October 2008


Sometimes I check my blog stats to see what Google searches bring people to my site.  The number 1 is always Wild Rose D-Tox just-about-anything because anyone crazy enough to embark on such a thing is desperately looking for info.  It amazes me that the Wild Rose folks don’t offer more in the way of resources.  There are a few “customer testimonials” on the site, some that include questions that they don’t even answer. 

And it’s not like the kit’s not selling.  My friend said every health food store in Halifax was sold out when she went looking two weeks ago.  I guess if they can be so successful without working hard on things like customer support, then hey, have at it.

So folks gather on places like my site to ask “can I drink coffee?” (yes, black, 2 cups max), “can i take the icky tasting drops with juice?” (yup whatever it takes. I shoot ‘em with water in a shot glass and pretend it’s tequila) and “wow i just had the scariest bowel movement ever” (now *that’s* worth the price you paid eh?).  And I respond by email.   

On that note, I confess that I have not done my fall detox yet. I’ve just had too many food-related trips and events going on and prefer to have two solid (read: boring) weeks to focus on eating brown rice ’til I burst.  I have a family visit coming up which will entail much eating of homemade ravioli, so I’ll detox at the end of November.  Stay tuned ‘toxers, I have a couple new recipes to share.

Anyhoo let’s drag this post back onto the rails.  The second reason people trip over my blog is “yoga music”.  So I feel it’s my blogger duty to throw in an updated list of music I’ve been using lately.  Here it goes in no particular order or playlist:

  • Rain & Soul Food - Leela James – she has such an awesome voice
  • 6 Underground – Sneaker Pimps – fun and uplifting
  • American Dream – Jakatta – also fun and uplifting
  • I Still Feel Soul Food – Martina Topley-Bird - I Still Feel is one of those tunes that I’ve played for a whole driving trip, bass and volume turned up.  And it works for Sun Salutations too, how ’bout that.  And Soul Food is a sexy beast of a song.
  • Nightswimming & Wonderwall – Acoustic Love Songs – yes the collection of songs is as cheesy as the album title, but REM’s acoustic version of Nightswimming is good and Ryan Adam’s version of Wonderwall is better than the Oasis boys’ ever. 
  • In Your Atmosphere – John Mayer – his lyrics can slay me.  He manages to fit a whole wack of emotional complexity into a few simple lines “I don’t think I want to go to LA anymore…..I’d die if I saw you, die if I didn’t see you there” (sigh)
  • The Look of Love – Shelby Lynne – she’s so awesome
  • Fields of Gold – Eva Cassidy - sometimes the cover is simply better than the original you know?  I’d never heard of Eva Cassidy, but caught this on Pandora and fell in love.  Lines like “will you stay with me, will you be my love” stand out more for me than they ever did with Sting’s version.  I used this one for Savasana on Tuesday.  I think it worked :-)

 

 

 

A co-worker was deriding me for running in the rain and I explained to him that I’m from Vancouver, where, if you don’t run in the rain you don’t run regularly.  And the best thing about running in the rain in Halifax is that it means it’s too warm to snow. 

Not that running in the snow is bad.  It can be kind of romantic in a the-minute-I’m-back-inside-it’s-hot-bath-and-hot-chocolate kind of way.  But it is also slippery so I run on side streets in the tire tracks, which adds a whole other level of treachery with the potential hit-by-a-car thing.  But hey, ya’ gotta live on the edge right?

The run in the rain was awesome. I was in the park that’s on the water and there was no one around and a moody Massive Attack song was playing on my ipod and I felt great and was giving thanks for my Osteopath Dusan who seems to have fixed my knee.

All summer at about the 30 minute mark during a run my knee would start killing me.  And I would slow to a walk because I figured whatever it was would cripple me if I kept going. So I went to Dusan, the Osteo with the nice smile, who found that the mobility in my knee was lousy because all the tendons on the outside were way too tight.  Also, the muscle that runs up the inside of my knee to my thigh was twisted.  As well, there was roughening under my knee cap.  No wonder I was in pain.

