Monthly Archives: January 2012
Several months ago, I decided to try Bikram Yoga. I had previously been a professional boxer and trained in MMA but after some life given brutality, I opted for a more peaceful and introspective work out. I had heard many great things about the yoga but I had also heard that it was amazingly intense and not for everyone. I knew from the latter that I would probably love it and I did. That first day in what is affectionately called Bikram’s torture chamber by the instructors, I was pushed past any physical and emotional limits that I had. Although being in fairly good shape, the heat combined with the intensity of the postures had me re-assessing everything in my life up until that moment. The bottle of wine I had the night before, the cigarettes I had smoked in high school, the failed relationship that I was now out of, it was as if I was dying and my whole life flashed before my eyes as sweat clouded my vision. For those 90 minutes, I was in an awakened state of meditation. Thoughts flooded and attempted to distract me but my focus always came back to the room and my reflection in the mirror.
I practiced for several months at least 4 times a week and then I fell off the yoga wagon for a bit. At first, I did not see or feel the true effects of my practice. I went back to my typical and common way of coping. I went out with friends all the time, drank, partied until the wee hours of the morning and began a descent into the self-destructive side of my psyche. Sure I was having fun if that is what you would call it, I call it running away and not dealing but at a certain point it became unbearable to walk around like a zombie drone and pretend like I was fine. After a little over a month of nothing but party monster, I had an epiphany. Insanity truly is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Some people will always run from their problems, whether emotionally or geographically, I see it all the time and hell I even tried it but at the end of the day wherever you are, that is where you are. The real solution resides within yourself, not a foreign country, not at the bottom of a bottle and not in someone else’s hands.
I have decided to try to put myself on a 30 day challenge of daily yoga and no alcohol. I started several days ago and I already feel more empowered. My instructor Erinn said the other day something that rings true in the hot room and out,”No one can steal your peace.” In the context of the room it means that regardless of the instructor or the sweaty person next to you making weird noises, you are responsible for maintaining your own meditation and practice. The sweat dripping down your face, the fatigue present all over your body, the heat, all of those things can be overcome and even ignored if your true focus remains on yourself. And this is so relevant to everyday life. That person that cuts you off in traffic, that boss that does not appreciate you, the douche that broke your heart, they can not steal your peace because once found it is yours to have and hold and cherish. I know now that my peace is found in that 107 degree room and for 90 minutes a day, no one can steal it. I look in the mirror and watch my body accomplish things I never thought possible and I have watched my body transform in ways I had not imagined. My once bulky muscle is becoming lean and long, my abs are returning to a shape I only saw in them right before a fight and my skin glows as if I were in my teens again. There is no doubt in my mind that this yoga works miracles inside and out.
I am so elated to have returned to my practice and to also be amping it up. For many years I chose to try to numb my wild and powerful mind. I could not control it and it seemed the only method to tame it was to dose it with some sort of substance. Now I know that all that numbing did me no good and that I have a healthy way to cooperate with it now. I also realized that controlling anything is an illusion, my mind is strong, I should use it to help me, we should be one. Bikram has helped me immensely with this notion. I can not impose myself on anyone or anything, including myself. I can only seek a positive cohesion and in that there is peace. During my practice, negative thoughts float through my mind but never remain. Something will pop up and just float by, no attachment, no judgement just there it is a thought and then it is gone. But as I lay in savasana at the end of class, my only thoughts are that of peace and accomplishment and how I can use this feeling and have it transcend into my life outside the room. I truly love it and look forward to the next month of struggle and enlightenment.
“No one can steal your peace!”
After much insistence from some friends, I have decided to write a book. Do I believe it is because they find me to be such a talented writer or that I have amazing enlightening life philosophies? No. I assert that it is in response to the insane and often sadly entertaining melodramas that have perpetually played out throughout my 30 years of existence. At times I have felt like Ron Livingston’s character in Office Space, doing nothing would be a welcome vacation. My life if crammed into the confines of 12o minutes would be more like Four Rooms, several unbelievable vignettes that somehow collide to form a cohesive yet disturbing and hilarious story. Initially when I sat down to contemplate the best course of action in order to effectively express the lunacy that I have experienced in a fascinating format, I was totally lost. It felt overwhelming and far too complicated. How on God’s green Earth will it be possible to cover that much ground and communicate all the elements of my life that have created and molded me into who I am now? It is too much. But then I figured that I would use my infamous logic to come up with some sort of game plan and I arrived at this: I have often wondered how Karma and other stimuli affect the causation of certain experiences that we go through, throughout the journey of our lives?
