Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jai Hanuman!

I wish I would have had enough foresight to make today's blog a Wordless Wednesday post. You would have seen a class full of yogi's rocking Hanumasana - full splits!

This is not me in Hanumasana

In honor of Leap Day I decided to teach Hanumasna to each of my yoga classes today. Isn't that a cute, creative theme for today? Well, I thought it was. Except it turns out my classes weren't familiar with the story of Hanuman, the monkey deity. So we had some fun while I shared the story with them. And since I got a few of the details mixed up earlier today, here's the real story.

Hanuman was best friends with King Ram, the two were inseparable. King Rams wife was Sita. Sita was known for both her beauty and heavenly qualities.  When the demon Ravana declared war to take over Ram's kingdom, he kidnapped Sita and took her away to his island.

Since Ram was busy fighting the war for his kingdom, he sent his good friend Hanuman to rescue his lovely wife. How does a monkey cross a mighty ocean? With a mighty leap of course!

When Sita saw Hanuman, she said "Oh hell no! I don't want rescued by some little monkey. You go tell my husband to get his warrior self over here and save me himself!" (Although I can't find the exact Sanskrit translation for this part, I'm pretty sure that is how Sita said it.)

So, Hanuman presented Sita with Rams' ring as a promise that he would indeed bring Ram back to rescue her. Of course, Sita was rescued and Ram kept his kingdom.

Ram took a leap of faith in trusting Hanuman to rescue his wife, Hanuman took a leap of faith as he jumped over the ocean, and my class took a leap of faith in trusting that full splits, Hanumasana, were possible.

Although, I laughed when one woman in my lunch time class said, "thank God Leap Year is only every four years so we don't have to do this again soon!"

Don't wait four more years - take a leap of faith everyday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why I Bleed At My Keyboard

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
-- Ernest Hemingway

I'm finally writing a book. I blog here. And I post to Elephant Journal.

I began writing as a way to get the crazy out of my head and along the way writing became a form of meditation for me. And, like meditation, sometimes the things that come out are unexpected and even a little scary.

I can't stop the words that flow. I can't not write any more than I can't not breathe. Every now and then I write something that I wonder whether I should post or not. I hesitate and worry to the point that I feel I might vomit before I hit publish. 

But when you bleed all over the keyboard you have to clean it up.

My most recent Elephant Journal post caused quite a bit of bleeding. The emails and private messages I've received have been heart wrenching, touching and as raw as my post. So many people have shared their story with me and thanked me for being brave enough to say what they were too afraid to. By reaching out to me they have helped bandage my wounds.

My new post, What Alcoholism Taught Me is the story of how yoga helped me be a better person, despite of, or even because of, the chaos around me. It's a small sample of what you'll read in my book "Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom" - due out later this year.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why We Love Adele

Kid #2, the 15 year old boy, walked into the living room tonight where me and my daughter were camped out watching the Grammy Awards.

"What's so special about Adele?" he asked as we yelled at him to be quiet and get out of in front of the TV!

Are you kidding me? What is there not to love about this woman?
  1. Her boyfriend dumps her and instead of keying his car, she channels all that energy into a multi-Grammy winning album.
  2. Chanel designer and all around jackhole Karl Lagerfeld calls Adele fat in the international media and she responds by saying, "I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that." 
  3. Although I bet in private she called him a 'bloody asshole'.
  4. After undergoing career-threatening surgery to remove a growth on her vocal chord, she stood on stage at the Grammy's and belted it out to a standing ovation.
  5. The girl can sing a tune!
  6. When she won the Grammy for Album of the Year she gave a shout out to her mom "Momma, your girl did good!"
  7. She's humble.
  8. I think she's someone that could join me and my girlfriends for an afternoon at Starbucks and fit right in with us common folk.
  9. She's only 23 years old. What had you accomplished at 23? Yeah, me neither.
  10. For no other reason than the girl can sing!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Being A Writer Is Easy

And if you believe that, I have a bridge in New York to sell you.
How writing is like giving birth and tips from established writers in my new Elephant Journal post:
Please enjoy my other Elephant Journal posts by following the link above or clicking here:

And, if you haven't yet heard the news:
Although if I don't quit goofing off here I might not make my March 21 deadline for the initial rough draft!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Lieutenant Dan Moment: Making Peace With God & The One Year Anniversary

Most people know by now I had to get a new iPhone because my old iPhone got wet during an unexpected dip in the Pacific Ocean last month. And they've seen the scars on my feet and legs from my unexpected dip as well. What I haven't told anyone is exactly what happened. I needed some time to process it all myself first.

