“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” ~ Alan Watts
I have never checked my Facebook and liked as many statuses as I did on June 26, 2015. I realized that I have surrounded myself with people who support the same things as I do and it’s an amazing feeling.
I have always been told to keep your political opinions to yourself and in the past I’ve had a very easy time with this because I’m not too into politics. A few of my friends may cringe but… Politics don’t interest me (as most already know). But I feel the need to express my feelings about why I support marriage equality and why I am so proud that our country has taken such a momentous step.
Contemplating this over the last few days I have found that I have a few reasons why I feel so strongly about marriage equality that I would want to express it in writing for all to see…
- When I was younger my parents always had gay friends, aka. “friends.” There was never a question of why he liked boys or why she liked girls. They were just my parents friends and outstanding human beings at that. Why would you have a friend that was anything but an extraordinary human being?
- I was also raised to be kind to everyone. No exceptions to this rule. Period.
- When I was in my late teens my parents had a great friend battle breast cancer. This friend and her partner of 10+ years faced cancer together, as any couple would do. But since they were not legally married her partner was not granted any spousal leave or support to care for her partner in her last days on earth. I witnessed my mom and all of her friends from work donate their vacation days to her so she could be with her partner and not have to worry about losing her job. So fairly early into my adult years where I’m forming my own opinions and figuring out the type of human being I’m going to be, I see this amazing example of love and that it doesn’t matter what your race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. Love is love.
I was also raised in the baptist church. I am southern, after all. So I believe in Jesus, God, and the bible. I have never been one to take the bible so literally… And I’m not going to throw around the typical argument of “if you want to take the bible so literally that I know a few women who should be stoned…” So I’m going to let these articles do the talking for me…
Read what this Christian pastor promises to do if his children are gay… This article is an amazing example of acceptance and love no matter what.
“I won’t love them despite their sexuality, and I won’t love them because of it. I will love them; simply because they’re sweet, and funny, and caring, and smart, and kind, and stubborn, and flawed, and original, and beautiful… and mine.” ~John Pavlovitz
And lastly, I’m also proud of my friends that don’t support marriage equality but post things like this… 5 things Jesus would say to the gay community… Although I don’t agree with pushing your religion on anyone, this article is full of love and acceptance. And that what it’s all about. Love one another.
Love and equality,
This time of year I always like to think about all of my blessings and all things good and bad that have happened throughout the year. I have seen a prominent ebb and flow of “good” years and “bad” years. Or rather, productive years that are jam packed and years that I felt like nothing significant happened. This was one of those years that was jam packed… I turned 30, got engaged to the most wonderful man, finished my master’s degree, started a new job, got married to said wonderful man, and took my first trip out of the country. The last couple of years were “slow” years but all building up to what happened in this year.
With everything going on this year was not a big year of yoga. I taught my classes but didn’t attend my beloved Ashtanga classes quite as regularly as I would like. This was the year of home practice for 15 minutes at a time… when I found time. The hardest part about that is that when I finally did “find the time” it was exactly what I needed to treat myself when I was stressed. I have realized that my “slow” years are usually full of yoga and despite the lack of other things going on in my life, I feel really strong and connected through my yoga practice. That’s the wonderful thing about yoga… if I neglect it for a while it’s always there waiting for me when I decide to come back.
Sometimes when you’re in a “slow” year and not really happy where you are it’s hard to practice presence and not worry about what’s next. When in all reality, it’s okay to anticipate what’s next. It’s okay to prepare and make moves to be a better you. What’s not okay is to sit and wish and hope that things will just change. Go get it, be the change you want to see in your life. You are the driving force. For me, 2008 and 2009 were my “slow” years. I had just found my yoga practice in 2008 and it was taking me on a whirlwind trip of emotions trying to figure out how to get out of the hole I was standing in. My first move was to go back to school and finish my bachelors degree. But with 2 years of school only adding up to 2 semesters of credit I felt so small next to a huge mountain. Standing on the other side of that mountain I see that it all started with that one step. At the top of that mountain was not only a bachelor’s degree, but a masters, a career, and a whole new life built around it… and it was all because of that one small step; with my computer in my lap searching for a way to go to school and keep my desk job.
Will I encounter more “slow” years? Absolutely. But I know as long as I keep pushing forward those slow years will be followed by the years when I don’t even realize I’m in a “good” year because it’s so full of joy.
“The body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and the soul is the target.” ~BKS Iyengar (1918 – 2014)
Change… Graduation has always meant major change for me. After graduating high school I took off for college. 10 years and lots of soul searching later I graduated from college and started a dream job working with children with a diagnosis of Autism. And now, facing graduation again I have to prepare for major change. I have to leave my beloved first job, the place that gave me a start, the place that reassured that special education is where I belong, the place where I love to walk into work every day and not only see the smiling faces of the children, but my amazing co-workers. This might be the hardest transition I have faced yet. But if yoga has taught me anything, it is that the hardest changes are usually the best ones. Stepping forward into the unknown can be thrilling.
Just like when I first started yoga, it was new, it was exciting, and I was scared to try new poses that challenged me. But I tried, I fell, I tried again, I fell again… but when I finally landed that pose it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. So in my new
job adventure I may fall and that’s okay. Because when I get it right I know I will be a better person for it. Our failures don’t make us who we are, but rather they mold us into the amazing beings that we are: our best Self.
A few things I would like to tell my 20-year-old self…
1. You are smart. That girl that didn’t care about school as a teenager just graduated with her masters with a 4.0. Never call yourself stupid. You are amazing.
