Quick thoughts: Perfect

Perfect is a relative term. Nothing is ever perfect, but sometimes there’s a simple perfection to the imperfect nature of things, and perfect becomes exactly what’s happening in those moments.

It’s not perfect when it’s a million degrees outside plus humidity, and I forget all my good makeup in NYC for a wedding in Connecticut, and we leave for Norway in less than a week and I have to teach two classes and there is no time for anything. It’s not perfect when A is in pain because of his back and I’m not going to see him till we’re at the airport on Friday and I forgot my work laptop at home this morning and my 6:30am Uber driver won’t stop talking on the ride from Forest Hills to Washington Heights and all I want to do is sleep. It’s not perfect when I’m about to leave my cat and my new job and my everything except for A for 11 days and I’m so terrified and anxious about it.

But it’s all perfect. It was perfect to watch my oldest friend marry his soul mate, even in the million degree heat, even without my good makeup. It’s perfect that after two months of barely seeing each other because life is so busy that A and I get almost two full weeks with just each other. It’s perfect that I’m teaching classes this week before I leave because that’s something that makes me happier than just about everything, and it’s perfect.

It’s perfect. It’s perfect just because it is. Because we are. Because you are. It’s all relative. But it’s all perfect too.

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[DRAFT SERIES] Hi love!

Original draft: May 6, 2016

Hi love!

(hi etc.)

I forget what I’ve told you and what I haven’t and what stories won’t make sense until you’ve heard another one. It feels silly to bother you across the world with the minor details of my weekend, like how I passed Gwynnett or how I wished on a new moon to bring me a few letters in the order .

A lot of things are changing. I can feel the tides shifting in the air: it’s like following a flower down a waterfall, bumpy till the ledge, a life-or-death free fall, the drop and then near-perfect calm. I think I’m in the free fall right now. You used to be like my lifeboat in these moments, waiting at the bottom with a blanket and a glass of wine, but I don’t want to bother you with this time, because this time I think these screams of mine are in excitement, falling with my arms out like flying instead of flailing in fear. I promise everything is okay. I’m just adjusting to updating you on my life almost every day, instead of almost every hour.

(Little things add up to big stories; what’s happened since the last change e.g. single life)

Till the next moment where you’re waking up and I’m falling asleep and we have exactly 10 minutes to catch up on life before our days simultaneously begin and end.

L.

Seemingly Random Specific Occurrences

I don’t believe in coincidence all the time. Sometimes sure, things are just so wonky you chalk it up to coincidence, but a lot of the time I find something that feels like a coincidence is just a precursor before everything else falls into place.

Like today, for instance. This morning was a calm morning like any other, I was checking the news before the day’s tasks picked up. I reached for the coffee I’d brought from home and warmed (excessively) in the microwave without looking (how hard is it for an adult to pick up a cup, right?) and I watched the next ten seconds in slow motion: a loud CLINK of ceramic on fake wood desk, the coffee loping over the fallen edge and all over my sweater and jeans before I could even say “Uh oh.” Barely 9am and not only am I pretty sure I’m burned from my stomach to the top of my thigh, but I’m now facing a full day of sitting in coffee-stained clothing, or popping to Anthropologie at the Market to spend way too much on clothing I don’t need. Great choices, right? As I took a deep breath and tried to figure out next steps, I realized last week I left a bag of clothes here, the infamous bag that had my keys at one point too. A dress and a denim jacket that miraculously match the shoes I put on this morning. Problem solved.

Tuesday I was scrolling through old entries. I came across A Story, One Year Later, and read through it a few times for a few reasons. Tuesday was two years since a day that was supposed to be a date turned into a Saturday Funday, as Facebook reminded me via a picture I still remember C taking of me, R and H at Boat Basin on a beautiful May afternoon. I reminisced about reading magazines over and over on the subway and realized I haven’t been reading the same way since I stopped getting those magazines, and then I tried to remember the last time I went anywhere without my headphones, and honestly, I can’t. I chalked it up to a weird coincidence, that I would find that entry on that exact day, and moved on with my day, hoping to get out a few minutes early to rush through a Whole Foods run before finally, blissfully, heading home alone.

