Orlando Won’t Be the Last.

It was a week ago tonight that a gunman would enter a popular gay nightclub with a semi-automatic weapon and kill 49 people and injure an additional 53.  Some of those people are still in hospitals today, desperately clasping onto the life their injuries threaten to take away.

I pray they all make it.

Most of us by now have heard the names of the dead and have seen their faces. The majority of those lives taken were young people in their twenties. Though any life taken in such a brutal manner as this is tragic, seeing the pictures of those young faces, some posing in bars from a different time in their life, hit me hard.

I used to be one of those twenty-something year old faces, back in the the days when the weekend meant going to bars filled with people like me. Where I could dance, kiss, and hold hands with another girl without feeling strange. It was “normal” to be like me in places like those. And despite what people say about “defying the ordinary” and “normal is boring” it’s nice to not stand out sometimes, rather to fit in. Go unnoticed.

Gay bars offered a refuge, a safe haven, for gay people who might have spent Monday through Friday hiding while feeling self-conscious living and working in a heterosexual world. But the weekends we were free. We let loose. We were ourselves.

Because the gunman (I won’t call him by his name because he doesn’t deserve that kind of respect) called 911 before the attack and pledged his allegiance to the terrorist group ISIS, some people are calling this a terrorist attack, and only a terrorist attack.  All attacks are done to cause terror, but this assault was triggered by hatred toward a specific group of people. Gay people. And everyone needs to acknowledge that.

Every gay person across the country, maybe even the world, who’d ever been to a gay bar – felt safe in a gay bar – has watched this story unfold as each day brought new horrifying details, and thought, “That could have been me.”

Those are terrifying words when uttered in relation to a morbidly hatred act.

I learned of the shooting the morning after my niece’s wedding. I had just woken up in a hotel room, my mother beside me in my bed and my two young nephews sleeping in the other bed, and I turned on my phone. I read the headlines news of that morning and sat in stunned silence as my mind took in the unbelievable words I had just read. I listened to the steady breath of my loved ones, sleeping safely in the room with me, yet I still felt so afraid.

My mind turned to the night before, a joyous occasion, and I struggled to imagine that while I was dancing and laughing and drinking, there were people, half my age, thousands of miles away from me, who were only minutes away from taking their last breath while doing something I had done hundreds of times before – dancing, laughing, having fun at a gay bar.

A little while later, my 11 year old niece came into my hotel room from her own, and when she heard the news on the TV reporting that 50 people were killed, her eyes opened wide and she asked me why someone would do that.

One of the most difficult consequences of hate-filled murder is trying to explain the act to children. I couldn’t answer my niece’s question because I don’t know how a person hates so much to kill innocent people. All I could do was hug my young niece. Assure her she was safe.

The same niece, days later, would overhear me on the phone talking to a friend about going to a gay bar the following weekend (because gay people aren’t going to hide in fear) and she cried out for me not go. “Gay people are being killed Auntie! Don’t go!”

She had heard the reports of the man who was arrested while heading to the L.A. Pride Parade the Sunday following the shooting, with guns in his car, looking to do more harm to gay people.  I assured my niece I wouldn’t go to a gay bar this weekend, however my city’s Pride Parade is next weekend, and I’m planning on being there.

I don’t know what happens from here. If six-year old’s can be gunned down in their Kindergarten class, no one is safe. I don’t know when or where the next shooting is going to take place, or who the target will be this time, but I do know that another mass shooting will happen again.

That, I know for certain. That past assures me of this.

While we wait for our country’s leaders to finally do something about our much too-easy access to high-powered, high-killing guns, we cross our fingers that it’s not us, or our loved ones, caught in the next horrifying headline news that results in moments of silence and American flags ordered at half staff.

 

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Photo Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Half a Year Gone. What Have you Done? ?

Today is June 1. The mark of half a year gone by. The time I usually reflect on the past six months in relation to the ambitious goals and optimistic attitude I had coming into the New Year.

I am sure I have the list of New Year intentions I resolved to accomplish written down somewhere, but have forgotten where I put it. (The list is probably in some convenient place I specifically chose so I wouldn’t forget where it is.)

Offhand, I remember the list being something like this:

Reading – Every new year begins with my resolution to read 52 books – one book per week – for an entire year. I have yet to accomplish this feat.  Last year I read 34 books. The halfway point of this year finds me at a measly 9 books. Although I am currently reading two books and plan to finish them this week, I am still way off target. Whenever I fail to reach the coveted 52 books, I settle for at least doing better than the previous year. To beat even last year’s number means I gotta kick it up – big time.

