I’m indulging in a book that is entirely polar opposite from my take on Life…
It’s fascinating and informative…it’s exposing me to a thought process that is foreign to me – the art of Power, the art of War, the art of Manipulation and Control…even as I type these words, I feel a sense of “Oh, no!” That’s so un-yogic. I shouldn’t type that or else people will think that’s who I am… so this is precisely why I’m listening to the book and divulging my un-yogic-ness to you…because it’s important for me to get over what people think of me.
The truth is, I’d be a horrible manipulator and power-grabber… unless I was playing a role: then I’d be phenomenal at it.
My innate tendency is to be extremely open and welcoming with everyone who comes my way. Over the years, I’ve learned about difficult personalities the hard way: by getting f**d over: even then, I tend to look at the bright side of things. I have rarely have ever told anyone off, even when they deserve it. I’m often told I’m too nice: stated as a weakness.
My natural state is to forgive. I strive to see the best in others, even if they act in ways that are hurtful, annoying or disrespectful. I will walk the path of patience and friendship with them, time and time again. I will eventually express my unhappiness. I will eventually confront them, but I have a very long string of patience that sometimes lasts years past its suggested expiration date. Most people don’t pay attention to my confrontations because I rarely confront in anger. And by the time I’ve had enough and they are listening, it’s too late. I’m done. I’ve walked off, happy and free.
Call if a weakness or call it a personality trait, but that’s what I do.I’m nice and patient until one day, I can’t handle it anymore. I reach my breaking point and that’s it. IDGAF. I can walk away from a relationship, a friendship, a business opportunity and not look back once. I have the uncanny ability to cut someone out of my life in a heartbeat.
Psychologists have told me that I mourn the loss of someone or something long before it’s over, so that by the time I walk away, I’ve already passed the hard part of letting go emotionally.
In the end, it’s who I am. I give and I give and I give. I’ll subtly warn you at first. I will explicitly warn you next. If you continue to take advantage of me or ignore me, you’ll probably still be in the picture for a long time, years even… and then, one day, it’s see ya later! I’ll tell you the friendship is over and I won’t answer the phone. I won’t communicate to you. Nada. There’s no coming back into my life. I will want nothing whatsoever to do with you. I’m done and have moved on.
I’m a strange goose, aren’t I?
Why don’t I manipulate more in relationships, friendships and the like? Because I perceive it as untrue to form. But if I take on a role, as in a real-life character, I am a brilliant manipulator. I’m a really good real-life actor. It’s fun to be that person that we really aren’t, and I suppose we all do it, to a certain degree.
I did it in my 20’s when I was “secretly” dating this French guy. I played a role and played it well. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the most positive and spiritually uplifting experience for me…far from it, actually. But I learned a helluva lot about myself and about men and about relationships.
I played a role when I worked as the Guest List gal for GIANT Club back in 2000 and 2001. I worked the guest list for a club that was so insanely popular, it used to have a line around the block that was hours and hours long… every single Saturday. I didn’t work the regular line: I worked the VIP/Guest list line, and I can’t even tell you how many people offered me $100 bills to get through the guest list line. I refused them all. It wasn’t honest of me to take their money. I wanted to keep my job and I far greater enjoyed the sense of power that comes with saying “Sorry, you’re not on the list.”
Part of my job also included handling the DJ’s and their friends/publicists that they traveled with. I would them pick up from the airport, take them to their hotel, then to the club, then back again. Sometimes, I’d hang out and party with them. It was an incredibly fun weekend job (I had a day job during the week working for a literary agent, which is a whole other story… think Swimming With the Sharks…that was my job.)
The role playing wasn’t fake, but it also wasn’t entirely 100% me. During those club times, I played the extrovert role. I am an extroverted introvert. I LOVE being around people. I LOVE crowds. I LOVE dancing. I LOVE loud music. I LOVE [really good] DJ’s and I LOVE how I feel when I’m dancing in a huge crowd. Honestly, my slice of heaven could be walls of speakers and some really funky bass. It’s not that I was faking it… I was merely indulging in one aspect of my personality more so than all aspects at once.
…cuz after working the club, I would disappear, hole up in my tiny little Venice studio apartment and write for days…write and write and write. I’d refuse to answer the door or the phone. I’d do what I have to do – write and go inwards, to balance out the outwards-energy of my weekend.
Another job that never came to be — working for the CIA.
