Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Will You Choose Resolution Or Cultivation In The New Year?

Instead of a New Year’s Resolution why not abide in the space of Cultivation for the New Year?


1: The act or process of resolving: as a: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b: the act of answering: solving c: the act of determining

The thought and statement “I resolve” is a fixed and unwavering mental position to hold and sets one up for a battle with one’s own will in the end. With 52% of people unable to keep those New Year’s Resolutions it would seem to me that the odds are stacked against you. I offer this up instead-  


1: to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops; also: to loosen or break up the soil about
2: to foster the growth of <cultivate vegetables> b: culture 2a c: to improve by labor, care, or study: refine <cultivate the mind>

Shifting into a state of Cultivation allows for you to just be. To abide in the space of cultivation allows for movement, essentially Life to move through you and around you. If you can acknowledge and accept that which you would like to see changed you can then begin to move from that space. This is a far gentler way of approaching yourself and life.
That being said, if you choose to cultivate instead of resolve in the New Year, can you do so without holding on to some destination? If you are able to see beyond your mind/body you will realize that it is all merely ideas and concepts, i.e. your story, all of which die when the mind/body dies. You may quit smoking, put more money in the bank, say your mantra 108 times every day for the next year and even lose 10 pounds which is all well and good, but it’s all really just a myth, keeping you from the awareness of what is. The reality is you are Existence itself so if you choose to hold firm to a resolution for 2011 why not resolve to just be who you are. That in and of itself is total acceptance, then no need even to practice cultivation arises.

What will you choose in the New Year?        

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Diet And Fitness Un-Challenge: Part 1

The topic of food and ones relationship to it is ever present. We can’t flip through a magazine, turn on our televisions or open up Yahoo’s homepage and not see an advertisement or article referencing the state of our body’s index. We are inundated with diets, workouts and supplements all marketed towards us with our insecurities in mind. I just finished reading Portia De Rossi’s book “Unbearable Lightness”, her epilogue alone is worth a trip to Barnes and Nobles to sit and read it for ten minutes, especially if you have ever dieted, binged, purged, starved or have a habit of overeating.

With the holiday season upon us diet companies so-called fitness guru’s and celebrities will bombard the public with their wares trying to convince us that if we were 10 or 20 pounds lighter our lives would be somehow happier and more complete. How many times have we spent our money on diet books, eating programs, food delivery services, supplementation, etc., only to be left with a new regimen, another mental preoccupation and less happier in the end? All of this simply takes us out of our own ‘knowingness’.
Recently I was asked by an acquaintance, “What should I eat?” Knowing that this type of question is looking for validation, my reply was, “What do you like to eat? What do you think you should eat?”  My feeling on this is to eat what you like, but bring your awareness to what it is that you are eating as you consume it and then watch what happens.

I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost weight, I’ve been sick from overeating and not eating. I ate certain things because a book or a fitness trainer told me I needed to and all the while left not feeling well, constipated and still unhappy. The way I eat today is very different; I eat what I feel best on. Not because the government created some pyramid or Patanjali instructs me too. I love chocolate, fresh cheeses, delectable pastries and red wine and consume at least two of those items everyday and some days I happily double up. Any nutritionist will tell you there is not much nutritional value in any of those things except for maybe releasing some delightful feel good chemicals in my brain, but I find them to be some of the pleasures of life and will partake in those things as long as I continue to enjoy them. I would not impose the way I eat onto anyone. It has taken me years to find what works best for me and it wasn’t until I started to slow down and bring some awareness into what it was that my body wanted did ease come about.

If you feel better eating nothing but McDonalds or eating nothing but Twinkies who is anyone to tell you what you consume is wrong, and the notion that one can purify the mind or body through food is nonsense. You may be able to eliminate waste and toxins out of certain organs, gain weight or lose weight and shifts in energy may change through diet but that’s it. It has nothing to do with who you really are and if you think it does then you are bound to a never ending despairing cycle, being completely identified with your body. I know people who eat very wholesome foods even raw diets that live in constant egoic contraction and other people that eat very rich diets completely at ease with themselves and life and as the proverb states, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”.