So he addressed them all.  The tendon part was sore for three days afterwards but I told him he was allowed to hurt me as long as he fixed me and it appears he has, I haven’t had the knee pain since.

I was telling someone the other day that the very first organized run I did was the CFOX foxtrot.  Yes there’s a radio station in Vancouver named after me :-).  I didn’t tell them that it was the 80′s and I was wearing silver tights under my shorts - god what was I smoking?  But I did tell them that when I finished, I finished next to a 72 year old woman.  My time wasn’t all that bad and I decided I wanted to be that woman.  I want to be running 10k’s when I’m in my 70s.  Or just plain running.

But I’m clear that I’m not the greyhound of humans.  I’m not a natural runner, I just like doing it.  It’s going to take folks like Dusan lengthening my tendons, untwisting my muscles and unroughening my knee caps.  It’ll take regular yoga and ice packs.  Heck, it’ll probably require a wizard in a purple dress.  But I plan on being that fit little woman who ran well and had better fashion sense than I did.

My friends took me to Milk, this awesome ice cream etc. shop in Los Angeles.  I had the best hazelnut gelato ever.  It’s in a really wacky neighbourhood that offers great people watching.  It was like, watch the crowd of hipsters walk by and then watch the cluster of Hasidic Jews walk by.  My friend pointed out a guy who belongs to a certain sect of Orthodox jews who hang out in this neighbourhood.  She doesn’t know the name but she’s jewish, so she notices these things. 

The men in this sect where a fur hat that has a brim almost as wide in diameter as a sombrero, but it’s also 4 inches high.  So it’s like a big black fur disk on their head.  And then the clothes are the usual black and they also wear ivory-colored wooley knee socks with black shoes.  I cannot imagine how hot it would be wearing that walking down the street in the blinding daylight on a summer Sabbath day.  I would definitely convert to a less clothing restrictive religion, but I’m weak that way and they’re obviously not.

Anyhoo, we were sitting at the sidewalk tables and started chatting to the people at the next table who were eating a gingerbread cupcake and a wicked-looking chocolate sundae.  They said they go to Milk once a week but they don’t feel too guilty about it because they walk there.

She said, “actually once we get home from work we walk everywhere here.”  I said, “wow how nice to be able to do that.”  And she said, “I know, it’s like living in a REAL city!”

My friend said she felt calm the minute she walked into the Golden Bridge Spiritual Center, a Kundalini yoga center near Hollywood and Vine in LA.  The idea behind the center is that you might come for class but you might also stay for a meal, the vegan organic food smelled great and you eat at a long wooden table with everyone else.  Or you might shop for books, CDs, jewelry and clothes – they even had maternity yoga wear, what a great idea.

I’d gone to a session with Gurmuhk, the co-founder, at a yoga conference and really liked her. When she told us she’s in her 60′s I just about fell over, she looks easily 20 years younger.  I also read her maternity yoga book when I was pregnant which is over-the-top baby positive. But I’ll take “Bountiful Beautiful Blissful” any day over “All the Terrifying Things To Expect When You’re Expecting”.

The Golden Bridge building is cool. It felt organic. It’s like someone built it by stucco’ing together crushed leaves and dried fruit instead of pouring cement and putting up steel beams. The roof isn’t flat and somehow natural light flows in and the floor is covered in textured granite tiles. The yoga rooms aren’t rooms in the institutional sense, in fact when we climbed the stairs to our small class room, we looked down and saw that the whole back area is a yoga space where 50 people were sitting meditating.  We didn’t realize they were there.

They offer yoga classes in varying styles, but Kundalini is the main deal. Our class had 3 people in it and the only “standard” yoga pose we did was Down Dog for 3 minutes. The rest of the time was spent doing repetitive movement and breathing designed to build up the energy in the base of our spines and then move it up through our chakras.  It worked, I felt pretty energized by the end of class.

But the test for any yoga class I do is Savasana. If it’s been a good one then I vacate the premises during relaxation and during this class I didn’t just leave the building, I think I was visiting another planet.  I was just gone, it was great. 

