Hold it back//let it go

I’m super frustrated today.

No, it’s not because I’ve barely been posting lately. That’s also frustrating, don’t get me wrong, but honestly it’s been hard to write this month. My 2016 can be described very simply so far: January and February are a blur of YTT, and March has been catching up on the life I missed during January and February. There has barely been time to clean my apartment or see little miss; there has barely been time to see all the friends and family that are clamoring for my attention now that I have a semblance of free time and there has barely been time to sleep in between all of the above. Blogging, unfortunately, has had to take a back seat to life for March, but I am so hopeful that April I can get into a groove of this new life that’s emerging in 2016, where I’m working full time, in between teaching yoga, in between blogging with some regularity.

And no, I’m not frustrated because I had a bad weekend. Actually my weekend was lovely. I decided to work from Connecticut on Friday, and spent the day with my parents, helping to clean up around the house ahead of the holiday and snuggling with their pup, the sweetest puppy in the world. And this weekend A came to my hometown for the first time to meet my parents (*but mostly the puppy); Saturday was a wonderful day where I gave Mama B a private yoga lesson in the morning and A and I explored all around my hometown in the afternoon, before heading back to the house to drink too much wine with my parents and enjoy every minute together. On Sunday morning, after I finally managed to drag my father away from lending A yet another book or telling us about yet another cheap flight he found for us this summer for our trip to Norway, A and I drove back to Queens and then out to Long Island for too much mac ‘n cheese and more wine. We sat in traffic for more than an hour on the way back last night, but it was time well spent, regaling each other with stories from our wild college days and singing along to Sublime on the radio until we made it back to Forest Hills and I fell asleep for a minute in his arms on the couch, perfectly content after a perfect weekend.

So let’s recap: I’m not frustrated because I’m not blogging. I’m not cranky that it’s Monday because I had a great weekend. It’s the last quarter moon this week so I should feel that it’s a good time for resting and rejuvenating ahead of April, where I have a little event we’ll call four.05 happening next week and a trip to Austin to visit G a few days after that. Basically everything in my life is reminding me how grateful and lucky I am for every piece of my days and my life and yet I’m sitting here at my desk after barely sleeping last night because I’m so goddamn frustrated about something it’s driving me nuts. And what’s worse? I can’t even talk about it here.

Next week, starting on Friday, I have an entry scheduled to publish. It’s one I’ve been working on for nearly eight months now, and it’s one anyone who’s been reading this blog for that long will have been anticipating for about that long: next Friday, I’m finally going to talk about the Big Change that I’ve been referencing since last summer. There’s a very specific reason that I’m posting that entry next Friday, but something I didn’t anticipate when I started writing the entry was that it would actually require two parts to tell the full story. It’s not Part One I’m worried about posting next week, either. It’s Part Two. Because while the content of the story won’t change in either part, there is a major point in the surprising conclusion that I can’t talk about yet, because something needs to happen first before I do.

The thing that needs to happen is something I can’t control. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a really long time and something I know from the deepest part of me. It’s a thing that I know is true not just for me, and it’s something that has gotten to the point that it’s so tangible it almost hurts. It’s something that I can barely hold back anymore but it’s something I can’t give first unfortunately, as much as part of me wants to because I’m bursting holding it in this much, and I can’t do it much longer. So I’m frustrated, holding something in that just wants to be known. Why tell you about this, instead of just pushing the posts? I’m not sure, really. Part of me is tempting fate, being so open about this; the rest of me doesn’t care. I can only hold so much of myself back from this space anymore, having been held back for most of this year already. I suppose you’ll have to tune in this time on April 11 to see if part two holds true.

The secret life of daydreams

The images through the subway window started to blur, like a movie on fast forward, as the train buzzed past the local stations early this morning. Bundled in a leather jacket and a new fuzzy hat, I stared at the same spot on the window that wasn’t the same at all; one second it was dark as night and the next it was a rush of the blue and white of the subway station tile. As the images ran past me they started to meld together, and I found my thoughts wandering outside of the train into the night ahead of me, into the weekend ahead of me, into the month ahead. My meditation practice, while it could use some work, has come a long way in the past few months, and I found myself daydreaming in the present, watching my thoughts like a movie, letting things roll in one side and other the other; nothing stuck and nothing stayed but it was a pleasant way to stay in the present moment during the long commute into work.

I have a terrible attention span on a good day, frequently losing my train of thought in the middle of a sentence and. There’s something about daydreams that keep me grounded in moments where my normally overactive attention would be in overload – the subway being a prime example, with its unique blend of people watching, colorful ads, and random announcements that could be anything from “we apologize for any inconvenience” during a delay (sidenote: DO YOU THOUGH!?), to “if you see something, say something.” Getting lost in a daydream is the best way to pass the time; sometimes you see strangers and you know they’re caught in such a moment, staring off at nothing like it’s the most interesting moment of their life. Daydreams are as unique and telling as real dreams: when you start to notice where your mind is wandering it gives a great perspective on so many pieces of where your life is at that moment.

