Building blocks (long philosophical)

Running away

I have not been able to help feeling as if I am running away lately.  I have been discussing my feeling as if I am running away with my therapist from the beginning when I talked about being unable to leave a job that was not only, not serving my professional needs, but also hurting my emotional and basic human needs for respect.  I feel as if I am running away.  As if I am in this situation and I need to make it work.

It has been a hard lesson that I keep relearning that choosing an alternate path away from conflict is not always a submission to or avoidance from a conflict.  Half the time in my life I have merely nodded and given in, giving up part of my soul to someone trying to get something out of me without a fight, defeated before even stepping up to battle.  The other half of the time I look at a situation already prepared for it to be a conflict, expecting a conflict, weapons drawn before i even step up to the battle.  I have swung back and forth so much, I did not realize there was an alternative.

Sometimes in life there are puddles

You can walk up to a mud puddle, and give in and just walk through it knowing you are going to get your shoes dirty, you can gauge the mud puddle from a distance and figure out how hard you are going to have to run to jump over it.  If you are anything like me in option 2 you land in the puddle with so much force you splash water up your pant legs or worse.

But what if you calmly see the puddle ahead, do not judge that puddle, and then see a simply way of avoiding the puddle.  You certainly would not say you were running away from the puddle.  You were avoiding getting dirty, not the puddle.  You saw it, you might remember a day when you played in puddles and fondly smile as you walk by.  But getting dirty that day did not serve you, so you simply walked on by.

It sounds like something that would make us say we are objectifying that situation or being selfish.  What if that situation was a person, is ignoring that person’s self-worth and only concentrating on its worth to me selfish?  I would say that it is selfish, but that it is not wrong if you go into the situation or up to that person realizing that the only thing you will gain out of the situation is your perspective?  That the worth of that person is the same, that the worth of all people is the same.

Who is to say what a life is worth

We like to think in the abstract that it is wrong to take a life.  Then we give exceptions to this rule based on what makes us feel safe.  What if we realized that outside of that core definition of what people are and where that fundamental respect for life lies, it is all perspective.  So if I judge from my perspective, something is not good for me without judging that thing or situation, I can clearly, consciously, make decisions for my life and what I need.  Before I can do this, I need to wipe away all the guilt and shame societies lies on us when we truly determine what is important to us and what we need.  That our needs are not just for basic things.  That our desires and wants have a meaning to us, and without exploring them we can never unattached ourselves from those desires.  When we are unattached we can find the root that drives desire and that drives our wants.  It is normally love.

But, for me, once I was attached to less stuff, it is much harder to ignore that this suffering is unnecessary.  I realized tonight that I am living in a women-who-I-have-never-met’s home, feeling the same feeling of home.  Even more of a feeling of home lately.  Because I am finding the building blocks that I want to make me MY home.  Not the home available, not the nicest house, not granite tiles or a nice kitchen.  What really makes me happy being who I am and living the life I have.  Every morning in the shower I used to ask Jack if he wanted to go home in an excited voice like we were going someplace special.  I never felt at home.

Laying my foundation blocks

But, instead of feeling guilty and trying to change myself into something I am not to alleviate that guilt.  Instead of feeling ashamed of what I want and who I am.  Tonight I am taking stock of who I am.  These are the things I will gather up on my time off and organizing and reevaluate when I need to.  Slowly I will put these blocks together and start building, foundation first, who I am and what I want.  Hopefully some day I will fully realize I already posses all those things.  That my home has always existed in myself, in God or the Universe or Buddha or a collective soul of the world.  I hope I realize that all these things are really one and I am one with them.  We are one with everyone, so there is no need to judge anyone, they cannot control who they are any more than I can, so I should not judge myself either.

I think I feel as if I am getting my first block set off of a dusty shelf.  A set of those big plastic blocks that have one or two big round holes and pegs.  No matter how you rearrange the blocks you cannot change their components.  Sometimes you need a house because you have people to live in it, sometimes you need a rocket-ship because you are going to explore, sometimes you just pile them as high as you can, just because you can. But the blocks they are the same.  There are bright reds and blues, long ones short ones, some that have been deformed out of use or manufacturer error, result is the same though.