Music is a big component of what they do, and it helps when you’ve been doing a movement for 3 minutes. They end every class with everyone singing along to a blessing song that starts “may the warm sun shine upon you”. It’s simply a feel-good place. And in a sprawling transient city like LA, it’s probably a mecca for people who are craving a bit of community with like-minded folks.

When we left our room, there were a dozen parents in the big yoga area at the back dancing their babies around the room to music. I had seen a Moms/Babies class on the schedule but I thought those classes were usually about women attempting yoga poses while their babies crawled under them or fussed to be fed. This looked a lot more fun for both.

My friend was sold and took advantage of the first visit discount and bought a 10 class package. The center isn’t real close to her house but she’s going to try to go on Saturdays.  The real success story here is that we managed to hold onto a good yoga buzz all the way to Malibu for fish tacos and back on surface streets in rush hour. Now that’s an accomplishment.

I’m visiting my long-time friend in LA and we’re driving back to her house from somewhere. She’s an expressive passionate woman with a South African accent. (Yes, you have to imagine how she sounds, that’s your job, young reader).

She says, “See that guy waiting for his dog to pee?”
“Yes”, I say
“He’s one of the creators of The Big Race”
Let’s just say my friend’s TV only shows the news and Bill Moyers interviews on PBS
“Amazing Race?” I ask.
“Yes! And you know what?”
“What?” I ask conspiratorially.
He TALKS TO HIS DOG IN BABY TALK”, she says with disgust.
But ever the friendly neighbour she slows down when she passes him so she can wave and say “Hellooooo!”

Thanks to my friend I don’t have to worry about getting an unrealistic view of The Business, I will only see the seething underbelly – people who talk baby talk to their dogs.

So I was going to made a big decadent purchase and then it didn’t come together so I found myself with money in the bank.  I thought, hmmmm what can I buy that will ease the disapointment of not getting this thing – a trip to Italy of course!  Honeybunny is not a big traveller, but the one destination we agree on is Italy. HB is part Italian but I’m convinced he’s mostly Italian between his ears.  Or is that his belly.

It seems wacky to be planning such a thing when International markets are plunging around us and the Canadian dollar is hitting the skids.  But hey, I figure maybe gelato won’t cost $14 in Florence and we’ll be welcomed with open arms even if they think we’re American (just kidding of course :-)).

When Honeybunny and I went last time we spent a week in a house on the border of Tuscany and Umbria, a 15 minute drive from the walled town of Cortona and we loved it.  It’s how we vacation.  He’s not a morning person so I would go solo to the market and shop like an Italian grandmother, squeezing the fresh tomatoes from the dude in the street.  Just buying stuff we needed for the day. 

Or we’d do a day trip and then come back and make a vat of pasta with something wacky like Wild Boar sausage in it and drink a $3 dollar bottle of Chianti on the porch overlooking the hill of vineyards and Lake Trasimeno.  The best part of travelling is the eating ain’t it?  Especially in Italy. 

So we’ve talked about doing the same kind of trip, except invite other people this time.  We didn’t have a small person, Angus, with us last time.  So grandparents or friends with kids will only provide more options. He’ll have someone to chase lizards through the underbrush with.  Possibly there will be built-in babysitters.  Also since my family lives across the country it’s a great way to see them and travel at the same time. 

So we’ve initiated a few invites.  Sadly the friends we cottage with in the summer who’s daughter is like an indulgent grandmother to Angus aren’t in.  He’s keen but she’s more like – if I’m going to spend the money and time I want to see half of Europe.  And she’s right, this kind of vacation is more a micro approach to travelling and people generally think macro. 

But I have to say, last time we were there we were meandering through the countryside and spied this little stone church down in a valley from a small village.  It was a tiny Romanesque chapel made of yellow-toned stone.  There was no one else there. The plaque said that Charlemagne had visited it back in the day.  The light poured in through the rounded peaked windows and there was latin lettering on the stones that made up the floor by the altar.  It was the most calm beautiful church I’ve ever visited. 