It’s exhausting to think about signs everywhere, that nothing is a coincidence because “everything happens for a reason” and all that. Sometimes it’s really nice to think something is a coincidence because coincidences are easy to comprehend, they’re just random things that happen and make you go “huh” and then you move on. Sometimes I drive myself crazy trying to understand random things that happen, like how I can feel the shift of energy as the new moon approaches this weekend, and there’s a planet of healing turning retrograde this month that’s making me think about starting over. A thinks I’m crazy when I start going on about the planetary movements, and okay, I definitely am. Sometimes things are really just coincidences. Other times it feels like there’s more behind the random coincidences, and I need a reason to pay attention to them, especially when they pile up like they have been the past few weeks.

Back to Tuesday, it was a late night in the office, which I haven’t had in quite a long time. I tried to let myself skip grocery shopping but I’m sick of buying lunch and coffee every day, so I sucked up my last bit of energy and made my way to the Whole Foods by Columbus Circle, a pit stop on the way back to the Heights. I realized while shopping around that I didn’t have pockets for my phone, so as I checked out I tucked my phone and headphones into my backpack, a foreign motion for me. As I walked out the glass doors and towards the subway, I thought that moment, sans headphones, would be a funny moment to run into someone I knew. And not ten seconds later, I saw R walking towards me about 10 feet away. I was so shocked that I just stared at her for a minute with a huge smile, and then shouted her name like a crazy person. She looked equally as shocked to see me – turns out she’d seen one of the “If you see something, say something” signs a few minutes before, and nearly sent me a note. We could chalk all that up to a big coincidence – and there’s of course no denying it was! But in a moment where I was missing a friend and in need of a good way to end a long evening, I may have to chalk that up to a little push from the universe. Everything does happen for a reason, after all.

Retrograde

We’re goin’ hippie on the Chronicle again! Please feel free to tune out if you’re not into planetary motions and cosmic energy and come back later this week when I have another entry up (probably). I have a post I’ve been working on all week that I was hoping to have up today but just can’t seem to finish it, and then today happened and all I can think about is retrogrades and how they’re fucking with my life right now.

Even if you don’t believe in hippie mumbo-jumbo, you have to admit there’s something to be said about how the cosmos affects our tiny beings. The moon rules the tides, the ebbs and flows of the ocean, the motions of time. The planets all revolve around a single entity, held together by an energy that everyone accepts but doesn’t understand; we’re all ruled by the same cosmic matter and energy that creates the planets, a solar system, the trees in Central Park and the desk I’m writing this entry on. Is it so crazy to think that planetary movements, therefore, govern things that we can’t explain but accept as truth?

It is? Okay fine. Again, I invite you to stop reading now and come back later this week for more of my normal rambling.

Made it this far? Great. Mercury is currently in retrograde (looks like it’s moving backwards in the sky) and has been since late April. Mercury rules communication and technology, which is why when things are going haywire in our lives, people will jokingly blame Mercury retrograde. Retrogrades aren’t necessarily meant to be bad times actually – it’s just that the planet’s energies are expressed differently, more inward than outward. So yes, when technology goes haywire you can blame the retrograde, but this particularly long retrograde I’ve taken the opportunity to turn inwards on my own communication and goals to try and find growth in a period of backtracking. I’ve come to a lot of really interesting conclusions, meditating on all this, but there’s one really, really big one that I can’t run away from anymore, even though I’ve been trying to for a long time.

I really, really, really miss my best friend.

This is expressed for me in a million different ways right now for a lot of different people, but the one taking center stage is M. I miss M with my whole being. Literally every part of me aches every time I pass their old apartment or when I see that I’ve missed another text or a FaceTime from her, a product of backwards communication during this time. Everything reminds me of the past five years where she was my rock, the only one who could keep me sane, and for some reason this past week has been the hardest since she left, because we’re somehow talking more and saying less and I just want to walk the three blocks to her old apartment where she’s waiting for me with a glass of wine and an open ear.