Medical issues aside i.e. diabetes, arthritis, celiac, thyroid, etc. Having someone else who tells you what and when to eat is not natural. I truly believe we all know what our bodies need. As this year comes to a close, maybe save your money this time around, slow down a bit, and bring some awareness into what you are feeding yourself, you may come to be pleasantly surprised. I guarantee, if you just take a moment, take a breath and feel what it is your body needs your feelings will change about what you eat. Start with only one meal or one snack; don’t take it all on at once. It will all work itself out. This simple practice only requires that you slow down a bit and check in with yourself, no overhaul to become overwhelmed with and no band wagon in sight.

My message always goes back to this: Come back to yourself, inquire within and be okay with what you find. Consider this your “Un-challenge”.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When Did Getting Into Pre-School Become Harder Then Getting A Job ?

I put it off long enough. To be honest I got so overwhelmed by it all I just had to leave it alone for awhile and after talking with my friend Nicole the other day who is currently applying and going through preschools I figured it was time to get back on that horse - finding a preschool for Leo. I’m a bit late into the race as the starting gates opened right after Labor Day. So, I called one preschool, “Oh, sorry the application process is already closed for the fall of 2011.” Ok, on to the next. “We are no longer accepting applications for next year.” Now my mind kicks in with scenario after scenario about being left with PS 72 and their crappy test scores, or in the middle of government housing where they can’t even afford to fix that broken down tricycle that is left outside in their playground, or Leo coming home with gold chains around his neck and his pants held up by his knees. I know what my mind is doing, but I’m already totally hooked. It’s a slippery slope my dear friends. I frantically ring my husband to tell him we’ve been shut out of two preschools already for next year. He calmly asks if we can discuss this when he gets home. Of course, there is nothing he can do and I’m sure my husband thinks I’m on my way to becoming one of those quintessential “Manhattan Parents”.

When he arrived home from work before he even took off his coat he laid down an article in front of me called “Cracking the Kindergarten Code” that was published in the “New York” on November 20, 2005. After reading it a sense of ease came over me. According to the article, “It’s the post-9/11 baby boom. So many more kids were born in the city, and now they’re applying to kindergarten.” Roxana Reid of Smart Kids adds, “Several nursery schools had ten or more children shut out from getting into school altogether last year.”  I myself had just learned about the ERB (an aptitude test used by many kindergartens) to get into kindergarten has grown by almost 40 percent. More families are applying to more schools now. From five or six was the typical number in 2000 is up to applying to nine or ten! Gone are the days of just signing your child up for school. Michele Hernandez, a former admissions official at Dartmouth who runs a college-admissions consulting service stated “Coming from schools like Spence and Dalton can actually be a disadvantage. The admissions staffs at Ivies bend over backwards not to take kids from those schools,” Hernandez contends. “Unless your kid is at or near the top at those schools, your chances of getting in from the top of a mid-level school are probably better,” she says.

I know schools such as Dalton, Collegiate and Horace Mann are not options for us and there are some really good public schools in the city even in our zone along with Charter Schools, Montessori and Waldorf  being an option. With all the extraneous stress I am putting on myself, I know Leo will get into a school that is suited for him and if not the one around the corner, there is always another school for us to look at. His father and I can only observe him to figure out what environment he would best flourish in. Leo is only coming up on two years old and so what if he doesn’t go to a formal school until he’s three, but this is Manhattan and being a bit neurotic is in our nature.

All I can do is diligently take the steps necessary to ensure Leo gets into the best school that is suited for him and within our means. I know stressing is futile and everything works out the way it’s going to be, whether it’s how we wanted it or not. I just don’t want to be left with schools that are subpar and I don’t want him to just learn how to take and pass a test. I’m wondering if other parents around the country go through this or are we just living in the “Manhattan Bubble?”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Vote, My Remembrance .

This year I was very unclear if I was going to even vote or not. Growing up in my household it was instilled at a very early age, “It is your civic duty as a United States citizen to vote.” My interpretation of that statement has always been, “you vote”. End of discussion. So I have always voted. But this year I have grown tired of it all - the media, the politicians, i.e. Dems and Republicans, and I seriously cannot believe much of anything that comes out of their mouths when their energy is not congruent with what is being spoken.