I applied to work for US Government (CIA) three times while in High School. Each time I was rejected. I couldn’t understand why. At the time, I could speak Russian and Spanish fluently. My dad is Egyptian and I had a few ramblings down in Arabic, as well. I was very good at languages. I was a straight A student. I had no criminal record. I didn’t drink or smoke or do anything “bad.” Why didn’t they want me?
The third time I was rejected, the CIA warned me not to apply again, not until all of my living relatives in the Soviet Union (this was pre-fall of the USSR) had emigrated to the US and 15 years had passed. Well, that was a big FU to me, so I burned the letter and vowed to never work for the US Government, even if they begged me.
So where am I going with this?
Bringing this back to last week’s newsletter a bit — the desire to be something will never leave us.
After last week’s newsletter, I had an incredible conversation with one of my favorite and most respected teachers, Brad Keimach. He’s not only a heartfelt yoga teacher, but an amazing conductor who apprenticed with none other than Leonard Bernstein. He wrote in response to my newsletter:L
“One of the most important relationships we can develop is the relationship with Desire, hopefully to finally understand that satisfying a desire does not end Desire.” (Brad)
“I like this a lot,” I answered, “because sometimes I think people misconstrue what yoga teaches…there is a perception that in order to truly pursue yoga, the ideal state is one of complete non-attachment, that a state of non-desire is the key to happiness. (Never mind that anytime there is an “ideal state,” or a goal, this initiates another desire…)”
“Non-desire? Non-attachment? We are human, we have these thoughts. The issue is, what do we do with them? A yoga practice, especially a tapas practice, allows us to retrain the mind so that we don’t give value to thoughts that do us no good (at best.) …the mind is not concerned with truth. But inside, WE each get to choose where and what we think.” (Brad Keimach.)
Bravo, Brad. Thank you for allowing me to share your words!
So how do we begin to turn off that constantly negative and wandering voice?
Can you live with YOU?
Or do you escape you? Does that inner voice haunt you? You know, that voice isn’t you. It’s just a part of the mind that’s been fed more than another part has. Like Brad says, we get to choose what we think… if we still ourselves enough to make that choice. If we’re constantly distracted, it will never happen.
Meditation is a great place to begin. … I’ve uploaded 7 free meditations on iTunes and Podomatic.
They’ll soon be up on Google Play, as well.
Some of you have sent me written testimonials about the meditations: Thank you!! Those of you who provided testimonials will receive links to an easy post-hike yoga stretch sequence I use almost every day. If you haven’t provided a testimonial, it’s not too late… send ’em over. Thea writes:
“I started my journey with Aria many moons ago in her prenatal yoga class. What struck me about her then is what strikes me now, she has the innate ability bring me back to me. As I make my way through her guided meditations, I feel more connected to my inner self. The full body relaxing meditation helps me clear my head and settle after a big day. With her gentle, soothing voice Aria starts with the simple words, “Welcome to your body, welcome to your space…” and suddenly everything around me melts away.” – Thea G.
It’s time for me to go…and enjoy my Friday night with my daughter and my puppy and my puppy’s boyfriend from next door, who’s circling around me with drooly Labrador joy.
Ahhhh… I almost forgot. The book I’m reading, if you haven’t figured it out, yet, is called The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. And boy, is it a trip!
How come when someone else has something, I want it. But when I get it, it’s like I don’t care about it anymore.
…says Kaia to me the other day. She had just made some new friends down our street and they have the most incredible tree swing perched above a ledge in their backyard…
Now just imagine, for a moment, the extraordinary nature of this “back yard.” This is Topanga, where owning 10 acres is a drop in the bucket. Folks around where I live (rent) own 40 – 60 acres and it’s no biggie. This backyard is massive, as in, encompasses an entire hill with acres and acres of land, even a tennis court about a 10 minute walk from the main property. The tire+ rope swing is securely attached to an ancient oak tree and dangles over a ravine, adjacent to the main house. It’s entirely magical, like something out of an 19th century novel. Wilderness. Trees, and Kids, laughing.
Kaia had grabbed me by the arm, wanting to show me their swing. “Will you push me, mommy!” she said, no question in her voice, more of a command. 🙂
I began, with little pushes.
“Harder!,” she squealed. “Harder!”
Over and over again, her body like a pendulum swung forward and backward, tracing simultaneous joy, fear, desire and abandonment.
