Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 totally awesome things about yoga

Ahh, no. This is not me.
If you know me, you know I yoga.  I’ve been doing it in some capacity for about 12 years, and have just upped my dedication to 4 times a week. Yowser! It’s not everyone’s cup of chai, so I don’t like to harp on, but given it’s such a massive part of my life, it would be amiss not to blog about it at least once. So now I’m going to torture you with the 5 things I love about yoga, and then I’ll shut up about it.  Promise. 

1.     YOU CAN ARM WRESTLE BLOKES – I’m a small chick.  Some of the 5th graders at my kids’ school are taller than me, and I could probably wear their clothes and shoes.  But I’m tough!  I can arm-wrestle grown men and if I don’t win, I put up a bloody good fight.  I can hold my own body weight in a manner of positions and do push-ups without having to go the lady version.  If things need to be lifted, moved or carried, I can do it, which is handy when you have two kids and the travelling caravan of crap that goes with them. I may be a pygmy person, but I’m a strong one. 

2.     IT’S A ONE-HOUR ISLAND RETREAT – Life’s bloody busy.  And sometimes hard and stressful and tiring.  Even when it’s none of those things, it’s still noisy.  Some people go on holidays to escape, and while I wouldn’t knock back a trip to Bali, an hour on my mat is almost the same. It’s pretty much the only time I’m quiet (like, ever!).  Not only am I quiet, I’m not focusing on my silly self and all that junk that goes with me. I just go with the flow, switch off, zone out and let time pass. It’s my daily peace and the closest to relaxed I am. Ever.

3.     YOU FINALLY ACCEPT YOUR BODY – Pre-kids I was like most women, constantly worried what my body looked like.  After carrying those kids, shooting, well, sort of having them tugged out, feeding them and watching them grow, I’m more amazed by what bodies do than what they look like. Lots of running and stacks of yoga later, I’m more amazed by this than ever. I can’t lie and pretend I don’t care at all about my body, but instead of bitching and sulking about the bits I don’t like, I'm more interested in how it’s working, what it can do and how it feels. This makes me happy. 

4.     IT’S OUT-OF-YOUR-COMFORT-ZONE EMPOWERING – Every class is different, and every practice is a path. Sometimes you’re just there, going through the motions, sometimes you’re off with the fairies or having a rest, but sometimes, you challenge yourself so hard that by the time you finish, you feel like you’ve conquered Mt Everest. Not that I have, but I imagine this is how it feels. You try things you wouldn’t normally try and push to do things that seem impossible and when it hurts and you want to stop, you just hang out and breathe until you realise you're doing it. You turn yourself into a pretzel and suddenly feel like you can do anything you want to. And then in the real world, you try to.  

5.     YOU FEEL ALL WARM AND FUZZY - At my yoga, just about everyone has a tattoo.  There’s lots of young, fit, type A personalities with dragons on their legs, lotus flowers on their backs and lovers’ names on their wrists and ankles. While I’m probably older than the average devotee and sport no body art other than shopping reminders on my hands or texta from the kids’ drawings, I still feel a lovely sense of belonging when I walk into the studio.  We’re all there for the same thing and have some connection to each other, if for no other reason than we continue to show up and do something we love together. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, without using butterscotch schnapps.

So there it is - my yoga rant.  I promise not to go on about it again, but F#@* I love it!  I need a bumper sticker that says ‘Yoga makes me happy.’  You think I could make a million bucks selling them? Maybe I’ll try.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

5 things I wish I could ...

I don’t like the C word.  I try not to use it and I strongly discourage my kids from using it. I’m a yes-person, a can-doer.  The C word, ‘Can’t’ just doesn’t cut it - there simply must, must be a way!  Lately though, I’m starting to choke on my C’s. I may soon have to admit there are some things that no matter how I try, I just…well, you know. Not the way I want to anyway.  Everyone has their thing. These definitely aren’t mine. 

I really, really wish I could…   

1.     COOK LIKE MY MOTHER – We recently had international guests, and in the space of a week, my mother and I each hosted them for dinner.  I did my best trying-to-entertain-mass-numbers spread; three varieties of entree, a roast beef main, green salad and baked potatoes that once again failed to cook through. The dessert from the patissiere was the dish of the night. 3 days later at mum’s, we were treated to prawn linguine, eggplant parmegiana, rolled and stuffed pork belly, 2 varieties of salad and a plate of perfectly steamed greens. We ate in silence except for snorting sounds from people whose mouths were too full to breathe, and intermittent requests for seconds. Then the homemade tiramisu came out.  Mum blows me out of the water.  She’s amazing! Cooking is totally her thing. Mum CAN.  I c…ook.  Just not like her.

2.     MEDITATE – After 40 Days of Personal Revolution (hence my hiatus from this blog) I still couldn’t manage to be still without thinking, fidgeting, wondering what to cook for dinner, listing my chores for the next two hours, scheduling the kids activities for the next two days and wondering why my boobs hang out of sports bras more than the other ladies’ at yoga. Why?  Why can’t I shut up, even when I put aside time to do so? Is it because I’m fascinating with extremely important stuff to say about all the big issues? I don’t think so.  For meditation, I c… am continuing to try.  You may hear more about it some day, unless I actually master it, because then I’ll be too zen to write a narcissistic blog like this. 

3.     HAVE SOME QUIRKY, ECLECTIC COOL – Do you sometimes go to people’s homes and think wow – awesome chair.  Cool rug.  Great picture.  Each ‘piece’ has been carefully selected, has a meaning or experience attached to it and tells a little story about its owner. There’s nothing from Freedom, Target, and definitely not K-Mart, and nothing bought as a set. They are the pieces of the quirky and eclectic owners life and have just been thrown together for a fabulous look of fabulousness. And uniqueness.  And individuality.  Some people do it with clothes too.  They just know what goes, and more specifically what says ‘this is who I am.’ I love those people. Sadly, I’m not one of them.  

4.     SAY NO – I’m getting better at this but it’s still an almost daily dilemma.  People invite me to things - a quick cuppa, a long dinner, a play at the park, a tupperware party, baby shower, bridal shower, personal shower, whatever, I’m invited, and I always feel compelled to go. Yes, yes, yes!  Yes I’ll come, even if it means leaving one place early, eating lunch in the car, making 3 phone calls at the wheel, dropping the dog off in between and turning up in my sweaty gym gear because I had no time to change. Sure, I’ll be there. The problem is I often end up double, sometimes triple booked, can’t relax at any one thing, feel overwhelmed, forget stuff and wind up buggered at the end of the day. It' a double-dilemma because not only do I have to master saying ‘no’ I also have to say the C word.  “Thank you, but no.  I can’t make it to your party.”  Copy/Paste, send.

5.     KEEP MY COOL WITH THE KIDS – Staying calm in the face of stupidity, defiance, frustration, revolt, manipulation, complete ignorance and frequent bouts of hysteria is a real challenge.  Weeks go by, and I’m patient, capable and reasonable, but sometimes I go from semi-comatose to breathing fire within a half hour of waking because sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just CAN’T keep my cool with the kids!

Insightful endnotes…
I love saying I can. Doing and achieving is empowering. Trying and failing is enlightening. Can’t sucks. Of course you can. But it might not be perect. Or pretty.
And FYI, when I make calls at the wheel, I have a hands-free car kit.
Just so you know.