After a conversation about political parties with a friend today, it became clear to me why and how I go about voting. I am not a registered elephant or donkey, and to be honest, I don’t care much for politics. For me it’s simple - Government should butt out and let me live my life without having to adhere to a hundred million laws and regulations, and the understanding that whatever party I vote for they are still going to take money out of my pocket. It is what it is. 

As six PM rolled around I grabbed my coat & purse and headed out the door to vote at the school a block away (super convenient). As I looked at the ballot, I noticed how many other parties besides Dems’ & Repubs’ there were. It brought a smile to my face to know I wasn’t boxed into just one or the other, because quite frankly I hear mostly complaining when it comes to the one or the other. I generally don’t vote for either party, so I don’t complain because the people that I vote for don’t win. I refuse to vote for “the lesser of two evils” as that statement has run its course and I would rather not vote then be left with just that. The ballot showed me there are other parties out there that would also love my vote and I will vote for them as I see fit. Of course keeping in mind that government is a mighty big machine.

After I finished voting, I turned to walk out of the gymnasium and felt my eyes swelling with tears as both my Grandfathers faces flooded into my head. They no longer walk this earth, but their service to this country is not forgotten. Next, the name Lydia Taft followed by Frances Wright, Ernestine Rose, Margaret Fuller, Lucy Stone and Abby Foster ran through my head - all Suffragists. They too will not be forgotten.

I will continue to vote because I believe there can be more than just a two party system. I will vote to honor my family and friends who have served this nation and I will vote to remember the women that fought for the right to vote.

Did you vote today?

Friday, October 29, 2010

So, What's Your Story?

Pause for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine if you will that you have no name. What does that feel like? This started happening to regularly occur for me back in 2002.  I would be in the middle of teaching a yoga class and have no recollection of what I had just said, where I was, or how much time had passed. I was completely aware and present. Another instance of this, what I call a pause or a gap in the stream of thought, happened while walking to my car one day. I saw my mind panic having to remind myself of my name, the day and year. Noticing the reaction that was created it got me thinking. If I don't have my name then I don't have a story. And if I don't have a story, then who am I?

This was a cause of concern not ever having these types of experiences before so I went to go see a trusted friend, Marlene. After retelling Marlene my experiences she politely smiled and gave me a few insights and pearls of wisdom and recommended that I read the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, and told me it would take a year to get through. She was right.  Years filled with highs, lows, and drama came and went. The "if only I was 'there' instead of 'here' or "if I had 'this' instead of ’that’". I identified with things I didn’t have, while the things I did have were never enough. By identifying “with it all” I believed my thoughts, beliefs and ideas were me.  I bought into it hook, line, and sinker. For me that identification equated to misery, pure and simple. Of course, as I discovered, it was a complete fallacy. We lack nothing and are all equipped with everything we need. If you think that you lack something, play the detective and ask yourself ‘who’ is the one that is feeling that lack. You or your mind?

In 2005 I was a night hostess at a downtown restaurant in NYC. On this particular night we had a very heavy snowfall and after having witnessed numerous taxis spinning out in the streets I decided to take the subway home.  Emerging from underground I began to walk home, which was only a few streets away. I was nearly home when I heard footsteps coming up behind me.

Just as I felt something shoved into my back it was accompanied with “Give me your fucking purse!" I turned around and looked upon a young man’s face mostly concealed by his hood. Looking down I notice his gun pointed directly at my abdomen. I looked back at his face staring directly into his eyes unable to look away. In that moment nothing else existed. Time stood still.  No emotion, no stress, no ideas, no concepts, no beliefs, nothing. There was absolute clarity in what I can only describe as a boundlessness void. In this void I saw my mind download like you would see on a computer trying to figure out how I was going to get out of this situation, ala Matrix style. I gave him my purse without uttering a word and then followed his instructions to turn around and walk the other way lest he "fucking kill me". I counted the twenty steps and turned back around to casually walk back home.