I am always being told yoga is the flow from pose to pose not the perfect execution of a pose and that life is the journey, not the destination.  We are all what we are given, we all have similar blocks, some that came broken, some we broke ourselves.  Sometimes someone else has a block we need and we make strong fortified structures together, sometimes for a day sometimes for forever. But we carry the blocks with us everywhere we go and it is the only thing we need. We can make anything with those blocks.  We can shape them however we need to or want to.  We can share as we please or do not please.

I am building the life I want and sometimes I use my blocks to create a bridge over a mud puddle, realizing that the challenges I choose to meet are somewhere else.  That this puddle is not a challenge for me.  Right now I am building blocks to make me happy and healthy and to fly me away to see things I have never seen and experience perspectives I have never seen.  It is my reason for traveling, for yoga, for seeing my therapist, for laughing and crying with friends, and for writing.

Good night!

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Things I will miss most #3: yoga community (also how I found yoga – also very long)

Before Yoga

I used to do yoga in college and then when I graduated and there were no more free yoga classes I thought, crap, I am not paying 12 dollars a class for yoga.  Even three times a week at least, 4 weeks a months.  That is a lot of money.  So what did I do?  After trying to use the gym at my apartment complex and running outside on black racer snakes because I lived in an apartment complex in the middle of a swamp in Winter Haven, Florida  (I like to hope they were black racers I just made sure to wear thick socks and pants) I joined Gold’s Gym, of course.  The first time I made that mistake and sadly not the last.  Not that the facilities of Gold’s Gym are not nice, but contracts are horrible and even with moving out of town or tearing a ligament I paid hundreds of dollars until they canceled my account.

But I digress, I took Body Flow, which is sort of a mix of yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi and cardio kickboxing.  I also lifted some and used the elliptical (still nursing ACL injury, elliptical felt good at times over running).  I did lose a lot of weight but was not advancing in yoga and ended up going to a Pilates studio with reasonable prices to fill the gap.  Two moves later I joined a Golds Gym where I currently live because of the awesome Pilates instructor, who sadly does not work there any more, and body pump.  Only instead of losing weight I was gaining bulk and on my larger frame that looked sort of scary, as my father told me.

So I started running a lot in a half marathon training group and doing resistance band workouts and yoga tapes at home.  Only my legs have never appreciated running a lot.  My calves were sore by quarter of a mile and screaming by 1.5 miles, which is why it never occurred to me one should run more than 1-2 miles.  I started learning about trigger point therapy and necessity of massage.  Only it kept getting worse, only to find out I have bone spurs in my heel bothering my soft tissue and muscle on the back of my leg.  So I ramped down my running some and missed my half marathon.

Reintroduction, via the “Hippies”

So last year for Memorial Day weekend my friend Ni and I went to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, my tradition for the past 4 or 5 years.  Its great and FREE for general seating.  (Though get premium.  I keep saying after each year I regret not getting premium seating but then the next get cheap and do not get it again but regret it.  It will be sold out the day of show.)  The forever cheap person that I am, I get the cheapest hotel Priceline negotiator will give me above 3*s.  Usually it is 30-40 dollars a nite but this year it was 50-60 and not as close downtown, it is across the river.  Each day two to three times a day we would walk the several miles to the stage, including up and down the bridge.  We would walk the half mile to two miles to get air conditioning and a large cold water for 50 cents at the cookie shop at the Jacksonville landing (just inside the door).  We would walk back and forth from the different stages, about a quarter of a mile.  And we went all three days.  So in all, there was a lot of walking.  By the last day my right leg was killing me.  I could hardly place my foot down.  My arch hurt, my calf hurt.  It was horrible.  Horrible.

