An oldie, but a goodie…

Dear Oprah,
This is an old blog I found in the archives. I liked it and thought I'd share it with you. Such a long time ago, livin' in China. I feel like I'm a different person now. I don't think this is necessarily complete, but, in the season of gratitude, giving and finding peace, I was drawn to this, again I guess. A time to revisit and contemplate who we are and where we are going. Who I am and where I am going. Maybe comin' around again...A memory...

Creeeaak, open and release...

It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

This seems to be my biggest test in life and I always come back to it through all of my challenges big and small.
It’s something we all want, really. We find that lovely peace when we go to a tropical island, abandon our worries for an itinerary of sleeping till noon with no cell phones or computers. We vow to stay as peaceful in life as we do on our vacations only to be catapulted back into our routines and day to day muck and chaos as if we never sipped those pina coladas, as if we never got those spa treatments.
I have always thrown myself into the eye of the storm and fought with myself tirelessly over disappointments and failures of living my life fully. I have never hid away from life, but rather grabbed it by its reigns and yee-haad through its ebbs and flows.

On the TV, you hear all about extreme makeovers. You see it in our America. We are obese. Or, in Hollywood, emaciation nation.
I’ve tried for a second to live my life evenly but it just doesn’t make my heart pump.
I find myself right there in it too as I am an extreme liver. I’ve never done anything half assed whether it’s been being overweight myself or being anorexic, being a marathon runner or a chain-smoking pill-popping neurotic.
And now, it is my job, it is my responsibility on a daily basis to teach people to return from their lives of chaos to their original state of being…calm, relaxed and clear. How the hell did I end up here??!!??

It’s from my experiences that I found the ground beneath my feet as I moved back and forth from my home on the moon and my apartment in hell. It’s only because I have lived in darkness that I understand light. It’s because I know what balance is because I’ve tipped the scale so many times in one direction to the other that I finally moved into a state of stillness among the two sides.
This is my job now because I understand.
We have the choice to embrace the state we’re in rather than fight against it and this is my story.

1. Whenever I look through the catalog of memories in my brain, I’m taken straight to the turning points. The places in my life where a clear shift had occurred within, without forcing it to happen.
I am in NYC. My boyfriend has taken all of our stuff to LA. I will stay here for four more months as I finish my yoga teacher training then join him. All I have is one box of clothes to get me through the fall to winter season change. I have a TV, a towel, a blow up bed and my journal. I have never been happier. I see myself as a young kid with my emergency back pack full of necessary stuff in case I need to runaway or in case there is a fire. It’s when there is too much stuff that life becomes too much. I move in my life and I move inside. I have always loved having few things to really give me perspective on my needs in life. There are so few ‘needs’ when you really look around outside of yourself and inside.
2. I am a western trained yoga teacher that goes east to a land we hear so little about. So few people I talk to have ever been or thought about China. Their thoughts about Communism and treatment toward women cloud any other ideas or images I may have had about the country and there is an instant impression, until you get there. It’s not what anyone thinks. Isn’t that where yoga came from? Well no. And it wasn’t until just recently that yoga as well as pop music or tattoos or thongs were even allowed inside the country walls. What’s up with that?! I go there thinking I am a relatively peaceful individual until my patience is tested on a daily basis. Nothing in my yoga or meditation books trained me for this! Everything from finding a toilet to finding food to taking out money, paying bills and dealing without electricity and water and not even being able to attempt to speak the language is daunting and scary and could lead anyone to smoke or drink or take up valium (it’s easy to get there). Watching people watching me, shitting, spitting and urinating in the streets was all very new. Deciding through this difficulty to be ok with it, ok with being lost and not speaking the language, looking differently than everyone, accepting the filth and pollution and learning to love it, yes LOVE it, was, um interesting. Not only that but observing such a different culture than I could ever imagine opened my eyes and my ears and my lungs and my heart in a way that through this chaotic extreme, insane culture, China taught me to live yoga and mindfulness. Something I had read about for years and trained to understand and teach, but never really understood until I was thrust in the middle of crap to feel and find the bliss and sunshine within and in everything I experienced in that crazy world. Only living can teach you.
3. I’ve lived in a world of extremes my whole life, from being overweight to being Anorexic, from running marathons to taking diet pills. I’ve always known I have had the choice and yet I couldn’t possibly understand life until I knew a little bit about death and I died a bunch of times inside. One might call me obsessive or compulsive, but I had to do both to find the happy medium. I have to walk the walk in order to talk about it.

I don't, even as I look at this, remember exactly where I was. I see a lot of hope and a bunch of questions. Years later, I still see a lot of hope and a whole lot of questions even though I have a whole bunch of experience now. I'm still questioning.
Never stop.