Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Here's Looking at You Kiddo

My friend Amy had her baby! A few weeks ago I shared my wishes for her & all new moms in a Wishing Well for Amy.

Now that her preciously little one is here, I thought I'd follow up with these wishes I wrote for the baby. As it happens, they are the same ones I have for my kids & for all children. Everywhere.

I hope you love... deeply, with an open heart and an open mind. Remember to love yourself the same way. 

I hope you learn... to do your own laundry by the time you're eleven. And I mean properly, not just how to work the machines (but ruin the clothes). Seriously, it's a pretty crucial thing in life and your parents will be grateful. 

I hope you get... to explore and have adventures. Whether they take you across the world, the country, or just your own backyard. Nothing better than a proper adventure, and they come along pretty often if you keep your eyes open. 

I hope you become... the very best person you can be. Whatever & whomever that is. I hope you are the most amazing version of You that you can imagine. 

I hope you ignore... any naysayers, bullies, or anyone who ever tries to hold you down, squash your dreams or otherwise break your heart. 

I hope you aren't afraid... to fail, to ask for help, or be vulnerable. Those who do the impossible rarely achieve it the first time and they do not ever do it alone. 

I hope you grow... to appreciate those things you don't like, be they foods, music, movies, or other people and their opinions. It is so important to try new things & be open to all viewpoints. And then if you disagree, do so respectfully. Such common courtesy is often overlooked these days. A little kindness will always get you far. 

I hope you laugh... often and with a full heart. Laugh until the tears stream down your face, and laugh even when you've already been crying. 

I hope you remember... you are extraordinary. No matter what you do or who you become. You are loved. By so many - both near and far far away.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Confessions of a Sassy Rabbit

I am a sassy rabbit. A striking, gorgeous, sassy rabbit. 

Before my babies came along I spent an amazing year as a yoga bunny. I religiously practiced no less than 5, but usually 6 days a week. My body, my skin, my life was transformed in that year. That year I let go of a lot of crap that was weighing me down, emotionally and physically. I moved and grew in ways I had never even considered. That year I met my soulmate. By the end of that year we were on the road to parenthood.

All of which is to illustrate my belief that yoga, Bikram Yoga in particular, changed my life.

Unfortunately my pregnant body couldn't take the heat, and what with work and commuting and motherhood and another pregnancy...Yoga was always last on my list. I dipped my toes back in the yoga waters off and on, but really only made it back to the practice last Spring.

Naturally, 5 years later I'm almost 40 and my body is not what it was before. Let's just say my lower abs are not ready to rock. I have back, foot and hip pain, I don't have a gall bladder, I have 2 rebuilt knees and oh yeah, I had 2 babies cut out of me in the space of 2 years...Whatever.  All are just reasons to give my body what it wants.

My Body wants yoga. In a seriously, stupidly hot room.
Really beautiful Rabbit. Just gorgeous... 
It wants 26 yoga postures, the same way every day, in a room that is literally 105 degrees and like 40% humidity. It wants Bikram Yoga.

I know, it sounds crazy. It is. There is a method behind the madness.

Some of the postures are harder than others, of course. For many Camel pose can be the most challenging. That it's what we build up to the whole class. Not me. For my money, no - for my body - it is Rabbit Pose.

Once I unlocked the mystery of this pose, it quickly became my favorite. The whole class I am focused on getting there. It must be obvious, because recently a teacher asked if I felt safe in the position.

Safe? No. It is easy to fall over. Close your eyes & lose your balance or lose your grip and you topple like a domino. 
I do feel secure, however. 

Secure that after 23 postures, IF I have mastered my balance, my joints are lose and flexible, my body and mind are all in alignment, AND I get a good grip, THEN my body curls in on itself and I feel like I am THE Sassy Rabbit Rockstar.

I can feel the truth that Rabbit releases issues with taking on responsibility for the happiness of others As a mother/ wife/ daughter/ friend I've always looked to make everyone happy. But Rabbit is an amazing hug that instantly makes me feel at ease. 

It is compressing and also opening. It is turning in and pulling deeply and extending yourself all at once. Eyes open in the darkness of my body surrounding me. 