My struggle isn’t for lack of books. My kindle is filled with a plethora of authors I love, as well as authors I am just discovering, and my library card is always in my wallet for constant access. I have no valid reason for falling so behind. I love to read. I’m a writer. I have no choice but to love to read. If I didn’t, I’d have no business being a writer.

Sometimes I feel guilty when I’m reading because I tell myself I should be writing. But a writer learns while he/she reads, and will better at his/her craft the more they read, so I will no longer call it reading, rather research. 

The next time I spend a gorgeous afternoon under the sun engrossed in a great story, I will tell myself that what I am doing is the writer’s equivalent of a scientist conducting experiments in a lab wearing goggles and a lab coat. Research!

Blogging – I set a goal to write two blogs a week. This isn’t an overly ambitious goal. I did not set myself up to fail  because this is an easily attainable feat. Yet, if you keep up with my blog even just a little bit, you know that not only am I not writing two blogs a week, but sometimes I don’t even write one.

This failure isn’t for lack of having anything to say. There is plenty happening out there I have an opinion about. Hello, this is election year. There have been an abundance of headlines that caused me to seriously rethink the level of humanity and compassion in our country’s leaders. And this is sad.

But I hesitate to write here sometimes because I question why anyone would care what I think. Am I wasting my time with this blog?  I do this blogging thing because I was told authors needed it as one of their platforms. I know for certain my blog has been responsible for one book sale – one. But I don’t blog for the sales. I do it for that one person who may enjoy reading the words I write.

I easily forget at times that anyone, in any country with internet, has access to everything I write. A few of my friends read my blog and occasionally they’ll comment on something I’ve written, and I’ll stop whatever I’m doing, and think, “Oh yeah. I wrote that and you can read everything I write.”

Sometimes it’s a little awkward when I’m scrambling to remember if I revealed anything too personal. I will put some of my self-consciousness aside and just write about whatever I want – no matter how opinionated I may get.

Yoga and Meditation – I started doing yoga consistently about two years ago. I still practice, but I’m not where I thought I would be by this time. My dedication to the spiritual journey I set on a few years back has been interrupted. I used to practice yoga everyday, meditate nightly, and read spiritual passages.

I allowed myself to get distracted. It became too difficult to keep my mind at the steady pace and concentration meditation requires. The external noise around me got too loud, and I began to listen too intently. I let myself get upset about things I know aren’t important. I tried to control too much, forgetting the impermanence of life.

I can feel in my body and soul, in my self, where I lost the calming benefit, and clarity, daily yoga and meditation had once given me. I will get back to yoga with more consistency. I will slow my mind and remind myself that at this moment, all is well. I will read and retain passages that enhance my spiritual journey.

Writing – I am happy I have at least kept up with my writing. I have just completed an 80,000 word novel, the longest story I’ve ever written called A Penny on the Tracks.  This feat alone makes falling behind on most everything else somewhat bearable.

 

A writer writes.

Never forget that, writers.

The Little Things…

Today was the epitome of what a spring day should be, and it was about time because only a few short weeks ago there was snow on the ground. But this morning, as I walked my dog underneath the warm sunshine, I watched birds flap their wings boldly as they flew in the sky, and listened to them chirp their soothing sounds. I love listening to birds sing. For me, the sound is the first proof that winter is finally coming to an end and the days will soon be getting longer. 

I took a moment to appreciate that not only was I physically well enough to take my dog for a walk outside, but also, that I was able to hear and see all the beauties of the day. Ever since I had read an article written by a young man who had lost his sense of taste after suffering a nasty cold, I have imagined what living would be like without other senses. 

When people are asked about our five senses, the ones that people probably consider the most are hearing and seeing. I remember as a child watching a blind woman in my grandmother’s neighborhood walking by herself, up and down the streets, with only a stick to guide her. I was amazed and when I asked me grandma about it, she very causally responded that the woman walks by herself outside all the time. Everywhere.

I have been in public places where I’ve watched hearing impaired people communicate through sign language, and of course, before most any TV show or sporting broadcast, a voice instructs the audience of the option available to select for the hearing impaired.

Also, I’ve seen many movies and TV shows that have included characters who are either deaf or blind, so I have many times considered what it would be like to be deaf or blind. Yet, I don’t remember ever contemplating how life would be if I lost my sense of taste, but since reading that article, I think about that possibility all the time.

