pizza

The last time I saw my mother alive was one year ago today. We had pizza at her favorite place with two other ladies who were her best friends. She died exactly one week later.

smiley pizza

smiley pizza

While we had our differences, our relationship had quite possibly reached the pinnacle of cohesiveness for us and I still miss her saucy personality. Her humor came out in sharp bursts, meaning you’d never know when or how much it would sting.

Routinely, when my brother and I were little – like 5-6 years old little – she hid behind the shower curtain, lying in wait for us to use the restroom. Then she’d rip it back and yell “BOO!” While I was scarred for life, I then practiced the same on my children with the same outcome: Pure Fear.

I learned later in life that we’d eaten various critters. My father was a hunter. If it moved, he killed it. So we apparently dined on delicacies such as venison, quail and wild turkey. Not so bad, but then we found out about the squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, frog and dove. All tastes like chicken when it’s fried to death. We also tried shark, dolphin and stingray. Some of this must have or should have been illegal. My mother admitted she’d put it on the table and watch us to see our reactions. She said it was a letdown every time we had none.

I had a car crash in 1999 where the airbag hit my open eyes so she came to “take care of me “. The day after the wreck, I had a doctor’s appointment to assess the damage. Because I was blinded, she had to guide me…right into a curb, a No Parking sign, and then into a chair. I, thankfully, was medicated. During the paperwork intake, she asked me questions such as my weight, insurance information, etc. Then she asked my favorite color. Huh? And did I know what I was wearing. I seriously thought these were on the questionnaire, but they weren’t and the other patients knew. She kept up with these odd questions until I caught on. Remember…I was medicated. The only solace I receive is that she probably peed herself while laughing her ass off.

On September 5, 2012, she announced during pizza that she was planning a 45th Anniversary Party for my father and herself a week later. It was at a local Mexican place they loved, and she had all the details worked out except the dessert. She asked me to bake my world-famous Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese icing. While she and my father are diabetic, she wanted everyone to enjoy them. I was honored and bought all the ingredients. The next Wednesday, she suddenly passed away, just four days before the party which was also her anniversary.

My brother wrote her eulogy which was read by the priest. It was hilarious, and included the fact that her nemesis was Bobby Flay. “He’s so arrogant!” he wrote. I never knew this, but it sounds just like my mom. Opinionated, sharp and completely off her rocker.

elephant ears

elephant ears
Ganesha is my favorite God. With an elephant’s head and a man’s body, he is one powerful being!

Here’s how the story goes (as translated by Yoga Spice):

Parvati was taking a bath and asked Nandi, her husband’s bull, to watch the door. Shiva the hubby comes home so Nandi lets him past because his first loyalty is to his Lord. Parvati was super pissed. She wanted someone this loyal to her, so she took the turmeric from her bath, breathed it onto Nandi, turning him into the human form of Ganesha. She called him son.

Parvati was taking another bath (so clean she is) and posted Ganesha outside again. Shiva came home and did not recognize this boy outside his wifey’s bath. After Shiva’s army couldn’t kill him, he took matters into his own hands and cut Ganesha’s head off. Parvati was even more pissed now, and decided to destroy all of creation.

Lord Brahma, creator of all, talked her out of it thank goodness. So Shiva asked Brahma to go and bring back the head of the first being facing north. Brahma brought back the head of an Elephant and placed it on the boy’s body, bringing him back to life. This pleased both Parvati and Shiva. Shiva then called this powerful being the foremost of all Gods, and leader of all the Ganas (the rest of the folks).

So, why is Ganesha my fav? When I meditate on Om Gam Ganapataye Namah, I evoke the powers of Ganesha. Faith, removal of doubt and ultimate removal of obstacles are what remain after 108 chants, allowing me to see the path rather than the obstacle.

That Elephant rocks my mala!

Stay spicy my sweet yogis

Medium-Rare Mi”steak”

I heart you, mi"steak"

I heart you, mi”steak”

Finding honesty through my yoga practice.

Did you ever have a secret so icky, painful and overwhelming you found new and exciting ways to hide it?  I did.  I had many actually, and I became super creative in my quest to divert attention and manipulate my way into someone’s life trying to find connection and peace.

I didn’t have many friends growing up.  It seemed too difficult to cultivate trust and ease when I couldn’t invite anyone home.  I would actually beg girls to let me spend the night to get away from my house.  Oh, what a sad case I must have been, preying upon the kindness of others – and ultimately being a burden.  When I began to realize that I wasn’t actually liked, it was a difficult thing to swallow.  These “friends” simply felt sorry for me.  That sucked.  Yet I still wasn’t ready to accept any responsibility, or change how I acted.  I just found a new victim…err…friend.  This continued until, well, I still struggle with it today.

Finding honesty in me is hard.  I’ve told so many lies, tilted the truth, offered slight-of-hand, created alter universes and generally avoided the real me for so many years that sometimes I have no idea who I am.

So, how did I go about starting to find me?  The real me?  The real truth?  I had to first let go of past mistakes (still working on this).  Then I had to carefully examine the lies I’d told, from big ones to the little mis-truths and I began to apologize to those I’d hurt, including myself.  The safe and sacred space I found to throw all my shit down is on my yoga mat.  I am able to posture in ways I open my heart and my mind, and view my junk in a mostly non-judgmental way, then decide how to proceed.  Sometimes I don’t move at all.  Sometimes I move mountains.  No matter what, I’m becoming more honest from the inside out

Now, I must carry this practice from my mat to the rest of my life.  I have begun to care more about myself, my past, my real friends and the loving beings all around me.  Truth is truth is truth and I am simply committed to understanding and fostering it, even it if it’s icky, painful and overwhelming.

