Spanish Yoga

I have been neglecting my yoga practice. Even back in the US, before we left I wasn’t being diligent. I was eating junk food and not myself. So I looked up a studio near our apartment and emailed the yogi to inquire about classes. Could I take an introductory one, could I go if I don’t understand Spanish yoga terms very well? Sergio emailed me back and said to come.

So, I left Jeff at home and took myself to the yoga studio. It’s in an apartment building on Dr. Vincent Zaragoza street. The shady looking guy lingering in the doorway told me where to go. And it turned out he was right. I was greeted genuinely by the yogi and told – more mimed – how it would go, where to put my stuff and everything. I did as I was told and then he took me into the studio.

I was early so I did some meditation and breathing as others began to arrive. The yogi introduced me and others in the class were surprised to learn where I was from and that I know zero Spanish but am trying to take a yoga class. They were very helpful as I made some errors.

They asked me ‘Do you know yoga?’  I told them I did and had taken classes in many cities so it’s OK that I am not familiar with the studio here. They smiled and then the class began. This was not a ‘Scottsdale bored house-wife’ yoga. This was not a ‘Seattle intense hot’ yoga. Or a NYC ‘Quasi-soul cycle’ yoga. This was the real deal.

We weren’t flowing and just doing poses as best we could. Nooo. This yogi adjusted everything I did. We did ‘Oommm’s’ and other chants. There weren’t a lot of poses, but they were intense. Incredible controlled breathing. It was HARD. And today, I’m more sore than I ever was at any previous yoga class I have ever taken.

I’m going back again on Tuesday. I figure if I do this a couple times a week I won’t need to join a gym. And my chi should be aligned in no time. Namaste

Breaking News

Often, we watch the news, but we don’t see the connection to ourselves. Especially in today’s crazy political climate. The day’s headlines fly by and it sounds a lot the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons. ‘Mwha, Mwha, Mwha Mwha Mwha Mwha’. Nothing more. And then suddenly, it does effect you. Very personally.

On December 22nd, I overnighted our FBI background checks to the US State Department to gain the Apostle. I checked the FedEx website and they arrived on the 26th. I called them last Friday to check on the Status and they told me they had logged them on the 29th – 3 days later. I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t so concerned because they are supposed to ‘process’ the documents in 2-4 business days. I had included an overnight FedEx return envelope so I figured I would get them this week.

Today, I checked the FedEx website but they haven’t been shipped yet. So I called the State Department again. It seems with the ‘cyclone bomb’ we’ve all heard about that dumped feet of snow on the East Coast of the US last week – it’s going to be at least 12-15 business days for them to finally get them back to me.

But here’s the catch. Our wonderful Congress is threatening a government shut down and the timing of it, if they reach no agreement, means that next Thursday will be the first day where there isn’t an employee in the Dept. of Authentications at the US State Department. So if our background checks are not Apostillized and put in the FedEx envelope by Wednesday of next week, we will not be able to get them translated in time for our visa appointment at the Consulate on January 29th.

It seems unbelievable to me that our going to Spain hinges on the US Congress – so little confidence have I in that august body. And now their shenanigans have an immediate, direct impact on me and my life. But, after I took 10 deep breaths, I decided I’m not going to let it bother me. This final piece in the puzzle is so entirely out of my hands, I won’t let it drain my energy. I have other things to do.

I’ve found a few more boxes of old papers in the garage and I finished shredding them. Just when I thought it might be safe to let go of the industrial shredder. I’m considering these documents I’m cutting into tiny pieces, an offering to the gods that control Document Hades.

‘Oh controllers of all things certified and notarized. Please – I’m begging you. Just this one last thing.’ I said today as I fed paper into our shredder.

I’m thinking they heard me. Right at that moment, the shredder overheated and stopped working. A clear sign that someone is listening on the other side.

In with the New

I look back at 2017 and I see a year of massive upheaval. I’m not just talking about our country and the globe, but personally. This time last year, I woke up in Versailles. We celebrated the coming year with our good friends, Peter and Martina and their boys in France. We had a great time – but I knew that something was missing. But how do you remain grateful for what you have, while knowing it’s not what you want?

I’ve spent the last year answering this question. I’ve learned a few things along the way.

  1. It’s OK not to covet the trappings of the American Dream. In the past 18 months, we’ve sold a home and downsized like crazy. And in the next 60 days we will have 30 boxes, 2 bicycles, 2 sets of golf clubs, one motorcycle and a couch to our name. Shhh – don’t tell, but my Louboutins will be hiding in one of those boxes. Some semblance of civilization and order must be maintained.
  2. It’s OK not to want the career you’ve worked so hard to achieve. It was a long time coming, but I had not only become bored with all the corporate speak, I wasn’t doing what made me happy – writing. These days I carve out time every day to write and I’m wickedly happy doing it. This past year, my creativity has blossomed and I love it! I wake up every day and hop out of bed – most days I’m ready to take on the day.
  3. Gratitude is essential, but it has to be real. I spent so much time before 2017 telling myself I needed to ‘just be grateful’ for the things I had, even though they were just ‘things’ and they didn’t make me happy. I was happiest traveling light and seeing the world. Learning new things, making new friends and being open to new experiences. I like looking around corners and getting lost!
  4. Sitting in a conference room is like a slow death. No kidding, I would rather break rocks in Alcatraz than sit in a conference room discussing retail trends, Ad nauseum, with an unimaginative American executive team. It’s not that I don’t like corporate innovation – that was my biz, after all. But I’m innovating in a new way now – my own life. And I find I like that focus a lot more.
  5. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable takes practice. It’s always easier to migrate back to what we know. It doesn’t take any effort. The wind will blow you there if you just let it. All of a sudden you’re discussing taking a job like the last one you had. And you do discuss it for a couple of weeks with a friend who has something that might be interesting. And then you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t get back to sleep. And all of a sudden you realize what you’re doing. You’re stopping your forward progress. You’re moving away from what you really want. And it takes a conscious ‘No’ to get you right again. Whew! That was close!
  6. Sometimes you gotta burn the house down. People say ‘less is more’ and they’re so very right. As I’ve inventoried my life in the last 4 months, I don’t need most of it – except the Louboutins (OK, and maybe my black Celine tote) – and I’m lighter than before. Carrying all this stuff created stress. The stress to maintain it all. And I’ve watched the joy on people’s faces who come to our house to take our stuff. I’m thrilled for them. And I bet they’ve seen the joy on mine that I don’t own it anymore.

Last night, we added some rituals to our annual New Year’s celebration. We ate our 12 grapes for good luck, like they do in Spain. Emilie struggled with this one since she’s still recovering from her teeth pulling. And I opened the back door and let out the old year, and opened the front door to let in the new.

It’s funny, in the past I’ve often been happy to see an old year pass; looking forward to a better year to come – praying that this was the year I’d find the answer. But as I opened the back door last night, I felt a little sadness for the first time ever, in saying good bye to the previous year. 2017 was very good to me. I learned more this past year than any other 12 month period in my life. It’s the year I learned to choose authenticity and happiness – in all its forms. A great foundation for 2018.

So, my friends, here’s to a new year for all of us. Filled with new horizons, new friends, and continuous learning. Here’s to getting my book published and seeing the world. Here’s to scrumptious food, good friends – old and new, and toes in the Mediterranean. Here’s to traveling lighter through this world and to living the life we love. This year, what I’m most grateful for, is that you’re all on this journey with me as I figure it out. Happy New Year – Namaste.