A series of small failures


endings and beginnings

 

Looking forward to the future

Looking forward to the future

I am so glad to say goodbye to 2008. I want to kick its ass on its way out the door!  

 

But first, I want to take an inventory of sorts. Here’s what happened, and what I learned.

The year started in Puerto Rico, and centered around work. My restaurant, Natural High, was doing okay, but we had the worst tourist season since before 9/11 and it was clear to me that the restaurant couldn’t survive another dead summer. Even the supposed busy time  — which normally lasted until April — wasn’t busy enough. I stopped teaching yoga so that I could devote all my time to the restaurant, but nothing I did was enough. I had already decided to leave in April… I had wanted to leave the previous September, after a visit home during which I accepted that as much as I loved Puerto Rico and the restaurant, I needed to get a job that actually paid enough to get me out of debt, but I let Tom and his mom talk me into seeing the season through. After all we had invested, we needed to follow through, they said.  I knew I was leaving in April, and I brought Pooka to Utah in January and had an awesome week watching Ted and Sharon’s boys with my mom. I got to bond with Cooper — a priceless experience that is the main thing that has given me some comfort since his death.

The last three months in Puerto Rico were difficult, full of long hours, contention (I learned this lesson — never go into business with your ex!), and stress, and yet, I accomplished something important — I supported the struggling organic farmers on the island by buying everything we could from them, and connected up the locals who cared about organic produce with the farmers before I left. Natural High was more a crusade than a business, and I will always treasure it, despite the way it turned out. And honestly, I wish Tom the best. I hope that re-opening the restaurant inside Freshmart will be well-received and I really hope he will be successful. I have to acknowledge that the restaurant’s debt that I put on my credit cards is the reason I came to Utah, and because of that simple act, I got to be here with my family when Cooper died. 

It was so hard to leave Puerto Rico. I missed four planes before I finally got home. I spent the last week wandering around barefoot (I had sold my car) and sleeping at random friends’ houses. People kept saying I wasn’t meant to leave, but I knew I was.

One of my greatest struggles is learning to live my life without letting it live me. Another way to put it is to choose my path rather than to follow someone else’s.  Staying in Puerto Rico was following Tom’s dream. Leaving was choosing my path.

In May, I reconnected with a close friend in Moab and spent a few days hiking and rafting and starting to love Utah.

In June, I went to my ex’s wedding in San Francisco and witnessed a gorgeous celebration of love between two women, who were supported by both their families. And I was there at just the right burning man moment (they met at burning man), with two fake fur coats for them, just as the weather started to turn cold and the wedding was shifting into the reception. It was unexpectedly heart-breaking being there, as I still love Heather, but it was also beautiful and joyful. I’m grateful that we’re still such close friends and that she wanted me to be there.  Five months later, however, Californians voted to pass proposition 8, threatening Heather and Stacey’s marriage. I will do everything I can to help people see that Proposition 8 is misguided and wrong. I can’t wait until people lose their prejudice. Love more, and fear less!

When I got to Utah, I didn’t feel ready to fall in love, but I wanted to. I missed being in love — it had been about a decade. The first step was distancing myself from Tom so that I could be free to find love.  And I did!  And it’s absolutely amazing!  When I moved to Utah, I asked the universe to bring me someone positive, kind, smart, hot (can’t help but ask!), funny, who was either divorced or widowed with children. And it happened… within two and a half months. I tried the match.com thing, which was appalling. So depressing!  And craigslist… holy hell. But then I got on Facebook and Twitter. And along comes Tyler, the sweetest, kindest, most positive and loving person. The energy was — and is — cosmic. He became my best friend almost instantaneously. It’s the kind of relationship where we want to be our best selves when we’re around each other. I’m so happy to be part of his life.  Meeting Tyler was possibly the best thing that’s happened all year. Thank you universe!  (You just have to ask.)

Another big event was resigning from the Mormon church. What a burden lifted! Though I hadn’t been a practicing Mormon in decades, I was still feeling stifled by them. And when they inspired millions of their members to promote bigotry by campaigning for proposition 8, I had to take the formal step. I feel so much less anger in my life. I don’t think of myself as a mormon anymore. If anyone asks, I say I’m not. I don’t say I’m an ex-mormon. I’m just not mormon. Yeah! I am letting go of that story, all the conflict and shame and frustration associated with it.

Recently I started the process of dealing with abuse from my childhood. I think that being in a loving relationship and being free from the mormon church made this crucial step possible. Telling my family was horrific, but I’m glad that they know and that I have their support. I just realized that healing from this is necessary, because I’m developing a relationship with two young children who deserve for me to be loving, healed, free of anger, and aware of how everything that happens to them as they grow up influences their future.

There have been some painful events — losing Cooper, and giving up Gogo (thank you, dear Bethany for rescuing him and training him to be a happy, well adjusted dog!), and dealing with my debt, karmic and financial, but I’m so grateful to be here, to get a chance to start over (thank you, Mom and Dad, for the beautiful home!), to meet new friends (Tyler, David, nakedJen!), and to reconnect with family, even though it has been tough at times. 

I started writing again, most notably for yoga journal, which makes me happy. And starting to blog again in October changed everything.

Things are lining up to make 2009 happy, prosperous, and promising. So glad to be alive and in it.

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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.