Tuesday, February 1, 2011


A whole year has passed since Dina and I started this blogging adventure together.  I can remember looking ahead to the coming year back then, with such excitement for each new thing I was going to totally immerse myself into.  My plan, as I recall, was to do whatever new thing that month brought every day of that month.  And if I couldn't make that happen, I would read about that thing or learn about it in some manner.  Some months I lived up to that expectation...I remember during "growing our own food month" I read a Michael Pollan book and watched a few movies on that state of our agriculture system here in the US and found it all to be very inspiring.  And i felt like i used my time wisely considering after I planted my seeds, there wasn't a whole lot to "do" for a bit...besides chasing away big dogs and their big fat paws from my little plant babies.  During "painting month" and "learning the Beyonce dance month" I found a way to do those things most days, and found it even easier to feel guilty about not doing them on the days I didn't make them a priority.

"Sewing ourselves a dress month" nearly brought me to a murderous state...what with all the tension and agro-ness toward sewing, and the big scissors in my hands.  I totally hate sewing, as I do most crafty endeavours; and I knew that going into it and often found myself with fabric and thin pattern paper everywhere wondering...why in the fuck did I pick this?  But I have to say, I am so proud to have finished that mini dress.  Every time I wear it I find a way to let someone know...."I made this!"  Would I do it again?  Maybe.  And yes, I am a bit crazy.  Then there was "writing month", remember that?  Of course not!  I didn't write a goddamn thing.  That was a shocker, I thought I loved writing.  I even, at one point in college, thought it could be one of my hidden talents.  Turns out, the blank piece of paper won again.  Almost.  I did finish that readers write submission!  The other total flop of the list had to be "salsa dancing month."  It started out fine, going dancing for Jamie's birthday....and then never again.  Sometimes life and the priorities it sets right in front of you take center stage, not the dance floor.

By far, clearly, my favorite was "yoga month."  I had no idea it would sweep me off my feet the way it did.  and even more of a shocker was that it would be Bikram Yoga that I fell for.  I gave everything I had to that practice and I am sure you know, dedicated another whole month to this moving meditation...completing a 30 day challenge.  Other months that I liked included drumming, the vegan diet, and the make-up-your-own-month where I did a simplifying of my stuff, a major purging.

I am so, so grateful that I took on this year of trying new things.  I learned so much about myself and life and people.  I gained a self confidence I never had before.  I have a stronger foundation from which I can stand and greet the world in a new and more diverse way.  And I am looking forward to a year of new activities, new lessons, new challenges, and new triumphs.  I wonder if I am still looking for a passion?  Or am I finding a way to stay youthful and maintain some sort of mental flexibility, and physical too in some cases.  I love that this helps me be open to trying new things...those of my own imagination and dreams and those of someone else's.  You never know what someone else is going to put on that list.

Amy and I revealed our new lists last night at a dinner to celebrate finishing the 30 days of yoga (which was much harder and less euphoric than I had created it to be in my mind all month.)  I think both of us would have rather been soaking in a hot bath tub or snuggled in a warm blanket on our couches, but in the end we had a great time.  It was so fun to pick each folded piece of paper and unfold it not knowing what was written inside, and then share our thoughts and ideas and research we had done for each topic.
So....we will reveal the list tomorrow, with a new look and feel to the blog.


PS...and now, I leave you with my submission to the Sun magazine:

Readers Write Submission
Paying Attention

For the past month I have been practicing yoga every day.  Every day I spend 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees, working my body into 26 different postures and sweating.  When I set out on this challenge, I assumed that the physical aspect would give me the most trouble.  And while it has at times, what I am discovering is that the mental component can prove to be much more of a struggle…but with exponential benefits.

The unspoken question arises moment-to-moment….what am I going to pay attention to?  Am I going to mentally jump ahead and worry about what postures are coming next, and what postures I can weasel my way out of without too much self-deprecation to follow?  Am I going to pay attention to my trembling muscles moving and holding the poses, the teacher’s calm voice guiding me through each posture?  Or am I going to be in each moment, totally present, only paying attention to my breath coming in and my breath going out? 

The times where I am paying attention to my breath and not the mental chatter are fleeting, but blissful.  I get to that place by being a beginner again, and not anticipating, not reviewing…just following instructions.  It seems to me that being in that state is a sort of “not paying attention” to anything.  Those few moments when the mind is clear are elusive and beautiful, and can disappear as soon as you start paying attention to them. 
We can spend all the minutes of our day paying attention to the details of life…getting the dishes clean, making sure all the bills are paid, folding the laundry, feeding the kids, answering the phone, the list goes one and on.  I feel unending gratitude for those brief moments where my mind is free to not pay attention to anything, to just be and not attach to any thoughts, watching them float by like clouds on the sky.

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