And I miss the rest of my friends. H and I tried to plan a time where he and R and me and A could all get together and we’re not free at the same time till nearly August. C and I fortunately have a set date for a rooftop movie next week where I’ll finally be able to give her the birthday present I got for her birthday in February. S and I just laugh when we try to plan anything lately because we’re literally on opposite schedules. I’m so lucky to have A and his friends on a similar schedule, and they’re all wonderful, but except for K they’re not my people, not yet. Lately I feel like I’m floating in this weird bubble of life: this was supposed to be the countdown to my move, the countdown to a new beginning, the last weeks to see everyone; now I’m stuck and it’s hard not to feel alone.

Anyway. My whole life feels like a retrograde right now, moving backwards because none of us are where we thought we’d be at this point in our lives. This particular retrograde is ending on Sunday, and things will start to even out; things will start to move forward again. Energies will stabilize, and life will come together. I suppose that’s the best I can hope for, that things stabilize slowly in the next few days.

Either way, we’ll all adjust to the changes, the retrogrades, the new lives. We always do.

Oler

They say smell is the sense with the strongest ties to memory, and there’s nowhere I’ve been with more distinct smells than New York. People associate the city smells with the bad ones, a long line of smoke from one of the people ahead of you, trailing tobacco and marijuana, and the occasional pipe smoke too; the garbage that piles up in the summer has an acrid yellow tinge to the smells and the memory, a toxic haze to the long, hot days we dream about all winter long. There’s the unmistakeable smell of unwashed flesh that permeates an empty subway car and so many corners of the city, the smell you learn to run from, the memory tinged with compassion and pity for how many people have to watch others run from them because they don’t have a $1,500 a month closet to shower in. I have so many memories of this city in my approaching-six years here and I would be lying if many of them weren’t tinged with one of the smells above or the myriad other terrible ones I’ve encountered. It says a lot about a memory, when the best you can associate it with is a bad smell.

Sometimes when I look back on bad weeks, I remember a terrible smell from somewhere in that time, and then I wonder if it’s a smell from that time at all, or if the sensory overload we experience daily here just demands a smell attach itself to every memory made. I don’t even think they’re all my bad memories or bad smells really. Like the week a few months back where everyone else I knew was having a miserable go at life and all I could do was offer my near-limitless optimism; looking back on that week I can remember the ashy, cool smell of black snow leftover on the sidewalk, but it barely snowed this year after the big storm in January, and I don’t think the week I’m remembering was snowy at all. But the memory of everyone around me getting dealt blow after blow, and me fighting to find a little sunshine for them, that memory to me feels and smells like that: cool, ashy, dirty, leftover and waiting to melt away. And the week after that one, where my life started exploding, that week is connected with the smell of forgotten raw turkey burgers left on top of the fridge instead of inside it, a pleasant surprise to come home to after two days of work and one night in Queens; I don’t remember when I did that but I do remember almost crying when I came home to that smell after a long week, and then just before a tear fell I started to laugh hysterically, because in reality…. it was a pretty hilarious and stupid thing to do.

Yesterday I was walking to the subway the long way after work, taking a few extra minutes to go to Penn Station instead of 14th Street. It’s been a really odd week again, the high of watching a full studio of friends in savasana tinged with the grief of two people  I love experiencing unexpected and unimaginable losses. The past few days have also made something really, really apparent: I miss my best friend. People keep telling me it’ll get easier adjusting to life without M and N around the corner, and I suppose in some ways it has. But it will never be easier having my best friend in a different country. It’s just a new normal that I have to adjust to, and this new normal lately is tinged with that acrid yellow, that ashy cold gray like winter and the faint burning of someone else’s smoke, the smells of bad memories in NYC. Walking through midtown to Penn Station yesterday I felt sad somehow, dejected. Things are changing in ways I couldn’t plan for and sometimes I wonder if everything will be okay.