Being a Buddhist, I believe in Karma and reincarnation which to some may appear ridiculous and too “new wave” but oh well. My inquiries into the subject are vast and numerous but the most recent relate to whether or not my Karma is also a result of that of my parents or their parents before them. And perhaps Karma is too much a definitive term than what I am attempting to describe but it works in a general sense. I am more speculating as to how the circumstances and experiences of our parents can lead to the actual determination of our own experiences and destinies. This got me to pondering evolutionary theory and Darwin’s assertions on Nature versus Nurture and such. Which as an aside has always been quite thought-provoking to me because based on the fundamentals of Nature versus Nurture, my brother and I DESTROY the concept. More on that later…… Understanding that my knowledge on such subjects is limited, I jubilantly took to the internet and stumbled across Epigenetics.
In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence – hence the name epi- (Greek: επί– over, above, outer) –genetics. It refers to functionally relevant modifications to the genome that do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of such changes are DNA methylation and histone deacetylation, both of which serve to suppress gene expression without altering the sequence of the silenced genes.
I also came across this amazing article in TIME http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952313-1,00.html
What does this have to do with my book? Back to my brother and me…. We share the same DNA. We were brought up by the same people, attended the same schools and lived in the same house and yet you could not have created too more differing human beings. So how is this possible? And the mystery extends beyond us and into our parents as well. In fact if you were to meet the four of us, individually, other than some shared physical traits and intellects, you would most likely never conclude that we are related. This would seem to negate the theory of Epigenetics as well but I allege that it actually affirms it.
As I have aged, I have been more interested in learning more about my parents’ lives and even the lives of my grandparents and I have discovered that my psychological make up and even neuroses have direct relation to their experiences, either literally or in direct opposition. By this I mean that there exist the notion that those abused will either become abusers themselves or they will react in an opposite fashion perhaps taking a highly adamant and vocal stance against abuse. I, of course, am not speaking of abuse within my own experience, I just used that as a commonly known assertion. During my delve into my own psyche lately, I have concluded that my main psychological malfunction is that I have issues with abandonment. It is unfortunately a theme that has reared its ugly head several times throughout my life’s narration. Karmically(made up word) speaking, I would assume that I either have had a pattern of being abandoned and that my lesson is to overcome it or that I myself have been the abandoner and must learn how destructive it is. In this life, I am guessing that I need to learn to get over it 😉 Oddly and coincidentally enough though, while researching my parents, I have stumbled across the same theme. Both have at some point been abandoned by their parents, either emotionally or physically. And going farther back into the lives of my grandparents, the same theme is present as well. Is it possible that even before we are born we are predetermined to have issues with certain life occurrences? And if it is possible are our reactions to these issues truly demonstrative of our inherent personalities or are they merely the result of awakened cells within our DNA structures caused by the accumulation of experiences and environments of those before us?
Abandonment is certainly not the only similarity that I have uncovered as well. We have all lead exciting and wholly unbelievable lives. Never a dull moment. Never ruled by convention. Ours are the lives that movies are made of and that are inconceivable and frightening to others. Is this genetic? Is it Karmic? Were we reincarnated into this family unit BECAUSE we were already struggling with the same issues? I am excited to begin researching this project and to hopefully uncover the answers to these questions while telling the tales of several intriguing players. We have laughed. We have cried. We have struggled. We have overcome. We have survived. We have lived.
On this cold and grey day in the great city of Austin, I just wanted to take a moment to be thankful. First, I would like to thank you all for reading, following and commenting. I have received some amazing support and I am so blessed and appreciative. I am going to be revamping my blog and creating new energy for it. I wanted to start by sharing some of my children. On those days when I am so stressed or unhappy, I come home and witness things that are so cute and lovely that nothing can keep me from smiling! These are my two babies that sleep with me every night and make me smile every day! Seeing them like this is amazing too because at first they did not get along very well. Also Christian, the short-haired was not very affectionate or emotive but over the last several months he has come out of his shell and is one of the most loving of my kids now. Love them!
Personal evolution is beginning to feel like a spiritual board game. I take several steps, sometimes leaps forward and inevitably there is backward motion as well. I suppose that it is necessary in order to continue moving forward while truly comprehending the path that has been taken. I began this blogging adventure as a means to process and heal from a terrible break up. To some, that was courageous and creative. To others it is”crazy” and misunderstood. For the latter, I wish that you could understand my motives. I want to have a voice. When another human being takes control of your life and makes a unilateral and highly destructive decision and actions are forced upon you, you are helpless. You are no longer an integral part of your own fate, you are plunged into the reality of reaction. My reactions have spanned the spectrum of human emotion but in the end, I have been pretty impressed with my progress and the way in which I maintained my personal integrity. But, I am human and I have my set backs, like today.
