filing jointly

We had our meeting the other day with the accountant for 2008 taxes. I was thinking on the trip there what a couples counseling / psych job this guy must have. My partner and I were already sparring that morning heading out. I started to ball myself and cinch in to protect myself from the utter disappointment of looking at my total years salary and confronting the amount of money I would owe and not have.

The meeting went amazingly well. Our accountant worked his magic – speaking about himself, surname only, in the third person and referring to Uncle Sam often – “Moles says you pay this but Uncle Sam says you pay this and then whadya do?” He figured out low payments for both of us and we left pleased.

I received a session the other day. My money issues came up again. Issues is not even the right choice of wording. It’s a wire corset that I wear, entwined on me, shackled into this belief system that so entangles I can’t see my way out of the braces. There were no resolutions in my session. I was frustrated. I am crawling. I was saying unkind things. I was letting go of ideas and principles. I don’t respect rich people. I think people who save money are afraid of death. I am not good at hanging onto money. I live close to the cloth. I don’t consume a lot but I also can’t have a lot of money around. Paradoxes, unconnected thoughts. Fragments. Spew. A bile of ideas on money and my worth, as an earner was comin from me. I couldn’t make sense of it and I can make sense of everything. I have serious complexities about wealth and worth and consuming. Did I become a non-consumer b.c. my family consumes food and drink and things so well? Am I a non-consumer simply b.c. I am afraid of my lack of self-control about food and drink and things? Do I want to keep up with the Joneses? Do I envy? Am I afraid of the clamor I have for nice things? I like a full pantry. A heavy meal makes a hearty home.

At integration, I sat up from my forward fold. I sobbed. I had a glimpse, an image of my partner and I standing in our healthy, happy home. He standing tall as provider; me standing beside him as equal provider. I cried b.c. I almost believe this. I believe it in session with deep breaths and peace around me. I believe we both bring so much to a mutual love. I wanted to appreciate him for his monetary providing and hard work. I wanted to appreciate me for the love and cleanliness and comfort I gather to our home. In that moment, I could forget my strife of low-earner, career derailed misfit of emotional strife.


Flat on My Mat, Part II

Image from Chicago Yoga Center’s website, by Nancy Van Kanegan

Much thanks to Dale for the encouragement. I got back on the mat this morning, and after doing a 15 minutes of a 20-minute heart-opening sequence, I stood up, put on some tea and got in the shower.

After doing an intense camel pose, I felt my heart racing and my face heating up. It felt like panic and I jumped out of it as fast as I could. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself a little bit. I have no idea what I am so scared of, or what this is all bringing up. But now I’m kind of curious to discover it. So I vacilate between wanting to dive in to all the drama and messiness, and wanting desperately to avoid the whole process. Right now, I’m somewhere in between. One part of me wants to leave work right now and get myself on that mat just to see what will happen. Another part just wants to go home and zone out in front of the television. Maybe I can fit in both of those things tonight…

Flat on My Mat

To be perfectly honest, last month’s yoga weekend knocked me for a loop. Something happened during our meditation practice and I felt a huge opening, and then a cave in. It was a really bittersweet, brokenness and compassion that I haven’t figured out yet.

Instead of going deeper into that moment, into that emotion, I’ve been avoiding it. Since then, I’ve been feeling soft, quiet and unsure.

During this morning’s practice I had the intention of opening my heart, towards our country and our new President and his family in particular. But when I attempted to turn that compassion and confidence inward, or just bring it closer to home, I froze. My mind went somewhere else completely, and I abandoned the mat for chores and to-do lists.

Even as I write this, I feel guilty – as if I’ve failed myself or my commitment to the practice. Part of me knows this is all part of the practice, even the aversion. It’s a much less comfortable place to be than that vibrational bliss that sometimes comes with practice. But that’s part of it too, I suppose.

I think all I can expect from myself is to keep on coming back to the practice – even if I only stay on the mat for 20 minutes at a time. Right? At least, that’s what I would tell someone else if they were going through something similar. I’d say: They call it a practice for a reason.

Résumé to live

I’ve always wanted to get paid for living.
What do you do for a living? I live.

I never wanted to be a kept woman. I have a steadfast work ethic and cannot seem to get away from the exchange of will work / pay me. Sometimes I consider being ‘a Real Housewife of..’ but I don’t find much satisfaction in it. Though I will contend that being semi-employed as I am now has helped me understand how you could run a home and care for child(ren) – and make a full life of it. Trust funds have never enticed me either – though I have never been offered any. If there is no threat or risk in not paying rent, would you still seek? What would be the hitch? The catch? The thrill of hitting submit on your online bill pay?!?

