My Sweet Spot

In my own little corner in my own little chair
I can be whatever I want to be.
On the wings of my fancy I can fly anywhere
And the world will open it’s arms to me. — Rogers and Hammerstein, Cinderella

 

My career/life coach told me that I can do anything, as long as it fits my sweet spot, or my comfort zone. And that’s ok. I don’t have to be anyone else, just me.

After meeting with my astute life coach I wrote myself a short illustrated children’s book to and for myself. The words go like this:

I used to feel bad about myself, but now I tell the voices in my head, “don’t trash talk, I’m not listening to your put downs”. “You’re not good enough” is detrimental to my mental health.

She taught me to talk to myself like I talk to my kids: loving, respectful, building confidence.

I have a “sweet spot”. It’s when I’m comfortable, feel safe, secure, not put upon, not stressed, not too much, too little, too cold, too dark…Slow and steady, like my yoga practice. Honor and respect that space. Don’t judge it. It’s there for a reason.

I’m more a gnat than a tiger! I flutter in and out, up and down, this way and that. A gnat is as good as a tiger, just different. Honor the gnat.

About some things I’m a ferocious tiger! I stick with my yoga cuz it makes me happy, healthy, grounded and strong. I stick with those I love with ALL my heart, very tiger like.

My goal is simple. Make this day my best day. Start out right, build on that.

 

 

 

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The Right Kind of Yoga Teacher



If your yoga teacher gazes off into space while teaching, barks orders (cues) to you in a shrill voice, or neglects to mention anything about what’s happening inside your mind, roll up your mat and run, don’t walk, out of the studio.

Sadly many yoga teachers grew up with a physical education background vs. a philosophical bent. But yoga is ALL about the mind, body, spirit connection. It’s why you go and why you come back. Otherwise you could just have grabbed some kicks and taken a zumba class. No disparaging intent to zumba. 

Here’s what I know, from the perspective of being a yoga teacher for more than 10 years as well as from being a  yoga student for more than 20 years:

The road to becoming what I believe to be a “good yoga teacher” is long and winding, like the Beatles song. The teacher must gain experience, which takes many years. And alas,  the juice of the nectar comes later on when that soothing and confident sound of the teacher’s voice matches up to the intelligence gained from studying not just yoga poses and transitions but from life through all perspectives. 

Find a teacher who teaches kindness to oneself alongside movement. By this I mean, my students want to hear kindness in my voice, feel kindness in my thoughts.  They want me to care about how they are experiencing the class.  I know from being a student that when I hear from my teacher “great effort” or “beautiful” I feel on top of the world. Yoga is about compassion, not competition. As a student you should comes to yoga to be enveloped in loving kindness, like a long, slow, soft hug. Only then can you lose what is holding you back and gain courage to keep on going. Yoga has the dual purpose of marrying body work with mind work, and the “great” yoga teacher knows that their words matter to fill this intention. It’s an awesome responsibility. 

Many teachers can learn to cue the pose, string them together in a flow, and keep your body safe from injury. But teaching compassion towards yourself through yoga is the most beneficial aspect of Yoga. It is this alone that is the heart of Yoga.

Pitching the Past

We all have obsessions, maybe I have a few more than most.

One of mine concerns the thousands of photos, loose and in books, that fill my attic.

My issues are this:
If there’s a fire, or I have to leave in a hurry, or move to a smaller place, I may lose my photographed memories of the past.
My living in the present it hindered with all these photos of the past.
My neat freak OCD persona is challenged living alongside boxes full of photos.
Lately, with a push from my first boss in NYC 35 years ago (yes, there are photos of her in my war chest) I decided to make a change that would satisfy just me.

I took my camera-phone up to the attic and book by book, photo by photo photographed only those photos I wanted to keep. They have specific meaning to me: best friend, old boyfriend, important event, blessed family member. Then I enter them with a year in order to file by decade into the cloud. Funny how the older you get decades are important, not the year. So the 60s, 70s, 80s are now populated with only 20 or so personal bests, whereas at the time these photos were taken, 100 plus photos made up a great day on the beach with friends. Not necessary any more to keep them all.

The level of catharsis this project creates is hard to explain, but my ability to sleep has improved. I can live less in the past and more in the present as I transfer memories to the cloud.

Breaking News

 

I thought it was a good idea: get a valid “breaking news” app on my phone so I could be the first to know when breaking news hits. Of course how do you define “breaking news”? I did not want a buzzer every 5 seconds to alert me about inconsequential news. So, after sizing up the competitive news channels, Bill set up my phone to receive “qualified breaking news” during waking hours only, which I thought with our son in Israel for 2 weeks was a good idea.

 

Not so. At 6:30 am, we received “breaking news” in Jerusalem: a bus drove in to a crowd of young people killing several, one a 20-something year old male. That was the first report, sending my husband and I into a tailspin. I texted our son in Israel: no response, and then called Birthrights 24/7 800 number which on Sunday sent me to another number, which I did not call. Instead, I sat in stress while seeking internet updates on this story until finally I got the answer that let me breathe again. The dead were all soldiers in uniform. Not our son.

 

Nathan promptly responded from Israel saying he was in a Holocaust museum when we texted so could not respond. Naturally we set up his phone to work internationally before he left.

 

When the panic died down, I quickly had my husband disengage any “breaking news” alerts from my phone. He could keep his on, as he’s not a freakazoid worrier like me.

 

Experiment over.

 

Lesson learned: Protect yourself. Better to start the day with deep breathing, meditation and gentile yoga, which I do, in a heated, aromatherapy studio, which I have, and not be assaulted by news, which unlike the Birthrights phone number is 24/7 and then some.

I could while away the hours

 

IMG_0861boulder, colorado watching my son “while away the hours”

 

The End of Daydreaming   

“I could while away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers

Consultin’ with the rain.

And my head I’d be scratchin’ while

my thoughts were busy hatchin’

If I only had a brain.”–The Scarecrow, Wizard of Oz

We all know that tune and could easily hum it out loud.

This tune runs through my head when I lament the end of daydreaming, the root of all creativity. Whatever does “while away the hours” even mean these days?

In olden days, prior to computers, when boredom set in during long drives our choices included counting telephone poles from the backs of our parents car or simply fighting with siblings. All of which produced creative thoughts.

Those days are gone, thanks to Facebook, e-mail, Zillow, Homeaway, Google Earth, just a few of the apps that have me by the back of the neck. They suck away my boredom and create an emotional vortex. I need my Facebook “likes” like a rat pressing a bar for water, a classic Pavlovian response also known as addiction. I can spend hours fantasizing about renting homes on Homeaway in warm, sunny locales. I can turn to Google Earth to spy on friends’ homes around the world. Or look up former colleagues on Facebook, not to mention voyeurism among “friends” as I view their expositions. Habits are formed, addictions are made since according to Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s much quoted research from 1960 it only takes around 21 days to form a new habit.

“Post less, live more” is the motto many young folks already know. They have figured out the dark and down side of needing to share what you do, eat, and who you enjoy life with. It’s funny how they know this more than most of my middle aged friends. My kids tell me it’s only a real and pure experience if no one but you sees and feels it.

Recently my husband quoted a Facebook post that said, basically, “I’m glad I lived in the times I did, before Facebook, when no one knew the shit I did, nor can find it out now”.

352 words  Jan. 3, 2017