Ni had visited what she described as a “hippie” tent and got a massage the day before.  I stated there is no way that a 5-10 minute massage would be worth it.  I have trouble relaxing enough for it to benefit.  By now I was desperate, not liking the prospect of the walk to dinner and then the walk back.  So trying to decide if I would miss Herbie Hancock or not by going to get a massage (and how would I ever allow myself that, he is awesome!) I finally gave in and went and got a massage.  We left our spot in the charge of our neighbor we called pimp daddy (he was wearing almost all coordinating red and had a cane) and walked back to the hippy tent.

At the tent I asked who was there if I could get a massage on my calf and not a chair massage (I think Ni got a Thai yoga massage).  I explained what was wrong and he said he had the answer.  The guy, who I learned was Keith at Ananda Kula Yoga, Holistic, Health, and Pilates, agreed and here I was face down on a blanket on the street in Jacksonville with a guy I had never met and knew no credentials testing out my pain threshold in my calf.  It was amazing though.  10 or 15 minutes and my calf felt like new!  No pain at all!  I never had experienced that before.  Keith mentioned maybe I should not run so much, which was not an option at the time, but has since become the norm because when I run too much it hurts still.  So I run a few times a week at most, but the most helpful thing he suggested, was to find a holistic yoga studio to go to in order to stretch and in general get to a better place in health.

Community

So I took a flier and wished I could get a full massage (the next day was Memorial day and no availability).  But I did go back to Orlando and find Serenity Now Yoga Corp.  Now, my therapist had been telling me to go to yoga for a long time.  So I went to a Happy Hour Yoga class with Juliette Woranov and loved it.  So I came back again and met Lee Clise.  It stuck me immediately as a place where people ask your name, they ask how you are and want to listen.  They want to know what your goals are and any problems you are trying to work through with yoga.  Everyone knew each other and went out to happy hour after class and went biking and running and did all of these things as a community. Dacia Milescu, the owner, has this vision of it being a one stop shop for your health.  There is yoga and massage and psychotherapy and acupuncture and meditation…they offer everything their clients want and are constantly changing things to meet the clients needs.

Suddenly I was with people in yoga class and really realizing the difference of having friends in your life who are very attentive to what their wants and needs and health are.  I had always been taught this is selfish, but being around people who are really aware of who they are has shown me how much more free, open, and accepting people are when they accept and nurture themselves.  Conscious living I hear it referred to.

A few weeks after meeting Keith at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, I found out that R. Carlos Nakai, my favorite Native American musician was going to be at Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival and so I called up Keith and scheduled another massage for that weekend and had a great time on a mini vacation and an absolutely AMAZING full hour massage on my calves.  It was the first time I really realized there were different types of medical massages.

My muscles in my legs, and most of my body, are really tight.  I am, or used to be, a very stressed person.  Now I am just a somewhat stressed person.  I have had anxiety problems since I was a teenager.  He did a neuromuscular massage on my calves.  I since found a great massage therapist who was a friend at Serenity Now and works at a chiropractor’s  office and had an appointment with both Stephenie and the chiropractor for a neck issue.  After several sessions just working She gave me my first full body neuromuscular massage, working her way from my elbow and neck down to my hips, working through the entire line.  I was introduced to energy lines and how well the body is interconnected.

I have since traveled to Jacksonville for a yoga festival (this is where I took the picture of the crazy tree in Jacksonville) and went to a yoga class at Ananda Kula, and of course a massage.  It was amazing how much I had changed just a few months later being able to release and let go of the things that were not making me happy.  All the yoga and regular massage/health treatment and genuine people made my body so much more receptive to healing.  The Kula has awesome events and everything has been amazing that I have been to there.  I hope to spend some time up there at some point. Also in Orlando there was a yoga festival called Rasa-Lila which was awesome.  I loved it.  I have been around a lot of studios in the area, I love mixing different classes of different levels and styles so I do not over work one part of my body.  You can see links in Where I Yoga.