After my mind was able to catch up with what had just happened I started to hyperventilate as everything from the experience began to sink in. The days following I noticed a fear with me when leaving my apartment. That fear soon waned and changed to anger thinking to myself, "I'll be damned if another human being ever scares me again." That anger then became the motivation to move through it all and just rack it all up as part of the New York experience.

Recently I visited an old friend and teacher I hadn't seen in a couple years. I consider him to be a fully realized person and just being in his presence you become still and abide in peace immediately. We have had many conversations and this particular conversation we were having was about the mind at which time I brought up the two experiences above. His reply was simply, "You have experienced Truth and have seen how the mind works. Some people like Robert Adams have spontaneous awakenings while taking a math test in The Bronx, while other people need a gun pointed at them. Everyone has instances where this happens. They see the mind for what it is and no longer identify with it. The mind is merely a tool. Ask yourself why do you continue to identify with your current life situation, after you've just told me you've seen how the mind works it’s not you."

Aha! I get it now.

Arriving back in NYC I immediately recognized an internal shift. This was not anticipated or expected, it just happened. I finally got that they are life circumstances. There was no more attachment to "my story". Why? My circumstances are not who I am.

So, what’s your story?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can Society "Sexualize" What Is Already Sexual?

A heading that has the words "parents' council" or "parents' group" in it will generally get me to click on it. I especially get a kick out of it when these groups just happen to be up in arms about something. This time it's Miley Cyrus's new music video that has some parents cringing. Not being a fan of her what so ever, I had to educate myself a bit with Ms. Cyrus and her career.

Understandably, I can see why some parents are not too happy with the pop singer - her current video is not very Disney-esque. It has the seventeen year old rolling around on a bed in black boy shorts wearing a bedroom eye mask, another shot of her has her on the side of a bathtub with six inch heels, etc. All very sexually orientated. I'm sure we will see her on the cover of Maxim in the near future like the rest of the young starlet's that need to say, "Look at me. I'm not a little girl anymore".

Here is what I take issue with... why must we sexualize everything? Why is it that these young women who have been in the entertainment business for most of their lives come of age and all of the sudden feel the need to objectify themselves sexually? Does this some how make them an adult? And how long should have Ms. Cyrus waited until she unleashed her sexual prowess on to the world (her show only ended a few months ago)? If we continually put these young women (and men) out there, how can we expect people not to be attracted to under aged, i.e. jail bait, when sex is equated with youth?

These were my initial thoughts and feelings after reading the article about Miley on FOX, but after putting all that aside I had to ask myself what is the real reason that I take issue with all of this? Deciding to dive in and be a detective with these thoughts and feelings it comes down to this - I don't have an issue with it. It is impossible to "sexualize" what is already inherently sexual. People's attraction to youth (not children), but rather adolescents is conditioned. And let's be honest girls today don't look like the girls of yesterday at the same age. Not to mention humankind has always had it's eye on finding the "fountain of youth". And remember that in the not too distant past many people did not live past the age of 30. Pre-teen and early teens were a good age to begin reproducing, obviously we live well beyond that of our ancestors now, which may exacerbate this even more.

The question always comes back to the fact that society's views, an agglomeration of individual minds, never is in Truth.


Thank you to my Teacher for "pointing the way". Om Namah Shivaya. And thank you to Marko for helping me piece this blog together.

As always I Welcome your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Over Think It

I had a rare treat of taking a 90 minute vinyasa yoga class the other day with a friend. As my friend said "vinyasa" I just happened to observe a resistance arise in me. Now coming from a vinyasa back ground you'd  think I would be down with it and not think twice about it, but these days I prefer my own practice in the comfort of my own home, minus the music and mirrors where I can move at my own pace and ease into the postures I comfortably know. 
I prefer my comfort zone and practice just that - comfortably, on and off my yoga mat.

During this particular class I found myself thinking : What the hell is this? I'm looking in one direction only to be completely turned around, (lord knows how I got there) and then back around lowering into a one legged chaturanga just in time to hear the teacher say, "don't over think it".

Isn't that life though? We go along our way trying to maintain some sort of comfort and familiarity only to find our lives have been completely spun around and we are left in a  position having no clue how we got there, thinking what the hell is this?
Taking a look at my resistance to this specific yoga practice, I have found that I don't naturally flow and transition with ease through my life. Vinyasa yoga IS to flow and transition, to let go into this beautiful dance between breath and movement with ease no matter what posture is presented. The realization that the yoga practice that has been with me all of these years never really got carried over into my everyday life was a bit humbling to say the least.

