of scrapbook too.

I don’t know if recording life is particularly courageous, but putting it out there that I’m starting this will, hopefully, hold me to keeping up with it.

Expand

This morning I got up a bit earlier than normal to be ready for a delivery. Since moving we’ve had a number of big deliveries that we have had to be home for, and in every instance that delivery has come outside the delivery window, at the very possible end, in the dark, so you can imagine how surprised I was to get a phone call at 7:30 this morning telling me the delivery would be here in “10 to 15 minutes” when the window was 8 to 12, but at least I didn’t have to wait around for it??

My mom sent me a number of pieces of heirloom furniture, but one of the pieces was missing. I’ve spoken with the moving company four times, and not once did they mention the whole shipment wouldn’t arrive at once even when they were confirming the date, but when the movers showed up, the first thing the guy says it me is “you know we don’t have the rocking chair right?”

No, sir, I did not know that.

So this morning consisted of making calls and wondering if the rocking chair that has been used by at least three generations of women in my family to rock their babies had been accidentally destroyed. They say it just got mis-numbered and is still on its way, but we shall see.

UPDATE: In the middle of writing this blog, I got a call. The rocker has been damaged. They were apparently going to try and fix it, but thankfully they didn’t (I don’t know what would possess them to take that liberty with a 100 year old hand-carved piece of furniture), and it’s coming as-is sometime next week. Get ready for exciting blogs where I try to find an antique furniture repair person.

When that was over, I jumped into Expand just as the sun aligned itself with the side window in my yoga room. The pace has continued to stay up which is exactly what I want and need, and my thighs got what I was asking for yesterday.

Then I went on a walk in the feels-like-30-degrees weather, and that was pretty pleasant. I gained some weight since last summer from being really sedentary and eating my feelings again (you never recover from an eating disorder, I think, you just learn how to keep it at bay), and I’m trying to get rid of the few extra pounds by this coming spring, but unfortunately I am partial to how my butt looks with extra weight. NOT EVERYTHING ELSE, MIND YOU, just the butt. It’s a real bummer. Get it? BUMMER?

But the point is, I am feeling so much better being active and watching what I eat. It’s not totally under control yet, but it’s getting there. I just wanted to say because when Adriene says “take up space” she doesn’t mean with adipose, and that’s something I need to remind myself of.

Take what you need, leave what you don’t.

Divine

I’m in a much better mood today, Dear Reader, and I think it’s in large part due to my littlest kitty crawling into my lap and giving me kitty kisses. Rutherford’s kisses are bizarre, though. He likes to have his chin scratched (wait for it, it gets weird) as he shoves his snout into your open mouth and have you breathe hot stank (the more morning-breath-y, the better) all over his face. Yes, with his wet, probably-just-buried-in-his-butthole nose millimeters away from my tongue. This is the only way I’ve been able to illicit purring from the depths of his tiny, dark, twisted soul. It’s just what he wants, man, I don’t know. Bonus points if you whisper to him, right against his skull. Doesn’t matter what you say, as long as it’s whispers. He is a fan of ASMR, apparently.

Yoga today was kicked up another notch, and I loved it. I felt really strong even though I always have trouble with upper body workouts (there were some pushups in there that Adriene absolutely avoided alluding to by name). On a slightly related note, I’ve become hyper aware of some tight muscles in my left arm/shoulder/upper back. Whenever I reach above my head, I feel like everything is unnatural and wrong on the left side. I have torticollis on that side, so this isn’t a surprise, but it’s increasingly annoying this month. I’ve also got some hip pain and thigh weakness on the left side from a car accident (almost ten years ago!) so I feel incredibly lopsided today. Regardless, it was a good workout even though Rutherford tried to eat my ponytail when I was in downward dog.

I did have some trouble with Kapalabhati (a breathing technique) considering I’m still a bit stuffed up. There was snot (my number one most-hated human juice) and blockages and general discomfort during that. I was also surprised: no goddess pose? On the divine day? Why don’t my thighs hurt right now???

I suppose I should be grateful, really, so thanks, whatever being floating out in the ether deigned to make that not happen today. I’m sure it was totally a choice and not just random happenstance.

Meditate

I lost my internet connection in the middle of today’s yoga session, so today I meditated on how much Comcast sucks.

Really though, isn’t it sort of insane that, in this country, there are so many monopolies? Of course they’re not literal monopolies, not legally defined as monopolies, but there are so many massive conglomerates that there is very little to no competition for everything from ISPs to potato chips to electronics. Americans say that love capitalism and opportunity and bootstraps, but they don’t really know anything other than corporatism. And they say they hate socialism, but these massive corporations that run everything know that they’re “too big to fail” so they’re backed by the federal government already without actually being regulated so that they don’t fail or even worrying about paying any consequences if they do something illegal.

I swear I’m not trying to be a huge downer, it’s just that I am a huge downer today. I got my period this morning and I am bloated and cranky and everything hurts and sucks. There’s really no bright side to this, so it just is what it is. I also don’t have any tampons because I ran out on vacation and forgot to get more and the kind I need aren’t sold in the stores I normally go to and I thought I’d just order what I want on Amazon but then I need to order them in bulk and I’d really like to not need HUNDREDS OF TAMPONS sitting in my already cramped overflow closet, so it’s all big floppy pads for now, and oh, I’m still sick and I spilled cough syrup all over my laptop and my fuzzy blankey and my leggings and I’m cold and grumpy and I didn’t get ten thousand steps today and I straightened my hair and I meant to color it but I forgot to start early enough and I have so many grey hairs but not all in the same place, so I’m never going to have that awesome thick grey streak that all old witches get. So today just blows, okay?

But I did wear my leopard leggings and I had a good idea for my book, so all is not lost. Basically I’m adding dragons to SAT and NO ONE CAN STOP ME. CAW CAW, MOTHERFUCKERS!