And then I passed one of those roasted nut vendors, the famous ones dotting the city with that intoxicating aroma of roasted sugar and cashews, and as I lifted my nose to inhale I found myself staring at the top of the Empire State Building. Little memories started popping back into my mind, the citrus and mint essential oil from the first vinyasa class I ever taught on my own, the charred, smoky smell from a perfect burger on a first date in December, and the way the city smells alive, constantly changing, constantly moving. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice, staying in this expensive, smelly, loud, exhausting city, especially when my best friend is gone. But part of me knows I would never really leave it all behind. The good and bad memories, the good and bad smells. This is my New York, and I love every piece of it, starting with every distinct smell.

24, 48, 72 Hours

Last week was a really, really long week. Food poisoning completely wiped my appetite and joy in eating, as I would take three bites of things and feel nauseated; that exhausted and sick feeling did a great job masking how poorly I was really handling my two best friends moving across the world which spoiler alert: wasn’t very well. Work is getting busier and my yoga practice has been suffering as a result of all of the above, with barely more than 10 minutes available every day for me to meditate or stretch just a bit. It’s funny how all these things can come together in a perfect storm of awful confusion, the kind where not even your favorite chocolates and flowers from a very supportive boyfriend can help. I’ve been on my own for a few years now and I didn’t realize how poorly I would handle having someone try to be there for me when I really needed support.

I’ve thought a lot about this entry, talking about what it’s like to say goodbye to your best friends, even though it’s not really goodbye considering M and I literally haven’t stopped texting aside from the 21 hours they were on planes. And I can’t compare my experience of transitioning to a life in the city without them to their experience transitioning to an entirely new culture even a little bit. I started to expand on the actual goodbye itself, clinging to M outside Central Park as my whole body shook with sobs and we couldn’t say anything more than “Thank you for the past six years” and “I love you,” N and A looking on at us pointedly judging because girls are crazy. Even writing that one sentence I’m overwhelmed with tears, where I’m so happy for them and I’m so excited for them but I’m reminded of the empty feeling that my nights have sometimes, void of the option to stop by their apartment for a quick visit on the way home from work. This paragraph is as much as I can talk about them leaving, really, because it’s the most I’ve opened up about it since it happened.

Thursday and half of Friday last week are a complete blur. I mean that literally. I remember waking up and going to work, going through the motions of being in the office, going home and watching Netflix in near-silence with A while he tried to ask me gently how I was doing and I shut it down by snapping at him or turning up the television. A small family emergency popped up in the afternoon that required me to leave work the next day to head to Connecticut for an overnight with my baby nephews, Aunt Lo to the rescue because their poor mama can barely stand, let alone hold two growing baby twins. That was where I kept my energy focused from mid-Thursday on at that point, the promise of an afternoon with those sweet boys. I couldn’t process the myriad emotions running through my mind, stress and sadness and loss and support but I could look forward to an afternoon with two little munchkins that needed me to take care of them. I went through the motions of “nice girlfriend” on Friday morning, A cautiously tip-toed around me as I made coffee and avoided eye contact lest his unending support cause me to start to feel real emotions. I stayed in that funk all day at my desk, not talking that much to anyone, just focusing on the clock until mid-afternoon came and with it, the sweet release of the weekend.

It’s really interesting, the waves of emotions that come after a week of sickness and goodbyes and emergencies and loss. But sitting on the train headed to Connecticut, after waves of awful emotions for the past 24, 48, 72 hours, out of nowhere in a really profound moment, I felt this tangible calm wash over me. I started texting jokes with A and a friend from work, and I smiled when I heard from the recent Vietnamese residents, content knowing M and N were safe in their new home. The weekend ahead promised beautiful weather, time with my family, time with A and a Sunday dedicated to yoga with my best friend from yoga training, someone I haven’t seen nearly enough in the weeks since the sanctity of that studio. Life had changed, somehow, in the short amount of time that I left New York for five days in Austin, and now life was settling too, the new life, the one I’m staying in New York to live. Mourning the loss of my friends around the corner or in the same time zone just happened to coincide with all of that and overshadowed everything. There’s a peace when everything settles though. Life returns to its new normal, waiting for the next change to come along.