How I approach my yoga is really no different then how I approach my life. They are fundamentally one in the same. I think how you approach anything is indicative to how you approach life in general.
Do I struggle on the mat and in life, or except and navigate consciously with whatever presents itself to me? Is there really a need to do or undo? Or can I simply just say yes to life essentially? Perhaps the very practice that makes me wince is exactly the yoga practice I need right now.

Using some of the principles of vinyasa yoga to learn how to go with the flow and transition with whatever life situations ensue, the comfortable and the uncomfortable, saying yes to the challenge of having my box expanded and as the yoga teacher said, "don't over think it".    





Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Being Mindful Of Impermanence With An Impending Divorce

"Keep the concept of impermanence in mind and maintain an awareness of assembled phenomena. I am aware of interdependence, being able to recognize this interdependence, I recognize impermanence." This is what I say and remind myself of on a daily basis.

As I've come to understand, feelings as in e.g. shame and warmth are different than emotions, e.g. anger and joy. Siddhartha discovered that at the root, it is our emotions that lead to suffering and in fact they are suffering. One way or another, directly or indirectly, all emotions are born from selfishness in the sense of clinging to the self. Emotions arise when particular causes and conditions come together, such as when you are quick to think that someone is criticizing you or ignoring you. Then is when the corresponding emotions arise. The moment we accept those emotions, buy into them, we have lost awareness and sanity. For Siddhartha the resolute for this was awareness. In essence, tend to your emotions and learn how to avoid getting "worked up".

For me, having this awareness also requires that I practice it. At this particular time in my life divorce seems to be the inevitable for my marriage. I was just told yesterday by my husband that he was going to ask for a divorce the night I told him I was pregnant. This was over two years ago now. There is also documentation from a year a half ago when I was four months postpartum, sleep deprived and alone with this new human being of something I allegedly said and did towards myself. Let me be very clear : I have NEVER thought of harming my son in Any way shape or form. He was wished for and loved the first time I knew of him and I would lay down my life for my child. Yes, I cry when I'm exhausted any one close to me will concur. They will also tell you I am open and will verbalize how I am feeling. ( So maybe think twice before you ask me "how I'm doing" you may not want to hear my answer :)

Observing the hurt that arises then evaporates, the anger that comes in tidal waves as it hits the shore to ever so calmly recede back, feelings of shame that my mind has created with thoughts of "not doing enough or being enough" enter then exist, the warmth that I feel when my son smiles and waves to me at the top of the slide has came and went. As with everything, emotions and feelings are always in flux.

As information has been gathered to try and bring question to my mental and emotional sanity (which I'm told will not be used against me?), we will take a quick look down memory lane. I took Lexapro for a couple months after I birthed a still born son a few years ago, yes, I was depressed for that year. As of a month ago I have a police report against me for domestic violence that my husband filed. I slapped him a few times (I did have the sense to put my son in his room and shut the door so he wouldn't see before physically going after his father). I was wrong for acting out in such a way. No amount of anger, verbal attacks, in your face finger waving constitutes such behavior. These two examples don't put me in the best light and I can probably guess correctly in that there is documentation of my other not so stellar moments that I may not even be aware of.

Why share these not so nice moments with you? I have no fear in showing myself. I don't cover things up and make them pretty. If something is cause for concern I confront the person or issue. I don't go about as if nothing happened and file it away just in case it gives me some sort of future gain. I require honesty from myself and if you ask I will tell you. I have nothing to hide. I'm not perfect and don't pretend to be.

Does part my fault lie in the fact that I am honest with my feelings and people don't care to hear it or that I allow myself to openly cry when I'm sad, hurt, angry, frustrated or just plain tired. Is it somehow better to harbor feelings, turn a blind eye and pick up a gambling habit because one doesn't know how to cope?

