Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hashtag Blessed

Not being of any religious persuasion, I've never really felt compelled to wish someone a "blessed day" or to use the word blessing too often in describing my own life or someone else's situation.  (Also, my mom would look at me like I had 3 heads if she heard me wishing someone a blessed day.  She has a funny thing about it...)

The older I get, though...Between two of my best friends on this planet earth being devout and Christ-like Christians, my deep foray into the "Slumber Party Theology" (to crib a term Elizabeth Gilbert references in Eat, Pray, Love - which I'm falling back in love with, but that's another story) that is being a yogi in this day and time and place, and between my work and my life circumstances taking the direction that it has been taking...damn.  I feel the need to throw myself on the floor in gratitude sometimes for how ever-lovingly blessed I feel.  I feel the word cross my mind and on my lips more and more as the years go by.

Becoming a doula was really daunting, and I put off going down that road for a long time.  It had been on my mind, and my mentor, Juliana, saw it in me and kept predicting that it would happen and urging me to do it.  But it was too much time, I didn't have space for it, it was too scary, too real.  And after the gracious and selfless and phenomenal work of my sister's two birth doulas helping to make A+Z's arrival the once-in-a-lifetime family event that it was for my sister and brother-in-law, after seeing the positive effect that having doula support had on their new family...

I only feel mildly self-conscious in using this term - I felt called to do it.

This past week, I attended my longest birth so far as a doula.  It won't be the longest I ever attend.  It had a lot of factors that made it new and exciting and unique and scary, and because I want my clients to trust my promise of confidentiality I won't go into great details.  I will say that I felt such a deep connection with this couple that it was truly an honor to be there with them.  I loved every minute of it, even the minutes fraught with uncertainty and fear and waiting waiting waiting.  To be a part of their once-in-a-lifetime experience...I can't express my gratitude to have been able to have been a part and to have helped.

Sundays I usually like to have my whole day open so I can do...whatever.  My laundry.  Watch Orange is the New Black until my eyeballs pop out of my head.  Today, I took a class for myself, gave a Thai Yoga Massage, met with a new doula client and her husband, and attended the 3rd birthday party of a wonderful little boy I've known since he was...I don't even know - maybe 3 months old?  My husband finally got to meet the beautiful community of Astoria moms and their kids that I've known through The Giving Tree Yoga Studio and loved for roughly 2.5 years, some of them when their babies were still in the belly.

I mean...damn.

The words "blessed," "grateful," "honored," "humbled" - a lot of them are overused, used for humble-bragging, for compliment-fishing, and because of that they're so often dismissed or used ironically.  Lord knows I love mockery as much as the next guy.  But I find sometimes it makes it difficult to truly express those pure feelings.  Because it's naive?  It makes people uncomfortable?  It makes them roll their eyes and gag a little bit at the saccharine of it all?  It shines a light on an element of their own life that maybe isn't going so great?

For better or for worse - the Internets are here to say.  Good, bad, ugly - it all gets out there these days.  We're the guardians of how much we share and how we share it.  My life isn't perfect and it's not always sunshine and rainbows, but dammit - I just feel really, really, really, really blessed today.  I could not love what I do more.  As one of my heroes, Buddy the Elf would say, "I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!"

And to make up for all the joy, if it's too much for your modern sensibilities - a great NYTimes article on the use and abuse of #blessed on social media.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August is the new January

Oh, hello.  This old thing.

Six weeks!  Has it been six weeks?  That's probably the longest I've gone without updating this guy.  It's of course been near the bottom of my to-do list for probably about the last 3 of these weeks, and with every passing day that I don't write, I get more and more in my head about what I should write and why do I still have this blog when I feel like it had much more purpose and structure and direction when I started it five years ago, and no one really reads it anyway, and the last thing the Internet needs is one more blog about yoga or whatever the hell this blog is about now - blah de blah.

So, with no clear direction or easily boxed-in-able topic, I'm writing again!  The Whole30 was an excellent way to get me back on the blogging horse, but it has long since passed - but not without leaving a seriously lasting impact.  Plenty of programs say that they will change your life, and I often find it not to be the case, but the Whole30 really was life-changing.

That's not to say I didn't fall hardcore off the wagon and back to a lot of old habits (which I did - so many leftover cookies from Atlas & Zoe's birthday party!!!) and not to say that I haven't felt mopey despair after said moments of falling off the wagon into impulsive, binge-y eating, but overall the choices I make when I eat, the habits I've formed, and the way I think about it has changed, and for the better.  I have my eye on doing another Whole30, maybe in the fall, and definitely around the New Year.  My mom and Jim have both embarked on the journey as well, losing weight and gaining health which makes me immeasurably happy and proud.

One of these days, I'm going to drag Marc along with me on the journey...

After getting back from SC, I immediately hit the ground running back to the NYC hustle.  Teaching, managing, and doula-ing (and RUNNING!) have been taking up my time, although the changes of our schedule in the summer have allowed for blessed pockets of free time that are nowhere to be found in the much busier fall, and for that I am so very grateful.

August always feels like - and I'm sure I write this sentence in this blog every single year, and I expect to do so for every year to come - a second chance at a New Year's Resolution-type fresh start.  It's the calm before the back-to-school storm where there's a little chance in these days of gorgeous late summer to reflect and reconnect with what I really want and how I really want to live.

This August in particular I feel drawn to reconnect to that fresh-start feeling that I'm so addicted to via two of my all-time favorite books - My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor and that ubiquitous soul-stirring book of women of my generation and beyond, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

And just last night I finished a new addition to those beautiful books by strong women - Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.  Obviously drawn to it from the phenomenal Netflix series that I have been obsessed with the past few weeks as I finally finished season 3, the book bears striking similarities to Taylor & Gilbert's books - except instead of a stroke or a crippling divorce leading to world travel, the catalyst is prison.  It's an incredible book on a personal level and even more so on a larger, societal level.  It sparks a tremendous amount of outrage at the waste, inefficiency, inhumanity, and lack of common sense in our prison systems.  It's worth the read for that, the humor, the sisterhood, and the personal strength and resilience Kerman exhibits.


I could go on and on, because like I said, this particular entry clearly has no defined structure or message, but I won't.  It's enough just that I wrote, for those three of you kind people who read it.  This old girl is 5 years old and I can't let her go just yet!