Savasana, or corpse pose, is the final resting pose in just about any yoga class. The yogis will tell you that it’s a time for your body to integrate and absorb everything you’ve just practiced. You let go of the breath you’ve tried to control during the class, and focus instead on mind control.
During savasana, you practice mindfulness. Being mindful of everything you’re experiencing through your five senses. Being fully present and focused on the moment as its happening. When you’re being mindful it’s harder to think ahead to what you will be dashing off to in the next five minutes. The dinner that needs to be cooked. The fight with your mom. The work to be done.
Mindfulness is hard.
I once read that the fastest way to get someone to imagine a red polar bear riding a bicycle is to tell them not to imagine a red polar bear riding a bicycle. I think the same thing happens when the willowy yoga instructor (they’re all willowy, though, aren’t they?) tells the class to clear our minds.
I take a deep inhale in and every good and bad thought rushes in. Some days I find God lying there on my mat and other days I have only unanswered questions. Most days, my mind wanders and tumbles down ten different rabbit holes.
A few days ago I had a new instructor. She told us to focus on the rise and fall of our bellies as we lied there in dead man’s pose. I felt the skin and muscles stretch and relax to accommodate my breaths, and I melted into this quiet place inside of me I hadn’t revisited in a long time.
Sometimes our anxious minds need a break from ourselves.
Namaste and happy Friyay.
(Photo: via the great gemma carroll)
(Photo: Edie, the Persian Princess)
I forget sometimes that no man is an island. The introvert in me thinks I can live off books, coffee, and Netflix alone. But it only lasts about two weeks before I’m calling my friends and begging them to hang out with me.
So, lately I’ve been filling up my days with adventures.
With all the complaining I do about traffic and the hassle of finding parking in a Trader Joe’s parking lot, it’d be easy to think that I hate LA. And while it’s true that my love affair with Los Angeles has passed its honeymoon phase, I’m realizing that there’s still a lot to love and learn about this city.
On Monday, I ventured down to the flower district to have brunch at poppy + rose with some of my favorite ladies. The $6/hr (on a holiday!) parking meters were a buzzkill (why, LA, why?!?!), but the coffee mug and company more than made up for it.
(Photo: C with her Hairy Otter sweatshirt; awesome david bowie cat mug)
On Wednesday, I stopped by to feed my friend’s (three!) cats, which called for a spontaneous visit to Sweet Lady Jane, where francy face bought the most delicious rhubarb pie I’ve ever tasted.
(Photo: Francine’s hand/fork purposely placed for comparison of this massive delicious pie slice)
And running. Or rather walking/hiking/jogging – basically every word to describe moving your legs except for running. And it still feels good.
(Photo: Wilacre Park views)
Sitting on the Bart with my luggage on both sides of me. Reflecting on this gift of a weekend spent talking and eating and reminiscing with an old friend. Volunteering at St. Anthony’s. Looking out my window and seeing the city full of pastel colored houses. A young black man reciting a speech soliciting money to help his basketball team go to regionals. Stay hungry. Stay foolish (I never went hungry though).
Sitting on a penguin fleece blanket at Dolores Park peeling blood oranges and splattering specks of red juice on my pale skin as C tells me about R. Adoration and all the signs of early romance on her face. She is “cautiously optimistic, though,” she says. We sit for hours on the grassy knoll while a brown pit bull roams around us, slobbering on my shoes, and I notice that the blue lining along the sole is finally starting to peel. A baby faced Dutch(?) boy asks us twice if we would like tickets to a show that night. The weather is perfect but I turn my face away from the sun because I’m afraid of getting wrinkles now. C wanted guava juice but got kombucha instead. She found out she hates kombucha. So much for trying new things.
Two Chinese(?) women get off at South San Francisco. We continue on to Airport/Millbrae.
Bi-rite ice cream with earl grey and brown sugar. Every city block we walk is a little different. A little dirty. C walks with confidence, though, as someone who’s been living in the Mission for a while. We don’t have to consult the maps on our phones and I like that. I like following her blindly around, recognizing stores on streets we must have walked past just moments before and ending up at our destination. She looks down frequently at her new shoes. Dusky brown chukkas with rainbow paint-splattered panels on the sides that I brought for her. I hope I don’t stand out next to her. I hope I am not as she says with so much disdain “too put-together.” In my blue flannel check shirt and skinnies which could be ok if they weren’t from express and pre-distressed.