“OK, mommy!!! SSSSSTTTTOOOOOOPPPPPPP!”
And I did. We left soon after. It was getting dark and P12 (the mountain lion) had somewhat recently devoured a bunch of goats that were left unattended. We had our puppy with us, and I didn’t feel like using her for lion bait.
As we walked the 1/2 mile back to our house, we talked about everything and anything, including the elusive desire to have what others have. And the strange nature of having — in that once that thing that we so deeply desire is ours, it’s no longer desired with the same intensity. Over time, the desire fades entirely away, until all is left is a new desire for a new thing.
I told Kaia why I think it’s far more valuable to gift her experiences rather than things. Not that I don’t get her things. I do. Just not many. Instead, I prefer to give her experiences, things she wouldn’t normally do in the real world, like Daybreaker’s early-morning yoga+ dance sessions (sober dance party). It always amazes me how many of us dance lovers are willing to get up at 4-something am to make a 5am yoga class and a 6:30am – 8:30am dance party (on a school/work morning!). Kaia loves Daybreaker. At one of the parties, she was crowned “The Unicorn Princess,” and lifted up by the crowd high up. I watched my girl beaming joy from every pore as she held onto her unicorn pinata and the MC said, “The Unicorn Princess….” I tried to get a good photo, but I was looking into the morning light and just got shadows. That’s OK, I told myself. It’s a memory in my mind.
About two seconds later, a woman I don’t know came up to me and said, “Is that your girl?”
“Yes,” I smiled.
“I got the best picture of her, ” she showed me her iPhone. And smiled, handing it to me. “Send it to yourself.”
That woman was an angel. And thanks to my friend Kirsten (another angel), I had the photo blown up where it now hangs up on our wall.
Another experience I love to give Kaia is Lightning In A Bottle (LIB). My article about this year’s LIB explores, “What’s your Why?” As in, what motivates the artists, organizers and attendees to do what we do? I received the most incredible feedback from that article, including someone I don’t know from Australia who emailed me to thank me for the piece. Now that feels good. it was published in LA Yoga Magazine…you can check it out here, if ya like.
So what’s the point of this, you’re asking yourself?
Experiences. They remain deep in our hearts.
Whereas things often fade away, are thrown away, break, or get lost.
I’m now looking even more deeply at the experiences I gift to my daughter. As I begin the process of loosing my mom, I embrace even more deeply the process of being the best mom I can be to my kid.
I’m hoping to inspire others to do the same. To share, to feel, to grieve, when needed, as I shared in my recent #randomtalkingvideo on IG. It’s important to not judge ourselves (for too long.) Sure, we all will self-judge. Who are we kidding?. We’re human.That’s part of our predicament. Flesh and blood and bone. With a spiritual center that desires to be greater than, free of. But we are here. On this Earth. We must feel and feel deeply. We must not keep it in. Feel it. Share it in the way that most benefits our soul, and then let that sh%t go.
And when you’re ready, give the gift of experiences to your friends, your family, your co-workers, your employees.
And for those of us scarred by experiences, let them go, one by one. Feel and let go. My pelvic-heart-skull meditation is great for this. It’s just over 9 min long, and I put it up onto Google Drive this time, as some of you don’t seem to like Dropbox. 🙂
Until next week, y’all.
May your Hearts Be Well.
P.S. – I just recently unsubscribed about 400 people from this list.
This list has been built up over many, many years. And what I’m doing now is far different from what I did previously with my email newsletters.
I don’t care about numbers (getting the most followers, etc.) What I care about is having people who are interested in what I’m sharing. So I unsubscribed people who hadn’t opened the last 5 weeks of emails. I figured – hey, unopened email is clutter and clutter drags us down. I explained this nicely and gave everyone the option of signing back up. I got super positive responses from everyone, except for one person. It was interesting to see her reaction to a “thing” that she didn’t even want.
I’m saying this because if you’re reading this, I thank you for connecting to me and my life.
And if you’re not (well, you won’t be reading this, will ya… ha ha). If you’re not interested, please don’t humor me. It’s not necessary. You won’t hurt my feelings. I encourage you to unsubscribe.
Not everything is meant for everyone.
I’m not sure where I’m headed.
I know writing long-form again is in my future. I’ve already begun one project – a children’s book. Another one is in the works.
I’m going to continue to offer more meditations, and soon will begin an online meditation course.
