Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reflections

Hey guys. Remember how today, when you're reading this, is my birthday? Well it is—I'm 27 today! And it's weird—mostly because it hasn't felt at all (as of this writing at 9:34 p.m. Monday) like it was about to be my birthday. Between Easter hoopla and all the other things going on this month, I haven't had time yet to slow down and think really about what this year should look like. What this past year looked like, what I've done, and what I hope to do next.

Some parts are simple, of course. At age 26, I started and finished marathon training and yoga teacher training. I became a marathoner and a certified yoga teacher! How crazy. How cool. How much to do, when you think about it and all that goes into each, in just the space between two birthdays.

But coming back to the point (it is Training for Tuesday after all), all this plus the information I shared last week PLUS the fact that we're less than two weeks away from the bridal shower I'm throwing, all have me feeling terrible that I couldn't really get myself together in time to write the post I wanted to write today. But as I was thinking about how I would get something on the blog today, something worthwhile, I remembered a post I wrote a few years ago. A post few of you likely saw as my blog was just a baby, as was my identity as a runner. I was just 6 months into this wild and unexpected and gruesome and amazing journey and could not imagine then that I'd be where—and who—I am today.

I want to share that post today—as I grovel for forgiveness after phoning it in to my own linkup—because even now, 21 months later, it's still true. It's why I run.
________________

Before I ran, the time I spent outside was largely at the mercy of other friends who had to be pried out the door for adventures, patio cocktails, and hikes. Now I never need a reason to spend hours with the great outdoors — just my running shoes.

Long, solo runs with nothing but my favorite playlist have replaced brooding in my apartment, venting over booze and bad food, and aimless drives as methods to clear my mind and lift my mood.

There are few better ways to merge charity with looking after my own health.

Every step I take is proof that I can do anything if I care enough to start, and to keep trying.

Each time I feel like giving up, I learn the depths of my strength and willpower.

I never knew how strong my mind could be until I started running.

Even though I've been working on meditation for years, it tends to come so easily on a run. Running is the only time where I truly feel stillness and silence in my mind.

Each injury or running pain is a chance for me to pull back, reflect, listen to my body, and regroup.

I have never been more aware of and in tune with my body as I am now that I run.

The running community is one of the kindest, warmest, most welcoming groups of people I've ever encountered.

Feeling welcomed by the running community has reinforced to me the importance of removing toxic influences from my life.

Running has shown me who in my life is waiting to see me fail, and who is cheering for me louder than I ever knew.

As a goal-oriented person, I have never set — and smashed — as many personal goals as I have in the last six months. Case in point: At Sunday's race, I was outwardly hoping to just break my PR. Inside, I was dying to get below 28:00. You know what happened there.

Every mile I run is a mile I never thought I would conquer, and shows me how capable I never knew I was.

Every time I add a run to my calendar and watch my mileage grow, I'm overcome with a sense of accomplishment few things in my life have brought me in the past.

Each run I set out on tests me, challenges me, and rewards me all at once.

Runner's high is real.

As is the high when Boston Marathoners tell you that you "have what it takes to be great."

I never thought I would be able to honestly say the words: "I'm in training for a half marathon." BOOM.

Running forces me to maintain other healthy habits, especially those that have been challenges for me all my life.

If I hadn't started running, I would still be a pack-a-day smoker.

For these and for so many more reasons, I run to be the person I feel like I was supposed to become.
___________________

Now for those of you who are better at planning posts than me, here's the part where you link up your posts! In case you're new to this party, you can get the details here, grab your button right here, and link up below. Don't forget to stop by some fellow linkers and spread that support and encouragement around like sunshine.
alyssagoesbang

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Trust


I have kind of a confession: I'm not doing exactly great right now. Great things are happening in my life, and some parts of my world are working and feeling great. But on the whole? "Great" isn't the word to use.