But I would once like to get a call – “L, we really need you to go to Faro and write about it from the perspective of a cinematographer / yoga teacher / student of life. We’d really love to get your perspective on this in 1000 words or less. Can you be there on Friday?”

Cover letter ideas for job app “To Live”
Willing to smile at and greet all children, seniors, men, women, bikers and walkers along the sidewalks / streets / lake.

Able to stop, sit on beach and touch the water – to smell my hand and hope that this fresh water lake would somehow, just for today, smell like the salt ocean back home.

Capable to share all that transpires as witty commentary in blog, non-fiction novella, or entertaining, somewhat romanticized inebriated conversation.


Yoga Morning Noon & Night

I quit my job. I look for new ones. I don’t want any of these jobs.

I take Tuesday to enjoy a Gentle class taught by my mentor, my yoga-momma, R. Lunch follows.

R tells me she is moving to the Southwest. She is taken with the weather and the closeness to her family. There is a grand holistic center opening that wants her to be an integral part.

R believes I am a strong teacher. R wants to bequeath me her 7 group classes. They are mid-day; they are for beginners, gentles, and fundamentals; they are a dreamy offer. How could I refuse?

How can I make living in the other time I have and satiate the ‘producer’ in me?

CrgsLst carries a post that a local studio-close to my home-needs a part-time Studio Manager. Yet another dreamy offer. How could I refuse?

With a supportive, generous partner shouting candy heart exclamations for me, I send my resume on to the studio. I’ve made it through the first round-awaiting the interview.

More to come on the trek to yoga morning noon and night.


frank black asked “where is my mind?”

a four day vipassana meditation retreat.

days consisted of forty-five minutes sitting, followed by forty-five minutes of walking meditation. we were asked to refrain from acknowledging anyone we passed, keeping our energies for the intense mediation. my energy sank. in a clearing clean sense i was sinking. my thoughts were narrowing to mind and body while expanding to an awareness of my self i had never felt without drugs. so i sat. and i walked. and i sat. i sat with pain. i sat with a full belly. i sat with exhaustion and nausea.

when my adrenaline glands pained and fight or flight kicked in, my mind went to two ‘safe’ places, the psychocandy i needed when escape begged from the insight i was gaining. i would side step to amorous thoughts, not the tawdry daydreams of a boring work day, but thoughts of simple hugs, embrace, physically expressing love to almost every person in my circle of family and friends. and then i would pull back, that moment of awareness that you have drifted, and you return to the dullness of your mind. and when not expressing my cravings for touch, my mind would sing the lyrics “where is my mind?”, which competed with the church bell tower that rang-in the fifteen minute increments of our day. it echoed instruction from our moderator. it was also a lyric i had learned in high school but only utilized now. “where is my mind?”

i began to cry. daily. with the dharma talks and the shared readings, i would tear. not with sadness or fear or happiness. i smiled gently and tears fell from my eyes. and i was unafraid. everything was simply…simply beautiful? no. things were simply. and the meditation began to work my brain as illicit drugs (the good ones) and the anti-depressants will, making it impossible for me to have negative thoughts. impossible. those trigger points had faded and i cried because i simply was. by the final seating i was ready to go home convinced that nothing truly remarkable had happened.

we sat. for our final mediation guided by the sound tibetan bowls being played. and so it began. the grandiose insight of beatles songs and vermont dwellers and of course the enlightened monks of lore. at this lowest point of my energy and the height of my awareness, i become aware of my lungs. in a way i have never recognized. i feel the capacity of them, i feel the temperature inside and outside of them. i feel the moist sheath of the outside of this organ sliding against the inside of my ribs. i am so aware of this gentle rhythmic movement that i begin to expand from my chest and feel lightness in my seat. i feel my body lifting and expanding. tears fall from my eyes and my lips begin to quiver. i wonder if this is orgasmic. it is in the sense that you ride, float, trying to sink into and escape this feeling simultaneously. i weep. at the portal i have created into the mind body connection.

afterward, i am spaced. i take my friend’s arm and whisper, “something happened”. finally i understand the vacancy you see in the ‘crunchy’ people. the reality that addicts can supplement their lives with meditation and yoga instead of substances.

after a daunting highway traverse home. i take a steam shower. the sweat escapes my pores stinging like stigmata. i could feel every exit of sweat. and i moved slowly. at the grocery store, i ladled the soup for minutes, swirling lentils and beans fascinated. at home with my ‘grounding’ foods, i sank in the couch and cried for myself. cried for the most acute awareness that i finally understood why you want a partner to walk with you in this life. why you want someone to understand that you will do things that are daunting, and maybe not understand why or how, but understand that they need to do anything they can for you because when you make yourself so vulnerable, the touch of another can be the salve you need.

may i be free from all suffering

Monika is a kindly German woman that attends the Tuesday class at my studio. Today she returned for the class I had covered last week and I was happy to see a familiar face.