I’m connecting back with yoga studios to offer pre/post natal + a deep stretch/slow-flow class that’s aimed at everyone (not pregnancy.)
It’s fall, and things are getting busier again. I have a few new private clients and am happy to share what I love with them.
So much more… I encourage your feedback. I’d love to hear if and how my personal sharings are helping you or influencing you.
It’s late. I have lots of family coming into town tomorrow. I’m distracted by the news we’ve just received of my mom’s cancer. It’s spread into her bones. We don’t know how long she has…we just don’t.
And it’s been one of those days, ya know, when you work your arse off and more keeps coming your way. We’ve all had ’em. they can be frustrating, and they can be filled with unexpected beauty, as well.
I ran into a former student at the Trader Joe’s in Woodland Hills and met her four year old boy. What a cutie-pie! We reminisced. She told me she enjoyed my emails. We spoke a bit about where I was teaching these days.
A heartfelt request — I could use everyone’s help: I want to start teaching a prenatal/postnatal class + a non-preggers class. I’d love any intro’s to studio owners in the West Valley (Woodland Hills, West Hills, Calabasas…) or upper SaMo/Palisades, but only to studios that YOU think are a good fit for my energy. Most of you know me from being your yoga teacher. All my contacts are Venice/Mar Vista/WestLA and Eastside studios. And it’s time. it’s time to start sharing in a public space again. (thanks!)
So…my email I had prepped is about the time when I saved a woman’s life. Originally, I was going to connect it to the importance of ritual, but that isn’t going to happen. My heart’s been heavy these past two days. When I feel frustrated like this and kinda stuck, I do a heart-expansive meditation. This technique always bring me back to what truly is, and not what is just in front of me. It’s my practice when I need to expand beyond sorrow, frustration, anger and fear. I want to share what helps me — a 6 min meditation, one for heart-heavy times. Quick Meditation for Tough Times.
For those of you who want more meditations, just ask! I’m currently beta-testing six!!! Ask and ye shall receive… all I want is your feedback.
Sherri K described her experience with the Mini Full Body Relaxing Meditation:“Thanks Aria!! Tried the first one tonight. So great! The baby woke up exactly when I finished and was totally relaxed LOL”
I can hear some of you…. just tell us the story.
Gotcha… Here ya go. Enjoy!
I saved a woman’s life this past NYE….or so she believes.
We were in Colorado. My friends own property near Lemon Lake, about 10 miles outside of Durango — – a cabin and a converted barn. These are long-time friends of 20 years, awesome, incredible, heart-felt, honest to goodness, salt-of-the-earth kinda people. They had invited a huge group of us to celebrate and ring in the New Year. We were families, couples and singles: about 30 adults and 10 kids. We’d spent the week tubing, skiing, hiking, exploring, having fun, and now it was the big night. After dinner, the DJ’s started spinning. Kiddos and adults danced until it was time for the kiddos to retreat to the cabin (we’d hired a sitter.) The adults hung out in the barn, danced, talked and had fun. Some of these amazing folks had traveled all the way from Oklahoma! Some I hadn’t seen in over 10 years. By 4:15am, I was exhausted and needed to crash. I was staying with a friend, way across town, and instead of driving back through town and all the way over to my temporary home, friends had invited us to crash at their rented cabin down the road.
10 minutes later, we pulled up into the garage The access code worked. We walked inside and set up a sleeping couch/futon. I turn around to go upstairs and make a cuppa tea, when I see a nude woman, clutching a button down shirt that’s waaayyyy to small for her around her shoulders, screaming,
“Hi… I’m Aria.”
I hear the shower, going.
“MELISSA, where are you?”
I walk closer and ascertain her energy…she doesn’t feel dangerous. Scared out of her wits, but not dangerous. I talk to her for a few minutes only to realize that she doesn’t know anyone in my group of friends, nor the two families renting that cabin, nor the owner of the cabin. Who is she? She’s nude, trembling, and screaming for Melissa. How did she get in there? What’s her story?
“I think you just saved my life,” she says “I thought I was going to die. I can’t feel my foot. I have to go back in the shower.”
The shower kept going for another hour, during which I kept checking on her, every 5-10 minutes. I talked to her calmly. I brought her some hot tea and some water. I didn’t know if she was on anything and was concerned that she might faint in that hot, hot shower. She started to trust me and told me bits and pieces:
She’d been chased by a demon. She’d been running all night. Strange things had followed her. She didn’t think she would live.
