Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I'm Gonna Bitch-Slap Envy Right out of my Hair

The countdown has officially begun: seven days until I begin yoga teacher training. Entries from my journal include such phrases as “I feel in a way that yoga has given me back my voice” and “I feel very powerful.” Until last evening, when I became paralyzed with anxiety and doubt. I CAN’T EVEN DO A HEADSTAND. Those kind of thoughts are invading what was my calm, tranquil, ready mind. WHAT AM I THINKING!!!!! I feel like I just graduated from sixth grade and am getting ready to enter a masters’ program in physics.  I’M NOT READY!

Part of it is a dirty little secret: Envy, which has been my companion for more years than I like to think about. He’s always by my side, bitch-slapping me, whispering in my ear, insisting that I compare myself to that long drink of hot water standing there with the hot guy and perfect children getting ready to board their yacht for a quick trip around the world.

They don’t call him one of the seven deadly sins for nothing. He’s nipping at my heels even before my training begins, but I’m on to that green-eyed bastard. I’ve forgotten more of Dante than I ever knew, but he also had Envy’s number: envious people had to totter along (probably in stilettos and with one arm tied behind their backs) with their eyes sewn shut with wire. Ouch – that would really smart.

I know that the hot babe might also be eyeing me with envy. Her husband might be a controlling jerk (yes, I know you’re thinking of the sick fuck who murdered Cecil the Lion), one of her kids might be really sick and she might be dreading the trip. She might want to trade places with me in that moment because I obviously don’t live on kale and mineral water, I’m laughing with friends and I don’t have to worry that pirates are going to overtake me on the high seas.

I work hard not to compare myself to others – it’s soul-sucking and can be especially hard during yoga practice when I feel envious of the young, thin, lovely lasses who flow so gracefully through class, as if they were faeries dancing on my lawn. Then the double-whammy hits: envy makes me a bad yogi!  Shame on me! And then the triple play: if only I’d been more athletic when I was younger, if only I had pursued gymnastics or dancing or running instead of wine and vodka.  My running career consisted of two events years ago:        
  • I occasionally worked out at a gym with a humorless woman who relentlessly walked the Stairmaster. She was desperate for a fourth person in a relay race, thought I was being modest when I said I didn’t run and browbeat me until I agreed. So my friend Krissy and I showed up at the race, each wearing shorts and one half of a pair of tights, a la Flo Jo. We thought we were hilarious. Not so the Stairmistress, who was pissed when she saw us and even more so when I took 72 minutes to run a quarter of a mile and then laughed and said, “I told you I couldn’t run!”

The beautiful Florence Joyner.

  •             My friend Mitzi and I decided to compete in a mile race at work. For exercise, we ran to Taco Bell and stuffed ourselves, then plodded back to work, complaining bitterly the whole way about how full we were. We also thought we were hilarious when we didn’t have enough money to pay for our feast and tried to bargain with the cashier; the guy behind us finally threw the difference on the counter. He was not amused.

But I digress. Just one more reason I’m not ready: my mind doesn’t travel in logical circles and I haven’t had to study or memorize things since the flower children were in power.

However, I’m moving forward. I’m reading a book called The Gifts of Imperfection, where the author says, “If we want to know why we’re all so afraid to let our true selves be seen and known, we have to understand the power of fear and shame. If we can’t stand up to the never good enough and who do you think you are? we can’t move forward. 

Yeah, baby - I'm moving on.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Just call me Yogi (or Boo Boo)

On the cusp of my 63rd birthday, I have signed up for yoga teacher training. This is a blog I posted on the site of the studio where I practice and where I begin my training next month. I hope to document my journey - I've been away from writing a blog for a LONG time. I hope my loyal fans are still out there.

“…and when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”
-          Paulo Coehlo

Frankly, as a good friend would say: sometimes the universe has its head up its ass. It’s not a good time for me to take teacher training, to say the least. My husband is unemployed, I have a daughter in college, my job does not pay well, we have debt, the thought of being in the studio at 8 a.m. on WEEKENDS makes me crazy, I'm too old, I suffer from anxiety and am losing my mind and memory more every day...... and what if I fall and break my hip?

So of course I signed up.  I’ve been feeling euphoric, panicked, absolutely ready for something new in my life, utterly convinced that I’ve made a ghastly mistake and everything in between. At first I signed up thinking it didn’t matter if I ever teach: I just want to find some missing and undiscovered parts of myself.  On reflection, I’ve discovered that I want to be a teacher. I want my students to feel all buzzed and blissed out when they leave the studio or my porch or a lake or wherever I choose to teach. I’ve come to the studio before from a really bad day and with a chip on my shoulder and have left feeling at peace because of my yoga tribe. They give me more support than a good pair of Spanx.

Bonus: I am actually willing and eager to work for it, as opposed to some previous unfortunate behavior on my part, which was to want something REALLY bad, wait for it to come to me and be pissed when it didn’t arrive, all nicely packaged. This, unfortunately, will not stop me from whining during training:  it’s too early! It’s too hard! It’s too hot! Sweetie peed on my homework! Wendy is so mean! I’m hungry! Everyone is better than I am! I can’t do this! How did I ever imagine I could do this? I’m not spiritual! I won’t graduate! I didn’t sign up to learn a foreign language – utta-say what?

Say YES!

“And suddenly you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Thank you, Meister Eckhart.

Dedicated with much love to Stephanie Young, a yogini who lights up the world. Here she is in all her glory.