To be frank, my employment/work/whatever you want to call it situation is in flux in a scary way, and I'm not really certain of what's going to happen. I'm lucky and grateful to be teaching two regular classes per week, hopefully building a third very soon, and subbing classes left and right. But contrary to popular belief, baby yoga teachers don't really roll in the big bucks. I absolutely love working at Bad Yogi, but it's still part time. And I have a few ongoing contracts, but each comes with its own frustrations and challenges and some of those frustrations and challenges are related to their payment policies (or lack thereof). On top of it all, I'm apparently unhireable, as I've sent out by my estimate 34,000 resumes and gotten two interviews and zero responses or follow-ups. I've pitched countless editors, given away dozens of free ideas, and received not a single peep in response. I'm exhausted, and I'm scared.

I'm not telling you this for pity or sympathy. I'm telling you this because it's real, its what's going on in my life, it's what I'm worried about, and it's what's keeping me from devoting more time, energy, and attention to blog world. But even while this dark cloud is looming over me, I'm doing my best to enjoy each day and find lightness within it all. I don't want to be one of those bloggers who pretends life is roses 24/7, but I also don't want to wallow or surrender to this problem—this problem that worrying will do nothing to solve.

On the one hand, I feel like I've exhausted all my options and there's nothing left to do but sit around and wait. On the other, I know that necessity is the mother of invention. And I know that there is never going to be a "good" time to take yet another leap and go after something I want, but there is also never a good time to stagnate.

What to do while you're waiting

Work on your handstand, your hollow back, your scorpion. Not because yoga is about acrobatics, or because nailing these poses means being "good at yoga." But because twisting up your body is sometimes the only way to unwind your mind. Because bending at the back means opening up the heart and sometimes a release of the heart chakra is exactly what your soul calls for.

Celebrate your 16 weeks of exploration and education with your new yoga family. Gather with your YTT classmates for red wine, tiny tattoos, delicious empanadas, deep belly laughs, and future plans.

Have a pizza party. A virtual pizza party at that. Work with the little family at Bad Yogi to reach a kick-ass goal, and literally have a pizza party via Skype with three people you respect, admire, and adore. Connect between New Jersey, Austin, and France in a shared love of food and yoga and changing the world.

Go for a run. Hate it, feel like a failure. Then do it again, and remember why you did it at all. (Remember also that next week is the last of the month, which means it's time for Training for Tuesday once again!)

Have an early birthday celebration with family, and eat leftover carrot cake for days. Drink every beverage out of your new mug from mom and remember the wisdom of Professor Dumbledore with each sip.

Insure yourself and get on the hunt for teaching time slots, even when you realize there is no shortage of great teachers in your area. Realize that the best you can do is teach your best class each time, be yourself, be a good source of energy, and people will gravitate naturally toward your class. Recognize a few more faces each week and realize holy crap—you've got regulars. Feel good and embrace it, and try to breathe in all that goodness for 75 minutes each time you teach, letting nothing else interfere with your good class vibes.

Set up a business website. Keep it private for now, but set a date. Get ready to launch. Know what you're doing. Know it's good. Know it in your bones that you're on the right track. Prepare. Work. Trust.

Make plans. Make outlines. Make lists. Sketch, recruit helpers, envision it all coming together. Know it will.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Recent Reads Vol. 8

Confession: Sometimes this awesome, literary, fast-reading group of bloggers that bands together every month for Show Us Your Books makes me feel super inadequate. Especially right now when I'm reading slower than ever before—due to a combination of poorly-timed title selections, general apathy, laziness, and time crunched-ness. All this to say there's not much here, but here's what I've finished reading since last we linked.

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
I'll venture to say this was my favorite by Bret Easton Ellis so far. And I stupid love Less Than Zero and quite liked the others I've read, so that's saying a lot. Maybe it's because the privilege barrier didn't exist so much here (versus others by him) so I could connect a little better with the kids I was reading? (As if they could ever read like "kids" in the true sense...) I found it to be very obviously his, which I find to be a good thing because I love Ellis and his writing and his mind. He will definitely not be a hit for others, but if you've read and enjoyed something by him, I think this has to be on your list.

Recommend? — If you're inclined toward this slightly sinister genre, yes!