What happened to her clothes? Where were her friends?
One foot was numb and black and she kept massaging it. I asked if I could call any family members or friends.
Nobody, she begged me. I wondered if one of her friends had hurt her (?)
I told her we should call the police and get an ambulance.
Please, she begged. Please, just let me shower. Please.
She sounded like she had been raped and I wanted to honor her wishes — give the woman space to shower and rinse off the experience before having to explain it all to the cops.
I told her I could wait until she got out of the shower. But what about her foot?
Please, she begged me. Please let me shower. The hot water is helping my foot.
What emerged that evening was incredible. Instead of coming back to a cabin to sleep and rest for a few hours before turning back around to pick up Kaia, who was asleep with the other kids in the cabin, I ended up Doula’ing this stranger. I massaged her legs and her foot. I did energy work on her foot. I gave her tea. Water. Food. I called 911 and stayed on the phone with them while the paramedics came (this took over 25 minutes.) I gave her a bunch of my warm clothes, including a beanie I had just bought that matched my daughter’s. It was a special beanie, but she needed it more than I did.
After the paramedics took her away, they told us that she has mental issues and has had breakdowns in the past.
They were shocked that she survived the frost and the cold. This young woman had climbed UP AND DOWN AN ENTIRE MOUNTAIN, in the dark, naked, with no shoes. Just a sock wrapped around one foot.
She called me her guardian angel. We later connected over Facebook and she told me about her history of mental illness.
I found out later, through my friend, that she still calls me her guardian angel.
I’m not sure why. All I did was help another person. I doula’d her. I talked to her. I massaged her. I took care of her.
Isn’t that something we would all do for another human being?
I don’t think I deserve that term – “saved her life.”
…and not just cuz I’m picky. I get heat triggered migraines and they suck. Pounding, hammer-on-my-brain-for hours kinda migraines, so bad that I want to rhythmically hit my own forehead just to distract myself from the pain. Caffeine helps during the daytime. Cannabis helps at night, (I don’t like to be stoned during the daytime.) Sometimes, nothing helps and I just want to cry.
Most of my years in LA have been by the ocean, where it’s a comfy 65- 78 degrees, year round. If it hits 80 degrees, whew! Bring on the complaints…we are having a heat wave. I never got migraines in Venice or Santa Monica or Mar Vista. I used to feel miserable all summer long in Tucson. When I lived in the MId-City area, I got them occasionally. But it’s been awhile, and I forgot about how bad they can be.
Now that I’m in Topanga, with no AC, if it gets to be 90 -100 degrees, they start creeping up on me. If I go to the valley, where it’s been 104 – 118, I get ’em in less than 20 minutes. Pound. Pain. Misery. Absolutely hate ’em.
So I can either be miserable (and for good reason), or I can find a way to create gratitude amongst my discomfort.
Gratitude Exercise #1: Luckily, my Topanga home is about 10-15 degrees cooler than the outside because I’m halfway “underground,” built into the side of a hill. Luckily, I have multiple fans, including a mini-swamp-cooler fan moving air inside. Luckily, if I mainly head out only in the morning and evening, it’s absolutely gorgeous and if I stay inside during the day, I can manage.
Ya know what else I’m grateful for? After a month of searching….We have a puppy!!!
Riley is a gorgeous, 8 month old German Shepherd female. Her owner couldn’t care for her anymore. We were the first people to call in on his ad and the first to meet her. It was wuuuvvv… twooo wwuvvv at first site (if you don’t get that reference, rent “The Princess Bride” tonight). When we walked into her (previous) owner’s home, she didn’t bark. Instead, she came over gently and sniffed me. Sniffed Kaia.
And then laid down right at Kaia’s feet. That was the sign I was looking for. She wanted us!
She’s been an angel and I am so grateful.
Living in and with the bright side of everything is my only choice because any other choice, frankly, is emotionally exhausting and out of my control. Like with my 14th year, post car-accident, where I didn’t take a single step for nine months: In the hospital, in traction, on my back for a month. In a brace and wheelchair for two months. In a body cast for six months. Then on crutches for more months. I held onto Gratitude…for the things that I had.
Nothing is more important than Life itself.