Love you, my salty medium-rare friends.  You are perfect the way you are.  ❤

big red

Image

Big Red – The Root Chakra

In yogic speak, the chakras are energy centers in the body.  Chakra means “wheel”, so these centers are circular and spin emitting energy from within and radiate outward.

There are believed to be 7-8 chakras (personally I subscribe to the 7 theory), and begin at the base of the spine.  They crawl upwards to the crown of the head.  Each chakra has a color, a sense, a set of emotions, yogic postures and other yummy stuff related to it.

 The first chakra is the Root Chakra located at the coccyx or tailbone.  Its color is red and sense is smell.  The emotions include fear of abandonment, past resentment and anger.  This chakra represents our sense of security based on childhood (or past life) experiences.  When this chakra is blocked, injured or out of balance, the entire system is wacko.  

For a very long time, I thought my second chakra was blocked (located just below the belly button representing reproduction, creativity and strong female emotions).  However after recent research, I understand now that it’s my first which is in serious disrepair.  This is where the fire is ignited and cannot ever be extinguished.

To work on this, one may choose asanas (yoga postures) such as tree for balance and rooting, forward fold to feel grounded, easy seated pose to feel security, and Warrior II for strength and courage.  Meditation related to discovering the yuckiness of the past and working through this with stillness and calmness in a safe, sacred place can assist in healing and open the path to the next chakra. 

One note here, the path to enlightenment doesn’t necessarily mean happiness and blissfulness.  It does however, open the intuitive eyes and awaken the soul.  Starting with the root chakra is messy and can lead to a crap-load of crying.  My encouragement is to keep going.  The path is being traveled.  Find comfort in your own journey.

Chew on, Spicy Yogis.  Love Love Love ❤

hotdog

hotdog

hotdog

 

Come on, did you really not know how they were made, from what and how bad they are for you? I am not constitutionally against the “food”, I just find it odd that some justify eating them and seem oblivious to the ickiness.

Kids eat the heck out of hotdogs.  They love ‘em with mustard and ketchup, with or without the bun, raw, boiled, grilled and microwaved.  They are probably oblivious to what they are eating, so what’s the harm right?

Adults love hotdogs too.  But, shouldn’t they know better?   In this day and age, who hasn’t been shown the wagging finger of a loved one saying, “Those are disgusting!”?  However, if it tastes good, and you don’t care what’s actually in it, what’s the harm right?

I often find myself making justifications for what isn’t good for me.  When I don’t do yoga, or meditate, or eat enough, or drink enough, or sleep enough I can vindicate myself by thinking I ran 3 miles so yoga isn’t necessary.  I meditated yesterday.  I will eat, drink and sleep tomorrow.  What I don’t account for at the moment is the cumulative effect these decisions have on me.  The number one effect: Ms. Grouchy Pants.

So, if you fully understood the ramifications of what your thoughts, words and deeds were, would you continue through justification, or would you consider a better way?

For me, I will not be having hotdogs on July 4th.  I will, however, strive to do yoga, meditate and eat/drink properly.  Sleeping may take a backseat to the fireworks though.

Happy Independence Day!

Love Love Love

lucky charms

lucky charms

magically delicious

I am not a good yogi.  I am a yogi and that is good enough.

I came to find yoga from a pretty yucky place.  Most of my life was spent in self-destruction.  I wrapped my insecurity in a snuggly blanket and fed it breakfast.  I used the fact I was set on fire as justification to subject my body to any affection.  I allowed, even encouraged, strife because I felt alive.  If someone is paying attention, I must be worth something.  Never mind if this was in the form of anger, abuse or devastation.  I had no internal beauty.  It was so painfully obvious to everyone but me.

I used drugs.

I drank.  A lot.

I refused to eat.

I ate, then purged.

I lied.

I kicked, screamed and dug in.  Hard.

I moved across the country, but “I” followed me.

I used my body, and allowed others to do the same.

I was pregnant and unmarried at 23.

I blamed the world for my misfortunes.

What a bleak story.  What a mess.  What a revelation!

At the end of a 7 year relationship, I was magically deliciously lead to yoga by some benevolent force.  Much to my misunderstanding of yoga (it’s just exercise, right?) I began to find me, and to forgive me.  Wow, this was harder than waking up next to a stranger in a strange place, hungover and trying not to puke.

My teacher allowed me to explore me with little direction but tons of support.  It was the first time I’d been given a sacred space, no strings.  I felt safe enough to look at the shit on my mat.  I was finally on the path.  I was finally healing…slowly, painfully and exquisitely.

Since this time many years ago, I have amassed a few lucky charms which remind me “I’m okay” and “I’m worth this life”.  I have my mala – a string of 108 beads – that I meditate with each day.  I have Bebo, my childhood teddy bear.  I have a bracelet with charms which represent special little goodies.  And I have a ton of tattoos.  They tell my story of my inside, as displayed on my outside.  I look at them each day and remember I am still here, I am valuable and I love myself.  Finally.

Maybe you have a charm which reminds you to love yourself.  Always.

Love love love to all you lovely souls just trying to make your way.

mountain dew

do the dew

do the dew

Dew the right thing

Sometimes doing the right thing is natural, simple and easy.  Then there are times when it’s just painful, stupid and time-consuming.  And lastly, dreadedly, there are times when I can’t even determine what the right thing is…

The last is the hardest for me.  Growing up, “normal” was super f-ed up.  There was no real sense of direction, responsibility or stability.  One day chopping wood this way was the right way.  The next day it was a crime.

What does one do to ensure it’s the “right thing”?  Maybe ask these questions:

Will I get hurt? (no)

Will others get hurt? (no)

Will it take longer? (yes, mostly)

Will it create a better environment? (yes)

Will I be rewarded? (probably not, unless you count enlightenment as reward)

Clearly not an exhaustive list, but possibly on the right path.

Sending sugar-love and kisses ❤