Last night I taught a yoga class for the first time for C and her coworkers, and the experience was both exactly as I’d expected and like nothing I expected at all. It’s really interesting to be on the other side of the yoga class, observing people in space and trying to cue and change the class accordingly. Something one of my instructors told us during training is to read each class as you’re teaching it and modify what you need to, based on the crowd. In my case, I put a fun class together that I can’t wait to teach in full someday, but this group of people needed a different type of class than what I’d been daydreaming about since the day C became the first person to follow up on my offer for free classes. There was a beautiful moment of intuition that I remember clearly, as we were finishing up the first flow of the class, where I knew everything needed to change on the fly to finish out the hour. That kind of situation is where my constant daydreaming comes in such handy, I think. When you spend so much time with your head in the clouds you realize how silly it is to stay grounded into one idea, or one plan, or one class.

Daydreaming, like so many things, takes a particular set of skills, though. Because daydreaming can lead to a rabbit hole of ego; like sitting on your couch reliving the class you taught for the first time and hyper-focusing on every moment that went wrong, or so you perceive. It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on how terrible something went instead of realizing that things went perfectly just because they went; it’s easy to root into the future dreaming of nothing but the worst of every situation instead of enjoying the present moment. Daydreams can root you in the best and worst parts of yourself, because a wandering mind takes you out of right now, setting up a dangerous spiral where you live in the present and in the future, the constant reminders of time passing and our utter lack of control over every piece of that time.

Tomorrow I’m teaching another class, this time to my YTT tribe. It’ll be a different class and a completely different vibe, combining a mini-reunion with the elation of practicing together for the first time in nearly a month. It’s a class I’m so looking forward to teaching I almost can’t stand it, and yet after last night there are all these little pieces of it I need to practice and change. This morning on the train I was listening to the playlist I put together for the class itself, and found my thoughts rooted deeply in fear, now that I know what it’s like to teach a class for a full hour. I noticed them start to drift again between the past, where I have things to work on, and the future, where I’ll put those things in action; in fluctuating between the two I found myself back in the present moment. The moment today where I was standing on a subway train, having taught my first of two classes this week, that beautiful moment where maybe for just a second I felt like a real teacher. The moment where there will always be things I’ll want to improve, and the moment where I put those into action.

It’s funny to think that this internal turmoil took place on a crowded subway. I suppose that’s why and how this is the secret life of a daydream, after all.

Snap.

Monday night for a really long time I sat on the couch breathing deeply. I didn’t want to respond to the fairly innocuous texts waiting on my phone, I didn’t care enough about Netflix to pay attention, I couldn’t get on the mat because of an injury and I could feel that I was about to burst, so I just sat on the couch breathing. Breathe in, try to wrap my mind around the anxiety that was forming as anger in my core; breathe out and let it all go. It took a while but I finally calmed down, enough to pick up my phone and respond, press play on Arrested Development and wind down from the spike of emotions before going to sleep. Yesterday morning I went to meditate, as I do most mornings these days, and found I couldn’t sit still for anything, still agitated from the happenings of the previous day. What exactly set me off so much that I’m working through these cycles of quick anger and slow calm, even now at my desk? Nothing, really. This week I just snapped.

Anxiety is a bitch of an emotion with a lot of unpleasant physical symptoms to boot, as many people know and some know much better than others. I suffered from at-times crippling anxiety for many years; not that I couldn’t leave my apartment or had to leave my job crippling, but yelling at my friends and family for imagined indiscretions and hiding in an office bathroom crying kind of crippling. It’s one the reasons I love yoga so much. Yoga has made it really possible to calm myself down, to separate my Self from my anxiety, looking at it almost like a separate part of myself that I can subdue by not giving into its cries for attention. 9 times out of 10, that approach works for me. But sometimes all of that anxious energy builds up in me and I can’t find a way to get rid of it, and something tiny will set me off and it bursts out of me like  a firework, generally in the form of anger. Recently it’s been this vicious cycle; I can stay calm in moments that used to feed into anxious energy and instead the energy stores, until I get an unwanted text or Snapchat and it explodes in rage out of my body. It’s like I’ve finally learned how to calm down my anxiety but now I’ve created a whole new beast I need to face.

Anger is a scary emotion. It’s unpredictable and empowering at the same time; it feels good to release the anger on someone or something else, whether they deserve it or not. Anger is intoxicating in its own way; where Anxiety makes you want to crawl in a hole reliving that one embarrassing moment from middle school over and over, Anger gives you the power to yell, to assert yourself and your opinion. It gives you ammunition to fight for yourself in one way other, your views or your free time or whatever else may be offended. Anger is power; Anxiety is fear. Neither one of those matter when one is in a yogic state of mind, and yet even with all my Zen AF yogi training, I still have too many moments where I’m chasing that anger high, even though I know the come down can be just as bad as the original offending emotion.