Me: “Monika, how are you feeling today?”
Monika: “Good, and how are you?”
Me: “Good. Good.”
Monika: “Of course you are good. You are a yoga teacher.”

And I laughed, mocking myself. We suffer. As teachers, as students, as budding Buddhists. Although I clearly see the suffering that those padding themselves with food, media, drink, drugs, false love, are bearing, I feel that as we deepen our practice, we become more sensitive, more raw, layers and layers are peeled away…there is always an extended answer when someone asks a yogi, “How do you feel?”. And so for Monika to sum up that I must feel good seemed placated. But I wanted to believe her. I truly did.


parallels of my life becoming the perpendiculars

well i was about to have a saturday evening at home, resembling the friday night i had at home but now i am showered, towel on head, and outfit thoughts skittering across the mind.

i have to teach at 10am. here are the parallels of my life becoming the perpendiculars. went to 3 grocery stores. yes three. looking for the cereal on sale, the prize avocado and the cruelty-free detergent. and home to make a ‘fun’ veg taco dinner for one and glasses of wine times two. watching dvr recordings of self help programs and frontline (like homework, i dread to review it but feel infused afterward).

and now my friend, who had briefly met the friend of the guy i dated for a week, rings me to say “he called! he called! he called!”, and now accessory to the crime, i am sorting accessories on my bed to go with the jeans/bar/i don’t want you anymore because you are dating someone else outfit. so at approximately 11pm i am heading out to unknown destination to be the wing-woman to a friend who has a boyfriend who wants to sleep with this silly boy who shares a name with a cigarette and an 80’s sitcom. and i am driving. so as not to be drinking. so as to be the ‘present’ pleasant attentive yoga teacher i have been all week. can i do it after a night out? will i stick to my 1am curfew, to get 7 hours of sleep, to wake up 2 hours before the class and eat. can you sleep walk through teaching a yoga class? would you want to? can i sip ginger-ales tonight as i did in the two straightedge years i spent during a quarter life crisis?

but i want it all. i want to dance (adam goldberg, backseat, dazed and confused). i want to drink. i want to toss the long hair i don’t have. sleep next to the boy and awake with glow, and sweep out of the apartment and fly to the town far away. i want to show up tomorrow morning and put enormous smiles on the faces of the students as i have all week. i want to press a palm to their forehead and bless them into a restful sleep at the end of a practice that they deserve, awash them with love they may not have for themselves, i want to lay it over them like mexican blankets. i want it all. but i can’t. so you pick and chose. you do, don’t you? but why does it seem there are perpetually this or that’s? there is a ballgame and an open bar the night before the 4 day silent meditation retreat. there is a 4:30pm sunday sangha when you were raised watching football saturday through monday (even if it is going to espn) and beers start at noon.

i turn to bikram when i need to exorcise the party life. i’m that girl. i only lived in LA for 5 months but yes, i too will turn to bikram to detox and sweat off alcohol. i’ve heard it balked, both the yoga style and the party style. but it’s what i do. i also take steam baths on sundays imagining that sin is seeping out of pores. i separate the days from the nights, the postures from the potions. every morning i’ve got a new chance.


tornado watch

there is a tornado watch. and i am watching the rain. i have been writing for an hour and finally it makes me drop my pen. the rain is beating my patio and turning it to white with it’s spray.

i have been awake wracked in panic. grinding molars. tossing pillows. twisting hair needlessly around one finger. and then the other. eventually rousing myself from the sleepless bed to sit in the front room lounge chair and watch the storm. but I can’t simply watch. i have danced in the rain. i have, dare i say it, made love in the rain. so i lend it to backdrop. i am scribbling blindly in the dark. smelling the lead waft from the mechanical pencil. and thinking how hardened I am. i can’t even enjoy a good storm. so I scribble and my brow begins to unfrurrow (if that is possible, if that is a word). after six pages I pause. the rain is really coming down, as they say. it beats the brick of my shelter. it washes the patio. and it pours. i pass by the familiar thoughts of watering the earth, washing away your sins, baptisms. but this is not a ritual. this is not an hallmark moment. it’s just a feeling.

and there’s no denying it. my chest caves and i feel that sink of corpse into the old black leather lounger. i want the lightning to bleat. i want the rain to beat the porch. i want the earth to press against my bac. i want the weight of the lead apron in the dentist’s chair during xrays. i want a lover to pin me to the mattress. i want to be told what to do. i want instruction. i want consequences like storms. i want to imbibe too much and my heart to beat too quickly the next morn, telling me the havoc of a cheap date and a denial of “what is good for me”. i want to rebuild from the damage i reap, be it bruises or kidneys or egos.

i just want someone
to tell me
to do.