"You were like a statue - Competition worthy... Beautiful. Really beautiful. Just gorgeous... "

To be acknowledged in that position is to be seen in a moment that is so solitary. Such a beautiful place for me already, to be seen in that moment is blissful. Like the unsolicited hugs and kisses from my toddlers. 

Joy and love and self.
Sassy Rabbit Bliss

Friday, February 7, 2014

Like it or Lump It: Let's Play Nice

Well, hello Drama... 

So yesterday I posted this Esquire article "PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN'S FINAL SECRET" on my personal Facebook page. Several of my friends picked it up and shared as well, including a friend who tagged me in her post.  Meaning I got notified about comments being made. 

The first comment she got on the article was, in my opinion, extraordinarily negative, cynical & borderline hateful. I am not going to copy it verbatim, because it is not mine to share. Frankly the tone was so nasty it made me a bit sick. Basically, it stated that we should stop caring about the death of famous people who would not reciprocate if the situation were reversed & that Philip Seymour Hoffman deserved to die because he was, in the end, a selfish junkie. And furthermore, the police only cared about the case because it was high profile. All of these things put together should make us all feel insignificant by comparison. 

As coincidence would have it, I'd been seeing negative and nasty blasted all over Facebook last night. And then I came across the Operation Nice mission from Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. The gist being that we need to raise the level of discourse out here in Cyberland. We need to try to promote a positive atmosphere, not a nasty snarky one. 

Perhaps I should have held my tongue and gone to bed. Instead I crafted what I thought was a non-snarky comment to the PSH posting that still expressed why I was upset. It was this: 

For what it's worth, I think when we quit caring about the deaths of others - no matter what the cause - we lose a bit if our humanity. If I am moved by the death of this man it is because his story, his work, his life in some way touched me. 
I shared this article because it also moved me. Our mutual friend shared it for her own reasons. That connection is meaningful, if small and not significant for anyone but me.

Apparently somewhere in the wee hours the original poster made comments that were specifically & hatefully aimed at me. He removed them himself before I read them. However he did leave a new comment in which he called me out for "degrading" him for having the opposing opinion. Then reiterated his own thoughts that the death & investigation were being treated differently because PSH was rich & famous. That "we" were treating the death of a junkie as though he were a victim & that it was wrong. 

I don't mind telling you, I was more than a little put off. What follows is my reply to him. 

I couldn't agree more - we are all entitled to our opinions and to express them. I have seen lots of comments regarding this particular death, this particular man and the following investigation & have been saddened to see such negativity regarding the loss of a life. 
When I said "I think we" I was offering my opinion regarding society as a whole, and not intending to attack anyone in particular. That said, if I offended anyone, it was certainly not my intention. I am a firm proponent of civil discourse, both in person & in social media. 
Not that my two cents matters, but just for the record... I agree that it may be sensational of the NYPD to go into a larger scale investigation into the drug dealers in this case. I honestly cannot speak to what level of investigation a similar quantity of drug evidence in a non-celebrity's death would cause. Frankly, I don't care. It is in my nature to try and see the positive spin on things, the bright side of any dark situation. If the death of PSH shines a light on the issues of drug addiction, the relative ease of getting those drugs, the dangers of using them and mental illness as a whole, then perhaps his death serves some greater good. 
Much like any one's story that is highlighted by the news & social media, I see each as being representative of a larger picture. Some would call me overly optimistic or naive. I'm ok with that. Just don't tell me my perspective is wrong, it's simply my own.

I honestly try to follow the Golden Rule. Treat others with respect & kindness and expect to be treated the same. Naturally I'm an enormous fan of this Operation Nice idea. I believe we cannot move forward as a society until we all learn to be far more tolerant and respectful of others & how we express our views. Just because the Internet isn't face to face doesn't mean we can hide behind our keyboards and forget we are all human beings. 

Why am I sharing all this? 

Well, I guess I want you to understand I'm just some random lady speaking my heart, sharing the things I find interesting, important, funny or stupid. 
I don't have delusions that everyone is going to agree with my take on any of it. 

As my mom used to say "You can like it or lump it". 

But just like I remind my kids anytime we go to the playground - Play Nice.