A series of small failures


new year’s resolutions
January 1, 2009, 11:51 pm
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Part of living my life and not letting it live me is to actually set goals. 

One is to go vegetarian again. I got a little unexpected inspiration on that front today tuning in to Iron Chef for a few minutes. I love Top Chef, but Iron Chef? Weird production. As they unveiled a secret ingredient the contestants had to incorporate into their dishes, the lights, the music and the unveiling of the ingredient — suckling pigs — I was horrified. They might as well have played the music from the shower scene in Psycho. The little pigs piled on a cart looked demonic. Was it the fear pulsing through them during their last moments? Seriously, the eyes were frightening. One of the contestants was a trained butcher, and the narrator said it was a joy to watch him work, masterfully placing the knife exactly where he should for each cut. I realized I had frozen in a gasp, forgetting to breathe, completely tensed up. Bacon, I don’t care how good you taste.

Last month, in the Dharma Mittra workshop at Flow, he inspired me to go veg again. It lasted a month. I wanted to be a vegetarian to honor all life. Killing animals hurts our souls. You can’t find peace when you’re eating meat. “As long as you are involved with violence, your meditation will go nowhere,” he said.

Another resolution is to live my yoga. So I’ve started another blog, yogadose.wordpress.com, for a daily dose of rasa, that nectar or  juice that restores our essence. I want to share what inspires me, and bring yoga and meditation back into my daily life. 

I want to be careful what I put into my body, since the body is the gateway to the soul.

I also want to get outside myself and volunteer. It looks like I’m getting a volunteer spot at the Sundance Film Festival! Sweet! I’m psyched.

I want to support myself doing something I love. One goal is to get a page up on Etsy with my jewelry. Friends keep asking me to make them things, and I love to do it. So why not open it up to others? Creating makes me feel alive.

I want to feel free to love without fear. 

I want to get back to the creative, fearless child I was before the abuse and the indoctrination.

I want to develop my intuition and vision.

Oh, and I want to get out of debt.  I want to get out of my parents’ basement and live in Salt lake City.

and so much more.

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The past and present colliding, constantly — the law of karma
November 18, 2008, 10:08 pm
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I’ve been thinking about karma lately. How could I not, after spending the weekend in a workshop with Shri Dharma Mittra. Being in the presence of a yoga master and enlightened being for so much time was such a gift. Especially after the harrowing week I had dealing with the aftermath of the Salon article (http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/11/13/mormons_prop_8/index.html). My family was horrified. It hurts to find out that they didn’t really seem to care that I had resigned (they thought I must have done that long ago). It was going public with it that really upset them. But the Dharma Mittra workshop changed my energy, my outlook, everything. Thanks to Jennifer Ellen at Flow for bringing him here.

I believe in the law of karma. After working for Ann Wigmore for three years, I saw the direct results of my good actions, from amazing places in which I got the chance to live, to the people I met who taught me and changed my life, as well as other opportunities that unfolded.

When things were going sour with my boyfriend, again (for the last time, i think), and I needed a place to live, I was offered a chance to live in a wooden house on a beautiful property on the beach, in exchange for working in the owner’s art gallery four days a week. The owner and I became close. We shared a lot about our pasts, our beliefs, and our experiences. One day he told me he wanted to build a yoga deck on the property. Together, we were going to create a yoga center where we could hold yoga retreats. We choose a spot, right on the ocean, under sheltering trees. It was an immensely generous offering. I was honored.

The owner’s brother returned to the island just as we were planning to build the deck. We went to Home Depot and bought the wood. As we were unloading it from the truck, he said, “be careful. The wood is treated with arsenic.”

I didn’t know anything about pressure-treated lumber before then. I was horrified. Still, we were in the middle of unloading it and carrying it to the space. It was too late to look into using reclaimed wood from the bottom of the ocean or something like trex, a green wood substitute made with plastic. I noticed after a while that the wood burned my skin.

Being the reporter and investigator, I went to the internet and did some research. Also, my ex boyfriend sent me a link to a site with some information on arsenic-treated lumber. I forwarded it to the owner. This was the beginning of the end. He accused me of being ungrateful. I tried to explain that I was not judging him personally, I just needed to gather information. I was worried about my students practicing on poison.

The wood was wet, and needed months to dry before being coated. The only solution i could find was to cover it with cloth. I bought four canvas tarps, which we unfolded and laid on the deck before each class. at least there was a barrier between us and the poison. Yoga is supposed to be healing, not toxifying.

