Do you ever just feel like you're wasting something?
I've been feeling restless lately, like I am missing out on exploring everything that life has to offer. Every week, I teach a class for these residential yogis that live in a fancy building in Manhattan, and I always give them what I call in my head "the Saturday Sermon." I usually tell them something with regards to finding joy in their practice, because you certainly won’t find it on the 6 train, but lately it's been all about that spring detox and decluttering.
Which I think is funny because the theme of detox comes up in yoga ALL. THE. TIME. I mean, yoga--in and of itself--is quite frankly meant to de-clutter. To quiet the mind and remove the chatter. I don't think this goal of achieving enlightenment or pure union ever goes away or becomes separate from the act of decluttering or detoxing*.
*(By the way, I mean "detox" in a good way--not a "I'm going to starve myself and only drink coconut water or whatever people do when they detox type way").
So in this spirit of decluttering full force and also in the spirit of Mercury being in Retrograde (even though I try not to let that get to me anymore), as well as being slightly motivated by a few deaths recently, I have been feeling, well, unhappy. Unfulfilled. Maybe even empty if that’s possible while you’re decluttering. .
I know, I know--I should go see a therapist like any good New Yorker to help cope with this feeling of inadequacy. And then afterward, I should hit up a juicy vinyasa class and meditate and feel good about myself again.
But the truth is that I have been:
A. Too lazy to find a new therapist. My last therapist was so terrific, and I really don't want to replace her even though she exclusively works with trauma victims only and ONLY for a set amount of government sponsored sessions. I used all my sessions.
B. The busier I become with other work, the more I think about doing what I am doing right now, which is writing. Then I become depressed because I am literally writing nothing (expect now, of course) but emails and my Saturday Sermon for my yogis.
So since I was feeling downright mopey, I pulled something off the bookshelf to take with me on this weekend's upstate excursion that had nothing to do with anything that I do-- no exercise or yoga--but a light-hearted book on wine by Marissa A. Ross, Wine. All the Time.
Wow. What a fucking joy it is to read this! I already know a lot about wine, simply having had to suffer through the bougeey restaurant business for so long, but it's clear that Marissa (if we can be on a first name basis), not only loves wine, but loves to write as well.
I realized, pouring over Marisa's hilarious words on tasting and wine descriptions, that I missed writing.
No, it's not just that. I missed making the time to write. The way I make time for hill repeats or downward dog.
It dawned on me that I, too, could be having this much fun if I did something crazy and just put a little effort into my own writing, which is something I love.
Talk about a detoxifying revelation--I returned home to the city ready to toss my fitness life aside and live my best "writer-style life" in the Hudson River Valley, imagining myself holed up in an old, worn down Victorian style house typing my novel and living this smelly city behind me except for maybe on the weekends when I'd come into Manhattan and traipse around carefree like a tourist at Shake Shack.
I don't have to do that, though. I can give my writing the tools it needs to grow and practice and continue to teach Surya Namaskars and give sermons on detoxing in tandem with each other.
I figured a good way for me to start untangling those feelings of angst would be right here, possibly in addition to or instead of exceedlingly long Instagram posts. And like these two bridges—one old, the other new—I can still use one while the other is being fine-tuned and completed.
So if you read this and a week has gone by without another post, Yogi, bring me home. Bring me back. Because my writing might be flawed, and it takes on its own decluttering process, but it’s something I can’t neglect anymore.
Meditated for 6 minutes today. Boom!
I didn't want to go crazy, as I am planning on doing the next chakra here in a few, but here are my thoughts on the Heart Chakra.
Because I have had asthma my entire life, I was keen on trying to find out where this ailment falls in terms of the subtle body, and after going back and forth (4th or 5th?), I believe whole heartedly (pun intended) that asthma has to be a 4th Chakra thing.
This blog is going to be all over the place. I won't apologize, as it's a journal entry style blog.
Okay, asthma, 4th chakra, this should be one I pay attention to. A few of the prompts spoke to me, but the one method of meditation for this chakra that really hit home for me was repeating two words I noticed on one handout from class:
Inhale unstuck, exhale unhurt.
Man, that is brilliant. Often during an asthma attack, "stuck" is exactly how my lungs feel. I remember the first time I got into a camel pose in a Bikram class, I felt vulnerable, flexible, unstagnant, and terrified at the same time (like, holy shit, my chest is open my chest is open my chest is open, no way am I going to let my head fall back what are you crazy can I come up now).
As far as lifetime "unstuck" experiences, I relate the imbalances I have felt in this chakra (oh and there have been many) most to my choice to waitress for most of my adult life and feeling as though it was my ONLY choice. As the money became not as easy in New York City, (I remember moving here and making boatloads of money--in comparison--one Happy Hour pm shift could easily earn me $500 back in the day, as opposed to post-recession Happy Hours, which fell between $150-$300, depending on where I was working).
Ah, green, the color of money and the heart chakra, what a fine coincidence.
Doing the one activity that most people would not associate with asthma (running marathons) was actually the activity that freed up my heart chakra the most. After my first marathon, something inside me changed. I built up confidence and soon became manager of the bar where I worked. Not so long afterwards, I started personal training again, and for real--not prospecting clients in a gym, but actually working with clients in their homes, people of all types of ability. I discovered I was a teacher in some regards (a great lead in to the next chakra!!), and I hung up my beer opener and waitress/bartending cap for good (or so I thought--I have had a few shifts in the biz here and there when money has been tight between clients).
But you know what? I have other talents that have been stagnant for so long that I could be using to make ends meet. Being a great waitress or bartender is an incredible accomplishment. You deal with so. much. crap. And it teaches you how not to treat people. It also teaches compassion, over and over again, and this unknowingly prepared me for training. My compassion, my ability to guide someone (whether it be drink choice or through a series of exercises) falls within my true identity.
I'm having a real breakthrough here, as I think about how powerful language is. Waitress. Server. BarTENDer. Someone once told me, "You're an amazing waitress; you'll have no problem finding another job." This person said this to me as he was firing me during one of the darkest times of my life, but I wouldn't have it any other way, in retrospect. I did get other jobs, but I had to play Farmville first, and drink Trader Joe's wine while binge watching Law and Order SVU and grieving the death of my friend. It was 2008, and I was 27, and for years afterwards, I would said it was the worst year of my life. Now that I know I have more life left, I might disagree with my 28, 29 year old selves in the future. Now I say, "27 sucked", or "once I turned 30, I started to not give a damn". Tis true, the 30s so far have been the best for me, and they keep getting better.
I wanted to be done with the restaurant industry by the time I reached 30; I didn't retire completely until I turned 33. I have gone back twice (the most this last winter when I needed to get the dough together for this teacher training). I had to give up the gig as I started doing insane amounts of yoga, soul searching, studying--your body and mind are tired. One shift, I worked until 3am, and I was miserable and knew that I had to quit and never return. Not because of the nightlife, but because I was making myself so exhausted, and the money was not worth it. How can I be a good student, exhausted? How can I be a good teacher, exhausted? I also had to quit because a friend told me that I was so good at the hospitality industry, that I should consider going back full time, and why was I spending all this money on training? My god, this person doesn't understand me at all, I thought, when in reality he does, but he has not seen me with clients. He has not seen me in those moments of teaching when my client can finally feel their glutes fire up, or lats activate, and those moments are powerful.
I have started to substitute teach, and I had two students ask me questions after class the other night. It was awesome. Questions are cool. I love giving people answers.
I'm gong to have to end this now, and get coffee, but until next time.