When it was first brought to my attention that Will was writing a blog and had been secretly for some time, I anxiously and fearfully read it. And there is nothing worse than learning about someone who you thought you knew through their writings. About the only thing that comes close to this sensation of removed enlightenment, is the falseness of their words. Upon discovering that he adores making himself seem like a deep, highly evolved, spiritual and altruistic person, I decided that I had read enough. I KNEW the truth, I had survived it. And thus I told myself with the encouragement of my friends, that I would not read it again. Honestly, nothing positive was going to come from it but unfortunately I have masochistic tendencies and every now and then my curiosity gets the best of me and I find myself typing those pathetic letters into google and making the same mistake that I promised myself I would not. And this is what I found today: http://williamsabia.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/not-so-fast/
Immediately enraged and disgusted, I came to the conclusion that the only person at fault for these overwhelming emotions, was me. I had let my curiosity overwhelm my logic. And it is disappointing when you realize that you are the one who is hurting yourself. I mean he is NOT going to change, he never was. So why do I even let it bother me? I have been asked the same question over and over again, why do I do this to myself? Well this morning, I finally figured it out. A dangerous combination of optimism and disbelief.
The optimism tempts me and the disbelief is constant. I suppose I hope that at some point there will be an apology or an epiphany, something. But it never comes. I am shockingly still amazed at his ability to learn every life lesson there is to learn except for the one he needs to learn. Self awareness is not something that you spew forth on a blog entry and create in order to garner the acceptance and praise of others. It is something that you work towards on a daily basis and my main reason for self-awareness is so that I do not hurt other people or myself with destructive, selfish behaviour. That is why when my blog is read, you see the flaws, you hear the doubt and you read the truth. When I talk about Buddha it is not some concept that I throw out because it sounds interesting and philosophical. I have been Buddhist for many years now and it is something that is dear to me so to have the one that hurt me so deeply quoting and paraphrasing beliefs, it is almost insulting. I want to scream, “HOW DARE YOU?!?”
How dare you act like you are a good person? How dare you not take responsibility for your actions? How dare you talk about love and loss? What did you lose? You ran half way around the world and YOU are talking about loss and pain! How dare you? I could go on forever with these but in the end this is not about him. The problem is me.
I write extremely personal and unadulterated things because it may save someone from making the same mistakes. Yeah I guess it is “crazy” to put such things out there in the vastness of the internet. I honestly wrote the majority of this yesterday and saved it because I was unsure if I wanted to post it. I began fearing what it would make me appear to be. I have been told by my sibling several times that this blog, well at least the personal aspect of it makes me look like a psycho girl and so I felt like maybe I should change the direction of it. Perhaps solely post my poetry or begin writing the treatment for my book but then I realized what a hypocrite I would be. Anyone can write and share the easy stuff. The anonymous things that can self promote, it is much more difficult to share your true nature and allow for the possibility of judgment. If people want to judge me for being hurt, then so be it. If people want to think that I am a “psycho” because I tell the truth and am unafraid of showing myself, again, so be it. I know who I am., perhaps for the first time in a very long time.
I am a human who has loved and lost. I am a woman who is nearing the completion of a very long and arduous process of growth. I am a Buddhist who is trying to remember the tenants of my beliefs. I am a spiritual being having a physical experience. Things are not always rainbows and sunshine but they are also not always gray and dark. This is what I have learned. I am learning to let go of the things that are painful and remain open to the beauty in life. I am learning to accept that the Universe is not going to give me what I want but rather what I need. I am learning what makes me strong and unique but also the traits that are less desirable and need to be addressed. But is this not the point of living? I choose to do this openly and I will continue to because I will not be that which I loathe. I will not only post things that make me look enlightened and interesting. I hope others will be comforted in that, it is ok to be wherever you are in your process and on your path. It is ok to have doubts and to question your actions and your emotions. It is ok to be who you are and to acknowledge your mistakes.
This year will be about this philosophy. I will be stronger than ever. I will make more forward progress. I will recognize my regressions, examine them and move on. I will continue to work diligently on strengthening my mind and body so that when I look back on this situation, I will know that I conquered it. It may have been painful and exhaustive. It may have even taken longer than I would have liked. But I will know that I can do anything and I did. I will also know that I am prepared for any circumstance and that should something of this nature creep its way back into my realm, I will have the skills necessary to move through it more gracefully and more constructively. I am finding power in my flaws because in the end, they will make me work to be the person that I want to be.