2. Don’t fret about money. It can be a real issue for some, but think about the grand scheme of things. Being a millionaire is not of much importance.
3. Happiness is a state of mind that does not revolve around physical things (people, money, possessions).
4. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. The most amazing friendships are made there.
5. Don’t regret anything. Learn from your failures.
More change… Not only am I facing this major career change, but I am preparing to make the change from being a single girl living in a 1 bedroom apartment with a dog to being a wife (with two dogs). I am excited and scared all at the same time to take on these new roles in my life. It is important to me to be the best partner to my husband and the best teacher to the children that need it so much. I want to give everything I have to these two new roles in my life but as I think about it I can’t forget the relationship that I have built so strongly over the past 10 years… the relationship with me. I came to know myself through all of my soul-searching in my 20’s and I can’t forget or let go of that girl. I love that girl. So here’s the merging of me as one whole person and my husband-to-be as one whole person and I think the most important thing is that we don’t forget those people as we merge into one. We have to make time for our relationship with each other as well as with ourselves.
I ran into an old friend the other day while taking my dog for a walk. It turns out that she has lived on the same street as me for a year and we never crossed paths. As we were talking and catching up she talked about her life in New York City and how her career in theater made her feel the need to be perfect. She constantly watched what she ate and always felt pressure to have this ideal body image. Although she’s still passionate about theater she faded away from it and decided that she really needed to experience “the stuff of life.” I hugged her and went about my walk and those words stuck in my head… the stuff of life. Do I enjoy the stuff of life? Am I too hard on myself? Am I too strict on my diet? Is eating a cookie (or two) really that bad?
With my wedding 4 months away I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Do I want to look amazing and fit on my wedding day? Of course. Does it matter? Not really. We’re getting married because I love him and he loves me, not because I look hot in a white formal gown. True love goes beyond that. But here’s the hard part… Showing that amount of love to yourself. I have a major inner battle with this. I love myself. I am proud of what I have accomplished and what I stand for as a person. But do I love myself every time I look in a mirror? … That needs some work.
I think we all need to learn to enjoy the STUFF of LIFE. Eat healthy foods, fuel your body, love your body, love your Self. But at the same time, have fun, eat a cookie, laugh, play, and go out with friends. Have a few glasses of wine, treat yourself to dessert (you deserve it) and be happy.
I have decided that to prepare for my wedding I will not restrict my diet any further. I will eat the foods I like (thank goodness I love veggies!), stick to my organic/whole foods/no processed diet, and amp up my workout schedule to what it was before grad-school happened. So far I’m enjoying getting back to my workout routine and feeling better about being active every day.
Have fun. Enjoy the STUFF of LIFE.
I am a journalist… the kind that stays in my nightstand. Sometimes I think it’s just a way of talking to myself without sounding crazy. I’m also a blogger; but these two are very different. My journal is my thoughts that I do not broadcast for all to see, but my last entry I thought I might want to share since it correlates to yoga. Being a yoga-studying Christian in the South is often times an oxymoron and I’ve had my inner battles with it but I think I’m coming to a realization and I wanted to share.
Here’s a little pre-text on the entry… My boyfriend is Catholic, I am not. I was raised in the Baptist church but with very open-minded parents. When people hear I am Baptist they think, “Bible-belt Baptist.” But I am far from it. (Obviously, hence the yoga blog and the laughing Buddha on my nightstand). I do not currently belong to a church but I often go to Mass with my boyfriend and always enjoy the message. I guess since I do not go to church regularly, do daily devotionals, or even own an adult-version bible (my last bible is a “teen study bible” from when I was 14 that is tattooed with pictures and “autographs” from my friends at church camp), you could say I’m not a ‘practicing’ Christian.
Yesterday I went to church with D’s family and I really liked the message. The Bishop conducted the service and he really did have an air about him. The one thing from the reading that I really liked was a part about a woman who committed adultery and she was brought to Jesus. The men said, “This woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law says any woman who commits adultery is to be stoned. What should we do?” The men were trying to catch Jesus in an act of tyranny so he could be persecuted. Jesus simply said, “Let the one of you who has never sinned be the first to throw a stone at this woman” (I started nodding my head and felt like yelling out an “amen”). The men one by one walked away. When Jesus looked up and saw all the men gone he asked the woman where her captures had gone. When she said they had left he said to her, “Go freely and do not sin anymore.” I really loved this message. If Jesus did not even judge her for her actions what right do we have to judge our fellow humans? Then the Bishop went on to talk about death. He explained death as simply going behind a veil. Your body is only temporary, but your soul is eternal. The similarities between Jesus and Buddha’s teachings are uncanny to me.
The thing that turns me off about organized religion, particularly in the South, is not the religion itself. It’s the people, the congregation, the followers… In the South, Christians seem to think they are better than everyone else. They are right and you are wrong. Basically, their religion is better than yours. This is not what Jesus taught. Here is where I am conflicted: I fall into the Christian category, but I do not think my religion is any more superior than that of a Buddhist, or Jew, or anyone else. I am not a scholar on the Bible and cannot quote scripture but I am always amazed at the similarities between Jesus and Buddha. They both taught love, acceptance, kindness, and non-judgment. What else is there to know? I’m slowly becoming more at ease with my Christian upbringing colliding with my yoga teachings, simply because they are one in the same. I just have to get through the political fog that we humans put on the subject.