So as I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. My heart is broken but remains open. I forgive easily.   Being mindful of what Siddhartha has said on impermanence, I can but only diligently practice and continue to remind myself of these things. Some days I will fair well and other days fail, as you have come know. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end to everything, and of all the things out there, personal relationships are the most volatile and a perfect example of impermanence.

As always I welcome your comments.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Move Where? Dallas? As In Texas?" A Conversation With My Husband.

My intent is not to offend, but if you happen to be sensitive about how your state (as in Texas) is perceived, maybe you should consider calling it quits with my post now. Now that that's out of the way....

Emerging from my bedroom early one morning wiping the sleep from my eyes, I shuffled over to my coffee pot (yes I shuffle in the morning), I happened to notice my husband sprawled out on the couch, computer in hand looking very intently at the screen. Not being a morning person I don't care for chit chat before my first cup of coffee, so if anyone has something to say it better be direct, because I only have the patience for "yes" and "no's". On this particular morning our conversation went something like this :

Husband : "What cities will you be willing to move to? I have a list. Number one, San Fransisco?"
Me: Looking up from my freshly poured cup of coffee, "Seriously?" (Insert my "Are You Kidding Me" face here) "YES! You know this."

Husband : "Just clarifying Stefanie."  "Seattle?"
Me: Now, Seattle has been dangling in front of our faces for years now. Seattle has this mystical feel for me rolling off of those waters and who doesn't want to live where Grunge music originated. Great coffee, rather cloudy though so I'll just buy a few of those Light Boxes for the house to help with my seasonal depression :) "Yes."

Husband : "St. Paul?"
Me: I know nothing of the place but it's gotten great reviews for living and working. "Maybe, it's cold though."

Husband: "LA?"
Me: I need a place a bit more grounded and heard the schools there aren't so great. "No."

Husband: "Dallas?"
Me: That alone was enough to make me speak more than one word. "As in Texas? They were at the bottom of if not dead last for education last year and the state seems to be very proud of the Bush's. I might just have to become a bonified liberal if we were to ever move there."
Husband: "But Stef, even people in Texas don't care for Dallas. Dallas is different from the rest of the state, it's pretty liberal as far as Texas goes."
Me: "Yeah, but didn't the state want to break away from the union? NO!"

Husband: "Chicago?"
Me: Too bloody cold and I'm an outdoors person (as long as there is a shower and clean comfortable bed awaiting me at the end of the day). Being stuck indoors for six months would be the end of me. No."

Husband: "Boston?"
Me: I feel a slight smile upon my face. Rich in history, wonderful schools, the water is right there, Baron Baptiste's yoga studio, New York City rival town. "Possible. Need to visit."

Husband: "Atlanta?"
Me: Thinking, thinking, thinking. It caused me to pause. A bit of a culture shock being the South and all, but I've been hearing about some amazing things coming out of that city lately. I would have to visit first though. It feels pretty good. "Yes."

Husband: "Last but not least, DC?"
Me: "Yes."

Only time will tell, we've come so close to moving before. This has been a lesson in truly being where you are - not looking too far ahead, because the likely hood of missing a blessing or something really great can happen. I have learned so much about myself and the world living in NYC. I would not trade any of my experiences in for anything. They have helped shape who I've become. I am proud to say that I am a New Yorker, open to people, cultures and  ideas. Thankful of the beauty of Central Park, the city's architecture, the museums of every art form known to mankind, performing arts, the little "unknown spots" that I've found, Warwick NY, the amount of activities to do with my child, the great restaurants, Balthazar bread, farmer's markets, diversity from one neighborhood to the next and the wonderful people that have come into my life. New York City will always be "Thee City" in my book.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sayonara August!

There is no doubt in my mind that my August is probably your January. Most people tire of cold come February, I tire of the heat come August. It is not particularly my favorite month. For the most part I feel like I'm being cooked alive and thinking this is what it must be like inside a Tandoori Oven.