If you’re reading this and you’re not grateful just to be alive, you have a serious problem. Correct it, any way you can. Religion helps. Spirituality helps. Exercise helps. Meditation helps. I’m not going to tell you how to find your path because it’s yours. And I’m not here to judge anyone else’s path. . Because I can promise you this. if you can’t find JOY for being ALIVE, you’ll never be HAPPY. No relationship, career, no amount of money, no amount of experiences, no amount of pleasure will make you happy. Nothing.
Doesn’t mean you have to be happy-happy-joy-joy fake all the time. That’s BS. Feel what you need to feel and practice non-attachment to the feeling. Be in the moment. I get angry when I need to. I feel sadness when I need to. I feel frustration and powerlessness when I need to. And then, I let it go.
This week at the gym, I felt it all: tremendous frustration, powerlessness and sadness. I hate gyms. Not my place at all. And I hate the Valley (sorry, Valley people. Not my place at all.) So I’m at a gym in the Valley, and I have all my inner sh*t going for me about the heat and being in a gym. On top of that, the gym brings back memories of my car accident and self-rehab.
After my accident, I never got proper PT. I used the machines at the gym to try and build back muscle on my severely atrophied left leg, but I never built it back correctly. Now, I’m back, rebuilding my atrophied Vastus Medialis. All it took was the leg extension machine, and I was immediately plunged into sadness, frustration, anger and feeling helpless. I felt frustration from the physical pain of theloose pieces of bone that are still present and occasionally become lodged where they shouldn’t be.
Stem cell therapy is healing my cartilage, but no one promised me it would get rid of the loose pieces of bone. One in particular is 1/2″ long and when it gets lodged in the meniscus, it hurts. Hopefully, over time, it gets lodged in a “happier place.”
Even more so than pain, I felt powerlessness. I went back in time to the body of that 14 year old girl, who had no power in her physical form. It all came back to me, in a fraction of an instant on the leg extension.
On the way back from the gym, I recognized my gratitude again. I can walk without pain. I can climb stairs and hike without pain. How freaking awesome is that?
So…whatcha holdin’ onto today?
The crap? The shit? The maddening things that are outta your control? Is that what you talk about when you reach out to your friends? Your problems?
Ever notice how talking about your problems just spins the energy round and round? It feeds it. And then, next time you see your friends, you have to update them on those same problems, which may have just stayed in the past, but you just brought them back up again…pretty soon, it becomes habitual. I need to vent, you say. But really, that’s just BS. You are just addicted to feeding your problem with your words, your vital life force. In the end, it’s an endless cycle of crap…
Why not practice talking about your joys? Your loves? Your moments of humor and living life? Practice talking about the things with your control. Practice empowering yourself.
I like to uphold and give attention and space to the fragments of joy that can be found anywhere and everywhere, if but look… And if I absolutely need to vent about something, I do so. But if I find myself venting about the same thing more than once, then I have a problem and I need to work it out differently and ASAP.
..usually it gets worked out through meditation, writing, movement, time in nature, de-toxing from energy vampires and self-inquiry…
– – –
Speaking of MEDITATION, energy vampires and self-inquiry…If you responded to my email about what kind of meditation you wanted, you’re getting a link this weekend!
I recorded over 10 and finished the last two today. Deleted 6. Kept 4. And I’m sending everyone who requested a meditation a personal email (not a Mailchimp email) with a link to the folder. Some of you are getting all four… You can tell me which are the most effective.
If you want a meditation and didn’t tell me which kind, lemme know and I’ll send you a personal email with the link.
I want your feedback as to which work and which don’t. Once I get your feedback, I’ll direct you to some simple, at-home post hiking/post yoga stretch videos I filmed. Real yoga. Nothing fancy. Just me in my home, with my puppy, stretching, breathing and feeling good.
Eventually, I’ll have better videos up that I’ll sell…
…I had a great topic in mind that I’ll just have to write about it in another email. Right now, I have to stick with what’s honest and truthful in the moment: animals and my love for them.
My daughter and I have been looking for a German Shepherd pup/young dog to adopt. We’ve been looking for a month and it hasn’t happened yet.
I love dogs. Grew up with them. My Russian Grandfather came to visit us in 1977. During that visit, he helped his daughter (my mom) choose our first dog. I was 5 years old and I still remember that day. We bought an AKC German Shepherd and aptly named him Rex.
Rex was incredible. Loyal. Loving. Brave. Sweet. He used to take care of our deformed pigeon, Baby, that we rescued.
