Thursday, September 25, 2008

So I Went a Bit Internal Again.

It happens.

I experienced a bit of, what could best be described as, an existential crisis of sorts. Incurred by the theme for a joint 30th birthday party that I'll be attending in NYC this weekend - come as yourself in 10 years. That coupled with the meme, my 29th birthday
* and a airline credit that needed to be booked by today, really got me thinking; from my writing for this blog, to my practice, to my pursuits, to what is really important in my life, who I am and who I'd like to be.

I feel a bit like I'm standing on the edge of opportunity and time.
I quite like it.

Talking with the SecondBeatle about my costume, he asked me what I didn't want to be and then think of what the antithesis of that would be. What I don't want to be is sitting in front of a computer mucking through receipts and expense reports, well heeled and dressed in a tailored suit and silk blouse. The antithesis I immediately envisioned involved bare feet, t-shirt and jeans, a drafting dot stuck here and there, IndiaInk stained and sobo glued hands and a yurt.

I'm quite alright with my antithesis, save for the yurt.
I like indoor plumbing and my 600 thread count sheets too much.

To get anywhere, takes a lot of practice alongside patience,
discipline and crazily enough, having some fun along the way. A bit like an asana practice really. That all being said, today and this coming weekend, most certainly are not the time for "sensible" shoes...

...and maybe indulgence in a maple spice cupcake from B&W.

* Today. 2:09 pm - although the "official" paperwork says 2:11. I consider 29 still to be young - looming on old - but in my mind old is a looooooong way away. Maybe in another 90 years? Then I'll certainly be closer to old.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Travels: You know you're hooked when... find yourself planning your vacations around moon days and the shalas, studios, and teachers who will be at your disposal.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meme: I'm It.

Over a year of blogging and I have finally been tagged by a member of Bauhaus! She who wears fabulous shoes (and liturgically correct ones at that) while in her Sunday best.

3 Joys:
  1. Lingering in conversation over a meal with my parents and/or friends.
  2. Driving solo through the back roads or coastal roads of New England, windows rolled down and the heat on high during a crisp late fall night.
  3. Tomato soup and homemade baked mac & cheese on a rainy day.

3 Fears:

  1. That something will happen to my parents and I will not be around/able to help them.
  2. Not waking if I have an asthma attack while sleeping at night.
  3. Cicadas and grasshoppers.

3 Obsessions/Collections:

  1. Yoga
  2. Shoes
  3. 1st Edition Books

3 Surprising facts:

  1. While in the Boston area I worked for a rare/used/first edition book seller and know something about book repair and binding.
  2. I have over 15 pairs of argyle socks.
  3. For Christmas one year, the Mathematician and the Artist gave me a beautiful set of African blackwood bagpipes.
* * *

In filling this out I got to thinking about how drastically these have changed for me over the last couple years - and how quickly the answers can change. I noticed it was hard for me to limit joys and obsessions/collections - do I go with my top 3? or do i pick the most interesting? I compromised between these two. Would it be cheating if I mentioned that reading a good children's book, watching cartoons, and art were top contenders for joys?

As for my fears and surprising facts, I had to really think about them. On the part of fear, because as a means to escape/survive our fears, our minds have been conditioned to rationalize them away or avoid them. Once I opened up to these three a host more flooded in. Upon reflection and unlike joys, the greater number seemed fairly selfish. On the part of surprising facts, I try to bring as much transparency to all of my relationships as possible, even within the "anonymity" of this blog - so I assume that most people know everything there is to know about me. Which is probably far from reality of the situation.

* * *

And so, I tag: Fluellen, LegalMama, and Nairam

Monday, September 8, 2008

Doodle: Floyd

I dug out my micron pens this morning before heading into work.
I was on a mission.

With the last $5 in my wallet (and of my "misc" budget for the next three weeks) I bought a sketch book.

Nothing fancy. In an effort to jump start my new Art practice, I've decided to spend some time at lunch doodling. Something I realized early on during my practice today, that I had forgotten how to do. I reached for a pencil, because there's an eraser and a mistake can be undone. No! I quickly stopped myself. This is a practice in fun, freedom and improvisation. Then I remembered my pens - which were sitting on my counter back in my apartment - not in my bag.

However, no excuses would be tolerated. I pulled out a simple black PilotRazor pen. And took charge of my sketching. As I was making my to-do list for work tomorrow and on my way out the door, I flipped to a new page in my book and started drawing lines and filling them in. I had some notion of making a "tribal" design.

I crammed myself on the first train.
Then, pressed up against a DC suit carrying a bunch of stargazer lilies and bordering on a fit of sneezes...

I saw Floyd.

Mantra Monday: Nothing Good is Easy; Nothing Easy is Good.

Why do I practice mysore style ashtanga yoga?