So there it is. If I am crazy then that is fine, I can conquer that too!
The dust of chaos settles upon an uncertain foundation
bewildering situations encourage evolution
the ubiquitous amethyst haze slowly dissipating daily
kind words of strangers rest upon my ears and heart
and gently remedy the illness of insecurity
the real cure though coming from within
experiences wash over my psyche and bombard my senses
as the electricity of a touch, kiss, smile
send slight, surprising shocks down my spine
each cell crying out with relief
the future unknown,
the past abominable,
the present perfectly flawed
it is a new day, new year, new me………..
Happy New Years! Well I expected and hoped that NYE would leave me optimistic and ready to take on the world but per usual someone tried to rain on my parade. To this person, guess what? I still had a great time because I made it that way! So in a way I will thank this person and the universe for giving me a chance to prove that this year will be whatever I make of it, no more depending on others for MY happiness! I remember me 😉
Now for the in-depth analysis…….
A good friend sent me this article the other day on gas lighting and how women are manipulated and perceived as being crazy for having emotional reactions to inconsiderate behaviour.
I assume that he sent this to me because of recent experiences that I shared with him. Without going into too much detail, I totally and completely agree with the author’s assertion. I am an intense personality, I mean I am a redhead, it comes with the territory right? But I have also been called abnormally logical for a woman. The second clause in that sentence is exactly what bothers me about men. So because I am logical and a woman that is strange? Seriously?
However, the same man who can compliment my ability to remove all emotion from a situation and handle confrontation rationally can then accuse me of “overreacting” and being “dramatic” when their poor behaviour is called into question. The idea that both those aspects can truthfully coexist in one human being is a little far-fetched. I am certainly not asserting that I have NEVER overreacted but it is not my norm. I am considered to be a strong, independent and intelligent woman. I say that I am “considered” this but I believe it to be true as well or at least I do until a man tells me that I am not. I am unsure as to what is worse, the fact that I allow myself to judge my entire personality because of what some dude says or the fact that men seem to want to control me with manipulation. Either way, it is an unhealthy and undesirable cycle. I find myself making the same excuses and exhibiting the same traits that are described in the article. Telling someone that it is acceptable that you stood me up, or did not call, or were late, or took the cowardly way out when it is entirely NOT! And why? Because if I tell you what an ahole and how ill-mannered and disrespectful you were, I will be the “crazy” girl. It is amazing, I spent years in a relationship with someone who manipulated me in this manner and now that I have been back in the dating pool, I have already witnessed it. I am sorry but common decency and consideration are not too much to ask for and if you are going to try to convince me that they are, you will be met with resistance!
I can only imagine society without the understanding and forgiveness of women. I also contemplate the legitimacy of the diva philosophy. I had a friend once that told me I was way too nice and sweet. She said that this was my problem. She on the other hand acted like a total diva to guys. If they did ONE thing that she did not like, she either totally iced them out or acted like a total bitch. Unfortunately, this garnered the opposite reaction that I would expect, they loved it. They chased her down, begged for her attention, bought her gifts, took her to elaborate dinners and vacations. They could not get enough and it was almost as if the meaner and more irrational she was, the harder they tried. Up to this point, I have rejected this philosophy. If I have to play games and act out of character then I do not want you. But some men really do seem to respond to the challenge girls, which I appear to be at first. After awhile though, they figure out that the tough and hardened exterior that I present is just that. Once the facade is penetrated the goal has been accomplished and interest is lost. And yet, I hear men endlessly complain about bitches, gold diggers, divas, and self-absorbed women. But when confronted with a good, sweet and caring chick that digs them, it is just too easy. So the acting out commences and they start testing your resolve. And when you have finally had enough of the BS and you express your frustration and disapproval, you are a psycho or melodramatic.
I am all for personal accountability and growth but the endless attempts at deflecting responsibility lead nowhere. I am not crazy for expressing my dislike for something rude and inconsiderate. It does not make me a drama queen that when I caught you being dishonest I told you that it was unacceptable. Now if I threw my shoe at you and cursed you out or slashed your tires, maybe……. But merely stating my displeasure, no!
So here’s a thought, women stop criticizing yourselves for being expressive and dudes, if you did something that is not cool, admit it and move on!
Now then 2012, watch out because this girl is feeling empowered 😉