Yup, you read that right. The pigeon’s wings didn’t work. In fact, were it not for my love of pigeons and my mom’s love of all animals, Baby wouldn’t have survived. His mom kept kicking him out of his nest. We didn’t know and kept putting him back in. Then one day, I saw his mom push him out. Turns out the pigeon’s wings didn’t work. He couldn’t fly. At all. I named him Baby and he became our backyard pigeon pet.
Rex and Baby were buds. They used to hang out in the together. At night, Baby used to sleep curled up in Rex’s tail. During the day, he’d hop on Rex’s back and enjoy playtime in our backyard. When we took Rex to the park, he’d give Baby rides on his back.
You should have seen the looks we would get. A full size, gorgeous German Shepherd, running through the park with a pigeon clamped on his back. Baby would lift his deformed wings. I can only imagine it felt like he was flying.
Baby’s life didn’t end well.. but that’s for another story. Rex lived a full life. He died at age 11, peacefully, under a tree in our backyard. My parents were on vacation and I was trying to get Rex back in the house. I kept YELLING his name and just figured he was asleep. He was old. He had developed hip dysplasia and had been going deaf for some time. Finally went over to the tree, shook him and realized he was dead.
After Rex we adopted a shelter-found Cocker Spaniel we named Senya, then Masha, a German Shepherd mix from the North LA Animal Shelter, and then last year, Ellie – whom we found through our friends Jake and Sean, via the Westside German Shepherd Rescue. Ellie died this May, at 11 months old after a long battle with some unknown pathogen/tumor in her brain. She went through a battery of specialists at the VCA, tests, drugs and antibiotics. Nothing helped. No one had an answer for us. She died on May 9.
As you can tell, I’m a dog person. And a bird person. Ever since childhood, I’ve always had one or both.
It’s taken me almost 3 months to seriously look for another dog.
In the past, I’ve never had a problem finding a younger dog at a shelter. Something is different now. Not sure exactly what. I keep trying to get dogs that I think are good for us and one by one, it hasn’t happened. Today alone, we missed a dog by 4 minutes (traffic. Had to park 3 blocks away and arrived at the Humane Society South Bay 10:04am. Someone was already there with the dog we wanted.) Then we went to a high kill shelter in Carson and were denied 10 dogs by the staff… who believes that every single one wasn’t appropriate for younger children. These were dogs aged 6 months – 6 years and my daughter is 10YO. I was told by a rescue group that these shelters are afraid of getting sued and they tell that about almost every stray – “not good with young kids.”
We’re trying. And yes, you’re right — I can get one from a rescue. I have my own reasons why I prefer a shelter or the Humane Society. Maybe that’s my lesson. Don’t try and “save” a dog. Just get one that’s already been saved. (?)
Either that or it’s just not the right time.
In the meantime, this is what I’m learning: Give it my all and show my daughter that getting something you want takes effort and commitment.
My goal is for her to have the animal-fueled joy and laughter and memories that I did.
Have any fun animal stories you want to share? Send ’em over.
And the meditations – almost ready. I’ve recorded four. Need to pare them down. Or maybe I’ll just send out links to all….
Happy Weekend Y’all.
P.S. -New to this list or haven’t opened the last few and wondering – why the hell is she writing me about her animals? I contacted her for yoga or four doula services or for a handstand workshop (or whatevs)…it’s all good. Just unsubscribe at your Unsubscribe Link below.
I’m committing to one honest email/week. One email about me and my life and what I’m going through.
Eventually, I’ll have products to sell and I’ll ask you to buy them. But mostly, I want to share myself and share what I’m going through. Today’s email wasn’t as emotionally bare as my previous ones. They won’t all be emotional stunners…but they’ll be honest. Not prettified. Not fake. Not “hey look at me. Yoga has made my life perfect and it can make your life perfect, too.”
Yawn… boring. Perfection ain’t real, just like IG accounts filled with professional photos ain’t real, just like Reality TV ain’t real.
Real life is like birth. Messy. Juicy. Bloody. Hard. Mind blowing. A journey like no other. Real as real can be. Let’s re-birth ourselves, shall we? Let’s be real.
Happy Full Moon.
And if you’re in LA, dear God, stay cool. It’s freaking hot out here.
P.P.S. – I’m going to start putting up old emails up on my Blog. My blog emails will be at least 3-4 weeks behind what you get on this list.