Losing one’s sense of taste may not seem so life-changing as compared to the thought of losing one’s sight or hearing, and that may be true. But food is a big part of people’s lives. Not only is it needed to stay alive, but people often feel an identity by the food they eat as being part of their culture.

The man in the article described eating with no sense of taste as being the same as chewing a piece of gum that has lost its flavor.  Basically, when the gum starts to taste like rubber. This is how this man’s food now tastes to him–all the time. Like rubber.  There is no getting a fresh piece of gum for him any longer. Everything he puts in his mouth has the same bland, dull taste.

The food he eats will no longer satisfy any craving he may have. His taste buds have deceived him. About a month ago, I was watching a movie about the Australian band, INXS. I learned that lead singer, Michael Hutchence, had lost not only his sense of taste, but his sense of smell, as well, after a confrontation with a cab driver that left Hutchence on the ground with a banged up head. Hutchence would take his own life years later.

As I walked my dog this morning, I took a moment to appreciate the ability to take in the scene in every way possible. I could see the gorgeous blue sky with its white fluffy scattered clouds. I heard the birds sing, as well as the roar of lawnmowers, and smelled the earthy scent of freshly cut grass. All of this combined, helped to bring out the true beauty of that day.

I may never realize the feeling of flying in my own private jet, or  having more money than I know what to do with, but today I am grateful to have all of my senses.

Sometimes, it truly are the little things that matter in life.

 

We Are All Connected

I wrote a blog a few weeks back titled “Climbing Everest” based on the movie Everest that depicted the real life tragedy of the day twelve climbers died on May, 10 1996 on Mount Everest. The movie had a huge impact on me. I’ve since read the book, Into Thin Air, by journalist and bestselling author, Jon Krakauer, based on his personal account of that tragic day, almost exactly twenty years ago.

I confess that until I saw the movie, I wasn’t aware the tragic event ever happened. And now I can’t stop thinking about it. I was twenty years old in 1996. Old enough to keep up with current events, but possibly still too young to care? Whatever the case, I completely missed out on this headline news. I’ll chuck it up to ’96 being the year my father died, as well as the year I came out. So I was a little preoccupied. But now that I know, I feel like it happened just yesterday, yet the bodies froze twenty years ago and are still lying somewhere on that mountainalong with hundreds of other climbers who have perished through the years.

There is a lot of controversy surrounded by how the tragic events of the day escalated; was the storm that descended on the mountain that no one had seen coming, therefore was not prepared for, the main culprit? Or did the actions of some of the surviving climbers, as well as the ones who died, contribute to the ferocious calamity of that day?

I don’t have enough space on this blog to go into all the specific details, (you’d need to read the book) but I can touch on a few of the many factors that seemed to have contributed to the severity of the disaster; Greed, selfishness, bad decisions, and a storm with terrible timing all seemed to play a role in twelve climbers never making it off that mountain.

When the climbers began for the summit on May 10, they had no idea time would be so critical. Lead guides of two of the expeditions, Rob Hall and Scott Fisher, had decided on a stern 2:00 (the latest) turnaround time. Meaning, no matter where the guides or their clients were on the mountain at that time, everyone would turn around and go back because getting caught in the summit after 2:00 means the sun will most likely be gone while you’re still descending. Everest is a lot more dangerous, as well as cold, in the dark.

For whatever reason that day, neither lead guide instructed their climbers to turn around at that time. In fact, one of Hall’s clients, Doug Hansen, with Hall’s guidance, was allowed to the summit at 4:00. There is a theory that the lead guides, business competitors, allowed their clients late arrival atop the mountain because each man got a little greedy and wanted the most clients on their expedition to make it to the top.

Krakauer, led by Hall, was surprised that Hall, known for his meticulous planning and extreme emphasis on safety, would have strayed from his plans.  But he did, and that decision proved fatal for him, Hansen, and a junior guide, Andy Harris, who stopped his descent after reaching the top to climb back up to help them.

The three climbers got caught in the strong storm, and no one was able to get to them. The storm also claimed Fisher’s life. He made it to the summit at 3:30. Also past the predetermined turnaround time. Exhausted during his descent, Fisher laid down to rest and never got back up. The next day he was found lying dead, frozen, in his path. A friend moved him to the side and buckled his climbing bag across his face.