Sure, there are plenty of in-your-face gold-filled cathedrals in the cities loaded with tourists and cherubs ready to drop on you any minute.  But this little find in that valley was my favourite of the trip.  So micro is where I’m at.  I”ll happily wander through a town and look at the old men in the square, take pictures of old doorways and notice the plants growing out of the ancient walls and wonder why I don’t do that at home with my ugly wall so that it too can look like it’s been there since the 13th century. There will just have to be other trips to discover the rest of Europe.

So I’ve realized that the challenge of this whole venture is that we can’t control who will say yes.  If anyone does.  We’ve invited two parties on both HB’s family side and mine.  HB who can be given to bouts of crankiness (we must be empathetic, I hear it can be terminal) said, “I don’t want to spend both weeks with just with your family *or* mine!”  (Sigh) and I hear that.  But we don’t get to control it.  When one party says yes we withdraw the offer from the other?  I don’t think so.  It’ll all come together, I just know it.

And maybe no one will come hang with us and we’ll eat the cost of the house we’re renting.  But that’s ok.  I’m taking this as yet another opportunity to learn to let go.  Regardless of who’s there, I’ll be pouring the $3 Chianti and squeezing fresh tomatoes at the market.

 

I was thinking about connection some more after the last post.  I ran across this quote in The Woman Who Loved Airports.  Here’s a paraphrase:

They went back to her hotel room.  They didn’t have sex.  They talked until dawn.  They’ve recognized themselves in each other. 

I love that last bit.  Isn’t that so true?  The connection you feel with another person is about seeing yourself reflected in them.  Oh my god they so *get* me.   What a great feeling that is.

They say even when you fall for someone who’s dissimiliar it’s because maybe you haven’t let those same parts of your own personality come out and play enough.  So it attracts you in someone else. 

Which brings us to another quote.  And yes, Abraham is what’s called a non-physical entity.  Don’t get all messed up about that – just think of how much wiser you’d be if you didn’t have to spend your energy thinking about what to wear or what to have for lunch.

If we were standing in your physical shoes, that would be our dominant quest: Entertaining Yourself, pleasing Yourself, connecting with Yourself, being Yourself, enjoying Yourself, loving Yourself. Some say, “Well, Abraham you teach selfishness. And we say, yes we do, yes we do, yes we do, because unless you are selfish enough to reach for that connection, you don’t have anything to give anyone, anyway. And when you are selfish enough to make that connection — you have an enormous gift that you give everywhere you are. 

Abraham

 

I was talking to a friend who feels like there’s something missing in her life because she’s not in a relationship and would like to be.  It’s harder for her too because she comes from a traditional family and at 34, all of her generation are hooked up and married off and makin’ babies.  She feels like she’s causing her parents to worry.  Of course I look at her and think, heck, you could be lying on the floor with a needle in your arm but instead you’re gainfully employed, have lots of friends and own your own home.  But I’m not her parents.

She said sometimes she hates coming home to a quiet house at the end of the day.  She was tellng this to a friend who has 2 children under 2 and the friend said, “What I wouldn’t give to come home to a quiet house at the end of the day!”  But the grass is always greener right?  It’s the ‘looking to fill the holes’, or the things that look like holes that make us human.  Otherwise we’d be sitting all day on the couch drooling into an empty potato chip bag.

Then my friend said, “but I know that to be happy I just need to realize it’s already inside me.  My happiness isn’t tied to external stuff like being in a relationship.”  Wow, the guru speaks.

I was thinking about this idea of what’s outside vs. inside. I’ve been reading Mark Epstein’s “Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart” and he talks about emptiness and connectedness.  He says that when we feel connected to someone, we believe it’s all them, but really that feeling of connectedness is inside of us.  The person or the interaction with that person has just happened to bring it out.  But the challenging thing is that it won’t be consistent, the connectedness comes and goes like everything else in life.  We could see the person again next week and have a conversation with lots of uncomfortable silent spots and not feel the same way at all.

