I win the award of Stupidest Holiday Argument!

I have been told by a dear friend that I would disappoint the readers of this blog if I were to write a post about being thankful this week. So cliche! she cried. You can do better than that! she preached. Surprise everyone! she suggested.

Oh how I’ve missed hearing those guaranteed-to-be-heard-in-a-writing-workshop phrases.

Well, I’m sorry dear friend, but a mushy-ushy-ooey-gooey being thankful blog post is what you’re gonna get. I like to think of my self as a debunker of the cliche by being as cliche as possible. : )

So–happiest of all Thanksgivings to you, reader. I so appreciate you listening to what I have to say. Think of this blog as half yours–if there is ever anything you want me to write about, or if you have suggestions, or even if you think I’m wrong about everything there is to be utterly wrong about, please write me. I love hearing from you. Thank you thank you thank you.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It’s Christmas minus the attitude that you have to give someone a gift to show them you care. We still have the family, the food, the cold weather, the Chai tea lattes–all the important stuff. Let’s take advantage of this, before Christmas comes and cheapens everything.

After boarding the plane in Houston for my connecting flight back to San Francisco, we sat on the runway for about 45 minutes. The pilot was holding the plane for some international passengers who were on a delayed previous flight. The guy next to me was very, very unhappy about this, swearing more than I did during the World Series if the Giants did anything less than hit a home-run on every at bat. He was even more unhappy to be going back to his mom’s house for the holidays.

“I guess I’m thankful for my mom,” he said, smacking some bubble gum, “but I don’t see the point in having to come home during every single [oddly-strung-together-list-of-swear-words-that-I-can’t-remember-now] holiday.”

I just kind of smiled and nodded, but now I wish I would have said something to this guy. I wish I would have told him that I’m sorry that he doesn’t see the point of visiting his mom during the holidays because IT IS THE ENTIRE POINT. This is the most important thing we can do. Rather than presents, cards, cookies, flowers, love letters–be with the people you are thankful for. Just simply be with them. Be together.

It’s easier than people make it out to be. When did the holidays become these stressful, dreaded, horrible days of ripping our hair out? Why is it so hard to chill with our peeps?

I remember one time when I was much younger, all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa were over at my mom’s house for Christmas. After dinner, we all watched To Kill a Mockingbird. Somehow, the adults got into this huge argument about whether or not they should remake the film into a color movie (it was in black and white). Yes, this was a full on, voices raised, egos bruised, legitimate fight. All over To Kill a Frickin’ Mockingbird.

Think of your own family’s version of why-the-hell-did-we-fight-about-that holiday argument. Funny, aren’t they? Looking back, yes, but at the time, it probably sucked. It probably ruined the mood.

This Thanksgiving, be thankful that you even have the opportunity to be with the people you get in those silly fights with. Be thankful that you have family around you. Be thankful you have them to talk with, laugh with, eat with, drink with.  This is all an often forgotten about privilege.

Soon, you will be without them again, you will be back at school, work, back to your normal life. This week will go by fast.

So slow it all down. Turn off the computers, the televisions, the cellphones, the iWhatevers. Talk. Laugh. Snuggle up. Come closer. Come into this. Send some not-so-instant messages. Be together.

 

 

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The Stoked Life

I suggest you watch this hilarious video before you read (thank you to the person that posted this facebook, I don’t remember who it was):

My day/week/year/whole life was made on Monday, as I sat at a desk in the middle of an empty building. Construction workers lined the walls, installing lights, drilling, welding, hammering.

I got hired (haven’t been able to say that phrase in a while) at this soon-to-be fitness facility. Can you even guess what they want me to do there? Can you even imagine what they want me to teach?

THEY WANT ME TO TEACH YOGA.

I am, without a doubt, the happiest girl this side of the Mississippi.

This is it! This is my thing, what I dream about, how I want to fill my days, the way I want to make a difference, this is what my heart desires.

This is the beginning of everything.

I had a really hard time falling asleep last night. Not because I was troubled or brooding over something–it was because I couldn’t stop thinking about yoga. I was mentally planning out asana sequences, thinking of things to say to my future participants, going over the names of different muscles, trying to remember the names of poses, repeating phrases from the Yoga Sutras.

I am so stoked on yoga.

Not being able to fall asleep because I’m so passionate about something happens with more than just yoga. It happens with climbing even more frequently than yoga. It happens with running, writing, my family, Alex, and my friends. I’ll start thinking about that certain thing and then go into a mental vortex of loving it, smiling about it, being so freakin’ amazed at how awesome it is, loving it some more, and getting super happy that it’s in my life.