Support and Gratitude

The yoga community in the area is amazing and supportive.  Sure there is some of the pretentious stuff or artificial stuff or overly competitive and petty stuff.  I cannot imagine any community without some of those shortfalls, but for the most part it is a great way of connect and being supported by understanding people.  I am starting to get the idea that the travel bloggers out there have a lot of that too and I am trying to get into it before I leave.  I know I will always be a part of the community and have access to the support when I need it.  I also know I will be building an even bigger network but, I will miss being in and having direct access to the yoga community here.

But, I have to give all of these people credit for helping me make the decision I have made to let go of everything and start a new adventure and a new layer of my life.  Only now I am accepting who I was, who I am, and who I will be.  I have so much more to bring to the plate because of this.

Much gratitude to you all.

First Purchase for Trip…check

I have been putting off a lot of things lately.  There is simply too much to do and not enough time or energy for me to do them.  So instead of choosing what to do I have been mostly taking naps.  I need to pack up stuff, sort stuff, price stuff, donate stuff (I really have way to much stuff).  I need to go to the eye doctor before I leave and get a pair of glasses.  I need to figure out what I need to buy for the trip, apply for visas, write a letter of resignation, etc….

Really, too much heavy things to think about.  But, today I was successful!  I went to see my therapist and discuss my lack of energy and better dealing with disappointments/changes in plans.  I figure those are both things I will need to have worked out before I leave.  So we started with the fact that my energy has been so low and I realized my hormones are off-balance because I am not regular.  So he suggested I go to these herb store, which someone else had suggested the a few days before.  To me, two suggestions in one week means its fate.  So off I went after our session to talk to this nice woman named Cathryn about my menstrual and energy needs.  When I get there I realize its next to my eye doctor!  Two birds one stone sort of moment and I scheduled an appointment to get my eyes checked first.

Now I the herb store was small but packed.  There were a lot of essential oils, supplements, natural cleansers, etc.  I asked Cathryn what I would need and she immediately gets incredibly excited.  She reads me and gets the impression I need something very simple and very natural.  This is her favorite product!  She loves this product (she apparently starts to read my skepticism), but, she gets the impression I am not the type who takes supplements, including vitamins (I don’t).  I explain that I have tried many things and if they work I keep them and if not they are gone. So we come to an agreement that I will try the Maca for one month and she gives me some literature.

I start reading…Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable used for many years by the locals as a means to increase energy and stamina.  Its main uses are for menopause, sexual dysfunction and fertility (well its hormone balancing then? Not looking to be more fertile though).  So, we shall see if it works.  If not, does anyone need to fix erectile dysfunction?  I also bought some non DEET bug repellent and some peppermint essential oil

On my way back home I bought some tags to price stuff for the garage sale and some chocolate (though they did sell some chocolate Maca bars I did not partake).  I got a text from my friend Ni who wanted to go to Happy Hour Yoga at Serenity Now Yoga.  Afterwards we got desert at 4 Rivers (I know, more chocolate!) and then she had to return some shoes.  Since I needed to look at hiking shoes, I went with her to DSW for the pair of Merrell Cambria Straps I have been wanting.  I also looked at the hiking shoes.  I am just worried about not using them enough at the beginning of the trip and having them be a dead weight (a heavy weight) in my pack.  But, they also had the newer Merrell Barefoot True Glove which is a trail running minimalist shoe.  I tried it on and it feels soooo good.  However, it’s not the most supported shoe because the whole idea is putting your foot in the most supporting position and it avoids too much heel padding to keep you from landing on your heel (should always run mid foot).  I am not sure how much they would hold up for just trail shoes though, there are plenty of reviews on them though.  I would like them because then I would not need to have a pair of running shoes and a pair of trail shoes.  They are also very, very light.  Any opinions?  Suggestions of other shoes?

So all in one day I have got the tags to mark my garage sale goods, got some medicine for energy, scheduled the eye appointment, and got my trail sandals. Not bad for a day where I slept in until noon – did I mention I am running on empty lately?