Getting Tattooed with Food Poisoning and Other Tales from Austin

Greetings from my home sweet home here in New York City, after a week that can only be described as “eventful.” I’m referring to my grand Austin adventure, originally planned as a way to start sowing seeds for a new life and instead becoming a grand ol’ vacation in Texas with my lovely G; and I’m referring to what it’s like to say goodbye to people that irrevocably changed your life just by being in it. I talk a lot about how crazy it is to realize how things change over the course of a year, or two years, or five, but this week I learned it’s crazy how things can change in just an hour – or five. But in the spirit of keeping this under 12 pages, let’s start with Austin Adventures:

We start our weekend last Friday at 4am, as I leave A’s place for a 5:45 flight from LaGuardia, stopping in Houston to switch planes before ATX, baby. The plan was to take the earliest flight out so I’d have the whole afternoon to bask in the Texas sun, go to a yoga studio, and generally enjoy my time in my second-favorite US city. Things felt *slightly* weird after boarding the plane and then not moving or hearing anything from the flight attendants for over an hour, but you know, flights can be weird. By the second hour that passed on the plane, I was getting pretty cranky. I should mention I avoid coffee before long flights and was not super thrilled with anything at that point, especially as I’d already missed my connecting flight. By 8:15 we finally had an update: everyone off the plane and maybe we’ll leave this morning. After a HUGE coffee and some airport yoga, I had a smile on my face – I wasn’t going to let a delay ruin my Austin weekend – but starting the weekend with a 5-hour delay should have been a clue that I may love Texas, but it was not about to love me back.

Friday and Saturday went off without a hitch, a perfect two days singing in the car and hanging out with G, those rare moments where we can pretend we do this all the time instead of barely once a year. I sang her Happy Birthday and we ate some of the best desserts (“manna cotta… panne cotti? Just put more in my mouth.”). G’s roommates joined us for Saturday night and we danced on Dirty Sixth among cowboys and bachelorette parties, and in the midst of getting our hair done earlier that afternoon, we hatched a plan to continue a now-tradition the next day during our Austin adventures: somewhat-spontaneous tattoos.

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling a little foggy but overall fine – I’d stuck to beer the night before and made a point to drink water so I’d be comfortable while needles pierced my skin that day. I’m an early riser and the girls were still sleeping, so I ventured down to the hotel lobby for a small breakfast of yogurt (<– that’s important) and cereal while watching an old episode of Ink Master on my computer (*how am I so cool). Eventually G and I went out for breakfast tacos, and I noticed my stomach felt…. not right. I should mention I’m not a hungover puker. Like, ever. I mean okay there have been occasions, but for the most part after heavy drinking, I get headaches and migraines, I don’t vomit. So when I started to feel my stomach churning in the middle of a delicious breakfast taco salad, I thought it was odd, but brushed it off – it had to be a hangover, right?

We went back to the hotel to lay down for a quick nap to stave off G’s hangover before heading out for spontaneous tattoo adventures. I didn’t sleep so much as toss and turn, telling myself I wasn’t about to vomit because that’s not what I do. Turns out that was what I ended up doing for the next hour – stupid hangover! Luckily, after a particularly spirited outburst of the final remnants of my breakfast in the streets of Austin while walking around to kill time before the shop opened, I miraculously felt wonderful. We spent the next few hours in the tattoo shop where we’d been two years before, chatting with the artist, reviewing the design, the familiar buzz of the machine and then just a hint of pain as I reminded myself why, in fact, I’d sworn off any more rib tattoos after the first one. As mine is larger, I was the first victim of the machine, and I watch G get two perfect arrows on her forearm with a mix of awe and excitement. And then my stomach did the familiar churn of the morning, and while her arm was saran-wrapped and instructions for healing were offered, I projectile-lost-everything-in-my-body in the shop bathroom and a nightmare night began.

