Friday, May 28, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

personal donkey kongs

lisa and andrei doing some awesome acroyoga (i am so excited for the retreat this weekend!!)

has anyone seen the documentary "king of kong"? i watched it instantly the other night and found it completely absorbing and unexpectedly inspiring. it's a documentary about competitive old-school video gamers (think big ms. pac-man arcade games). the plot, basically, is that since the early 80's, the world record for donkey kong (considered the most difficult of all video games) has been held by this horrible, egotistical guy named bobby who makes wing sauce in hollywood, florida. enter brian, a really kind, intelligent and consistently under-achieving family man from seattle who decides to deal with his recent unemployment by trying to beat the world record. he succeeds and the whole gaming world, ruled by bobby, goes a little crazy and it gets underhanded and at times, outrageously unfair but entirely epic. although its about something i am not that interested in, i was captivated by these two men and a little monkey and their scores growing higher and higher because it felt like something much bigger was being told. it's the classic story of an underdog going after what he loves and growing a lot through his challenges along the way of meeting his goal that at one time seemed really unrealistic.

it's helped me to tie together a few different ideas i've been having lately about the process of change and especially how that change relates to me doing a handstand. since becoming an instructor last summer, i have been able to do a lot of previously inaccessible things that involved upper body strength, like a forearm stand and free standing headstands and crow pose and a proper full chatarangua (like a push-up). the one pose that i still really want to do is to kick up into a handstand. i have tried and tried during my training and each night before i go to bed (i have a piece of wall in my bedroom that i call "the wall of inversions") and again with new enthusiasm when i started practicing acroyoga in the fall yet never could do it. i think mostly because i haven't been able to get it, it really represents something important to me--some level of being a yogini. i feel like when i do a handstand, i will really arrive (to where, i am not sure).

so i was waiting for a class to start the other night and in a good mood and decided to give it a try. i put my mat against the wall. luckily, i've sought advice so many times that i know exactly what i should be doing. i set my arms up correctly with my shoulders stacked over my wrists. i dug my finger tips into the mat. i looked up at the crease of the wall in front of me. i bent one knee and extended the other leg behind me, engaging the quadriceps and turning the toes down toward the floor. i was totally prepared to do a half-foot jump and then land with my usual thud. yet right away the movement felt different. there was lift and my hips hovered in the air for a second. i landed gracefully. i tried it again and got a little higher that time. each attempt was a little bit better. i still didn't kick all the way up but suddenly i knew that was coming. it's not quite here yet but it is coming.

these changes are subtle but important. i tell my students all the time that you can't think of making huge changes in your yoga practice, it's too overwhelming and you just end up getting frustrating. instead you just have to keep making 100 teeny tiny little changes every time you show up at the mat and love the process for feeling so unfinished yet full at the same time. you love your frustration and have compassion for yourself and work to build strength and flexibility and focus without expectation. it's really a process. then quietly, like a thief in the night, you will suddenly be able to do headstand or a great chataranga and it will feel oddly natural.

i've seen a lot of things change in my life. i've gone from not liking anything whole wheat to wanting my bread as full of fiber and grain as possible. i've gone from not liking my body at all to liking it quite a bit these days. i've gone from feeling like being single was a failure to really enjoying this time in my life when i can be completely selfish and live exactly the way that i please and date when/who i like.

the really interesting part of all of is that throughout these changes, i've always been surprised that when the reality comes, i am still pretty much the same person. i still have my good days and bad days, just with a new trick in my bag. i know that when my legs finally hit the wall, that i will come down and my world will still be right there waiting for me.

i've also come to accept that as much as i have, i will always want new things. i really reallly really (i'm saying it three times so it will come true) want to start studying art and write a book and have a fulbright project to work in the amazon and have my own yoga podcasts and have a photography show with my pictures from peru and yoga-wise, there are a ton of more complicated arm balances that will keep me captivated and frustrated for the rest of my practicing days. so that's my life. i am in a constant state of working toward a lot of personal donkey kongs and the only bobby i have that is trying to block my success is that negative voice in my head which i am getting better and better at ignoring (or distracting or loving or indulging--whatever the moment calls for). it's a process. it's slow and it's fast and when i am fully immersed in my dreams, nothing less than entertaining.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

please allow me to overestimate you.