Now, I am not a "calendar watcher" per say, so just because it's August 1st doesn't mean that things begin to go sideways. It's more of an internal feeling that just seems to "be there". For those of us who are internally lead you can probably relate. For those of you who aren't, e.g. my husband, try not to analyze too much - it's an internal thing. These internal shifts are happening all the time. Some you notice others you don't and they go by without your conscious awareness. For me come August or any other melting heat wave, I first start to feel a little "off", then I feel a bit run down, and then ultimately I just feel like crap. Over the years though, I've gotten pretty good at noticing when I'm off  - physically, emotionally and even mentally. Usually it's my husband that will make me aware of the mental shift, as gently as an analytical mind can. This shift I will eventually come around to admiting, sometimes with more resistance than other times.  : )

Ever since I can remember, the month of August has been a physical challenge for me. So over the years I've learned a few things that help. First and foremost is to remind myself that August and the god foresaken heat will eventually end!  My next item on the list is to see my acupuncturist and along with that a bit of NAET thrown in. Those things honestly get me through and remain thankful that I have access to these wonderful methods that work for me.

This year, I found it interesting that a friend and my husband stated the same thing on the same day, "Maybe you just need to rest." My friend Kyra informed me that most people in India during the hot months have people come in to scrub their floors, even if they are of moderate means, and that naps are taken in the afternoon. This got me thinking. For the most part, people here in the city leave on the weekends or take the month off to enjoy themselves and have some R&R. Quite frankly I do enjoy the "quietness" of the city during August and do a bit more outings myself, but I have great relief when September comes. In my mind when September arrives things go back to normal.

So I had to look at this for myself. My attitude is, "This is New York people, everyone back to work!" Perhaps it would behove me to rest a bit more during this month, which I have, and prepare in advance to take a long vacation during August. I heard Greenland is nice this time of year. I've had to ask myself if this is some sort of self fulfilling prophecy? No I don't believe so, and according to Chinese Medicine the month of August is a transitional month, moving from the Fire element into the Earth element which affects us on many levels whether we notice or not.

As I bid fare well to another August I am grateful that this month has brought clarity into my life and that right action can be taken to to maintain a healthy state of being and with that -- Sayonara August!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fall Boots Are My Porn

The husband is at work, the boy is down for a nap... Strike up the mood music. Dim the lights. Remove the goods from their box. Ahhhhhhh... the touch of soft supple leather on my skin. ZIPPPPPPPPPPP.... purrrrrrrfect! Boots really are my porn.

Let's just talk boots for a moment. Pull on, Zip up, Bootie, Motorcycle, Platform, Wedge, Low heel, Medium heel, High heel, my beloved Ultra High heel, Ankle, Mid, Knee, Over the knee, I love them all. Nothing gets my heart racing more then walking into DSW. I feel the perspiration above my brow and my blood rush to my cheeks. Over come with excitement of which ones to try on I try not to be swept away with emotion. I only have an hour so I must make the best use of time. I need to be strategic about this. Zero in on boot section, up and down the isles, eyeing every single cute boot I see. I am prepared this year. I know exactly which two boots I am looking for so I am able to maintain focus. One pair for everyday wear and the other pair has to be hot and as high as they come, but let me get real for a second. I live in Athleta, sneakers and Birkenstocks. Truth be told I hung up those heels awhile ago. Living in South Florida for about a decade I could indulge in any shoe I chose and as the saying goes the higher the better. I walked from my front door to my car, from the car to the restaurant/club whatever. These days I'm much too tired at the end of a day to think about getting dressed to go out. I do miss it though. My days in the city consist of teaching classes and playing with my son at the parks. We walk everywhere. Heels simply won't do.

The other day I went down stairs to grab the mail. My heart skipped a beat, my eyes widen, Yes! I have found the pair. In my hands I was holding the sacred Nordstrom fall catalog. Once again Sam Edelman you have won my heart with your Utilitarian Boot. You are perfect in every way. I must have you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Eat Pray Love Phenomenon

According to USA Today article by  Kitty Bean Yancey Bali's tourism is up thanks to the book and movie "Eat, Pray, Love". Having jumped on the band wagon, some of these themed tours are promising a similar experience, such as Italian pizza and a Brazilian waiter while in Bali, of course for a price. Believe me, I am all for supporting tourism and global economy and being able to experience other cultures, I believe these to be invaluable. But why do we want to have someone else's experiences? Are our lives that bad or simply uninteresting just going through the motions with our habitual ways? It seems to me that the author Elizabeth Gilbert was able to take a good honest look at herself and that begins her quest.