But the timing of the day was off before anyone even came close to the summit. Days earlier, it was agreed among the numerous expeditions that two people from each group was to climb ahead of everyone on summit day and fix the lines and ropes. When not everyone showed up, the ones who did refused to do the work alone and therefore the ropes were never fixed. When the climbers arrived at the destinations, they had to wait hours for the lines to be fixed. This created a traffic of climbers, while eating up precious time.

This was a bad decision that contributed to the fatality of that day.

Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian guide on Fisher’s team who survived the tragedy, received a lot of criticism for his actions on the mountain. Some believed he didn’t do the job he was hired to do. As a guide, he was expected to remain close to the clients at all times, but on the day of the summit, Boukreev ascended well ahead of the rest of his team, and after making it to the summit, he descended without waiting for any of the clients. By the time the storm hit, Boukreev was already at camp and in his tent.

The reason for his quick exit was reasoned to have been because he wasn’t using supplemental oxygen. Using oxygen not only gives a person more strength and keeps them as coherent as a person can be at that altitude, but it also helps stave off the cold. Boukreev couldn’t wait for his clients, especially at the top of the mountain, because he would have froze to the death, which is why not using gas was irresponsible and selfish on his part. He couldn’t assist the clients the way he was paid to do because he was too vulnerable to the elements. He had to take care of himself first. (Boukreev did save two people’s lives later in the night.)

Maybe had Boukreev had oxygen and had stayed close with his team, he could have prevented some climbers who died on the mountain from getting caught in the storm.

We’ll never know what could have been. That is the reality of life, isn’t it? We only know for certain the decisions that have been lived.

The story of the Everest disaster has captured me some twenty years after it’s been lived and I can’t get it out of my head. There’s so many parallels between what happened on that mountain and what happens in life every single day.

On that mountain, the climbers’ lives were interconnected. The actions of one person, directly affected the life of the other. Bad decisions and mistakes had a bearing on everyone, and cost some climbers their lives. There was so much more that went wrong on that mountain than I had room to write, but it seemed to be a domino effect from one bad decision to the next, and it was inevitable that something horrible was going to happen.

We are all connected in this world. Our lives interconnect with each other, whether we believe it or not, because like on Everest, the decisions we make can change the course of another person’s life.

If someone chooses to drink and drive and smashes his car into someone else, killing that person. That person loses his or her life, but what if that person was an only parent to a small child? Maybe that child grows up in the custody of the State, and is in and out of foster homes, filled with a life of abuse and instability so severe that by the time the child reaches eighteen, he/she is so traumatized by their experience they never recover.*

Without the appropriate help, because no one took the time to really evaluate the emotional and mental well-being of the child, he/she is thrown out into the world completely unprepared and non-adjusted. Based on these circumstances, that child may make a bad decision that could alter the life of someone else, they way it did the child’s life years back.

It’s the domino effect. It happened on Everest in 1996, and it happens in life every single day.  It’s why I believe we need to take care of each other as though we are all climbing Everest together.

 

* Please note I am not implying that all foster homes are bad and filled with abuse. I do acknowledge that there are wonderful families opening their homes to children in need and are providing them with fulfilling and stable lives, but unfortunately sometimes abuse happens.

 

  

 

 

 

I Ain’t Sinatra

Unlike Sinatra, I have more than a few regrets. Enough to mention, but I won’t in detail. Not here. My regrets stay locked tightly inside me and I fear if I accumulate any more, my insides will burst like the overflow of a shaken carbonated bottle. But my lid sits securely in its place–for now.

Some of my regrets I couldn’t control, but most, however, were of my own-doing. My past is filled with chances I didn’t take when I should have and chances I did take when I shouldn’t have. I quit when I was meant to fight and acted brave when it was best to walk away.

Live and Learn.

I meditate. Being still helps calm most of my mind’s chaos, while teaching me to accept my past knowing that I can’t change it. The part of my life already lived will not be given back to me. I’m tilting toward the brink of forty. If I’m lucky to live to see eighty, my life is already half-over. Half-lived.

Time may minimally ease the sting in the cuts of a person’s deepest regrets, but the guilt and shame in not feeling any sense of accomplishment in one’s life is a heavy burden to carry.

Luckily, that burden was lifted from me the moment I signed my first publishing contract. I waited twenty years and I would have waited twenty more because getting published is the validation most writers seek, and I was no exception to that need of validity.