I have to say, having never had food poisoning before (*and not realizing that’s what it was for a while since I was only vomiting), there really is no introduction quite like a night by yourself in a strange AirBNB in a semi-strange city, alternately wincing as you brush a fresh wound on your ribs and throwing up so violently you can’t breathe. Sadly said violent-vomiting meant my very last day in Austin, the only bright and sunny day, the one where I had two yoga studios picked out to attend and the whole city at my beck and call, was instead spent huddled on a strange bed under the air conditioning, sipping Walgreens-brand Pedialyte and watching Netflix.

I was more than grateful to get home early on Tuesday afternoon, except I knew that meant a terrible goodbye was on its way. It wasn’t the vacation I’d had planned at all – not even a little bit. But that’s exactly how my last Austin adventure went too. And really, nothing that I ever plan for Austin turns out the way I think it will. Maybe that’s the beauty of my relationship with that city: the constant reminders that life is full of little surprises, and forever is composed of nows.

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.

Ready, Set

This weekend we had an interesting lecture in YTT about intuition and energy, and how to tap into intuition when logic and reason aren’t helping you with a conclusion. Oddly, just a few days before this lecture, I finally made a decision about something that’s been plaguing me for a few months based entirely on intuition. Anyway, we did this exercise where we had to tap into our intuitive energies to help our fellow yogis with problems, and I found I had a new problem to consider, something that came to a head recently despite my ignoring it for a very long time. I asked the question to my yogi partner – is it time? – and waited as she sat and talked through what she was feeling. I hoped so badly to hear things like “light,” “positivity,” and of course, “hope,” but instead she said this: “I just feel cold. My heart is racing, and my hands are clamming up, and I can feel this knot of anxiety in my stomach.” I sighed with a heady mix of sadness and relief at those words, because it pushed me into making a decision that I’ve been avoiding for way too long.

Am I ready? Is it time? These are questions that permeate so many aspects of my life these days, considering this past weekend was the penultimate for teacher training and my life as a fully-fledged yoga instructor starts soon, and considering some other recent developments as well. Existentially those are questions we all face on a daily basis, from things as little as when to eat your next meal to things as huge as changing your life’s plan. How do you truly know when you’re “ready” for something? I mean, I’ve been completely immersed in yoga alignment and teaching techniques, philosophy, meditation, pranayama, holistic theory and more for the past five weeks, and I still can’t imagine leading a class full of people in a yoga flow. Frankly I’ve been working in my same industry for the past five years and I still get anxiety when I have to lead client calls, even if it’s literally a quick check-in about a question.  Maybe we never know if we’re ready. Or maybe we only know when it’s finally time.

There are two things that I’ve been holding myself back from saying lately, on completely different ends of the emotional spectrum. The first is something I’ve written out over and over, and then deleted, written in a text and an email, then deleted, written in a script for a phone call and then deleted. Am I ready to say those words? I don’t think I ever will be. Is it time? It’s probably past time, by now. I think I used to be sad about the response to these words, but lately I don’t feel much of anything about them. I’m not happy about where they are but I’m not sad about them either. So maybe in that, I am ready to let them fade with time.

The other is something I’ve practiced not saying over and over, because every time I tell myself “no, not yet,” I have to close my lips so forcefully lest the words I’m dying to say burst out of my mouth. I’ve had to practice not saying them in texts, I’ve had to practice not saying them in person, and I’ve had to hold my lips closed with my teeth until I could run somewhere for two seconds just to say them out loud to myself. Am I ready to say those words? I think I have been for a while. Is it time for them to come out? It’s probably past time, by now. I think I used to be scared about the response to these words, but lately I don’t feel that fear at all. These words are the new beginning I couldn’t plan for and the one that I could be ready to follow. I suppose all of these answers will have to come with time.