Yesterday I felt it snap again, after trying to focus on the good things like how today is my Friday and and I have family to look forward to this weekend, but a text set me off and I spent the next three hours breathing myself through a fit of anger. I left the office in a huff, walked 20 blocks up to the subway stop up from the one I normally take to blow off some steam and proceeded to wait over 20 minutes for a train. After about minute fifteen I could feel the anger I’d been suppressing percolating like mad: fucking MTA. I just want to go home. Who are all these people trying to push me to look down an empty tunnel. The train is going to be uncomfortably crowded. I could feel my frustration wanting to emerge in tears, in yelling, in cursing, in something, just something to get it out of me and release that energy onto someone else who could handle it better.

But instead I took another deep breath and paid attention to my heartbeat and my thoughts. I appreciated the moment where I was just then: I wasn’t about to leave to take a cab home so I just had to wait, knowing eventually there would be a train and eventually I would be home. I stood, leaning against the painted metal of the station, and counted every inhale, and every exhale. The anger subsided just as the train rolled in and I leaned against the doors I knew wouldn’t open till the end of my trip and I kept breathing. At that moment a large group of loud tourists packed into the train and started yelling at each other across the car, but I just turned up my headphones and focused on the song in my ears. And as I poured all my attention into the melody flowing through each ear and through me, the song crooned “Life is in love. Life is in love. Life is in love.” I smiled, and replayed the song. I may have snapped the past week, finally breaking from Zen-yogi LB who has been running the show for weeks now, but she’ll come back always if I can remember those words: life isn’t in the intoxicating pull of yelling at strangers or hiding in a corner. Life is in love. Love is life is love. I think I can breathe into that.

Forgive

Earlier this week, I was prompted upon signing into my work computer to change my password. Anyone who works at a desk knows how tediously annoying this process is, because your password is EVERYWHERE and you can’t use old ones again, so I sighed heavily and looked around me for inspiration to create the stupid new phrase. My eyes settled on this quote from the Tree of Life that I keep on my desk: “Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.” Honestly I haven’t seen the movie – I pulled the photo from one of those Buzzfeed posts where they take an inspirational stock photo and put text on it – but I found the words inspiring at the time, and this week I found them inspiring again. I created a new password with the last word, Forgive, and figured that was the end of password troubles until the system prompted me again. Except it wasn’t, at all. Turns out, “forgive” is kind of an annoyingly frustrating word to type on a regular basis.

Maybe it’s just that I haven’t got the hang of typing a new password yet, but I’m still having quite a time trying to type it every day. There’s something really introspective about typing the word “forgive” over and over, and messing it up most of those times. It’s not that there’s anything weighing on me; the yogi in me long realized holding grudges causes nothing but pain and I don’t feel the need to apologize to anyone for anything in recent days, except maybe A because little miss still does NOT like him and makes that very clear every time he’s over. Yet even though there isn’t a moment or an event or a person or a thing that’s bringing the concept of forgiveness to the forefront of my mind, messing up my password daily does force me to stop and think about forgiveness and contrition. It makes those two a larger ideology for me – like a constant reminder to forgive and ask forgiveness when necessary.

“You’re the kind of person that asks forgiveness instead of asking permission” are words I’ve heard on many occasions across many platforms, most recently as a character assessment for my job performance and style. Part of me thinks that sounds glamorous, like I fit into the free spirit mold that I’ve created for myself and I do what I want, thinking of consequences only when I have to. I don’t know that it’s glamorous or me though, frankly, because much as I’m someone to follow my intuition over reason, that statement makes it sound like I’m this reckless human out for her own self-interest, and I’ve worked hard in yoga not to be that kind of personality. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been that person. I know what it’s like to get satisfaction thinking of all the wrongs that have felled you in the past and imagining how you’ll respond to someone who wrongs you in the future. It’s intoxicating to live in this place where everyone is out to get you so you can elicit sympathy or reply with the perfect comeback every time.

Forgiveness is something we can accept only in the present. Forgiveness means letting go of the past, of the hurt or the pain someone may or may not have caused you. Forgiveness means accepting that you don’t know the future, that it probably won’t feel that great if you’re in a situation where your perfect comeback is necessary. Forgiveness is living in the present, and for the majority of us, that’s really fucking hard, because it means you have to surrender to your ego and just Be. None of this is to imply that I’m this perfectly realized human – just last night on the subway, some kid either didn’t notice me or didn’t care that I was literally standing in front of the door, and went to push his way onto a train before I stopped in his track, shot him a death glare and made him back down (and yes, it felt really good). And then it didn’t feel good, because I don’t know if he didn’t notice me and it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t care. Ten seconds after it happened we were both in our own world on the train, and save for this story now immortalized, I wouldn’t remember him in another day or two.