In 1999, I was fresh out of college — an English major who didn’t want to teach. I want to be a writer, I’d say, and being a teacher sounded too permanent. So I took a job selling cellphones. I sold cellphones before I even owned one. I didn’t know how to power-on most of the phones I was meant to sell, let alone answer technically-specific questions about them.

“Is this a NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery or a lithium-ion?”

“Um…let me check on that for you, sir,” I’d say, and sneak behind a front display and whisper to my manager, “What the #uck is a nickel metal something battery and lithium something another?”

These exchanges happened often. I’ll never forget the $hit I caught from a customer when I told him a charger he wanted to buy was an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) Motorola product when it was actually an after-market brand. It was an honest mistake, but because he owned stock in Motorola, he was furious. And he let me know it.

I was a terrible salesperson, but that was the appeal. The only job I wanted to be good at was writing. The downtime waiting for customers was spent writing. But I didn’t yet know how to write and my first rejection letter proved this. I was around twenty-three years old and all I wanted was to be a published writer. I took the rejection well. I didn’t expect it to be easy, but I also didn’t know it was going to be so hard.

But the hard is what makes the moment so sweet when you finally get it right.

I signed my first publishing contract early last year and my book came out the following summer. Though I may have felt validation as a writer, that moment, a year later, has created one of the biggest regrets in my life, and that’s saying a lot. I know I can’t bring back the past, no matter how far I reach back. Like all my other regrets, this one has to live through its course, and will be felt every inch of the way.

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A Time to Reflect

Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of the forty days (not including Sundays) of Lent. Lent is a time to reflect on the days that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We fast. We refrain from meat on both Ash Wednesday and Fridays. Fish isn’t considered meat. Only flesh from warm-blooded animals are off-limits. Sorry tuna but you don’t get a reprieve, in fact, your death rate probably spikes during this time. It’s true. Baked tuna casserole with crumbled potato chips on top will always make me think of Fridays during Lent.

Catholics are also required to give up something they really, really like because this isn’t a time to be festive. It’s a time to reflect on suffering. It is a somber time. Fast food, diet coke, potato chips, alcohol, candy, porn, whatever your guilty pleasure, you give it up. Except on Sundays. All bets are off on Sundays because Sundays are festive days. Sundays are the Lord’s day and we celebrate the Lord. Every Sunday. No matter what. Even during Lent. Meat may be eaten, as well as that favorite thing we gave up.

Truly. The rules aren’t so hard when we consider Jesus had nails driven through his hands and feet on a cross he would later die. All for our sins, AFTER he was brutally, nearly whipped to death, yet still, some idiot will complain about that ONE day during the week he or she can’t put pepperoni on their pizza or eat bacon with their eggs.

Hey, idiot, try some tuna instead.

Having said all this, I didn’t get my ashes today. I haven’t gotten ashes in over a decade because I don’t go to church. Aside from Baptisms, Communions, Weddings, and Funerals, I haven’t attended a regular mass in close to fifteen years…not even on Christmas. Even though I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through high school, my family wasn’t “strict” Catholics by any means.

Still, weekly church attendance was expected when I was a child and Christmas mornings were the worst. I’d beg and plead to stay home in my pajamas and play with my new toys. But that never happened. We attempted Midnight Mass one year to forgo the morning chaos, but there was so much singing and I was way too tired for all of that. I fell asleep against my grandmother’s snugly arm.

I’m not sure the exact moment I decided to stop going to church, but I do remember the Sunday morning when I listened to a priest preach the Homily. This was around 1998. A young man named Mathew Shepard had recently been beaten and left to die in a field, presumably, because he was gay. The priest condemned the act because the Church did not condone violence, and then he told the people sitting before him that if they knew someone who was gay to not hurt them, but instead, help them. Yes. Help them find their way because gay people were clearly lost souls. A little direction was all they needed. A compass, if you will.

The town I grew up in was home to about 18,000 people. We had two Catholic schools and two Catholic churches. Divide up two churches of the same religion in a not-so-big town, and that isn’t a lot of people attending each church, especially given not everyone in town was Catholic. This meant you prayed among a lot of familiar faces during Sunday mass. After the priest instructed his congregation to lead gay people from the everlasting damnation that was surely awaiting them, I looked around me. With those familiar faces came a lot of knowledge of who these people were and I was mostly unimpressed. Small towns talk and it scared the $hit out of me that my salvation depended on those @ssholes.