I’ve Got Sunshine

Dude(s). This first quarter week has been absolutely insane.

Reminder: Earlier this week was the first quarter moon, the week between the new moon (new beginnings) and the full moon (realization of intentions), and this is the week where challenges present themselves. [Additional reminder: You’re reading a blog written by a hippie.] Somehow this week has presented me not only with my own challenges, but those of my friends and family as well. That’s not to complain at all, though it may seem that way. In fact, in most cases, I purposely inserted myself into people’s challenges, and not because I’m nosy or rude, but because despite my greatest efforts for so many years, I’m an eternal optimist, and the best and worst part of that is wanting to share that sunshine with everyone who needs it.

I always thought eternal optimists were those annoying AF smiley happy people who say things like “things will turn around!” or “everything happens for a reason!” when you’re fuming in the corner about everything and using all of your worldly restraint not to kick them in the smiling teeth. I branded myself a “realist” for many years, which in the way I interpreted it was a clever masking of total pessimism, always taking a situation at its worst without even considering the possibility of the best, because it’s easier to handle disappointment when you were prepared for it all along. My life followed that path for a really long time, always looking for the worst and therefore finding the worst, and so that’s what I assumed life was like. Life is pain, life is hard, life sucks; we’ve all said and thought these things, some more than others. I don’t know when the shift happened – honestly it’s probably the fault of yoga, as that’s the fault of many of the good things in my life – but I’ve realized in the past six months or so that to my semi-horror, I’ve become that happy person that most of us hate.

It’s so easy to hate something for the sunshine. It’s easy to call yourself a realist and shit on everything that hints at a glimmer of hope or a happy ending, it’s easy to put up that wall and pretend that the world is a terrible place and the idiots smiling through it will get theirs. I know it’s easy because I did it for a really long time. And then one day I made a small decision to hope, just a little. I made the choice to look on the very small bright side of situations, and that little decision felt like a big deal. I almost had anxiety trying to look on the bright side, because there were parts of me screaming that what happens when everything goes wrong. And in that tiny decision, what happened when I decided to look on the bright side?

Nothing. Nothing happened. That is, nothing changed in my world. Things kept happening as they were happening, and things kept moving forward the same way that they were moving forward. But in that tiny little nothing, everything shifted. Suddenly my world view became a different kind of realistic, the kind where you pick the tiny good moments to focus on instead of the tiny bad moments, the kind where you can appreciate a bad moment with a quiet sort of focus instead of an all-encompassing mess of consciousness. Whereas focusing on the bad moments in life and anticipating the worst colors every moment with that terrible haze of the “what if,” finding that tiny bit of optimism makes everything seem clearer, like you know things are going to come in waves and life is just riding them comfortably. This eternal optimism of mine isn’t something I try to force on anyone necessarily, but it does come in handy during weeks like this.

This week is one where I’ve had more than a few people reach out to me just to vent a little, and while I know my last post says negativity begets negativity, this wasn’t a case of negative energy. These were friends and family who just needed to vent a little about their bad days, and their days were really bad. Contrary to popular belief, my eternal optimism in this case didn’t lead me to say the nonsense things like “Things will get better!” and “when one door closes another opens!” because through eternal optimism you have to recognize and appreciate the rainy moments too. The best I could do for everyone and the only thing I wanted to do was to let them vent. Let the people I love unload their stress, their worry, their incredulity at how things unfold, let them unload all of that onto me without any expectation of advice or sunshine. I can take on their problems (most of the time) and I can take on that energy and hold it for them until they’re ready to let it go. And in the little moments when I’m taking on their problems I’ll send back just a little bit of my sunshine. So it’s been quite a crazy first quarter, filled with insane drama and bad moments. But it’s also been quite a first quarter, filled with just enough sunshine to keep us all going, or so the eternal optimist that I’ve become, hopes.