It involves an energy worker, a crazy lady talking to herself on the beach, and a cleansing.

I had just spent the past few days at the yoga training I was at last year right before my mom died. Many of my same yoga friends were there and they remembered how worried I was about getting home in time to spend time with my mom. They were very compassionate as they asked how my year without her had been.

I also got to spend lots of time with a good friend of mine that I hadn't seen since she suddenly lost her husband. Although we laughed and had a good time, we also took some time to share our grief. In fact, we actually scheduled Reiki sessions for ourselves with a Reiki master-in-training that was in our group.

During my session, my Reiki healer told me my sixth and seventh chakras are very open and it's obvious I've done a lot of internal work on myself lately and I'm very open to a spiritual direction. Agreed.

She also said my fourth chakra, my heart chakra, was in conflict. I was holding on to a lot of old grief and hurt. I also was intentionally closing my heart off for fear of being hurt in the future. Agreed again.

It was a fabulous session where I did some crying, some laughing and lots of listening to my intuitive new friend. She left me with lots to think about.

Fast forward to the last day of the training. I had been invited to go out with some of the other women after class and before we all made our way to the airport. I passed on the offer because I wanted one last chance to walk the beach.

As I walked the sand at sunset by myself I enjoyed the peace and quiet.  I gathered shells to bring home for the kids, called home and assured everyone I would be home soon, and then sat to watch the sun go down. The lower the sun got the harder it became to hold back the tears.

Don't sit here and look like a crazy woman crying on the beach, I told myself. So I started walking.

And the more I walked the more I cried and the more I cried the more I talked to God. Like out loud talk to God. So now I was a crazy crying woman walking the beach.

I've been accused a few times over the past few years of turning my back on God. I hadn't turned my back on Him, I was just a little pissed off at Him. I honestly don't remember the last time I talked to God, or even really gave Him much acknowledgement.

The more I talked the more came out.

How dare you give my mom cancer? Why would you be so mean and take her when she was so young? And I'm still really mad she hasn't visited me this year. I want a sign from my mom and I want it right now. So come on, do something!  You are unfair and uncaring. And I'm done with it all. I'm not begging anymore for anyones love and attention. I'm tired of waiting for someone to say it. I give up. I surrender. Love me or not. And don't you dare mess with my kids. I've done everything I'm supposed to do now You step up and do something. What about what I want? Oh yeah, and if it's all in Your hands, well then let's go. I'm writing a book so let's make it happen.  What do You think of that? Come on, where's my sign you are there? Well?

Oh god, I really am a crazy person. And then I started laughing. And laughing. And laughing so hard I didn't see the big wave that was coming right for me.

As I felt the water hit my feet, my knees, my waist I realized I was going down. I tried to climb up onto a rock to get out but my feet slipped and I actually fell down deeper. Only my head and one hand trying to keep the camera dry were above the water.

I should have been scared. There was potential here for the situation to go bad. But I was calm. Very calm. I was kind of enjoying the dip into the cold water even though I was in my yoga clothes with my purse slung over my shoulders ( in effect weighing me down further). I was confident this was going to end OK so I had enough sense to just go with the direction the water was taking me, eventually landing on my feet.

And land on my feet I did. In fact it was my heavy purse, now even heavier with water and seaweed, that snapped me back to reality. My phone! My wallet! Everything was in tact, just very wet.

I didn't even realize my feet and legs were bleeding at first. I found another solitary beach walker who let me use her cellphone for a ride back to the hotel. I changed into dry clothes, the front desk staff found bandages for my feet and let me use the hotel phone to call home to let everyone know I'd be travelling all night without a phone.

I was exhausted but felt... good. Felt better. Felt like I finally believed it really was going to all be OK.

Looking back now I consider it my Lt. Dan moment. My time to stand in the storm and challenge God. My time to make peace with everything. I feel more relaxed about everything since I've been home. I feel more confident, more content and more at peace.

Today marks the one year anniversary of my mom's death. It's been one hell of a year with lots of bad stuff and lots of amazing stuff too. Many times I've picked up the phone to call her before realizing I can't do that anymore.

I don't think getting dunked into the water was a sign from my mom. Although it is something my mom would do. I believe my fall into the water was a form of baptism. A cleansing to wash away all the old crap and placing me back on the sand a new person.

Refreshed, renewed and re-energized. And a reconfirmed faith that it's all going to be OK.