So maybe this is just my small way of letting you know that I understand if you can’t or won’t forgive each other. Forgiveness is really freaking hard, no matter the size of the infraction or perceived wrong. But in tangible daily reminders of how difficult it is to “Forgive,” I suppose I’m hoping to do the same for anyone else reading as well. Just be aware in your days how willing or unwilling you are to forgive. Bring some awareness to the daily task of forgiving a stranger on your morning commute or letting it go when the Starbucks person adds an extra four syllables to the name they’ve already spelled wrong. It’s just a few good vibes to spread on this Thursday, in such a small act. Like the tiny print out on my desk says: “Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light.

Forgive.”

And then? Brunch.

You know how I’ve been bemoaning about how uninteresting my life has been lately? I was looking back on old entries, not just before YTT but going back to early 2015, and my word life has changed so much. All of the changes have been wonderful and positive, and I suppose most of the changes are what people refer to when they talk about growing up, but part of me missed that carefree LB. I missed reliving the ridiculous moments on the weekends, fueled by champagne and perfect weather, and I miss waking up to photos in my phone that I don’t remember taking, someone else’s selfies and kisses on cheeks as we fall down on the bar couch. I don’t want to go back to those times, but I did miss them for just a little while. And then this weekend happened. Or more specifically: and then? Brunch.

M’s sister was in town for the weekend, my first weekend after training, and we’d decided weeks ago that Sunday would involve the three of us and A getting together for brunch at Paradou, a tiny restaurant not too far from my office in the Meatpacking that offers what else? Unlimited champagne brunch. A and I had a perfectly lazy Saturday, dumplings in Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon followed by binge watching Amazon Prime on his couch in Queens, the lovely kind of nothing you don’t realize you miss until you go without for six weeks. Like the super-cool couple we are, we were dead asleep by 10:30 on Saturday, and up early in time for a long walk through Queens before we met M and her sister for the aforementioned brunch. I had grand plans to dedicate the afternoon to cleaning my apartment, grocery shopping, and generally being a productive member of society. And then? Brunch.

A. I haven’t mentioned him yet, have I? A is the person that I never saw coming, to say the very least. My 2016 had grand plans to continue the year of LB, a year for big life changes and life lessons and learnings, but never in there did I expect, anticipate or plan for A to crash into my life and change everything. We’ve been seeing each other for a while now, and to his enormous credit I have NOT made it easy on him. A few weeks after we met I was starting a Whole30, and then a few weeks after that YTT started, plus we live quite literally on opposite ends of the city. Rather than the typical “meet for drinks” getting-to-know-you dating that’s standard for New York City singles, our relationship has been yoga dates, cooking for each other, lazy nights on someone’s couch and weekends apart while I spent time in the studio. Actually, aside from the wedding where we met a few months back, he hadn’t really experienced drunk LB in her full glory, despite our dating for a few months now. And then? Brunch.

We all woke up in a daze on Monday morning, after brunch turned into the Standard Biergarten turned into a series of ridiculous happenings, like how M and I had to climb up her downstairs neighbors’ fire escape after locking ourselves out of her apartment and I almost lost my phone and keys in an Uber I don’t remember taking. A and I had talked about hanging out last night and quickly quashed those plans in favor of going to our respective apartments and crashing immediately; I don’t even know how I made it through an entire day in the office without throwing up in or around something. When I initially woke up I felt like such ass that I almost started to berate myself, talking down on my actions and decisions like scolding a child, trying to make hungover LB feel terrible enough that drunk LB would go back into hiding forever.

But the more events from the afternoon started coming out, the funnier everything became. There are videos on my phone that show the four of us heavily-lidded and laughing hysterically, a series of photos with A and I where we start off making joke faces and end up with these perfect smiles, a little reminder of how happy I’ve been since he swooped into my life and changed everything. We were all acting like the person that I was for so long and the one I missed a little bit; the hangover reminded me that I don’t actually miss her all that much, but I love the memories I have of that time. It’s easy to see life for all the changes at times, especially when they’re chronicled so neatly in a place like this. It’s easy to think you’ve grown past making some of those poor life decisions or bemoan that you’ll never be “that” person again. And then? Brunch.

Yeah….

Sorry y’all. I’ve been really ambitious thinking I had enough energy to write something beautiful and wonderful and spacey and nice about the end of yoga teacher training and all the goings-on of the past few weeks, but lately I’m mostly just really freaking tired and without a lot of inspiration.

Fingers crossed for next week! It’s a new moon, after all, and that usually sparks something inspiring, in one sense of the word or the other. Plus, I suppose I need to explain that bold part in Monday’s entry a bit further….

Until then! Sending lots of weekend love to you all.

xo,
LB