sadie is here!

beautiful sadie alverson was born last week, a perfect 7.1 lbs and as you can see, already full of light and life. i tear up a little bit each time i look at this picture. as much as all of creation is founded on this reality, sometimes i still can't believe that we can really bring new life into this world. i'm, like, amazed that that bump i photographed a few weeks ago has transformed into a real living being which will someday translate into an adult living being and maybe she'll even have her own children. and the world goes on and on...

congratulations jaime and ryan! i'm so happy about this.

also i just found this quote and it seems entirely appropriate to welcome sadie here:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

from The Life and Work of Martha Graham

Monday, May 10, 2010

most amazing music video EVER

i especially love the delphin's little dance break-out and his pants and as well as the tigresas get-up and moves and the video editing with wendy sulca dancing with the hasids of isreal and this list could go on and on. te amo peru! you are capable of such strange, hilarious things.

ps on a sadder note, other people love peru too but not in a good way

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"it's cake o'clock! all day long"

i was listening to this song while traveling home on the metro last night and had this fantasy about the entire station dropping their bags and dancing and maybe even smiling a little bit. this is not my first of my metro group dance party fantasy. oh yes, one day it will happen.

but until then, we can all have a giggle and check out this sleep talking man. i'm a bit fascinated by him in that even the most normal-seeming of us all has all this crazy stuff running around in our heads. i love how him and his wife have just decided to embrace it and share it with everyone instead of getting weirded out by the meanness and animal fantasies. a few favorites of his:

"Hands up who wants sweets! Hands up! Awwwwww. You've got no hands. Sucks to be you, sweets for me."

"It's cake o'clock! All day long."

"I want to see the piglets. Let me see the piglets. Why can't I see the piglets? Ohhhh, piglets! ...Fuck they stink! I want to go home now. Stinky fucking piglets."

excerpt from the ninth elegy

Why, if this interval of being can be spent serenely
in the form of a laurel, slightly darker than all
other green, with tiny waves on the edges
of every leaf (like the smile of a breeze) --: why then
have to be human - and, escaping from fate,
keep longing for fate?

Oh not because happiness exists,
that too-hasty profit snatched from approaching loss,
Not out of curiosity, not as practice for the heart, which
would exist in the laurel too....
But because truly being here is so much; because everything here
apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which is in some strange way
keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all.

Once for each thing. Just once; no more. And we too,
just once. And never again. But to have been
this once, completely, even if only once:
to have been at one with the earth, seems beyond undoing.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

florida oranges & a kentucky gentleman

florida oranges.

I went to go see farmer, poet, essayist Wendell Berry speak at the Arlington library on Tuesday night. A boyfriend in college gave me a book of his sabbath poems and reading them has always given me a wise, still place (almost like i am burrowing deep down into the ground) to be for a few moments. He's 75, speaks with a deep southern accent and when he reads, the whole room was right there in the passage.

A few of his ideas I was most struck by:
--his differentiation between education, influence, and knowledge and another between a network and a community. in a community, no one's work is done until everyone's work is done. he says a community is when someone else occasionally handles your problems. meaning that 1) you are vulnerable enough to let people know your business, 2) people are kind enough to help with you that and 3) it is reciprocated again and again
--creating a separation between a job and money~do the job well and the money will take care of itself.
--finding richness within boundaries (he is big proponent of fidelity within a marriage and a community)
--accepting yourself for all your strangeness and extremism and finding a way to create out of that. he proposes just writing one page a day because we never know which day is going to allow a little greatness to leak through (again this idea of practice).
--acting as a conservationist for land and traditions and stories and family members

The Real Work

It may be that when we no longer know what to do

we have come to our real work

and that when we no longer know which way to go

we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

-Wendell Berry