The relationship I feel this one the most is with my son.  This a.m. I was doing some sitting and breathing in my big comfy chair and Angus woke up early and came and snuggled in my lap under a blanket.  He’s not a super-snuggly kid so these times are pretty special and I felt *so* connected with him.  Me rubbing his back and watching the sun come up.  Him curled up and feeling cozy.

But I tell ya’, there are other times when he’s driving me nutty crackers that I don’t feel connected with him at all.  More like, I’m composing an ad for Kijiji in my head - “Quick sale, crazy-ass 4 year old, make me an offer”.   The connectedness just comes and goes.

And that happens with the other side of the perverbial coin that Epstein talks about – emptiness.  I get wicked Sunday blahs sometimes.  I’ll be minding my own business and then notice that this dark pall of blah, bluck, myeh, has come over me.  And it doesn’t seem to be connected to anything in particular like – boy I sure don’t feel like going to work tomorrow.  It’s just *there*.

So I first reflexively go into resist mode and wonder what about my environment or relationships with the people around me are So Seriously Lacking to cause me to feel this way?  But of course it’s not that, it’s just the emptiness that’s always inside.  The emptiness has felt like today is the day it’s going to enjoy it’s moment in the sun, or actually the dark pall.

And because I’m not experiencing the Sunday blahs right now I can be philosophical and know that if I didn’t know the emptiness of the blahs, I wouldn’t know the total juiciness of feeling connected.  I know that it’s only in knowing one that I can appreciate the other.  But that’s usually more than I can manage on Sunday blah day. 

On a Sunday blah day the best I can do is be aware.  That it’s time to pop on some Leonard Cohen or Lucinda Williams.  Pretend I’m an extra in a film noir.  Relax into being Existential Corilee who believes that life is emptiness, fear and dread and there’s no god.  And also believe that by tomorrow a.m. I’ll probably feel different.  Life will again be in color and the emptiness will tuck itself away until the next time.

So my job is sucking these days.  Not the teaching better-living-through-yoga job, but the other one, the one that pays the mortgage.  But it’s funny lately because I’ve been noticing all these wacky examples of what people deal with on their jobs.  On some days it’s helped give me a better perspective.  Here are a few.

I was having lunch with some friends and we went around the table – one woman had a disagreement with her boss last spring and he hasn’t talked to her since.  She just does her own thing, talks to her ex-boss once in a while for direction and just hopes to god that current boss isn’t going to attempt a performance review because he’ll have to completely manufacture it.  What a wacky situation, that would seriously bug me.

Another woman is funky nose-ring type of marketing person marketing the most bone-chillingly boring product in the world.  She can barely even describe what it is to someone without a engineering pinky ring.  But she’s happy because she doesn’t have to go into the office much.  She can work at home, or really anywhere in the world.  So she really likes it.  That surprises me, but I guess it depends what you want out of a job.

Then I caught the last episode of Season 4 of The Wire (don’t worry no spoilers).  And a character we know and love is in talking to the porn-reading Sargeant Landsman in homicide, and the character barfs all over him.  First thing in the a.m..  In the next scene Sarge is in the bathroom paper towelling chunks off his shirt and Christmas tie.  I’m thinking, wow, at least don’t have to deal with *that* at work.  I’d look awful in a Christmas tie.

And here’s the winner.  A friend drops me an email earlier this week.  She works in the public sector and manages a finance team.  Someone on her team has charged her with harassment.  This is the second time in a year.  Can you imagine?  I guess it’s a thing, when employees are stressed and can’t handle their job they first go on stress leave and when their time is up they file a harassment charge.   And something scribbled on a cocktail napkin is enough to constitute a charge and my friend gets to feel like the local leper in the office because she’s guilty until proven innocent.

It gets better.  The person used to be my friend’s friend, she got her the job.  Then when the person went on stress leave my friend wasn’t able to rehire because the position is in limbo until they know if they’re coming back, so she’s been doing her job all this time in addition to her own.  And now gets to deal with this too.  Lucky my friend’s a tough cookie.  That one makes me shake my head in amazement. 

It also gives me renewed perspective – no one is spewing chunks at me or charging me with harassment, so guess it hasn’t been such a bad day after all.