No way.

I had only been out a couple years to select friends and family. I was young, twenty, and very nervous about who knew I was a lesbian, so I did nothing as the priest spoke his words. I obediently sat still in my place in the pew and listened. But if that would happen today, I’d stand up and leave through the side door, (not the back) and let the door slam behind me so the entire congregation, including the priest…wait...especially the priest, knew somebody had just left. And that somebody didn’t agree with the bull$hit he was spewing.

But I wasn’t so bold back then.

This is the first Lent in years that I am taking part in. For a long time, I would intentionally eat meat on those forbidden days. Disobeying the rules made me feel good. I held a grudge against a religion I called my own for a long time. I know now that I wasn’t holding a grudge against God, but a grudge against the people who worshiped Him, because they hardly ever practiced what He preached. But through all the time neglecting His service, I never stopped believing in Him and had always felt (still do) that a higher power was watching me.

This keeps my conscience on high-alert.

By nature I’m a spiritual person. I recently started meditating twice a day. I sit still, cross-legged, on my bedroom floor. I close my eyes and repeat mantras over and over in my head. I do this while fingering yoga beads in my hands. The first time I did this I felt guilty because the beads reminded me of the Rosary. I can’t honestly remember the last time I prayed to the Rosary. I apologized to God that night while assuring Him that He wasn’t being replaced.

This is just something I need to do.I hope the clarity I gain through meditation will help strengthen the absent connection I’ve had with my former religion.

I’ve asked God to give me time. I’m still alive. So I think He’s okay with it.

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Photo Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Yoga and Life

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At the start of the New Year, I resolved to practicing daily yoga and meditation. I’ve been doing yoga off and on for about four years. But if you’re off for two months and then on for three, and then off for another two, it is impossible to attain any of the life-changing benefits yoga offers. This past year I was disciplined enough to not go months without doing yoga and I have seen amazing results, but this year I will be better.

The first thing yoga taught me was to breathe. You may be thinking “who the heck needs to be taught how to breathe?” I know. I know. Breathing is the first thing we do when we enter this world. We take a breath via a cry, or a scream. What’s so hard about doing something every living being must do to survive? Well, everything and I was doing it wrong.

Through yoga I learned Ujjayi Pranayama. Ujjayi breathing is a technique of the breath which can be referred to as “the ocean breath.” Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that means “extension of the breath.” Prana means “life force” and Ayama means “to draw out.” Ujjayi Pranayama is usually associated with asana practice, the practice of sitting down (or any posture that helps with flexibility). Sitting still while restoring one’s mind is one of the tremendous benefits of yoga. Being able to stretch and attain certain positions brings peace to both body and mind.

But starting yoga is hard, especially if you aren’t flexible. I wasn’t flexible at all when I first stepped onto my mat. I couldn’t touch my toes without bending my knees, but every day I practiced, I got closer and the breath is what kept me from giving up. On the mat I learned to breathe through uncomfortable positions – not scattered breath – but long, deep breathing. A yogi or yogini takes what he or she learns on the mat into their daily life. I carried this technique with me throughout my day by not holding my breath in stressful situations. Breathing keeps the mind calm.

I touch my toes comfortably now and all forward bends (sitting and standing) are my favorite asanas. We hold past relationships in our hips so forward bends are a great way to release negative energies lingering from former lovers. The pose I once loathed has become an integral part of my practice. Such is the way with yoga? (Maybe one day I’ll be able to say that about the head stand, which I refuse to even attempt.)

After consistent practice, a yogi/yogini discovers what kind of diet works better with his/her practice. I have switched to a vegetarian diet because I have found it it works really well with the asanas. A vegetarian diet doesn’t interfere with all the bending and twisting positions in my practice. I feel this way of eating enhances my ability to perform each asana and because there’s a lot of self-reflection in yoga/mediation, it is beneficial to adhere to a compassionate diet.

A few days ago, I committed to doing two daily twenty-minute meditations for forty days as a way to clear my mind and begin a positive habit that I hope transforms into a life-long practice because meditation reminds me to live in the moment. I can’t change the past nor can I predict the future, but I can appreciate the now. My favorite mantra that I use in my mediation is “In this moment, all is well.”

In meditation I listen and am mindful. I’m not perfect in carrying this into my daily life, but I work at it.

“Listen more, talk less.” – Buddha.

Namaste.

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Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Credit to Wikepedia for the exact definitions I used.