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Ugh—I'm sorry, there's no other way for me to start than this. This was more annoying than anything. I kept on reading hoping the narrative would circle back to the place where it started—the place the title implied the book would go, the place set up by the narrator and jacket copy and everything else. But less than halfway through the book, the author seemed to forget about the entire premise she'd started building and talked about something completely different that I had no reason to care about because she'd set up a completely different story and expectation. And also, magical realism is a lot more in-depth than giving random people whack-ass "super powers" that they don't utilize or utilize in dumb ways. It was lazy and completely unfinished and a waste of time.

Two more specific gripes: I went audiobook on this one, so I didn't know this until reading Goodreads reviews, but apparently the author abandoned accepted punctuation rules around dialogue too. That probably explains why every other sentence ended with "I said," or "he said." Said, said, said, said, said. Holy crap, that was grating to hear 50 times per minute. Also, the author had a bad voice for audiobook, in my opinion, and paused for WAY too long between sentences. It made it drag on even longer than necessary.

(More anger about this one in my Goodreads review.)

Recommend? — Definitely not missing anything here. Skip it.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I'm pretty sure I read this early on in college, but considering my memory for narrative details is utter crap, it was pretty much new to me except for the overall concept. I haven't seen the movie either, so that helped it feel like new to me. I'm pretty sure most people have read this book already, or at least most people who want to have. If you're holding out though, you can stop. Pick up this book and give it a read. It's a unique story by a talented author, rich and well-written, imaginative, emotional, compelling. Well worth your time, not that it will take you much to get through this moving story.

Recommend? — Absolutely (barring the possible trauma trigger).

Still reading:
The Casual Vacancy

And that's where I'm at. What are you reading, finishing, and loving lately?

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Missed Opportunities

Bless me, Internet, for I have sinned, and it's been...a really long time since my last confession. When you feel yourself ambling toward a slump, what else is there to do but join the best link-up day of the blogosphere?
Picture is completely irrelevant, but also incredibly important. LOOK AT IT.

+ Let's start it off on a gross note. I have had this freaky ass skin thing going on on my right hand pinky finger for as long as I can remember and I have no idea what it's about. It's basically just a small patch of REALLY dry, flaky, tight skin on the top knuckle of that finger. But it doesn't seem to be medically important or in any way pertinent so I have no reason to see a dermatologist about it so I'm just left here to observe my weird skin and be curious. But oh my GOD I am really curious. I have generally dry skin so I moisturize constantly, but this knuckle takes it to a whole 'nother level.

+ My 2-year blogiversary came and went (last Thursday, February 25) and I did nothing to mark the occasion. A good blogger would have done a special post, or a giveaway, or maybe even published a post at all that day. I did none of those things. Sorry, blog.

+ So I was a Glee fan when it was on, and then after Cory Monteith died (and the show generally started sucking besides that fact) I actually had a really hard time watching it, and I never watched the final season. Netflix had a big issue with that, apparently, because it kept nudging me, so I finally watched the final season—guys, it was so much better than the second to last one!—and then went right back to the pilot and have been working my way slowly through a series rewatch. And I'm crying more than I ever remember crying before! I don't know if it's the fact that Cory died or I'm just more emotional now than I was or things are hitting me harder lately in general, but I'm like a bucket of tears almost every episode. I'm not proud of this.

+ It's officially my birth month. My birthday's the 29th, and I have to admit, I've been thinking about how to celebrate it for weeks now. Maybe actually months? It falls on a weird day this year—the Tuesday after Easter and before I head to DC for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, so the bordering weekends are tough and I want to do something special. What, you ask? No idea. Not a clue. Help, maybe?

+ Also, I'm turning 27. I'm not freaking out about getting older, although 27 does sound REALLY bizarre. Just...who does that? Turn 27, I mean. It already feels like such a strange age. But mostly, I have fears about the 27 Club. Because obviously, I'm on the same talent, fame, and drug use plane as Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison. I have very rational concerns, you guys.

+ And finally, because I know you've been anxiously waiting over a month for this: 28 Thoughts I Had When Teaching My First Yoga Class.

Roll credits.

Linking up with Sarah + Alanna, Kathy + Nadine.