A few years ago I was in a coffee shop sitting by myself and I started day dreaming about climbing. I thought about this gorgeous slab of granite tucked away in a forrest of redwood trees. I started climbing, doing moves that were far too hard for me in waking life, breathing in cool, smooth air, sweating, moving, getting further away from the ground, sticking every move, solid…

And then, someone I didn’t know put their hand on my shoulder.

“Excuse me, but I just have to know why you’re smiling so big,” he said. He was smiling too.

I was pretty shaken up, like that feeling when you’re staring off into space and someone waves their hand in front of your face. I laughed and told him that I was thinking about rock climbing. He laughed, wished me luck in all I do, and apologized for interrupting.

I daydream all of the time. The yoga philosophy kind of frowns upon this, because when you’re daydreaming you aren’t fully aware of your existence, your mind is on auto-pilot. But I don’t care. I like daydreaming and it makes me feel good. It gets me stoked.

Think about something you really love. How much do you love it? Does it consume your thoughts, is it something you do every day, has it become so much of the person you are, do you constantly talk about it? Get obsessed with it. Dive deeper, be passionate. Live for that thing.

This small shift in attitude will change your life. You will feel like everything always goes your way, you will feel like one of the lucky ones. You will be excited to be alive, thankful for the awesomeness that life truly is.

If you practice getting stoked, you will find yourself getting stoked even when you’re bummed out. I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I was so excited about yoga, even though I’ve been going through some not-so-fun times recently (ah, so that’s where that last blog post came from).

The stoked life is much better than the not giving a shit life. It doesn’t matter what you’re passionate about–a sport, your family, a hobby, a band, your best friend, or some rad-ass hoodie–love it all. Get pumped. Get excited. Rock the fuck out.

Inner peace and other things that I’ll voluntarily work for.

I logged in to my online banking page yesterday, expecting to see my debit account containing somewhere around the usual, hilariously low amount of money to my name. But this time, it was way lower than usual, holy-crap low, not so hilarious anymore low.

Yoga is a very expensive thing to be in love with.

Last night (after painfully handing over a twenty and getting less change back than I would have liked) I took an awesome flow class with Kelley. At the beginning of class, she had each participant choose a card with little sayings and words of wisdom written on them. She went on to say that the card we chose was not random, that what it contained was a divine message, something we needed to learn in that moment.  Can you guess what mine said? Can you even imagine?

“There is no price too great for inner peace.”

Good one, God.

After the initial internal laughter and mental fist shaking towards the heavens, I settled into the class. And once I got settled, I realized that the card meant something else, something that I had forgot about. A week ago, I applied to work at the yoga center in return for free classes, but I had feelings like…will all the work I put in at the studio really be worth it? After the class though, my feelings changed. The card that I chose made me realize that OF COURSE the work will be worth it. Free? Unlimited? Yoga? Yes and please. I’ll wash mats and check people into classes all day long if you want me to. Pleeeease give me this job.

Today, I was accepted as the new work/trade girly. My bank account and overall sense of well being are going to thank me.

Sometimes, this is how [insert your preferred word that means God but won’t offend you here] works. Sometimes you’re reminded in a gentle way of what you need to be doing. It’s a lighthearted, serendipitous, ha-ha-very-funny wake up call. Cherish these. Love these. Feel blessed when one comes your way.

Most times, this is not the way life is. We learn lessons by going through shitty situations. And I don’t mean shitty as in losing your keys or missing a flight. I’m talking about when it all comes crashing down, when it seems like there is no hope, when you feel that all is lost. I’m talking about crying a lot, losing sleep, being angry, feeling like it’s the morning after you’ve taken ten tequila shots, except this feeling stays with you all day and you didn’t drink the night before. I’m talking about death, loss, betrayal. Yeah, that’s the breed of shitty I’m talking about.

We’ve all been there.

These situations aren’t given to us without a reason. Like the card I chose in the yoga class, negative things that happen aren’t random or God’s little way of watching us suffer. God isn’t an asshole.

In these situations, we two have options. We can sit on our ass, spending all of our time being angry at ourselves, someone else, or the world in general, and do nothing. Or, we can see what the situation is trying to tell us.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to be mad. In fact, be mad. If you’re in a bad situation, feel the way you want to feel. Trying to “look on the bright side” when something really, really shitty happens is like telling yourself that your sadness and anger aren’t valid. Our society has an obsession with being happy and tries to tell you that being sad is wrong. Don’t buy it. It’s bullshit.

Blind optimism is so last year. Truth is the new black. : )

Instead of all that, look for the lesson. Be sad as you look for the lesson if you want, but don’t not look for it.

So maybe it’s God playing a practical joke on you during a yoga class, or maybe it’s worse: the unthinkable, the serious, the shitty. Whatever the situation is, seek, endlessly, for the heart of what you’re dealing with. It’s always there. Sometimes it’s hard to see, fogged up by all the horror, tucked away in the depths. But it’s there. Just look.