Thing #23 – Priorities

Yes, I know I haven’t written in like six weeks. Yes, I know I have sixteen more things to write in just a few months. Lay off me, I’ve done the math.

I’ve always been particularly adept at handling multiple priorities at once, but the past month has taught me an important lesson: I can’t do everything.

This was a news flash for someone who’s historically been successful at doing all the things at once, and stubborn in my pursuit of doing them.

As you know, I’ve spent the past eight weeks completing yoga teacher training. It required focus, and I wanted to honor the investment and immerse myself fully in the experience. Between the physical practice and the personal development, it was an exhausting and wildly rewarding adventure.

On top of this, it’s also my most demanding time of year at work. I was unusually busy planning a huge fundraising event, hosting board meetings, staying on top of deadlines and generally trying to be a medium-good leader.

Oh, and then there’s being a friend/daughter/sister/wife. … Read the rest

Thing #21 – Cold Dead Throat

I lifted my hair from the back of my neck, protecting the strays from tangling in the velcro closure of the black cape. It was like being at the salon, but instead of a haircut, I was getting my picture taken. It wasn’t any ordinary picture. This one would show me my aura, and would reveal illuminating – and potentially scary – glimpses into myself.

“What does an aura even look like?” I thought while hunched under my cape. During a particularly “dynamic” evening in college, I thought I saw someone’s aura…but I also believed my feet were squeaky wheels and I needed to get to a body shop for repair. This photo wouldn’t be a hallucination. I’d be able to grasp the vision of my aura in my hands.

The aura reader gave me two metal rods to hold like relay batons. This gave the electromagnetic camera a conductor to capture my energies. I sat still and felt the instinct to smile. It was a picture, after all. But I stayed solemn and let … Read the rest

Thing #20 – Keep growing

Ten years ago I took my first yoga class. The first class I truly enjoyed, at least. I’d tried a few other classes, but didn’t quite connect with them. I remember taking a beginner’s class from an ageless rubber band of an Asian woman. It was a stream of heavily accented Sanskrit instruction, with most of us peeking at each other for cues on how to move. There was only one intelligible refrain – “aaaand breavvvve.” Listen, I’m not intending to sound racist…I adored her accent. But she said it so distinctly that to this day, “aaaand breavvvve,” is all I hear in my head when I’m trying to calm down.

Soon after, I found a yoga class that spoke to me. I discovered my breath. I moved in a graceful flow that disconnected me from the chatter in my mind and planted me firmly in the present. Every pose was new and challenging, and I was quickly arriving at places I physically didn’t think I was able to go.

After a couple months, I … Read the rest

Thing #2 – Find Your Goats

For the first time in yoga, I felt like an actual tree. I was standing in the open air with my arms branching toward the sky, one leg squarely rooted on the rubber meadow of my yoga mat, and surrounded by a herd of goats. This was as literal as Tree Pose was going to get.

I did it. I succumbed to the Goat Yoga fad that has made its way across the country and onto CBS Sunday Morning. Nearly ten years ago, I tried my first yoga class and instantly fell in love with the peace and ritual of it. Since that day, I’ve tried plenty of styles of yoga, but have never practiced alongside livestock.

Yoga checks a couple critical boxes for me. Mentally, it forces me to stay acutely aware and to focus on the simple act of breathing, which keeps away the anxieties that flit around my head like mosquitoes. Physically, it challenges my strength and flexibility, while allowing me the superficial side-benefit of toned triceps. Although I had a … Read the rest