When I began practicing back in May, I thought it was just another asana practice. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, the first two weeks of practice nearly killed me from the aggravation that my body wouldn't do what it was supposed to and the early hour, chief among a laundry list of other general complaints that I could come up with at a moments notice. But I stayed with it. It was hard - some days I literally had to slog myself to the shala and each and every breath and muscle hurt (at least they were letting me know they were there).

Then it slowly became easier.

At some point I came to the realization that the vinyasas are actually asanas in and of themselves, how breath and energy can move through the body. On Sunday's practice, there was no resistance and fight from my body as D2 slipped my legs over my head and pulled my hands together to be bound in
Supta Kurmasana.

There was no fight. There was no struggle nor drama.
Just with ease. Just with peace.

What is the main and unexpected lesson I receiving from my practice?

Be it law, architecture, medicine, asana - to move forward takes discipline. The willingness to meet yourself again for the first time and drop any preconceived notions of who you are and where you
think you should be. I've learned that these two only limit your abilities and impede progress.

The same goes for Art. Sure, there are people who are naturally gifted, but it's really how you use that gift that makes the difference.

In any asana practice strength builds flexibility and flexibility builds strength. Yeah, I could be content to get my nose to just past my knees in
Paschimottanasana. To get your nose to your shin, you don't muscle your way there, hunching your shoulders forward and rounding your back. You engage your legs, engage the illusive mula bhanda, and pull your shoulders down your back. Soon your body has the flexibility so it doesn't fight itself into position.

If you put in the time and passion your practice (law, architecture, art, asana) it will evolve at a quicker rate than if you just sit and lackadaisically move through life.

This week, I begin discovering my Art practice.
Will it be back to jewelry/metalsmithing? or painting? or something else?

I don't know.

What I do know:
I need to put in the time and have that same discipline to meet myself on the drawing board.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Different Shade of Green

I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm one of those people here in DC who have to get away from the city for at least a day once a month. Otherwise, I become cranky and slowly become embittered and curmudgeonly.

That coupled with not sleeping well, replaying the events of two years ago as I tried to sleep, trying to sit with the images and sensations, allowing them space to process, the two times I did make it to my mat last week, I was no better than lead weight attempting to move through molasses and some semblance of the asana sequence. Case in point: D had me stop at Mari-C last Thursday after I completely foo-barred the Janu sequence and to be honest, I'm almost positive I missed a couple earlier asanas.

Traveling, letting go, returning to New England, and seeing a different colored green was much needed.

* * *

Saturday morning I woke, bright and early - 4 am so I could catch my cab to National and be there promptly at 5am. Upon arrival, I look at the departure screen and I didn't see the departure time for my flight. I saw the flight number, it wasn't the correct time. I was just going to proceed to the gate, but thought better of it and went to the ticket counter to inquire as to the change. As I walked to the counter, SakaPinda mat bag on my back and small weekend tote in tow, I looked at my boarding pass and it didn't look quite right.

I figured I was just tired.
Then it dawned on me like a hammer falling from the sky.

I was currently supposed to be at TF Greene, in Rhode Island - flying to National. Ha! After
talking with the ticket agent and laying the blame of the ticketing snafu squarely on the shoulders of my secretary (never mind that I am a/the secretary) it would have cost $1,170 to correct this error.

Call me crazy, but I'm not interested in paying that amount of money for what would total, round trip, approx. 100 minutes in the air.

The Mathematician and the Artist checked the Amtrak schedule and there was a regional train leaving Union Station at 6:20am. I could just make it and did. I've always enjoyed traveling by train - save for the Columbia Law student who sat next to me and proceeded to have the same loud drama-filled phone conversation at least 10 times between New York Penn and Mystic, CT where I met up with the Mathematician and the Artist.

The whole plane debacle became a great lesson in flexibility and creativity, remembering that there are always multiple solutions and the initial error, set up for a wonderful weekend. Forcing me to relax on a train as it wound it's way up the eastern seaboard. The weekend was full of wonderful food, from local restaurants with fresh local ingredients and fresh baked goods, to practicing mat to mat at SPY, going to a new-to-me shala for a led full primary class, to catching up with close friends I hadn't seen in ages.

If I had to pick a single solitary highlight to my weekend, I would have to say the time spent with Lady Apollo.

We hadn't seen each other since the Parson's and my wedding in August 2006. Sure, we've talked on the phone but there's something to be said for seeing someone in person. It's an understatement to say that a lot has happened since then. Laying on our backs soaking in the late summer RI sun in the Sculpture Garden behind RISD admissions, she hadn't realized the scope of everything that had happened. Simultaneously, I came to some further realization of how much 5 months of my life, two years ago has affected me and my path.

This was the first time in a long while that I shed tears for Parson and outwardly and publicly showed my grief, my pain, and my passion for living all that life has to offer.

Om Namah Shivaya.