Here you have it, folks, my running list of daily big girl moves:
3-17: today marks the first snowboarding trip I didn’t cry on the mountain. Never out of pain (though you can bet my black and blue ass there’s been plenty of that) but out of frustration and fear. Come to think of it, this was also the first trip I didn’t fall on my butt! Boom! My knees, however, took a beating and a half on my first run and I took a few majestic and accidental triple-flips but rather than letting that get me down (literally/cue ChumbaWamba) I followed my friends across the mountain and actually enjoyed it; turning down through my fall line (or at least attempting to) on even the scariest, steepest run; going faster than I’ve ever been comfortable. Eyes up, knees bent, upper body loose, drawing my energy down (out my over-active mind) with my breath.
3-18: driving an ATV for the first time …Over cliffs …In the snow …Downhill?
3-19: decreeing that I am not going to watch TV “for a while;” a decision I began caveat-ing before it even left my mouth. “…except for educational programs … like Last Week Tonight, and Girls…..” and deciding something so scary I didn’t even tell Steve (or anyone) about it until a day or two later: I’m doing a sober month. Full sober. Starting tomorrow. And unlike my cheat-a-rific “Booze-Free January” (sorry, Julia/I made it three weeks…) I really want and mean it this time.
3-20: pushing hard intervals on the stationary bike without my rescue inhaler handy (pedaling amidst my felling senior citizens). Observing the sensations, the tightness in my chest, and acknowledging them as fear rather than attaching to them as warning signs that something’s about to give, break down. The brilliant Wim Hoff (more on The Iceman later, I’m obsessed) explains that “cold is an emotion” and that “Emotion is good. But it can be controlled,” which has basically blown my mind/given me priceless perspective into how I operate. When exercising it is always my mind that gives out before my body. When really that fear is an indicator of what I have to do. Push. Grow.
I see yoga and Ayurveda (ancient life science/wisdom) as accessible magic so please know I call Ayurvedic practitioners “witch doctors” out of deep love and respect. Late last year my witch doctor diagnostically took my pulse, frowned as she informed me of the slippery weakness she felt there and asked me, “how’s your heart?” “Not good” came the whispered reply in my chest. A muscle I’d stopped using, stopped hearing.
Talking with a yoga teacher friend about my “past life” as an (over)analyst, she noted that studies have proven when we constantly engage our minds, we grow our brain, like a muscle, at the expense of the heart. Both are equipped to make decisions for us but the brain becomes the pushy, “pick me!! pick me!! I know!!” kid, outshouting/shoving the heart out of the way. To the point where the heart stops raising its hand. Disengages. Withdraws.
The same can be found in the muscles that draw our shoulder blades together. The trapezius is innervated by a cranial nerve which makes it just a little quicker on the draw than the rhomboids. Over time, following the path of least resistance, with trapezius as first responder, the rhomboids give up, atrophy. Yielding Sad Office Body (S.O.B.), as the trapezius (that greedy bastard) also draws the shoulders up and forward. Hunchback. Boo.
3-20 part 2: I’m lying in bed half wishing I’d waited 20 minutes to hit submit on my article submission to Elephant Journal article so that could count as the scary thing I did tomorrow.
3-21: Breath of Joy. Have you seen the clothing brand Puppies and Yoga? Like, ooohhh, yayyy, puppies and yoga! No. Fuck that. So dangerous. 313 days had passed since The Incident before I finally summoned the guts to try this breath modality again. Away from my home. And from any hard surfaces or possibility of dog interference. And it felt glorious! Much more on this later.
3-22: volunteered to sub a class last minute at a new studio. They gave it to someone else but still… it took some sort of guts to throw my hat in the ring.
Wow. Ok. Made it a week. You get the idea.