Don’t talk to anyone about personal things.
Don’t share your problems.
Don’t ever talk about money. That’s impolite.
Keep it to yourself.
Don’t show weakness…ever.
Don’t ever cry in front of others.
Pray. Ask God for help.
Sin? Ask God for forgiveness.
Always listen to your elders.
Be silent unless spoken to.
I know, I’m not the only one who grew up like this…
Gotta say, though, being an immigrant (born in the USSR to a Russian dad and Egyptian mom) certainly didn’t make it easier to communicate my truth.
I was always different. Different food. Different language at home. Different parents with “weird” accents. Different clothes (always hand-me-down’s from church.) Different ideals, values and more.
When my car accident happened on my 14th birthday, I became different once again. So I tried to become the same as everyone else, and I quit talking about it.
Now, many many years later, it’s affecting me in ways I can no longer hide. Renal fatigue for months, patterned with huge physical limitations that affected me my whole life but are now manifesting in physical issues I can no longer pretend aren’t there,… nor do I want to.
I was granted a second chance at life is so that I could share my story, share the therapies and modalities that have kept me active, alive and faring far better than every single doctor’s prediction.
Instead – I hid behind the cloud of sameness, even though I would never be the same.
At one point in my mid twenties, I started to blossom and reflect my true inner self, specifically spiritual realizations and beliefs I had come to. I started talking and stopped hiding. Instead of being accepted, I was banged upside the head(emotionally speaking) for exposing myself and my truth. And so, I hid again. It was familiar territory, after all. A deep, well-worn groove, which left me uncertain, with very little inner confidence for many years to come.
I could support all the world around me…and I could do it very very well. But I couldn’t support myself. I hide no more.
A TRUE STORY ABOUT HIDING and HATING, and the SIMPLICITY and POWER OF SPEECH:
It was probably 2001 or 2002, and I was walking to Shiva Rea’s 4:15pm Tuesday yoga class at Sacred Movement. It was a hugely popular class and I liked getting there a bit early… I was running a tad late, and decided to cut through the alleyways to get there quicker…
Venice has always been filled with homeless guys. I kinda like them. They reflect all the things that most of us wish weren’t right in front of us. Rarely, do I feel threatened by them.
So this homeless guy up ahead of me kept turning around, looking right at me. He didn’t feel dangerous, and I could tell he wanted something. Wonder if he’s going to ask me for money, or a smoke, or something…I thought. I was about 15 feet away when he turned, stopped and stared right at me. I caught his eye and nodded.
“Can you stop walking behind me?” he said.
“Sure,” I answered, “no problem. How about I walk next to you, is that OK?”
He nodded. We walked in silence for a few feet. “I can’t have anyone walk behind me,” he stammered, “after the war…”
“The Vietnam war?”
He nods. “I just can’t.”
“That’s OK,” I answered. “I’m happy to walk next to you.”
“I did horrible things,” he says to me.
I just look at him.
“They made us to horrible things. I’ll never forgive myself. I did horrible things to women. To children. I hate myself for that. And when someone walks behind me, it brings me back to that place. I just can’t…”
He starts to cry, then stops himself.
“That’s OK,” I answer. “It isn’t your fault. That was in your past. They made you do it.”
“But you don’t know what I did…”
I begin to be grateful that it’s still daylight and not dead of night. I maintain my steady pace and maintain eye contact. “I don’t hate you. And I know God doesn’t hate you.”
“You think so?” He’s wiping away tears.
“I know so.”
“You believe in God?” he asks me, “with all the evil in the world…”
“Yes, I do.” I answer. “Not the God I was taught to believe. Not the God of the Bible, of Christianity, but yes, I believe in a Creator, an Intelligence, a Universal Force.”
“And you think God will forgive me?”
“I’m certain of it.” I smile, look down at my watch. “I’m sorry. I’m late for a class. Do you mind if I walk in front of you? Is that OK?”
He nods and I make my way to class…
We all have our demons.
We all have our mysteries.
Maybe it’s about time we all started sharing them.
P.S. – I’m super happy at all of you that have reached out to me these last few weeks. Some of you are students I haven’t seen or taught in over 14 years. Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting.
And if these emails aren’t your thing., please, unsubscribe. You won’t hurt my feelings. Instead, you’ll simply de-clutter your life of information that isn’t relevant to you. And that is worth its weight in gold.