Sitting on the airplane now next to two girls who could be my age but are probably younger. I think everyone is younger than me now, though. Everyone who is young and beautiful and having fun like it is their birthright.
(Photo via Jessa Mae Photography)
I devoured this book.
It got delivered on Saturday in a sturdy brown box (thanks amazon prime), and by Monday afternoon, I had that empty feeling that comes when you’ve finished something good (not unlike binge-watching a tv show).
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not her biggest fan. I didn’t get pulled into “Girls”, despite multiple attempts to sit through the episodes, and I am guilty of once comparing her body to that of a turtle (I’m only human). But this book is good.
And it’s good firstly because Lena Dunham is a good writer. She writes deftly about first times, first jobs, and first therapists. She makes it something more than just a confessional, or “just a memoir.” Coming from a generation that published this book (and I’m going to add this one as well), this book brings substance and art back to the genre.
Secondly, she never questions whether her experiences are worth sharing. That would be the biggest critique of a twenty-something upper-class white girl writing a memoir. Probably exactly the reason why, in the title, she puts “learned” in quotes. It’s one of the first things she addresses in the book – almost as if to say, “Let’s get this out of the way.” Because, honestly, isn’t it about time we owned our stories?
“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman.”
If I’m being truthful, I ended up picking the book (instead of this one) because of Michicko Kakutani. And homegirl never steers me wrong.
Lately, I’ve been kicking around the idea of running a marathon.
I’ve been following zenhabits for a while, and he writes frequently about self-improvement and making changes stick. The importance of creating reminders, setting goals, and holding yourself accountable.
I know this one thing – running a marathon – won’t magically transform me into some hyper-productive person who enjoys waking up with the sun.
But for someone who’s always felt like a quitter, I want to follow-through on something that requires commitment, even when the thrill of a new hobby fades away. I guess I want to prove to myself that I can keep putting one foot in front of the other when my legs feel like jello and the sweat has plastered my hair to my neck and I want to quit. Part of me knows that I can do this; the other part of me excuses herself by asking, “What is the point?”
Well, the point is pushing yourself to show how far you can go. The point is seeing your shadow running in front of you, and knowing that “running like a girl” is meant to be a compliment. The point is proving yourself right.
I haven’t made up my mind about the marathon, but I started running again and it feels good.
(Photo: Wilacre Park from the first three-miler)
I celebrated my first grad this past weekend (though I didn’t quite make it to the ceremony, owing to the 8am start time and the lack of tickets for our entire extended family – sorry, Kenny!).
Graduation season is here and goddamn I love me a good commencement speech.
Inspiring, (hopefully) succinct, and full of well wishes and optimism. They frequently neglect to mention the onslaught of student loans and that the past four years playing beer pong and sleeping in has left you with a mostly useless degree requiring you to go to grad school or work for pennies while you move back in with your parents (this is why I’ll never be asked to give a graduation speech).
There are so many good speeches, and a quick youtube search will yield videos more inspiring than TedTalks; and, of course, there’s Steve Jobs at Stanford:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition … Stay hungry, Stay foolish.”
But one of my favorites is George Saunders at Syracuse. The core of his message can be summed up like so:
What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.
It’s worth the full read/watch.
I’m realizing more and more that the only thing that matters is how we treat each other.
When you travel with two other girls of similar age (or at least esprit), there is no one to complain about taking too long to get ready. You eat when you please. You walk aimlessly on cobblestone streets simply because it’s beautiful. You squeal over the fat Bulldogs gracing blue doorways in Le Marais and the scroll-worked balconies that adorn all the apartments of Paris. You stop at all the stands at a farmer’s market you chance upon. Tasting five different kinds of olives from the nice oliveman and buy un peu to eat later with your wine.
You take 984326 photos and spend ten minutes in silence on a park bench while you all edit your respective pictures and selfies. Music is always playing as you get ready. There are never enough mirrors.
You find a garden and sit on a blue bench under the perfect cloudless sky, next to the lawn that is so vibrantly green it looks like you’re seeing it through a filter. You look up at the enormous phallic monument that is intricately made and notice that new leaves are starting to bud on the tree behind you.
Vagrants sleep on benches next to you. Their heads resting on shopping bags stuffed with their belongings. And still, everyone seems happy and life seems so good.
(Photo: Sacré-Coeur on our last day)