Saturday, August 31, 2013

September Satya and Santosha

 Ah, a new month.

What is there to say?

Go back to my archives, the beginning of each and every new month for the last million and a half, and you know what I'm thinking. New. Shiny. Fresh. Starting over.

But I'm trying to curtail this train of thought. I am.

This is no rebirth. This is not a new journey, or even a restart. This isn't a chance to be perfect, alterna-Taylor. It's just me, living my life, trying to do the best that I can, where I am, every day.

There is no starting point to write down, something I'll look back on as my point of failure, where I had to retread the same old path. This is not about the number on the scale, there is not a goal, a plan, a strategy to tear pounds off my body bit by bit. There are just choices, and habits, and health, and wellness. Happiness.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, nothing inside will have changed, no switch will flip as I've been hoping and waiting for. I can't expect some magic to take over and make me suddenly a better person. There is no better. I am just fine the way I am. In all my struggles, in all my setbacks and stumbles, I still remain as whole and complete as ever. To use a quote from a book I'm reading called "Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic" by Darren Main, Paramahansa Yogananda said, "Is a diamond less valuable because it is covered with mud? God sees the changeless beauty of our souls; he knows we are not our mistakes." (God is the Spirit here, that's a deeper topic I can't even begin to cover. Y'all know I'm not gonna start preaching religion here.)

I am not my mistakes.

And I can move past them.

But, as

You know me. You know I like goals, and striving for things. Perfection. Achievements. It's a funny part of my nature that I can't seem to shake, considering I've never really achieved anything in my life. I always make these lists of goals, never reach them, beat myself up for failure. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I'm going to try to channel this particular energy of mine into my greater good, not the superficial good I've always strived for.

As I mentioned when I was studying for my yoga test, there are ten yamas and niyamas, or practices that can help you live a more peaceful, content and complete life. I figure with my focus on my yoga practice, why not focus my goal-drive on something like these principles, and see if I can't incorporate them into my existence, behaviors, and thoughts. If I do, I do. If I don't...okay? What's to measure? What's to say I didn't try? All I can do is be mindful, and conscious of two things about myself.

I can apply this mindful, conscious attitude to my food and yoga practice, too...but more on that later.

For September, I picked the yama of satya, or truthfulness, and the niyama of santosha, or contentment. Why? Well, yes, because they both start with S, but more than that, because they both really spoke to where I am right now.

I picked satya because something I've learned about myself as I've been more and more introspective lately in therapy and on my own is that I have a tendency to, well, lie. A little to a lot. Not big lies, not lies about things that truly matter, but little white ones that make things a little easier. For myself, yes, and also what I think will be easier for the other person. What I ate for dinner. If I already did something at work, when I'm just about to get to it. What I think someone wants to hear, even if I don't agree. A little story fudging to make myself sound better.

So, SATYA. Truthfulness. I must be mindful of these little white lies I tell.

The niyama I chose I think is going to give me peace when I feel stressed and anxious. Santosha is the idea of feeling content even when your surroundings aren't necessarily bringing you any sort of happiness or peace. From the same book, the quote that struck me was, "It is the very belief that contentment is the prize for winning the scavenger hunt of life that prevents us from being content." I have the hope that searching for some sort of inner...balance, or what have you, when I start to feel off center, will guide me towards a more contented life and thus better decisions for myself.

I mean, I can just imagine my inner Maria.

I got on a train yesterday morning just before 7 am, and I got off the plane this morning just before 7 am. In between, I took a number of naps, but haven't really gone to bed yet. I'm heading there soon, and when I wake up I'm not wishing for a full on recharge like usual. I don't have grand schemes and lists and plots.

But I will be mindful of being honest with others, and with myself. I will try find contentment in every decision and situation.

And I will be mindful.

And I'm going to yoga.

More Montana Magic

A Border Patrol Story

As mentioned in my list of things I learned up north, there be some assholes working at border control.

See, my darling friend Mantana and I made great time on our drive to Vancouver, until we got to the epically long line to get through border control from Washington to Canada. At this point we'd been in the car over ten hours, and we started to get delirious with impatience, and then rage as people started trying to cut in front of us.

We screamed obscenities out our open windows, to the amusement of other drivers nearby.

We started cracking incredibly inappropriate jokes.

Mantana decided the honk of a nearby ferry horn was "boat for 'fuck you!'".

We finally got to the point where we picked a line for the different terminals, and somehow, our line was the longest one. It crawled. And inched. Cars passed us by. We were starving and aching and desperate to drink the champagne we bought to celebrate Mantana's birthday. We couldn't stop laughing and whining at the same time.

We became convinced the geese were laughing at us.

The line, it crawled.

We finally made it to the front, and discovered quickly why our line was the slowest, why everyone had to sit so long at the booth before being waved on through.

Our officer was a DICK.

The second he learned Mantana was from Montana, he asked if she owned a gun. Yes. Was it in the car? No. Oh, but he insisted it was, and insisted so for at least five minutes, threatened her with federal prosecution at least twice if not three times, clearly getting off on the little bit of power he wielded.

"I'm an attorney, I know the laws," she insisted.

"DO YOU?!"

"You can search my car," she offered.

"Oh, I KNOW I CAN." He shot back.

This went on forever, he interrogated us about how we met (about which I swiftly lied, although I would have loved his reaction to "on a Weight Watchers message board"), he kept returning to "if you tell me now where the gun is,  you won't be in trouble."

He finally let us go.

And didn't even ask about the crack we were carrying.


Alaska Adventures, Part Two

Juneau, AK

Skagway, AK

Hubbard Glacier

Goodbye, Radiance!

6:30 AM

Anchorage, AK

Two Scenes From A Boat

(The second night of the cruise was formal night, and I got all done up in a new dress and a pair of heels I've only worn once before. Heels that, perhaps, are a half a size too small. Annoyed with the two long hallways that separate us from our parents one floor directly above us, my tipsy sister and my equally so self sneak down the non-carpeted, metal-edged employee stairs. 

I immediately trip and slide down the half a flight on one shin, then pop back up immediately.)

Me: I'm good!

(Run down the hall to my parents room and knock on the door to find my dad.)

Me: Things you shouldn't do! Be a criminal, drunk, use the employee stairs, and fall down. (sticks out leg and shows off bloody, already bruising shin.)

(Funny, that door was closed the rest of the trip...think someone saw me on the security cameras?)

(Almost every, I'm going to go ahead and go with every night on the boat, my family of four congregated in the Champagne Bar in the Centrum of our Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Radiance, to drink. And play cards. And drink. And gaze at the beautiful mountains passing by, and laugh, and wait for our dinner time. 99% of the time, we had the same awesome Eastern European waiter, Adam. After a few nights on the trip he warms up to us and begins to joke and laugh with us, and this is one of the last nights of the cruise. 

To set the scene, my parents and I are lounging on the couches and chairs near the bar. My sister gets up to order drinks for her and me.)

K: Can I get two extra dirty martinis, with extra olives?

Adam: Two extra dirty martinis, yes. Can I ask you a question?

K: Yes...?

Adam: Extra dirty like my mind?

(We all crack up, my mother showing mock offense and horror. Later, Adam brings out our martinis, crammed with as many olives as he can fit on a stir stick.)

Mom: I thought they asked for extra olives? 

(He goes behind the counter and lifts a giant jar of olives onto the counter.)

Adam: Just in case you need more!

Alaska Adventures, Part One


Misty Fjords
Ketchikan, AK

Icy Straight Point
Home of the World's Largest and Tallest Zip Line
Hoonah, AK