It is much easier to watch a reality show on your couch with a bag a chips and judge what's going on in other people's lives. I too enjoy the occasional mind numbing program. It's a bit of a break from myself and all in a good dose of moderation. But how often do we look to escape our current feelings, thoughts, or life situations? It is apparent to me that lots of us are through addictions, preoccupations and other various avenues that keep us entertained for the time being.

I truly believe one of the hardest things to do as a human being is to get real with yourself, except oneself and ultimately friend yourself. If we are able to change our perceptions about ourselves everything else in life will follow suit. Deciding to take an honest look inside and embracing it all is a very brave thing to do.

Your Life and Experiences will be the Best teacher. Why run from it or pay for someone else's?

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can we just not talk about BOOBS!

This is what I heard from a new Mom the other day after one of my classes. My ears perked up and I was ready to listen. Who doesn't like this subject? As someone who doesn't follow trends for the most part I was unaware that not breastfeeding is not PC these days according to some of the women that I've recently met. One of the great things about living in this city is the amount of options that are available for new Moms. Isn't there a support group for everything these days? Apparently not. I never jumped on the band wagon with that but did my best to go to some sort of class/get together every week when my son was a baby.

New Mom support groups are abundant here and probably would have benefited from joining one myself but joining anything really isn't my bag.

So here's the question, what about the women who can't or simply don't want to breastfeed? Some are in these support groups where week after week all they hear is talk about sore nipples, mastitis, latching on and leakage. It can be isolating enough being a first time Mom. Your world as you once knew it has been flipped turned inside out and all your hearing is boob talk.

Don't get me wrong I am grateful for those Women that forged the way and continue their mission. Standing up against the prudes and pharmaceutical companies and saying "No, it's not alright for me to be in hiding because of the simple fact I can nourish and sustain another human being." 

I chose to nurse my son and did so for a year. Being the "in thing" or not that's just what I wanted to do and it didn't come without it's challenges I can a sure you. If it wasn't for my friend Jillian who told me to stick with it for at least 6 weeks I might have given up.

Doesn't it really just come down to this, Choice? We women have fought long and hard to simply have that basic human right. We are blessed to live in a culture that can challenge the status quo. If you are looking for something you'll find it and probably a small army of others who feel or think the same. Why not just support each other without agenda? Own what you choose. If that means whipping it out on a packed subway car or mixing a bottle while eating out know that someone else is doing the exact same thing and with that I raise my milk glass to all the baby mama's.

I welcome your comments:)

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's So Wrong With Being Mainstream?

Here in lies the question that has been on my mind. Elephant Journal does a really good job of sharing lots of points of views when it come to Yoga. These views have got me thinking...why take issue with how people practice or what our marketing media driven culture has added to the "Idea" of Yoga?

Looking at my own time line with the practice, I was one that teetered on being a purist. That being said my first yoga class was at a fitness center and it was called YogaFit. It changed my life. I began looking for every yoga class available but keeping to only studios. I do not know why but that's just me. I found a teacher by the name James Kigar in South Florida. My world was rocked. In a packed room for 2 hours I sweated and flowed like never before. All thought ceased and a stillness is what was left in a girl that was mentally all over the place with no direction to speak of. That was the beginning for me. I felt like I finally came home.

These days I've found myself cringing when words like Chakra or Dharma are loosely used. We here in the West are notorious for taking something and running with it. Something that is sacred ends up being a line in a Tuesday night sitcom. What if we didn't have that though? Would I have inquired or studied some of the things that I've come to know and love? Who knows. It's out there and I believe it to be a good thing. I love my purists but to look down upon another persons practice that means something to them no matter how sliced and diced it is, isn't Yoga.  Yoga by definition is Union meaning one in the same. You dis your fellow man you inadvertently dis yourself.

This in and of itself is a practice. Some days I fail miserably, how can one not with Life itself? I feel that if we can let go of our own judgement about anything we raise the level of consciousness on this planet.

Let people be, meet them where they are at and listen. You might be enlightened.

I welcome your thoughts and comments below.