Not long after that, I learned that the wooden house i was living in was built with the same stuff. Only, because the house was built years before that, it was pretty likely that it was treated with arsenic instead of the copper azole (cca) that was being used at the time. I just found this link tonight–i guess copper azole has also been phased out: http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca/ (dated april 2008, it states: “Pressure treated wood containing CCA is no longer being produced for use in most residential settings, including decks and playsets.” Yikes. nice to know. Anyway, I started noticing that i wasn’t feeling well. Then I noticed black mold on the eaves of the house, inside and out. I moved out. Back in with the ex. Not before getting a chance to write about it for yoga journal: (http://www.yogajournal.com/for_teachers/2158)

Somehow I managed to keep teaching at the beautiful place for a couple more months. I had organized workshops and a Shiva Rea prana vinyasa flow teacher training intensive, taught by Shiva’s senior assistant, Twee Merrigan. That training was the last week of being involved at the beautiful place. After that, I was banned from the property. And was no longer friends with the man who gave me the gift of that beautiful deck. There seemed to be no way to mend things. I tried. But i had become an ungrateful demon to him.

Back to karma… I wondered why this was happening. It was hard to give up on the space and move on, but the energy had become so toxic, just like the deck. I eventually found another space on the ocean, where we had four teachers sharing and lots of good energy.

“You can’t escape your karma,” Dharma told us this past weekend. We are born with what we need to work through our karma. Accidents, cancer, these are all predetermined based on our past actions. “You have to accept your karma,” he said. Maybe things turned sour because i had to pay for past actions. I don’t know. 

Families stay together, Dharma said. As long as you love each other, you keep being born into the same family.

My family does love each other. We overcame my coming out. I’m sure we’ll overcome my leaving the church. but what is it that we need to learn from each other?



Why focus on failures?

I’ve been thinking lately, after moving back home and into the parents’ basement, about my failures. And why I feel like such a freak. Number one failure: never being married. Number two: never having children. (Both of those failures set me apart here in Utah.)  Number three: Hmm. so many possibilities for number three. Not ever attaining the New York Times? Just after leaving Fortune, I interviewed at the Times. They wanted an entry level person. Sometimes it sucks to have so much experience. I also got a call to interview at the Wall Street Journal. I had already decided to take the ill-fated dot-com job. What a fucking failure that was.  Vice president of editorial. Whatever that meant. Oh, I remember.  Three months of a $110,000 salary, and some business cards. And some crazy memories. (Email from the dead–Dr. Benjamin Spock died before his eponymous dot-com was founded, yet somehow he sent us email from the great beyond. “I love you, Ben.”)

The organic vegetarian restaurant I started? Big fucking failure, at least financially.  You might think it still exists. We still have a web site!! http://www.naturalhighcafe.com.  My ex still hasn’t taken it down. After the restaurant officially closed in August, I heard we got a favorable review in Lonely Planet.  It made me cry. 

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/puerto-rico/rincon/where-to-eat/1000780146?list=true

“Glowingly healthy and unadulterated enough to suit even the strictest vegans, Natural High is – much to the surprise of visiting carnivores – also rather tasty. Mixing good old-fashioned home cooking with an unusual blend of raw, organic ingredients, the dishes here are as delicious as they are different. Try the crunchy fresh salads or the fruit-infused smoothies and save the muesli-munching for another day.”

I created most of the menu, sourced the ingredients, which meant fostering relationships with the young, idealistic organic farmers in the area so that they would supply us with what we needed. I even became the chef for several months when we couldn’t afford to hire anyone else.  So much fun, and so much hard work. Heavy sigh. 

Yoga in Paradise? the outdoor yoga studio I started in Rincon? I failed it because I devoted all my energy to Natural High. Still, it was a beautiful achievement.

http://www.yogainparadise.net

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Twee Merrigan taught workshops and a teacher training intensive there. Imagine 7 of us, with Twee, on that deck overlooking the Caribbean, learning prana vinyasa flow yoga (in the style of Shiva Rea.)  It was magical. But then I got ousted from that space. (personal drama, involving me not wanting to be the mistress of one of the owners.)

What else can I dredge up?  Hmm. Partnerless, childless, jobless. Broke? The restaurant set me back financially. I kept betting, with my credit card, on its eventual success.  I’ll be paying for that for months, if not years. 

Still, I don’t regret the restaurant experience. I don’t regret the yoga experience. It was amazing.  I’m still looking for a space to teach yoga here in Utah. I’m sure it will come, eventually.

In the meantime, I’m studying with an amazing teacher, and I’ll be participating in an immersion with Dharma Mittra this month, and Shiva Rea next month, at Flow Yoga in Sugar House. I’m psyched for that. Good things are coming. I’ve written a couple of stories for Yoga Journal since I got here:

http://www.yogajournal.com/for_teachers/2651?print=1

http://www.yogajournal.com/for_teachers/2631?page=1

I’ll be writing more for them.